telephone anxiety image

Fear of the Telephone

This was always one of my biggest issues.

I missed out on so many opportunities, because there was no way I was going to use the telephone.

fear of using the telephoneAs a teenager, if the landline would ring (back in the 70’s we didn’t have cell phones 🙂 ) I would pretend I hadn’t heard it ringing. I felt like if I picked up the phone, I would catch a ‘killer virus’ or something.

My hands would sweat, my heart would race, sometimes to the point where I
would get dizzy.

Even as an adult, my aversion to the telephone caused some major problems, including getting laid off from I job I loved. (You can read more about that in my new book if you’d like 😉 ).

Initially, I just put it down to social anxiety (I’d suffered from that for years), but it was making me quite ill. And the worst part was, I couldn’t figure out why it was so powerful !

The Revelation

While I was training in Clinical Hypnosis, it was a requirement that I went through the process, with a practicing clinician. There was no agenda, it was just a learning experience.

Fortunately for me, one of the things that came up during my time in therapy, was an incident that I’d completely forgotten about.

I was maybe 13, or 14 years old. I was home alone and the telephone rang. I picked it up and told the caller my phone number (I have no idea why everyone did that back then.The caller must know the number already, because they just called it!!). Anyway, it was a sales call. I told the caller my parents weren’t home and rather than end the call, he started to ask some rather inappropriate questions.

I felt very embarrassed. But all the time, I could hear the voices of my parents saying “Always be polite. Manners cost nothing”. I couldn’t hang up.

Gaining Clarity

Once I’d re-lived this moment again, I understood why the telephone had been such a problem for me. That call had anchored in me the emotion of fear with using the telephone. In that instant, I had given myself the negative belief that the telephone was something to fear. And because my mind had completely hidden the incident from me, I just thought it was one of my many social anxiety issues.

Now, with adult eyes I could see the folly of linking the two things. But our minds are adept at creating negative anchors, even if they’re not logical.

no telephone fearSo, you’re the first person I’ve told about that experience, but I think it’s important to be honest with you.

Of course, not everyone’s experience is going to be the same as that. But it’s important to remember that almost all confidence or social anxiety issues are caused by your belief system.

The good news though, is because you’re all grown up now, once you’ve identified these ridiculous beliefs, it’s pretty easy to get rid of them.

Your Turn to Change Your Beliefs

So, I have an exercise for you today, with three parts…..

  1. Take your fear of using the telephone (or a different negative belief that you’d like to change).
  2. And spend a few minutes thinking about when this belief first occurred
    (if you’re not sure, guess
    🙂 ).
  3. Then, ask yourself…. “Is this belief really true?”

You see, beliefs are just thoughts. Thoughts that you anchored as important, some time in your past.

Your beliefs are built unconsciously, so there’s no resistance to them, even if they’re illogical. You just accept them as being true. In fact the definition of ‘Belief‘ is “…… the feeling of being certain that something exists, or is true, even without proof”.

It’s because of that belief, you don’t ever question their validity. But, once you take a few moments to examine them, your whole world opens up to the other possibilities.

Give it a try and let me know what happens 🙂

Steve, who's also the Founder of Teen Anxiety UK, has been writing books and articles about various aspects of Psychology since 2006.

For the last five years, he's main focus has been in helping build confidence and self-esteem.

His formal qualifications include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP and CBT.

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