can't make eye contact...

Postby worrywart » Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:30 pm

I've already posted on this website about an abnormal habit that I've been struggling with but I was wondering if the problem is not as serious as it seems?: I cannot focus on people's eyes but rather focus on noses. Is there anything else I could do other than hypnotherapy? It is really interfering with my life, as in fact, due to this problem I cannot have a normal social life. My question is: should I first find the reason of my problem? Because it sounds ridiculous but I cannot control it however I WANT to control it and try...I am aware that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy but what can I do to make it better? What bothers me most is that others notice and that others are affected. I for example am less bothered if people do it to me....what can I do??
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#1

Postby show » Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:01 am

Knowing why you do something IMO really doesn't help treat or prevent the behavior. What have you tried in the past that worked? That didn't work? I would maybe recommend having a convasation with someone you know and trust to work on maintaining the eye contact..have him/her remind you when you break eye contact and start over.
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#2

Postby worrywart » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:32 pm

Show, thank you for responding. The usual reaction I get from people is 'you're insane' or they laugh and say it's my imagination (friends who don't want to hurt me). This is why I cannot find someone to truly trust and allow me to 'practice' on them. I have come to a point where I think it is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but the thing is I cannot go to a shrink and say 'I focus on noses'....
You said that knowing something doesn't treat a behavior but isn't the fact that I am aware of my problem, some sort of a start? Some people aren't even aware oftheir problems and so can never get cured...however the fact that I am fully aware of it, and continue doing this weird habit to EVERYONE (except myself in the mirror) is what's bothering me. If I wasn't aware of it, then I could actually get on with my life and not give a hoot of what others think, but the fact that others are weirded out or insult/make fun of me is what hurts. Especially because I am not doing this intentionally (what intention would I have to do it on purpose???).
I have tried various things but none of which were helpful: such as focusing on eye crease or center of forehead or ear (but how long can one do that??). I also tried pinching myself or something to remind myself to stop doing it...but I just realized that my problem is not to REMIND me of my habit, but I need to find a way to FORGET about it....please, any advice would be appreciated. What really gets me is this lack of control over such a simple matter. It really does sound pathetic but I can barely get out and have a normal conversation with poeple anymore. I hate the fact that others think I'm mean or abnormal because in reality that is not what I am...really. Any advice would be appreciated...thank you!
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#3

Postby satanstoystore » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:22 pm

inability to look in the eyes is the symptom, not the problem. The problem will likely not seem to be connected to the feelings of the symptom. Your symptom is probably a clever means to an end. So control is not the issue. Nobody else even thinks of control when they look into other people's eyes. Whatever it is you are doing is getting in the way of looking into other people's eyes. Besides, if you wanted to gain control over it you'd be resisting the symptom and thereby making it persist. Resistance creates persistence. What do you think about yourself that would prevent you from having a normal conversation with someone?
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#4

Postby worrywart » Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:50 pm

satanstoystore wrote: Your symptom is probably a clever means to an end. So control is not the issue. Nobody else even thinks of control when they look into other people's eyes. Whatever it is you are doing is getting in the way of looking into other people's eyes. Besides What do you think about yourself that would prevent you from having a normal conversation with someone?


thank you for your feedback. Do you think then my behavior is not an issue? I wish it was not an issue but everyone around me is making it (and that only worsens my problem). The more people laugh/accuse, the more I can't control it. Why??
I still think the problem is due to my lack of control...beause if I could control such a simple thing, I could stop focusing on noses and be much less distressed. Others are distressed, I become distressed and this is just getting even more uncontrollable. Especially once everyone in my environment finds out (which is about right now) my abnormal habit, I feel wretched. It seems as if I am making this an issue, but reality is, it is really an issue...I've never heard of anyone focusing at other parts of the face other than eyes. What is wrong with me? To your question, the only thing I can say is, I don't look at people in the eye but rather focus on their noses because I know how sensitive it is. I am aware of how strange or distracting it is so at least I am aware but the thing is I cannot control it.
I have some insecurities...so yes, perhaps I need to build up my own self-esteem but I'm not unhappy with myself or hate myself, it's quite the opposite. I am hating myself recently thought, because of this problem.. I would have a normal conversation only with someone who accepts me for what I am, who is understanding and non-judgemental. Then perhaps would my habit be relieved a little...
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#5

Postby Nigel H » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:47 pm

Worrywart

STS talks a lot of sense and one thing I have noted is that you are looking at people's noses - well I was once taught to do this, since by looking at the bridge of the nose, you can avoid looking directly in the eye [which MANY find a little uncomfortable] and people cannot tell you are looking at the bridge of their nose, as opposed to their eyes !!!

What is it that you believe about the situation when you are about to look someone in the face?

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#6

Postby worrywart » Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:28 pm

Nigel, thank you for your reply.
Yes, some other member on this site wrote that during speeches/lectures, the speaker is taught to look at noses (or atleast nose levels) rather than eyes, but this is no excuse for me: I cannot even have a conversation with a relative or the grocery man without focusing my gaze on his nose. The more I write this, the more ridiculous I feel...I am aware that there are worse problems such as diseases etc, but the fact that others are somewhat hurt by my behavior (especially people who are conscious of their noses), makes me hurt, and worsens by habit, which consequently makes me avoid everyone and...life in general. I am only comfortable/happyy on my own.
You write that people can become uncomfortable when looked at in the eyes, but I find it the exactly opposite. Everyone who I talk to (whether a stranger or someone close), I focus on the nose part, making a relationship impossible and they ALWAYS notice; sometimes people who I meet for the first time notice and rub their noses (some even ask me if they have anything on their noses :( ). Clearlyy from the abnomality and the rather silliness of this problem, I cannot bring the subject up with anyone though I am aware of being a laughing stock. I wish this habit would go away or at least that people would think I am not abnormal. Sometimes (when I'm positive) I think 'I should just ignore everyone's comments and live with my problem, as I'm not hurting myself' but most of the time I am pessimistic and cannot help feeling like ther is no answer to this problem. Should I just 'forget and deal with it'? The only comments I get back are 'It IS weird and you need help' which isn't of much help...
When I look at someone in the face, I think 'they are going to notice my weirdness'. That's probably the first thought that comes to mind...or the only thought that is in my mind. Could this habit be linked to my reluctance in being with others? Or that I am pessimistic? There are many pessimists in the world but I doubt they focus on noses. This sounds so trivial, but I wish somebody could understand the seriousness of it and how damaging it is.
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#7

Postby Nigel H » Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:00 pm

:) Clearly this is affecting your confidence and ability to interract with people and I would suggest you find a suitable practitioner who can help you with that problem.

NLP could be used to break the cycle of the problem and what it means to you, as could Time Line Therapy(TM) be used to address any limiting beliefs that make this a problem - such as 'they are going to notice my weirdness' or any other higher level examples of which this may be a symptom.

It is perfectly possible for you to get beyond that old problem. Do you like the way you look if you could make that change and look back at yourself having made that change now?!

Nig
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#8

Postby worrywart » Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:40 pm

thank you again for your suggestions. I know that I need a psychiatrist or something because clearly my problem is extremely abnormal, but I would be humiliated to tell anyone that 'I look at noses', even a doctor. I can't even say it out loud to myself because I know how silly it sounds...but really it's just depressing. Who ever heard of such a thing? The fact that it is unheard of makes me feel even more worried and depressed. See, writing about it is easy, but having to face someone and make eye-to-eye contact (or in this case, nose :( ) is unbearable.

I wish I could tell everyone: 'Just because I focu on your nose, it doesn't mean I'm insulting or you...' but naturally everyone is disturbed by my abnomality.
I constantly think how my life would be so differnt, so much better if only I were normal. All I need to do is look at eyes, why is such a simple,mundane thing so hard to do? Also, why can others not accept it- this is what bothers me. The more others cannot accept it, the more I wish I could have a normal life, the worse it gets. I even tried reverse psychology but that only furthers the problem. As for your question: I would love to change, get rid of this habit. I would be happy with the way I look, I would be much happier overall as well...
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#9

Postby satanstoystore » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:29 pm

Nigle has good advice. But NLP and TLT is not the same as a psychiatrist. Personally I think they're faster and more effective than a psychiatrist.
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#10

Postby worrywart » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:47 pm

satanstoystore wrote:Nigle has good advice. But NLP and TLT is not the same as a psychiatrist. Personally I think they're faster and more effective than a psychiatrist.


But NLP and TLT do require some sort of guider or instructor? I would not feel comfortable expressing my problem in 'real life' though...it's too distressing. What I can't figure out is why such a simple thing is so hard to do, all of a sudden. And it's not like something in particular happend that triggered this habit. Could it be due to depression or something?
Thank you all...
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#11

Postby Nigel H » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:56 pm

Sorry you have lost me there!!!

I thought that you ARE DOING this in real life and it's causing you distress ?

Wouldn't life be easier once you have got rid of that old problem, rather than keeping it for X days / weeks / months longer?

I would suggest it was something that triggered it, yet this may be at the unconcsious level, which is why you are struggling with attempting to understand where it came from - not something that you were consciously aware of at the time ....

Cheers

Nig
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#12

Postby worrywart » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:50 pm

Nigel H wrote:Sorry you have lost me there!!!

I thought that you ARE DOING this in real life and it's causing you distress ?

Wouldn't life be easier once you have got rid of that old problem, rather than keeping it for X days / weeks / months longer?

I would suggest it was something that triggered it, yet this may be at the unconcsious level, which is why you are struggling with attempting to understand where it came from - not something that you were consciously aware of at the time ....

Cheers

Nig


Yes, I am doing this in real life....what I meant is, I can't talk about it to anyone because it's too uupsetting and peculiar. I know that life would be easier if I didn't stare at everyone's noses but for some reason it's harder for me to control- than for almost every normal human being. That is the problem.
Nigel, I don't think I ever had this problem without noticing. What I mean is, I was always able to look at people, talk normally, and make eye contact. But every since the nose started to almost distract me or something, it got worse and worse and now I do it all the time. It seems as if it's always on my mind. But surely this is curable? Many people have for ex. sex or food on their mind but that doesn't mean they go and sleep with everyone or eat their entire fridge. Since you brought up the unconscious though, I realize that before I had this problem, I was not conscious of the nose. Now I am. But why am I so fixated? It's at the center of a face so perhaps that is what bothers me, but WHY does it bother me? What distresses me is that the eyes are too close to the nose and I find it impossible to fix my gaze on eyes but rather, the nose. I know I sound like a disgusting, strange, or shallow person but that is not my aim!!
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#13

Postby warpath » Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:39 pm

Could be an ego-boundary, but have you tried looking at someones eyebrows instead. It's a trick cops use in hopes that our sub-conscious wont fire too many (survival) endorphins when preforming a such a social act.
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#14

Postby worrywart » Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:30 pm

What exactly does ego-boundary mean?
Thank you for your suggestion warpath; looking at eyebrows instead is the ONLY thing I can resort to doing these days, but the thing is people I look at think they have something on their eyebrows or something which is also a little distracting. But I suppose it's better than looking at noses? I'm worried that people will start to notice that I look at eyebrows and again have a reputation of being weird. Maybe my issue is hat I worry too much of how others will feel.
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