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Holding Me Back

My phobias are holding me back in life. I don't really know what to do about that.

One of the most problematic ones right now is a telephone phobia. I usually only answer the phone to my boyfriend-not even my siblings. I let the answering machine get the rest. I have to psych myself up to make a call if I can't get out of it. If I know an important phone call is coming that I cannot avoid, I begin to shake and become extremely anxious. I would like to fix this, if I can find a way.
veralynn veralynn 26-30, F 9 Responses Dec 5, 2011

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Re: Telephone Phobia

I thought I would write to describe my experience of this very limiting condition.

This became apparent when I was 18. I often used to make the excuse that the caller had just rung off, by the time I got to the phone. I usually let it ring, hoping that someone else would answer it. Other excuses were that it was a wrong number, or it was a bad line – etc, etc.

This fear persisted into my National Service (conscription), where I found myself as the chief clerk in the medical branch of a headquarters, assisted by only one lady part-time. To begin with, answering or making phone calls were worse than any dental appointment I had been to. I could feel the sweat beginning to break and I became very jittery just at the thought of handling the phone. First thing in the morning, I made one call after another, trying hard not to allow time for this fear to take me over.

Then I picked on an idea. I began to know as much about my job as I could. I usually put in extra time, looking through the piles of files. I made up a library of booklets in the office and had them filed in strict title order. I would be as co operative to people on the phone as I could, and if I didn’t know the answer to a query, I would assure the caller that I would phone him/her back as soon as possible, hopefully with the answer. I quickly had the phone under control and my managing officer said that I was the best clerk he ever had.

When I left the army, I had a job where I did not use the phone at all. After that, I found different work elsewhere, and unfortunately, I had to use the phone again. My phone phobia was back in full strength. Little by little I tried to get to grips with everything that I should know. That wasn’t easy in civilian life, and as a complication, I also had to answer queries for people doing other jobs.

This phobia persisted to a greater or lesser degree, depending how knowledgeable I was about my then current job.

I talked to one of the researchers on the TV Kilroy programme (now cancelled), and this provided an important stepping stone in my coming to an understanding. Through this discussion I realised that I never had the phobia when I was talking on the personal or social scene. It always related to a work situation.

When I was working as an employee, using the phone a fair amount one afternoon, I was beginning to enjoy communicating this way. I had time to reflect. I thought this is ridiculous – I have this phobia, yet I am enjoying talking on the phone! Then the penny dropped. I wasn’t afraid of the phone as such, but I was afraid of confrontation with people on the phone.

I never experienced the phobia talking to someone socially. And I never had it when talking as a self-employed person; if I was in conflict in this situation, I did have the choice of terminating the call and possibly losing a customer – I only had to answer to myself. (For four years I managed my own personal telephone answering service and this phobia never arose.) If I was an employee however, I felt I had to stay with the confrontation until the caller chose to terminate the call.

This aspect of confrontation and not feeling able to get out of it, has been, and still is a very relevant factor for me. When I was in my early teens especially, there were many family upsets from which I could not readily escape. After 45 years (!), I came to understand the reason for my fears. Though they are still with me, I no longer think of my phobia as irrational at all. Probably all fears are rational – if only we know the reasons!

Fears help us to keep alive – to live within certain parameters. It would be wrong of me to pretend or try to erase the memories of past family conflicts. While I have a memory, these experiences will remain part of me. I now see the future as a challenge – of turning possible conflicts into amenable associations, if not actual friendships. If I fail in this, I will at least understand my phobia. I will no longer view it as some alien that has appeared from nowhere.

I should have discussed my problem, possibly with a professional, a long time ago. But then one thinks such a phobia is not only very peculiar, but is just one of a list of many possible inadequacies.

I have written at length in the hope that my experiences might enrich your approach into such conditions.

you do have issues , have you tried therapy , I was going to ask why you never responded to your question but now I understand . you try to have a good life

Thank you.

I have that to. I never answer the phone unless I have to and know who it is. I will send a text message or email if it allows me to skip a call.

My cell phone...<br />
I charge it maybe twice a week?<br />
I absolutely do whatever I have too, in order to avoid talking on the phone!<br />
<br />
Why?<br />
Because I feel that true communication is best fulfilled face to face!<br />
<br />
Texters and emails<br />
Yeah really?<br />
Gutless!<br />
<br />
Long distance?<br />
I get it.<br />
But still, never rely on getting full disclosure through a phone or a computer!

get the book unlimited power by Anthony Robins.... the read it... the rest will work its self out. saved my life.

I'm not sure, but I think this particular phobia can be overcome by familiarity & repetition (which is a bit grim to contemplate in advance) - well, that, or pinning down where the phobia stems from if you can, and draining that particular swamp

what phobias do you have?

**** a therapist, just talk to me

yes, time to attack one of them at least. If a therapist is out of reach, financially or otherwise, I'd start with something like this:<br />