Paruresis and the blame game

People experiencing paruresis (also known as shy bladder syndrome) may sometimes fall for the trap of ruminating over and complaining about external factors such as public restroom layouts. For example, one might think ‘I wish the restroom at my place of work had floor to ceiling cubicles’ or ‘I’m experiencing a bashful bladder because the lavatory at the nightclub my friends go to has no lock in the cubicles’.

Whilst I understand where you are coming from, this thought pattern is counter-productive for a variety of reasons.

Stick man with paruresis angry at restroom layout

Firstly, the more you focus on external factors, the less you focus on improving your internal world. Think about this for a second, how can you become able to void in public restrooms which may be lacking privacy (by your current standards of privacy)? Should you try and convince restroom designers and the owners of every venue with a restroom to install dividers between urinals, locks in every stall and sound-proof, floor-to-ceiling doors? Or, should you focus on calming your internal world to become the version of yourself that is able to pass urine in whichever environment you might find yourself in?

Furthermore, complaining about the restroom design in public places or complaining about how off-putting others’ restroom etiquette can be (e.g. talking loudly or using the urinal/stall right next to yours), does nothing other than put you at the mercy of such factors. And guess what? These external factors are probably not going to disappear anytime soon.

For instance, if there is a large gap in between the floor and the cubicle door in a public restroom, complaining about this only outs you at the mercy of this design. A better, more constructive attitude would be to accept reality for how it is (not all restrooms offer lots of privacy) and channel your energy into disinhibiting yourself from these privacy-lacking environments.

Taking responsibility for one’s own bashful bladder means recognising that you have the power to make changes in your life and seeking help when necessary. It also involves being proactive in seeking out resources and developing strategies to implement on your road to recovery. 

It is absolutely true that ‘triggering events’ may be completely out of your control. For instance, if once upon a time, someone made a crude joke and nudged you while you were voiding at a urinal, consequently having you spill urine over yourself, that is not your fault!

However, if an event similar to this is what triggered the onset of your shy bladder syndrome, it is your responsibility to deal with the consequences and seek out help or take the action necessary to become desensitised to such environments.

It is imperative that you do not adopt a victim’s mentality. A victims mentality is the easy thing to do. It is easy to just point fingers and blame others. But how far will this get you? Not very.

You must realise that you are in the drivers seat. You are in control. Wether you exacerbate your paruresis or wether you gradually become more desensitised due to your actions and behaviour is all down to you and you alone.

Some may view this as harsh. I sympathise with you but fact of the matter is that my sympathy won’t get you very far.

You must not fool yourself into thinking that you can not take responsibility for overcoming your paruresis and not live with the consequences.

And that is all for this one folks. Have a beautiful day!

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