We are social beings and social fear damages this evolutionary tendency

Social fear is essentially detrimental because the human has evolved as a social creature. Some early civilizations were organized on a tribal basis, designed for survival. Social fear, therefore, can be seen as an evolutionary reaction in the face of danger. This provokes the fight or flight response. That was all very useful when danger surrounded us at every turn, but the underlying impact of an insecure attachment pathologizes social fear to the extent that it becomes debilitating, and instead of being a beneficial protective mechanism it renders you powerless and fearful of ordinary situations. Occasionally, this debilitating condition can begin in children as young as eight, but the average age of onset is mid-adolescence and it is rarely generated after the age of twenty-five.  Children with social fear find it difficult to mix with others, are unfriendly and withdrawn, do badly at school and occasionally have depression. School is the place where these symptoms normally appear. Their anxious response to social situations with their peers can include weeping, freezing, tantrums, as well as some behaviours shown by socially anxious adults. These behaviours are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches. Being in class can be extremely painful for teenagers suffering from social phobia. Being asked questions by the teacher fills them with fear, and for a small number of students can degenerate into selective mutism, which is discussed later. In extreme cases mixing with other pupils is a no-go area. Such children often arrive in school late when classes have begun and isolate themselves at break times. This tendency to isolate increases as they move through adulthood, causing significant interference in living. Sometimes the fear is so great that sufferers choose jobs that leave them solitary rather than take on more suitable jobs, where they would interact with others.  There are cases of people who find it impossible to work during the day, and find employment where they work only at night and in a solitary capacity. I should say, however, that many teenagers who suffer extreme anxiety find healing in therapy and live a fear free adulthood.

Extract from my recent book –  Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.



I am the author of six books

When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family

Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying

Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.

I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O

Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891

Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856

I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

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