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Trouble With Eye Contact?


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35 replies to this topic

#1 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 10:58 AM

I used to be someone who always made lots of eye contact, but over the past year or so, I find it harder and harder. Now, I can't stand it when someone locks eyes with mine and has aggressive eye contact. It feels disturbing to me. I've noticed this at work several times, usually with people outside the office coming in. I have to get over it because it's part of my job, but I was curious if anyone else had noticed this. When I lived in New York City, everyone always acted like they weren't making eye contact with anyone. I never had a problem with it. Now I do. I know it's because my anxiety has gotten worse. It kind of makes me feel sad. I have to look away or I feel like my eyes get all weird and then wonder what they think.

:mad1:
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#2 gemstar

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:20 AM

Hi,

I have had that issue in the past, usually when I am having a hard time with my self confidence, and having a feeling of wanting to hide from others. I'm usually feeling highly sensitive during those times as well, and eye contact feels too intimate. It's a trust thing.
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#3 Axe39

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 06:42 PM

I find eye contact extremely uncomfortable, entirely because of my low self-esteem. I feel like I'm being judged.

#4 afraidtolive

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 06:14 PM

Same here. I find that I can't be very articulate when I'm looking someone in the eye, I have to look away to get my words out right. I just feel nervous when I have to make eye contact.
"One ceases to recognize the significance of mountain peaks if they are not viewed occasionally from the deepest valleys."

#5 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 10:32 PM

I find this is getting worse. At work, when I am at my desk and someone walks up, I have to look up at them, and my eyes start to water, and it is really difficult to make eye contact. I have used the excuse of allergies several times now. Maybe it is because my eyes are dry and looking up causes them to legitimately water. (Maybe it's med related - Lamictal?) I will have to buy eye drops and see if it helps. If not, it is seriously due to trouble with eye contact, probably due to anxiety... has this happened to anyone?
Many Blessings,
SW
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#6 anchor

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 04:12 AM

I'm on the same page. For myself: It is part of the monster - PTSD. I know how hard it is.

Spiritual Wanderer: You should be proud of yourself for holding down your job and not decaying any further. The biggest mistake I ever made was to quit working.

All the best :-)

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#7 nocturneangel

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 06:59 AM

I'm having problems with eye contact due to social anxiety, I prefer not being looked at.

If eye drops don't work, you could try exposure technique. Ask someone you're comfortable with to hold eye contact. Maybe this helps.
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#8 sober4life

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

I always have problems making eye contact with people. People think what I say is lies because I can't look them in the eyes but really it's because of anxiety. I don't care who I'm talking to. I can't make eye contact for more than a second or two. I'll be looking at the ceiling or off to the side. :coophelp:

#9 Teddy545

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 06:45 PM

I have this problem too. I think I end up looking at peoples forehead or cheeks instead. When I do make eye contact I start to wonder what one of their eyes I should be looking in, how long should I be looking etc.

Edited by Teddy545, 30 October 2011 - 06:46 PM.

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#10 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:31 PM

This is getting worse. I don't understand it unless it's dry eyes. I am definitely getting eye drops - today! I hope this works. I do not know if it is a side effect of my meds or what. I do not feel anxious inside when it happens but it bothers me. I have been using "allergies" as an excuse. :(
Many Blessings,
SW
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#11 Teddy545

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:44 PM

That seems weird if it only happens when you look into someones eyes.
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#12 Guest_voicesandvandals_*

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 11:48 PM

I do too. I actually have a hard time focusing on anyone. My eyes tend to move around. I notice the background and my surroundings more than the actual person I'm talking to most of the time.

Edited by voicesandvandals, 02 November 2011 - 11:48 PM.


#13 Brah

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:41 PM

I sometimes have anxiety about looking into people's eyes, I'll worry that I'm looking too long and they'll be creeped out or my eyes are darting away too much and they'll think I'm weird. Only I have the opposite problem, where my eyes start to feel dry and all weird. For me the feeling has to do with nerves and anxiety.

#14 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 03:27 PM

This seems to have gotten better, so I have no idea what it is/was. The eye drops helped and I am not having to use them as much. Weird. Maybe it is/was anxiety, I don't know. or a med SE which is going away?
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#15 orkadmon

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

hey all - i have some information i would like to share i hope it will be useful - i was feeling majorly depressed today even a bit suicidal like what's the point of it all? i went walking around the market place which being a dirty place made me even more depressed then i started looking people in the eye, that is into both eyes (a little secret i once learned is to look at the light reflecting in other peoples eyes and that way you connect to their souls) most people looked away before any eye contact but some people really looked back into my eyes - i realised that these people were also lonely like me and after a while i actually started feeling better. can i please give some tipe out for eye contact?
1. instead of eye drops blink your eyes rapidly to make them moist before looking someone in the eyes
2. it actually helps while looking to make a soft "s" sound through your teeth
3. during eye contact light is passed between the two people so before you make eye contact blink first rapidly then look into any light source first for a second or two
4. the funny thing about aggression is that eye contact actually takes it away even tho they say dont look a gorilla in the eye or it will chomp you
thanks
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#16 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:08 PM

That is an interesting post, thanks. :)

I find my problem isn't that bad anymore, but I still have to look away several times. Prolonged eye contact puts me on the verge of the issue flaring up again. It just never was like that before.

I like the idea of connecting to people's souls by focusing on the light reflecting off people's eyes.
Many Blessings,
SW
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#17 PinkyOH

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:39 PM

I have this problem as well. Stems mostly from self esteem issues. I try but it feels so foreign since I am over 40 and have had this issue as far as I can remember.

Like another DF'er I just don't know which eye to look at too. Where do you look??

#18 LibraryLady

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:39 PM

I liked Orkadmom's post too, very interesting! I have never had trouble looking people in the eye. I am very good at covering up my actual feelings, so when they look at me, they don't see past my "mask". If they could, I would not look at them! All they see is a jolly fat lady. :-)
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#19 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

I think the general consensus is that most people look into a person's right eye when speaking. I'm pretty sure there are several theories about what it means if you look at the right or left eye. I typically look at the right eye.
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Don't let the muggles get you down. ― J.K. Rowling

#20 PinkyOH

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:50 PM

Their right eye or their eye that is on your right? lol sorry have to ask

#21 Sanda

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

Their right eye or their eye that is on your right? lol sorry have to ask

LOL thanks that made me chuckle. This has been an on-off problem for me all my life, definitely more natural to make eye contact if I'm overall feeling more confident & self assured about how my life is going.

That is not the case now, and I've found myself looking everywhere but in someone's eyes. Feel nervous, hunted, on the edge of disaster, and don't want anyone at work to figure that out from my eye contact! As hard as it seems to be for me to read people, I myself seem to be very transparent, sigh. I feel very vulnerable these days so I have this "guarded" aura hanging over me.

Not proud of it, sigh. Confident people are supposed to be able to make frank eye contact. But hoping confidence will return gradually as my home & financial situation become more secure.

#22 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:14 PM

It's their right eye. I read one theory online that the reason people don't typically look into a person's left eye is because that is like looking into their emotional being and it's a more personal look into them? Who knows! Maybe we should all do an experiment and try to look into a person's left eye and see if it makes us uncomfortable or something.
Many Blessings,
SW
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Don't let the muggles get you down. ― J.K. Rowling

#23 Whimberry

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:37 AM

eye contact lately causes me actual, real physical pain. can't explain how it was beaten out of me, but, it feels forbidden and terrifying. i think eye contact is going to be an on-going problem for me for awhile. as is touch, as well. i have to get a grip on screaming every time someone touches me. even a door touching me is unbearable. sorry, went off the eye contact topic there. sigh.
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#24 crazyguy

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:23 AM

Eye contact is very difficult for me. I'll try some of the tips above and see if it helps. I'm not sure why I feel shy about eye contact, it's definitely worse since I have been depressed. It still contuse on anti depressants so maybe it is a partly the drug. I especially must look down to speak to someone which really makes no sense.

#25 Whimberry

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:08 PM

tunnel vision or faint double-images can be from med's, i think, i had that tunnel vision. not with black, just focusing straight ahead, not seeing the world around me, only straight ahead. went away, was glad.

#26 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:16 PM

I've been having trouble with my "thing" again today and this week. It's like if I maintain eye contact, my eyes start to feel dry and tear up, so I have to look away in order to maintain. Sucks. Weird.
Many Blessings,
SW
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Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien
Don't let the muggles get you down. ― J.K. Rowling

#27 mef123

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:26 AM

I'm going to be the one who is different, I have no problem with eye contact even though I have social anxiety, agoraphobia and OCD. It's actually weird that I don't but I was told when I was in school that eye contact is very important and it stuck. Sometimes I think the person is probably uncomfortable with my eye contact. Oh well.

I hope your eyes start to feel better.

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#28 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:49 AM

Thank you, Michele.

It's weird because I also used to feel making eye contact was VERY important. I have been involved in public speaking and theater/music with no big issues.
I don't know what it is. I don't even feel nervous talking to people! Sometimes I wonder if it's the medication I'm on?
Many Blessings,
SW
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Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien
Don't let the muggles get you down. ― J.K. Rowling

#29 Fisher

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:49 PM

When I lock eyes with another person, I see them too clearly. I see into them, and I fear that they see into me as well. For an instant, my mind tries to seize onto their point of view. I involuntarily attempt to assimilate their thoughts and movements; reversing my perspective. And then I'm looking back at myself, through their eyes. The reflection repulses me. It scares me. I look away.

#30 tylamon

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:09 AM

I avoid eye contact with just about everyone. I feel if I make eye contact, I'm challenging the person to judge me, to decide I'm a freak, and to hate me. Its easier to keep my eyes down, and not provoke people.

#31 keepwalking

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:20 AM

I got an idea: When you make eye contact with someone, if you smile, will that alleviate your anxiety?

#32 etsx70

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:01 AM

I got an idea: When you make eye contact with someone, if you smile, will that alleviate your anxiety?

Maybe only if it is genuine?
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#33 meistersinger

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:42 AM

I've always have had problems making direct eye contact with someone. It always is intimidating when I am forced to do it.

#34 etsx70

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:39 PM

I've always have had problems making direct eye contact with someone. It always is intimidating when I am forced to do it.


Me, too. I look at people's mouths when they talk...I feel like I'm a puppeteer, sometimes, pointing my eyes, and raising my eyebrows to look like someone who knows what they're doing. Terrifying.

So what do we do? I make an effort to at least glance at the end of a sentence.

An autistic kid I worked with told me that eye contact felt, to him, like standing too close to a big fire.
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#35 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:52 PM

I think I might have figured out what my problem is. Light sensitivity. I have become crazy sensitive to light - the sun, and even indoor lighting. Its very uncomfortable. I just want to squint or blink and it's hard for me to stare at people when they are talking to me. And I don't feel nervous at all when it's happening, so I know it's not anxiety. I am seeing my doctor on Monday because I am wondering if it is caused by medication. I'm also considering getting new glasses that are made to block out bright light. It sucks. :(
Many Blessings,
SW
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Don't let the muggles get you down. ― J.K. Rowling

#36 hawkears

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:02 AM

When I was in college, I had to take a speech/public speaking class. The professor, who was awesome, told us to look at a person's nose instead of doing direct eye contact. It looks like you're doing direct contact, but you aren't! I do this all the time when I'm around people I don't know well.




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