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  1. #11
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Well, my biological father beat my mother up while she was pregnant with me. She had to leave him, they were married, got a divorce before I was old enough to remember him. He bashed her head into a wall. She almost had a miscarriage.

    I'd say that's where my anxiety disorder stems from. All of that extra cortisol in utero.
    Far out that is crazy.

  2. #12
    a scream in a vortex nanook's Avatar
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    softly spoken people
    did you ever hear about HSP? this means highly sensitive person.
    its a concept, that states that some people are different.
    a bit like a phenotypical typology.
    it does not answer any questions about cause, but the idea assumes an inborn or at least natural (healthy) trait.

    i thought, i would just mention it, even though it does not help with the: why?

    of course, in reality all sorts of people identify with sensitivity and the community around the concept is a huge chaos, not a typology, be it one about phenotypes or one about psychological traits or issues, or archetypal roles, like healer etc. it tries to be everything, so more people buy the books.

    but then again, i believe the original core idea refers to people who have a rather high potential to learn things, to grow in live. because learning IS sensitivity. like childs are labeled "open". grown ups close or harden.

    most people go through 4 stages of development during their first 30 years, and close down or harden and stay there, until maybe at 60 they will go to stage 5. but if someone has a higher potential, he will remain rather open, go through stage 5 at age 28, 6 at age 35 and so on ... and close or harden much later in live, if at all. so, anyone who is still very open, is likely rather soft spoken, especially in new situations. being open is about input, speaking confidently is output. (the numbers are arbitrary, i just want to illustrate the principle)

  3. #13
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    People are often shy of strangers, when you think back to our evolutionary past encountering strangers would have been pretty rare, and if you did see a stranger they were probably up to no good so shyness would have been protective.

    I think extraverts are more likely than introverts to overcome shyness as they get greater rewards for overcoming it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    Far out that is crazy.


    Fortunately I had reasonably stable, loving grandparents. I had it better than some people, that's for sure. But I figured out about two years ago when I took a human development class that's probably where my anxiety disorder stems from.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    did you ever hear about HSP? this means highly sensitive person.
    its a concept, that states that some people are different.
    a bit like a phenotypical typology.
    it does not answer any questions about cause, but the idea assumes an inborn or at least natural (healthy) trait.

    i thought, i would just mention it, even though it does not help with the: why?

    of course, in reality all sorts of people identify with sensitivity and the community around the concept is a huge chaos, not a typology, be it one about phenotypes or one about psychological traits or issues, or archetypal roles, like healer etc. it tries to be everything, so more people buy the books.

    but then again, i believe the original core idea refers to people who have a rather high potential to learn things, to grow in live. because learning IS sensitivity. like childs are labeled "open". grown ups close or harden.

    most people go through 4 stages of development during their first 30 years, and close down or harden and stay there, until maybe at 60 they will go to stage 4. but if someone has a higher potential, he will remain rather open, go through stage 5 at age 28, 6 at age 35 and so on ... and close or harden much later in live, if at all. so, anyone who is still very open, is likely rather soft spoken, especially in new situations. being open is about input, speaking confidently is output. (the numbers are arbitrary, i just want to illustrate the principle)
    Yes, I'm HSP. Thanks for that and yeah still leaves the why open. Leads me to question how the stressors and the actual reasons behind the events that wire a person from birth happen. How much influence is experience, genetic, behavioral and environmental then. To cause the neurotransmitter response to hardwired towards certain traits specific to situation and experience. Is epigenome affected in next generation of birth. would hsp parents give birth to children more sensitive then them or recessive gene from their ancestry affect the outcome to non-hsp. After an argument voice tone lowers. Attitude would change temporarily, the response towards being treated poorly would release cortisol that would change the reaction time towards such an event. Then would the next experience be different, would emotional associations occur.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post


    Fortunately I had reasonably stable, loving grandparents. I had it better than some people, that's for sure. But I figured out about two years ago when I took a human development class that's probably where my anxiety disorder stems from.
    I am so glad that you had loving grandparents who helped care for you.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    People are often shy of strangers, when you think back to our evolutionary past encountering strangers would have been pretty rare, and if you did see a stranger they were probably up to no good so shyness would have been protective.

    I think extraverts are more likely than introverts to overcome shyness as they get greater rewards for overcoming it.
    That's what I'm thinking too, defensive. But then is this an necessary survival skill that hampers development in relating to others. Being shy then causes avoidance which leads to stress when unable to cope with pressures and situations that occur.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Hold the phone, I just found an interesting site.

    Beyond Psychology - Science, Theory and Beyond - Psychological theory broken down to it's fundamental core

    6. Introverted Logical based personality - Logic type

    Extremely compromised limbic system (Underdeveloped unconscious neural state, substantially more neurons, extremely undernourished neuron clusters) and a personality that favours JUST the right hemisphere. Very little integration between the other regions of the brain and much of it is in fact segregated working independently from one another. Extremely high non-integrated androgen/repression levels are probably responsible for this personality type.

    On the logical side of personality development, very little expression and objective organization of the environment takes place; this affects men at a 3 to 1 ratio over women due to higher active level of non-integrated androgens exasperating things.

    7. Introverted Emotion based personality - Emotion type

    Compromised limbic system (Underdeveloped unconscious neural state, below average neuron count and undernourished neuron clusters) and a personality that favours JUST the left hemisphere. There is some integration between the various regions of the brain, but this is mainly because neural synapses have been forged chemically through limited objective idea relationships due to the subjects personality being emotionally skewed. This leaves perspective biased and limited in scope.

    On the emotional side resides the manic expression section, this tends to affect women much more than men due to androgen levels being much lower in women.
    How Stimuli affects Gene states and allows us to evolve

    Gene and DNA composition is a blueprint of the stimulus that we receive. Therefore that blueprint will accept all forms encountered, which incorporates that stimulus into the final blueprint. The social conditions present therefore provide an additional hurdle and conflict with the goal of evolution to gain stimulus, often leaving people in a repressed state, affecting our gene state at the organization level.

    Cell Oscillation and Epigenetics

    *Cell oscillation is essentially cell vibration, cell vibration creates structure. Therefore positive/negative personal experience affects cell oscillation in the respective way received.

    *High oscillation aims to retain stimulus which is roughly equal too internal emotional expression. Most often mimics a balanced or consolidated mind.

    *Low oscillation aims to increase stimuli which is roughly equal too internal logical expression. Most often mimics a expanded mind where neurons are a tad underdeveloped and not as expressive, this cultivates a more observational perspective.

    *Both aim to retain balance through their primal directive using organizational tendencies, bringing us back to the two fundamental aspects of evolution, evolved expansion and consolidation at the mutation level, this indicates that mutations are NOT random in nature, but instead structured around experience, external and internal stimulation.

  9. #19
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    So would you say this is more learned behaviour in response to stress as opposed to environmental or genetic influences. This awkwardness and I hear ya, I had the same problem, breaking a cycle to be sociable, interpersonal and interactive rather than observant, reserved and on the side lines.
    I would say that it was learned, because I believe shyness to be a mild social anxiety. I would say my introversion made me more prone to it. I find myself growing out of it with age, because I make the deliberate effort to push myself past the fear. I do not hope to become an extrovert or less sensitive though. I do not see that as any disorder.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  10. #20
    (blankpages) Xenon's Avatar
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    Where to start...

    First of all, I'm glad you started this topic, Synapse. This is something I have a lot to say about: I had serious social anxiety myself as a teenager (very restricting effect on my life and also made talking to a therapist terrifying and damn near impossible). In addition, I have a degree in molecular biology so I'm interested in and knowledgeable about genetics.

    So...it's hard to know where to start here. Let's see...genetics or environment? I also think both contribute. I haven't been through anything that would normally be called abuse, but as others have described many other things can affect people. Especially children. Something that isn't a big deal on its own, like being teased at school, can be much more harmful if it becomes a long-standing pattern, or if a child is ridiculed or ostracized by most peers (s)he meets and accepted by few or none. Also, some things that seem okay on the surface feel very different when you are actually living them (such as Carnallace's example about her parents).

    I do believe people naturally vary in temperament, and you see this throughout the animal kingdom. Within the same species, some animals can be bold and inclined to take risks, and some are more cautious and sensitive. Neither is "better"; they can both be advantages in a certain environment. When I took an ecology course, they illustrated this with rabbits as an example. Some rabbits are more adventurous in seeking food and less reactive to sudden noises or movements. Others are more cautious, avoiding risky situations, not venturing as far, and being quick to dash away at an unfamiliar sight or sound. The bolder rabbits are more likely to survive when food is scarce, since they're willing to take the risk to seek new sources of it. The more cautious rabbits are more likely to survive when a lot of predators are around, since their behaviour makes them less likely to get eaten. Since these factors are always changing, a variety of temperaments is often required for a species to survive. In addition, with social species that live in groups, different members can serve different functions. So, our ancestors may have had the best chances of survival when they lived in groups with some adventurous members willing to seek new opportunities, and some sensitive members who could alert others to possible threats. Other variations in personality could have evolved for similar reasons.

    That video was very interesting, and considering what I said above epigenetic changes make sense. If a pregnant woman is feeling stressed, (she may be in a threatening environment, and in the past an anxiety-prone, reactive temperament would have given her baby the best chance of survival in that case. I've read of a different study that showed a link between a woman's food intake and obesity risk: people are more likely to become obese if their mothers didn't consume enough food consistently during their pregnancies. Low food intake causes the mother's body to "think" food is scarce. If food is scarce, her baby would have a better chance of surviving if its body burned less calories, so changes in gene expression occur to bring this about and as a result these babies grow up to be more susceptible to weight gain. Similar thing with stress during pregnancy and anxiety-prone offspring. Interesting about the effect lasting for two or three generations: my paternal grandparents went through some extreme stress during the war, before they had children, and several people on that side have mental health issues.

    I think there's a difference between reactivity to new situations and social anxiety though. Social anxiety is fear over what others may think of you. This means it requires an awareness that others are forming impressions of you. I don't believe animals or infants have this. I think inborn temperament can heighten one's risk of developing it by making others' negative reactions feel more painful, and/or making you notice them more, and/or causing you to behave in a way that makes them more likely. This is probably what happened with me.

    Epigenetics illustrates that genetics and environment interact. Not only does environment affect gene expression with epigenetic changes, but inborn genetic temperament affects how people respond to you and how you experience life. As a child, my shyness and anxiety often lead to adults sometimes patronizing me, treating me as if I were younger than I really was, assuming I didn't understand things that other children understood (even though I was developmentally ahead of them in some ways), and sometimes becoming frustrated and disgusted with me. The other kids sometimes tried to 'mother' me as well during my first years in school, then often rejected me when I was older (junior high and up), thinking I was strange or "psycho" because I was so withdrawn. Almost always, people either had some kind of negative impression of me or didn't notice me at all. These things really affected my confidence and self-concept. I suspect culture has something to do with these reactions. Assertiveness and sociability seem to be valued quite a bit in Canada and the States, and people with these traits are often preferred over quieter personalities.

    It doesn't really make sense to say things like "Disorder x is 80% genetic" or "Personality trait 3 appears 1/3 genetic". Yet I see this all the time in everything from internet articles to my neuroscience textbook. People talk as if biological, psychological and social factors can be divided like slices of pie. They can't clearly be separated because they influence each other.

    So, that's about what I wanted to say on genetics vs. environment. Now I want to respond to some things people have said here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carnallace View Post
    Ive been shy since I can remember. Even around relatives.
    I avoided conversation whenever I could. I remember once I even asked my mom if a person could forget how to talk, because I rarely held a decent length conversation.

    That fear was not pre-disposed. From early on, my parents saw me as a mature person. They treated me like one of their friends; telling me their issues, talking about their jobs, friends, stressors. They inserted this image in my head of this perfect, intelligent, responsible, obedient child. Since perfection is unattainable, I began feeling embarrassed, and even afraid of making a mistake, of acting like a 5 year old should, and even of saying the wrong thing. Since mistakes and stupid words are a natural part of being a human, I started avoiding the cause all together. If I didnt put myself out there, if I avoided all attention, then I wouldnt receive negative attention or any feedback at all.
    Ah, I'm glad you gave that example about your parents. It's a good example of a child being affected by something far less obvious than being beaten or berated. I think I had something similar going on with my father. His values seem somewhat different to those of your parents: intelligence was important to him, but he also wanted me rebellious, assertive, independent, argumentative, frequently questioning of authority, and "free-thinking" (which mostly meant thinking the way he does). He had all these kooky theories and ideas, and, unlike the rest of the world, I was supposed to be "aware" enough to agree with him and understand him. I felt he projected this ideal image onto me, to the point of not seeing the real person there. Sometimes I pointed out the ways in which I differed from that image or the very real vulnerabilities and flaws that I had, and he either insisted I was wrong or re-interpreted them to seem more like strengths. Even though he often expressed approval of me, that made me uncomfortable. He wasn't actually approving of me; he was approving of some made-up daughter, and insisting I was her. I think this really freaked me out, especially combined with the reactions from others I described above. I got the impression that I was supposed to be this amazing, brilliant, strong person, but the rest of the world gave me the message that I was weak, helpless and unlikeable. (If this is nothing like what you've experienced, feel free to ignore it. You post reminded me of my dad and I just kinda leaped off into that.)

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I was not abused, but I feel almost certain that my parent's divorce triggered my shyness. Supposedly, I was a "shy" baby, but I was two when my parents divorced, and how much of my personality was accurately remembered before that is questionable. I know it sounds cliche, but I carried a real fear of rejection and getting close to people because of my dad leaving.

    I also think that introverts may be more prone to shyness. I realize they are not one and the same, but an introvert is likely to prefer a lot of time alone, which can lead to them not developing social skills as well as others, which can lead to them feeling/being awkward when interacting with people, which can lead to them avoiding interaction, which just leads to a vicious cycle.
    My parents split when I was very young too. I never thought it affected me as much as later events did, but you never can know.

    I agree about how an inclination toward introversion can lead to less social skills and awkwardness. I think also, inborn differences in personality can lead to different ways in dealing with stress and anxiety. People with a lower need for social interaction will be more likely to use withdrawal as a coping mechanism, while those with a greater need may be more inclined to learn to please, charm and comply with others, or act out against them aggressively to protect themselves. Those who use withdrawal and avoidance excessively may not develop the ability to deal with interpersonal stress in other ways. Those who use other methods may develop other kinds of problems rather than shyness and social avoidance.

    I also think it can work in the other direction: frequent time alone (whether it's due to anxiety or something else) can likely encourage the development of introverted tendencies or cognitive functions over extraverted ones. So, introverted characteristics can lead to social awkwardness or anxiety, and anxiety and the social withdrawal that results can encourage the development of an introverted personality.

    Sigh...I was going to respond to a couple more points, but that's long enough.

    I wish all the best to those of you who are trying to overcome this. I know how difficult it can be.

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