Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 

AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

27 Sep 2021, 3:08 pm

I'm really struggling to put this into words, so please, bear with me. I did something yesterday that I've never done before. I took some of my books to a used bookstore and traded them for $100 credit so that I could buy new books. I have never gotten rid of a book in my life - and it was hard. I didn't even like the books I traded in, but it was still hard. Before I left my home though, I called my father and told him I'd be in the car driving as I was expecting a call from him. My dad was really happy that I was going - not because I was getting rid of books, but because he thinks it's good for me to get out of the house and have some face-to-face human contact.

To me, it is a necessary evil. He has this belief that I’ll get something out of it. He’s not wrong. I’ll get nauseous and anxious for certain; the headache is optional. Muscle aches, dizziness and exhaustion, too! So, the question is, what does ‘good for me’ look like? What questions should I be asking myself to be able to tell the difference between stress because I am outside of my comfort zone because I’m expanding my healthy range of activities and activities that cause stress and, because of the way that I’m made, will never enrich my life?

Sometimes I push myself to do things I hate because I think I'm 'supposed to' or because someone else thinks 'it's healthy' or even worse, 'normal'. i.e., I began seeing an occupational therapist last week. She asked if I wanted to expand my palate after discovering I basically have the same things every day. I can't figure out why she asked me. Does she think that I've been eating the same menu since the day I cut my first tooth? Does she not realize that by now I've tried a lot of different types of food? Could it be that she thinks I was wanting to expand my palate but was waiting for an invitation before I did? The more I thought about it though, the more I began wondering if this would be something that she thinks would be healthy? (I mean emotionally healthy - my diet would make a nutritionist swoon in bliss) There it is! I found a question to sum it all up...

Are there some things that are (emotionally) healthy for neurotypical people that would be contra-indicated for neurodiverse people? Incidentally, my trip out to the bookstore was worse than I expected, which is rather difficult as my expectations are so low. :?



babybird
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 39,105
Location: UK

27 Sep 2021, 3:24 pm

Well yes I think that's some people would definitely be able to manage their emotional wellbeing differently to how other people would manage it.

If I'm in a situation that I've been forced into then My way of coping would be to dissociate. I'm completely unaware of it happening at the time but the memory of the stressful even will be like a dream when I look back at it and I'm completely detached from it.

That's a coping mechanism that I've had from being very young.

I don't know if my answer goes any way towards answering your question.

By the way; I think I would also have a hard time if I had to part with any of my books.



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,439
Location: New York City (Queens)

27 Sep 2021, 3:30 pm

If your diet would "make a nutritionist swoon in bliss," then I see no reason why you would need to "expand your palate."

On the other hand, it seems to me that it would be desirable, if possible, to become capable of handling errands without getting nauseous or getting a headache, and without getting as anxious as you now do (though it might not be possible to eliminate the anxiety entirely). Insofar as errands are a necessary evil, it seems to me that it would be desirable to find ways to make them less of an evil.

IMO we shouldn't have to change ourselves just to blend in with NT's, but if we can change in ways that intrinsically help us manage our lives better, that's all to the good.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

27 Sep 2021, 3:36 pm

babybird wrote:
If I'm in a situation that I've been forced into then My way of coping would be to dissociate.


~nods~ We have dissociative identity disorder...we get it. :)



AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

27 Sep 2021, 3:47 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:

IMO we shouldn't have to change ourselves just to blend in with NT's, but if we can change in ways that intrinsically help us manage our lives better, that's all to the good.


Agreed. But that still leaves me with the challenge of trying to determine if some discomfort that I am feeling is short-term - and once I get through this uncomfortable stage I'll be able to manage my life better. Or, if this discomfort is never going to go away. Or the absolute worst option, I start shutting down and as a result the discomfort recedes (or even disappears entirely) and I am 'appearing' to manage better, but behind the scenes I'm damaging myself.

I've been masking for so long Mona, that I am just now starting to figure out who I am. I described my masking process to a professional a few days ago like so: It's like going to a bar, ordering a drink and asking the bartender to start a tab. Everything seems to be going along just fine, you seem to be having a good time partying and all... but the longer you 'have fun', the greater the pain at the end of the night (because the longer you stay, the more you drink and the bigger your bill). I'm trying really hard not to mask these days, but I can slip one on in a heartbeat - and often, I don't even realize it until much later. <-- option 3



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,439
Location: New York City (Queens)

28 Sep 2021, 6:38 am

AngelL wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
IMO we shouldn't have to change ourselves just to blend in with NT's, but if we can change in ways that intrinsically help us manage our lives better, that's all to the good.


Agreed. But that still leaves me with the challenge of trying to determine if some discomfort that I am feeling is short-term - and once I get through this uncomfortable stage I'll be able to manage my life better. Or, if this discomfort is never going to go away. Or the absolute worst option, I start shutting down and as a result the discomfort recedes (or even disappears entirely) and I am 'appearing' to manage better, but behind the scenes I'm damaging myself.

I've been masking for so long Mona, that I am just now starting to figure out who I am. I described my masking process to a professional a few days ago like so: It's like going to a bar, ordering a drink and asking the bartender to start a tab. Everything seems to be going along just fine, you seem to be having a good time partying and all... but the longer you 'have fun', the greater the pain at the end of the night (because the longer you stay, the more you drink and the bigger your bill). I'm trying really hard not to mask these days, but I can slip one on in a heartbeat - and often, I don't even realize it until much later. <-- option 3

Yep.

My guess is that you should seek situations where you aren't under pressure to mask, or at least not to mask nearly as much as you normally do. Hopefully, after the pandemic is more under control, you can find a local autistic adult support group and try to make some friends there? Or perhaps, in the meantime, you could try video chat or phone calls with a few of the people here on WP whom you've established the greatest rapport with?


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

28 Sep 2021, 10:30 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
My guess is that you should seek situations where you aren't under pressure to mask, or at least not to mask nearly as much as you normally do.


I'm not sure that there's a way for me to determine what parts or percentage of the need to mask comes from ASD and what comes from other sources. Actually, I'm not sure it makes a difference. Regardless, I've no doubt that you are aware, there is quite a lot of symptom/behavior crossover with ASD and trauma. As a result, there's no place in public where I feel safe - and frankly, I'm not sure that there's degrees of masking for me as much as it's a toggle switch where it's either all the way on or all the way off.

Mona Pereth wrote:
Hopefully, after the pandemic is more under control, you can find a local autistic adult support group and try to make some friends there? Or perhaps, in the meantime, you could try video chat or phone calls with a few of the people here on WP whom you've established the greatest rapport with?


I can already feel the shame rising in me as I search for a way to say this but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway in an effort to be candid... I've recently been able to define 'friend' in a way that made the concept accessible to my understanding, but I'm not sure I understand what the point is. Most of the friendships that I am able to witness seem...well, horrible. It seems like an incredible amount of work for some dubious, theoretical payoff. I tend to view people as (and this is where the shame really kicks off) utilitarian in nature. That, incidentally, includes me. People come up and talk to me when they need something. Perhaps they need directions or want to know what time it is. Perhaps they are bored and they don't have access to another form of distraction now so they are going to try talking to me. Perhaps they are canvassing the neighborhood and want me to vote for them or join their church.

Whatever the reason is, they talk to me because they are trying to get some need of theirs met. Likewise, if I initiate talking to someone, it is usually because the pharmacist is asking me, "Can I help you?" or something similar. So, again, I am willing to consider trying to make some friends at a local adult autism support group or something, but I'd love to know what the potential payoff would be - otherwise it just seems like discomfort for the sake of discomfort. Although the breadth of my knowledge is expansive, my interests are very narrow and unpopular. So, we can talk about whatever they want, but I'm getting nothing out of it - it becomes performance art.

So much of what passes for friendship (it seems to me) is about, "I'm bored. :cry: I know, I'll call my friend!" or people call their friend to vent about their significant other. Their relationship picker is broke, but rather than do the hard work to repair that they decide to point fingers at the behavior of the person they chose and blame them for being themselves. The friends job, near as I can tell, is to co-sign everything their friend says - in this case to agree that their S.O. is an ass - and to basically help keep their friend in an unhealthy pattern by supporting their b.s. A friend gives you someone to do stuff with, but that requires interaction which takes preparation and effort to even be able to do so in a mediocre manner.

Seriously, I meant it when I said I was willing, but if you (or anyone) can explain to me what some of the healthy benefits of having friends are, that might take it from willing to action. Thanks.



Shellbelle
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 12 Sep 2021
Gender: Female
Posts: 675

28 Sep 2021, 4:30 pm

AngelL

After reading your post, I am thinking you will need to decide what you want for your life, and what you feel enriches it.

No one can or should tell you what these things are, as they are very person-specific.

When I went to see a therapist to learn skills to cope with my aspieness, we made a goal plan together, and I decided what went on that list. No one else.

So, if you are happy without social contact and eating your foods, and if neither are harming you or another person, maybe it is okay to just let that be for now.

If you look at your life and want to run errands with less anxiety, well, that can be a goal.

As for what is damaging for us, I think we are all wired a bit differently, and I can only use myself to give an example, but it has been possible to expand my ability to tolerate more things and things for a longer period of time without damaging myself. I had to work with a somatic therapist 2 years to gain more capacity, kind of like kneading bread dough to get some stretch in the dough- it is possible, not without challenges and some pain for sure, but possible without damage. You just have to decide what you want or need and see how far you can stretch.

As for friends, no getting around it, friendship is a social transaction, you have cut right to the center of it. Friendship can be nice in that you have another person to share things with, and they with you. For example, I like walking and hiking. It is nice to share the experience with another person because they often see things I don't or know things I don't and so we learn from each other while sharing a common interest. That said, friendship isn't necessary for everyone to find happiness, and some of us are happier on our own. It sounds like you get to discover if this is something worth exploring or not.



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,439
Location: New York City (Queens)

28 Sep 2021, 4:33 pm

AngelL wrote:
I'm not sure that there's a way for me to determine what parts or percentage of the need to mask comes from ASD and what comes from other sources. Actually, I'm not sure it makes a difference. Regardless, I've no doubt that you are aware, there is quite a lot of symptom/behavior crossover with ASD and trauma. As a result, there's no place in public where I feel safe - and frankly, I'm not sure that there's degrees of masking for me as much as it's a toggle switch where it's either all the way on or all the way off.

Would it be less stressful for you to get to know potential friends via text-based online interaction before meeting them in-person?

If so, here on Wrong Planet, if you were to include your approximate location in your profile (not specific enough to endanger your privacy, but at least what state or general region you live in), this might make it easier for you to find potential friends here on Wrong Planet.

I would suggest also that you edit your profile to have a signature line that mentions your esoteric/"unpopular" interests, to attract people here who share at least one of those interests.

AngelL wrote:
I can already feel the shame rising in me as I search for a way to say this but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway in an effort to be candid... I've recently been able to define 'friend' in a way that made the concept accessible to my understanding, but I'm not sure I understand what the point is. Most of the friendships that I am able to witness seem...well, horrible. It seems like an incredible amount of work for some dubious, theoretical payoff.

I tend to view people as (and this is where the shame really kicks off) utilitarian in nature. That, incidentally, includes me. People come up and talk to me when they need something. Perhaps they need directions or want to know what time it is. Perhaps they are bored and they don't have access to another form of distraction now so they are going to try talking to me. Perhaps they are canvassing the neighborhood and want me to vote for them or join their church.

Whatever the reason is, they talk to me because they are trying to get some need of theirs met. Likewise, if I initiate talking to someone, it is usually because the pharmacist is asking me, "Can I help you?" or something similar. So, again, I am willing to consider trying to make some friends at a local adult autism support group or something, but I'd love to know what the potential payoff would be - otherwise it just seems like discomfort for the sake of discomfort.

Different people have different definitions of "friendship."

To me, the essence of friendship is caring about each other's well-being. As I've said elsewhere, I also see friendship as having four foundations:

1) Companionship: Enjoying each other's company.
2) Emotional sharing / openness / intimacy.
3) Doing favors for each other. (The "utilitarian" aspect of friendship.)
4) Comradeship: An emotional bond formed by facing common challenges together. (Extreme example: war buddies. More common example: Teammates on a sports team. Another example: Political activists working closely together for a common goal.)

A friendship does not need to have all four of the above foundations, but it seems to me that most good friendships probably have at least three of them.

One of the main longterm benefits of friendship, or at least of close friendship, is to have an alternative extended family. This might not seem important if you happen to have a large, healthy family, most of whose members can be relied on in time of trouble, and at least some of whom live nearby. But, for some of us, especially as we get older, having an alternative extended family is a survival necessity, and in any case can greatly improve our lives in many ways.

AngelL wrote:
Although the breadth of my knowledge is expansive, my interests are very narrow and unpopular. So, we can talk about whatever they want, but I'm getting nothing out of it - it becomes performance art.

A good potential companion would be someone who shares your esoteric/unpopular interests, and who has interesting (to you) things to say about them and is also genuinely interested in what you have to say about them.

AngelL wrote:
So much of what passes for friendship (it seems to me) is about, "I'm bored. :cry: I know, I'll call my friend!"

That person is seeking companionship, which is one of the foundations of friendship, but not the entirety of friendship.

AngelL wrote:
or people call their friend to vent about their significant other. Their relationship picker is broke, but rather than do the hard work to repair that they decide to point fingers at the behavior of the person they chose and blame them for being themselves. The friends job, near as I can tell, is to co-sign everything their friend says - in this case to agree that their S.O. is an ass - and to basically help keep their friend in an unhealthy pattern by supporting their b.s.

Venting to a friend, about whatever, and being empathized with, is an aspect of what I call emotional sharing/openness/intimacy.

But the attitude that the friend's job is simply to "sign off" on whatever the person says is, in my opinion, an unhealthy aspect of contemporary Western culture. I think it would be healthier if the friend could empathize and also help the person brainstorm solutions.

AngelL wrote:
A friend gives you someone to do stuff with

An aspect of what I call companionship.

AngelL wrote:
but that requires interaction which takes preparation and effort to even be able to do so in a mediocre manner.

The problem here is how to make the interaction less effortful. In order to experience companionship, you need to find a way to make the interaction easy and fun -- or at least to become easy and fun, once you get to know the person well enough.

AngelL wrote:
Seriously, I meant it when I said I was willing, but if you (or anyone) can explain to me what some of the healthy benefits of having friends are, that might take it from willing to action. Thanks.

It sounds to me as if you've never experienced true companionship?

If you could somehow find a way to experience true companionship with a few rare people (or even just one rare person), it seems to me that this could make your life much more enjoyable, as well as helping you find a way to relate to another person without masking.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


Last edited by Mona Pereth on 28 Sep 2021, 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

28 Sep 2021, 4:56 pm

Mona,

Thank you. I've read through both of your latest posts and didn't want to delay in saying thank you, but I would like to read them a few more times - and probably tomorrow as well. I am not doing well today...actually, I haven't been doing well for about a week but just realized it. As such, I'm probably not digesting the posts as well as I otherwise might. Sincere gratitude for your thoughtful response though.



AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

28 Sep 2021, 9:40 pm

You’ve said so many wonderfully helpful things; thank you. Ultimately, it was pondering over this jewel, “The problem here is how to make the interaction less effortful. In order to experience companionship, you need to find a way to make the interaction easy and fun -- or at least to become easy and fun, once you get to know the person well enough. It sounds to me as if you've never experienced true companionship?” that decided it for me.

“Easy and fun” for instance. Fun wasn’t clear to me; I didn’t know whether you meant fun for me, the other person, or both of us. Easy was, well, easier. For something to be ‘easy’ I figured there would have to be an element of spontaneity inherent in any definition. I can’t do spontaneity because I’m exerting so much of that not “less effortful” analyzing a numberless set of data points to mirror you through the lens of this personality that we’ve agreed to call ‘Angel’. So, in order to do spontaneity, I’ve got to give that up. But if I give that up, I won’t know who to be. Without this core personality that has an individual facet for everyone I come in contact with – I’m just left with me. Can’t experience the companionship that you described without sharing me. And I can’t share me to I know who I am. So, I believe I’ve uncovered job one. Thanks for your help.



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,439
Location: New York City (Queens)

29 Sep 2021, 3:02 am

AngelL wrote:
“Easy and fun” for instance. Fun wasn’t clear to me; I didn’t know whether you meant fun for me, the other person, or both of us.

Both.

AngelL wrote:
Easy was, well, easier. For something to be ‘easy’ I figured there would have to be an element of spontaneity inherent in any definition.

Not necessarily, if spontaneity is not possible for you.

Earlier I gave you suggestions on how to attract potential friends here on WP. I would suggest that you take your time getting to know any such people via a combination of private messages and public forum interaction, before then eventually having either a video chat or a phone conversations (whichever you prefer) and then eventually meeting in person.

Also I would suggest that both you and the other person focus on exchanging info and ideas on your topics of common interest, rather than on trying to be charming personalities, beyond basic courtesy.

AngelL wrote:
I can’t do spontaneity because I’m exerting so much of that not “less effortful” analyzing a numberless set of data points to mirror you through the lens of this personality that we’ve agreed to call ‘Angel’. So, in order to do spontaneity, I’ve got to give that up. But if I give that up, I won’t know who to be.

I would suggest that you not focus on "being" anybody or anything. Instead of worrying about "who to be," just focus on exchanging information and ideas.

More generally, it seems to me that it might be a good idea for you to focus on doing meaningful/interesting (to you) things, rather than on "being" whoever/whatever. It seems to me that if you just do enough meaningful/interesting things, then a sense of your "being"/identity could eventually, naturally, emerge from that.

AngelL wrote:
Without this core personality that has an individual facet for everyone I come in contact with – I’m just left with me. Can’t experience the companionship that you described without sharing me.

Perhaps I don't quite understand what you mean by "sharing me," but it seems to me that "sharing me" falls under the category of what I call emotional sharing/openness/intimacy, rather than companionship.

For companionship, all you need is at least one topic you both enjoy talking (or writing) about with each other, and/or at least one activity you both enjoy doing together. A shared sense of humor helps too, but is not mandatory. None of these things require a strong sense of personal identity or "me"-ness.

In any case, it seems to me that you have already done quite a bit of "sharing me" here in the public forums here on Wrong Planet. Meeting someone via a support group forum, like Wrong Planet, can give you a natural head start on at least the beginnings of emotional sharing/openness/intimacy.

AngelL wrote:
And I can’t share me to I know who I am. So, I believe I’ve uncovered job one. Thanks for your help.

No, I don't think that's "job one" in the sense of being a prerequisite to everything else. You can get to know people here on WP concurrently with figuring out who you are.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


AngelL
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 247
Location: Seattle, WA

29 Sep 2021, 11:38 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Different people have different definitions of "friendship."


Well that's inconvenient as hell. :)

Mona Pereth wrote:
To me, the essence of friendship is caring about each other's well-being.


I've got a leg up on the competition then; I care about everyone's well being.

Mona Pereth wrote:
As I've said elsewhere, I also see friendship as having four foundations:

1) Companionship: Enjoying each other's company.
2) Emotional sharing / openness / intimacy.
3) Doing favors for each other. (The "utilitarian" aspect of friendship.)
4) Comradeship: An emotional bond formed by facing common challenges together. (Extreme example: war buddies. More common example: Teammates on a sports team. Another example: Political activists working closely together for a common goal.)


It may be that I am too broken or wired too differently or... to have friendships.

Regarding companionship defined as enjoying each others company. The truth is, most people enjoy my company - I ensure that they do. By being a chameleon, I don't so much change the basic personality that I present to the world but create a facet of the personality I'm using that is specific to the person I'm dealing with. There is an energy expenditure with every interaction but one. I have had only person who did not suck the energy out of me being around them. That said, I said or did something that caused them to withdraw and rebuff all attempts to contact them. I have no idea what. It's been almost eleven years; she's my daughter. The idea that I might meet someone else who I enjoyed their company seems rather far-fetched from a purely mathematical angle.

Though retired now, my 24-year career had me moving, on average, every seventeen days; I lived out of hotels.
Many of the areas I'd return to, so there was a base of people I knew who would introduce the new folks to me. As a result of this lifestyle, I've met far, far more people than the average person would meet in their lifetime. In fact, google says the average person would meet about 10,000 people in their lifetimes. I don't believe that there was a year in those 24 that I didn't meet that many people in a year. In all that time - plus all the years on either side of it, I've met one person who I enjoyed their company...hence the thought that it might be far-fetched to find another now.

Regarding emotional intimacy/openness/intimacy: I don't have a problem sharing personal information. I mean even in this thread, shame came up for me, I shared what I was feeling and continued. I also am capable of listening to others in they want to share or vent. Lastly, I am capable of demonstrating, in a way that the other person can understand, that I empathize. i.e. You'll remember this... Think back when Princess Diana died. You and I are both from the States and as a result, are pretty far removed from the royals, right? Do you recall the lamentations from millions of people in this country? Many started seeing therapists for the PTSD they suffered after a person they didn't know, had never met, and who had no impact on their life died. Does it make any sense to me? No. However, I do know grief and I understand PTSD intimately. Why they are suffering from these twin nightmares will always be a mystery to me, but I can empathize with the feelings they are dealing with. I can and I do - but I don't want to. It feels disingenuous to me. If I had to guess, I'd say that their suffering has nothing to do with Princess Diana but if they wanted to see that - they would have.

Doing favors for: I can certainly do that for others. Actually, I do - on a regular basis. I resent the trying to return the favor. If I do something for you Mona, it shall give me a good feeling. If you try to repay the favor, it's like you're trying to buy my good feeling - and it's not for sale. If you find that analogy objectionable, consider this: You stop to help someone change a flat on the side of the road - let's say they didn't have a jack, so you stopped to let them use yours. When they are returning the jack to you they try to hand you a twenty-dollar bill. There's a cash transaction and to me, it's no different than saying, "Hey! Are you hungry? I was going to stop at the diner up the road and get something to eat; can I treat you to lunch?" Either way, it's a transaction. I'd prefer that I do something for you - complete stop. I can't count how many times I've done a favor for someone and they say, "I owe you one!" At which point (Yes, even though they aren't actually my friend) I always reply, "Friends don't owe. Friends do because they want to do. You don't owe me anything." which actually sums up my belief on how humans should treat every human they come in contact with - not just friends. Remember above when I said, "I care about everybody's well-being"? Yeah, that.

Your explanation of comradeship is actually the one that caused me to posit that I might be too broken for friendships. I have been a member of two of the three groups you presented as examples. I served with Marine Force Recon in six war zones and I was a member of the U.S. Jr. Olympic Hockey Team. My skill in both endeavors earned me respect from those on my teams but in many ways I remained an outsider. Hanging out getting drunk was a popular pastime, as was trying to get the cutest girl in the bar drunk so they could have their way with her. Often this led to fights with locals and of course, any and all present were expected to support and defend their comrades from the consequences of reprehensible actions. I preferred being an outsider - not because I didn't want to be a part of something larger than myself - but because I didn't want to be a part of that.

The Jr. Olympic Team was comprised of young men who, as is their wont, form hierarchal relationships. Participation and acceptance in the group meant submitting to group dynamics. Effectively this meant, emotionally torturing whoever the group decided was on the bottom rung of the hierarchal ladder. You join in, or you find yourself on the bottom rung. If my only recourse is to torture or be tortured, I'll take the latter. And so that emotional connection or bond never formed.

Anywho, that's kind of (at least one reason) why I figured I'd just work on getting to know me.