Broken Envious Shy Guy

I'm a shy guy who has no clue how to change, and would be too frightened to try even if social interaction did make sense to me.

I have no social skills, having been sheltered by relatives that I lived with for my entire childhood. I was homeschooled (I do online coursework now), not allowed to be with other kids for any reason, and was raised to act as dorky as possible, a problem I'm still trying to fix several years after I stopped being under their care. I'm shy too, in the sense that I never start conversations save for when forced (such as buying things or being roped into someone else's conversation), and the thought of walking up to someone and just saying "hi" stupefies and scares me. I don't like other people much either, easily being repulsed by them annoying or overly-bothering me.

A shortcoming of mine is that I lose all sense of security when I encounter someone better at something than I am. I've been a student with absolutely perfect grades my entire life, having been conditioned by fellow Caucasian family members (who eerily resemble the unfair stereotype of Asians forcing their children to get all As) to be perfect. I tend to just shut down and give up on something when I see that someone else can do it easily or better and I can't. I feel worthless compared to them and simply become depressed and stop bothering. This seems to be one of my problems socially too: I see people talking and laughing together in real life like it's the easiest thing in the world, and I just don't feel normal, being unable to see how I'd do the same. If I can't even do that, what hope do I have of not being a joyless loner?

I'm often envious of others. It makes me ask questions in my own head. "Why can you do this thing easily while I constantly struggle?" "Why did am I so messed up with such a weird life while your life is nearly perfect, just like those stupid, sappy TV movies?" "Why does everyone hate me but love you?"

I think another problem I have socially is that I might be slightly OCD. Whenever a single detail goes awry or someone messes something of mine up no matter how small, it either makes me extremely angry or depresses me to the point of giving up on the entire thing over the small detail.

I think I'm afraid of face-to-face social situations. I'm alright with talking to people over the internet using my voice, but I refuse to show my face or engage in video chat with others showing their faces for some reason. I have no insecurity when just using text or voice, but faces remove what little security I have instantly. Hell, people even tell me or tell my parent that I'm handsome and very nice and well-mannered. I don't see where they get the thought that I look good from, considering I think I look hideous.

By far, the worst part of my social idiocy is my lack of any experience with love. I've never had a girlfriend, never been attracted to anyone who could potentially love me or had someone be attracted to me, and the closest thing I've ever experienced to bed matters involves just me, some images on my monitor, and far too much spare time.

I simply feel broken. Broken, pointless, unable to grasp what normal people call social interaction. It's not as if I don't want to be around others and have fun, I'm just unable to figure out how or summon the courage to get out and do it. I'm not that old, really, still in the midst of my teen years (turning 17 soon). Yet, I feel already like I'm doomed to be that one guy who sits far away from others, alone, depressed, and unable to join the happy crowds despite how much he wants to. I just wish I could be normal, have normal friends, get out and do normal things. Instead of that, I spend most days on the computer, doing whatever I can to forget my troubles.

If there's anything good that's come from my social ineptitude, it's total resistance to peer pressure and little response to fear cues. When someone attempts to pressure me into doing something or tries to pick a fight, I find it incredibly easy to just ignore their attempts and move on. I also seem to be very resilient to things most people consider scary, such as jump-scares. Most people would yell or jump back, but being that I was never taught to follow that, I typically flinch a bit or silently spaz out for a split-second and then regain composure quickly. Not even the idea of death bothers or frightens me in the slightest. It actually interests me, and I find myself curious and eager to see who is right, if anyone, when my time comes.

All in all, I see a life ahead of me involving silently hating and envying all of the "normal people" and spending much of my time huddled away from them, trying to do anything to forget my faults and ease the wait until the day a bus comes by at the right time and place. Maybe I'll get lucky and someone will figure out what's wired wrong in my head, so they can prescribe me some pills that make me all happy and normal. Maybe I'll just make them go "what the" and they won't do jack for me. Only time will tell.

Sorry for all the text. I just had to get my feelings out in the open.
TurboSaxophonic TurboSaxophonic
18-21, M
3 Responses Jul 5, 2012

I hurt for people on this Forum who are going through what I went through, especially because I know it doesn't have to be that way. It helps me understand the whole topic better when I see the variety of people and situations who are struggling.

For many years, I felt as if I was living life on a train, passing through a landscape where I could see, through the windows, people laughing and talking and hugging one another, but I couldn't somehow get off the train. I had to figure out what kinds of skills were needed to contact with other people (the right people), and then how to dare to practice those skills.

For example, this may sound counter-intuitive, but a great way to get over feeling fearful and isolated is to become an Appreciator of other people. What, you say? Why?

Well, when we're self-conscious we're afraid of criticismm have lived in a critical world where we've experienced a lot of criticism, and focus on everything that's wrong with ourselves. By extension, even if you're not aware of it, we're critical of other people, too. Just think of the last time you got on a bus and selected a seat. You automatically excluded some people as being ok to sit next to, and decided another person was (assuming you had a choice)

The first thing I ask people to do is spend one week ( a little time each day) just looking at people they need and asking themselves, "What is the one description I could give of this person that would be positive?" - not fat, pimjply, wears glasses, is too pushy, or anything to do with ethnicity or race. Think "nice smile", "polite",

This exercise does 2 things: takes the focus off yourself, because your so busy thinking about the other people; and starts training you to think about the positives instead of the negatives in life. You stop thinking about other people as being critical when they meet you, if you are able to stop being critical about them. Make sense or not?

The exercise goes on from there, but I don't have time or space to describe it.

Look, I realize this sounds self-promoting,and I honestly didn't come on this Forum to do this, but I have written a book called The Confident Introvert, in which I lay out the program I used. If you're interested, you can find it at http://www.,TheConfident or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

And if you're not interested, just ignore this part and accept my apologies.
Best of luck to you. I hope you come out into the sunshine of a good life. I know it is possible.

I read your story and see myself. Let me know if you found a way out

You sound a lot like me. I was so insecure and socially inept I realized I'd rather stay with my psychologically abusive alcoholic husband than try to go out and find friends and a new relationship. I had been lonely all my life until I met him, and thought he was my only chance to have a reasonably normal life. What a life it turned out to be!

I finally realized that if I was smart enough to master academic topics, I could figure out relationships, too. It wasn't a special category open to a few people who somehow had the knack; just another challenge to figure out. From then on I selected models, studied them, tried things, read books, and eventually found myself with a warm group of friends and supporters. It didn't happen overnight but the journey has been worth it.

By the way, good for you for recognizing that you and introverts in general often are more immune to peer pressure, which can keep us away from all kinds of self-destructive or just plain stupid behaviors. We can end up at the to of Maslow"s HIerarcxhy of Needs, as the self-actualized person.

Good luck to you. You sound smart enough to figure it out.