No Calls, Please!

What It's Like to Be Afraid of Talking on the Phone | The Mighty

What is wrong with me? A typical phrase I have asked myself all my life. Not knowing until I went to counseling and she pinpointed this was shame. All my life, all this time I have lived with shame in one way or another. It makes me sick, more ways than one. As hard as it is to realize this was the cause of so many issues, I still struggle. I’m old.

I am just years from retirement although I do not plan to retire if I can help it. I like working and what I do. If I fall over dead out of my chair, I completed my job. As long as my mind and my body holds out and I can manage the office and keep it running in tip-top shape, I will do so.

Even though, I am near to filling out Medicare paperwork, it means that I have been at this type of position for a long, long time. I have always been in a position of secretary aka office administrator, office manager, legal assistant, etc. I know I can do this and do it well, with years of experience under my belt. I find it fun to organize, to do excel charts is my favorite or whatever else to make the office perform at its best and to make the boss look good. What I do not like are the telephone calls, either receiving or making them.

Phone Avoidance And Avoiding Answering The Door | Avoidant Personality

Now, how could I have managed to do this job for many years but fail in this area? I often wonder myself. I really have to be ready and organized to get the call made, feel confident. It does not come automatic. To answer the phone, I panic within.

Many will never know this of me but I know.

I have managed but I have noticed, too, the older I get, it is worse. Perhaps having an assistant for years to answer the phone and then to transfer to me, knowing who it is and why they are calling, does help. Through this pandemic, I don’t have my assistant. Plus, I had some dental work in January and had a flipper to fill in a missing tooth while healing and managing through the pandemic of my dental office closed. I really had some anxiety of a lisp or actually choking from panic. Even with my new crown, I still suffer from this ordeal. Once I get through the answering or calling, I am fine to talk but I am too old for this. No matter what age, we all have issues and perhaps panic attacks of different situations.

Knowing I dealt with this and knowing, although minor, years ago, I mentioned to my counselor. We did not go indepth of this but a time or two she requested that I call her, perhaps for a scheduling issue, etc. Once I told her no I will not call. I did not want to hear she was rescheduling, I could read it but not hear her, I would be emotional. I would have felt rejected and abandoned. In reading her text, I could feel the same but the silent tears would flow and she would not hear my voice crack from sadness. If I can put off answering or calling, I will.

We have a landline still in our home due to my husband’s work. We had a phone on the main floor and the lower level, his office. I removed the main floor telephone, it is in the cabinet. If you know me well enough, you have my cell phone number and can contact me with that, preferably by text.

It was yesterday, I gave no thought to calling my son, although I texted several times. We were to get together and for me to hang curtains in his new house. My texts were not being replied to and I just could not grasp why. I found myself frustrated with him. I love him to death but why can he not reply was in the back of my mind. Time was getting late and even if he was asleep, normally he would reply, as I know his cell phone is right next to him. Anyway, no curtains were hung.

We went on home, I was done. Stick a fork in me. This child of mine is a nightowl so I know his sleep pattern is all over the place. Once I got home, an hour away, he texted. Asking in a text, why I did not just call him. It was from that question, this blog was born even though I have always wondered why I had such a hate of telephones. I enjoy talking to him and I do not know why I did not think to just call. My husband, with me, did not even suggest or try, which is no surprise. What is wrong with me, again? I missed my son. I felt like such a failure of a mom.

My conclusion was of being rejected, being an annoyance and in the end feeling abandoned. Growing up, I felt that from many occasions so I gave up trying to call others. Not calling or putting forth an effort brought loneliness but I did not like the other feeling much more. I hate telephones.

Perhaps he needs to know about his mom and that she also has anxiety and it will help him understand me. My boys know that my cell phone is open for them to call 24/7 if they need me. When it does ring, I do gulp and wonder if anything is wrong. Fear. I hate that. Usually no issue, thankfully. A relief will come and we continue to talk and I enjoy, sometimes for an hour.

What is funny, while writing this, my sister calls me and she lives hours away, her husband and my brother-in-law has Cancer so I immediately answer and I could not tell if she was crying or laughing. My heart stopped, afraid of bad news. Thankfully, she was laughing as she hit the wrong button. Was it an accident or just to prove my point of fear and anxiety? I survived. They both are doing fine. Relief!

I would never survive in telephone sales. I do love to hear from others and I enjoy talking to our clients that call at the office and I will help them as much as possible and they know that of me. It is just an area in my life that I struggle with and have and probably always will. I found it interesting that there is such a thing of a telephone phobia so I am not the only one. With the information below, I can understand a little more of why I deal with such and perhaps another will also, as it is such a thing for some.

What causes phone phobia?

While performance anxiety is the most common reason for telephone phobia, some people may also develop an irrational fear of telephones because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD causes the suffer to avoid triggering situations and events, which bring back memories of a past trauma. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.  

What happened to you if you have Telephonophobia?

Telephonophobia can lead to a variety of physical and mental symptoms both at the thought of making a phone call or receiving one. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.

Why do I have social anxiety?

People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations. Environment. Social anxiety disorder may be a learned behavior — some people may develop the condition after an unpleasant or embarrassing social situation.

How do I get over my phobia of phone calls? Coping Strategies

  1. Smile. Before making and receiving calls, put a smile on your face. …
  2. Reward yourself. …
  3. Visualize success. …
  4. Ascertain availability. …
  5. Don’t overthink it. …
  6. Prepare. …
  7. Let it go to voicemail. …
  8. Try another communication method.
You will reject me, so I will not call.
I will annoy you, so I will not call.

https://www.verywellmind.com/afraid-making-phone-calls-tips-3024317

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-zesty-self/200905/what-we-get-wrong-about-shame

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