Someone once said to me, when they were talking about the importance of the attachment system and human relationships “no one ever lies dying on the battlefield screaming for their car, soldiers call out for their mothers.”
It’s a graphic illustration of just how hard wired we all are to seek out and need comfort and connection from others. However what that also means is it is also our greatest vulnerability.
All of us are affected by our relationships, without other people we don’t have love, connection, friendship, hate disappointment and jealousy. And all of us struggle to manage that roller coaster of emotions at times.
However for people who struggle with social phobia and social anxiety, it’s not that they feel the wrong thing, just that the ‘volume is up too high’ (see my “Volume Knob Problem” blog). The feelings and responses caused by others can become so intense and so terrifying that we avoid them, and once avoidance kicks in then the problem can turn into a self perpetuating machine (see my “Fear of Fear” blog).
So why do we become afraid of people?
There can be many reasons why we become intensely afraid of people, and there can be many reasons why we struggle to regulate our emotions. The good news is regardless of the causes, the solutions remain the same:
We need to learn how to train our mind, and change our behaviour.
I’ve organized these skills into four groups, what I call the “pillars”. These skills teach you how to train your mind, manage your body, change your behaviour and improve your relationships. Utilising these skills will help you manage your life and your feelings in different ways. It will take time and hard work, but it IS possible to beat social phobia.
People are scary, but they’re all we’ve got. And you can’t live without them.