When you know that you have to meet new people, your body gets tense and you think: “Panic!” Your hands are sweating and your chest feels tight. You have a tingly feeling in your belly. Your head starts to feel light but you have a million thoughts going around in your head. You wonder if you are going to faint. What are you going to say to people? Will they notice that you are so scared? In your relationships, you are always questioning whether people will like you. Perhaps you either try to avoid people or do everything for everyone else to ensure that people will like you. You have always felt different and feel as if other people have secret knowledge about relationships. You are exhausted by all of this anxiety and worry.
You would like to feel connected and have a sense of belonging. You would like to feel relaxed in the company of others and be able to just be who you are without worrying about how you are perceived by others. You would like to be able to relax in your relationship without living with a constant worry about being left.
Fear of rejection in relationships is very common. All of us fear rejection to a degree at certain points of our lives. However, if you worry about being judged or left all the time and it is exhausting. Often a deep fear of being left or rejected can be traced back to the early years. During the first few years of life, we build a basic sense of safety with our caregiver(s). If we are lucky enough to have a caregiver who attends to our physical and emotional needs consistently we grow up with a belief that relationships with other people are safe and people can be trusted. However, many people grow up in environments where they face abandonment, emotional neglect and other inconsistent parenting experiences (e.g. lots of time spent with different care providers), which can then leave them feeling worried about how they are perceived in the world by other people and/or constantly requiring reassurance by a loved one.
Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to look at your relationships and how potential early experiences may have impacted you and contributed to your fear of social situations. By understanding how you as a child perceived your close relationships you can start to process and understand the feelings you experience today in your relationships. You learn ways to help your body to calm down as you are preparing to go to a social situation. Your social anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. Take your first step now and book a FREE 15min consultation to discuss how psychotherapy could help you to have the social relationships you want.