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On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 9:16 pm
by dancingfish
Just a few thoughts that seem to be burbling around my head! If you have any thoughts or reflections you'd like to share upon reading this, please do feel free. :)

I find it a bit difficult to reach out and communicate with people, particularly ones I'm not already quite sure about. (Which is kind of funny as once I am comfortable with someone, they'll possibly end up hearing every last observation that passes through my mind and be subjected to a stream of near incessant chatter. :lol:) This difficulty presents itself in various situations from interacting with a stranger because I wish to post (mail) a letter or order some tea at a café, to negotiating whether I'm in someone's way in the lift (elevator!) or on the street. Then there is contacting people I know, by text or web message or phone. I'll hesitate, not sure if it's a good time for them (how could I know?), if I'll say the "right" things, and I worry I'll somehow unexpectedly find myself in a situation I don't know how to deal with. (I'm yet to not manage to do something in any given tricky situation.)

There are a lot of threads on this forum I'll read, and then I can't quite pull all the ideas together I might want to write down in reply. Just one sentence seems too small, but also too great a leap. Someone here referred to having a "treacle" brain or similar the other day, it seems apt. My mind is hastily engaging in panic, and/or flight mode, and gathering thoughts is anathema to it. There's fear about the possible reaction to my words, as if it might somehow be strongly negative and angry, directed at me and also my fault.

I know this isn't the case. I know that isn't true, but for a long time it happened and it's still a pattern in my mind. I also once learnt that the world was dangerous - I knew dangerous people, who told me that everyone else was more dangerous than them. So I shied away from talking to most people, and grew fearful of it when I must. I was isolated too, so had limited opportunities to have positive, friendly interactions that countered my other experiences.

It's trying to keep me safe, this fear of others and reaching out and speaking. But it also brings with it, dragging like so many little anchors trailing in my wake, a fear that what I say is not good enough. That my words are of no interest, or may offend, or be "too much" solely in their exuberance. Sometimes I realise I've taken to trying to find common ground with someone, being in more agreement with them than I might actually feel, to ensure some sense of safety. Then my interactions feel hollow, and I worry they'll see it too.

There are various fronts I used to hide behind, hastily learnt defenses. From when I had to cope in unknown places with unknown people, with limited resources, while desperately trying to appear perfectly "normal". (It would be worse, somehow, if they noticed.) As if nothing was wrong, and no such whirlwind of anxious doubt was hidden on the inside. I'm not sure how well these fronts worked, mind you! They seemed appropriate at the time. And they still turn up from time to time, until slowly I feel safer and adapt to what is there, rather than what is feared to be there.

One of the new things I'm trying to embrace at the moment is being more social, reaching out and trying some new activities. It's picked up a bit from what it once was but doing significantly more feels like it's a little way off yet. Sometimes I notice I've leapt so far ahead - random conversations with strangers! Difficult-to-make phone calls that go just fine! And at other times, all the old fears are happily crowding my head, making themselves comfortable in their old and familiar positions.

I know it's changing, because I'm making it so and can observe the differences. I know it'll still take more time, and that there can be so many things which feed into one fearful state. It just seems like a complicated tangle that descends sometimes, when I don't really quite believe I'll ever trust more than a very few people. It's definitely more enjoyable to do so though, and I try to remind myself of that when the walls press in.

Thanks for reading along, if you have. I'm not quite sure where this went in the end, but it seemed to be a bunch of things it was good to get out. If you have some similar experiences or things you do to help you along, I'd love to hear. :) Thank you!

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 9:34 pm
by Noname

I can soooooo relate to everything you've said. I've always tended to be a more solitary person, and I'm fine with not having tons and tons of friends or people around all the time because that would just be way too much for my introverted self. But there have been times in my life where I've been completely isolated. Sometimes (lots of times) the isolation just feels safer. But it's lonely. And I learned that it can also end up putting me in situations where I let in the "wrong" people. I've been working on trying new things, too. Getting out and meeting new people, and also trying to work on letting the "right" people in more. I'm still working on trying to find balance in my life, balancing my time and energy. It's taking a lot of work to convince myself that I'm "good enough", that not everyone's going to hate me, that not everyone's going to use me. But I'm working on it. Enough about me! Lol.

I'm glad that you are working on being more social, too. I think you have a lot to offer the world.

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 8:44 pm
by dancingfish
Thank you for reading and replying, Noname! :) (Especially as I re-read some parts later and noticed my language goes super-formal sometimes when I'm finding it difficult to write. It made me laugh, anyhow. :))

Yeah, the loneliness is safe(r). But as you say, lonely - and then there's the huge puzzle of reformulating who you let into your life. I've had a lot of changes over the last few years - a whole bunch of people have just disappeared away, who I'd meet intermittently as "friends". They weren't, really, at all. Just people whose demands I could cope with, that fit familiar (bad) patterns, and also didn't want to really get to know me. That was somehow the least safe thing of all.

It's good to hear your perspective, thank you for sharing! Glad you're working on feeling good enough too, because you (all of you!) certainly are Noname. ;)

Thank you as well for your very kind words, they mean a lot to me. :)

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:38 pm
by there
:) Dictation warning
Reading through your post, I feel like got to know you little better.
Probably most people who have been traumatized true abuse have to renegotiate trust in others. I have also had to learn and I'm still learning to trust myself more, because abusers made me think I was the untrustworthy one, or not to be believed.
It sounds like you're being sensitive to how lonely you might feel and how to socialize, communicate with others in a Safeway. (Safeway is a grocery chain in western US, thank you dictation.) ------in a safe way. I think that's smart of you.
How comfortable is loneliness versus how comfortable is socializing?
Another consideration for me has been to challenge myself sometimes to transforms the loneliness into peaceful or productive solitude.
Being mostly extroverted, I found that abuse really threw a ranch wrench in the engine. I continue to navigate or create healthy boundaries in communicating with others.
By the way, if you ever want to post just a few words to me, I'm fine with that.
I enjoyed chatting with you (and other members) in chat yesterday :)

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 11:54 pm
by Couragetoday
Hi dancingfish,

It’s great to see a post from you, and all your words sound just perfect to me. :-)

I could relate to some of the difficulties you explained with social interacting, online interacting etc.
I don’t know if this is similar to your Experience, but I’ve never felt that social skills have come naturally to me.
They’ve always felt like something I have had to observe in others, and then somehow learn to apply myself, coupled with tremendous anxiety and doubt, quite similar to the examples you gave actually.
The online component - texting, social media, (and here too!) adds a super big challenge for me personally.
All those visual cues and nonverbal hints are absent. Almost Like feeling around in the dark, trying not to bump into things.

Now I have gone on and rambled. ... :?

Hope spring is popping up a little more each day.

Lots of caring

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 2:16 pm
by Noname
Hi dancingfish,

Thank you for your kind words. It's definitely a process, isn't it? Convincing yourself you're good enough, sorting out who your genuine friends are... It's a process. But, I think it's worth it. At least I hope it is.

Gotta be honest, I definitely chuckled a little when you mentioned your writing getting more "formal". I do the same thing! But honestly I agree with Couragetoday. Your words were perfect.

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 9:19 pm
by dancingfish
Oh there, Ct, and Noname - thank you so much for your words. :) "Safeway" made me laugh there, we have that here too. :D

Quite agree with the renegotiating trust. :) Although I've noticed I tend to get kind of stuck in uncomfortable solitude when I've decided there's one thing I "should" be doing, but I can't seem to do it. So I just vacillate between fear of doing and distraction until I notice it and break out. Then go back to a happier solitude, but noticing something is still missing there. Anyhow - going to try the just posting a few words sometimes. Have enjoyed chatting with you, too! :D

Ct, you did not ramble at all! You kindly shared your perspective - it's most welcome. :) Also yes, feels as if I had to learn socialising by careful observation/mimicking, initially. I think it might simply be because I wasn't able to learn/pick it up sooner, so it felt like I was a bit behind everyone else. It's certainly been like that with casual conversation - took me a long while to realise that people just chat happily about whatever comes to mind, and it can be quite simple ("I was planting daffodils yesterday..." "Did you see it'll be warm next week?" etc. ;) ). Anyhow, I think this does now constitute as rambling from me! I hope you've been able to find a bit more assurance, less doubt and worry, in using text on forums at least. :)

Thanks Noname, your words are appreciated. :) Glad you had a chuckle with word formality, too.

I've been trying to reach out a bit more here, so we'll see. It's somehow useful, particularly when I keep isolating myself at the moment in other ways. There's one major thing I'm trying to do that I'm frightened of, and everything else seems to end up stuck behind it. Ho hum, shall get there. :)

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:35 pm
by reisha
Okay I'm just waiting along thinking all kinds of things until I got your dares points about switching isolation to solitude Bingo Bingo Bingo that's when I just had to start responding so I've not read through the entire thread but I think there is onto something because that's where I'm trying to do a transformation myself I think isolation is a buzzword and gets a lot of attention in the media because it's negative and we're all about negativity in this world will who so there's that and it's just been in the past day and a half or so did I started thinking about the difference between Solitude and isolation I'm sure there is some overlap but but I can definitely relate to the right ruckle lack of social skills that tends to develop in both situations I've noticed that the last few times I've been out socially I haven't been a social butterfly I just wanted to get my business done and move on to the next thing I think that I'm being polite and friendly and maybe I am but what I'm out with a friend rather than out by myself I watch hello my friends interact with people and I don't know it's kind of weird it seems almost phony like like they're a little bit too needy and it's not just my friends it's it's the way both parties in Iraq free sample when I was out with (name removed) recently

Well,hell. So much for voice rrec im sorry for ^mess^ . Will try again later when i can type bettter

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:56 pm
by Noname

I hope that reaching out here is helpful for you. I've been trying it out, too and have found it to be very helpful.

I hope it's ok for me to jump in here re: the difference between solitude and isolation. That's a very interesting question. I've always been a pretty solitary person. I was an only child for a good chunk of my childhood and we lived in the middle of nowhere so I had to entertain myself most of the time. For me, solitude is comfortable. I like my "alone time". I need a certain amount of it or I just go into complete overload. Isolation, on the other hand is lonely. It's when I'm struggling but not reaching out. It's when I can be in a crowd but feel so completely alone. I guess what I'm saying is, there's a difference between enjoying some time to myself, and feeling like I'm alone. I hope that makes sense.

Re: On talking and interacting with others

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 12:47 am
by reisha
Yes. But what i wonder is ..... wheres my boundary line tween the 2? Ill been putzin alongg, all happy in my solitude & i dont notice thats now im alll tense & bitter & angry, cuz im so isolated & nobody luvs me. Well, waiddadamminnit, when did that happen, how? I havna explained this well. The ... slide, this shift often hapens w out 'trigger' , to my awareness. Ive pondered on this for a while now.