Jul. 3rd, 2014 10:41 pm
helbling: (vampire)
[personal profile] helbling
I'm struggling through some stuff at the moment. It's odd, because the way I'd normally work through stuff like this is to talk about it, or write it out and post it, because it's always easier to dissect such things through print. But this is stuff I, for the most part, can't talk about, can't write down. So I'm a little stuck.

I have no idea what else to say there.

But I can tell it's screwing up other things in my head, because I find myself getting angry with my mother a lot. My mother and I don't have the world's best relationship, but the anger isn't exactly something that's explainable, because I haven't spoken to her in 2 weeks. No arguments, that's just how it is.

But the anger is there, and blah. Ok, that is something we can talk about. Part of the new job (which is going ok) is we got a personality assessment done, and mine came back saying that I treat everything as an intellectual exercise, right down to my interactions with people. I'm fairly good at faking being a well rounded person in public, to the point I start scoring on axises that don't show up in any other part of it, but the subconscious analysis shows that left to my own devices, I'm hyper focused on data, everything is taken in and analysed before I act. On anything. Apparently this level of hyperfocus is rare - only about 3% of participants show it, and a far smaller proportion of those have hyperfocus that's based on information in the same way mine is. Basically, I'm just as awkward and not-normal as I ever thought I was, I just now have numbers to back it up.

Other things it says? For best results, don't rush me, don't be excitable around me, give me space and don't force socialising on me, and in terms of what to expect, expect I will have a love of routine, quiet, and interrogating any information I get my hands on until it screams for mercy. Oh, and if you want to argue with me, bring evidence, because I don't make decisions fast, but I do make them after considering all angles, so if you want to change my mind, you need to change the logic chain that brought me to that conclusion, not the conclusion itself.

It's relatively accurate. It's also relatively unflattering, because it makes me sound a lot like an unfeeling robot. My sister had one done when she started at her place, which summarises down to she's the exact opposite of me; very social, charismatic, hates details, very much intuitive as opposed to task based. She showed it to my parents and they actually had a very positive reaction to it, and incorporated some of the 'recommendations' into how they interacted with her and it went well.

So, with some trepidation, I sent them mine - I had mixed feelings about this from the start, because I felt some of the recommendations gave me validation on some very old conflicts; the dislike of small talk, for instance, is noted, and the need for quiet to recover after social time. This was something I worked out about myself when I was about 12, but was something my parents refused to make allowances for, stating that if I didn't have friends, or didn't like socialising, or couldn't chat to their friends when they held dinner parties, then there was something wrong with me; that it was my fault, I was lazy or not trying hard enough. I felt a lot of this was like someone reaching back in time and patting my younger self on the shoulder and telling her it wasn't her fault, really, it was just how I was wired and there was nothing wrong with me.

Old hurts, that were probably not best opened up. But I was willing to risk it if it meant maybe, just maybe, they'd understand how I operated in greater detail, or if not understand, they'd at least accept it, use it, and maybe I wouldn't come away from family gatherings feeling so wrung out that migraines were a worry.

My mother's response, however, was, literally verbatim 'Gosh, that's very complimentary! It doesn't sound like you at all though!'


And I'm just tired. I'm tired because every so often she'll whine about how we aren't closer, or she's worried I hate her, or she'll whine at my siblings and they'll pick up the banner.

And no, we aren't close, and the reason for that is her. Because her line has always, always been that if any of her children adopt a lifestyle that is anything other than heteronormative, she doesn't want to know. Which I've respected, but means I can't be honest about things that are going on in my life. I can't tell her the things that are important to me, or causing me hurt. I can't tell her about people in my life that are important, or half the time, that I even have a crush on, because she not only doesn't know about the poly thing, she doesn't know about the bi thing.

And this adds insult to injury, because my sister will do things like fuck famous rugby players (names not to be mentioned) in the stairwells of hotels, can hook up with a guy who's still married, can party, drink, do drugs, get up to her eyes in debt to fucking stupid boyfriends, and tells her all of it, which she accepts, and will talk about. But because I sometimes romantically like people with the same gender as me, and can sustain more than one loving and stable relationship at a time, I'm the one hiding fundamental parts of myself when I go home, and getting 'but why aren't we closer?' subtext from every conversation. It's like she doesn't see me, she sees the person she'd really like me to be - she started encouraging me to make friends at new work, and there was just a moment of silence on the phone and then I ended the call, because I'm nearly 30 years old and she still hasn't twigged I don't befriend people I work with? Really?! (Cat, you don't count, we were friends first) - and I'm fed up with the disappointment I have to bear whenever I shatter her illusions yet again with what I'm like in reality. Disappointing your parent once is hard, knowing that you're going to do it over and over again in every interaction you have with them because they cannot fucking remember what you're actually like is, I'm finding, a short cut to wondering if seeing family members is really worth it.

And you can tell I'm tired and wrung out, because it's been this way for years, and I've always lived with it until now. As it is, I'm actually getting visibly upset about it about every 48 hours.

I don't know what to do about it. I don't want to talk about it on the phone, because then I cry, and crying and logic, or sustaining the ability to talk, don't go hand in hand for me. I'm considering emailing my Dad and just having it out and seeing what he'd think, because he'll be able to give me either a reasonably accurate read on her predicted reaction, or be in my corner in the event he's wrong. But I'm hesitant about that - Dad's memory is starting to get bust, which I shamefully make use of in in-person conversations, because if telling him something goes badly, I've learned if I change the subject drastically enough, he'll forget what I've just told him, so he's like a white board in that sense; write something on him, and if you don't like it, just wipe it off again before it gets permanent. But this would have to be written, and being written means that he will definitely remember it. And worse, could theoretically show it to someone else. So if he reacts badly, fire in the hole, but you've got your leg stuck in a bear trap; there is no getting away.

That also doesn't even touch what reactions my siblings would have, because the first thing Mum would do is tell them (or my sister, who would then blab to my brother, and the little one would eavesdrop on everything, because she's finally gotten savvy enough to learn information is survival in that house). And her sister, which means it makes it to my uncle, makes it to my cousins. So this really is an all or nothing deal.

I don't know. Something to consider when everything else calms down, I suspect. But that would be something I'd consider to be an ongoing minor issue with what's going on at the moment.


Date: 2014-07-04 07:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
-sends many many hugs, and hopes that the stuff you're going through eases soon-

It's so frustrating when a family member or friend doesn't hear you when you're trying to tell them what you need. Parents are particularly difficult, because we want them to be there to understand and protect us, and as we get older we also feel obligated to them, and there's a big tangle of emotions it's so very difficult to just walk away from. Your emotions here are completely valid and reasonable.

The personality assessment also sounds very interesting and useful! You're very good at appearing to be quite sociable. Is there anything in particular (other than the space, evidence, calm stuff you shared in this post) that we your friends can do to help you feel relaxed and comfortable when we're together?

Date: 2014-07-04 08:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also - for the stuff you're not able to talk about with others, one possible thing is to talk about it to yourself. Open up Notepad and write the LJ post you would if you were able to share these things, then look back over it, re-read it, edit it, whatever your process is for using written words to help you understand and deal with things. When you're done, you can save it, post it to LJ privately, delete it, whatever you like.

Date: 2014-07-04 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I hope getting it written down has helped you organise your head-space around things a bit better.

The only comments I can leave are along the lines of what you seem to be thinking. Sure having totally honest and open relationships with family would be great, in perfect-world. But it's up to us to decide if emotional cost of their negative reactions are worth it. Just like with friends we confide more in the most trustworthy ones who aren't going to give us grief about stuff that's not actually a problem. I think it's perfectly acceptable to do the same with family members, they don't automatically have a right to know everything gong on in our lives because their family if that not what we want or is good for us.

I'm not sure if you're a reader of Captain Awkward or not, but I'm going to leave the most recent question she covered on a similar theme (there will probably be more similar ones when searched) as her advice tends to be pretty solid and better written than anything I could write.

Date: 2014-07-04 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(bored at work and found a better q/a from captain awkward.

Date: 2014-07-04 09:07 am (UTC)
xanthipe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xanthipe
> It's relatively accurate. It's also relatively unflattering, because it makes me sound a lot like an unfeeling robot.

It doesn't make you sound like a robot, it makes you sound like someone who is a very restful person for your fellow introverts to be around. Some people are wired to be social, some aren't, and both are perfectly okay to be. Those of us who are friends with you love for what you are and are happy to work with you to make things easier where possible.

Very much backing up what Claire has said, these are valid and reasonable feelings to have in the circumstances. I would guess that the reason it's all starting to surface now is because you're going through an emotional patch for other reasons and as a consequence have been subconsciously reviewing your relationships and the emotional/energy drain they have on you.

No sage advice here, just a reminder that you've done shoulder duty for me enough times that I can always be called on to return the favour - I have some thoughts that might help, but that's a more private discussion than LJ and purely if you want to give it a go.

Date: 2014-07-04 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't offer any advice as I'm quite useless around these kind of things myself, but just wanted to send e~support through LJ. X

Date: 2014-07-04 11:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs* I second what has been said - you do not come across as a robot, and from my perspective you're not awkward socially. I enjoy spending time with you, and small talk and big emotional dramas are not and do not need to be a part of that.

We love and like you for who you are.

Date: 2014-07-04 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
From personal experience, I would recommend counselling, though I know it's not for everyone. One of the things my counsellor recommened, in untangled my toxic relationship with my parents, was to write letters to them (but not actually sending them) in which I should be completely honest about what I would like to say to them. Following this, she had me consider if I wanted to use any of the content to actually contact them. I decided that continuing to have nothing to do with them was better for my mental health but it was cathartic to write the open letters in the first place.

Date: 2014-07-04 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can totally relate to this, on several levels, and I do know how much it hurts. I'm 49, my parents are 74 and 77, and they've never really *gotten* me. I just habitually continue to temper and censor my conversations and personal interactions with them because - at this point - they never will.

I've also had a personality assessment done a few times and my results are very similar to yours. I was even accused of being an "emotionless robot" by my ex-husband, more than once.

All I can say is: there's NOTHING wrong with you. Their being so judgmental and close-minded is the issue, here. ((hugs))

Date: 2014-07-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Everything worth saying I think has been said above, so I'll simply go with echoing, offering for hugs and offer to just listen if it would ever help.

Date: 2014-07-06 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
> Robot

I read that the other way - that you are a massively emotional person (or capable of massive emotion) and had learned over the course of your life the patterns of study, consideration and decision from understanding as a tempering approach, a way to deal with a world which can't necessarily cope or keep up with you.

The fact it equips you really well for certain kinds of business is just a Brucie Bonus.

Family... yeah, other people's approach of non disclosed writing it out is probably the way to go. Definitely not any way that I recommend. Ever.
Edited Date: 2014-07-06 08:09 am (UTC)
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