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Featured Family Functions & Frustration

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Rasputin, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I am not sure why I am posting this, because everyone here deals with similar situations. Over the weekend, i attended my nephew’s wedding. It was very nice, and afterwards there was a big dinner and reception. I attempted to socialize, spoke to people I had not seen in a long time, but before long I ran out of things to say and I just wasn’t up to socializing. So another nephew who was there happens to have a son, maybe 8 years old, who is autistic. While everyone is visiting and dancing, I am sitting at this table with this boy. He was pre-occupied with a digital gaming device, while his father was trying to distract him to get him to dance and interact with people. Meanwhile, I was sitting there with my smartphone amusing myself, but obviously not dancing and interacting with family. My wife became frustrated, so I attempted to socialize. By 11:00 PM the party is still going strong, but I was wiped out from all the festivities. So, I told my wife I was wiped out and was calling the hotel shuttle to go back to our room. To my surprise this hurt her feelings, and she stayed out until around 2:00 AM. The next day, we talked and I explained that I believed that I had HFA. I had suggested this previously, but this time I was more explicit in describing my difficulties. I do okay interacting one-on-one and in small groups, but not in large family gatherings or festivities. She indicated she knew, but since then all I have heard is how unhappy she is. I am now very depressed, and not sure what to say or do. Like I said, I am not sure why I am posting this. Any similar experiences that anyone would like to share?
     
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  2. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    This sort of thing has happened to me so many times that I usually wont go to parties and such anymore. I'm happily not married, so I dont have a partner to offend or anything. I do live with my father and stepmother, and I know they do wish I'd interact with people more, but they also understand that alot of the time, I just cant. They understand the whole autism thing, so while there used to be arguements about this when I was a kid (and was not diagnosed yet) that doesnt happen anymore. I mean, seriously, me going to parties is a total waste of time. One way or another, I absolutely will end up in a whole seperate room, wherever I can find, sitting by myself and messing with some gizmo that I'll have brought with me. Waste of time.

    Besides: if I'm being 100% honest, there's one other fact: I simply dont ACTUALLY know most of those people. Yes technically the label of "family" is there, but these are people I see once in a blue moon on Friday the 13th when all the planets are aligned. In other words, super rarely. My mom's family in particular is both huge and spread all over the freaking country, and I have too many cousins. There are cousins I've never seen/met and dont know the names of... that's how many there are. Stepmother's family isnt much smaller, but is not spread out. And one way or another... particularly with my mom's family... I know next to nothing about most of these people.

    Now, back as a kid, the one thing that DID get me to go to some of these functions was because my grandmother (on my mom's side) would be there. She's one of the few that I DID know, and she used to live far away, for my entire childhood. A few years ago though she moved back up here, less than a block away from my mom's house, so now I can just go visit whenever, instead of ONLY at functions. Which is nice. She's easy to talk to and watching her dog ricochet off the walls is always amusing. And she hates bad weather as much as I do. Was close to my grandfather too but he is unfortunately gone. And there's exactly two cousins and one aunt & uncle that I know pretty well, but again, not super rare that I see them. Pretty much all of the others though... yeah, I'm not going to pretend that I know them. Because I dont. I get that the family thing is important, but it doesnt change that fact.

    Doesnt help that so many people are just boring.... I have a hard time conversing with most of the people I DO know, since they dont talk about anything interesting (except my grandmother, really).



    Anyway, I dont think there's really much that you should be depressed about. The whole autism thing is what it is. It's not like you walked in there, went "you all suck" and walked out. You didnt do that. You simply hit the wall that pretty much all of us hit. It's just how it works, and it's not your fault, nor is it under your control. I mean, you can try to force it, but... that usually results in a variety of problems.

    Yeah, your wife didnt like it, but if you've not been diagnosed really, and you both havent gotten used to the whole concept yet, well, it can be frustrating for those around you who arent used to it yet and dont understand. It takes awhile, for everyone to learn, you know? You'll just have to work that out.

    Seriously. Nothing to be depressed about. Frankly you did alot better than many of us on this forum do. Quite a few of us cant handle socializing at events AT ALL (obviously there are exceptions though). That you managed some is impressive.
     
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  3. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That sounds tough. Especially because you were demonstrating a viable alternative way to be for yr nephew, but as others on this site note, the social way is so dominant and it steamrollers over our quiet ways. Yep, I have often had the experience you describe, and I think you lasted out well.

    My guess is, your partner needed to know about this in advance rather than at the event. Sounds like she was disappointed. It's a tough one for a sociable spouse, especially when they weren't aware or realise it's not a temporary thing. You could discuss it more over time, make a plan. If she loves who you are, then she can probably cope with what to her may be your downside.
     
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  4. leehart

    leehart Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry that you experienced that, sounds like a tough night.

    It would have taken courage to say to your wife how you feel, that she says she knew but was unable to empathize with why you left kinda says she doesn't truly understand. I'm not sure if there are ways to create better understanding? I know if it was me, opening up and then hearing my wife respond with how unhappy she is would be absolutely crushing so I really feel for you there. Hope you get some form of breakthrough in this asap.
     
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  5. OrangeSquash

    OrangeSquash Active Member

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    This is such a good thing to have happened!! What MAY have been perceived as a failure has broken down barriers and created more understanding in your relationship with each other.

    Your wife and you will now have a better understanding of each other and this, in turn, will allow you both to formulate a plan for these situations. It has given you grounds to have a real conversation about autism – something that can just be brushed-off at times with a “we’re all different in our own special way” BS comment. It may also create some understanding between you and the rest of your family.

    It sounds like a really rough night for you, and difficult conversations the next day – but it can be re-framed into a massive positive for you, your relationship, and your potential autism.

    Hope this helps, sorry to be the super positive happy-clappy one in the room!

    Peace
     
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  6. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for sharing, and for the encouragement. There have been occasions that were not handled so well, like at Christmas when I did retreat to a room away from everyone else. A few other times when family stayed out late until 2/3 AM and I had an emotional meltdown, left and went to my room. Because of this I am known as the “weird” uncle among my wife’s family; I guess I hoped that getting it out in the open would take some of the pressure off of me and result in understanding. Maybe that just takes time.
     
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  7. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I had mentioned it to her several times, but wasn’t as explicit. It seems that even now she is unwilling to accept. Overall, I don’t think I handled the situation that badly.
     
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  8. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Positive is good. I think there is truth in everything you wrote.
     
  9. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Still the little child in me gets upset, stomps his or her feet for the umpteeth time and says "so what if l don't socialize in a acceptable way to you" , why do we constantly have this ongoing internal struggle? NT don't realize that we don't have the internal switch that propels us out to meet and greet. It's not on my schematic board. If l am doing it, l am totally masking, l am very good at it.
     
  10. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    First of all, I don’t see where there is anything wrong with the way we socialize. We are just different, and that is the way we were wired. We can’t be something we are not. Now, what I did was try to see things from the NT perspective and gave it my best shot. The problem I see is NTs need to make some effort to understand how we are different. Its like the little kid I was sitting with, happy doing his thing and not bothering anyone else, while his father was trying to force him to dance with family members. The weird thing is this kid who doesn’t like close interaction with family will come to me and climb up in my lap. And I don’t have children, and am not particularly good with children.
     
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  11. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    I get this. There is usually a big family get together between christmas and new year, which is the only time I see them in person. Unfortunately, my birthday is also between christmas and new year and they always throw me a sort of coffee and cake (and presents) party, which always maks me incredibly uncomfortable. I love the cake, which I get to choose, but I hate being the center of attention, having to gush over presents and generally entertain the guests. Celebrating my birthday is super important to them though and I was never brave enough to ask them not to. (Also didn't know about ASD until this year.)
    At one point, my grandma got very upset because I wasn't exited enough about her present, which led to some family drama until I was able to tell her that I really was very thankful, and liked her present. I did so using specific examples why I liked it, not with a show of emotion so I can't say whether she actually believed me. But at least the drama ended.
    This year I will only be seeing my immediate family. Which I am very happy about especially because my sister usually ends up upset as well because her birthday doesn't get that much attention. I was and still am serious about celebrating her birthday around new year, rather than mine. I would be glad to hand all that attention over to her.
     
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  12. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I think that OrangeSquash has got the right idea, understanding. Most people ether can not or will not understand ASD. That is not such a bad thing since ASD is not a easy thing to understand. So it takes some extra effort to get it. But it is very important for relationships that are a NT with a ND..

    I also think that a diagnosis would be a very important tool for the OP and his wife because it will explain so much.
     
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  13. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm the same, I can only take so much interaction on a large scale. And luckily so is my husband fatigued by these sorts of celebrations after a few hours. If your spouse knows about ASD, then it's perhaps time to talk about the ramifications with her. You could give her a generic list, from the net or detail why you become tired from the lights and noise and feigned enjoyment and banal conversations.

    Make certain that she understands that at this time that you need quiet after such a tiring evening. Some people with autism need an entire day or more of quiet or peace to recover from these family celebrations. She will have to enjoy these celebrations with you for shorter periods, and learn to spend the rest of them either by herself or with others, it's simply the way it is.

    It's not because you don't care about here, and don't wish to spend time with her, it's the noise and the lights and the talking all around you that makes it difficult to focus. You should make that clear at this point. Neither is it a failing on your part to live up to another's expectations. You have already done your bit by being present in the first place.
     
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  14. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback / comments. They helped to reinforce my confidence in the handling of this situation. Only time will tell if my situation improves.
     
  15. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    The thing is, actually you were socialising. You were sitting with the boy - you might not have been talking, but you were with him, doing something in his company. People tend to have this fixed idea of socialising that it must involve talking, but this is not the case. People don't ned to be talking to enjoy each other's company.

    I'm similar when it comes to weddings and other similar social functions - I find them boring and dislike the environment, and always leave early. Actually, I try to avoid going alltogether if I possibly can.

    It's also a cultural thing - where I live, it is your responsibility to talk or not talk, to join in or not, and if you don't, nobody is going to care or ask why you aren't talking. Nor will people make any effort to include you. My partner doesn't really care whether I talk to people or not, nobody is going to get offended if I don't. I can't join in, people just ignore me or don't include me and there is no point in my attending such functions.
     
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  16. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Since posting this, I do not recall how to start a new thread. So, I would appreciate it if someone can point me to the right place to start a new thread.

    Anyway, for now this will do. I am still trying to get my mind around Aspergers, as I have not been officially diagnosed. However, while having dinner tonight with my wife, her sister. and her aunt a couple interesting things happened. My sister-in-law described my “Usual” behavior on my church parish council as strange. She and I both serve on this council, and some of the personalities on this council are very contentious. Anyway, she commented that I look so uncomfortable that I look like I am trying to escape or climb under the table. I look away, am fidgety, and avoid eye contact with anyone. Now I have disclosed to me wife that I suspect I have Aspergers, but no one else knows. Then later on when the waitress brought our check I paid with a credit card and filled out the tip for 20%. Then my sister-in-law looks at my receipt and boldly says I didn't tip enough and throws down a $5 bill. I did not like this, and the next thing I know my wife joins in agreeing with her sister. At this point I became visibly angry, and I lost my composure. The fact is both my wife and sister were in error regarding the tip, but what triggered my angry response was someone questioning my tip and then arguing about it. Apparently, I came across looking like a jerk, even though I don’t see where i did anything other than standing my ground. This incident just occurred, but I have reacted similarly to unrelated matters in the past. Afterwards I did disclose the Aspergers to my sister-in-law, because I think she should know. For any “Aspies” reading this, does this sound like Aspergers?