I had an epiphany today. Actually, the epiphany came over the last 20 days. I have just come to the realization that nobody really understands how difficult traversing the social landscape is for me. It feels like an insurmountable mountain. It’s incredibly frustrating for everyone involved, but I don’t think that many people understand the frustration for me. Through my own hard headedness and stubbornness, the few friends I do have, don’t last long. The ones I do keep often I feel like they are keeping me at arm’s length. The only true friend I have ever had was my husband, and he seems to be able to endure my inability to read people socially or take social cues. That trait alone makes me blessed to have him, because I don’t know many who could understand my complexities.
Friends respond to me in three different ways. I feel like a lot of times people condescend to me. It seems to me that they talk slowly and deliberately. I often hold my true opinions, or latch on to other opinions, because it’s what I think people want. I’m afraid that if people knew how I truly felt they wouldn’t like me. It has been proven time and time again, when I let little bits of my personality out, usually the next step is someone dumps me. So I rehearse my viewpoints, I try to script out what I need to say. In the same regards, many of my friends have tried to tell me how I should feel, how I should dress, what my tastes are. After I have some separation from them, I look at what I have picked out, or done, and realize that my tastes are very different from what people think they are. When I deviate from the person I want people to think I am, many people discover that I’m not a likeable person.
Another aspect of my friendships that have me perplexed is the difficulty in reading intention. I don’t believe in coincidences. I hate that people have hidden motives, and I sometimes think people believe that they can hide these motives from me, without me being aware of their motives. For example, I sometimes talk with the staff at my son’s school. One day after school, they had sent out an e-mail stating that when the office door is closed that they were busy and needed privacy. The office door always closed when I approached the office. The deduction I made was they needed to put this policy in place, because I was distracting them. So instead of coming to me directly and telling me hey, your distracting us, and we are busy. They put a sign up; I think to not offend me. But I would much rather have the staff say, hey listen, if you want to chat, please make an appointment and we can chat.
The third aspect of friendship that I noticed is when they don’t want me to do something or become involved in something, they do it behind my back without me. If you don’t want to include me in something, I would much rather just be told, hey we don’t need your help (in a nice polite way). When someone is not straight forward with me and direct with me, I think that they are hiding something from me, or that they don’t like me. I don’t understand subtleties, and I don’t understand ulterior motives. If someone is not direct with me, then I think that they are hiding something.
The sad thing is if I think someone is hiding something from me, I think that they don’t like me or respect me enough to be straightforward with me, or that I have done something wrong to draw their dislike. I hate breaking rules. I especially hate breaking social rules when I don’t even know the social rules. In the end, I end up making up what I think the scenario is behind human behavior, and usually it’s the worst case.
On the other hand if someone is confrontational with me, I get incredibly defensive, and hurt, because it’s another rule that I broke, in a game I just don’t get. I spend the vast majority of my time alone, and doing not much of anything. I don’t want to start doing things, because I’m terrified that I might screw it up and make things worse than they are. Socially I feel like I’m in an impossible situation. It’s so frustrating.
The word that describes this entire week was frustration. It started on Monday with a sick child, continued through Friday with another sick child, and ended with a little bit of betrayal and a little bit of irony. I will be excited when the loneliness is abated a little bit in three weeks, when my mother-in-law visits. At least then I will have someone equally as crazy to talk to.