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Affected loved ones, support, understanding, & patience

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 1,173 times

Very recently discovered I have social anxiety/phobia.  It has been a part of me for decades & didn’t know what to call it.  Married for nearly ten years & have come to realize most of every struggling moment has been affected by my anxiety/phobia.  Without going into much detail, she said she would be understanding and supportive as I try to overcome and cope with it.  Much of what I’ve learned I have shared with her.  That included me preparing myself to go out into public, how I feel when people are around especially in crowded situations, or meeting people for the first time.  Of course more was talked about.  She has asked me to at least share with her when these feelings start to come on.  I also told her that I worry how she may judge me for it and get angry, especially if it involves something that she wants to do.  Today just played into that fear.  We were going out and while we were on the road, I asked her, “Do you remember telling me to let you know how I feel when I start to feel it coming on?”  She said, “Yes”, so I told her.  What I got was, “So what? We are almost there. Let it go. Your negative vibe is upsetting me. Am I supposed to work what I want to do around your issues?” Needless to say our outing was cancelled and of course my fears among others were realized by her reaction.  I still apologized and told her I was really sorry it’s affecting her, I did what she asked me to do, and what I got in return doesn’t help. I have visited many sites regarding my issue and have not come across a similar situation.  I know I can’t be the only one experiencing a crisis with a spouse or loved one.  I have ordered Social Anxiety: The Untold Story and waiting for it to arrive.  Will the information in the DVD help me/us in some way?

I have worked with countless cases where one spouse’s social anxiety has impacted the marriage or relationship. These cases have ranged the gamut from mutual support, understanding, and a team approach toward solving the problem on one end, to divorce on the other. Here’s a positive example. Patient X, age 42, a PHD, had suffered from social anxiety- driven blushing (facial hyper-hidrosis) for many years. Her husband was unaware of her inner torment. A few sessions into treatment X had the courage to ask her husband, in a few scenarios if she was blushing. She thought she was. His observation was that she was not. This feedback was critical in her learning to accept and control her adrenaline before it evolved into a blush. In other words, there were so many times she thought she was blushing when the reality was that she was not. On the other hand, patient Y, age 45, was a software programmer who suffered from long term selective mutism. His detachment from, and avoidance of, communication was the basis of tremendous and accruing anger for his wife, who eventually divorced him because of this problem. It is in fact a common scenario where one spouse will want to avoid socializing in general because of social anxietl where the other is outgoing and quite social. Without mutual empathy and a functional understanding of the problem, concurrent with a proactive therapeutic strategy, this is a recipe for anger and distress which can significantly impair the relationship and impact negatively parenting as well. “Social Anxiety: The Untold Story” should help you.

The following is part of a collection of questions and sharing by our readership community about a wide variety of aspects of social anxiety. Dive in and receive practical insights and advice. If you have a question that is not included you can contact Jonathan at jberent@socialanxiety.com.

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