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I don’t care about anyone

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by SimonSays, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    I don’t mean I can’t care or wouldn't care, I just mean there’s nobody around me I care about. It’s been such a long time since I’ve actively cared in a continuous sense, it feels like I have lost the ability to do so, so used to not doing it have I become.

    Recently, I was on my way back from the shop, ear plugs in as usual, not expecting anyone to even try communicating with me, when a woman starts talking to me. It turns out she was concerned about where she’d parked her car and needed me to reassure her that it was ok. I did so, as there was nothing wrong with her decision; she was just a little confused by the street sign. I was glad I could remove her confusion. It felt like I cared. I felt empathy/caring towards her. I didn’t need anything from her; I just got to help her and I liked that. I’ve always liked helping strangers. It feels like getting to temporarily care for a random human being. A few moments of unexpected interaction which feels like real human contact. Nothing else was said between us. I wouldn't even recognise her if I saw her again. I just spontaneously cared because she needed something from me, which did not make me feel reluctant or resistant, just friendly.

    Last week I saw an old man trip over and spill his shopping. Almost instantly a few people near to him started helping him and picking up his groceries. I didn’t help; I'm sure I would’ve had there been nobody else around, but these people had him covered, and I liked seeing it. It wasn’t all that surprising they came to his aid; people help people, people are kind, but it was still nice to see. I actually felt moved by how much care was shown. I'm sure most people would have done exactly what they did. I didn’t. I didn’t have to. I didn’t need to. I do feel something if I do. It’s a nice feeling, like I'm doing something real, and it connects me, when I don’t usually feel part of anything.

    Here’s the thing: If I care about you, you might care about me. If you care about me, what I do or say might upset you or hurt you at some point, not intentionally, but it probably will, if I'm being myself and not masking.

    It is my experience that if I care about you, at some point I will upset you. I may not understand what I did exactly, but you will always believe I do.

    If you care about me, it is my experience that at some point you will do or say something that feels controlling or judgmental. You may not realise that you are.

    Because you care about me, caring means wanting to protect me from doing/saying something you would not do, primarily because you don’t want to be affected by the way this makes you feel. You care about me and would prefer I act like you do; and definitely not embarrass you or make you feel uncomfortable. It seems that to be cared about means I must care about how you feel about what I do.

    Obviously I'm not set in stone. I certainly can and do change. But I cannot change according to someone else’s idea of what I should change to, or at their idea of the pace that change should take. So it therefore seems to make sense that if you do not care about me you won’t expect me to have to do so.

    The other thing is: if I don’t show you something you ‘recognise’ as caring, then it may seem like I don’t or can’t care, because how you do it is different to me, so it can look like this important component that you need to see is missing.

    I loved and cared about my daughter very much, yet I noticed as she got older, I would worry about her when she went out, even though there was no evidence there was anything to worry about, as well as knowing philosophically that ‘worrying’ made no difference. Most parents go through this. It made me feel conflicted. It seemed like worry was a sign of caring, or caring meant I was supposed to worry, and yet this did not seem right.

    I looked at this for ages, and eventually found a way out of worrying, which had the unexpected effect of making it seem like I’d stopped caring. And within a short time, it was believed I no longer did. What I might then do no longer ‘looked like’ caring, and so it further seemed like I no longer cared. I lost my right to care because I no longer needed to worry.

    I have lost, or had to let go of, so many people I have loved and cared about, that I’ve had to look at what is going on that makes this occur, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better in the long run if I don’t care. I can’t help caring sometimes of course, but I can stop myself going further. It is not the way I want to be, but it seems to make the most sense in the long run.

    Does this make sense to you? Can you relate? I'm not saying I don’t want to care or be cared about, only I seem to have become more and more like this as time has gone on, since the life I knew and was familiar with, blew up.
     
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  2. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    To some degree, this is something that everyone has to deal with. Not just those on the spectrum... everyone.

    Being friends with someone, or whatever, it means dealing with the good AND the bad. You're going to come into conflict at times. You just will.

    But what seperates friends from mere acquaintances, is that they wont just decide you suck after an incident like that. And that they'll try to understand you, instead of just ignoring how you feel.

    If you're finding that someone is just dismissive of everything you do or wont try to truly understand you... they arent a friend at all, and there's no connection to begin with.

    But... you have to do the same thing. And you have to put in the effort. If you dont take the steps to rectify things when something happens, or if you dont maintain contact, or if you arent doing your best to understand AND communicate with that person... then yes, you're going to lose them.

    That's just how it works.

    I'm not 100% sure I'm making sense here, this is one of those topics that I have a bit of difficulty with.
     
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  3. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    I am sort of in the same situation. Like you, it seems, I have become quite introspective and question myself why or how this all came to be. It is easy to look at your own behavior with regards to this and think, "Am I a bad person?" This, amongst many other things in life, was one of the triggers for me to seek some answers and pursue what eventually led to my Asperger's diagnosis.

    Personally, as you probably know from my previous posts on here, I tend to look at things from a scientific perspective. I know from the literature that autistics often have a problem with the hypothalamus-to-posterior pituitary communication, and with that, can have poor interpersonal bonding due to low secretion of oxytocin and vasopressin,...the hormones that, in part, are responsible for that bonding or to seek out social interaction. I am more of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinker when it comes to other people,...even with my wife and children. I am all there when they are present, but as soon as they leave my sight, my mind is on other things. I don't miss people. When people in my life die, I grieve for the other people's loss, never my own,...and yes, this really upsets me. My brother died about 10 years ago, leaving a young wife and two little boys,...I cried my eyes out,...but kept saying to others I don't know whether I was crying for her and the kids or the loss of my brother,...it was really quite confusing to me. My father died this last October,...never felt a thing,...zero,...nothing,...and it bothers me to know that. Obviously, there is more to this whole situation, as the transition from being an emotional thinker to an unemotional, more logical thinker has slowly occurred most noticeably after say, the age of 30. In addition, with age, people in your life die, and sometimes the pain from that is enough that you start putting up emotional walls preventing you from getting too close to anyone. Perhaps a long line of short-term failed relationships in your life, not really grasping why things drifted apart,...the confusion and pain from that. I think there is something to be said for your brain trying to protect itself from further emotional pain. The realization of your own autistic interpersonal communication issues tends to keep people at a distance from you,...friendly acquaintances and co-worker relationships,...but not really a true friendship. You can intellectualize how the neurotypical world operates,...but you always seem to be on the outside, looking in at it. I often feel like that visiting alien from another world,...observing the behavior of others,...with only a partial understanding of it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Think caring has risky complicated emotional and social requirements which means it's less complicated if we bypass the whole equation and just stay logically detached plus those pesky odds of not being understood, misjudged and feelings being hurt.
     
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  5. Ronald Zeeman

    Ronald Zeeman Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I lost my brother a war and a half ago, the grieving comes gradually and is spread over time.
     
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  6. Martha Ferris

    Martha Ferris Seeking answers

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    I went into health care because I care about others and wanted to help them. That was one reason.
    I became invested in their welfare. After a number of years I had to ask myself why should I care more about you than you do about yourself?

    I live by the Serenity prayer: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

    I didn't stop caring but now it is "Can I do anything to help?" If not I move on and let people get on with their lives. While I may feel badly for someone I don't waste my time and energy on something I can do nothing about.

    I care about and love my children but they are now adults with their own lives and families. I am not involved in their lives as I once was. There is distance as I give them their freedom to live their lives as they see fit. To make their own mistakes and come up with their own solutions. To make their own decisions.

    As we age I think we begin to have a better understanding about who to expend our caring energy on and who not to. We don't stop caring we just become more selective about it.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Internally, for me, as far as immeditate family goes (and pets!) its a definite yes. At times more then myself. But for everyone else, it's rather hit or miss, circumstancial I guess. I do subscribe to an external idea that I should care but I don't always feel that. I have to conciously work on it.

    That said, I have developed over time a strong sense of caring for the other creatures of our world. Even things others frequently despise. I feel like everything is just trying to live it's life and has as much right to do so as us. But I don't expect much support for my 'Save the Water Rat campaign".

    ;)
     
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  8. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    I care about people and animals when I choolse to do so.

    It used to alarm me (for lack of a better word) how adept my brain is at that process. As the years went by I seem to have become more emotionally fragile than when I was young. Probably happens as a natural process of the human condition, but also because of multiple traumas which have put permanent scars but also cracks in my soul.

    I am pretty much comfortable with those as valid parts of me now. ♡

    The recent events have made me even more aware of the many kinds of love and caring which exist for us.


    Reading about the brain can help with all this, imho. I have a short list of books if you're interested.
     
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  9. Wulven

    Wulven Member

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    Yes. When my family began dying and I couldn't stop it. I felt myself growing cold and numb to it. It never hurt less. But, I couldn't see it as I once did. After that everything looked temporary. Pets dying, people passing, I got tired of hurting. But, feeling nothing at all isn't healthy either. It makes you numb to suffering and pain of others.
     
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  10. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    The trouble is I can easily care too much, given the opportunity. I don't have friends or family, no work colleagues or acquaintances, so there really isn't anyone to care about.

    No matter what happened in the past, I am still open to connecting and caring. It's just that so much time has gone by since I last felt that way, that when I reflect on it, plus the fact that I have become so used to not having to care, I wonder if this is the way things are going to be for me now.

    I have to accept things as they are even if I might want them to be different. So I just focus on caring for myself, which isn't always straightforward, but it is always something I need to do. In many ways it feels like quite a selfish thing to just care about myself, but I'm not trying to be selfish, and maybe it isn't selfish if all that's left is me.
     
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  11. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    It is easier to care about myself, as I usually know what I want and how I want it. I don't have to take other people into account. I don't have to compromise. But I might as well be living as a recluse really, and in many ways I wish I was. You might say I sort of am, even though I live in a shared house. I feel the most at ease when the house is empty. Unfortunately there is no cave I can move into, and I do still like comfort and the use of modern things. My laptop. The Internet. But anything can be let go of under the right circumstances. What price solitude?

    I've never shied away from emotional challenges. I've had several long-term relationships. But I tend to do so much better when I'm on my own or at least left to my own devices. My heart wants to love and be loved, and yet my mind seems to have other ideas. As much as I could imagine living in the woods in a cabin I may have built myself, hunting and fishing, foraging and growing my own food. Ideally I would still want to share that with somebody. One can imagine…
     
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  12. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    You are a philosopher and will never be understood. These statements you have gleaned do not come easily to most people and yet you were able to deliver them very concisely.

    "Here’s the thing: If I care about you, you might care about me. If you care about me, what I do or say might upset you or hurt you at some point, not intentionally, but it probably will, if I'm being myself and not masking.

    It is my experience that if I care about you, at some point I will upset you. I may not understand what I did exactly, but you will always believe I do.

    If you care about me, it is my experience that at some point you will do or say something that feels controlling or judgmental. You may not realise that you are.

    Because you care about me, caring means wanting to protect me from doing/saying something you would not do, primarily because you don’t want to be affected by the way this makes you feel. You care about me and would prefer I act like you do; and definitely not embarrass you or make you feel uncomfortable. It seems that to be cared about means I must care about how you feel about what I do."

    You have not capitulated to how you SHOULD feel and have not tricked yourself into thinking you are feeling what you must.

    You are a profound soul and I have no advise other than to say it is refreshing and puzzling how you can slice right into a matter. Thank you for this post
     
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  13. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    Thank you for being someone who sees that.
    ...and says so.
     
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  14. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I understand these feelings.
    If someone cares about me, then I feel I must always be thinking about them and the things I say
    or how I act, because they might not like my ways. So I am not comfortable.
    I feel I am not free to be me. I don't know what they want me to be.

    If I care for someone then I am very sensitive to things they say or do that I may take the wrong
    way and it makes me wonder if they really care or are they playing me someway.
    Asking that would annoy them.

    I never liked company staying in my house as I felt I had to act and do things to please them.
    So I was always on guard of my actions or words.

    I never liked staying with someone else in their house either. Same feeling.
    It wasn't home and I had to keep mannerisms in mind.
    Not comfortable either.

    That only left the two people that I've known since birth, my parents.
    I felt at home and didn't have to think about misconceptions.
    They knew my ways and I knew theirs.

    Now they are gone and just as @SimonSays I miss that feeling of not having someone to share
    life with, but, there's always a feeling of discomfort with someone else.
    That is a constant drain on my energy.
    I call it the Aspie conundrum. o_O
     
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  15. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    I would want to add this into my original post as I connect with it so much. It adds more truth to what I was trying to get at in the first place. You expressed something I wasn't able to, and which I agree with 100%.
    I like it. I would wear a T-shirt with this on it.
     
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  16. Suzette

    Suzette Active Member

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    I understand this. I feel callous and disengaged.
    A long time ago I accepted the emitional hit rather than risking loss of my ability to love. This seemed the correct strategy at the time, but along the way this desire to be open and FEEL my love for others became a burden as I let others manipulate that very same openess.

    To me that feeling of love is an active physical thing. I don't mean infatuation with attendant spaceyness and racing heart, but a deep physical ache. When I am rejected, condemned, ignored by or judged by those I love it is a true physical pain.

    So these days I intellectualize my affection except for 2. My son and my husband.

    For all others, I still love them in a very real way but I compartmentalize my emotions for them in a bomb proof box. My mother gets the bomb proof box because we simply do not understand one another. If I let her out of the box we would both be quite emotionally damaged by the experience.
     
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  17. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    I try to care but truly some don't deserve our care, but care is an internal part of us. Age does change our innocence along with trauma and abuse.
     
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  18. ForestGumpett

    ForestGumpett Well-Known Member

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    I wish I didn’t care. If it didn’t matter, then it wouldn’t hurt so bad. This year I have lost everyone that I loved except one (my husband) due to a mean person that lied and did terrible things to me. This was my own mother. I’ve never cried so much in my life as I have this year. These people are still actively doing things to hurt me even though I have gone dark. They know I’m not physically able to do much, and we don’t do the internet social media so I do not even know if she is going after me there but all of my family pretends I’m dead.

    She has given all her money away to strangers on the internet. I am not joking at all but quite serious. Now she is mad I will not give her more money after giving her money for years. The other relatives want me to continue this forum of abuse she is doing to me financially and I put my foot down. They have to deal with her now, it’s not pretty and I am to her and now them, all that is evil.

    I do not think my mother is autistic, but she never cared about her children and it showed. She is borderline.

    It hurts when people you love do not care about you, it hurts really bad.
     
  19. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    Same.

    Not sure it matters why you were crying. And with your dad, you felt nothing when he died, but did you feel something when he was alive? If you did that is probably all that matters.

    Not sure if it's connected, but my point about no longer worrying taking away the feeling of caring, or worrying being recognised as caring, revealing how much people seem to need to see worrying as a sign of caring, may have some connection to our reaction to emotional situations where we're supposed to care and be sad and feel things that are just normal to other people.

    In other situations, I don't always feel sympathetic towards someone where others might naturally offer sympathy. I'm never looking for sympathy when I reveal that I'm experiencing difficulty, but sometimes I have found myself receiving it, and for a moment I understand why people like it. Just like the idea of giving a hug. I never know when it might be right to do so; it never occurs to me that a hug is needed because I never feel I want a hug in a situation when someone else might. Sometimes I receive a hug from someone who felt the need to give it, and for a moment I can understand why this is happening and the benefit it gives. But only for a moment. I can appreciate that they feel something that has moved them to do this, and the physical contact being unexpected, I notice. But because I haven't 'needed' a hug, as far as I'm concerned, I'm never sure if what I was supposed to get from it, I actually got. Someone cared about me in that moment and did something which is a common and recognisable symbol of that.
     
  20. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    I used to be far more detached in emotional situations than I am now. I just felt like an observer of the situation rather than involved in it. And yet as time has gone on, perhaps because of the experiences I've had, I found myself caring about what I was seeing more and more. So something changed my ability to feel what was taking place.

    I still find myself observing things rather than feeling something on the whole, and it may take some time before I do actually feel something about what I saw. But I can sometimes feel something there and then, but I'm not sure what it is or what might be done about it as it's so unexpected there should be a feeling about at all! In fact I'm usually more interested in the fact that I'm feeling something then what may be causing it, which tends to detach me and put me back into an observer state, which seems quite ironic in many ways.