Do u end up staring n can't stop n then you dnt know what your doing coz I do n it's ruining my life !!, No one seems to know what's wrong with me?, They've diagnosed me with schitzophrenia !!, I just want some hope!, Pls txt bk ASAP!!. Lol!, Shaz!. Xx
Hi Amal, sorry to hear this is having such a big impact on you. This thread hasn't been active recently so you might not get a reply from others who've posted before. I haven't read it all, but is there anything anyone else has found helpful that you could try (I think there were some suggestions earlier in the thread, from memory)?
I'm glad you've posted, I hope you find the forum helpful, and
I've sort of recently developed this staring issue about 2 years ago and it is completely tearing me apart. Whenever i look at someone I automatically stare at them without my control. Its been getting worse lately. Now when i have eye contact with someone my eyes widen and the person I'm talking to eyes widen and then they look away or have real trouble looking at me. My own girlfriend has trouble looking at me now. I'm trying really hard to control it but its almost impossible. When I look at my self in the mirror I look fine but then I look at someone else and my eyes go into a stare. I never used to have this issue and its really making me super antisocial. I used to be a very fun and loving person to talk to and now I feel like nobody wants to look at me. Please help with any ideas that you have! I thought about going to a doctor but i don't know what they could do for me.
To all the people who had the courage to post this debilitating disorder, I want to say you are not alone.
I have the exact same problem. I asked myself where did my self-control go when dealing with people. It is just rude and weird to stare at others. Why do I just get fixated on their face and their eyes?
I have made so many people uncomfortable to the point where several of my coworkers moved away because they had to deal with me. I am super smart at my job but a chunk of it requires to communicate and be in meetings. I feel so bad for so many people who I saw were visibly disturbed by me. It's like I infected them also and then we both were aware of it.
This consumed my life and I only thought about 'it.'
So, I got a therapist who I had sessions with. He just diagnosed me with having low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. I started working on rebuilding but shit always hits the fan for me, so I was trapped in this vicious cycle. Then I started thinking that I had low self-esteem even before this eye-contact issue, so this must've been caused by something else.
I have several coping theories that you oughta try. Don't give up, please. I know it drove me to commit suicide but I know there's nothing wrong with us and I just have to fix this glitch.
[Disclaimer - I am not a Medical Doctor. Read the following at your own risk.]
Theory #1 - Projecting Your Issues
This is I think the root cause for me atleast. I realized the moment I look at others, the thought which bugged me and made me zone out and stare at them was the thought of them thinking about me. Like they would be the most benign person on the planet, yet my mind manufactured irrational, unspoken things about them. My mind thought of them thinking of me which made me shy and awkward and it made them feel awkward as well, as to why I had lost self-control. Like you know the moment you've let go and all of your focus is the other person. For instance when you really like some one, it is okay to stare at them.
So somehow, I think it is linked to having an inflated ego which thinks that everyone is 'watching me' that it is them who are staring at me, it is others who have feeling for me or some deep crush. This thinking leads to reality and somehow the other person catches on these vibes through your eyes.
So my mind was preoccupied by others. Like I would enter a room and have already scanned every person. This initiated the peripheral vision fixation. I just thought all the time, that others are thinking of me and watching me and they like me, and have a secret crush on me and shit like this. This paralyzed me when someone approached me and I just get focused on them because something inside me made me realize, that when they looked at me, it confirmed that they like me and hence, the oh shit awkward moment completley overtakes the conversation.
Theory #1 - It's all in your mind.
I am very well read and have written extensively about 'it' in my journals. I even kept a tiny notepad of every thought which went over my head. This theory has worked for me half the time but I do relapse into staring again.
Having eye-contact is perfectly normal. We all had it growing up and much of our adult life. So by looking at someone, there's nothing abysmal about it. It is in our mind, some pesky thoughts which trigger anxiety and shove us out of our tracks. For me, I separated my ego driven mind which had incorporated this disease and took over my real self. I said to myself that it is only my ego talking which are just thoughts and not the real me. There's the real me and then there's the ego which was consumed by the paranoia.
I finally sat down in a comfortable place and took several breathes to take control of my ego and separate it. I had the most spiritual experience ever. I felt free and normal and pure. But it is very hard to keep it pure if you are around shit most of the time.
I would suggest going to a therapist and rooting out all the issues and blatantly telling him/her of this issue.
Theory #3 - Looking elsewhere
This theory works but makes you look weak. When I was at my all time low, I just stopped looking at people. I would talk to them by actively ignoring them. It was embarrassing. I felt so weak and all sorts of vicious thoughts hounded me like, 'You can't even look at people.' It worked but really pounded my personality which never had this problem. I only do it as a last resort. People will actually know that you have a problem with eye-contact. I've never been made fun of but some people will give condescending looks. It is rude in many cultures and American families to look away.
I had three theories which I wrote but took too long. My session timed out and was unable to save it.
I wrote to PM because this is such an embarassing thing to discuss in public, atleast that's what I think. So I thought many people who are not comfortable talking about it in public would connect with me privately.
Has anyone found a solution to the peripheral vision? It is really frustrating. I can't seem to do anything because of it. It haunts me wherever i go. Sitting in the car beside the taxi driver, watching tv while others are around like my family, and the most frustrating one is the one where i have to sit in class where there is one on the left and one on the right. I can't focus on the teacher. It is making me anxious just by thinking of it. I feel they are starring by the corner of their eye just like me and it becomes super uncomfortable for both of us. We start fidgeting and it becomes like a competition or something i dont know.
Anyone who have something that could help would be great!
Just want to say thanks for this post, I have problems like this I think, it's all confusing sometimes 'cos it's mixed up with social anxieties but I found your post thoughtful and helpful... and brave too!
Hello everyone! I hope someone here can help provide some advice.
I have some issues with eye contact and perepheral vision that are really annoying. I don't know if it is a mental disorder or something physical. The problems are:
1.) I have hyper sensitive peripheral vision, with the result that if someone is sitting next to/ near me, I can see them even when I am not directly looking at them. So for instance I will be watching TV or perhaps a lecture, but I can latch onto a person out of the corner of my I and it produces the affect of me staring at them. People find this very uncomfortable and will even move away or shield there eyes with a hand to block me from thier vision. Sounds weird, but it's true.
2.) Normal eye contact suring conversations is hard, I no longer know where to look. I end up looking directly into thier eyes and again, produce an off-putting staring effect. I have tried moving my gaze to other areas of the face, but it does not work too well, I always end up having a staring competetino with them. The result is that when people talk to me, they quite often shut there eyes for long periods or look away.
Interestingly this has not been a factor from childhood, it just suddenly happened a number of years ago in my early twenties.
People may notice this, but may not be judging you quite the way you think. Anyone who would really want to never associate with you because of eye issues, is not really a good candidate for friendship. That is their problem.
Since you're already aware, I'm sure it's gotten less bad over time. Rule of thumb? If people don't mention it in a conversation, assume it's not a problem. If it is really bothering them, it is their responsibility to bring it up to you in a mature way as possible or else just get over it.
Don't focus inward where the anxious thoughts constantly doubt that you have a right to have a conversation with that person. Focus outward to the reality of how that person is responding.
Sometimes I think people with social anxiety have awkward convos because of negative cycle of missing social cues because of constant worrying.
You must will yourself to focus on reality and what is appropriate in each moment and each situation. You may struggle to do this more than others, but you'll never learn by never taking appropriate social risks.
It must be your own decision. Which you already seem to have made. You're on a forum. You sound coherent and thoughtful and cool. There's nothing in your post that is offputting. This is the reality. You are just as likable as anyone.
In my opinion,there is a simple reason for this eye contact problem, basically your conscious mind is doing a poor job that your sub-conscious mind should be doing due to an anxiety fight or flight switch being activated.
Think of your mind as running on two parallel rail roads, your sub-conscious mind and conscious mind with the switcher rail allowing transfer from one to the other. Your thought pattern is the moving train.
Your sub-conscious mind is basically the computer program that controls your life, running your relationships, getting you up to work, driving etc.. It also controls all your five senses including seeing and blinking and walking.
Your conscious mind is the problem solving and analytical part, "what car shall I buy a or b", "what are the implications of loosing my job" "my friends girlfriend cheating on him" in conversation etc... It also was designed to take over in fear fight or flight situations to help you out if a saber tooth tiger jumped out at you etc.. Sight is the only one of the five senses the conscious mind can take over in the form of blinking or staring because of the muscels around your eyes and eyelids but it does not do a good job because it was never designed for that purpose.
Have you ever tried to consciously take over blinking for a while, it doesn't work very well or finding yourself walking in front of someone knowing someone`s probably watching your back, how awkward that feels because again your conscious mind has taken control over a function it was never designed for.
As an example of whats happening, your sitting at home watching tv or talking with someone your very comfortable with, your thought pattern is running on the subconcious mind rail, you get a knock on the door, its a neighbour, anxiety fight or flight kicks in and the switcher rail switches over control of eye contact to your conscious mind because of your fear in this regard. As a result you end up looking startled looking at people in both eyes which is not the natural way your sub conscious looks at people, so your eye puples grow bigger giving the deer in headlamps look that people speak about. (your sub sconcious mind only looks at one eye at a time and looks away to the side every few seconds, this is the natural stare). Your neighbour leaves and the switcher rail goes back to the subconscious rail again.
The aim now you know what is happening is to control anxiety / and find out where this eye contact fear comes from.
:hug I have this problem too. It has to do with self esteem and being abused. Practice and try to give a warm smile when you make eye contact. I do this but I continue to struggle with this issue. Try to envision the other person smiling the same way back at you when you do it or try to envision the other person giving you a hug when you do it. I do not know if you believe in prayer, reading, walking, meditation, physical exercise, that kind of thing. I am not being sarcastic, I am just saying, this has to do with anxiety and all of these things help.
Omg!!! I thought i was the only one. I experience the exact same thing. Its ruining my life even my family thinks i'm weird and i dont know what to do. You described it perfectly i could have wrote that. I have no friends because of it everyone thinks im weird. Would love to chat with you to see if you found any solutions.