Home » Library » Guilt/Shame Issues & Social Anxiety

Guilt/Shame Issues & Social Anxiety

When I was around 7 I used to break down crying because I felt guilty about doing something “bad”. At around 13 or 14 when I started developing sexual urges. I was semi religious/god fearing (although my family was not). I used to punch my arms, legs and head till I was bruised after masturbation. I was trying to train myself to stop. At around 15 I started developing symptoms of depression which worsened and became suicidal thoughts at around 16. At age 17 I planed a date and a method for my suicide but did not act or attempt it.

Recently I have been improving a lot, my depressive thoughts have greatly reduced. My only instance of self harm has been purging which happened briefly in a 3 month period. I have also noticed I have issues controlling my anger, I have punched holes in walls, towel racks etc… been using weight lifting and mma as a way to cope both with the anxiety and anger issues. I also have issues sleeping and was prescribed trazodone, but did not take it.

Since about age 7 I developed anxiety about social interactions. It peaked with the depression. I have noticed that I still feel very uncomfortable with expressing my sexual urges. I think a lot of the anxiety arise from a feeling of guilt about these sexual urges that was fortified by my self harm.I am very quiet around people I don’t know and have trouble expressing myself. I sometimes begin to doubt whether or not my love ones actual love me.

To be direct I want to know how I can be more comfortable with myself and reduce my anxiety.

A. Social anxiety might stem from your feeling self-conscious. Self-consciousness is the result of a lack of confidence or low self-esteem. If you felt more confident, then you might feel less self-conscious and less anxiety. Lack of confidence might be the result of incorrect judgments about yourself and your abilities. People with depression tend to minimize the extent of their abilities.

Self-esteem and confidence are gained through achievement. The more you achieve in life, the more confident you will feel.

Social anxiety might also stem from your misjudgment about other people’s expectations of you. For instance, you might believe that you’re “supposed” to behave a particular way in a social situation. If, in your mind, you don’t measure up, you might feel self-conscious. It’s important to perceive reality as it is, not how you wish it would be or how you think it should be. Only what is real or true matters.

Avoid negative expectations, try to be yourself and don’t think that you have to be someone you’re not. For instance, the idea of public speaking often causes high anxiety. An individual might feel anxious because they believe they have to measure up to some expectation they have in their mind about public speaking. But in reality, those expectations are self-created and have no basis in reality.

Finally, you might try increasing your number of acts of kindness. A recent study found that people who engaged in more acts of kindness had a greater reduction in social anxiety than people who engaged in fewer acts of kindness. The individuals who engaged in more acts of kindness were also less likely to avoid social situations. The researchers theorized that acts of kindness helped buffer negative social expectations.

Acts of kindness also led participants to anticipate positive reactions in social situations which in turn made them less likely to want to avoid social situations. In other words, they expected a positive reaction from social situations which increased their desire for social interaction.

If this issue continues to be a concern, you might find it advantageous to seek professional help. Mental health professionals are trained to deal with these problems and can give you advice that would expedite the problem solving process. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Guilt/Shame Issues & Social Anxiety

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2015). Guilt/Shame Issues & Social Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/08/16/guiltshame-issues-social-anxiety/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jul 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.