I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD

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Danaus plexippus

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I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« on: May 20, 2016, 01:19:03 PM »
Tomorrow I'm invited to go on a road trip with a good friend and a lady I haven't met yet. I'm experiencing social anxiety. I don't want to be a Debby Downer but I haven't much to say except all the medical crap I've been through. I'm under doctor's orders to be more social and I really want to go, but I'll be afraid to open my mouth. I'm out-of-sync with people who do not have PTSD and it's obvious. :aaauuugh:

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Butterfly

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Re: I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 09:25:08 AM »
Hopefully since I'm replying now and you've left you're having a decent time.

Two thing helped when I went through intense social anxiety with cPTSD:

One was preparing for topics that were safe such as gardening, weather, news items that were non controversial, and things of interest to the other person if I knew their interests. For example if a friend is an avid fiction reader, even though I'm not, I'd check the best seller list for some titles to ask what she's heard about them. She'd be happy to relate and the conversation flowed as I showed interest in what she had to say. I'd get lost in listening. That brings me to #2:

Listening became my mode of operation. It still is mostly. Listening with real interest worked really well for me and if there is a pause either ask a thoughtful question or else something that prompts them to continue such as 'wow, tell me more' or some such phrase.

Even if you get this too late for this trip, maybe going forward this or something else might help.

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 03:42:28 PM »
Thanks Butterfly, I appreciate your response even though you grabbed my chosen username before I could. The trip went wonderfully. I made the faux pas of telling our host what I'd planned on doing that day :doh:. When I saw the look on her face, I covered quickly by saying "but this is much more fun"

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Flutterbye

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Re: I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2016, 10:01:54 AM »
Two thing helped when I went through intense social anxiety with cPTSD:

One was preparing for topics that were safe such as gardening, weather, news items that were non controversial, and things of interest to the other person if I knew their interests. For example if a friend is an avid fiction reader, even though I'm not, I'd check the best seller list for some titles to ask what she's heard about them. She'd be happy to relate and the conversation flowed as I showed interest in what she had to say. I'd get lost in listening. That brings me to #2:

Listening became my mode of operation. It still is mostly. Listening with real interest worked really well for me and if there is a pause either ask a thoughtful question or else something that prompts them to continue such as 'wow, tell me more' or some such phrase.
awesome  :thumbup: thanks for sharing Butterfly. I totally agree safe topics are key & preparation is well worth it. I think your example is genius! I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who does prep to spend time with new people out of the 'cPTSD world'. I find it really helpful to get out there & do that.

I'm a self-sacrificing, dysfunctional 'fawner' so listening to people is something I have to be careful of, I'm so over-developed & good at listening that I used to do it as a job (true, I got paid!) and have gotten myself into many an emotionally abusive romantic or platonic relationship. So my strategy for social anxiety is to have something light & positive to talk about myself when people ask me questions like, "what have you been up to?". I see movies (that I genuinely enjoy) and try to develop my hobbies so then I have some interesting answers. I read somewhere that when people want to get to know you they are genuinely interested in your like & dislikes & your opinions because that's what makes you uniquely you! that was so refreshing to me when I read it because previously I thought it was selfish & rude to express my likes & dislikes felt obliged to only focus on other people's needs. We live & learn!

Danaus, wow that's great you had a fun time :thumbup: Well done. Maybe you underestimated yourself! Hope things continue to go well with the people you spent time with. I'd be interested to hear how things progress.

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radical

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Re: I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 11:46:38 AM »
Hi there,
Your description made me laugh.  I like to think of myself as a self-sacrificing, dysfunctional, social fawner/freezer in recovery  :wave: and it's kind of nice to be able to say that without shame.

I'm a lot better with my social  anxiety now, and I can't really say why beyond something happened to me and I stood up to abuse and then stood up the the shitstorm of vicitm-blaming that ensued.  It was a kind of social death of ostracism (my worst fear) in one way, but a new life (I hope) in another.  Social anxiety sneaks back up on me often, but there are times when I genuinely don't fear rejection or disapproval or what people are thinking, and it's a real freedom.

I was looking up my brother's number for his birthday and realised that most of the numbers in my phonebook I need to delete after finally reaching the point of full-up, can't take any more  *.  I realised the consequences of radical action could not be worse than the consequences of living as I had been - endless disrespect and abuse. I walked away from from all toxic relationships, though  to be honest, in some cases the ostracism from confronting an abuser took care of some of them, but I still walked away from the rest when I was at my lowest ebb. Pretty gutsy huh?

And then I thought something else - the numbers were of the most disordered and abusive members of the groups I associated with.  I thought why were the most toxic people of all the people who were around me, reclusive as i have been, the ones I associated with most?

Answer, (in case you haven't guessed) - critically low self esteem, almost non-exisitent boundaries, desperation to belong and be liked, loneliness, social isolation...you get the picture.  Trying sooooooo hard and feeling a kind of pathetic gratitude to anyone willing to be my friend.   I'm not blaming myself here.  Most of the time I'm just glad to be part way out of the storm.

And guess what? I'm becoming closer to some good people who were distant friends.  By trying less hard, and being more open, trusting myself more.

Hang in there, social anxiety can get better.  (And not necessarily via a blitzkrieg either)

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: I'm out of sync with people who don't have cPTSD
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 03:23:56 PM »
Wow! It came as a revelation to me when almost all of my e-mails had transformed into junk mail. Where had all my friends gone? That's a long and triggering story. The worst people are out of my life now. Unfortunately their lies live on. Many people that I loved and thought loved me are not there for me anymore. Life goes on, quieter but less complicated. Tomorrow I go to group therapy. I will be surrounded by ladies (mostly about my age) who have the WTC 9/11 experience in common with me, plus other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Itís an experience. Thank God for the Zadroga Act.