• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Family phobia?

jajingna

jajingna

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7,183
Location
Canada
Was thinking (seems I do too much of that) this old social phobia is worse around family than anybody else. Sort of makes sense as that's where it began. Early on in life I was sort of scared of my parents, particularly father. Had a couple of nasty older brothers too. My survival strategy as a kid was to avoid these scary people even though we had to live in the same house. Had to tiptoe around unpredictable moods. Lots of anger and bitterness was best avoided. Seemed to be plenty of shouting going on, and my nervous system was constantly on high alert. Maybe it got trained to be this way, and that made people sort of scary in general. Now I'm a middle aged man who isn't really comfortable around anyone most of the time.
 
K

Keesha

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,852
Location
N/A
Unfortunately I can relate completely.
I’m sorry you went through this. It’s truly horrible.
 
jajingna

jajingna

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7,183
Location
Canada
We didn't know how to communicate in my family. And we still don't. I avoid them. Surely it started with mom and dad. You learn so much, for better or for worse, from your parents. Even when you're older and both your parents are gone, you notice in your own habits things they used to do too. You learned things without even knowing that you learned them, or without realizing that that is where it came from.

For example, we don't really do eye contact while talking to one another in my family. Father rarely made eye contact when talking. Seemed like if he looked at you it was only to be serious or angry. You get the message after years of that that eye contact is kinda scary. Then strangers or other people might find you odd because they came from a family where eye contact is normal and done when saying kind things too.
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
2,422
Our upbringing naturally shapes so many characteristics of us. Understanding others' failings though can shape us for the better. The past needn't define us, knowing we can leave go of things we'd rather and open our minds up to fresh ideas, new educations etc. etc. can lead to whole new possibilities etc. Thank you for sharing. :)
 
J

Jigglypuff Fan

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
1,324
Location
Avenue Q in the US
I think everyone has that one family member that they dread to be around and get anxious if they are forced to spend time with them. For me it is my dad in certain situations and my stepmom and stepsister. My dad I can handle better and I haven’t seen or talked to my stepsister in years which pleases me but my stepmom is uncomfortable to be around as she still holds a grudge against me because I kept breaking rules she had made only for me when I was younger and she doesn’t seem to understand that i was acting out against the unfair rules and not really her. She tried to force be to be someone that I wasn’t and I knew who she wanted me to be didn’t feel natural at all and I didn’t think it was fair that I was expected to follow all these ridiculous rules including not touching anything on certain shelves of the bookcases to me not allowed to watch more than one hour of tv exactly 24 hours and movies on video counted as watching tv yet my stepsister could do literally anything that she wanted to do. I only deal with my stepmom if some family come for a visit and we all go out for a nice dinner together. She is civil enough not to bring anything up from the past but it is still uncomfortable. Just try to ease yourself into family functions and talk whenever someone asks you a question. It’s okay to be a bit quiet if you don’t feel comfortable.
 
S

StillDepressed

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
752
Location
UK
I use to be 'safe' with my family
But as we hardly see each other I am as anxious with them as I am with a strangers. I doubt I would recognise some of my nieces and nephews and as they become adults I have no idea what they like
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
8,850
Location
Nashua NH
Well, turns out there's a specific word for this.

Except your fear of relatives were from their scary and abusive behavior making the fear of your
relatives by you to be rational not irrational.
 
Avolitionist

Avolitionist

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
1,485
Location
USA
It hard for me to rationalize a world where a lifetime of interaction makes for a situation where any fear of family could be irrational. After all that time there could hardly be NO reason to fear someone legitimately.

Maybe I'm just jaded.

:)
 
jajingna

jajingna

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7,183
Location
Canada
I think that's just how every phobia is defined -- as irrational.
 
Avolitionist

Avolitionist

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
1,485
Location
USA
There is a time in history where male family members were able to institutionalize female family members for being inconvenient. While this diagnosis attempts a valid one, to me it seems like something that may have originated during such a wild time.

Not saying it's not legit, just saying I'm skeptical.

:)
 
jajingna

jajingna

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7,183
Location
Canada
Except your fear of relatives were from their scary and abusive behavior making the fear of your
relatives by you to be rational not irrational.
I'm thinking "irrational" has a somewhat different meaning when used in psychiatry.
 
jajingna

jajingna

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7,183
Location
Canada
Not saying it's not legit, just saying I'm skeptical.
Well, social phobia was the original term, and for me it can feel stronger around certain family members, like I'm scared of them judging or criticizing me, which they do a lot of, not just towards me, but seems like everybody. Really my family is brutal when it comes to this, a really judgemental bunch, and sometimes I worry I'm like that too, and also a harsh critic of myself, like have that "inner voice" that comes from father/brothers that puts me down a lot.

Anyway, yeah, there are so many phobias seemingly for everything, and some are quite rare, and some are hard to believe are real, but this one doesn't sound so outlandish to me. Also, I had been away for many years overseas, basically went like 15 years without seeing family. Dunno if that made a difference, but it sort of shocked me in a way that everyone was still more or less the same as before, not in a good way, in some ways worse.
 
Michelle Kelly

Michelle Kelly

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
118
Location
UK
I've never been anxious around my parents or brother but when I became a teenager in the 90's, I started to be anxious about visiting extended family. One of my cousins is about my age and when we were small kids we got along fine but once she started to behave like a teenager - getting into cloths, hair, make-up, the latest pop groups etc - we started to have less and less in common. I was still quite childlike in my early teens - except for having crushes on actors, I was fairly normal in that area - and had little or no interest in cloths or doing my hair etc. So when we visited my cousins and aunts, I'd sit there having very little to say and feeling like I didn't want to be there. Once my cousin got her first boyfriend, we barely saw one another. My aunts' husbands were a little intimidating too and since they've died, I've been seeing a bit more of my aunts which is nice.

I think I had an old head on young shoulders in my teens and twenties.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
jajingna I don't think my family understands this issue Social Anxiety Forum 7
jajingna Was it family that affected you so much? Social Anxiety Forum 16
K im always nervous around extended family Social Anxiety Forum 2
L My Boyfriend’s Family Social Anxiety Forum 8
S anxiety / depression screwing up family commitments? Social Anxiety Forum 5
P Social Anxiety around In-laws, my family relatives and my close friends Social Anxiety Forum 3
A feeling out of place with family and friends? Social Anxiety Forum 3
V being an ultra introvert, being the only one not "normal" in my family, thinking of killing myself soon Social Anxiety Forum 5
S Family Social Anxiety Forum 1
F Family and social anxiety Social Anxiety Forum 15
Deathcore Gurl Extreme people phobia due to how people look Social Anxiety Forum 5
D social phobia combined with extreme shyness Social Anxiety Forum 23
T Problems with Social Phobia Social Anxiety Forum 3
E Agro phobia Social Anxiety Forum 4
C social anxiety and dating phobia! Social Anxiety Forum 15
S Can psychologist help me with face blushing and social phobia? Social Anxiety Forum 4
A Social Phobia Long Distance Situation Social Anxiety Forum 1
M Social Phobia / Anxiety and Dating Social Anxiety Forum 4
F Is this social phobia? Social Anxiety Forum 2
J Social phobia how to explain it to others Social Anxiety Forum 1
M Social Phobia Cause Social Anxiety Forum 4
amathus Social Anxiety / Social Phobia: Social Anxiety Forum 12
B Social Phobia's killing my creative ambition Social Anxiety Forum 3
loneshadow anyone under CMHT for social anxiety/phobia ? Social Anxiety Forum 3
F Shyness and social phobia Social Anxiety Forum 7

Similar threads

Top