I can't make a meaningful connection to another person because I can't look anyone in the eye for more than a couple of seconds at a time. I can't do this with anyone - strangers, friends, family. I'm ...
Mafalda, you sound to me as if you are extremely self conscious. You can break that habit of being self conscious by practicing with strangers.
When you are in a comfortable situation with people like yourself, you can force yourself to gaze into their eyes. The first few times you will feel awkward and embarrassed, but eventually, with enough practice, you will slowly begin to forget yourself long enough to concentrate on another person.
Remember, no one cares as much about you as you do. We all think others are looking at us and judging us and we get stalled by that, and forget that they are just as shy as we are.
Forget yourself and concentrate on really looking at other people. Allow yourself to stare sometimes. Good Luck.
Thank you for answering, Njoy. I have tried many times to concentrate on really looking at other people when they're talking but the problem is I think I only end up appearing even less normal than not looking at them. It ends up being too forced and it makes them uncomfortable. For example, I decided to post this question today because this morning I went to the hairdresser to cut my hair and I absolutely could not look at my own eyes in the mirror when the hairdresser was cutting my hair. She noticed this, and so did the other people there. I noticed they noticed and tried to just keep my eyes up but I couldn't. The hairdresser made an indirect comment about it and I just smiled and pretended I didn't understand what she was talking about. I started sweating and feeling even more anxious to get out of there.
I've had this problem for several years. It's crushing. These last few months I've isolated myself from everyone which I think only makes it worse when I have to interact with other people. T
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer and for the thoughtful answer.
You are very welcome Mafalda. I would like to be able to help more, but all I can think of is: Have you seen a doctor. This could be some result of some type of biological problem that could easily be fixed with medication. I don't know that for sure, of course, but it wouldn't hurt to ask a doctor for some help. I think this would be crushing as you say, no doubt. I was also thinking if you could practice with a mirror, but you said you couldn't even bring yourself to look yourself in the eye....do you wear make-up? Perhaps try to apply some eye make-up sometime when you are at home alone and see if you can't look at your eyes then. It does sound like a problem that could be fixed. I just don't know anymore to tell you. I want you to get better, because if this continues, you will just go on feeling bad about it needlessly. Try getting some professional help to figure out why you've developed this habit. Best of Luck to you, Mafalda.
Thank you :) I scheduled an appointment to see a therapist this next monday. I've never done it before but I think I've reached a point where I'm so tired of being alone that I feel i have nothing to lose. So I'm going to try that.
Thank you so much for your support and advice <3
Wonderful Mafalda! That is good news! I hope the therapy goes well.