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microprogrammer
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

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08 Jun 2024, 7:49 pm

I recently moved to a new place and started a new job on my own. I also tried out a dating app. I will be 40 this year, and part of the outcome of these things is that I feel very behind the curve. It's a little hard to put my finger on what I mean by it exactly, but I think I'm immature. But when it comes to maturity, I'm not sure I even know what I'm supposed to be shooting for.

I have a job and have been able to hold down a job during my adult life. Though I have had what to me felt like painful and unnecessary conflicts in each of my jobs. I manage all my daily affairs and pay the bills just fine. But I think I must be socially and interpersonally immature.

A few years ago I started trying to work on this and to become more mature. But now I think the approach I took was misled. I thought I would become more mature by becoming more virtuous. So I tried to focus on becoming more and more honest and responsible and level-headed. But actually, I don't think that was really the problem. And in some ways that may have actually made things worse.

I think the problem is more that I have a childish innocence and lightheartedness about me, and I am very honest and straightforward. Yet at the same time I appear aloof and standoffish. Maybe I am missing the significance of some other interpersonal factors, and that actually makes me a hurt and offend people. Or at least I unwisely appear to be putting myself above them, so they feel the need to knock me down to size.

It's frustrating because the answer is not the obvious one: Being nicer and simply more humble only makes things worse. It probably makes me more offensive. Instead, I need to figure out how to play all the little games that people play when "acting like a grown up", because that's what's expected. And not doing what's expected makes you stand out in a way that people find distasteful and it makes you a target. Or it doesn't help you make connections and build a social network, and being isolated makes you a target.

But it is just so difficult for me to act in ways that feel deceptive. If I'm talking to someone and I can see that there's a subtext to the conversation, I feel that people are being insincere or being superficial and it's hard for me to maintain interest. Truly I'm probably missing something significant. To that person, the interpersonal aspects are probably what's most important. And I probably am in the wrong for missing that somehow, and so I am being self absorbed and unempathetic.

Why can't I just force myself to be normal. My brain just stubbornly refuses to do anything that feels dishonest. They are all a bunch of phonies :lol: Curse this black and white logical mind. But I realize I'm probably deceiving myself about the honesty. There could be some self serving motivation that my brain is hiding from me, like avoiding something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It may feel more honest, but it may be that I didn't know how to be more tactful or do the work to learn how to empathize and don't want to admit that.

But this is a very serious problem. I am catching tremendous grief from people because I'm not fitting in. And it probably does come down to some kind of empathy and perspective taking that I'm failing to do. I just need to take some concrete, practical steps to turn this situation around. I need to figure out how to mold my brain into a new shape somehow.



nick007
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09 Jun 2024, 7:41 am

It sux that other people are giving you a hard time about not fitting in or being more normal. Sometimes people are like that towards most anyone who does not fit their exact mold & different people can also have different definitions about what that mold needs to be. Unfortunately from what I've seen on this forum Aspies tend to not fit in with normal people. The fact that you have a job & manage your adult responsibilities is really good. Tying too hard to appear normal can sometimes backfire & lead to a burnout or worse.

I'm probably a bad choice to reply because IDK how to overcome this issue. I tend to not really care what other people think of me. Maybe I'm used to being picked on & bullied as a kid & not able able to fit in. However not many people treat me negatively as an adult. I tend to be easy going but when I feel I'm getting majorly screwed over or taken advantage of I'll stand up for myself & get very confrontational if necessary. When I do end up getting shafted in the end it's usually due to bad luck/bad random chance, or unfair policies that probably screw over lots NTs as well. As for employment I struggled majorly to find work & been unemployed aLONG time but that's more due to me having various disabilities unrelated to autism. I was eager to please others when I was working & I was taken advantage of but management did the same with a bit of other employees so the issue was not me specially. I probably had to work harder to compensate for being disabled. The jobs were unskilled federal minimum-wage things so lots of workers got screwed over &/or didn't stay as long as me. I eventually reached my breaking point though & quit the jobs. As for being social I'm only really social with my girlfriend & for the most part I'm not bothered about not being social with others.


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microprogrammer
Blue Jay
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09 Jun 2024, 10:30 am

Thanks for your reply nick007. If I had a girlfriend or just one good friendship in this area, things would probably be much different. Before moving here I did have a long term girlfriend, and she and I were really one another's closest friends for a few years. But sadly that relationship didn't work out, and she is not really interested in still being friends. I'm sure I will meet someone else in time, so I'm optimistic. It can just take some to meet someone to really connect with, I think.

I prefer to not really care what people think of me. Honestly I'm getting used to some new forms of behavior from others that have been throwing me for a loop. For example, angry looking men (mostly young, but not all) who glare at you and then suddenly do an aggressive fake cough right as you walk past them. Or extremely competitive coworkers (mostly the younger ones, but not all) who make typing a competition and do things like suddenly slam down a cup to interrupt other people's concentration. I would say that I'm taking things too personally, but some of them have openly discussed bullying coworkers in a past job, as if it were expected, and I'm pretty sure it's a thing they know they're doing. Maybe I just grew up in a sheltered world, but I haven't noticed these things being so extreme until recent years. There was bullying where I grew up, of course, but I just don't remember it being in the form of constant competition and intimidation. Maybe I was also just more socially oblivious then.

I am really trying to plan for the future to get to a more stable situation. I have 9 months left on my lease. I will probably aim to move to a less dense area -- probably a smaller town that is on the outskirts of a bigger city, and definitely not close to my family. Not to complain about something I can't change, but I've also just realized how much I've allowed my family to treat me badly over the years because I don't fit the family mold. (The ones who do fit it just fight amongst themselves now.) And I really feel like my current neighborhood is like a tinderbox, with so much tension between people, who are living pretty close together.

I've started applying for different jobs too. In my current job I work in a satellite office with the main boss of the company. And he is always making sure everyone knows that he is the boss and is the dominant one, in his words and gestures and commands. I am probably not the person best equipped to succeed in a situation like that. Honestly I don't know how I ended up in it 8O I think he has a specific job for me to do in the future, that will get me out of this office, so this situation is supposed to be temporary. And I can work at home a few days per week. But when I'm there I keep angering him and it's making me a nervous wreck. I did not know what I was getting myself into.

There is a guy in my neighborhood who works on his motor cycle in his driveway all day, and plays his music outside just low enough that no one can file a complaint about it. I've tried to make eye contact and say a friendly hello, but he's never responded. When I walk to my car sometimes he will drop a tool loudly on the concrete or rummages loudly through his metal tool chest. When the other neighbors are outside talking, he will start his motorcycle and rev it up a few times (with Harley-style exhaust). However, I don't feel this guy is actually dangerous. I can't say why, but I think he's more likely to show off, but not likely to break any laws. But it feels like my life now is just an endless stream of these kinds of situations. I guess I am slowly getting a little more used to it, like it's toughening up my mind in some way.

I also think my worst neighbors (not the guy above) might be involved with a gang, which is a bit concerning. Twice now when they've been outside carrying on and giving me a hard time, after the sun went down a couple young men were outside walking through the neighborhood making loud, aggressive animal sounds, like screeching and wolf howling. Those people give me a creepy feeling. It's definitely a bit weird, and I'm planning to get away from here ASAP. Hopefully it's a gang of rowdy young men, and not a real criminal gang, but I will play it safe. But I'm also staying focused on positive and productive things, and am not going to live in fear of them. I will keep an eye on them and will avoid provoking them further.

But I have had a lot of experience in life with things that have helped me develop mental toughness. So I keep focused on the things I'm interested in and on making progress to make things better. And I really enjoy those things so it keeps me optimistic and keeps me motivated. I make sure to not dwell too much on the things I can't change. And my social skills have very slowly gotten a little better, so I'm not a complete sitting duck when dealing with these situations now. I view this time as a slightly challenging transition that I will get through on the way to better things.



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Blue Jay
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09 Jun 2024, 11:39 am

I would add that there's a possibility things with my boss could be salvaged. I am trying my best to be respectful with him, and after all he is in charge of things and has a lot of responsibilities that I don't. I think a lot of people in management positions end up feeling they need to make sure everyone knows they're in charge. Whether that's the most efficient management style or not, I'll leave others to judge. I think my combination of ADHD energy and logical autistic thinking sometimes comes across to managers as insubordination, though it's not my intention.



Benjamin the Donkey
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09 Jun 2024, 4:34 pm

This all sounds familiar. At this point in my life, after many years, I've given up on trying to fit NT's expectations. It seems I'm going to offend a lot of them, regardless of my real intentions. In fact, it's worse now because I no longer have a youthful, innocent demeanor. When I was younger, I offended people by seeming naively superior, now it's by seeming simply arrogant. In TV terms. I've evolved from the Good Doctor to House.


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Last edited by Benjamin the Donkey on 09 Jun 2024, 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

microprogrammer
Blue Jay
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09 Jun 2024, 7:06 pm

Benjamin the Donkey wrote:
This all sounds familiar. At this point in my life, after many years, I've given up on trying to fit NT's expectations. It seems im going to offend a lot of them, regardless of my real intentions. In fact, it's worse now because I no longer have a youthful, innocent demeanor. When I was younger, I offended people by seeming naively superior, now it's by seeming simply arrogant. In TV terms. I've evolved from the Good Doctor to House.

:D I love the image of Good Doctor to House. I think I'll be able to pull that off better when my situation gets a little more secure.

For what it's worth I went out and had a nice day, and when I saw the harassing neighbors while getting out of my car I gave them a big cheezy grin.



Benjamin the Donkey
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09 Jun 2024, 7:57 pm

microprogrammer wrote:
Benjamin the Donkey wrote:
This all sounds familiar. At this point in my life, after many years, I've given up on trying to fit NT's expectations. It seems im going to offend a lot of them, regardless of my real intentions. In fact, it's worse now because I no longer have a youthful, innocent demeanor. When I was younger, I offended people by seeming naively superior, now it's by seeming simply arrogant. In TV terms. I've evolved from the Good Doctor to House.

:D I love the image of Good Doctor to House. I think I'll be able to pull that off better when my situation gets a little more secure.

For what it's worth I went out and had a nice day, and when I saw the harassing neighbors while getting out of my car I gave them a big cheezy grin.


I should note that I'm not really as intentionally rude as House. But people have told me I remind them of the character.


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justkillingtime
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09 Jun 2024, 8:45 pm

It's too bad you can't just be yourself. I have been in those situations. It seems to be a puzzle that I can't figure out. I came to accept it and focus on what reduced my stress.


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microprogrammer
Blue Jay
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11 Jun 2024, 7:58 pm

Benjamin the Donkey wrote:
microprogrammer wrote:
Benjamin the Donkey wrote:
This all sounds familiar. At this point in my life, after many years, I've given up on trying to fit NT's expectations. It seems im going to offend a lot of them, regardless of my real intentions. In fact, it's worse now because I no longer have a youthful, innocent demeanor. When I was younger, I offended people by seeming naively superior, now it's by seeming simply arrogant. In TV terms. I've evolved from the Good Doctor to House.

:D I love the image of Good Doctor to House. I think I'll be able to pull that off better when my situation gets a little more secure.

For what it's worth I went out and had a nice day, and when I saw the harassing neighbors while getting out of my car I gave them a big cheezy grin.


I should note that I'm not really as intentionally rude as House. But people have told me I remind them of the character.


It's been a while since I've seen the show, but I really enjoyed it when it was on. But I didn't take you as saying you'd go out of your way to be rude.

I've watched a few interviews with Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (of The Expanse), and to me Daniel Abraham has a slightly House-like demeanor. I think as a kid I was naturally very dry in my delivery and a little snarky like that. I think I let people shame it out of me but it's yearning to get back out :lol:



Last edited by microprogrammer on 11 Jun 2024, 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

microprogrammer
Blue Jay
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11 Jun 2024, 8:04 pm

justkillingtime wrote:
It's too bad you can't just be yourself. I have been in those situations. It seems to be a puzzle that I can't figure out. I came to accept it and focus on what reduced my stress.

I definitely wish I could just be myself straightforwardly. I have always felt like they're a puzzle too, though I think I'm slowly starting to see the patterns.

I was reflecting recently that I'm starting to be able to read interpersonal behavior in a way that a fair number of people already can as teenagers, just most teenagers don't have the maturity to act wisely on what they can intuit about people.

I definitely am trying to focus on what I can do to reduce my stress. And I do feel like I'm adapting a bit, slowly. It feels like my brain is getting molded into something slightly different, hopefully in an adaptive way.



microprogrammer
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

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13 Jun 2024, 10:36 am

I actually think the best thing for me is to keep developing a healthy sense of humor when dealing with people.

My goal is to get along with people and to live among them as an adult. Not to be another Machiavellian power-grabber: I think that's the very last thing the world needs more of. I just want to live life and connect to people as best I can, in a friendly manner when possible, and always respectful of each persons fundamental human worth. And I'm seeing that pretty much all adults act like children sometimes; it seems we can't help it; that's just what we are.

I'm the kind of guy who would have been content to live quietly in his small hometown for his entire life, if the things didn't go and change and make that hometown an unwelcoming place for him. So I've had to venture out into the world alone and learn to make my way among the humans.

It's occasionally been a travesty wrapped inside a debacle, but I guess that's life. And if you can eventually look back and laugh at it, it really does seem quite funny sometimes...