We all have our difficult moments in life, but for women with social anxiety and adhd, it can be especially tough.
Social anxiety or social phobia is a fear of being judged by others. Women with adhd and social anxiety often report many experience experiences where they feel judged by others or are judged by others.
Behaviors associated with ADHD such as interrupting others, having trouble listening, being distracted changing the topic during conversation can be perceived as rude by others. So often, this fear is based in real experiences.
Many women with ADHD also have complicated histories with friends. In childhood, they may have been the odd girl out. They may have had experiences where they were bullied, ostracized, or without friends completely. Social isolation increases social anxiety.
Childhood experiences of being criticized and shamed by adults such as parents, teachers, and other authority figures often make women with ADHD more sensitive and fearful of criticism and rejection. Rejection Sensitivity also increases the odds that you will have social anxiety.
About 50% of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder, and we know more women than men suffer from anxiety. SInce the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago, social anxiety has increased along with all other mental health disorders. Being isolated has made it harder to connect with other socially, and for people with social anxiety this has made their avoidance stronger and there sense that there is something wrong with them and that others will judge them. If you are a woman with adhd and social anxiety you are not alone in this experience.
What can you do if you are a woman with ADHD and social anxiety? Well, my website is filled with information on social anxiety. But there are some unique strategies for women with ADHD and social anxiety. In this page I will highlight the top five most effective tips.
Cultivating self-compassion as a way to treat your social anxiety when you are a woman with ADHD is extremely important. Learning how to respond to your fears with self-kindness instead of criticism work will result in more progress and overcoming your anxiety. Here are some links on this page to learn about self-compassion.
You can read a little more about self compassion here.
and self compassion
Finding the right people who allow you to be yourself in your social circle and who don’t judge you for your neurodiverse mind is essential for helping you feel comfortable. These people should celebrate you and accept you unconditionally. Ed Hallowell calls this Vitamin Connect.
If you realize some things are getting in the way of navigating social interactions, get some help working on these skills. For example, if you recognize interrupting is getting in the way of a promotion at work. Find a coach or therapist to work on strategies to help with this.
Social anxiety is always maintained by avoidance. It’s OK to avoid harmful interactions, but when you are avoiding interactions that can help you live a quality life, it becomes a problem. You will likely want to find a therapist who can help you with strategies to decrease your avoidance.
When in social situations, focus on the other person exclusively rather than yourself and your thoughts. This is a golden rule for social anxiety. When you focus on others instead of on yourself, you are automatically perceived as a likable person and judgment of you goes down. I will write some more about this. This is called external mindfulness. I will write more about it in my next post.
Read more about social anxiety here
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