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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: People make me unable to relax, why is this?

 Optimisticide - Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:56 am

People seem to like me, they say I am funny, intelligent and handsome. Probably have all that to thank for my recent answer of yes from my fiancee. As happy as I am with him, and he makes me very happy, we have a major issue: I do not like being around people and he is a social butterfly. This has started to become a bigger problem recently since he feels offended that I "hate his friends." The truth is that I do not 'hate' them, I just prefer to be alone. It breaks down to a combination of things:

When I am first 'tossed' into a social event with as little as one other person I tend to sort of shut down, getting very quite and finding a place to sit (in those situations I prefer to sit in corners). That will last for about 2-5min, with me making no eye contact ,usually looking in a different direction altogether, limiting my responses to one or two word answers as best I am able.

After the reclusive stage we move onto me in-a-way 'pretending' to be social, meaning that I really am not the person that I soon become; becoming load and making jokes, constantly making jokes or poking fun at something or someone. Or picking apart peoples sentences with references to trivial facts. I like to think my true self as more of a calm and quite person, like I am with my fiancee, carrying on normal conversations.

My pretending stage lasts for about 15-45min, at which point I will start playing with my phone or reading. Getting very quite and distancing myself as best as I a can until I get to leave. When we finally do get home, I say we because I would never be social on my own its more of me being dragged to visit my fiancee's friends, I get very upset and angry and stay that way for about an hour until I forget about it and act like nothing happened.

My best description of how I feel is like I am in a corner that is lit and all around me is pitch black, I am very tense, nervous, uncomfortable and completely unable to relax. Like from that darkness there are a thousand eyes all focused on me. The reason I pretend, I think, is to seem a bit more normal and leave with people thinking I am no freak.

I have become very good at pretending, usually making a very good impression on his friends, who all seem to love me. I was also very loved in high-school, one of the popular kids. None of that, though, makes me any more comfortable around people. I have thought a bit about going to see a psychiatrist, though my fiancee is the only person who I have ever spent enough time with to actually know about this 'problem.' And it is more him pushing, I keep telling him some people are just not social and that I am happy, and feel as though I have a great life.

Thank you for reading, I look forward to reading some responses and adding more information if it is needed.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:30 pm

Hello Optimisticide,

It seems that you recognize that there is a problem, and you have learned to cope with it in unhelpful ways - sitting in the corner, or being loud and dominating. The up and down of your emotions must be very difficult for you. Your partner's disappointment in your lack of sociability could become greater and greater as your relationship goes on. Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist is recommended. However, before you attend the appointment, keep a careful log or journal of exactly what happens in situations in which you are uncomfortable. What are you feeling? Fear? Insecurity? Smothered? When you take the step to burst into sociability with jokes, etc., what are you feeling? Desperation? Giving up? A "screw it" attitude? Note how long the episodes last, and if you think of anything in your childhood or past at those times. Your symptoms are somewhat phobic, and sound like you have a deep insecurity. A qualified psychologist could provide some testing that may help clarify what is going on, and what direction would be best to resolve the issue. You and your partner can talk about compromise - how many social events are reasonable to attend, and how many times it would be good to stay home together or with just one or two other couples that you both enjoy. As with any compromise, it can be adjusted as your issues change.

Good luck to you both.

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