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.