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I Can’t Relate to People and I Lie for Attention

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I feel alone and isolate myself more because of anxiety and depression. I have no close friends. The ones I have either left me because I compulsively lie to get attention or sympathy or I don’t know how to open up or get close enough to people to make friends. I have a constant fear of not being good enough and feeling worthless. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing with my life if I’m on the right path. I take everything that people say as an attack and get angry and lash out because of this. I have lost interest in everything I found enjoyable. I’m lonely all the time. I have been to see a therapist once, but I was so uncomfortable opening up to her that I quit after two sessions. I’m introverted and have social anxiety. I want to combat this but I don’t know-how. I have no trust in my capabilities in doing anything. I’m tired all the time and spend most of the time looking at social media and the fun people are having that I’m not. I get really anxious when someone I’m not close friends with asks to hang out because I never know what to say and feel awkward, but I want to be able to make new friends as I’ve had in the past. I don’t know how to open up and be honest with people because I don’t know what I aspire to do, like to spend time doing, what kind of person I am. I feel like I don’t fit into any social groups and isolation is making it more evident how alone I am. I don’t have people to text or call. I go to college out of state so even if I had friends from school I couldn’t see them. I have a small group of friends from high school, but they’re mostly male which is fine I just wish I had a girl best friend to talk to and do things together. I feel lost and need guidance. (From the USA)

I Can’t Relate to People and I Lie for Attention

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for being so articulate about this situation. I think your capacity or self-reflection is important and spot-on. I think you are right in noting your social anxiety may be at the core of this. This blog by Johnna Medina, Ph.D. explains the conditions surrounding these reactions and offers suggestions for improvement. Most people who have social anxiety recognize that their anxiety is out of proportion to the situation and is unreasonable. Although more women struggle with social anxiety than men, men more often seek treatment.

Here are just a few of the conditions that go along with this condition that are elaborated on in the article by Dr. Medina:

  • Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally-bound or situationally-predisposed panic attack.
  • The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
  • The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
  • The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.

I would highly recommend a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) to help get these symptoms under control. This should give you enough confidence to join a group psychotherapy series. The cure for what you are talking about psychologically has to do with developing tools for dealing with the thoughts you are having and then testing it out in the safe environment of group psychotherapy. In that format, you will learn how to implement this new skills in real-time with real people.

Until that time I’d check out Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy that uses the best of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy to combat these conditions.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

I Can’t Relate to People and I Lie for Attention

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). I Can’t Relate to People and I Lie for Attention. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/07/14/i-cant-relate-to-people-and-i-lie-for-attention/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Jul 2020 (Originally: 14 Jul 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Jul 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.