Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why You Never Tell People Your Problems

Is this meme the outcome of a narcissistic society?

Why You Never Tell People Your Problems

"Stick with me on this one because it isn't going to seem "right" at first, but if you focus on the angle I'm approaching this topic at, you'll see the point I'm trying to make.

Everybody has problems.  And everybody has friends.  And part of having friends or loved ones is to share your problems.  You need a sounding board, you need to vent, and doing such things are healthy and expected.  However, when you unload and vent, it is usually problems that are not dire, nor insurmountable.  You got a cold, you boss is being a jerk, the weather sucks, whatever, they all have an end and a solution, and are thus surmountable. 

But then there are problems that are terminal. There is no solution.  There is only one outcome.  There is no end.  And if there is one, the cost is not only great, but nothing can be done to stop it.  Things like terminal sickness, bankruptcy, divorce, etc.  And it is here you need to be very selfless and think this one through.

Say the economy has gone south and you are imminently approaching bankruptcy.  There is nothing you can do about it.  It is going to happen.  It is outside of your control.

Do you tell your friends about it?  Do you complain to your loved ones about it?

The answer is no, and let me explain why.

Just as you are powerless to stop this horrible thing from happening, so to are your friends and loved ones.  And in complaining to them or telling them about your unsolvable problem, you put them at unease because they are powerless and helpless to do anything about it.  It is human nature to want to help, but if help is just not possible you unconsciously make your friends feel uncomfortable and powerless.


 For example, have you ever had a friend whose loved one got cancer, or your friend got cancer him/herself?  And upon hearing the news you don't know what to say because, well, what can you say?  "I'm sorry?"

That's about all you can do.  You are completely helpless and thus have nothing to say.

Worse still, you can exacerbate this situation, with your "terminal" problem.  Because of the severity of these terminal problems, you don't just mention it once to your friends and then it goes away.  It's a terminal problem, it will be with you until it terminates.  And because of it's severity, it is going to be the single largest topic weighing heavily on your mind.  You will want to tell somebody about it, in perhaps a subconscious attempt to find a non-existent solution, but all you will do is drive them further away because you make it so uncomfortable.

Now, am I saying, you NEVER tell anybody you got cancer or that you filed for bankruptcy or your spouse left you?  No, but I am saying once you make the declaration, there is nothing to gain by revisiting your unsolvable problem with friends and loved ones.

In short the lesson is to consider the position your friends and loved ones are in.  They are already your friends, they are already your loved ones, but unless it is within their power to do anything, constantly bringing up major problems you have (no matter how much they are affecting your life) only pushes people further away.  Love and appreciate your friends and loved ones, be selfless enough not to hound them with your unsolvable problems.

Tell me HONESTLY what you think of the above. I have erred greatly in some friendships talking about problems too much. I was always trying to do "right" by this and would try to make sure I was balancing out negative and positive things and that I was being a "good" friend and listening to them too but it seemed I still upset people.

Socially I am failing and upsetting people without meaning to. It's like my cup is over-run with emotions and too much spilled over. Maybe this guy is right about the process I have gone through. Obviously I talked about a lot of problems on this blog too. My blog will continue but the life stuff needs fixed.

Being vulnerable in America society can be tough. Vulnerability means being kicked in the face by the toxics but it can be complicated beyond that. We played several bad hands and well, how long can one boo-hoo over one's bad hand in life that is unfixable without driving people crazy? One friend even told me at this conjecture, I should accept some things and this is true. I don't want to spend the rest of my life banging my head on the wall. I am just going to "BE".

 Outside of very few friendships and this blog, I'm talking 2-3, I started going very quiet about a year ago. I knew telling people any problems was bringing me bad things. I didn't go crazy with public and outer circle people but I realized fast even mild statements like "I am on disability, or I am estranged from my this relative" while providing no other details brought bad social outcomes to me.   I had to learn to become more private.

This can be a lesson that ACONs have to learn because we were never taught boundaries and then I realized the social rules I was breaking even as an Aspie. Something seems to have changed in society too where saving face has become even more important.

I actually knew that I had to STOP, and only talk about positive things within many circles and other friends. Some groups I kept enjoying like my book clubs, and more, but I didn't grow close to anyone so it was the activities themselves left to be enjoyed. With other outer circle friends and activity pals, I would discuss art and trips they took and other topics.

I actually quit going to my self-help and depression group recently, because I told my husband, "Look we have had these same problems for years, and we have not been able to solve them. People don't want to hear them anymore." The people who were left in the group were nice people, it wasn't them. It was us. We can't reiterate problems over and over that have remained unsolvable. People get frustrated with you. Also we are allowing a point of vulnerability there. This guy is right about "terminal" problems in that there are problems in life which are not solvable.

There's a little bit about that, which bugs me, there is something in American society where only success matters.  At the same time I was freeing myself from the narcissists in the family I was coming out of some spiritual abusive stuff too and leaving a church I no longer agreed with.  I had this drive in me to "fix things and figure them out". Some would call that rumination but they did not understand the thinking or motive behind it.  They didn't realize as I was getting away from my abusers, the emotions and things I didn't talk about. I'm the one living in this body and brain. Sometimes I get tired worrying about what are the right and wrong things to say and tiring of the endless social and other errors. It's enough to have one become a hermit. Socially I feel extremely stressed lately outside of my marriage and few relationships.

I often had the thought I was tied down to my problems even when I didn't want to be. I could only hide so much. When I didn't come up with the socioeconomic and other goods, people were angry.

One thing that worries me, is people do seem to judge me so much and without reservation. I feel so judged lately it is killing me. So many seem to focus on my imperfections and maybe part of it is my fault, because I allow myself to be too vulnerable.

I desire to be close to people and open my heart too wide. I think of things I could criticize in people but it is not something that occurs to me to treat people like this in turn and start taking them apart piece by piece and telling them what they are doing wrong. One day, I cried to my husband, he is someone I can be absolutely real with, and said,  "Why is everyone so much into correcting me?" Perhaps it is my fault, they have taken that approach towards me.  If we open the door to discussing problems, some mean well and want to "fix" the problems, so maybe this guy is right we are only frustrating some people and bring trouble to our relationships. We open the door to some bad stuff. 

Yes, I consider this a negative societal trend by the way, that people no longer can share and be open with others. Everything seems to be a competition nowadays. Learning to deal with the reality and world we are stuck with, is not easy.

Even with the low contact relatives, I started telling myself, keep your mouth shut about anything "negative." They can't fix the problems with your mother or sister or the other narcissists. With the niece who later parted ways from me I said as little negative as humanly possible. I can't figure out if I said too much or if I simply became too boring and superficial because of this. I slipped up the other day with one who was playing flying monkey, but this is the general rule I try to adhere to. I am not even sure there is even a "relationship" with any of the "nicer" relatives.  The well was poisoned long ago, I know that part is not my fault.

So much of life for me anyway is suppressing myself outside of writing on these blogs. With some "friends" earlier on, I was doing outright censorship and repression of my emotions because there was so much bad and scary stuff especially as I was going through the no contact process, and I still failed and upset people. Some were toxics but they used the vulnerabilities to hurt me. Isn't it a bad sign when you have to start to second guess everything you say to people?

 Maybe I appear "weak" to others.   I can't fix endless problems and the some of craziness spilled over.  All the expectations and demands of this world clashed with my reality. I need freedom from the bean counters, and self improvement people.

Sometimes I think it is the society I live in, American society 2016, where you must always be on top and unsolvable problems mean you are a bad person. Sometimes I think it is me.

  The "bright-sided" stuff went from being a muzzle to ball and chain and a muzzle. There is this bad feeling of feeling like one is being forced underground where you must hide all your problems [emotions or true self] or suffer the consequences. I always fear that relationships where I must start censoring are doomed for failure. Some seem to get angry at anyone who shows too much depression, or fear or pain for their standards. Why is that? That's not me. I feel kind of beaten down by people telling me what is wrong with me. On my end, I'll be careful of not dumping too many problems on individual people but socially I am beyond exhausted. I wish I could be open without someone using it to tell me I am a "bad" person.

Tell me what do you think of what that guy wrote. Do you struggle with wondering what you can talk about with people anymore? Do you feel uncomfortable as an ACON in this world? Maybe I worry about what others think too much. Maybe I don't. Maybe it's time to go hide in a cave or something. Well I will keep blogging at least.


  1. I'm sorry you have to deal with uncaring or frustrated people. Even though you have friends who are willing to lend their shoulders and ears and spend time with you in real life, they don't know what to say. Some people pray only to see that prayers are not answers. I know poor people are scared for their lives.

    People who have health problems or disability, no family and no spouse to love them are scared. Some people live in a bigger city because there are no resources or opportunities for them in a smaller city. People are scared. I wish things went better for real ACONs. I hope someday employers, colleges and universities, and social service organizations will stop listening to fake victims or "estranged parents" who claimed they have "narc children" or were "victims of parental abuse," or "victims of elder abuse."

    When people get stuck unto unsolvable programs and done all they could, other people leave them. Some people are narcs or just don't care. I remember being astounded and confused on how and why people did not care. It's because they're narcs or narc enablers. Some people don't want to be homeless, alone, and unloved. They get too depressed at the prospect of it.

    I remember on my worst day, I had no money to treat myself to a good meal or to watching movie. I was depressed jogging around the town. Somebody called me about a part-time temporary job with her employer who wanted me to work the following day. I got paid three days later and was hired for a permanent part-time position.

    Did not have a husband or some power of attorney to replace my horrible adopted narc mother. My foster parent got too sick and old to help me. I was scared and was afraid to tell people my problem. Too many people could not handle it because they were spoiled. Prosperity gospel and false churches made things worse for most of us because all they tell weak people is that God answer their prayers, he would take care of us. I have one lady telling me that a so-called Christian woman did not want to hire me as her live-in housekeeper and teaching aide for her daughter with Down's Syndrome. That lady told my so-called friend I was depressant because I told too many problem. I have good enough health but had a horrible malignant narc mother who put my siblings through mental hospital system, and ruined one sister's reputation that she lost two children to adoption agencies and have her two children who turned against her. Her adult daughter is a narc who feels superior to her and is keeping in touch with my adopted narc mother. She posted pictures of her son saying, "For you, Gramma!" She was thinking of my adopted narc mother, her grandmother. She was not thinking of her mother, my sister. That's how bad it is. If I tell this to my local college friends, they could not handle it. It is too much. It is easy for people to blame us for not being blessed by God or being loved and cared for by others. I really hate their weakness. Sorry you have weak people in your life. There are scared people and there are many people who just don't care. >:(

    1. Thank you. Yes some people are frustrated and some were uncaring. I have some friends I don't talk about troubles to or I allow them to only tell me theirs. I know outside of a few friends I am socially withdrawing. I have already in my local community made it a rule to hide illness, poverty and problems [since leaving the self help group in total. I may ask my disability advocate about practical problems and other professionals but that is about it.

      I know many people don't know what to say anymore. Even as far as being a Christian goes, God did not answer any of my prayers for years and years. I am not sure why. It makes me feel like God does not love me. It's better to sit these things on the shelf and leave it alone rather then cursing God like Job's wife tells him to do and ending up in hell.

      People want to hear happy endings and positive "testimonies" or see people who are always brave and strong and never complain. One irony for me is some women who have told me in the community, "Oh you never complain", its kind of ironic.

      Yes there are scared people out there. They have no families or spouse or anyone to love them. The homeless some of whom I have known face this invisibility factor.

      I wish things were better for the ACONs too. I don't like those estranged N parents trying to hog the sympathy either.

      You are right when people have unsolvable problems or their emotions which they hide 90% of the time seep out into a 10 percent area, people do leave. One wants to give to others too, and hiding pain sometimes one fails at. Unyielding chronic poverty can make people give up too. The worse thing about depression is fearing people leaving you. For ACONs who are depressed, the narcissitic families already use your own depression as a weapon against you. Many people are forced to hide their pain in this society which ironically makes the depression worse. Everything is a competition, and people who want to help and say, do this and that, and if you fail to fix your entrenched problems or at least hide the unsolvable ones, it's not easy.

      Some people are narcs or don't care. Some want to help but can't and then get frustrated. Some have their own fears. Some too just do not understand. I think the narcs controlling our society have made it so talking about problems is WRONG, they have brainwashed many into believing that those who complain are "morally" "bad. Failing in life, not getting money or answers to prayers, makes you a "bad" person that must be avoided and rejected.

      Sorry you faced depression but glad you were able to get a job and some rescue.


    2. I understand being afraid to talk about problems. Sorry you dealt with spoiled people too. Yes the churches hurt us too. I'm coming out of spiritual abuse. I wonder if some nice non-Christians will be easier to deal with because most of the Christians just want to hear happy endings and answered prayers. They tell us, yes if we were right with God, He would answer prayers.

      Sorry that lady would not hire you. Some of the "Christians" just want to hear happy stories and have other people who have not suffered around them. I have seen the cookie cutter "white bread" types for myself. They delayed my conversion to Jesus Christ probably for 15 years as I thought I had too many edges for God to consider me "acceptable". Sadly they are an threat to my faith even now and probably many others.

      Yes the narcissistic adult daughter will identify with other narcissists. So wonder she rejected her own non-narc mother, but we see those dynamics in many narcissistic families. They steal people from one another, they don't care who they hurt.

      I have kept my whole life a secret, from many many people. So I understand you keep your past a secret. All I told one church I was in for a year and half, was 2 people the pastor and one friend I was estranged from the family with no details. I may it sound like they did not like I was a Christian which is true. That was too much for cookie-cutters with spoiled "perfect lives". I am realizing even telling people I have diabetes or lipedema, or that I am angry about injustice in society is too much for them.

      I found myself telling one ACON I have email contact with only who has had a very hard life and is going NC from an entire family when she moves to a new community, do not tell anyone you were an abuse victim. Do not talk about any abuses or trouble with daughter. It would be better to pretend your family died off, or you do not have one. Keep this for inner circle people and even be careful then. Sometimes even two or three years of knowing someone may not be long enough. It is sad I have to give advice like this. There is a reason I don't have a real name on this blog and have no pictures of myself.

      People don't like people who have faced troubles. I don't get it, but it's true.

      I think some are scared and your troubles remind them of bad things they are scared of happening to them, but yes some are weak and many are narcs who see problems as an in to use and exploit and feel superior to someone over.

      I am tired of being told everything I do is wrong.

      I think I will be happier person in that today I have decided to give up trying to solve all these problems. I know that sounds weird. Well I guess some will have their ears spared. LOL

  2. For me one of the worst problems I have from coming from a narcissist household is that I seem to feel things a bit deeper than normal people and I get emotional about things other people don't. Like I will see something and see a story about unrequited love and the friction between characters struggling to come to terms with what ever they have to come to terms with and someone else will bemoan that there wasn't enough car crashes. The first time I saw the movie "Prince of Tides" I was like a deer in the headlights by halfway through the show while the guys I went with snuck in a bottle of whiskey and were talking over the actors and making crude jokes throughout. In a situation like that I don't know if I should tell them to pipe down or if I am over emotional and acting like a "woman"

    1. I totally relate Q. I feel like I am too intense for people, and well they grow weary of me. My husband calls me "the still water that runs deep". I had to train myself not to cry at TV shows or movies or shows lest there be times of embarrassment and honestly tears supposedly more "acceptable" for women though as our society gets more narcissistic, it seems they don't want any of us male or female to have any emotions or feelings. In fact I am wondering what a whole life of being told to dampen down the feelings I do have, has done to me and what is it doing to others?

  3. I'm the emotional type. One thing hubby never has to worry about with me, is the silent treatment. I can hold back my feelings if I'm confused, but other than that, no way.

    I think the only way humans connect with one another is in hard times. I don't think we connect in good times. That reading you gave, is only in shallow relationships, where people don't bond. It would be uncomfortable for me to deal with someone with a terminal problem, but I don't have to have all the answers for them. Its supposed to be hard, why does it have to be easy? Why does everything have to be easy? We don't have to have the answers. One of my biggest problems is that my mind rushes to find answers, predictions, results. It can't always do that.

    Life is what it is. It is not about seeking easy answers, and if I don't have them, then I am out of there. Not sure if I'm explaining this well. If I can just be present with the person, that is all that is needed.

    1. Joan, hi; I did have my best friend,and roommate,who was gay,die of AIDS quite a few years ago.I felt very incapable of dealing with other roommate and I went to support groups,as so many people in San Francisco were getting AIDS.We had HIS FRIEND,ALSO,move in with us,cause he wanted to take care of him.Our sick roommate had gotten ill,very fast,but he wanted to live and die at home.We wanted him home,too,& we made a huge effort to let that happen.The long-time friend who cared for him,to the end,helped us a lot.My friend died 3 days after New Years.We never regretted helping him die at home.Yes,i felt like I was not great at dealing with it,but everyone feels that way.We just DID IT,as well as we could.Usually, you can't do this alone;i would not advise it.At least, a lone care-giver has to go to support groups.I did later take care of my mom,alone,and i got hideous "care-giver-burn-out".My sister took over,for the last few years of my mom's dementia.we also did not like giving her to a nursing-home,as family care is almost always better.Nursing homes are terrible.We were glad we didn't put our mom in one.It just depends on,what yer able to do;don't be afraid to ask and get help.You just do as well as you can. :)

  4. Hi Joan,

    I'm the emotional type too. LOL about silent treatment, I don't do it too. I agree about humans connecting in hard time too. I think one of the moral leverage thing narcissists are doing to society [see the video I posted today on smakintosh] is they want everyone "keeping sweet" and not talking to each other. I feel afraid of the people around me LOCAL, I know talking about problems or REAL stuff is not welcomed. For me talking about weather and nice stuff is find for a fun shared activity that is fun as it stands alone but that is not real bonding with the people who are there. Yes I fear that is shallow relationships too.

    Many of us don't expect answers or "fix its". I agree why does everything have to be easy? I know some mean well wanting to fix the problems or solutions to them but many of the narcissists just want us to shut our mouths because it takes attention away from them.

    I agree about life not having easy answers it is what it is. I think one reason I am in trouble and having to work through this stuff, is narcissists gave me bubble dream scapes about life, not real life at all. America is under the Disney land spell and materialism "American Dream". I guess while everyone's dreaming they are ASLEEP. Some of us have woke up.

    Agree being present with the person is most important.

  5. It seems to me this is a whole boat load of Projection-"uncomfortable and powerless" is a statement of their own feelings. I don't know where you found this Peep but I'm cringing for them and their transparent idiocy.
    One of the most difficult challenges for us is to show up and just be present for someone else's pain. It's not about "fixing" what ever ails; it's about caring and sharing.
    What could be more human or humane than that?

    1. I agree. I was thinking about this issue more and talking with husband, and said to him, once people start judging you for "talking about your problems too much" things are headed out the door. A person doesn't feel safe anymore. I had one "friendship" vaporize because I felt I had to censor myself all the time to be "acceptable". You are right he is the one feeling uncomfortable and powerless. Maybe people desire comfort and power too much in American society, so the messy stuff and "messy" people with "too many problems" get shoved under the carpet. Thanks for your feedback here. Some of the people will tell you not to talk about your problems and then in the next breathe ask why are you so silent? It seems too many are into fixing and criticizing. I agree it's about caring and sharing.

    2. Yes,if you're Jewish,"kvetching", complaining, is common & ok among Jewish people.Everyone does it,& you don't get condemned.Kvetching is almost THERAPUTIC.To kvetch,is to get the pain out,and having kvetched,the pain is less.People who keep stuff inside get sick from it.---is Jewish reasoning.

      Research on surgery patients looked at pre-surgery patients who complained,were emotional,ect, before surgery,& had better after surgery results, did better.Surgery patients who were very stoic,calm,said nothing,before surgery, did not do quite as well with after-surgery physical coping. So even surgery-research on complaining yielded these results. If you live in a culture where "kvetchng" back and forth between people is deemed NORMAL,and ok, you may have a culture that helps everyone get support,and catharsis,and everyone is mentally and maybe even physically healthier.

      Look at the physical health of the stressed, hard working person who is VERY WASP,& very "corporate-modern",and always keeps up a happy face.Chances are,he may drink too much,or even be a secret drinker. Maybe he gets HIGH a lot with friends,even coke.His heart-health,blood pressure,and other physical problems, iike ulcers, indigestion,insomnia, ect., may not be very good. Having to "act happy,and cheerful" all the time is very wearing. A kvetching-culture may be a lot healthier.--for both the complainer and the sympathetic ear. And it works well both ways.The CONNECTION is healthy.

    3. I am glad Jewish people can share their feelings more freely, Kvetching is therapeutic. I sometimes wonder if I live in the wrong culture. I don't relate to the straight laced very uptight people around here. Working class and poorer people are more loose in easy in conversation. Hope no one things I am being prejudiced here, but everything is all so "controlled" here. I can barely take it and it's made me feel incredibly lonely because I remember being around people in small rural town even if I was not close friends with everyone, they would "kvetch" and things went far more deeper then the weather. There's a couple I can talk to, but most are closed doors and I don't have the time or energy to pull the door open. The very WASP and upper middle class and beyond don't share personally the same way other cultures might. The stoic crap weights heavily on anyone with extreme medical problems. I feel so R E P R E S S E D [outside this blog and a few friends] and have since I lived here. It's like I wish I could talk and say this SUCKS, or that sucks, and I have been so JUDGED. The people I think are more messed up from keeping up a face of "I'm alright jack" I think this does lead to more drinking and drugs. The people drink to keep the happy smile on their face as they are dying inside. [I'm going to use your comments in a new post hoho]

  6. Another tidbit to this topic, this is one reason depressed people go silent, and then some ask, "Why didn't they go to anyone for help" later. I am sussing out that many of those people have been told to stop "complaining, and ruminating" and to "buck up" and "step up". I have seen people hide severe health problems even one friend [we weren't super close friends but knew each other via activities] who hid severe health stuff even from her closer friends. I think that is becoming more common. People are strangers in one way when they never share anything, we certainly felt that in our narcissistic families.

  7. WELL, I AGREE that we need to have boundaries; but you are saying, because yer problems are not solveable, you can't get comfort and sympathy from friends.

    THAT HAS become an "American-problem," I read in a depression work-book.this society wants everyone to not look unhappy,but BE CHEERFUL all the time.the book said,that's why we have such alcoholism, drug addiction,depression,and self-destructive behaviors. this society is WRONG. --IT WAS ALWAYS OK,YEARS AGO,for communities to share problems,get support,give comfort,help each other--And BE THERE for each other. NOW you have to call a "support line" or "suicide-help-line" and talk to them.there's often no family support--and/or community support. the SOCIETY IS SICK. SICK SICK!!you should still be able to get comforting, sympathy,support from friends, clergy,rabbis, for yer problems. it is the society that's sick and cruel,not you. Even the depression book said that!!our society is sick,.and cruel!!hey, you want to call me,or complain on my blog, go ahead, i tell you my pains, you can tell me yours.i am not afraid to hear painful stuff.And a generous,caring person(s) does not flee from the pain of friends.When we share this stuff, it becomes less.I believe that. you could not talk to more reserved folks, but there are people who care, besides the scared people around. :)

  8. this society is sick; friends share their pain and worry,do not flee from it.Remember St. Francis of Assisi?He was a rich person,who abandoned all riches, and formed a society to help the poor and disenfranchised. We could take instruction from him;ok,we're not saints, but his idea was true.All of us can help and share the pain of others.--not avoid them.God wants us to do this, i am sure.

  9. HI Hoho, I often feel I live in the wrong culture. The always "be positive" stuff wears me out. I think they want us all looking happy all the time and the depression is getting worse because everyone feels ALONE in their problems. I think the expectations to always be healing, succeeding and progressing is wearing people out. People turn to alcohol and drugs so they become life of the party and are well liked even though they are dying inside. It's true people would even sing sang songs and talk about problems, there wasn't all this don't be negative stuff. LOL you are right now you have to call support lines with STRANGERS. Your family has become a braggart narc fest, no sad or broke or sick people need apply. They meet up with each other to brag about their trophy kids, great vacations, money and shopping. There's no reality anymore. At least in the last Depression in America, you could admit one was happening unlike NOW. I agree people should be able to share the painful stuff without censoring one another or without the societal rules on their back to always be "happy", and "cheerful". I am so tired of this stuff! That's why you see people in this sick society even get cancer and not tell anyone around them. I understand the boundaries too. Yes some people would help the poor and disenfranchised.

  10. I have mixed feelings here. Part of the reason I've hit this problem as an ACON and trauma survivor is simply that most people are used to a 'normal life' that I don't share at all, and a lot of them are easily shocked at violations of that norm, especially when it comes to families. The most innocent conversation topic can be full of landmines. Someone mentions parents? Mine are dead. Oh, you're sorry? Well, my NF's death was overall a pretty positive event for me... My only alternative to letting all this spill out is to not say anything about my life at all. As I share a house that I bought jointly with a friend of similar circumstances (we're both young adult orphans who grew up with abusive, alcoholic parents), any query about my home life opens up what, to most others, is a can of worms. The most basic facts of my life are ugly, nasty things that most people would rather not raise in polite smalltalk situations. Not even just the abuse, addiction and mortality, but the fact that my middle class status was achieved entirely by inheriting wealth from an abusive narcissist, who had inherited it in turn - and if the topic of prosperity comes up, I am not willing to hide that fact from nice little strivers who think that Hard Work is what brings wealth in this world.

    So, yeah, when I get into introductory conversations with nice kids with two living (often still-married!) parents who've done the college-to-grad school-to-nice job pipeline, I'm sure I'm seen as oversharing, or maybe as a disruption even if I don't mean to; in most cases, I'd have to go out of my way and hide and lie about my life to avoid creating that feeling.

    And it's hard, because it really CAN be a red flag when someone lays themself bare too fast; it can demonstrate poor boundaries, or a predatory attempt to breach intimacies. But what am I to do? You bring up nice get-to-know-you topics, and my replies can't be nice. My life wasn't nice until 4 years ago. Or people talk about things that are supposed to be common touchstones, and there are so many of them I don't share. I never had a teenage life, and I never had to deal with relating to parents as an adult (I was NC for most of the time between finishing college and my father's death).

    At best, this is a filter; there are wonderful people who find me tolerable or who understand where I'm coming from. But damn if it isn't alienating at times. It makes it so much harder to get to know most people. Maybe I am doing something wrong with all this, but I do think it's mostly just mutual incomprehension between the traumatised and the innocent.

    As for sharing the terminal problem? I think it depends a lot on the person and their level of understanding. Someone close enough that they know that all you want is their empathy, and that you know that you have it - without irritating meaningless gesture words or sentimentalism or faux attempts to 'help' - that could be very good sharing. Those less close, maybe not so much.

    1. Thank you anon, I am dealing with this too. What do I talk to people about? Oh we went to the food pantry twice this month? I have no money for gas even to get down to the beach? Their lives are so FULL, of people, of family, of money, of events, of things to do, of responsibilities. I can talk about art projects a little bit but politics and religion is too dicey if it's someone not too close. Talking about stuff you used to do or maybe a day trip or two that is more then a year old almost away, just doesn't work. How's your family you'll ask, "I don't have one, or they are dead" leaves a "thud" in the room. "We are estranged" an even bigger thud. So they know you are holding back.

      I have to hide so much scary medical crap I'd have less friends.

      So yeah I'm right with you there, the people with NORMAL LIVES don't get the ACON, nor me either.

      They are easily shocked. Even if you hide stuff, and smile and let them believe you have no family [and they all died], they think you are weird for being in your late 40s in my case for having no children of your own and not even a sibling or cousin in the mix. Yes admitting your NF's death was a positive event, would invite extreme outrage.

      Once I was at a book club, where I kept my mouth shut, I just do friendly talk there, though one lady who was a church Stephen's Minister to me in the past, knows me more, the character in the book went NC with a parent, and one lady started ranting about how that was dishonoring against parents and sinning against God. Good thing I kept my mouth shut.

      I am glad you have your friend but you are right it opens a can of worms. At churches with their perfect little cookie cutter lives--listening to the old pastor lovingly speak of his parents with his 4 families in the pews like he was a pater familias was just like a weekly knife in the heart, and they were all like that with these close families who loved them and included them. Yes it opens a can of worms, you are so right.

      The basic facts of my life are scary and embarrassing. My husband hasn't worked a normal job in 8 years. We don't even get to DO normal things people take for granted. So yes you are right about the small talk. I have actually considered making up a whole life out of the air, pretending everyone is dead, but using an older friend who is deceased as a model for a "loving mother" and that I was an only child. It would make everything easier on me. I found myself letting people believe I had no family and they had died off, but as old as I am it's believable. When you are younger that is tougher to pull off. If you tell them something like "Oh I was raised in foster care" or an "orphanage" you would only get gossiped about more and even more disenfranchised.


    2. Yes you probably want to keep quiet about inheriting money. You will be judged. It's the other end for me, with the disability, many especially on the right think all disabled people are bums and malingerers. My mother basically told the family I am just lazy.

      So yes you are in that position and it's harder at a younger age, of What do you talk about with the NORMALS? I am stumped as around here, they talk about their great jobs or European vacations. So lost. Even my stamp club most of the oldsters were money bags with rooms full of stamps and endless trips to regional stamp shows. Things I could only dream of. So wonder most barely talked to the disabled woman who had two little boxes of stamps. What does someone with no kids talk to about people who all had several kids and grandchildren up the whazoo. All the family stuff gets worse as you get older too, people in 40s and 50s and 60s plus spending their time with their siblings, nephews, nieces, involved in each other's daily lives where you were thrown away long ago. This town where I live is even more family focused then the old rural one.

      I found out the UK has a group for people with no families. Wish I lived in England I would join. I may post on that soon.

    3. I've had that feeling too, that I am oversharing. I started going the other way sharing nothing, but then I am a stranger, a silent cipher, and no one ever knows me. I try to take interest in others but the conversations go one-sided. Everyone has a life I failed to get.

      Yes, it is hard. I find myself having to HIDE everything, even the scary weird rare health stuff. People don't want to hear bad stuff, they want to hear HAPPY especially in America and one thing I learned the hard way even limiting the information and telling a few like a pastor of a church and one other person, "I am estranged from my family" makes them wonder what is WRONG with you?

      Yes keeping the boundaries without raising red flags in people is hard. What if you don't have nice stuff to share or a normal good life?

      My life is so much suckitude right now it has sent me into social life death. I scared people away without wanting to. Depression will send everyone but the most close friend running for the hills.

      The endless poverty and need pissed people off for the few that I even told. With most I hide it. It's like they don't want to be tainted by your misfortune.

      In your case if you have a nice normal life outside of the familial creeps with good health, enough money and a job, I am tempted to tell you, don't tell anything of your past, let them think everyone just died off which is dangerous too, because then you become an object of woe, but I guess it's better then being abuse victim. Most People have no respect for those. I told one lady escaping a very abusive ACON family that maligned her reputation in her community who is leaving the community, go somewhere new and start off with a clean slate. Don't tell anyone what happened to you. Is that bad advice? I have told people problems and had my butt lit on fire. Some I thought were friends but people want to see happy and no complainers.

      I'm in your same place, how do I talk some of the scary crap that happened to me. How can I tell even old high school mates on Facebook who were all married and securely employed by age 21, "Oh I spent my 20s living in boarding houses, and eating out of trash cans, and working low paid jobs, and then I gained 400lbs" It is like a friggin horror show. What do I tell them now? That I fear being in the streets, that the bills may not be paid, that soon disabled me will be hobbling to the bus and barely able to physically take it. That my whole life teeters on the edge of collapse and I'm tired of being scared?

      Sure I meet nice, kind people too, though even there in my case, you have to make sure not to wear them out. It is like a filter. It is alienating as hell, you got that right. I am tired of being me. It's like my family's rejection and abuse is a pebble in the lake that never stops sending out waves.

      I wrote this article some time ago.

      On rare occasion we will meet someone who is a fellow ACON or someone with a heart of gold and compassion, but most normal people, it's not happening.

      Thanks for your post, I relate so much.