Column: Social anxiety, the most jealous partner
Hello there, reader. I’m the author’s social anxiety.
You don’t know about me. You think she would have introduced me — but who am I kidding? She’d never be that brave.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, someone with me “feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in certain or all social situations, such as meeting new people, dating, being (in) a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store.”
She doesn’t like telling people she’s going out with me because she’s afraid people will judge her for it. So, I like to remind her I’m always there.
I’ll admit I’m a controlling partner. Oh, I let her do some things. I let her order food, namely because a girl’s got to eat. I let her work two jobs because someone’s got to bring home the bacon.
But let her talk to boys? No thank you. I get exceedingly jealous when she even glances in a guy’s direction. If one of them addresses her, I immediately spring into action. I’m not about to let her be comfortable around him – she’s mine.
If a boy jokes around with her, I send her stutter into hyperdrive and make sure she overanalyzes everything he just said.
If he appears to flirt with her, I remind her how the gap between her teeth is too big, her nose is too prominent and oh, the rest of her? Yeah, not much to offer there. He can’t possibly be interested in her – she’s not sexy.
If he approaches her at a party, I flood her thoughts with how she shouldn’t have dressed the way she did. What if he perceives her to be a slut? That one works like a charm.
If he makes her mad, I force her to bottle it up because confronting him and working it out is a major red flag. I can’t possibly allow her to have closure with a guy.
Excuse me? What do you mean she and I have a “toxic relationship?”
I’ve been with her for years, so I think I know what’s best for her. Look at the results! Because of my presence, she’s matter-of-fact and serious. Because she’s afraid of dating, guys aren’t allowed the chance to grossly assume she’s a dumb blonde if she laughs or has fun. She's afraid of sex and marriage because she’d never want to share that intimate, emotional connection with someone – and then give them a chance to break it off without a second thought.
Controlling her has been a breeze. At least until now, because I've encountered a problem.
She’s been telling people about me. She spends time with them instead. She turns around and tells me to get out of her life, saying she’s done with the way I make her lie awake at night contemplating her very existence.
I beg her to stop. I need to stay in her life. Without me, she’d make a fool of herself in front of everyone, especially guys! She’d fall head over heels for boys only for them to break her heart over and over again. Why can’t she realize I’m what’s best for her?
Reader, I’m terrified. She’s been telling me she’s an independent woman. She "doesn’t need" me. She swears she's going to continue to fight me every day. One day, she vows, she'll break out of this relationship. She'll warn other people and make them understand how toxic I was. She'll make sure she helps others who have to endure me.
My God. Is she – is she gaining confidence in herself? I don't think I'm capable of handling that.
Lord help these boys. When it happens, they're not going to be able to handle it, either.