Maybe I should change the title of this blog to “From The Therapist’s Couch” as all I seem to write about these days are things he has said to me or events I have told him about.
Today isn’t going to be any different, I'm afraid.
On Thursday, the therapist suggested that I was fundamentally a shy person and my efforts to cover that up could be one of the reasons I have felt a bit lost recently and not sure who I really am. That was an eye opener to me though I’m fully aware that those who know me would laugh loudly at that idea. I’m the bubbly one, the one with the laugh, the one so suited to my job because I’m a natural party animal which makes me ideal to run public events. I am the epitome of an extrovert.
But when he told me I could be quite shy I knew straight away that it was true. I was taken right back to my childhood when I was about five or six and my dad had come home with some guests who greeted me and asked me how I was. When I didn’t know what to say, he told me to say hello and I remember feeling really anxious and I turned my face into the wall and said nothing. He excused himself from his visitors and took me into the kitchen and told me that my behaviour was unacceptable and that when people spoke to me I MUST answer as it was just plain rude to ignore them. I remember crying and saying that I felt shy and my normally affectionate Dad was very sharp and unsympathetic. He told me to stop crying and that there was no such thing as being shy and that he didn’t ever want to hear that from me again. I had to go back in that room, smile and speak to them.
I remember after that I always made sure I was the one to start a conversation and even now, if I’m in a group of people I always feel that it is my responsibility to keep the dialogue flowing even though I’m always telling myself it is not my role to play the court jester.
It’s all to do with a fear of rejection I suppose.
Even though we tend to go to a lot of parties, I never look forward to them. I will often tell Ewan that I don’t want to go and will leave getting ready to the last minute. He has learnt to ignore me now but on the way to any do, even parties held by close friends or family, I will be anxious. My heart will race and/or my head will pound but once I’m there, I’m the very life and soul. How ridiculous is that? I have become extremely skilled at portraying pure confidence and I am very good at meeting new people in social situations.
The therapist just nodded at all that and said it matched classic signs of overcompensating for being shy but that I was doing all the right things and that actually I just needed to be aware that it wasn’t my natural persona and that I wasn’t to get confused by that. That it’s OK to be quiet at times and to let others be the funny one and to be assured that people will still like me.
He said the shy side of me is actually what makes me a good listener and not at all phased at the thought of being left alone. I’m not a typical extrovert in that I need people around me. I really don’t. I’m very happy in my own company – it’s probably the only time I’m really myself.
It was a good session. I like learning about me !