Getting my family to accept the reality of me and my life?

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smart_idiot2010
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08 Aug 2011, 4:33 am

I am long-winded and become rather attached to my writings, so I have organized my ramblings so the first two paragraphs are sufficient for the convo if you don't want to read it all; the rest as much for me as anything:

I'm getting to the point in my life where I need to sit down with my family and have the "I am what I am" talk with them about facing the reality of life for someone the way I am. My family really are good people; they accept that I am different and choose to see my strength and intelligence for the most part rather than my shortcomings. The poor folks still take me on trips and make the effort even though they always end up frustrated.

I don't want to crush them or hurt their feelings too much. I don't want them to feel like I don't love them or they have "failed". But they have never quite faced the reality that my life just isn't going to be what they want for me. They seem to believe one day everything will fall into place and I'll have lots of friends to take to dinner, a wonderful hubby, and invite them all over for barbecue. But even if I could make that happen, I honestly don't think I'd want to. How do you tell someone that? They do accept me, but they've chosen not to accept that part. My dear brother cried for me shortly after getting married that I haven't "found what he has." He frequently sits me down telling me things like, "when all you do is talk about work that is beneath you, and nothing else, it worries us. Most people that just want to work a 9 to 5 and go home, go home to something else." I take it to heart and make up a few dinners with friends, but it is just a show to make them feel better.

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I want to have a life I can accept on my own terms.
I am building a life that I can handle, and be satisfied with in my own way. I have a small place by design; I need my own space that is clearly not meant to be crowded with others. I have accepted that the next roommate is not going to be the one I get along with finally,and instead content myself with the freedom of solitary living. I moved to a large city so I'm not isolated and feel surrounded by opportunities to meet people/ try new things, but at the same time I don't have to feel bad about everyone judging me or knowing I don't have friends. I am also far enough from my family that they don't know my day-to-day going-ons. This was hard at first and risky, but good because the only time I generally feel bad about my existence is when well-meaning folks pity me or try to help, leaving me painfully aware of it. Most days I carry out the routine of going home, walking my dog, watching some tv, and going to sleep as an acceptable existence I have accommodated myself to. I live a spartan existence capable of being lit up by the smallest pleasures. On sunny weekend strolls I even sometimes reach the serenity of wandering the forests alone as a child.

I am working a job that my brother has forced me to admit is "beneath me." However, it is structured and I have standards to follow so that I know at the end of each day I did a good job and don't have to worry about misunderstandings. I don't feel sick going to work out of worry that maybe I'm not really doing what is expected of me and am unaware. My brother knows me better than anyone else, and thinks I underestimate my abilities. He knows I am my own creature and accepts it, but he truly believes I can compensate by being "great" in my field. I wish it were that simple, to just throw myself into my work. The thing is I know my abilities, but people that haven't grown up with me let social faux paus, politics and general dislike get in the way of pure ability. I see the path to the top of my field and depression as one and the same for me---there was never any satisfaction in pursuit of the goal for the sake of it, only a hollow feeling inside and focus on my mistakes. I get overloaded and stressed too easily without the dull routine of an ordinary job.

While I just don't see myself reaching my "potential" due to my difficulties, I am working towards a position that's the equivalent of a high school teacher in my field---it's not that hard to get but if you say it's your passion people will respect it. I have found if I date someone too much like me we drift apart from lack of someone doing the necessary work to keep it going, but I hope to find an NT someday that can accept my need for space, value the occasional quiet time, and enjoy more subtle affection I can give.
I am what I am. The first step for me to stop being miserable was to acknowledge it, and structure things in a way that works with it. Because pretending “normal” is good for me, refusing to admit the truth to myself, that is just the path to a sad, wasted fail of a life. So I figure if they want what's best for me, they should be able to eventually accept that too.



TheCaityCat
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08 Aug 2011, 4:41 am

This is really tough. I think this is one of those issues that may need to be addressed repeatedly until your family finally gets it, like it was with mine. Your life may not be what they were hoping you'd have, but if it is fulfilling and it makes you happy then I think they should be happy for you! Your brother, for example, may not ever truly understand that you find living alone and having dinner by yourself or working a job that is "beneath you" a perfectly nice way to live, but he needs to respect that it's your choice.



Chronos
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08 Aug 2011, 5:44 am

You actually sound rather happy and content with your life to me....unless I misread.

I think perhaps you just need to inform your family that you are happy with your life how it is.

As for relationships with NT men who respect that you need a lot of space, I don't think this would be difficult to find, especially in a big city, provided you also don't want a deep level of commitment from them. There are many men who are dedicated to their careers and generally prefer the bachelor life but still would like a companion to be close to a few times a month.



smart_idiot2010
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10 Aug 2011, 2:10 am

Thanks so much guys; it is amazing how much a few strangers taking the time to reply to some anonymoust someone out there can help me feel better.

I guess I forget that NT's aren't really mind-readers. I realize after getting it down that my attempts at making them feel better by mentioning the attempts at dinners with friends and such are making it impossible for them to believe I am OK. And it is true, I have kinda neglected to flat-out "admit" that I am fine with things right now. (I "know" I shouldn't be OK with the entirety of my social interactions happening at work but, well....)
I'm going to try being honest with my brother first and see how it goes.

BTW I can't really say I'm happy--it's more of an acceptance of myself/my life I have been working hard on the past year. However many people NTs have in their life though, I believe on the whole most days the same is true for them, just with more highs and lows. I think as an aspie I have this pipe dream fairy tale of what life would be if I were a "real" girl."