How to tell someone you have Paruresis - Shy Bladder Syndrome

How to tell someone about your Paruresis

We find telling people you trust on a need-to-know basis about your difficulties peeing often proves to be a relief because it means you can stop all the deception.

It’s not easy to tell somebody but the vast majority of people who did say it was worth it. 

The key phrase, however, is people you trust on a need-to-know basis. It’s really important that the person you choose to tell is someone you trust to treat what you tell them sensitively. We suggest telling them if they need to know, as an example if you’re going on holiday together, you’re becoming a couple, or to give you support when you go out. 

If you do decide to tell someone about your paruresis, we recommend leading them in gently: avoid dropping them in the deep end. Here’s one way of doing that.

"You know what a phobia is, don't you?" (of course they do, but it sets a context).

"Its an illogical fear of something - like being scared of spiders."

"Well I've got a phobia and its really messing up my life, and I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone.” (Now they know it’s serious and will be concerned).

"My social anxiety means I can't do something when there are people around, like stage fright where someone can’t speak while being watched.” (This gives them an example they can understand).

"In my case, when there are people around, I can’t pee. I want to go, but my body doesn’t respond. It’s horrible and makes my life miserable. I've discovered it's a recognised condition, and a surprising number of men and women have it, but no-one talks about it.”

If they ask how they can help, you can say that just their knowing takes a weight off your shoulders. But now they will understand when you choose one pub over another and not dispute it; they can understand when you need to take your time in the loo and not query it; they will now realise why you might ask them to do something unusual for you.

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Last review date: January 2023.
Next review date: January 2026.

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