I do not handle my own cringe well.
I actually don’t handle anyone’s cringe well as my sympathetic embarrassment pains are pretty intense. If you’ll recall, I had an Embarrassment Pillow on my couch I would use to cover my face during the years we watched American Idol. I really don’t like witnessing other people’s cringey moments either. I’ve even been known to plug my ears during the inevitable scene in some RomComs where someone’s intentions are misunderstood. IT IS A SCRIPTED MOVIE I KNOW WILL HAVE A HAPPY ENDING AND I STILL CAN’T HANDLE IT.
But my responses to my own embarrassing moments? DEFINITELY MORE INTENSE.
I tend to try to erase it from my memory and sometimes that means never following up and leaving things hanging. Like, once someone emailed me and in the first sentence I realized I had misunderstood something and responded incorrectly in my previous email and so you know what I did? I DID NOT EVEN FINISH READING THE EMAIL. I just closed it, archived it, and never followed-up with the person again.
I WAS TOO EMBARRASSED TO FACE MY OWN EMBARRASSMENT.
Or if I think I have screwed something up before, I have gotten someone else to read the response for me to cushion the blow. DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY I AM TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO WILL DO THIS FOR ME? I’ll be like, “Hey, I might have made a mistake and I’m embarrassed so can you read this email for me and tell me what it says?” And my safe-people who I turn to say, “Sure!” and then I get the message filtered and I never have to read the actual works to twinge my own embarrassment.
Other times it’s just a solid effort to block it from my memory. I sent someone a really weird text one time thinking they were the one that invited me to a Pokémon raid and their response indicated they had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT and so I just kind pretended it never happened. I didn’t even explain myself because I WAS TOO EMBARRASSED TO TRY TO EXPLAIN TO AN ADULT WHO DIDN’T PLAY POKÉMON WHY I WAS APOLOGIZING FOR MISSING A RAID. I just left them confused and then just kept interacting with them on Facebook like nothing weird had ever happened.
I am just incapable of handling anything embarrassing in a healthy or mature way.
BUT I SURVIVE.
Basically these are the type of things that fall under the category “acceptable adaptations” for someone with extreme social anxieties. Are they ideal? No. BUT. The fear of those cringe moments would keep me from interacting with ANYONE, EVER, if I’m not careful so I allow myself these strange adaptations to keep me from locking myself in my home and never talking to another human ever again.