3 Reasons Your Family May Be Holding You Back

are relatives limiting you

Do you ever feel more shy around your family?

Do you feel weird being around people your own age when someone in your family is around?

How about talking to someone of the opposite sex when your parents are watching?

Does it feel weird when you try to be more outgoing and sometimes seem like your family wants you to keep being shy?

There are several reasons why you feel this way, and 3 major ones:

Reason 1: You Care What They Think

This is the biggie. It’s hard not to care what your family thinks. You may worry they judge how you act, who you know or what clothes you wear. If you’re a teenager or living at or near your parent’s home, it can be even more difficult.

One way to stop caring so much is to get a life. I mean it. Seek out new friends, new interests, and outside groups. If you have a life outside of the house you’ll stop caring as much about what your family thinks because they will become only part of your life, instead of being there always.

By the way, I know “get outside interests and friends” is a lot easier to say than it is to actually do. I know what it’s like to be shy and feel stuck inside the house. It’s like having an invisible barrier holding you down and you wish something would just “snap” and make your life better.

Reason 2: Won’t They Notice If You Change?

You’re afraid of suddenly acting more confident and talking less quiet because you don’t want your family to notice. This goes back to Reason 1, But there’s actually a much easier solution for this feeling.

Yes, they may notice you changing, but they won’t mind. If they do, it’s because they feel like they’re “losing control” over you. Some outgoing people feel more important around shy people because they like being able to boss them around and dominate over them. If your family doesn’t want you to change, hang around them less (see #1).

Also, it’s generally expected that shy people need some time to “break out of their shell”. You won’t really be surprising anyone.

Reason 3: They Know You’re Shy

It’s very hard to change the impression of you that your family has built up over many years. Maybe they see you as “a shy person”. The worst part about this is, the impression they’ve built up is like an elastic band. There’s no way to gradually make them see you as a more and more confident person. It will just snap back to “shy guy/girl”.

Get away for a bit. If you’re leaving for college or moving to a new, faraway job soon, that would be the best solution.

If they only start to see you occasionally, instead of every day, they will have to reevaluate and change their initial impression of you. They expect you to change if they haven’t seen you for a while. There’s also a second bonus to getting away.

People Have Expectations They Expect You To Live Up To

People generally behave as others expect them to behave. If your friends know you are shy, they won’t like it if you are suddenly loud. That’s not because they don’t want you to stop being shy, but it just seems weird. An outgoing, funny guy who is well-known will have every one’s attention as soon as he enters a room. That’s because everybody expects him to be outgoing and funny, and he plays into that expectation.

Imagine travelling to a new city. You could hop onto an airplane, and in a few hours, you’re in a totally different place. You could be who ever you want to be in that place. That’s the feeling “getting away” gives you.

In a different place, where no one has any expectations of what kind of person you are, you can “pretend” to be confident and change a lot more rapidly.

It’s like an instant shyness cure.


In this article, here’s what you’ve read:

  • There are many reasons for you to feel like your family is holding you back from changing.
  • What it all comes down to is you caring what they think. You can start caring less by building interests outside of your home and eventually, by having a social life.
  • They may notice if you start changing. Usually it’s expected for a shy person to take some time to “break out of your shell”.
  • They know you’re shy, and expect you to continue being the same person. One way to get around this is to get away from your family for a bit. Move away, and only see them occasionally. Maybe it’s college or a new job.
  • Getting away from your family for a bit will give you the opportunity to meet people who don’t know you’re shy and you can “pretend” to be confident. This is the fastest way to change.

If you want to learn some cutting edge techniques and strategies for making REAL progress with your shyness or social anxiety, check out my ebook.

I guarantee it’s the best information out there, and to put my money where my mouth is, I even offer an unconditional 60-day money back guarantee. If my techniques don’t work for you or you just don’t like the ebook for ANY reason, just contact me and I’ll refund all of your money.

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About the author

Sean Cooper

I study all areas of psychology, sharing what works (and what doesn't) for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. After curing my own severe social anxiety I created "The Shyness and Social Anxiety System" to help others. This program has received stunning reviews from psychologists and people like you.

Now it's my life's mission is to help 25,000 people get the confidence, friends and romantic partner you want!

Read more about me here.


  • Wow! This article is really good. It’s like it’s speaking directly to me. The thing about people having an expectation of who you should based on how you were in the past was right on, that is exactly how I feel like because for the past coupe of years in school I’ve been really quiet and I always worry about what would people around me if I suddenly acted different. Thanks for writing this.

  • personally the thing that hold me back in my family is that they think shyness is on my head plus they will tell me I will grow out of it like a magic will change me in to confident person when I hit 20.and also I know that they would not believe if they see me being a confident person. the first reason totally go with me.but really are there other shy people around the globe feeling almost the same like me?

  • People don’t like change, even when it’s positive change. For you, if you’re unhappy with the way things are and trying to change things by being more assertive or something, it’s positive change (but still feels uncomfortable as well, because it’s change). But for your parents, they might have liked the way things were before: a pleasant child they’ve trained not to argue or cause trouble, and now all of a sudden you’re standing up for yourself (they are feeling uncomfortable about what you’re changing AND about the fact that change is uncomfortable)… you will get “change back!” reactions from those around you and from within yourself.

    • PS: I say you will get “change back” reactions so that when you make the positive changes you will respect how difficult it is. Make changes SLOWLY. I am planning to do it with support, ie I’ll wait until I get in to see a therapist before tackling the biggest issues because I know how guilty I feel and how I isolate myself, when I try to stand up for myself. Do it, but do it slowly and with respect for how difficult it will be and trust that it will get better.

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