Do you have social anxiety around in laws? How do you deal with such complicated social dynamics? Social Anxiety is not only refrained to a larger group but it could be because of a single-family member with whom you don’t get along well.
Social Anxiety or social phobia is a mental condition wherein you find it very difficult to gel with people you meet at the social gathering or some family events. With the fear of getting judged or labeled, you feel uncomfortable.
People with such disorders are perceived as shy or introverted but they are generally not comfortable in the exposed environment and too many people around them.
Do you have social anxiety around in laws? How does one know it?
You have social anxiety when you feel uncomfortable and uninterested in the conversations happening around you. You have social anxiety when you feel like running back to your place and sit at the corner of your house. Public gatherings or crowded places don’t excite everyone, rather some people might feel very uncomfortable in such an environment.
You are facing anxiety around your in laws, when you are accompanying your arrogant mother in law who doesn’t respect you and think before speaking about you or when you. It has been observed that daughter in laws do avoid social gatherings in such cases because they very know that they could be mocked down at any point in time which only leads to emotional distress within them.
The same could be the situation with your sister in law. If you are joining a party or event with your competitive sister in law who is so ignorant to see any good in you, you will be always conscious about everything you say, because if she sees you overpowering her she may not like it and give it back to you.
You have social anxiety around in laws if you:
|1. Fear being judged|
|2. Fear being left out|
|3. Fear being labeled|
|4. Fear being humiliated|
|5. Fear being the center of everyone’s attention|
1.) Fear being judged
The most dominant fear in any daughter in law who finds it hard to gel with her mother in law, especially if she is trapped with a narcissistic mother in law, who is so full of herself that she will never let you outshine her in any public event. Do you have social anxiety around in laws? Yes, because you are so fearful of her such nature as you know her well, that you feel socially awkward in her presence.
2.) Fear being left out
Suppose you are accompanying your chauvinistic father in law who demeans you and puts you down on every occasion. You will be absolutely uncomfortable being around him in any public gathering and will feel left out in the crowd as such people dominates the crowd and make you feel pity yourself.
3.) Fear being labeled
The most common fear in any daughter in law’s mind, in order to look perfect and put her best foot foreword, a daughter in law is always pressurized. If she doesn’t meet the set benchmark, she is labeled and she is labeled even in the family get together where other family members also join and try to give their unsolicited advice, which makes them very anxious.
4.) Fear being humiliated
Humiliation comes in handy with embarrassment and labeling. When your disrespectful in laws forget that, whom they are making a subject of mockery is one of their own family members and wife of their own son, they lose humanity and it somehow costs you your sanity, you feel overwhelmed and out of place.
5.)Fear being the center of everyone’s attention
Who wants that? Exceptions are there when we are being praised or appreciated for something. But otherwise, no one wants to be the center of everyone’s attention in an inappropriate manner. It simply causes distress.
Could you have a social anxiety disorder?
- Starting conversations – fear of being judged or taking something inappropriate
- Making eye contact – due to lack of confidence
- Entering events with a huge crowd- they avoid being the center of attention
- Family events – They fear that people will talk about them
How can you deal with your social anxiety around your in laws?
Seven ways to deal with social anxiety around in laws
While there is always some hope amidst the chaos, we can look for the brighter side to take preventive steps before this disorder starts taking a toll on us. Do you have social anxiety around in laws? If yes, let us find some ways out of it.
|1. Change the topic|
|2. Shift the focus|
|3. Maintain a distance|
|4. Find your corner|
|5. Avoid the awkwardness|
|6. Join support groups|
|7. Try Talk therapy|
1.) Change the topic
If you are overwhelmed by being the subject of discussion and it is causing you discomfort, try to change the topic of discussion. I know it might sound abrupt but this could prevent you from further awkwardness which bothers you when you are around your in laws.
2.) Shift the focus
Either yours or theirs. I know it feels easier said than done. But suppose you have just entered a party hall which is going to last for at least three hours and you do not want to be a topic of discussion for your mother in law and give rise to that fear of getting judged by others, so just try to shift your focus and navigate your mother in law’s focus to someone else.
3.) Maintain distance
Since the pain is invisible, no one cares about it, rather they keep on adding to it. Do you have social anxiety around in laws? Hell yes and still we cannot control the hurtful behavior of our in laws but we can always maintain a safe distance from them to prevent ourselves from getting hurt. Yes we should do this, avoiding confrontation to save your sanity is not a sign of a loser but a person matured enough who chooses his or her sanity over other’s drama.
4.) Find your corner
There would definitely be that one person in the whole crowd, who will make you feel at ease. Maybe your husband, your friend, or your kid. IF you find them, stick to them. At least you will not feel left out and while you will have a light conversation with them your mind will run into negative thoughts and cause you stress.
5.) Avoid awkwardness
As I mentioned earlier, shift your focus and swift to someone you can be with to avoid the awkwardness, Just for the sake of it, do not be around your in laws all the time, find your own space and let them be. The more you confront them, then they might say a few things which will make you unhappy and uncomfortable.
6.) Join support groups
Joining support groups help. It is when you find like-minded people or people going through similar situations, you feel you are not alone and it somehow gives you a little hope or strength to be in life and bring that positivity back. Self-help groups are formed in order to help each by listening actively, sharing personal experiences with each other to help them overcome difficult situations.
You can find such groups on the internet near your area, it doesn’t even cost much, most of the time joining such groups are for free. as the motive is to enable people to talk and share their concerns to help each other.
7.) Try Talk therapy
Talk therapy or psychotherapy works best for social anxiety disorder. As per Mayo Clinic, Psychotherapy improves symptoms in most people with a social anxiety disorder. In therapy, you learn how to recognize and change negative thoughts about yourself and develop skills to help you gain confidence in social situations.
In the end, I would say that although the treatment and the ways I mentioned above entirely depends upon the level of your social anxiety disorder and its ability to affect you in your day to day routine, but it is always good to take early interventions. Prevention is always better and affordable than cure. Take care, be aware, and take charge of your life.
Love and light
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.