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I am 35 years old and in the last few years have lost

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contact with all my friends.The...
I am 35 years old and in the last few years have lost contact with all my friends.The majority of them have kids now and are married and I have nothing in common with them anymore.Slowly after I just did not want go out anymore ,plus I have been in a relationship for 8 years now.He works 6 days a week insane hours and sometimes do not see each other 2 to 3 weeks.I did not mention that he has 4 kids!!! who I have not met because I am Afraid to,the same with his parents and friends.We only spend time with each other and rarely go to social events much less with any one else.It is the same routine everyday from work to home, home to work.It is affecting my relationship with my family now, I do my best to avoid them because when we do get together I just basically sit there with nothing to say as if I was invisable.I have always been shy as a child,but has never affected as much.My previous boyfriend tried to get me out there,going to his family functions,introducing me to his friends and going out as couples.It was always nerve wrecking for me I never wanted him to leave my side.Please help.
Sincery,
Severely shy
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 3 hours by:
6/28/2010
Mental Health Professional: Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA replied 8 years ago
Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2,568
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
Verified

Hello, and thanks for visiting JA.

One cannot diagnose at a distance, but what you describe has many of the hallmarks of social phobia.

I 'd like to offer you a three point plan to get this sorted out once and for all.

First, go and see you Doctor and explain your problem - he will be able to suggest some medication that will help tremendously.

Secondly, a lot of your reluctance to interact socially, is rooted in some very false perceptions about yourself, and what people might think about you or say about you.

For that reason,
I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm

Finally, to get you of to a good start. I’d like you to use this tool:

This Bill of Rights was one of the tools used by Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist. Containing some really basic psychological rights belonging to every person, it really helps to identify and deal with areas in which we have problems.

Read the statements. Note down any immediate thoughts or feelings that come to you.

Look at yourself in a mirror and read it out loud to yourself. Listen to your voice grow in strength and volume so that you can really start to feel it inside. In the beginning, you may feel silly or embarrassed. You may hear the inner voice say, "That's not the truth". Just hang in there and keep doing it - you'll notice the change within six weeks, if you do it regularly.

1. I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I do, say, think or feel.

2. It is O. K. for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.

3. I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decisions.

4. I have the right to say "I don't understand" without feeling stupid or guilty.

5. I have the right to say NO.

6. I have the right to say No without feeling guilty.

7. I do not have to apologise or give reasons when I say NO.

8. I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.

9. I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating, conning, or treating me unfairly.

10. I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.

11. I have a right to tell others when their behaviour annoys me.

12. I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.

13. I have a right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. I have a right to be wrong.

14. I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.

Please have a look at this website –it’sfull of good information:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/social_anxiety_support_symptom_causes_treatment.htm

Best wishes, NormanM

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