View Full Version : Strong delay in socializing


dewrdr
08-03-16, 08:33 PM
I will repeat what I already said in my family thread (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179028)

I always wonder how I would be if I'd grow up in a normal family. How much of my current struggles is about the way I was raised and how much is the real me.

There was nobody in my family who would teach me the proper human interaction. My mother doesn't trust anyone, has no friends and doesn't socialize because she thinks she is too poor and has nothing to offer. She was only about "seeming nice and quiet to others". My father has a few acquaintances and knows many people, but he is very envious and critical of others and would always criticize people I was hanging with, even as a little kid, for let's say, their parents and that they have a huge credit or something else, so I always had to listen to this stuff. As a 5 year old, he told me not to trust anyone. That people cannot be trusted. I also heard a lot of violent stories from his job as a bodyguard in one of the biggest clubs. My grandmother was having an extremely distrustful attitude, too. She hated and criticized everyone, but it's not surprising due to fact she was an orphan and after the age of 21, she was already sick and housebound and tied to her hostile husband and his crazy family. Not one person in my family had a normal social life. I'm not even mentioning my grandfather and his brothers. The daughters of one of them are also antisocial. Only my second grandmother is nice to people and talks to them a lot.

So I always wonder, how much of it is my brain wiring and how much the way I was raised.

I was standing out from the crowd my entire life.

In kindergarten, I would only be interested in other children if they wanted to play my games (which was usually walking around the carpet, pretending to be lions, because I was obsessed about them. I was either leading or not playing at all). Or I was playing the game that we were pretending the playground is full of animals and doing a lot of imagining and wanted others to imagine the same. I could as well play with toys. I was so obsessed with particular toys that I was even stealing them for the summer break and "kept them safe" until the next year. I had a lot of toys and huge teddies at home and treated them with such emotional attachment as if they were real. I didn't need other kids that much. Sometimes a other kid's toy would interest me more than the kid himself. I was always partially in my own world. If you see a photo from that time on some trip, there is the whole group focused on a photographer and me in the corner, doing silly "roaring lion" faces. I didn't want to share with other children. I didn't have the natural "interacting impulse", my mother was sometimes forcing me to it.

I especially hated children that were younger than me. They were loud, they were crying a lot, I found them extremely annoying and I hated when my mother was forcing me to take one on my knees to do the picture. I would always refuse angrily. I was an extremely quiet child myself, didn't cry as much as the normal kids my age, didn't communicate my pain always, didn't share. Although, I had many temper tantrums and meltdowns, where I would sometimes destroy my things.

My mother has a brother who has a son younger than me. They would come to visit us few times a year and it was a nightmare. My mother was always blamed for raising me badly and people would shout at me too, because I just couldn't stand that kid. He was loud, he moved everything that was in our room (I didn't have a room on my own), he touched my stuff and I was just sitting there, completely, absolutely terrified seeing that, angry and showed him general dislike. That's how it was with every kid in the family.

Lot of kids were annyoing to me. Some even made me react with verbal aggression. There is some unpleasant history with this. Recently, there was a huge pedophilic scandal in my country about a foster family who tortured and sexually abused children for many, many years in silence (and some people knew it). Those people lived near my house, next to the playground I was playing on. They had a daughter who was participating in it and told to be too mentally sick to even testify in court. I remember her very well, she was indeed totally manic like and scattered and would shout some nasty stuff in my face, had this sick smile, so I once threatened her. I remember her father, watching kids from the door of his house, the atmosphere that surrounded it and the way he was looking at us: other kids.

On the other hand, I loved and still love animals so much. My grandmother taught me precisely how to treat them and I could spend hours with them. I was terrified seeing other children mistreating kittens or other species. She had a very old dog who generally despised kids, but I was the only one he would tolerate, because I was gentle and delicate. I've spent hours and hours sitting calmly, looking at him or playing the vet and talking to him. Until this day, I'm very sensitive to animals and their emotional states. As an eight year old, I was volunteeing for around two years in a local animal shelter and would spend my time with dogs and made each of the trust me, so after some time, I was sitting with the biggest ones and those who were dangerous before they knew you.

I think I've mistaken a lot of non verbal cues from other children and was finding them more hostile than they were. I remember being on a camp in the seaside with my parents and there was a group of kids I joined and they were playing a lot and at some point they just started making fun of me and I started to avoid them later. Maybe they weren't hostile, maybe they were just playful. However, it was like all their faces seemed scary and terrifying to me.

At a primary school (aged 7 to 11) there was again the thing with leading. There was a lot of social games, especially those "hate you/like you" ones, where everyone was either with you, or against you. Something like that, it was made up by mean girls. It was really confusing. I remember playing with some girls and everything was fine and suddenly the next day they were running away from me, showing me they despise me. Or they were inviting me to their home and told me to stay alone in some room while they were playing. Some were really cruel. I remember crying once because of rejection and one girl coming in and saying "Cry, cry. That's what you deserve". I was pretty loud and critical, I had this weird way of speaking in a way that was too mature for me (Like, when a girl came to us and showed us a hole in her tshirt made by her dog who died and I said it's stupid because of this and that) But on the other hand, I was making a clown out of myself. I mimicked people in the way they were dressing, writing, speaking. The only time I was having friends was when there a topic came out I was obsessed with. But I was also less flexible and had worse motor skills than others.
I was called a lot of names in primary school, sometimes the kids would run after me, screaming I should end up in mental institution, or writing the stories of me being an ugly witch and reading them aloud, or telling me there is no place for me on this Earth, laughing at my looks etc. But I was sometimes like that too. I kicked a boy once, I was criticizing some people. I said something in manner that others found aggressive or insulting, etc.

Generally, it was overwhelming. For a short time, I was also attending a church choir (i was always willing to participate in such things and then just socializing was too much and i didn't want to do it). There were summer camps organized. I went on two. I mean, I survived the first one even though I had terrible separational anxiety and didn't feel well there, couldn't eat and felt really bad in strange places. During the second one, I felt so bad, didn't care for socializing, had all kinds of somatic symptoms, constant panic attacks and just called my parents and begged them to take me home, so they drove 300 km to take me.

On the last year of primary school, we moved to another country. It was one of the worst episodes in my life. I didn't speak a word in English back then and yet I had to attend secondary school, where everyone's native language was English. I was the only person who didn't know the language in the whole place. Also, I wasn't especially friendly looking or funny. Once that everyone knew there is some unusual "illiterate" at school, it was a nightmare. Also, my nationality had a pretty bad reputation. Lots of people were coming to "see me" and "try me out". At first, I thought it's gonna be nice and that I'm gonna escape the nightmare of primary school and our family home. But then the bullying started, people whispering and talking about me, provoking me at a bus stop. I couldn't say much, I didn't understand them, which was obviously funny to them. It was really embarassing. After a month or so, I had people waiting for me in particular places after school, so I had to walk the other way or walk to some bus stop few kilometres away. Sometimes I would spend my lunch break in the bathroom. On different days, I would cry somewhere in the corner. I couldn't even drive the bus in peace without people noticing me. The older girls were really awful. The attention of all the bullies was pointed right on me. I was spit on and pushed a few times. I needlessly decided to survive this because I had nowhere to go back to. Even though I developed a full blown panic disorder and depression. I cried each time I came home and had suicidal thoughts. My parents weren't much helpful about it. Also, each day I was driving to school, I prayed and daydreamed about meeting someone who would speak my language, perhaps a new student or something. There was a group of people who were nice to me and maybe I could try to stick with them more, but the whole experience was so scary I found everyone pretty terrifying. At that time people were also pointing out my lack of eye contact and weird body posture. By the way, the people from my country were really fascinated by my person while I was living abroad, sending me letters and gifts, which made my understanding of our interaction even worse.

After a year, I went back to my country. I started middle school. I was again the different one, some girl who came from another country. But I was also so sick from stress and so terrified of people it wasn't a long time before I became a scapegoat again. At that time, I had full blown panic attacks each day and really tough depression and anger problems. Also, my endocrine issues started at that time and I was fat, and had hirsutism and took a lot of meds that made my emotional state even worse. I had only one friend at school and the rest of people was either making fun of me or bullying me (especially guys) or didn't notice me at all. When someone would ask me some silly question, I would respond in a weirdest way possible. I was clumsy, people were laughing at me for walking like a robot. I felt constantly embarassed. I was quiet at school, but extremely angry and irritable at home.

At that time I also had friends with few people outside of school, online and not, but they quit me after I was too single-minded and critical and argumentative and didn't know how much enough is enough. Apart from that one girl from another city who is autistic and had issues with agoraphobia that I helped her to overcome. We know each other for around 9 years now, even though there were ups and downs too.

I remember that I once went on a school camp in order to try to socialize. We took a trip to the mountains. I've actually ended up slowing the whole trip because I wasn't as physically able as others and had to take a pause very often. Everyone was angry with me. People there were drinking and having fun there and I was just standing out. When we were back, it happened that someone told the school principal about the drinking part and somehow everyone pointed out it was me even if it wasn't and when someone asked me I smiled, because I was embarassed, so they were like "oh, it's she!" and I was resented since then. Middle school, age about 11 to 15, was mostly like this. Terrible self esteem, anxiety, depression, issues with looks, a lot of embarassement.


I'm gonna write about the rest of my experiences (high school and now) in the next post, because it's late and I'm really tired.

Little Missy
08-03-16, 09:53 PM
Give or take a few characters, add or subtract some hair and a lot of what you write sounds like my life-ish except in a different location.

dewrdr
08-04-16, 08:56 AM
So, first year of high school was very stressful as I was already tired of the panic attacks and social interactions. But I wasn't a usual, anxious girl. I had my obsessive interest, I could be really noisy, talkative, a smart-***, liked to prove who's right and who is not and my behaviour was too weird to just label it just anxiety. That family of my mother with their annoying son- I was still hiding from them and avoided them even as a 16 year old and still could have temper tantrums about them.

I had few people to talk to but I was still labeled as the weird one. But mostly, people were leaving me in peace. It happened that I was brilliant not just at English (however the girls from my group would always get into a fight with teacher that my grades shouldn't matter bc I was living abroad few years ago) but also at creative writing in my own language. I was writing wonderful essays while no one could create even a basic one.
And then bang, I couldn't even read it aloud in class. Not just because I had a panic attack so strong, but because of my speech disorder (I was having a speech therapist in the past). I was a good writer and I couldn't read aloud. It was so embarassing. I was so scared of that reading thing (bc we had to do it a lot) that - apart from panic attacks - it was another time that I thought I should be medicated (I was on SSRI before aged 13-14). But firstly, I started with self medication. Took a lot of hydroxyzinum and pain killers and pills with sedative effects to calm myself down. Sometimes I would be so drowsy I could barely walk back home. I was also on isotretinoinum for my acne and it also made me psychologically worse. I had the highest possible dosage for the highest amount of time bc of the state my skin was in. I slowly begun to lose weight.

The second year of high school was an absolute mess. Partially I was writing about it in this thread (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1821925#post1821925)

Due to Isotretinoinum side effects, I had half of my hair fallen out. The rest was so damaged I had to cut it off completely. I've lost some weight however, was on my way in this, and I thought that maybe changing my looks will change other things too. I had my terrible, manic- like and furious experiences with Zoloft, Xanax and Celexa.

In the second year of high school I started drinking, smoking (was so obsessed about it that I knew all the brands and the whole smoking savoir vivre), started being aggressive at the school, too, because I wanted people to finally respect me. I was love and affection hungry. Had one crush with this guy who was living 400 km from me and I was still visiting him and the way I acted was pathetic and overly dramatic (crying, writing him letters, getting into sad grumpy moods and ruining the fun and not telling why), then I had a romance with that one girl who told me to learn more about kissing and sex techniques and I took it way too seriously. Then I had a short toxic and open relationship with a girl from my class (probably the first lesbian romance at my school), we did things I really regret. Generally, I believed if I'll be the kind of person that says everything she wants to say in a shocking manner and who can do anything people ask for (even if that means getting half naked at a club or a house party), that people will then like me. I was acting like an idiot. But people were noticing me. That is how I got into one of the most popular peer group in town, full of interesting, moderately rich and well educated people. But we were also stupid and crazy at that time. We still hang out sometimes, though. We were also taking a lot of trips to the capital city, I knew a lot of people from gay community (mostly the ones who are now a completetely wasted drug addicts) and there was a lot of clubbing (I never did drugs, however) and trying out weird sexual stuff. I had a bit of identity crisis, as on one hand I was calling myself a lesbian, but then had crushes mostly on gays and I even remember thinking about changing my sex as "I don't really get along with women". I was telling too many things to other people, sharing stuff that was way too private.
At school, I was having a huge arguments with teachers, my parents were called out a lot, they were responding to my behaviour with aggression themselves, did not stand by my side. I've been in trouble for my ways of behaving, for missing school, for smoking publicly, for drinking (one of my teachers once saw me drunk as hell), just my grades weren't all that bad, I was still doing the homework from time to time. But generally speaking, I could be easily expelled. My way of understanding things was very one-sided and all in all, I still was standing out due to my weird and unusual ways. This whole partying lesbian thing was just like another social game. I never felt any physical pleasure with anyone. And I had a crush on everyone who was simply nice to me.

The third year of high school was bit more peaceful, as I was trying to behave. I wasn't on any SSRI pills anymore. Of course coming there again after all these embarassing things I've done wasn't okay. Especially that it's a really small town where everyone knows everyone and I'm family with some of the people I know in one way or another. So, it was a constant self-awareness and embarassment, mostly. We were still doing some stupid things occasionally, but it was a time to slowly begin to end this. But my problems with particular subjects, learning difficulties and behaviour issues were often ending in a huge frustrated meltdowns. My friend told me that - during them - I behave like there really is sth wrong with my brain.

Speaking of my friends group. I was overwhelmed a lot. I didn't really get what is exactly others approach towards me was. But showing my psychiatric papers at the beginning of our relations wasn't a good idea. Sometimes I was obsessing about stuff or other people, was too loud or didn't speak at all. Was too critical. I couldn't really get what is going on sometimes between those people. If someone was criticizing someone, I thought they hate each other, then found out it's not true. Then, when I was criticizing others I thought it's a good idea to cut them off and I was really going no contact with people too much. Once, we were on a summer holiday trip and on the third or fourth day I was so overwhelmed with everything that was going on, with all the comments and embarassing jokes after drinking, with feeling worse, that I just went completely mute after crying and didn't say a word until we got back. Some were really shocked by this kind of meltdown.

I was really looking at human interactions as on some sort of a game. The only time I felt a fake but strong connection to someone was when I was having my crushes. The last one started inside my peer group with this one boy because someone told me "we match together" and I really started getting into it. It lasted for about a year and it was my last stupid crush like that. Too much embarassment, I've decided. No one was really in love with me and I wasn't in love with anyone. I couldn't even form a friendship because it seemed too much, when people tried to get too emotionally "pushy" on me, I would suddenly back off. I felt it as an almost physical pain.

So, that's how it was through high school. Now, three years after finishing it, it's not easier, even if my concept of boundaries is more clear.

dewrdr
08-04-16, 11:05 AM
After high school my delay was even more visible. I'm three years behind when it comes to studying, because of that one final exam I was already writing about in some thread. Everyone else went to university, the girls I knew are already in relationships, everyone has moved out (with parents financial help mostly, but that's not my point). I had issues with passing my driver's licence due to motor coordination difficulties, while everyone was already driving. It's just now, two years ahead, that I'm beginning to drive a car, still with someone's assistance, even though I have a full licence passed mostly because of my talkativeness, not real skills. It seems like a small stuff, but at one point in my life, it was really upsetting, as I tend to obsess about everything I do.

I was working for a year after high school but then had to leave due to the end of my employment programme. I had issues with getting overwhelmed with so many people coming to the shop I was running. Sometimes I would have a small meltdowns. Made lots of small mistakes due to my bad short term memory and sluggish cognitive tempo. I was getting too talkative and too private with my boss, but that wasn't really a problem back then, cause he was nearly my age and he was himself like this. When me and my co worker couldn't get along, I went critical. That was no good. I was also pretty argumentative and got bored often and had issues with lying to the customer or hiding my real feelings. I didn't feel much safe there, because there were a lot of people of low status who were stealing stuff, etc. But I was doing okay when it came to my targets and how much money I was doing on my shift. Sometimes I enjoyed talking to customers if the topic was interesting. Some really liked me, some didn't. Depended on a person. I wasn't the worst possible sales assistant, but I wish I was less emotionally involved and didnt have such a negative attitude often. My co worker liked me to some extent because I had a wide knowledge and I was a good listener. I was just like at school: good at what I'm good at, terrible at other things. And too short tempered or anxious. Generally, this job was like a huge emotional bomb to me. I was lacking some social skills, because I'm pretty stiff and have issues with showing generous emotions. When it was Christmas, my co-worker bought me a gift and I didn't know that...you do that. I was wondering about whether it's appropriate to buy something or not to the extent that I finally didn't. It was embarassing as hell. I thought I'm a bad worker and they don't like me there and maybe that was the reason they didn't hire me after my co-worker left the job: I made the impression that I don't want to carry on with this job.

Here comes the stigma of my family and my grandfather who was constantly fired due to his temper and lack of social skills and my father who constantly changes his jobs because "he gets bored".

However, it's a small town and after I left, I couldn't find any good job anymore. I'm on unemployment since February. While I was working, I didn't have any contact with people , because there were too many things happening in the group and I didn't really feel that I belong.

We met each other on a NYE party this year that took place in a completely different town, we were there kind of by accident as the other plans didn't work out. I won't explain the whole story, but it was at a house of you know, a friend of a friend of a friend, generally it all come out of that one girl who was once my friend's girlfriend and she had extreme emotional and mental issues and her friends were pretty...I'd say...simple. Due to one situation the conflict was raised and there begun a fight. We were attacked by a much older men, one attacked me physically and then my friend ran to protect me, and he got seriously beaten up by two of these men. And the bff of that girl that we didn't get along with (I cannot get along with people who create so much drama and drive while drunk just because they're upset), she also wanted to beat me up and screamed at me for nearly half an hour for being a piece of trash that no one will ever respect. I finished this conflict calmly, didn't touch her, just waited when she is tired of speaking, said "thanks for your opinion" and then I called police and we went back home (that wasn't the end of the drama that one girl created) and the whole event was pretty traumatic. We of course decided to never come back there again. But I was really stressed out for many weeks after that. Even that I didn't show it directly, just got oversensitive on different stuff and talked about it a lot. The words I heard back then reminded me of the past and I decided to work on my relationships more.

I've sorted everything out, cut just one person off (there was this boy I knew who wasn't doing anything with his life and we were hanging out and he was trying a lot of romance, wanted to make out a bit with everyone that he knew, but never to commit to anyone, and it was all pretty superficial, I felt pretty lost cause of him and left him after some time) and then I met with some of the people from this group, we had one party, and I just tried to make it simple, so that I will have a few collegues. We sometimes hang out for a cigarette or just to talk.

I also have to mention that I've changed my looks, I went from 80 to 52 kg, worked a lot on my makeup, etc. And saw that changing looks doesn't give you much without self esteem and good character.

Generally, I'm 21, never been into a relationship. I have to take really small steps in human interaction, otherwise I get too messed up and overwhelmed. I quit parties in large groups after last time it all just went too much and I just left everyone. I have a hard time explaining myself to people. Those who don't know me much often say I'm mean or stiff. I have issues with eye contact and body language. I am very obsessive compulsive and I just need everything to be clear and simple and understandable and categorized in a right way. I sometimes get overly excited or overly involved. People say I lack empathy, though I don't. I don't have a social mask. I don't know much enough is enough and that goes for joking or keeping my privacy and anything. Difficulties with expressing joy or comfort, etc, etc.

I ruminate over these topics bc it's still unclear for me. I get occasionally depressed when overwhelmed but then quickly get fast "on tracks". And I hate this moment when I just go into the society, I don't feel too much anxiety, so I just do everything my way, which ends up with me saying weird stuff or doing strange things, like staring too much or something like that. And then I have this huge fear of whether these are my normal emotions, or maybe I'm gonna develop some bipolar psychosis and do something crazy and I just get all lost in myself due to constantly analizing everything. What am I exactly, what is me, am I the same as my worst family members? Etc etc.

kilted_scotsman
08-04-16, 01:06 PM
So I always wonder, how much of it is my brain wiring and how much the way I was raised.

It helps to let go of this idea that there is a fixed "way we are wired".

Neuroscience now understand that our brains continually rewire themselves, it's called neuroplasticity.

Think of it like we are born with a bunch of wires in our head..... and those contain the instructions about how to make new wires and also, most importantly generic instructions about how to make connections between the wires.

It's like a How To for soldering..... the instructions don't tell you what to solder, or where, just the technique for doing so.....

What happens after that is you..... your brain makes new wires where it thinks it needs them, and solders connections between the wires where it feels it needs them according to the experiences "you" have interacting with the outside world.

One of the most revolutionary things that's come out of neuroscience is the discovery that we continue to add new wires and make new connections throughout life..... Ok most of this activity happens when we are young..... up to mid 20's, but even after that we can alter the "structure" of the brain through changing the way we interact with our environment and creating a different inner landscape.

Yes some people have genetic issues that mean they have problematic "instructions", however that doesn't mean their development of "themselves" is as limited many people think.

This means there is no fixed "me" only the me that I create in response to my way of being in my environment.... unfortunately this often becomes a positive (successful) or negative (unsuccessful) feedback loop.

The issue to hand is to recognise is we are stuck in an unhelpful feedback loop and use that knowledge to change the loop.

kilted...