Finding this site has been a blessing! I’ve read what you said about discovering what your shyness is protecting you from, and I also read it in other parts of this site. I’d be interested in learning how one goes about doing that. What are the steps to discovering that?
Here is my particular scenario–and I wish so much that I could find others who relate to this because when I try to express it to friends and family, they think I’m being paranoid—which indeed I probably am in part. I suppose my demeanor visibly changes when anxiety strikes in social situations because I seem to get extremely negative feedback. Maybe I come across as arrogant and itching for a fight—I don’t know….but I seem to lose all sense of boundary when I get anxious. What I seem to invite under such circumstances is passive aggression. People start saying inappropriate and over- familiar things. It happens with strangers and it happens with acquaintances. It doesn’t happen with close, trusted friend — which is precisely why they are trusted friends. I’ve read on this site that as a highly sensitive person it is easy for me to feel unsafe—and that I indeed should remove myself quickly from “unsafe situations.” Well, this means I’m going to get a lot of exercise! I’m always going to be on the move! I’ve tried to deal with this in many ways—at times have ended up believing that the human race is filled with sadistic losers. Lately my recourse (quite successful) has been to draw a friendly barrier around myself so that I am distinctly separate from whomever I am interacting with. The minute I draw that distance I am no longer within their reach to attack me. It’s hard to remember to do this all the time though. Anyway, I believe that part of this is reality—there are indeed some sick, hurt people reacting to me for whatever reason. After many years of dealing with this, my instincts and nerves are so honed that I imagine hostility where it might not be. In other words, my paranoia and reality are one big messy mishmash. My overall attitude though…is that I am tired of having to walk away from unacceptable situations. I’d rather not expend the energy of going there in the first place. When I instinctively calculate that I stand a high chance of facing nastiness, I don’t even bother and get reclusive. By the way….I have sides of me that are definitely not shy. I find myself less shy when I have that protective, friendly barrier around me. Any thoughts and feedback would be appreciated.