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Selective Mutism

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Old 11-17-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Default Selective Mutism

Do you have or know someone with selective mutism??
If so, how did you or they overcome it?

Me, my two younger sisters, all four of my brothers, and my dad have it. It's not that I'm afraid to talk to new people, I just socially shut down when I just feel like not talking. I could literally(and already have) go days without talking simply because I don't feel like it. However, I just got asked it I would like to get promoted at work today which would mean I'd have to go to meetings and answer the phone. BTW, I also have a HUGE fear of answering phones! I only answer it if I forsure, 100% know it's my mom. I hate even answering my phone when my best friends call! I don't even know why my bosses are considering me for this promotion. Even though I do do everything they ask me to do.

I'm just tired of not making all the friend I know I should have because of this. I really want to get over this syndrome because I would love to get the courage to get a better job in the near future. I feel like it's even affecting my school work.

So again, what should I try and do to get over this syndrome?
And any help on the phone phobia would be great too!!
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:18 PM   #2
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I can help on the phone phobia.. as I used to have one! Not as bad you have, but phones caused me anxiety.

No secret information, but what helped me was just doing it. I work as an AA after spending my college years in the food service industry. One of my (many,many) duties now is answering the phone. Because i was forced into having to do it every day, it has helped the anxiety go down. When i used to have to make a phone call, i would have to "prep" for a good 20 min. Now i just pick up the phone and dial. It took a good year and a half to get rid of the anxiety.. that being said, i still prefer email!

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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I have selective phone phobia. If people call me I freeze, and make it go to voicemail unless it's the boyfriend, or someone I'm expecting a call from. ESPECIALLY if it's a number I don't recognize, I panic. However, I've worked two receptionist jobs where all I did was answer the phone, and it never bothered me after the first week.. I just faked it til I maked it, lol. Personal calls? Still tend to make me freeze and panic. I have to really fake it when I DO bring myself to answer.

You should try taking a communication class at a university or community college!


ETA; I also have entire days where I just don't want to talk. It really bothers the BF because he thinks I'm always angry or depressed. He doesn't "get" that sometimes, I just really like to be silent! It doesn't mean I'm thinking deep thoughts, or stewing over an issue. Just quiet!
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Last edited by GradPhase : 11-17-2010 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:54 PM   #4
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I agree with Kat when it comes to talking on the phone. I worked in a retail position for just 6 weeks and *had* to answer the phone when customers called the store, and I realized something after a while - the person on the other end is just a person, and usually they had questions I could answer, like: how late are you open? How much does this or that product cost? And when I didn't know the answer, I learned in time to get comfortable asking my manager or someone else for help. If I don't know, I don't know - no reason to apologize or get stressed about it; just find someone who can help.

The other thing I learned is that in retail situations, on the phone and in person alike, there is *always* someone worse than you. I used to get nervous calling businesses to ask a question, until I was on the other end of that situation and I realized that no matter how silly or off-the-wall my question seems to me, there is always someone out there who is worse! Super angry, or belligerent, or who refuses to take your word for anything, or who gets upset with you when they can't understand something.

So, yes - when it comes to the phone at least (and maybe other situations as well?) I would recommend just taking a stab at it. The more practice you get the easier it becomes. Open the phone book and pick a random business, give them a call, and ask how late they are open, or for directions to their location... repeat as necessary.
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