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

Mom, Don’t Go There!

Those little boys of mine always fun and also a lot of work, but I would not have changed those moments together, unless to add more.

Where did the time go? Just yesterday….. as we have all said at some point. The kiddos were little and we were worn out. It seemed like high school took forever, but I remember that being my case also, when in school. The college years flew and they never returned home. An empty nest was an adjustment as the house was quiet and mom’s kitchen was clean. Oh, I miss those days at times with a house full of neighborhood kids hanging out, even the talking, laughter, odors and messes.

My boys grew up to be wonderful, adults and makes this mom so proud. The time in between visits is less than I prefer but I remember being young once. Life gets busy, we all work and they have their life to live. Still, it’s nice hanging out with our adult children.

The roles have reversed somewhat. This past weekend, I hung out with my boys as my youngest was moving. A move always will bring about a contact, “Hey mom, want to come down and help decorate my new place?” I knew that meant more than to decorate but off I went to help and spend time with them.

This day of moving was on his twenty-seventh birthday so that made it even better, for me. I’m sure he’d rather be hanging out with friends and drinking a beer but he was stuck with his mom and brother hauling boxes out of one place to another. It was all good, us three together, but exhausting.

The next day, him and I finished the last few hauls to the new place. Exhaustion was an understatement but we pushed through. It was when he was to go for a final walk through with the previous landlord but he sent his roommate and did not join, but his name was on the lease. I did not care for that. I made a comment about his name on the lease but knew to shut up.

This child of mine is twenty-seven, he is an adult. Whatever the reason to not go and finalize the closure is between him and the landlord. Not mom. Actually, it took pressure off me, as I have no control. He has and will make decisions I may or may not agree with but he knows he has to face consequences if a wrong decision or circumstance. I have seen him work through situations, not asking for help or a handout, which makes me proud. Sometimes, if he would just listen to his mom, it would be easier. Right?

On my hour drive home, I was thinking about the move, our conversations and knowing he is at a fork in the road with his business due to the pandemic. He is a true entrepreneur and will figure it out, he always does.

Driving and thinking back also on my young, single days, as he is, I made some stupid decisions and have regrets. We all have. It’s part of growing up and being mature and independent. The words, I wish I did, I wish I didn’t, if only I could go back, I regret, etc., those moments are done and over. Hopefully, through each circumstance, we all have learned a lesson. Some do and some don’t.

The independence of this adult son, both sons, continue to grow and mom is not needed as much. While I am proud of them, I find it sad. I see the tide turning, as I add their names to my emergency contacts. I seem to ask for their advice more and for help, if needed. I’m not a nursing home candidate yet but my stage in life is gaining ground.

As there is distance between us, it takes time to organize to visit, and the days pass so quickly. I often wonder if one day they will regret not calling or texting mom more or visiting, etc. I would say that is a rite of passage for all parents and children, which is sad. I want them to remember their mom as being their biggest cheerleader in life, that they never had to wonder if they were loved, I was always available 24/7, even for those 3:00 a.m. calls, as my youngest knew I would be there for him and to pray. Remembering our laughter of silly times together or knowing I would always help clean, catch up on their laundry, decorate and hang curtains that I hope to finish this weekend. I’m there for them, if they want or need me.

It’s probably a good thing we live an hour away. Mom has her place but not in their business. They are doing fine on their own. I am one proud mom.

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/11-encouraging-prayers-for-your-son.html

https://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/pray-for-your-adult-children-11607227.html

https://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/01/17/10-prayers-for-your-daughter/

No Bounce Back

2021 Happy New Year!

I am such a party animal, on New Years Eve I was in bed at 10:30 p.m. No party, no celebration, no nothing, nothing out of the ordinary, year after year. The house was quiet as a mouse. As I awakened, hearing the neighbors shooting off fireworks, I knew we were in 2021, and I rolled over and mumbled Happy New Year to the cat.

As I laid there thinking while trying to fall back asleep, knowing many go out and celebrate, ringing in the New Year, which has been a blur but remembrances of loneliness through the many years remain. For whatever reason, my mind went back many years ago of my counselor trying to get me to open up and talk through the depressed state I was exhibiting.

I could see her, telling me and showing that conversation is back and forth, like passing a ball back and forth, a beach ball was her visual. It takes at least two people to pass the ball back and forth, it’s more fun. As I pondered the years feeling alone, to remember that I love to slow dance but it’s hard with just one. I love to laugh and have fun, but it is impossible when he is humdrum. I’m not one to go out, drink and party whether it be a New Years Eve celebration, etc., but every once in awhile, just to have fun, as there is none. The seriousness in this man under the same roof is as dry as a desert in the hot sun. My exhaustion level increases if I even try to say something, all I get each and every time is a ‘What?’ It takes him time to process what I say whether a word, sentence or comment. I believe this is normal of having Aspergers, I get it. Understanding Aspergers more, I find it best to remain quiet and that’s no fun. I don’t have it in me anymore to bounce the ball after all of these years.

Slowly through the years, I am making and have made some changes and moving along when years ago, I saw no hope to do so. I felt stuck. My counselor and I would discuss issues to solve in order to move forward, and I would hopelessly reply to her that it cannot be done and I don’t know how. Now, almost four to five years later what we discussed is now complete. A miracle. I moved onto the next area, which was conquered, too. Progress was being made but I again am at a huge wall where I say I cannot do this, I don’t know how.

What I do know is to wait, ‘Be Still… and know that I am God.’ This verse is placed in front of me to see and read wherever I turn, whether at home or at work.

Today I have more hope and faith to prove in time I will know what and when to push through the wall that is blocking me now. I will have yet another but this one is huge. As I stated before, I know to take one task at a time and one day at a time. Often praying as in the past, ‘Lord I have to trust you. I don’t know how to do (whatever it is hindering me) but You will open doors and make a way when it is time.’ I’m not giving up and just die although it has certainly felt as if I would before going through this valley of death. I’m going through!

Again and again over the years, I would say, ‘Lord, surely the rest of my life will not be this way. There has to be more.’ I do know that timing is everything, even when I feel the clock has stopped and I am stuck once again. I know to be patient and hold on as soon the way forward will come about and I will see it done, as before. Just like that. His power, not mine. I stand in amazement, my faith increases and I become stronger within.

I may not have a partner to bounce the ball back to me, but I know who provides the breaths of air within me. To look over my life, even from a child, the Lord has been right there with me. When my faith was weak and I felt hopeless as each New Year came and I felt so alone, I knew He was and is with me. I hold on tight and say, ‘Lord I don’t understand but I trust You, I have to trust You.’

My plans are not His plans. He knows the desires of my heart. I know to wait and He will direct my path to move forward, which will be easy and quick. I have seen it too many times, as have my counselors when facing a wall that I cannot do this and I don’t know how. One day, it is done! Let’s move forward to the next. I wait.

The New Year is here. We are all uncertain what the year holds but we made it through the last one and it had all sorts of surprises and problems. We made it!
Let’s hope and pray that there is no bounce back from 2020, now that it is 2021.

Maybe one day before I die, I will have someone to bounce a ball with and enjoy laughter along the way. I do have hope.

Note: To be open and vulnerable in this blog is not easy. Do I post, do I not, is it just me writing? It hasn’t been easy, my health has taken some blows from it all. What I do know is that I am not the only one dealing with this issue and hopelessness felt in a marriage, feeling alone. There are many around us pretending to be a happy couple who is suffering within. It was once me. No more pretending, I’m too,old. Perhaps my path will lighten those that relate and provide hope. The beach ball can bounce again!

https://www.drcarolministries.com/how-to-know-if-you-are-released-from-your-marriage/

https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/3-reasons-why-we-stay-in-unhappy-marriages

https://www.verywellmind.com/throwing-the-towel-in-marriage-2300478