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I feel like an idiot for struggling to act my age

Annakenzie

Member
I am 17, but I find myself struggling to make friends my age (or at all) and I find it essentially hard to 'act my age'. I don't entirely understand why but I can tell I'm much more kid like then my peers and I find it feeling kinda embarrassing.

I still play with toys, I prefer kid shows for the most part with exceptions that can catch my interest and I've tried to force myself to lean away from those childish things but I can't because it's what I find fun but I really really feel like I shouldn't be finding that enjoyable since I'll be 18 next year and it fuels me with fear because it feels like something is wrong with me.

My parents still find themselves having to break up stupid and immature arguments between me and my brother (19) who is also autistic, and I feel guilty for that. The way I act doesn't align with how I try to act and feel I need to I just can't get why. And according to my doctor my speech patterns and mannerisms are also behind and that feels humiliating to me because I don't understand why I can't just act like the other people my age.

I know I'm smart I have a GPA that's 3.9 and I'm a straight A student but when it comes to maturity I think and other stuff I'm so SLOW. I am smart but im even slow,in doing my schoolwork. I feel like the reason I'm like this is cause I'm stupid, I've also after some conversations with my parents this type of thing is why I'm stuck being legally dependent on them even past 18, I feel like such an idiot and like a burden on my parents.

Even simple tasks I can find complicated even with help I struggle to grasp things. My brain and body won't act the way I want to and it makes me so so mad, confused, and its just frustrating, sometimes I hate myself for being like this.
 

jsilver256

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I am sorry you feel this way. I remember being your age and watching my friends fall away as they moved onto relationships and adult interests even as I stuck with my childhood interests. I'm nonverbal although that is because of deafness, not autism, so I understand the struggles and embarrassment there too.

I wish I had better advice but I don't, except to lean into your strengths hard. Having a 3.9 GPA is a great accomplishment and shows that you have a lot going for you.
 

Jumpinbare

Aspie Naturist and retired Absent-minded Professor
V.I.P Member
You are far from stupid if you are getting straight As. You mention your older brother is also autistic, so I assume you are. Autism is defined to be a pervasive development disorder. I was still watching, enjoying, and preferring kids movies and TV shows into my 30s. I still enjoy Spongebob, and I'm 65 now. I don't think you need to worry. (Maybe not ask to watch kids shows when at friends's homes or on breakroom TV at work though.)
I'm confused on the part where you say:
I've also after some conversations with my parents this type of thing is why I'm stuck being legally dependent on them even past 18, I feel like such an idiot and like a burden on my parents.
Are you afraid you will be legally dependent, or are your parents telling you you will be legally dependent?
Sometimes our fears are much gloomier than reality.
 

Misery

Amalga Heart
V.I.P Member
This topic comes up every now and then, and I'm going to give the advice that I've given every time:

To me, real maturity is not about fitting in. It's not about doing what's "normal", if what's normal isn't really for YOU.

REAL maturity is realizing that you are an adult now, and YOU, not anyone else, gets to make the decisions. Real maturity is also deciding to do so, and if other people don't like it... it's their problem, not yours.

And I tell you now, if others berate you for it, they would never have been good friends to begin with, because real friendship doesn't involve stuffing someone into a little box of "normal".

I'm 42 myself, and frankly I'm a stuck-up snot and I do as I like. Simple as that. My interests are often childish, because... oh I have no idea why, but I just roll with it. I make the decisions for myself, not others.

Ya know what I was watching yesterday? Old show called Eureeka's Castle. A kids show, from when I was growing up. Why was I watching it? Because I could, that's why. Felt like it, did it. If you don't know what it is, just Google search it.

I don't have many friends, not because of my interests or behaviors or whatever, but because I am about as social as an agitated cat, but those I do have are true friends indeed, and have been there for me for decades.

Also really, I tell ya from experience, just sort rolling with who you are, instead of fighting it, is WAY more fun. "normal" is boring. "Weird" is interesting. And less stressful.

Just be you. That's all.
 

Xinyta

Lost wandering entity
1. Don't beat yourself up for who you are.

2. NEVER base anything you are on anyone else's definition of normal. Societally or otherwise.

3. The worst thing you can do to yourself is letting your self-critic run rampant.

4. You are worth it and no one can change that.

I know from experience what beating down who you are and numbing your emotions does. It sucks when you finally reach a point where you want to stop, but will not. Don't spend your prime living in fear of being yourself.

Take note of all your actions and determine if any of it realisically will be harmful. Adjust for harmful behaviors and maintain ones that do no harm you and/or others. It's about understanding and regulating yourself in a way where you can be happy, but still be productive and efficient in life. You still have plenty of time to figure it out, so don't pressure yourself.

However one thing you need to be willing to accept, is that you will not be good at everything. And that is okay. Your hyperfocuses and interests will be where you are the most productive, but that doesn't mean your are a bad person or stupid for the things you will not understand as quickly.

Never feed yourself the lies I have in my life for over 20+ years.

I've told myself "I'm a failure".

I've told myself "I am just dumb" or "I'm a retard".

I've told myself that "I'll just always mess things up somehow, so why try?"

None of these are true, but I started behaving that way because of how long I tormented myself. It hurts. It hurts alot and I have days where I don't want to leave that misery. But it's an unhealthy mindset.

I don't mean this to sound like a lecture. I just don't want anyone else to experience the absolute hell I had to go through within myself. Plenty of others have gone through similar to.

Stay strong Annakenzie. Be your best self.
 

Annakenzie

Member
You are far from stupid if you are getting straight As. You mention your older brother is also autistic, so I assume you are. Autism is defined to be a pervasive development disorder. I was still watching, enjoying, and preferring kids movies and TV shows into my 30s. I still enjoy Spongebob, and I'm 65 now. I don't think you need to worry. (Maybe not ask to watch kids shows when at friends's homes or on breakroom TV at work though.)
I'm confused on the part where you say:

Are you afraid you will be legally dependent, or are your parents telling you you will be legally dependent?
Sometimes our fears are much gloomier than reality.
I am also autistic me and my brother are sorta high on spectrum, and its not I'm just afraid of these things its that I know its gonna be that way (which is what my parents have said, along with some of my doctors, they've said they don't think I will have the proper decision making skills to live on my own)
Thank you for the nice message.
 

marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Doctors are not very good at predicting the future, and the fact that you can learn concepts in many subjects means that you'll also learn to make decisions and live the life that you want. It may be later than your peers, but that truly doesn't matter. I did a lot of things later than most, but I have a good life. As others said, try to live the way you think is best for you, not based on other's expectations.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Be yourself, and know that you are likely surrounded by your peers who desperately want to appear older than they actually are. Which in itself can be embarrassing for them as well. But they probably won't admit it.

One thing about your youth, when you lose it you can never get it back. So enjoy those moments of joy that may take you back to your childhood. And forget what you peers think, unless you want to also act much older than you are and probably fail at it.

Adulthood is far more likely to hit you hard, whether you expect it or not. It isn't a process you should hurry. And that it comes at different times for different people.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I get where you are coming from. I can be totally immature with one person in my life only because l am just gobsmacked being around him, yet, l bought a house, learned a new career as an older person. So do you think you could live on your own? I don't think you have been given a chance to even try. Sometimes labels stamped on our forehead keep us from living our true potential. Do you feel you could hold a job, rent a place, pay your bills, arrange transportation to get your job, shop and feed yourself, and pay taxes at the end of the year? Sure life isn't exactly this easy, but these are the demands you would face.
 

Seladon

New Member
OP you're not alone in how you feel. Am new here so I don't want to overstep, however if I may here's my thoughts:

Sometimes I go and stay at my sister's place for the weekend, look around and see her life and how maturely together it is--her proper job, her fiance, her friends with their refined interests, her well-kept home stocked with gym equipment and travel souvenirs and nice furniture...no idea how she keeps all those plates in the air. And she's younger than me with ADHD and physical health challenges to contend with, so it's even more embarrassing.

Still, time and energy and attention work differently for us to the NTs, so it's probably better for us to be self-forgiving as well as self-conscious. We're dealing with years, sometimes decades, of cumulative fatigue, heartbreak, trauma and stress due to not fitting in to a world that's not built for us, and that can get in our way. Add that to the same stressors that all teens & adults living in this hypercapitalistic hellscape face, and it's a tough hang.

Perhaps our best, or even a bit less, is good enough. And if certain art or stories help you make it through the day, an it harm none then there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Only forward <3
 

jsilver256

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I am also autistic me and my brother are sorta high on spectrum, and its not I'm just afraid of these things its that I know its gonna be that way (which is what my parents have said, along with some of my doctors, they've said they don't think I will have the proper decision making skills to live on my own)
Thank you for the nice message.
The doctors told my parents the exact same thing and also that I'd never be able to read. I do think I would struggle without a supportive spouse but I've been able to hold down a career in my special interest. Don't write yourself off with those grades, they are better than mine were.
 
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Crossbreed

Neur-D Missionary ☝️
V.I.P Member
Autism, by definition, is the failure to attain conventional neurological development, by NT standards.

Those of us with a severity level of one can "adult" when we need to, but let our kid side play as often as possible. I have even learned to take advantage of my kiddie side in daily living. For example, engineering problems are "child's play" to [him?].
full

I have 96 full-size GI Joes
full
& 96 articulated Barbies
full
that I employ as face-specific lay figures.
...I'm stuck being legally dependent on them even past 18,...
Are your parents your legal guardians or financial conservators?

If your severity level is two or three, you could have co-morbid conditions that have further impeded your neurological development, even with good grades and otherwise higher intelligence. If that is your situation, you will need to make peace that such support will be necessary unless/until your condition improves.
(I have two such autistic children.)
 

kriss72

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
@Annakenzie , thank you for bringing this up, many times during me growing up I have seen some of my peers as being way ahead of me in some ways and not so much in others, I have memories back to when I was 8-9 years old where I remember being baffled of how mature their thinking was sometimes, or how much they understood.

What it sounds like you want to do is to mask, pretend to be someone else than you are - I will highly recommend against that (unless you want to change something that is illegal or hurting others except if it is their feelings/expectations to how you should behave) I did for many years until I didn't know who I was, and for what? We should live our lives, not the lives of others.

You talk about you want to make friends, I understand that feeling, but be yourself and try to find friends that like you as you, not for who you pretend or wish to be. I don't say it's wrong to have goals for your future, but be true to yourself.

You are at a tough age, I know it can be hard, I have a daughter around your age. Stay strong and love yourself for who you are.

Being intelligent, smart and good in school is a different thing than mental age, being seen as being behind in maturity is a normal thing for autistic people, but it is not something we can choose to not be, embrace it, don't fight it - but also there is nothing wrong in reflecting on your behaviors and learning from the past.

Good luck with your future and do stick around here, ask away, share your experiences, read about what others write about their lives and let us know how yours goes.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
Staff member
V.I.P Member
'act my age'
Phrases like this are based on expectations that we create for ourselves based on what we see others doing. Don't look to others to figure out what normal is - you have to look within and know what is normal for YOU.

There is no such thing as precisely linear development and your maturity level and ability to function at any given age will be different from those around you. This depends on brain chemistry, cultural factors, life experiences, and so many other things.

As an older teenager/young adult, I think the most important things you can be focused on are getting to know yourself and how your brain works, building your self esteem and resilience, and starting to foster independence where you can. Even these things, however will look very different from one person to another.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I feel ashamed and embarrassed about being immature, because of the way it resembles "childish", "backward" and even "retard" (I'm NOT calling anyone these derogatory words, I'm just saying from general society's point of view).

I also get offended when people call me immature. I don't know why. I think it's the way people shame anyone who's doing something immature for their age even if it's harmless or non-offensive.
 
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thejuice

Well-Known Member
I felt stupid growing up too, even when there was solid evidence against it. Even when parents told me I was intelligent, I'd dismiss it. I'd listen to bullying comments from people at school that I was stupid or slow. That's the negative bias and over valuing our peers opinions.

I think NT people are more interested in conforming than keeping up their interests, so are more willing to give up hobbies that are not 'cool'. People might have their public mask and then secret interests, like a metalhead being a closeted Backstreet Boys fan. The good news is the more your brain matures to adulthood, the less you care about fitting in. I had horrid 'friends' when I was younger, just for 'social proof'. They were actually worse than having no friends.

There's a nobility about being willing to be different and raise your head above the parapet, to risk the snipers taking their shots.

One of my favourite songs by Primus is called 'To Defy the Laws of Tradition, Is a Crusade Only of The Brave'.

They're the ones who are remembered over the 100s of copycat bands of the scene.

Be you and proud.
 
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Dagan

Well-Known Member
I feel like the real secret is to "act your age" when it's necessary and serious, important things are required of you. Be mature and handle your needs. Outside of that, there's few other instances that prevent you from youthful spirit.

"...keep your old bodies but with fresh, young minds."
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
This has struck a very serious chord with a lot of us here. Because we do feel immature at times. We don't follow a script, and we are prone to very bad jokes and laughing too much. And if that is part of being on the spectrum, so be it. The part of not believing in ourselves, thinking that nobody else suffers from doubt or negative self-worth thoughts is the part l don't need.

I can't tell you how many times when my boss is acting very serious and l say something, and everyone starts laughing. Because life is just absurd, and you do need to be slightly immature to deal with the irony of it all.
 

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