Hi, i started puberty very late at the age of 16 1/2 to 17 yrs old and because of that i kinda became a loner. i had friends that i hanged out in school but i did nothing outside of school i just stayed home. the reason i stayed home was because of looking a lot younger then i really was, i looked like a 12 year old and actually i was a senior in high school. I tried to avoid contact with people because i was afraid that when they realized my age they would give me a look and i would feel extremely embarrassed. so i never went out, i never learned to drive, i never did anything, even my cousins would make fun of me. So now that im 20 years old i feel distant from my relatives i still stay at home because i cant drive and i still look younger than i actually am. i really want to get on with my life and make my own life, be independent but i can’t shake off how i felt around people before. I’m still afraid of what people will think when they realize my age and it’s killing me that i cant get over that. please give me some advice as to how to get over whatever this is.
A. It seems as though you have a fear of social rejection. It also seems as though you’re preoccupied with what others think of you. Those are some of the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder, but to know with certainty if you have that disorder or any disorder would require having a psychiatric evaluation.
It’s important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, we do not know what others think about us unless they tell us. We make assumptions and those assumptions may be wrong. Those assumptions are based on how we feel about ourselves.
For instance, an individual with depression likely doesn’t think highly of themselves. They assume others feel the same way. Other people may actually think very highly of them but their judgment is clouded by their depression. They may ultimately conclude that other people don’t think highly of them when in reality they have substituted their judgment for the judgment of others.
Like the person with depression, your assumptions may be incorrect. It is possible that people do not feel the way that you think they do.
Don’t assume that you know what other people think of you. Allow for the possibility that you could be wrong. If you have low self-esteem, then you are likely misjudging what others think about you. Also, realize that you cannot, no matter what you do, control what other people think of you.
It is clear that these problems are holding you back in life. My recommendation would be to seek therapy. Therapy would be advantageous for several reasons. Therapy could help you address your social anxiety issues, determine if you are correct in your assumption about others, and it could assist you in moving on with your life. I hope you consider it. Please take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jun 2012
Randle, K. (2012). Trying to Get Over Being Alone. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/16/trying-to-get-over-being-alone/