i fail at socializing, but I'd need to get somewhere accepted to repair it

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by aaaaaargh, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. aaaaaargh

    aaaaaargh New Member

    I've had a shitty childhood, but I have analyzed it to bits since w/ psychologists, and I've moved out 10+ years ago, so I'd except myself to be more functional. (I used to think I were on the autism spectrum, but Occam's razor says my issues are just abuse-based, and I don't have food issues or hypersensitivity, and get by with reading and readibly expressing emotions, so even if I were vaguely there, it doesn't matter now).

    I've moved to a new town semi-recently, and there is a group who is definitely My Tribe, who... now I mostly know by name, but I never get invited anywhere, and stalking them (going to public events w/ them there) slowly starts to feel too creepy.

    I've been at one of these things today, and one of the people I've met has told me that the cause people are "intimidated" (????) is that I tend to have very strong opinions, shared without space for others to enter the conversation, or nuance.

    And this is kind of true.

    What I feel from the inside is sometimes "wow, this personmight imply that I am not good enough, I must defend with my best argument why I am an acceptable human being actually, or it will be irrevocably TRUE that I am shit and don't deserve anything" (there is a strong suspicion that if I had that much self-acceptance in the first place, these things were less stressful... but experience with actually being accepted would also ffucking help)

    and sometimes "wow, this semi-outsider wants to push me down by saying things that may imply shit that I disagree with, I have to show them that they don't have power over me by telling everyone where they are wrong." The example for the second was a semi-outsider who had objectively unpopular opininons around here, but people were kind and trying to engage in conversation, and I panicked, moved to the other end of the table, talked to others... but the outsider has talked loudly (a young veeery self-assured guy), so I sometimes yelled back. Then admitted, with a less yell-y voice, to the people around me how I am sorry for being out of control and annoying.

    My CBT-style mantra for these kind of occasions "they have no power over me, I can let them disagree, nothing will happen."

    [edit: in my head, these were less similar.. .the important thing is that I am terrified, and feel like arguing back is an issue of life and death.]

    Because yeah, I did grow up in a situation where total agreement was expected and my only worth came from being smart, in the way that mapped perfectly to what Intimidating Parent believed, and I didn't think that I can be accepted/liked for other things than opinions (the cute one was smaller sibling, I got used to be forever too old to be cute), so I kept dreamign about/seeking out communities with very similar ideas, where I ended up 1. getting stressed about small disagreements 2. paradoxically, still felt unliked, because they probably like only my opinions and usefulness and not me, as a human. :(

    and I don't want to be an agressively paranoic person! (and I'll actually call my psychologist tomorrow and get an appointment, as I've been too busy with life recently for this.). But the voice that says "noone likes you, you have to defend yourself" is kinda right with the "noone likes you" (that much) part. (And sometimes I get surprised by signs of friendship, but it usually isn't that abundant to get trough the walls - but again, maybe compared to the construction of the walls, that level of unilateral love would be already creepy). It's a, how do you say it in english, cursed spiral.

    :( I will go to the psych soon, but they are young and not that experienced (but cheap, which is useful, and I thought at the beginning that I did enough deep wotk with someone else that we can do just exercises etc.), but you are here rith now, so I still felt like asking you, guys.)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  2. aaaaaargh

    aaaaaargh New Member

    ... @seebs ? I know that 1. all can't be resolved on the internet 2. maybe I was rambling and melodramatical?, but I'm curious if you have any insight. Probably not from first-person experience, bc you seem to work very differently, just from stuff you know about other people's way of working in general.
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    You know, I think it might matter whether or not you're autistic, because that might help frame issues with "intimidating" people, since sometimes failure to pick up social signals can result in that.

    Alternative thought: Abuse-based issues could mean a tendency to black-and-white thinking, which would get you the "without nuance".

    And absolutely, the "arguing back is an issue of life and death" sounds like abuse trauma of some sort. And... hmm. Really hard to tell what, though. But yeah, you definitely have some kind of issue with evaluation of self-worth, and I'm not sure what to suggest. I think the CBT mantra sounds like a good starting point. But past that... Hmm.

    It sounds like you're sorta being trapped by the "this is how you get liked" thing. I went for clowning around; lots of people who disagree with me like me because I'm funny and friendly, for instance. Although... I think the thing I'd recommend is, try to put extra effort into Understanding People. Like, instead of evaluating whether or not you agree with them, try to not mention your own positions except when asked, and just focus on letting people talk about what they're interested in, and asking questions. This will give you two benefits:

    First, most people love it when other people are interested in them, and that means they'll like you. (You can be a "lovely conversationalist" without ever saying a damn thing because most people don't notice, as long as you're being positive and cheerful and attentive-to-them.)

    Second, you'll learn more about what they are like and how they think, and that might help you understand what is going on when they "accept" people.

    So that's my idea. Other people may have better ideas.
  4. aaaaaargh

    aaaaaargh New Member

    I was thinking about filling your autism checklist, may post it around here later. My mother actually said when I was a kid that "you are too disorganized to be autistic", which is... impressive as a thing to say. (Did she mix you with cleaning fairies, the kind that is paid with cream on the doorstep?) And I did know a father of an autistic kid who said that I reminded him of his kid... but again, everything can be explained simply with life history, too. I personally abandoned my theory, and started to try harder to see a psychologist, even if I had no money and asking from the parents is out of the question, when I have hanged out with that dad's other kid, who has issues with eye contact or making illogical sounds in the phone (answers when answer is due, but doesn't make sounds just so I know the phone is still on, it's distressing), and was much happier socially than me. So I decided that I must work on the abuse part, and whatever my wiring is, is of secondary importance.

    Talking about listening to people more: turning off the anxiety is the hardest part of the plan. (I am no longer on meds, and I heard xanax is shittier for memory than we thought, and I do manage to go to work every workday, so I'd be an edge case even for an eventual doctor?)

    I even told my psychologist that I wish I could be interested in people the way I get interested in fictional characters, I can accept a much wider array of ways to be if fictional, but in reality "they are different" seems to transform in my head to "they have values you don't conform to, so chances of being accepted are very low, ABORT ABORT". I've recently made the realization that if we have enough in common that I can be interested in them, then the same amount of stuff in common might be enough for them to be interested in me? but it's damn hard to internalize.

    In practice, I don't really seem to meet people who are happy to talk about themself a lot, if I don't add much, I feel like I fail to be entertaining? Might try to work in this direction regardless, my internal compass is obviously fucked.

    I'm also afraid to seem entitled, people ignoring me is normal and I don't want to be impolite in trying to make them not to... I'm lucky I'm a woman, from this narrow point of view, because I'm the kind that would internalize the shit out of "all men always are too entitled, shut up and stay away". (Instead, I get to feel like not fucking a guy who is nice to me = exploitatively getting the niceness out of him while not providing the only thing that might be worth it from his point of view, so I must give extremely awkward disclaimers, which conflict with the software that says "don't assume they are too much into you untill iron-clad proof". Gender roles are fun. :/ ) (and closing parantheses after a smiley is hard.)
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  5. aaaaaargh

    aaaaaargh New Member

    For example, today someone I'd like to be friends with posted a link on facebook, to one of these stories of how some hippy from a rich country has lived x amount of time without using money, what a saint. And I got angry, because you could see from the article that that person got by without money and being happy because they had a lot of (first-world) friends to help them, and if living happily out of a bit of bartering was easy, then practically all the people working several shitty minimum-wage jobs would be very stupid and unenlightened and ... "consumerist"?, instead of doing what they must in a system with limited possibilities. Plus this asshole used positive thinking instead of a health insurance, which, amongst other things, implies that people on third world countries live much shorter lives than those in the rich west because they are... karmically shittier? bad at magic? deserving it? wtf wtf wtf.
    I posted my reaction, edited a lot, then managed to delete it, because, altrough I can't actually feel this true, my brain supposes that it is possible to link this kind of feel-good crap without getting all existential about it, and ending up at the conclusions I drew? It can't be true that everybody posting this kind of things actually believes that babies with AIDS actually deserve to die. Maybe person-on-facebook only liked, say, the nonconformist bent in this hippy? and I should try to investigate their mind better before yelling at them? but these are veeery speculative thoughts.

    So that's how my brain works right now.
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