Callous indifference to my differences

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crocus
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13 May 2010, 3:18 pm

Recently I've begun to share my self diagnoses of Asperger's with family members and some friends and close classmates and my teacher (I am back in class short term to upgrade my skills).

Even though, it scares me to share this part of myself, I feel it's necessary in some instances for my own self worth and growth and to be able to be understood properly.

The thing that gets me is that one classmate and my teacher reacted fine and asked me, seemingly genuinely, for more information in a non-judgmental way.

My family's reaction is quite the oppoiste and incredibly thoughtless behaviour on their part of late, is starting to really hurt and piss me off. You'd think that the people who say they love you, would be the most likely to be understanding and sensitive to you, but they are actually the least so.

I've gotten labeled over the years and pigeon holed due to my various Aspie symptoms and I figured that after feeling validated that there was actually a diagnostic SCIENTIFIC reason for many of my dysfunctions and hypersensitivity, they would also see it and understand me better. But, no!

I get laughed at, ridiculed, sarcastic comments, lack of consideration and mocking on a regular basis and I've f*****g had it. Seriously. If I say anything about their quite frankly, ignorant and sh***y behaviour, I get a roll of the eyes, looked at like I'm some kind of freak or a snappy, angry or sarcastic response. Nice. Real nice.

Some examples:

My noisy tool-happy neighbour who has the entire stock of Home Depot machinery in his garage is constantly, like almost 24/7 using some kind really noisy machine. The latest thing that's fraying my nerves badly is his new project is to totally rip out his garden for the umpteenth time with a backhoe (his own backhoe!) and then use an compacter to pound the earth to build and install a cobblestone wall surrounding the front of his house. The sound of the machine is unreal and it literally shakes the earth and foundation of my house and rattles everything in it like an earthquake. No exagerration. He's at it all the time too. Even sunday, mother's day. My nerves are freaken frayed. When I say something about it, I'm looked at like a freak and told that I "overreact" to everything. "It's not that bad" WTF???? ARGHHHHHHH :evil:

I could give a ;million more examples, but another is that I'm severely light sensitive. I've explained this and every other sensitivity and dysfunction tons of times. Do they get it? Are you kidding me? It's like talking to a brick wall.

I'll be in a dimly lit room by myself and it's an everyday occurance that someone will just barge in flicking every overhead light on like I don't exist. They'll even come into my room when I'm bloody well SLEEPING, open the door wide, which basically tortures me with a huge bright east facing window right in my face. I physically recoil and yell out and cover my eyes when they do this inconsiderate crap. Do you think they get it? NO. It's painful as hell for me. Do they care? Apparently not. I'm just weird.

I'm so angry right now and I have nowhere to vent to and am at my wit's end to what to do to get anyone in my family to understand. Not only that, when I have told them about it, they don't care. They don't want to understand and it's gotten to the point now, it's infuriating me. Purposeful indifference and ignorance is one thing that really gets me mad. How many times can you patiently and rationally and calmly explain things to people who refuse to listen before you finally blow up at them for acting like as*holes?



carltcwc
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13 May 2010, 3:54 pm

If you are old enough you should move out from your family's house and get your own place by yourself or someone you get along with really well and live in a nice quiet area. Personally I am much happier living in an enviorment without stressful intolerent people and negativity. It can really put someone in a bad mood and take away from lifes greatest qualities.



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13 May 2010, 4:26 pm

Would they take a real diagnosis more seriously? I'm not trying to say anything bad about self diagnosis; that's where I started out. The first question out of almost anyone's mouth that I've told about my having AS was "have you been diagnosed' though. Your family may think you are mistaken and aren't taking what you are telling them seriously.



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13 May 2010, 5:23 pm

Hey crocus. I totally sympathize. I'd say don't wait for people to get it, take responsibility wherever you can. For example; when neighbor goes power tool crazy, go out for the day, walking or cycling somewhere relaxing and quiet. If people disturb you by barging in, put a lock on your door, or perhaps wear a sleeping mask to keep light from intruding.

Did you try going round and speaking to the neighbour? Maybe you can ask him not to power tool at certain hours.

But when you want to be understood... Well first getting mad rarely solves anything. Don't blow up. It makes communications impossibly difficult for some reason. If people are messing with what you feel are reasonable boundaries that should not be crossed, calmly state what your problem is and how the other person could accommodate you and how much you'd appreciate it. If it's not unreasonable it usually works. If you can show how you respect and accommodate their needs and desires, so much the better.

I can think of a bunch of other strategies, some wackier than others, but I don't want to write too much.

Getting what you want or need from others is an art form, and being on the spectrum only makes it that much harder to learn.


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crocus
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13 May 2010, 6:53 pm

carltcwc wrote:
If you are old enough you should move out from your family's house and get your own place by yourself or someone you get along with really well and live in a nice quiet area. Personally I am much happier living in an enviorment without stressful intolerent people and negativity. It can really put someone in a bad mood and take away from lifes greatest qualities.


I'm 48 years old. My family is my two children (18 and 21) that still live with me and other family members that occasionally visit. Unfortunately, my kids have picked up my ex husband's negative attitude toward my differences and when I point out or attempt to set boundaries on rude or thoughtless behaviour toward me, I am treated with scorn. It's like beating my head against a wall trying to get through to them.

It does seriously put me in a bad mood and take away from life's simple pleasures and great qualities. I feel treated like a leper in my own home.

j0sh wrote:
Would they take a real diagnosis more seriously? I'm not trying to say anything bad about self diagnosis; that's where I started out. The first question out of almost anyone's mouth that I've told about my having AS was "have you been diagnosed' though. Your family may think you are mistaken and aren't taking what you are telling them seriously.


I've considered this. I may go for an official diagnosis. The thing is that this would be the only reason I would go for a diagnosis, since I have no desire to use a diagnosis, for any other purpose, I personally, can't live off the state (not judging anyone that does). I have to work and I feel that having it officially on paper would actually eventually backfire on me and be used against me professionally. I've been alive too long and learned a few things about the way of the world. Call me cynical, I don't care. But, I only see BS happening to me with an ASD diagnosis.

As for my family, they definitely are not taking me seriously. That's quite self evident to me. The way I look at it though, is that is their problem. Not mine. It's not like I am some flighty intellectual lightweight who jumps to conclusions (generally an NT trait) or someone who in a hypochondriac conjuring up diagnosis out of thin air for f**k sake.

The opposite is the case. I don't come to any conclusion until I've researched something practically to death and questioned it. I would not say that I know I have Asperger's if I were not 100% absolutely certain. I'm also not using it as some kind of lame excuse. It just is. Period. The reason I shared it with people in my life, is to get consideration and to lessen my stress. Only, at home, it hasn't had that effect.

If I were to make an appointment with my doctor to get a referral to a specialist (there only seems to be one single specialist for adult asperger's in my large city, compared to dozens for ASD kids), I would probably be waiting for a year the way the situation is. In the meantime, when I tell someone something that's as plane as the nose on their face, and they ignore it repeatedly, my quality of life sh/t.



dragonzmyst
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13 May 2010, 7:11 pm

I'm sorry you're being treated unfairly. I don't have much more to add, but just wanted to tell you that I feel badly about that. :( I definitely hope things start looking up for you soon.


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crocus
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13 May 2010, 7:25 pm

Hi Moog, thanks for the good pointers :D I am going to start locking my bedroom door. I always close my bedroom door when I'm sleeping, but I never considered locking it. I guess that just seemed extreme. But, I guess that's what it's there for 8) I can't wear a sleep mask. Something wrapped around my head over my eyes would drive me nuts. I think just locking the door is the best suggestion.

As for my neighbour, I'm loathe to talk to him about it. He is an independent contractor and works from home. I'm sure it's against the local residential by-laws for him to basically operate a machine shop out of his garage, but I'm not going to be the nasty complaining neighbour about it and have everyone hate me. Most people on the crescent, that would otherwise be a quiet, idyllic haven, hide behind their own doors and keep to themselves. Plus, I don't think it bothers other people so much..incredibly. I honestly don't know how the majority of people can stand the incessant noise. But, I've learned, from talking to other people, they have a capacity to tune it out that I don't have, or their nervous system is way lower functioning then mine is.

He doesn't go beyond the strict hours of noise which is before 7 a.m. and after 11 p.m., which in my opinion is way too lenient and ridiculous. He makes noise incessantly. Every day of the week. It's like he can't function without a really loud power tool going 7 days a week. I honestly don't feel comfortable going over and saying anything though. One of my daughters is good friends with his daughter and I don't want there to be a rift because of it. I've had neighbour issues in the past and set boundaries. I've learnt to pick my battles because of the war between neighbours that it can start.

I understand what you're saying about blowing up not solving anything. I agree with you on that. It's something I avoid at all cost. That's why I'm writing about it first, to vent, instead of doing anything at the moment. I do need to find strategies to get my needs met by others. As you said, that is such a difficult skill to learn. The whole interpersonal fanagaling is so foreign to me.

I have tried exactly what you described about calmly and reasonably stating my needs and desires, while respecting them. What you said, is exactly my MO. It's how I function. I am reasonable. The problem is that they are not reasonable :/ This is what starts to get to me. How do you deal with unreasonable NT people? It's like they are in the majority and you are so different that they just discount everything you say.

You're not kidding about getting what you want from others being an art form. It's one art form, I am useless at, but I'd like to learn at least some strategies. Hey, if you want to share a bunch or whatever you have time for, of your other wacky strategies, I'd love to know!



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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13 May 2010, 8:03 pm

Yep. I know what you mean. I come from an entire family of rude, sarcastic people who don't really get it. As for the noisy neighbors, there was a time when noise really just really annoyed me and got on my nerves super badly. It drove me crazy and I had no idea why. Ironically, loud music of my own choosing soothed me and singing loudly to the music calmed me even more. No one understood why the noise from outside irritated me, yet my own music loudly amplified and concerts didn't, or maybe they did and I was in denial. Others labeled me as 'intolerant' because of this discrepancy.
It became somewhat of an addiction, and I began to sing most of the time. I was in a deafening downward spiral. People were driven mad by my noise and I, theirs.

Light doesn't bother me as much unless I am trying to sleep.

I am totally high strung compared to most of the people I know, but I find ways to deal with it. You just need to find ways of coping that work for you. I am around my family less and this even helped with the noise sensitivity. Barking dogs used to upset me because of the noise level. but not any more. In fact, the singing, music listening and sensitivity to noise has all decreased just because I limit time with people who rub me the wrong way.

I still get flustered when people around me are talking while I am trying to type. Trying to accustom myself to the keyboard on a laptop doesn't help, either. The tension is still there, just not so intense.



crocus
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13 May 2010, 8:24 pm

dragonzmyst wrote:
I'm sorry you're being treated unfairly. I don't have much more to add, but just wanted to tell you that I feel badly about that. :( I definitely hope things start looking up for you soon.


Thanks :)



crocus
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13 May 2010, 8:42 pm

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
Yep. I know what you mean. I come from an entire family of rude, sarcastic people who don't really get it. As for the noisy neighbors, there was a time when noise really just really annoyed me and got on my nerves super badly. It drove me crazy and I had no idea why. Ironically, loud music of my own choosing soothed me and singing loudly to the music calmed me even more. No one understood why the noise from outside irritated me, yet my own music loudly amplified and concerts didn't, or maybe they did and I was in denial. Others labeled me as 'intolerant' because of this discrepancy.
It became somewhat of an addiction, and I began to sing most of the time. I was in a deafening downward spiral. People were driven mad by my noise and I, theirs.

Light doesn't bother me as much unless I am trying to sleep.

I am totally high strung compared to most of the people I know, but I find ways to deal with it. You just need to find ways of coping that work for you. I am around my family less and this even helped with the noise sensitivity. Barking dogs used to upset me because of the noise level. but not any more. In fact, the singing, music listening and sensitivity to noise has all decreased just because I limit time with people who rub me the wrong way.

I still get flustered when people around me are talking while I am trying to type. Trying to accustom myself to the keyboard on a laptop doesn't help, either. The tension is still there, just not so intense.


Loud music of my own choosing, when I'm in the mood for it, also soothes and calms me. I get lost in it. I also love concerts. I get immersed in the experience way more than most people. I think this is one of those things that's not easily understood by people who have a simplistic way of understanding things and that's why others would see it as a discrepency somehow. But, there is a world of difference between noise from other sourcs and specific musical experiences that I choose and can immerse myself in. They have opposite effects. A lot of outside noise is disturbing to me, because of it's jarring and chaotic effect on my nervous system. I wonder if your downward spiral of your own "loudness" was a way to tune out or blast out the annoyance of outside, unwanted noise. I know, I often listen to my ipod when out and about for that very reason. I keep it at a volume that drown pretty much everything out, but can stll hear noises enough around me to warn me of danger.

The only ways of found of minimizing my high strung nature so far, has been doing meditation daily. It does help to a degree, but it doesn't change my nature. I guess it just lessens the severity of how much disturbs me to a degree. A dog barking a bit doesn't bother me that much, if it's just short. If it's like one of my other neighbours a few doors down and across my backyard, who have 2 dogs they leave out constantly to bark incessently for hours, than it drives me mad. I've actually gotten so fed up at times, I've yelled from my back deck at them to let their dogs in (and called them a few unsavory names under my breath). Not that it did any good.

I limit my time with people and things that rub my the wrong way as much as I can. The thing is that it's really hard to limit yourself entirely. My tension is constant.



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14 May 2010, 4:04 am

I don't know your family, but families in general would rather believe you're "overly sensitive" or making things up to get attention or whatever than that there's something physically different about your brain. That sucks, and I'm sorry you're stuck dealing with that. :(

I second the idea of locking your door. I'd also suggest covering that big bright window; I've covered windows with garbage bags or foil when I needed it dark, and it works well in a pinch when curtains aren't feasible. You have the right to not be blinded by bright light!! Yes, you have RIGHTS!!

If you need to sit in a dark room, get a big swath of duct tape and tape the light switch down so they can't turn the light on and blind you.

Ear plugs would probably drive you nuts, right? How about a white noise machine, or one that makes natural sounds like rain? Maybe tell the neighbor you've got migraines and need the occasional bit of quiet? People tend to be accommodating about migraines (and they of course should be).


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crocus
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14 May 2010, 3:27 pm

S-P-M-E wrote:
I don't know your family, but families in general would rather believe you're "overly sensitive" or making things up to get attention or whatever than that there's something physically different about your brain. That sucks, and I'm sorry you're stuck dealing with that. :(

I second the idea of locking your door. I'd also suggest covering that big bright window; I've covered windows with garbage bags or foil when I needed it dark, and it works well in a pinch when curtains aren't feasible. You have the right to not be blinded by bright light!! Yes, you have RIGHTS!!

If you need to sit in a dark room, get a big swath of duct tape and tape the light switch down so they can't turn the light on and blind you.

Ear plugs would probably drive you nuts, right? How about a white noise machine, or one that makes natural sounds like rain? Maybe tell the neighbor you've got migraines and need the occasional bit of quiet? People tend to be accommodating about migraines (and they of course should be).



Yeah, that's exactly it. The thing about being labeled as "overly sensitive" by NTs all of my life is that when they use that expression it's never accurately used in the sense that they understand what overly or hyper sensitive actually in reality means. They don't mean it in the correct logical way of sensing more acutely. They mean it as a put-down, a pejoritive; an insult. As in "get over it", you're being a whiner, you're weak, a complainer, imagining things...blah, blah, bleeping blah. If they had any accurate conception of what being hyper sensitive is like in reality, perhaps they wouldn't be such closed minded as*holes about it. It's like they can't imagine anything out of their own narrow paradigm of perceptions, so anything different, must be wrong and deficient and flawed and quite frankly I've had it up to my eyeballs with this attitude and anyone who pulls that attitude with me at this point is going to get a blunt, "If you can't wrap your small mind around it, then you can go f**k yourself!! !" Seriously. Thanks for the empathy by the way :) It does suck.

I have blackout curtains on my bedroom window, but there is a high hall window just outside my bedroom door (so when the door is opened light shines right in my face) that's needed a shade for quite some time. I'm going to get one ASAP.

I DO have RIGHTS! The thing is that I'm so sick of repeating myself and getting pissed off and still not listened to because the things that I react to are ignored or laughed off and diminished. It's like if it's no big deal to them, then it shouldn't be to me. Duct tape on a light switch :) I might try that. I'm sure I'll get a "What the hell?" from them and then the usual attitude, but whatever.

I've considered ear plugs. I don't know if they'd bug me. They might. I can handle ear buds when I've got my ipod on, but then I'm listening to music. If the plugs were only to cover sound, I probably wouldn't like them. I have a lot of ambient and nature cds and those help. For some reason whiete noise irritates me.

Thanks for the suggestion with the neighbour. I've decided I'm not going to say anything to him. His wife is a screaming busy body and it would likely just make my situation worse.

Moving out of the city where I've got no neighbours is looking mighty attractive.



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14 May 2010, 3:28 pm

crocus wrote:
A dog barking a bit doesn't bother me that much, if it's just short. If it's like one of my other neighbours a few doors down and across my backyard, who have 2 dogs they leave out constantly to bark incessently for hours, than it drives me mad. I've actually gotten so fed up at times, I've yelled from my back deck at them to let their dogs in (and called them a few unsavory names under my breath). Not that it did any good.

I limit my time with people and things that rub my the wrong way as much as I can. The thing is that it's really hard to limit yourself entirely. My tension is constant.

Dog barking doesn't bother me any more than it does the average person these days. When I was living with my family it did, but so did nearly everything else. I have a dog and he barks whenever the other dogs in the neighborhood do and I tune it out without any problem.