Social phobias are the most common types of phobias, and they are endless.
Examples are talking in groups or even starting conversations. Public speaking. Meeting new people. Talking to authority figures. Eating or drinking in front of others. Regular trips out to the stores or banks. Sitting in a classroom. Going to work.
Just to name a few. A Social phobia is an intense anxiety of fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejection in a social or performance situation.
Have you experienced any of these? For me I have a few experiences but this post is more about being the mom of someone with extreme social phobias. One of my boys is affected by social phobia and anxiety to the point that he was home schooled because going into a classroom became to hard for him. Going to a store and purchasing something on his own was huge step he took when he was 14. Riding transportation to appointments was very difficult to do but after several trips it is better and easier…the fear and anxiety are still there but now he can manage that. At the age of 23, he still struggles with these phobias and anxiety triggering experiences.
As a mother, it was hard to watch my child struggle with the most common things that his siblings mastered early on. But as a mother, I knew he needed my support and he got it! It was hard to watch him struggle. It was hard to watch my child be in pain and I could really do nothing but standby and encourage him to keep trying and being supportive of his attempts.
Many family members didn’t understand and thought I was overprotecting him or babying him. In reality, I was helping my son and they were hurting him.
If you know someone who struggles with social anxiety or phobias do your best to be supportive and caring. You won’t understand everything but understand to that person the fear is very real! The one thing they need is support and understanding. Go slowly with them. Nudge, don’t push. And know when to back down or it can very well make a situation much worse.
Do you or someone you know struggle with social anxiety or phobias? How have you worked with them or yourself to work past them?