Well, the title says exactly what is the problem. I know that such fear is an uncommon issue for INTJs, yet I managed to end up with such phobia. It wasn' t always like that, however. As a kid, despite being rather socially awkward when it came to communicating with my peers, I wasn' t afraid to speak in front of many people. I could easily explain subjects in front of the whole class, and I actively took part in school plays. The audience phobia, however, started to appear when I was in my early teens. I never was a popular kid in class, I frequently got bullied, and teachers disliked me because I started fighting the bullies, and in the end turning the whole thing into an argument. So, at the time when I was 11 - 13, the bullying reached it' s peak. It was not uncommon for them to throw pieces of chalk at me when I spoke in front of them, or come to the blackboard and draw caricatures of me( they knew this would annoy me even more, because, despite there was a schedule, according to which each of us had the duty of cleaning the blackboard on a certain day, I always was the one to clean it because they didn' t care about it being dirty at all) , or shout offensive names and curses, and that wasn' t even the half of what they did to me, because they used to pick on me on the breaks as well( I even once ended up in a hospital because of a school fight once) . When I tried to talk them out of it, they only laughed it up. Then I talked to the head teacher, she told me that I should change and be more like them. I said that I don' t see the reason why my original personality is so bad that it should be concealed. She said that such unsociable and stubborn people like me never get along well with others. But when I asked her what to change into, she never gave me concrete answers, only said that I should become more like them. For a while, I tried to take that advice into account, even though another part of me knew that it' s not going to work. I tried to display more emotions( which was never a problem for me) , and to become more conventionally girly, but this gave them only more opportunities to pick on me. Then I started to have an impression that I' m something horrible and disorted, not worthy of this world. I was afraid to come in front of people, or even speak with them( the only people I was comfortable speaking with were my family) . I tried to figure out what' s so wrong with me, but I didn' t find anything wrong with me, my mother kept telling me that I' m okay, and these are my classmates who were complete bastards. Now when I look back on those times I understand she was right, but back then I didn' t. However, I didn' t let myself angst forever. One day I understood that I mustn' t let myself be abused or tortured by others, or even let these f*ckers affect my inner state. More than half of the world might be monsterous, but this doesn' t mean I should be the total loser that hates life and lets people break me. I managed to fix most of my inner self up, I started to go to hip hop classes where I got some pals( even though most of people in my group were several years younger than me) . I got rid of my emo self, rose up my confidence and changed my view on life from the one oriented on helping people to a more self - centered one. At that time mom also connected me to the Internet. This allowed me to communicate with people while keeping my true identity hidden, as well as gaining more knowledge. I found several people who share my interests out there, and some of them became my very good friends. Then I got more confident to talk to people in real life, and I got friends there as well. This led me to a conclusion that I don' t have to try to please others( well, unless it involves getting what I want) , because there are always people who are going to dislike me, as well as people who are going to like me. My life got better soon, now I can say my life is okay. I also managed to get a playback on the bullies before finishing school, but that' s a different story. I have plans for the future that I can' t wait to fullfill, and I believe that I will be able to build a good future for myself.
So, the times when I was bullied passed, and I' m really glad they did. But I know there are still some personal flaws I have to overcome in order to be able to live a good life. One of them is the audience phobia I got when I was bullied. Of course, it got better since then, and I' m not afraid to talk to others anymore, but I' m still afraid to speak in front of many people. When I try to do it, I recall those days when I they were picking on me right on the lesson when I answered in front of the teacher. I start panicking and stuttering( normally I don' t stutter, but in this specific situation I do) , my verbal tics show up, then I end up being so nervous that I forget what I planned to say. This is very upsetting for me, because I prefer to have a strong hold over my emotions, and so far I' m rather successful at doing so, but when I try to speak in front of a crowd, I become totally distracted and lose all control of the situation. I avoided speaking in front of class back when I was in school, but recently I finished it, and now I' m going to enter the university. I know I will need to answer in front of a huge audience, I might also need this in my future career( on which I decided to focus my life) and I have to prepare for it. I need an advice on how to get over my fear. I don't want to let this weakness ruin my life( in fact, I would prefer not to have weaknesses at all) , but I don' t know what to do. I' m good at faking emotions, and it is no problem for me to do so in front of a small group of people. These are the large groups that I have a problem with. I tried talking to myself in the mirror, but I end up feeling that I look like a complete idiot. I' m not satisfied with the appearance I see in the mirror either, but right now I' m working on it. Currently I' m trying to lose weight to gain more confidence, but it' s definately not enough to get over my fears. Also, attending a therapist isn' t an option, since my country has more conservative views than most European countries or the USA. There attending a therapist means that you admit having a mental problem. And there is always a prejudice against such people. Most employers are reluctant to give them a job, so attending a therapist would automatically put a black mark on my biography, and building a career will be much harder. So I have to deal with everything myself. Anyway, is there anything I can do to overcome my fear of public speech? Are there any other INTJs here who experienced a similar thing? If there are any, what did you do to overcome it?