Monday, December 8, 2014

Aspie Woman in the Confusing Social World!

My nephew didn't respond. I suppose I should not be surprised. I made him a card and send him a nice letter. I said, "Please send me a short email, I just want to say hello!" Well, that is the last card I'm making him. I tried my best. No more empty wells. Why bother? No more getting hurt on my end. My life seems to be a replaying movie of these people with their hand's held up. Talk to the hand! they all say.

 I keep thinking of episode in a Peanuts movie where Snoopy is trying to visit Lula in the hospital and there is a big "No Dogs Allowed" sign on the front, yes the emotion is kind of like that.  Maybe my letter to him was written all wrong. I wrote it carefully, didn't write anything bad about any of the narcs so he shouldn't have been scared to respond but I am done.

This feeling invisible thing isn't any fun. It's depressing. It hurts. Depression licks at the edge of all this rejection even if my intellectual mind knows now what the narcissists did to me.

Sometimes I just do not understand how people's minds work. Of course in this case, narcissists were in the mix actively seeking to destroy the relationship. My Aspergers paved the way for the narcissists to take over easier. I lacked the social finesse to do battle.  I was a person at war without a sword. Aspergers vs. cunning narcs who have mastered the game of screwing people over, whose going to lose in the social world? Me.

The constant rejection hurts and is disappointing though. One reason I think for my life long struggle with depression is the abuse I had but also the social rejection. It does make me sad thinking of the rejection I faced. Some people like this nephew, I honestly loved too, only to be kicked the curb.  When I face what happened with my family, I realized I was rejected very early on. It makes me wonder if your child is so awful, why not hand them back to their real birth family--if I am adopted? Why didn't they let me stay with the Aunt that Loved me when I asked? If I was so awful why put us all through the torture?

My brother told me, last year there was a big blow-out in the family because when I had been sent to stay with her for those months,  I did not want to come home and asked to live with her! He told me, "Mom was pissed!" I was 6 years old. This may be when my mother really turned against me permanently. Of course if you treat your own child like crap, what do you expect? Maybe I just wanted to have some love, that was not too much to ask! Why did she take me back only to hate and abuse me more? Of course in this blog I have already written about the medical neglect regarding my Aspergers.

The other day, I told a friend, socially I am worn out! I have my close friends who I love dearly and enjoy visiting, one on one, I have very near and dear friends. They do not realize how they keep me going and bring so much happiness to life. However trying to go to groups, or parties or making new local friends I am weary.

 My Aspergers does impact me severely socially.  I and my husband outside of my close local and long distant friends and church are very socially isolated.  My husband has a couple old college friends but his Asperger traits too have impacted his life. The holidays are weird watching the neurotypicals bounce around their active party lives and long lists of friends and relatives. How do they manage all this? Their lives are so different from my own.  It comes so easily to them. This is a hard time of year for the poor, the lonely and the Aspie.  As I grew older, I had to accept things were different for me. I had the years where I tried very hard to get a "normal social life", all I got was worn out.

While I need my time alone and do not find solitude frightening....

I had years in my life where I had no friends, and no one. This can happen to Aspies. It happened to me in the early 90s, when all my college friends moved away. This was during my first no contact too.  Being in the hospital and having absolutely no one to call is frightening. Human beings are social creatures, it is scary to be in a world where you have no allies. I had phone contact with two friends and that was it back then. Living in a world with no support, is scary, I've already been there. Things kind of deteriorated for me then being low on money and living a life with pieced together jobs. I wouldn't eat at normal times and would stay awake until I passed out from exhaustion.

 I would thankfully meet my husband at the age of 25, but there were times in my early 20s where I had absolutely no one. Some would say did you learn self-reliance? No in my case, I was petrified every minute. I have told my husband I never want to live alone again, if anything happens to you. I didn't do well sitting at home with the empty walls. This is the kind of loneliness that can haunt you, the spectre is in my mind. This is to be avoided.

However the social world seems so hard.....

I told one friend, I just do not want to have to work so hard at other social things anymore. It's too tough. While I do book clubs and other events out of intellectual interests,in groups, I do very badly. In my case, the hearing impairment makes things very tough but try being superfat which is full of social landmines and an Aspie on top of it, that adds up to a triple whammy. A lot of people's voices I can't hear. I realized at my stamp club where at least half are over 70, I had a very difficult time hearing their voices, this is one reason I have not gotten to know many people in the group. The hobby keeps me coming but the social benefits are low in that particular club.

 For us Aspies, it can get very hard,  many social things outside our close individual friends can end up at a dead end for us. The rejection takes a toll on one's heart and mind. How am I to feel even as an Aspie realized I got the rejection of an entire family? It hurts. While I have good friends, there are the people who went poof too, and sometimes I never understood why or how it happened.  Some neurotypicals seem to view friendship differently then Aspies. I figured out life for them is a revolving carousel while an Aspie seeks stability and loyalty to friends.

 I believe many Aspies just give up and shut down, which is why too many people with Aspergers have gotten the reputation for being antisocial and not interested in friendship. This may apply to a few who are more severe on the spectrum but most people with Aspergers especially female Aspies, want friends!

Social cues are hard for Aspies and well in groups, it's hard to process all of what is happening. Many times I will be sitting in a group and someone will make a joke and everyone will be laughing and I have no idea what is going on or what is so funny. I trained myself long ago as a child to fake laughing when a group laughed because things get too weird if you sit there with a straight face and refuse to laugh at anyone's jokes.

 Hey some of the jokes I do get and are funny but too many of them I do not. A lot of jokes within groups are "in jokes" and I'm not always in on the information. I have this thing too where while everyone's conversation flows, often I end up interrupting without meaning to. I had to give up years ago and just decide interrupt or else I'd be sitting there without saying a word, so I probably appear to be a ruder person to some.  With the hearing loss, even with my hearing aid, I can miss words. Social events can be like trying to unlock a puzzle and in my case, I get the pieces wrong.

I often do say the wrong things to people. There are so many social rules to process. I never try to hurt anyone's feelings but one thing I have realized in the neurotypical world there is so much they consider offensive I do not consider offensive. I am not politically correct. I am too blunt.  I like an occasional debate that a neurotypical may interpret as a full blown argument. A lot of my life, is chipping away the sharp edges or at least trying to hide a few so I get along with people.  All the self censorship can get tiring. I have to weed out talking about my intense interests too much, and or over intellectualizing. I have to keep controversial topics at bay, that come up to my mind too often. My good friends enjoy this part of my personality.

 Most Neurotypicals also enjoy light banter and small talk, where to an Aspie these things are as dull as mud. Aspies often like to dive deep, but one thing I've learned over the years is only go deep with close friends, you will piss off a lot of neurotypicals talking about too much intense stuff. Some well meaning church and older women in my old town when I was younger, would write me cards, maybe giving me that subtle hint, to cool it a bit. "You're such a challenging thinker"! LOL

I have asked myself too, if Aspergers is the reason my family hated me too. Hey one should always examine all sides but then meeting lot of other Aspies where their families and parents loved them, I realized long ago I wasn't the main problem before narcissism was discovered. This sucks, shouldn't even a disabled person or someone with challenges be included in a family? There are children with other disorders like Down's where their parents loved them. My family was more the anti-Aspergers family. They hated books, praised appearances and social skills, everything Aspies failed at, so I became nothing but a failure to them even before I got really fat. I have seen and known some happy Aspies, in families that offered a lot of intellectual stimulus and love despite their differences. There the parent loves their child and wants the best for them.

One thing Aspies do have empathy, it is just harder for us to show. If anything we feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others. We may not show nurturance in the way we should always. I know one time when I feel overwhelmed is someone starts crying in a group, I am not sure what to say. I offer too much advice almost like a man, wanting to "solve the problem" when I should be saying, "Oh I am so sorry" and just being there. This is one social error, I have to be careful of. Inside I am often thinking "Oh my God!" and trying not to cry or make a fool of myself and wanting to help the person. I worry about people the same way and have concern for them. I am just as connected to others too. It's the matter of showing these things that can get complicated. I have no problem telling a close friend or my husband how I feel about them, but for some Aspies even sharing this in close relationships may be difficult.

Aspies have emotions, my husband says I cry at the drop of a hat. I had to learn to hide it though because blubbering during class, when I was still teaching wasn't going to work. Our affect can come across differently to neurotypicals who may be confused by our emotions. They do not understand why we are always so anxious or nervous, and some may feel angry at us for not "getting it together". We may come across as cold and detached when our nerves are making us shut down.

For the Aspies with higher IQs, this actually may cause us some problems as people's expectations of us do not match what we can actually do. Higher IQ in an Aspie does not always mean higher social functioning. Some of us, and one therapist told me I did this, learn to do what is called "cloaking". "Cloaking" is when an Aspie pretends to be neurotypical, it goes beyond shaving off annoying parts of your personality to having to hide almost the whole thing. I don't know if I was any good at cloaking but I know when I used to have jobs, I had to hide who I was to stay employed or else end up in the street.

My last job as the residential counselor took a massive toll because it was a very non-Aspie friendly environment. I do blame some of the break-down of my health on the acting job I had to do at work. Bosses would get mad at me though, one yelled at me during one week, that I lacked presence and seemed checked out. While teaching, I could be a bit Aspie at because the obsessive interest in art and art therapy could float that boat, though classroom discipline was always my biggest challenge.

We can be years behind too. I am not like most late 40 year olds, and have enough introspection to know that my life is nowhere near the normal late 40 year old woman who has had a career, and has grandchildren and financial stability.  I don't want to use the word immature, but we are behind and it shows! They do not realize that the way our brain works is the world is overwhelming to us, there is constant input bombarding us.  I know that I missed many adult developmental milestones. This isn't one thing explored much in Aspie literature which focuses on children and teens but I wish someone would write about older Aspies and how this plays out over the decades. In some ways, I live like a 20 something and in other ways like an 80 year old.

One thing that happens to me, is my mind is always active, that it gets tired. My occupational therapist of last year discovered my multiple sensory issues and how I get "lost in the details" of any task. These are things that have strongly impacted my life and functioning more severely then many things. Getting anything done even outside the big body and it's issues takes me forever. I can read a book in a day but it takes me an hour to get some dishes done. A lot of people out there, may not have patience with a middle-aged woman who gets confused so often and overwhelmed by minor tasks. I wrote about executive functioning already on this blog too and how that is a biggie for me.

Even at this advanced age, I have to remain cognizant of social skills matters but with the health it is harder to keep things going. Maybe I will be one of those purple hat wearing old woman that says what she wants and drives the room crazy. There is part of me who doesn't want to censor anymore and wants to let the "real me" hang out Aspie or not.

I did come out of the closet as an Aspie last year. On a social website, I do admit I have Aspergers openly to all friends. Some folks from high school said it explained a lot. Having doctors know about my Aspergers improved my medical care. Most of my friends know too. It has helped them understand me.

The social world for an Aspie is very different. It can be a confusing maze. I'm still trying to make sense of it even now.


  1. The social world is terrifying. For me, its all about this teasing that everyone does to eachother, quickie comebacks and stuff.

    I can't take any teasing. I think I maxed out on that a long time ago. Yes, I totally have been maxed out on the teasing, like a credit card, its all gone. I think that happened way back in high school. I can't kid back, I just can't.

    I do have my friends I talk to and the kids. Church groups are great, however even they can get to me. But I wasn't allowed to socialize as a youngen, mother would never allow it. I had to be a mirror is all. We would have to learn this in the formative years.

    I've been in a weird way lately. My husband is a boss at work. He tells me he gets called names and has a fight on his hands regularly. How the heck does he do that job? How? I'm clueless. I was not made for the modern world, it makes me sick. And angry.

    Aspies need so much more, its hard to figure all this stuff out.

    Well, just wanted to say good job contacting your nephew, that was all you had to do and you did well. The rest is not in your hands. I do know you would prefer to have some family on your side, and I know this hurts.

    I can say I know how you feel. This always hurts.

  2. Sorry Joan that the social world scares you too. I hate all the teasing too. It confuses me too. I don't like it and a lot of it is about the pecking order and often narcs will use teasing to put down the scapegoats. One thing about Aspies is we can be prone to bullying and for children [adults too?] the teasing is never ending. I was maxed out on teasing by the end of elementary school. Have no patience for it. I am would have to learn this in the formative years.

    I am glad you have your kids and friends to talk to. My church groups I am okay with. Most are nice, though sometimes the class stuff can enter in, but I usually just keep quiet. I remember in my old church where women signed up for an eighty dollar trip and I never could have afford it. So I've had my moments there too of feeling on the outside but there was never any mean intentions on their parts.

    I am sorry your husband gets called names at work. Even being a boss, he can't fire everyone and his boss would not be happy. I know my husband suffered at work too from the hands of the narcs. One narc boss and your career can be destroyed. I still remember the name of the one who decided to destroy his career. I was not made for this modern world either. I dream of leaving it to find another lifestyle. That's the reason I post about that. Too many outsiders and Aspies and nice people being treated like dirt. This is one wicked world indeed as the Bible states.

    Yes I wrote the nephew a heart-felt letter, nothing too overweening, asked him about his activities. This troubles me that they may have succeeded into turning him into an uncaring person too. I tried my best. Yes I wanted some family on my side and it did hurt. Thanks for understanding.

  3. This is an excellent article and explains the world of being an adult Aspie so well. I too find the holiday season depressing and exhausting because I have no family nearby and I am NC with my own mother, who like yours, hated and never understood my Aspieness. Having few friends and no relatives to be with is tough. I feel so left out when everyone all around me (the NTs) chatter excitedly about holday plans, parties, etc. I have to remain silent because I am not a part of that. I don't understand NTs or the way they think. I have to "fake it" too and it's SO exhausting and not fun for me at all. Tonight is the annual Christmas party and I am opting out because I just hate social gatherings like that, especially work related ones. I hate always having to be "on" and laugh at jokes I don't understand or haven't been a part of if they are in jokes . Anyway, I can completely relate to this article.
    Too bad Aspergers wasn't diagnosed in kids when we were young. Then again, our MN parents probably would have still hated us anyway even if they knew.

    1. This time of year is a bad one for me. I have to gear myself up and tell myself just make it to Jan 2nd, and then March 1st for the housebound junk. It does get depressing watching everyone [the NTs] chatter on about their parties, trips, vacations. Hearing people talk about buying presents, and expensive vacations, gets tough too. I don't understand the NTs either and we are in the same boat there. Sometimes I will go to parties or events, and be okay but I get stressed out easily. Work parties forget it, say one wrong word and you are toast. I guess I go to low risk places where if I said the wrong word it wouldn't be any skin off my back. I am glad you relate to my article. Yes we paid high prices for not having Aspergers diagnosed or dealt with. I was basically browbeated by way too many for not being who they wanted me to me. I think mine would have hated me anyway too. Too many Aspies are suffering.

  4. There's so much in this post Peep, I'd be typing forever-and Thread Hogging so I'll try to keep it...reasonable ;) (So much for my 'social skills,' huh?!)
    Being hearing impaired can be extremely isolating, no doubt about that. People who aren't aware of the hearing loss particularly and don't make allowances for it think someone who doesn't engage in the conversation is being rude-or worse! I don't know any way to address this other than to get the point across to the individual(s) I'm hearing impaired and if there are compensatory actions (like looking directly at me or speaking slowly-NOT loudly!) inform them of those as well.
    Peep, I'm really sorry. You're grieving so hard and so deeply, I get what you mean about not knowing what to do to "fix it" because I can't do much to help you except to promise you this is a horrid but absolutely necessary part of separating from the people who would continue to hurt you if they remained in your life. You know that intellectually, but it still hurts terribly and can seem so bleak, like it'll never end. But it does. I can't tell you when, I can only tell you it WILL. IMO, this is also a part of how we learn to Self-Reference rather than Other-Reference as our....ahem..."Others" (Family) aren't exactly healthy bench marks for Reference purposes! (Or much of anything else for that matter <ooh-God's gonna git me for that, huh??! Nah, it's the truth.)
    I guess I don't understand how it is you can not see the courage in yourself I see and have seen historically. I don't understand how it is you don't believe you express yourself so well when for sure you express yourself beautifully (and exquisitely painfully) in writing. I don't know how to reassure or show you your own worth, your own place in this world, your own goodness, your own dignity in the face of so much that would tell you otherwise, and I can't fix it-which is fine because you already are on your own journey even as I'm typing this. I have to remind myself of this; otherwise it seems I'm saying you're incompetant or somehow incapable and I KNOW that's not true at all.
    I love a lively discussion-what other people would call "arguments" I guess I just view as "passionate!" ;) Of course you're right about picking who to engage in these kids of 'discussions" and it's not just anyone, yk?! I'm sure your mind does get tired as it's clearly extremely active and your interests and the way in which you see the world as an Aspie is indeed different: I wish I had just a little of your creativity and imagination. sigh.
    There are times in our lives that just.plain.suck, Peep. I wish I could pretty up that reality somehow but it'd be a lie and completely disingenuous. You're too smart and I'm too respectful of both of us to even try. This I do know: When you've described your early to mid 20's, you've hit the same Themes of my own life at that time. It was horrible poverty, scary, lonely and just awful. Then it got a little better. Then it nose-dived even worse than before! (How is that even remotely fair?!) And then Peep, it started getting better and better. Guess what was going on at that time? The decision and implementation of NC.
    Before I got there though it seems I had to be, ahhh...'disabused' of ANY illusions externally and internally. And I didn't let go of any of 'em easily. I had to get hit with Reality repeatedly before I could accept what was rather than that which I so deeply wished for.
    All right, I'll shut up now. Just know Peep, I'm thinking of you and I hear you, OK? Thanks.

    1. Hey TW I like your long posts so don't worry. I know I have to continue mine a lot due to the limitations of blogger.

      Yes the hearing impairment is hard. You can't say WHAT more then once or twice or you anger people. There are times I pretend to hear what they are saying. My hearing doctor said I only have 50% word recognition. That is considered really bad. I am entering profoundly deaf land too which kind of scares me as well. When I used to have the really bad Menieres attacks, and before I got my hearing aid, I had to have people write me notes!

      Thanks for your kind words TW. I am grieving so much. The poverty, wondering why anything won't get better. The constant medical struggles, and now the NC thing and realizing how hated and uncared about I am by the whole family, it has been very hard. It was hard to face how much of a stranger I am to them.
      Yes I know I have to separate from them in my mind lest I get hurt over and over.

      Oh yes I agree about SELF REFERENCING. Definitely a change taking over me, where I go by what I think or want instead. Thanks for your kind words about my writing and worth. I do know being NC is healing some of things where I have had thoughts, "Those people were crazy, I am not what they said I was!" I know I definitely have faced things that are on the extreme side of the scale!

      LOL I love the passionate discussions too. Yes my mind does need it's rests. I know I see the world very differently. This helps with the creativity. I have to admit these are parts of life I enjoy some of the fun that keeps me going. I'm still working on that comic. Imagine this blog in graphic novel form. LOL

      Yes there are times in life that just suck. You are right. I know we should not sugarcoat it and too many people do. I am sorry you faced bad things in your 20s too. I know having a repeat of my 20s in my 40s has been very disheartening. I may write a post about me and husband soon and I asked his permission. It will discuss thoughts of an Aspie on marriage and the extreme struggles.

      Yes one goes through horrible things, then things plateau and get better and then the bad stuff returns. I used to say to husband, its like GroundHog Day returning. I hope NC will improve things. It improved my anxiety. It improved the level of stress and a lot more but I would like to see meta improvements, maybe it is possible.

      Yeah I know it took me multiple reality hits and realizing her impact on even the outer tier to get a clue. It is a family I never belonged in from the get-go. I know the human propensity to keep TRYING, is a bad one when it comes to narcs and their minions, because the only answer is to get away.

      Thanks for your kind post TW. :)

  5. I feel like you were reading my mind-I was gonna discretely inquire how you met your husband because I love "How We Met" stories! I hope your husband is OK with it-he can retain his "anon" status. I won't tell anyone!
    Actually, my 40's were not exactly a great time either: I had my first stroke, I was a widow (at 38-UGH), the autoimmune stuff went off the deep end and no one could figure out what was wrong with me where I live. It took a couple of years, a ton of testing, traveling 3 days to a Specialist-who finally got it right-another stroke just after being goaded back to work which I LOVED, BTW, by an MD who was pissed because he couldn't figure out what was wrong. You know things are bad when you're coming in and out of consciousness on a dear friend's kitchen floor and the first ambulance that comes won't take you because the guys figured they needed the Advanced Life Support ambulance. (How's that for a rejection experience: Even the ambulance guys don't want ya.) Additionally, I had all the trappings of adult life: Vehicle(s), mortgage, property, insurances, misc. responsibilities, served on various Community Boards, just finished 5 yrs. of post grad work at night and blah-blaa-blaa. Was appalled when I was told I could not go back to work and had to retire. So yeah, there were a lot of losses in those years. But there were great people around me who pulled me through and remain very close to me these decades later. Never underestimate the power of friends: It's not the quantity, it's the quality. It seemed as if I kept getting impaled on that Clue Stick by my late 40's after being beat to my knees-and finally, my senses-by it in my 20's! ;) I use to wonder, "Does this stuff ever stop?"
    Could that period have been worse? OHHELLYEAH!!! If I hadn't NC'd decades ago I just shudder to think of having Psychob**** and my Nsis involved in my life in ANY WAY.
    I'd be dead. I do not exaggerate. And I'm thinking you're coming to the same conclusion currently. I could be wrong but it seems that way....
    OK, back to the "How We Met" if you guys are OK with it ;)

    1. Hi TW, I met him writing a singles ad. He still has a cut out of the ad. It was back before the internet when one had to use newspapers. I had almost not gone on our date because I had so many bad single ad dates that month. LOL

      I am sorry you were a widow so young and had such a hard time in your 40s. That had to be horrific. And then all those strokes, I hope they found the cause, and that's terrible the ambulance people even said you were too severe. I am glad you had friends to help you during that difficult time. I have my friends too who help me. I think it is good you were NC too, I can't imagine being around Narcs during such severe health crises. I think you would be dead too. Literally fear for my life pushed my NC, even fighting with them on the phone was giving me immediate infections. Once during one argument, I got an instant infection and 105.5 fever. Immune systems crash around narcs. Mine did. The very last time I saw my NM in person I puked my guts out like crazy to the point I feared death. So yeah I'm with you there.

      After he answered my single ad, we went on a date at Olive Garden and instantly connected. Then later would come some more dates and then visiting with him in the resort town he worked in, even until late at night. Late night walks on the beach.


  6. Oh wow! You placed an ad in the paper-I would never think of such a resourceful way of meeting someone. I knew you were courageous too, Peep! See what I mean?!
    Sorry I missed you yesterday-internet isn't too reliable here. Thank you for sharing your "How We Met" story: It's a good one and thanks for the smile you gave me this cold, grey, dark morning. What could possibly go better with my coffee ;)

  7. Yes I did. I remember thinking at the time, I want to find a man and figured I c could just put in the ad I was fat and see who I could meet. I stressed artistic side of my nature too. I am glad I could give you a smile. :) You have helped me today in distracting myself from the coughing.

  8. This is an excellent article and well said about the medical neglect regarding Aspergers. Yeah Aspergers impact on this social world and the list is huge of famous person with Aspergers syndrome?
    famous people with aspergers