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Being different than family

mollusk

Member
First of all, I'm very fortunate to have a caring, supportive, and stable family. Despite this, I've always been different from the rest of my family, and I often struggle to understand them. I also think they probably wondered why their kid was the only one in our entire extended family who refused to eat meat from a young age, or threw tantrums about having to go on vacation. They'd tell me I should be appreciative that I have the opportunity to travel, and tell me to do it for the family. I used to think I was going crazy because I couldn't understand their love of travel, and it was clear they couldn't understand why I found it so stressful. Similarly, they get annoyed when my room door is always shut (which I do to keep out the general noise they make), or when I can't tolerate what seem like basic things to them.

The most irritating part about this is that whenever I try to explain why something bothers me, they think I'm making up excuses. They even have a nickname for it- not sure how this started but they say 'bojangles' when this happens, and occasionally refer to me as 'BJ'. I think part of this is because I can't always articulate why I find certain noises/smells/etc bothersome because then my explanations sound like lame excuses.

Even now that I've told them I'm likely autistic to some extent, they don't seem to understand what that entails or how it impacts me.
 

Outdated

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hi Mollusk, welcome to the forums. What you just described fits so many of us here, I'm glad that at least your family are supportive of you. Many of us didn't have that.

If you read some other people's stories in here then perhaps you can find the right words to help your family understand.
 

Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
@mollusk
We are different. We communicate differently. That can't be changed.

But it's possible to learn how to communicate better with NTs. Not as an NT, but you can get better at accommodating the differences if you work on it.

For me, it gradually reduced the effort required for masking, so there was a second "net positive", though it took time to kick in.
 

Suzanne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I had a terrible childhood and thus, very unfortunate. However, I was always the odd one out and did not help, that I am the eldest of 5 of us!

I was just mocked. My second sister would often mock me in front of her friends, because I acted and looked far younger than she did and could not read expressions and just generally felt awkward around others.

Also was known to be the silent one, because I rather read than talk and often was told that people forgot I was there. Strangely enough though, I could fade out the terrible ding of noise and just escape into my books.

Anyway, your situation certainly resonates with a lot of us, here and certainly seems that you are on the spectrum; so try to get tested.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
It's tough to live with "normal family." Especially when we feel so aware of everything around us. I think it gers a little better as we age.
 

Storm Hess

Permanent Spaceman
That has been my life and continues to be my life. They have no clue what I'm dealing with, but my family (like many others on this forum) doesn't care and dismisses it all. Even though I've been diagnosed, my mother said the other day, "You have someone convincing you that you're sick.". She thinks that Autism and being Autistic is a 'sickness' and something you contract or pay someone to tell you that you're "ill". Sent her video after video and I get no response. When she is in a mood, she bashes me saying that someone has caused me to believe that I'm "sick". My sisters think that "it's all in your head." and refuse to watch any videos I've sent on the subject. Yes, that's the issue...my brain. They don't care...even after a face-to-face diagnosis from a highly certified Consultant Psychiatrist and another that is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, with full report, nope..."Nothing's wrong with you." Coming from era when there was no Autism or ADD, this is the response I get. "Shut up, stop complaining!" "BS! That's an excuse!" "Baby!" "Drama queen." "Useless" "Why are you acting like that?! Are you retarded!?"...if you can think it, I've heard it. I've been beaten with a belt, grounded for weeks at a time, verbally and physically threatened all because their lack of understanding and personal ignorance (that persists to this day).

I was in denial myself until the report came back and had my final interview with the Psychiatrist. I can't remember how many times I've told my wife, "I don't think I have ASD. This is just me.". I guess I didn't want to believe it myself. It seems overwhelming, emperical evidence won out over my self-denial. I feel better now that I know why something wasn't just quite right in my world.

I've now dropped the mask and respond with no reservations. My family is left behind in the States and I'm here in the UK enjoying days with my wife and 4 kids. I feel much better about it all now (so far anyway). :) That makes all the difference in the world.

Consider it a 'blessing' to have a supportive family, whether they fully understand or not. Still better than a lot of us have dealt with. :) If your family is supportive, tell them you wish to be diagnosed and to graciously accept the outcome. :)
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I guess I was lucky the majority of my siblings are autistic 4 out of six. we get along very well my brother's
wife joined us at my sisters for thanksgiving she is a teacher let the rest of us know she just realized her husband is on the spectrum I retorted already knew that, so did he. my sister's husband is also on the spectrum, realized that at dinner as he and his one son who is also on the spectrum ate alone on a second table I cannot think of a more successful autistic couple as my sister and her husband upper middle class. He is an executive partner of the engineering firm, mining engineer; she is a geologist/economist.

We are as autistics different from the rest of society, can have our own culture, and still be successful, socializing is so much fun when you are with your own conversation much more interesting & rewarding when you're with people you have things in common with.
 

mollusk

Member
I had a terrible childhood and thus, very unfortunate. However, I was always the odd one out and did not help, that I am the eldest of 5 of us!

I was just mocked. My second sister would often mock me in front of her friends, because I acted and looked far younger than she did and could not read expressions and just generally felt awkward around others.

Also was known to be the silent one, because I rather read than talk and often was told that people forgot I was there. Strangely enough though, I could fade out the terrible ding of noise and just escape into my books.

Anyway, your situation certainly resonates with a lot of us, here and certainly seems that you are on the spectrum; so try to get tested.
Sorry to hear about your sister mocking you :/ I also have been teased for looking and acting much younger than I am. Is that related to being on the spectrum? (new to this all)
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I dunno what to say. My family knew that I was socially avoidant and I never got involved with friends or had a girlfriend. But, that was back when autism was rarely diagnosed. Once my mother asked me if I was homosexual because I did not have a girlfriend.

But then on the other hand, unlike my brothers who easily got homesick. I enjoyed travelling to get away from family, so they would send me off at an early age. To relatives in Iberville, Quebec, to friends in Toronto, or to go fossil collecting with a geologist in Illinois.

I was on my own path because I never felt I could count on family for assistance with my personal difficulties.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I have one brother who is single educated, employed, owns house, NT not gay talked to him at thanksgiving dinner, does not see female companionship as being value added why buy the cow if milk is not that pricy. So being on the spectrum is not really the whole story. He has travelled the world working on phone systems.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
My brother likes to be on his own, only works three days a week, no wife, no kids, seen the world not interested in the women he meets who try picking him up, probably not hanging out in target rich environments, for them or him. My kids really like him as he is a great storyteller. Has been places they would never ever get too. Places we see as vacation spots he sees as places he has worked but would not want to live there as he has for months or a year or two. I have never heard him ever say anything derogatory about women, just that he sees them at this time in his life as not value added. likes to be alone.
 
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Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
Sounds like an extraordinarily typical family. Did you explain what autism entails? Just telling an average person that you're autistic typically doesn't convey any accurate information whatsoever.
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
I'm nothing like ANY of my family members (I'm adopted though, and obviously autistic, and different race/ethnicity than my adoptive family.) Although I'm pretty much convinced that my mom is also on the spectrum.
I'm extremely fortunate to have very supportive and caring parents, but most of my extended family terrorizes me so my parents and I don't talk to them much anymore.

I'm sorry your family doesn't understand. That's really frustrating... The "bojangles" thing would really annoy me too.
Hopefully those of us here who have struggled with family issues will be able to provide support and advice. I don't have a lot of issues with communicating with my parents about SOME things, and I do think they mean well, but sometimes they're so frustrating about other things that I temporarily think about shutting them out. Infantilizing me has been a big issue I've had with them, especially since I live on my own and have a career and I'm almost in my 30s. Sometimes they unintentionally gaslight me too. So yeah, there's a lot to be frustrated about.

My advice would be to do as much of your own research about autism as you can, and if you do pursue a diagnosis, hopefully that will be helpful and meaningful for you, and you can also try to have a conversation about it with your parents if you wish. Sometimes, in my experience, my parents hearing something from a professional or an outside source was more successful at explaining it than just hearing it from me.

I wish you the best of luck with your journey, and feel free to ask as many questions on here as you need!
 

paloftoon

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hey mollusk, this is real tough. Whether you have autism or not, your family has a point that you do need to try to tolerate some of these opportunities. I sense that even you, yourself, know that going on trips can be an opportunity. You have to find things that will work for you but not intrude on your family's responsibilities too.

Are you under 18 years of age still? If not, maybe you should work on a situation where you live on your own. You can make your own money, learn how to pay bills, eat how you want, and do what you want with all the adult responsibilities that come with that. If you aren't ready to take that step, then it is on you to find ways that are reasonable to tolerate some things you may not like but still respecting your family and the time, energy, and care that they put into you.
 

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