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What is the best way of dealing with people who makes fun of you?

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Psychiatrist
Practicing since : 2003
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what is the best way of dealing with people who makes fun of you? I am a little overweight guy ( 6 feet 90 kgs), who is not highly socibale , well educated, well employed and happily married. my problem is that i do feel very irritated when somebody in public ( groups) laugh when i pass through.public can be collegaues, unknown persons etc.I Ijust want to know the best way to deal with this effectively.

also i have this problem that i have suspicion that i have bad breath or body odour which makes me a little aloof from people. I consult dentist regularly and they feel my teeth is okay.My wife feels that i am very clean and neat. Also i dont feel like going to functions or parties.

please advise me how to tackle these effectively so that i can hold my head high and walk with dignity and relaxation
Posted Wed, 28 Nov 2012 in Mental Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 2 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

I will certainly advise your regarding your problems. In order to have a better understanding of your problems, can you please provide the following clarifications:

How long have you been having these problems?

Did it start gradually or all of a sudden? Was there any particular incident or situation which trigerred these feelings / thoughts?

Do people tell you directly that you look ugly or fat or that your breath smells bad, etc.?

How much of a social, occupational and day-to-day dysfunction is this problem causing you?

How much of a concern do you have about your 'overweight' or body image?

Do you frequently experience other problems like low self-esteem, low mood, negative thoughts, anxiety, excessive fears, etc.

Do you smoke or consume alcohol or any other drugs?

Have you had any psychiatric assessment / treatment for these problems before?

Please get back to me with these details, so that I can guide you better.

Regards,
Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What is the best way of dealing with people who makes fun of you? 6 hours later
How long have you been having these problems : since child hood

?Did it start gradually or all of a sudden? gradually

Was there any particular incident or situation which trigerred these feelings / thoughts? in child hood friends used to tease me for overweigh. i remember one of my close relatives commenting about XXXXXXX breath.

Do people tell you directly that you look ugly or fat or that your breath smells bad, etc.? never. but from their mannerism i feel like that


How much of a social, occupational and day-to-day dysfunction is this problem causing you? normal in all except i am not outgoing type and not mingling type.

How much of a concern do you have about your 'overweight' or body image?
too much

Do you frequently experience other problems like low self-esteem, low mood, negative thoughts, anxiety, excessive fears, etc. yes

Do you smoke or consume alcohol or any other drugs? never in life

Have you had any psychiatric assessment / treatment for these problems before?

i have consulted a psychatrist at my home town. he didint seem much concerned about my issues. he dismissed it as normal
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 15 hours later
Hello again and thanks for your clarifications.

After going through your history, it appears that you have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself and an excessive worry about your body image. Your BMI (Body Mass Index) calculation works out to 27.78 which indicates that you are overweight. But still, the amount of distress and worry which you seem to be experiencing due to this is disproportionately large. These negative thoughts about yourself gradually seems to have resulted in a decline in your self-esteem, and ultimately you have reached a state where you have started believing that you are socially inferior and ridiculed by others.

I think you have made the reght decision in seeking help for this problem, otherwise these persistent thoughts and excessive worries would ultimately result in a major depression. Now, the first step in dealing with these social problems is to build uo your self-esteem and confidence levels. Remember this example that if you wear dark glasses, then the whole world will appear only dark to you. So, if you have a pre-fixed negative idea that you are not good-looking or socially unacceptable, then, subconsciously, you will also start feeling that everyone is making fun of you. So, the first thing to do is to start thinking positively.

Secondly, if you are already having a pre-set fear or anxiety that people may dislike you, then you will automatically start avoiding them. Soon, they will also start thinking that something is wrong with you (because YOU are avoiding them) and stop mingling with you. On the other hand, you will misinterpret their behaviour and start thinking that they don't like you and that is why they are avoiding you. So, this will just become a viscious cycle and keep getting worse and worse. After some time, it will become falsely embedded in your mind that people don't like you, that they find you ugly or disgusting and that they are trying to make fun of you. So, the second step in handling this problem is to break this viscious cycle. If you control your negative thinking and start going ahead and mingling with people, then soon they will also start interacting with you and soon matters will improve.

Thirdly, you also seem to be having social anxiety or social phobia. This is another aggravating factor for your current problem. Learning better social skills and learning to control your anxiety in front of others will help you develop more confidence and self-esteem.

My strong advise to you would be to consult a psychiatrist for further therapy. This can be in the form of counselling / psychological therapies as well as medication. Now, there are various forms of psychological therapy available. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is a special psychological therapy which will specifically help you get rid of these negative thoughts and build up your self-esteem. There are also other therapies like behavioural therapies, relaxation therapies, hypnotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, etc.

"Systematic desensitization" is a popular form of behavioural therapy for social anxiety. Here, you are first thought to master certain relaxation techniques which you can readily employ at times of facing social situations. Then with the help of your therapist you will be making a hierarchy of social situations which cause you anxiety, starting from the least severe to the most severe. Then you will be guided to face these situations, starting from the least severe, and by using the relaxation techniques which you have mastered, you will be able to overcome each social situation step by step.

There are other psychological therapies, mostly aimed at countering your anxiety with relaxation - like relaxation therapies, hypnotherapy, etc. Since you have developed your social anxiety from childhood, you may also benefit from psychodynamic psychotherapy (which basically involves exploring unconscious inner conflicts which may have its roots in your childhood).

You also need help to work on your low self-esteem and the negative / self-reproachful thinking pattern which contributes a lot your social avoidance. Learning new social skills and practicing them whenever possible is also important for success.

Finally, there are also medication available which can help you control your excessive worries and fears and also reduce your social anxiety. Therefore, please don't hesitate to consult a psychiatrist and take further treatment.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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