Too True Tues(day) – Secret Obsessions/Compulsions

Today’s Too True Tues(day) prompt via Essie The Accidental Mommy is our secret Obsessions and Compulsions. She’s even kind enough to define them for us!

For our purposes here today, we’ll use “obsessive” to refer to an unwelcome pattern of thought and “compulsive” to refer to an unwelcome pattern of action.

She goes on to point out that HER compulsions are completely rational, and thus don’t fit into the definition. Mine, however, are not, as she was also kind enough to point out was probably the case (thanks, Essie! :-)

My obsession? What other people think of me.

Now really, I recognize LOGICALLY that the world does not revolve around me. I recognize that when I’m walking through the mall every other person is probably NOT looking at me and judging my clothes, my posture, my tone of voice, how I’m interacting with my hubby, what I’m saying, what I’m looking at, how I’m striding, if I’m in that person’s way….but they COULD be!!! I mean, you never know, right?

And when I meet a new person LOGICALLY I realize they probably are not set up to hate me on sight and decide that I am silly, dumb, vacuous, overweight, small-chested, short, anti-social, closed-minded, inarticulate, think I’m funny when I’m not, and offensive…but they COULD!! You can’t be too careful!

So whenever I am..anywhere…other than alone with my puppy and hubby, I am obsessively keeping track of 1) every movement of my body, where my eyes are and every word that comes out of my mouth, 2) every movement of the bodies of anyone I am interacting with, every word that comes out of their mouths, their tone and their facial expressions, in case I get some cue that they’ve possibly had a background negative thought in any way related to me and 3) the location of every single other person within my viewing distance, in a complete perimeter. If there are too many people, I will keep track of the maximum number I can, sorted by their physical nearness. I will also be assessing, based on current wind, crowd volume, and acoustic levels, how many of those people are within earshot at any possible volume of speech.

But really, this is not unreasonable. I mean, someone I have never met, will never talk to, and will never see again COULD have a passing negative thought about me. And that would, of course, PROVE that there is something wrong with me.

So I act in this completely normal way to prevent that.

What I CANNOT do, however, and I absolutely just can NOT bring myself to do, is make eye contact. Nope. Not gonna happen. I mean, if I make eye contact…you can see much more of what I’m thinking. You can see how hard I’m focusing. And you can see how much I am responding to you. Too awkward. Plus it takes all of the energy I have to monitor what I already am, I don’t have any energy left to filter what my eyes are saying! So I will instead take all of this in with peripheral vision while staring over your shoulder. Needless to say, this can weird some people out, but that’s OK. It keeps them from knowing how weird I REALLY am.

So there you have it! What’s your obsession/compulsion? It’s OK, it can be perfectly reasonable, just like Essie’s! Head on over and share anyway, we all love each other, here!




Filed under Too True Tuesday

10 responses to “Too True Tues(day) – Secret Obsessions/Compulsions

  1. Wow, just reading that wore me out! *not thinking anything negative!*


  2. I feel the same way, although to a much lesser degree:). You are right, though…they COULD be thinking negative thoughts. Great, now Im going to focus on that for a while. Great post, by the way.

  3. Yow, that would be exhausting! But I think that is how my daughter feels a lot. Maybe not advanced enough for all the social nuances, but the “alien” sort of feeling.

  4. Jen

    I was just telling my husband that I’m pretty much obsessed with what other people think about me, too. But it’s like, I obsess about letting them know how cool and interesting I am. It’s like a high school fetish that I’ve never gotten over. And hey, I think maybe Essie’s comment that her obsessions are all rational was just a little sarcastic. . .hey, you know Essie. :)

  5. Trying for no negative thoughts here.

  6. How well I understand. I am constantly worried about how people view me and what they think of me. I guess I found out what I wanted to know one night at church. A couple of “friends” told me that I’m known at church as the “meanest person at church”, they send all the bad kids to me because I can keep them in line, and that they commonly threaten their kids that they’ll send ’em to me when they’re bad. I laughed along as the conversation progessed, then went home and busted down in tears. Didn’t ever think I was THAT bad.

    • OK, that’s horrible! I’m impressed you held it together til you got home. I probably would have had to excuse myself with some convenient excuse (Oh, I just remembered, my house is on fire! Gotta run!) I just..don’t even know what else to say. Except that from the great amount I know about you from your blog you don’t seem the scary type to me! ::hugs::

  7. You have Social Anxiety Disorder. This is what your supposed to worry about silly! Your doing fine!
    Oh, wait that isn’t helpful is it. Sorry I have to make a joke about everything (shhh, it’s my coping mechanism). What I think we maybe start realizing in adulthood is that all those uncomfortable “are they all staring at me” feelings from high school are pointless.
    No one is looking and you are judging you, we’re all too worried about people judging us that we foregt to judge others.
    At least they make pills for this obsession. Now a pill for my blogging obsession? Hmmmm, let me know when that comes out!

    • Ha, yes. My problem is I REALIZE it…but I can’t quite shut off the fear-response :P It shall come!

      I mean, it’s not like I have any snakes or spiders in this region to worry about.


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