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Eye contact and staring - makes me seem weird and is killing me

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Ronaldo7

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Mar 11, 2016
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3
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!
 
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hotmitts

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Apr 8, 2016
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15
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!
 
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naominash

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Mar 26, 2016
Messages
2,605
Location
North Carolina
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.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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.
 
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matt541

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May 8, 2016
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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.
 
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MonicaC

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May 20, 2016
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1
: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.
 
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Ideservejustice

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Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
85
when you are trying to concentrate on talking it helps to look past slightly to the side and above their head. just like you are seeing something in the distance like a beautiful bird. its calming and people dont seem to mind. they dont like being stared at. between the eyes nose or not. its offputting to them too and you. remember people are selfish self-serving beings anyway your fine. whatever helps you communicate calmly will help them be calm too.
 
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hairyrodent

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Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
3
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 what's 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.
After writing the original post I kinda abandoned it a little (too busy being furry and rodent-like) and am surprised and interested at all of the responses. I feel that the above quoted reply is very accurate and that the issue is entirely down to the conscious mind taking over responsibility for something it is ill equipped to do. I am not cured yet, after all these years...however, I did leave out some information from the original post, which might help.

This had actually happened to me once before, early in childhood. I simply "forgot" or no longer understood how to make eye contact. I had somehow become aware of the importance of eye contact and was attempting to do it "manually", and I did not know how to pass back control to my subconscious . Of course, as an active child, I soon (within the space of a few days) forgot that I had this problem in the first place and I went back to normal, my "unconscious mind" took over the reigns again and I was "cured". Cool right? It took the above post to actually remind me of this process.

The issue is about over thinking thinks and not letting our brain to just "do its thing" and get on with it. A bit like breathing, we don't think about that and yet our lungs manage to inflate and deflate without us turning insane with anxiety and worry. I have not yet discovered how to do this yet, but I think we just need to let go of the issue and basically forget that we ever had it. Once that happens your sub concious mind will just do the work for you after having had such a long break from it's origina job :)

Thanks Matt!
 
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handheart

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Mar 19, 2016
Messages
48
I think this its the result of shyness and shyness results from fear also .A tehnique used by me to overcome fear its to repeat oposite sugestion to me .For example i repeat the word : I am very courageos ,and i repeat it before i sleep ,imediatly when i wake up and many times throught the day .The secret its to influcnce the subconstient mind
 
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Megatron2018

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Mar 3, 2018
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2
I need help please, anybody in the world with a solution or remedy? I'm starting to think its a curse. 26 years down the drain. I got this starring nightmare wen I was 17. I am 43 now. Anyone, anybody please help.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Aug 17, 2012
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13,531
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The West Country
I need help please, anybody in the world with a solution or remedy? I'm starting to think its a curse. 26 years down the drain. I got this starring nightmare wen I was 17. I am 43 now. Anyone, anybody please help.
Have you read all of this thread? There are some suggestions among the replies that might help.
I'm sorry you've struggled for such a long time with this.
I do think with practice and more interaction with others, you can gradually become less self-conscious.

If you are having any other issues with your mental health, particularly anxiety, I would suggest seeing a professional if you haven't already. They might be able to help you.
 
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Megatron2018

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Mar 3, 2018
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Yes I have read all the thread and tried all suggestions. I'm not giving up but my life has wasted away with this curse. It feels like.
 
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George10111

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Jul 7, 2017
Messages
349
Salutations hairyrodent. I'm in the same boat here. I have a really hard time keeping eye contact. It sounds a lot like you have anxiety about what others could be thinking about you. I tend to watch people around me too, make sure they're not staring at me. I give a quick, double taking glance before anyone catches me looking because usually they look at me weird or even glare at me.

I'm a little tired sorry if this isn't coming out right. I feel I have lost part of my ability to communicate with others because I've spent so much time alone over the last few years. My social life used to be way more active and I never would've thought I'd become the scared turtle that I am now. Sometimes when I say something I feel like it came out weird or like the other person is annoyed. The words don't flow freely anymore. I find myself stuttering a lot and repeating the same words. With that I also have hyper-sensitive peripheral vision and feel like I send out a bad vibe so I feel you there.
 
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George10111

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Jul 7, 2017
Messages
349
Salutations. I'm in the same boat here. I have a really hard time keeping eye contact. It sounds a lot like you have anxiety about what others could be thinking about you. I tend to watch people around me too, make sure they're not staring at me. I give a quick, double taking glance before anyone catches me looking because usually they look at me weird or even glare at me.

I'm a little tired sorry if this isn't coming out right. I feel I have lost part of my ability to communicate with others because I've spent so much time alone over the last few years. My social life used to be way more active and I never would've thought I'd become the scared turtle that I am now. Sometimes when I say something I feel like it came out weird or like the other person is annoyed. The words don't flow freely anymore. I find myself stuttering a lot and repeating the same words. With that I also have hyper-sensitive peripheral vision and feel like I send out a bad vibe so I feel you there.
 
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George10111

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Jul 7, 2017
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I accidentally copied and pasted:scratcheshead:
 
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moonlitstarlet

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Apr 17, 2018
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I have this problem too. I wish there was a cure for it. I dropped out of school because I couldn't concentrate on schoolwork anymore, classes were unbearable to be in because of how uncomfortable it is to be in a classroom with people beside me thinking I'm staring at them. I've been doing nothing with my life for years since then and I don't know what to do anymore.
 
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