The “fear of annoyance” cycle

There are times where I find myself in this state of mind where I’m super self conscious and feel as though everything I do or say is somehow annoying or bothersome to those I interact with.

I’m not even sure how it starts, but I think in the end, (wither initially true or not….) that fear, then causes me to second guess all further interactions and my apologizing, etc could perhaps be even more annoying or bothersome to those I interact with. Its a cycle that I can’t even for the life of me figure out if its all imaginary, or a self-perpetuating cycle that feeds itself into reality through a perceived fear of pushing those I value away.

Sometimes I just feel really alone, and its really hard to shake. Like everyone I occasionally just want to be understood.. or to be able to intellectually share thoughts or philosophy or ideas about the world with people, and its hard to initiate those conversations a lot of the time when it seems hard to find those who are interested in that sort of topics or discussions, and those are what I thrive on.

One problem is that when you allow the mentality of believing you are so very alone, to inwardly reside too long, it can quickly spiral you downward into a hole of negativity.

It becomes important to fight it for your own health.

My personal conundrum comes in selecting how I choose to fight it.

Option A – Get it out… venting

I’m a little shy really, and I don’t really like sharing my own thoughts and feelings because when I do share my frustrations I just end up being mad at myself over having done it.

Here is why…

If I’m honest… whenever I’m needing to vent, I’m likely still pretty upset. When I’m that upset, it means I haven’t really worked through the issue yet. During a venting session, we kind of just let things go and say things or admit things you haven’t really solidly thought or reasoned out. Its mostly emotion. Then generally immediately after venting, once you can’t take anything back… its only then that enough pressure has been released that you begin to recognize all the places where you yourself may not have been fair… or reasonable… or where you may have been a bit petty, or childish, or plainly just sounding like a whiner.

Its frustrating because now that I’ve unloaded , and subjected someone to all my idiosyncrasies, whoever I’ve unloaded on either #1 (and hopefully) an understanding friend… or #2 they have marked a little checkbox in their own mind, categorizing you as someone a bit too unreasonable, crazy, possibly needy, and maybe not really someone they really want to be around all that much after all.

I’m petrified of pushing people to that second category and losing even more friends (because it has happened in the past). So more often instead I try to work through any hurts using another method.

#Option B – Shifting Focus

In reality, we are never as absolutely alone as we start to feel, and those times when we feel we are so very alone….. I personally believe its often because we are too intently focused on ourselves, our own fears and our own insecurities. Its time to get a higher view of things… to add to our understanding that everyone has difficulties they are dealing with, and that we aren’t alone in that fact.

There is something really positive by taking the initiative to be there for someone else. To let people know that you care enough… to care. To encourage others to find positive and healthy ways to cope. Sometimes in taking those journeys with others, you discover tools for your own.

Most often this is what pulls me out.. being able to connect or help someone else brings things back into perspective. Most of the time this is my go to method of coping

Here is where it sometimes goes wrong though..

Occasionally you get into these cycles (mentioned at the beginning of this post)

With shifting focus – It begins with this paranoia that to them, it probably just seems that I’m needlessly bugging their already busy lives with trivial questions about how they are, or whats going on with them. They may either ~ #1 respond out of kindness just to humor me, #2 respond with short (often perceived as non-interested in continuing any dialog) answers, #3 they or do not respond at all…

All of that then just feeds this worry that I shouldn’t have bugged them in the first place, or that I’m causing annoyance for interacting with them. Making me feel like that in earnest…….  if they didn’t seek me out.. it could be they really aren’t wanting any interactions with me at all. Making me feel like my caring is unwanted..  which makes me feel kind of worthless and less valuable as a friend. All of that unfortunately just plays into supporting that initial thought that I myself…. is alone and not worth connection. Effectively  stomping any attempt to prove anything different to myself or others.. to prove that they/we don’t have to feel so alone.

So then what…..

Its frustratingly illogical, and kind of the reason why I really always try to first look to reason for my sense of stability rather than any “feelings” in most anything. Even then though,  emotions (even known unfounded ones) seem to raise an aggressive head demanding attention, refusing to be silenced and throwing things off balance.

The thing is that logically I know better, yet knowing better for some reason doesn’t seem to be enough to stop that feeling from becoming overwhelming and suffocating.  It becomes scary when you feel the depression set in. Mostly because I know how quickly negative that turns if you entertain thoughts like that too long.

Connections are such a difficult thing.

First its difficult because people perceive things all differently, and even when we 100% intend something a certain way, others will give your desire to connect with them very different meanings based on their own personal historical experience, or what they think makes sense for them in that situation. It could even be based on what they think they would do to express something specific, and assume you to be the same.

Part of the problem is we only initially see out of our own lenses…. and that causes an incredible amount of misunderstanding and disconnection, because in order to gain a bigger picture, it means we have to be willing to see from a different vantage point.

Sharing is difficult.

I was brought up being told that it was important to share our thoughts and feelings in order to process them, but then at the same time being told that drawing attention to yourself in general is basically selfish and should be avoided.

After his suicide I remember seeing a few last interviews with Anthony Bourdain, where he talked about sharing sort of being at odds with actually being a good person. Citing instead that it takes a level of vanity to believe that what you are sharing (be it thoughts or ideas or stories) is worth someone else’s time. He talked about how some author (that I don’t remember the name right now)  had said something at one point that sharing feelings is more akin to “leaking” than actually sharing.

While I can kind of see where they would get this thought, I find it incredibly destructive.

Humans are social creatures, and building these walls where it is automatically considered a sign of a problem, or weakness, or selfishness to ever want to share or have another human understand what motivates you, or what your position is seems a bit much.

I get that obviously we should try for our interactions to not always be about ourselves, yet I don’t understand how you are supposed to ever encourage any real connection with anyone if it can only be one-sided.

If its taboo to share anything we really think or feel with another. I think that attitude about it is a gross oversimplification. Taking that simplified thought as truth may even secretly serve as an excuse for us to justify not having to leave our comfort zone (in either having to listen to others or needing to share ourselves.)

I don’t know how friendships can be considered real without being able to both care and allowing yourself to be cared about.

Its all so conflicting. Its all so hard… and honestly I don’t have it figured out. There is no one method that works everytime….







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