Almost Impossible

Making eye contact is one thing I've always struggled with.  I can't look a person in the eye for more than a few seconds before having to look away.  Somedays I really do try, but I find other people's stares to be absolutely piercing.  I'm not sure what I'm nervous about them seeing...maybe seeing past my facade to who I am and not liking it maybe?  Whatever it is, it intimidates the hell outta me.

This issue came up during my brief stint seeing a psychologist.  One of the ways to get out of having to come anymore was that I had to, on 5 separate occasions during the hour, make uninterrupted eye contact for 30 seconds.  Unfortunately, I wasn't commited to the counseling and just wanted out at the time and simply saw this as a challenge...and I tend to rise to a challenge pretty well and so I did it and got out of having to go back.  My abilities to make eye contact in real life sadly did not drastically improve after that.

shygirl14 shygirl14
26-30, F
6 Responses Sep 14, 2009

Huh...I will definitely have to try that! Thanks Zooey

NPN- Yeah I know it's all in the lack of confidence/esteem issues and I'm sure my mind exaggerates on how people are really viewing me. I think this is another thing where you gotta change your way of thinking and the better eye contact will probably follow. With random people, yeah I don't think I see myself as below them, but if it's an authority figure, then its twice as hard to make eye contact, because I DO see myself as below them...and often farrr below them. I give them far too much power over me, unfortunately.<br />
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EV - Yes, your situation sounds a hell of a lot like mine. I definitely have adopted a pattern of looking someone in the eyes for more than 5 seconds at a time, and then, indeed, I look past them. So, I'm still facing them, and looking in their direction, just not directly (almost reminds me of a solar eclipse...looking close to, but not directly at it!!). I imagine it drives some people nuts hah.

I'm very much the same way. I started to avoid eye contact when I was in my teenage years and had horrible self-image problems. It was almost like if I didn't look at people directly, they couldn't "see" me as well. Stupid, I know, kind of like how little kids put their hands over their eyes to "hide" from people. I knew it wasn't true, but it still happened. And now, I still suffer from self-image issues and I still can't make prolonged eye contact with people. I usually just look at them out of the corner of my eye as I look "past" them and it must make them feel very uncomfortable. I've tried to work on it, but it's very slow going.

So much of confidence is esteem related. I've realized that I project a lot of my dislike of myself onto others, meaning I assume that they will think the same, etc. I also tend to blow things out of proportion. I see the smallest mistakes or cracks in my facade as being horrible things. Funny thing is, if someone else did something similar I wouldn't even think twice of it... I think that ties into the whole meeting their eyes thing. It's almost like I place myself on a different level then them. Beneath them in a way. I don't really think that per se, but that's kind of what it's like for me.

Yeah I know what you mean. I think I definitely believe the eyes are the window to the soul. At this point, I'm not sure if it's a fear that they will see the real me, but rather the fear that they will reject that person. I used to tell myself if anyone ever got past the shyness, that I have a great personality and most people would be happy to become my friend. However, certain things have happened and major flaws have been brought to my attention in the past several years, so I'm no longer confident that I even have anything nice to offer on the inside. :/

Hmm. Interesting therapy... I have trouble with this too. Often times it's when I'm wearing one of my masks, which is something we've discussed before. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I think that sometimes I fear that if I made eye contact they would see through into the real me. The scared me.