very weird phobia, advice appreciated

I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#1
Hi guys and girls.

I have what I believe to be a phobia and I consider it weird, so have never brought it up with anyone in real life except maybe my sister but with her it was indirectly, she knows I used to get uncomfortable but the conversations never went as far as to why and to how bad it was for me.

So the problem is I have had negative reactions to seeing her bra strap fall down, or seeing it if I believe it will fall down. Usually the reactions would be e.g. if I am speaking I might stutter, or end up staring at the strap, basically panicking. Sometimes I could control my behaviour so I act rationally, other times not. This carried on for a number of years when we was younger as her bra straps used to fall a lot and she always worn sleeveless tops.

But in the past few years the problem went away, she seemed to resolve her bra strap problem, and likewise my issue stopped been an issue, occasionally I would see her bra strap peek out of clothes, but I never acted badly to it, I think as long as I am confident it wont fall down it is fine.

Last week she took me for a drive, and she had on a sleeveless blouse, there was initially no issue, but about halfway thru the drive i looked at her when talking to her and noticed a black outline at the side of her shoulder area that wasnt there before, looked closer and it was her bra strap slipping out of the top, the top went very close to the edge of her shoulder so I looked away knowing it was close to falling, as this was very brief I would say the behaviour from her point of view probably seemed ok, but I had the thoughts in my head again, and was suddenly thinking about her bra strap again like years ago, I avoided looking at her much for rest of journey, she was fiddling with that shoulder a lot towards the end, but that could have been just an itch, but I was mindful of it because of the area.

Yesterday she drove me to the sea for the day, and had another sleeveless shirt on, this time I noticed her bra strap slip out a bit, but this time decided to be confident it will be fine and not prevent me from looking her way again, really unluckily when I looked her way again, her strap was sliding down her arm right at that moment, she moved her arm to fix it, but she knew I noticed and waited a moment for me to look away, but I carried on looking that way as I was talking to her, so she had no choice but to fix it in front of me, although she did a brief smile to kind of acknowledge it. I was mostly looking for eye contact for the conversation tho with just a glimpse down at the strap so I dont think this looked too unusual.

No more issues i noticed for almost rest of journey but when we was almost there with barely a few minutes driving left, and i was getting more confident again, the strap started to fall again, it was fine literally only a few mins before no peeking, and this time she wasnt immediatly aware, I stared at it for about 4-5 seconds wondering whether to prod her to fix, basically panicked, and eventually she noticed it and pushed it up although only slightly it was still outside her top and near the edge of her arm. I would be very surprised if she didnt notice me stare and wasnt uncomfortable.

I didnt notice anymore issues for rest of day after that.

I thought about apologising for the stare, and admitting there and then I had a phobia so she at least knew why I did it, but in the end said nothing, if she was prepared to forget it I would leave it, was the thinking.

The problem is, june is about to start, my sister in summer is probably going to wear sleeveless every day and it looks like she may have issues all summer again. When I used to ask her to fix her strap years ago, she used to make sure the straps were as tight as possible for me and put extra effort in catching them before they fell so they stayed up better, they still fell sometimes but I appreciated she minimised it. However I would rather not have any conversations with her again, as she probably just thinks I was weird and may well have been uncomfortable although I know she was very good in how she helped me deal with it before.

So any advice I appreciate, I understand it may possibly offend me. I recognise I need to control my reactions, but just dont know the best way to go about it, and if its a good idea to say anything to my sister or not.

Is this even a phobia?

Thanks
 
E

EstherRose94

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
1,213
Location
USA
#2
Hey friend! I expected something a lot weirder from your title actually haha. No, I think it makes sense that you felt uncomfy at one point because maybe like bra straps seemed like a sexual thing at one time? And you wanted to not associate that with your sister so you tried to avoid seeing the straps ever. and then maybe started focusing on that uncomfy feeling and it became a bit of a phobia or obsession.

I’ve had similar obsessions. It sounds kinda like OCDish to me. Also seems pretty normal though. Like I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. You’re just extra cued into it because it bugged you at one point.

Best thing you can do is convince yourself that no tragedy will occur if your sister’s strap slips. It won’t hurt either of you.

I hope my answer made sense. Feel free to chat, I can pretty much bet nothing you share will be weirder than something I’ve thought myself lol.
 
I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#3
thank you.

Your feeling on the original trigger I think is correct, when I was very young I used to get turned on by straps, but then when I seen it on my sister I didnt want to associate that with her so the kind of opposite happened and it just made me uncomfortable. I assume its kind of normal for most people at first but where I think I am weird is I have not got over it as I got grown up. The good news is I only noticed it twice in an entire day so its not that big of a problem right now as long as it doesnt get worse.

So basically I just need to try and control my emotions like you said and see if that improves my reactions.

Also OCD is something I have been diagnosed with so that would make sense as well.
 
E

EstherRose94

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
1,213
Location
USA
#4
Oh well in that case it’s definitely just an OCD thing. Just remind yourself that you’re not scared, you’re just remembering that uncomfy feeling you had when you were younger
 
I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#5
That was the original cause of it, I think now its just I am worried about reacting badly than the problem itself.

Anyway a couple of weeks on in some ways I think I have been acting better but still struggling in other ways. I have not repeated what I said I did in my original post tho which is good.
 
Lunus

Lunus

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
618
Location
Norfolk
#6
That was the original cause of it, I think now its just I am worried about reacting badly than the problem itself.

Anyway a couple of weeks on in some ways I think I have been acting better but still struggling in other ways. I have not repeated what I said I did in my original post tho which is good.
I don’t know about OCD but have experience of phobias so maybe this exercise would help?
1. Write down your expected level of anxiety (between 1-10) if you see her strap slip
2. Write down what the worst thing is you fear happening
3. Write down your actual anxiety level (between 1-10) when you next see it happen.
4. Write down whether your worst fear was realised
5. Write down your conclusions
6. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
If this were a Phobia, this exercise should demonstrate that your perception of the fear you face is far greater than the reality of the situation. The meaning of it would change for you so you longer see it as threatening.
 
I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#7
Thank you I will do that.

Basically what happened in the past two weeks, is I seen her 4 times, and twice she was wearing sleeveless tops.

When she had the sleeves on she wasnt doing any movements towards her strap or shoulder area, and I had no anxiety.

On the other two days the first day her strap my side fell down several times, the first couple of times my anxiety skyrocketed, but she was talking not me so I just carried on listening whilst waiting for her to get it back on her shoulder, my head was facing her but my eyes did watch the strap, there was then a spell where it was good for about 30 minutes I calmed down and kinda decided what I would do next time, then when it fell again after she bent down to pick up her phone, I looked away for a few seconds and by the time I looked back it was fixed. I did this every time after that and it got easier and much better for me although she said sorry when it happened one of the times I looked away so probably noticed I was bothered, and also apologised as she took me home saying I shouldnt have to go through that she didnt adjust them right. I wasnt happy she said that as it meant she is noticing my behaviour.

On the second day, she started doing lots of nudging of her strap, but I seemed more anxious, nervous I would say 7/8, and I asked her if she had an itch or something to get her to stop it, and she did stop it for about 10 minutes which was great, but then the strap fell down. now I think I reacted ok by just smiling and turning my head away for a few seconds so I didnt watch her fix it like I learned from the previous day, but afterwards she started the fiddling and nudging again which increased my anxiety again. I also caught it falling a second time a bit later as we were standing up but I did the same thing just looked away for a few seconds and when I looked back it was fixed. However she said something like "oops sorry about that" kind of acknowledging she noticed me been uncomfortable.

So I would say my expected level of anxiety is high, the fear is there. Her fiddling with it kind of makes me aware there is a likelyhood of it slipping down her arm, its like a constant reminder, if she stops that, I think it would be a lot easier. Ironically when it did fall down it turned out to be not that bad, but I couldnt shake the fear/anxiety when she started fiddling again.

I think when it falls if I stay looking the anxiety will still skyrocket but if I look away it seems to help greatly.

So basically my worst fear is my sister gets uncomfortable around me and as a result spends less time with me, and maybe even talks about it with friends and other family so I am perceived as some weirdo. I think there is some improvement as when what I fear happened I seemed to behave better and not panic, but its the fear of it happening, that I would like to shake. I could ask my sister to stop the fiddling but she would probably ask why, and she seems to have already picked up on my behaviour. I have no local friends and she is the onl family member who spends time with me, I enjoy my time with her, but I dont want this to ruin it, so the fear is losing her really.
 
I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#8
Just to add I will follow your advice Lunus, writing it down, the expected anxiety level, the fear, and the actual level, and see if this helps me get over this better.
 
Meet me in the dark

Meet me in the dark

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
109
Location
United States
#9
I'm late, but it sounds like you have a really great sister who loves you. Your relationship is stronger than your obsessive thoughts <3 It will be okay.
 
Lunus

Lunus

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
618
Location
Norfolk
#11
Just to add I will follow your advice Lunus, writing it down, the expected anxiety level, the fear, and the actual level, and see if this helps me get over this better.
How did/are you getting on with writing the events down, any help?
 
I

iamweird

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
#12
I think it has helped, things have improved, I dont know if thats the reason but there is signs that I am getting better at dealing with it.

A good sign is recently she has apologised a few times for the strap falling when I havent noticed it, previously I was so obsessed I was always noticing it. Now I am not.

So I think I am moving in the right direction. When I see it fall down which I am still doing from time to time, I havent had any prolonged thoughts about it afterwards probably for at least two weeks maybe longer. I also no longer worry much ahead of time about if she will be sleeveless when seeing her.

At the start of july, she told me she was going to spend more time with me and was even saying she might have to stay with me for a few weeks later in the year, obviously someone who was uncomfortable around me wouldnt do that, so that was a kind of moment when I realised I am probably over reacting, and it has made things easier.
 
Lunus

Lunus

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
618
Location
Norfolk
#13
I think it has helped, things have improved, I dont know if thats the reason but there is signs that I am getting better at dealing with it.

A good sign is recently she has apologised a few times for the strap falling when I havent noticed it, previously I was so obsessed I was always noticing it. Now I am not.

So I think I am moving in the right direction. When I see it fall down which I am still doing from time to time, I havent had any prolonged thoughts about it afterwards probably for at least two weeks maybe longer. I also no longer worry much ahead of time about if she will be sleeveless when seeing her.

At the start of july, she told me she was going to spend more time with me and was even saying she might have to stay with me for a few weeks later in the year, obviously someone who was uncomfortable around me wouldnt do that, so that was a kind of moment when I realised I am probably over reacting, and it has made things easier.
When you write things down like that, it’s still the same event but the MEANING changes for you and becomes far less threatening. The more you do it the better you will feel in her company. She obviously likes you and doesn’t see it as a problem and you are now in a position to recognise that which is excellent. Well done for your efforts. I hope you can now just enjoy your relationship. 🤗
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
D Phobia Forum 4
InfiniteRectangles Phobia Forum 1

Similar threads