Masked so long, I'm not sure of who I am

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Yakuzamonroe
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21 Apr 2022, 4:09 pm

This is something I've been thinking about for a long time, a few years in fact, and I'm wondering if anyone else has been through the same thing.

Early in life, I struggled with intense self-esteem issues, allowing others to define who I am by allowing shaming and abuse to shape my personality. This has gotten so bad, at one point, I simply tried to model myself into the person other people - close friends, family, mentors, teachers - into the ideal(heh, "ideal") person. Of course, this amounted to me perpetually masking my autistic behaviors to the point I hadn't really acted on my own ... like I never let the person underneath out to breathe. I'm now at a point where I'm realizing this was the case and I'm at a loss as to how to move forward from here.

Can anyone relate? Is there any advice anyone can give me to deal with this? It's really heavy and I'm not sure what I should to from this point forward.



Last edited by Yakuzamonroe on 21 Apr 2022, 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KaleidoscopicMagpie
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21 Apr 2022, 4:31 pm

I can totally relate to this, to the extent of trying to mimic my sister's eating disorder. I don't really know who I am or what I really like deep down either. The person inside is really hurting and it is painful to even acknowledge them.

Sorry, I didn't mean to make it all about me. I just meant, I can relate. I don't know how to make it out. I've been trying to stand up to my mother more, and not do everything that she wants me to do just to make her happy. It has worked at times, and I've managed to weather her being annoyed with me. But not today.

I've always thought that writing about myself, from very early childhood, might help and I imagine myself writing and think about what I would type. But I haven't actually done it yet. I think that people would suggest counselling as a good idea, but I've been through 3 years of counselling and 8 months of hypnotherapy and I am still stuck.

I really wish I had better suggestions, or something more hopeful to say. But just know I'm hidden inside the darkness with you. You aren't alone.


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Yakuzamonroe
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21 Apr 2022, 4:39 pm

KaleidoscopicMagpie wrote:
I can totally relate to this, to the extent of trying to mimic my sister's eating disorder. I don't really know who I am or what I really like deep down either. The person inside is really hurting and it is painful to even acknowledge them.

Sorry, I didn't mean to make it all about me. I just meant, I can relate. I don't know how to make it out. I've been trying to stand up to my mother more, and not do everything that she wants me to do just to make her happy. It has worked at times, and I've managed to weather her being annoyed with me. But not today.

I've always thought that writing about myself, from very early childhood, might help and I imagine myself writing and think about what I would type. But I haven't actually done it yet. I think that people would suggest counselling as a good idea, but I've been through 3 years of counselling and 8 months of hypnotherapy and I am still stuck.

I really wish I had better suggestions, or something more hopeful to say. But just know I'm hidden inside the darkness with you. You aren't alone.


It's fine to share! I wouldn't worry about making it about you. Otherwise, it would just be about me. :P

And I'm there with you too. I'm sure quite a few ASDs like us are going through or have gone through the same thing. :)



brane75
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21 Apr 2022, 5:11 pm

I'm having the same problem all my life probably. Actually thought i developed BPD over this. I take my moral values too seriously, never think about myself, but always of others and it wrecks me very often. Just don't like being an as*hole. It's all outside-family-related, my relations with family (all NT) are pretty decent. Fights with brother and dad here and there but we make peace quick.

One of the things i've been thinking about is having no outside friends but it's a rain waiting to pour really. I don't like to socialize but i don't hate people - endless loop of "?!?!?"

I've sacrificed my potential good careers due to this. And i never get any acknowledgement over it because no one knows what ASD is. I just get branded as lazy and uncaring.

I hope you get through it.



ASPartOfMe
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21 Apr 2022, 5:47 pm

I had similar to what you all are describing when I was first diagnosed at age 55. What parts of me was learned skills and what parts of me is faking out myself? I did not know and it bothered me. I finally figured out that at this point in my life everything is too fused together to be able to separate, it all is just me.


Dissociative disorders - Mayo Clinic

Quote:
Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.

Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help keep difficult memories at bay. Symptoms — ranging from amnesia to alternate identities — depend in part on the type of dissociative disorder you have. Times of stress can temporarily worsen symptoms, making them more obvious.

Treatment for dissociative disorders may include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication. Although treating dissociative disorders can be difficult, many people learn new ways of coping and lead healthy, productive lives.

Signs and symptoms depend on the type of dissociative disorders you have, but may include:

Memory loss (amnesia) of certain time periods, events, people and personal information
A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
A blurred sense of identity
Significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life
Inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress
Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by "switching" to alternate identities. You may feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and you may feel as though you're possessed by other identities. Each identity may have a unique name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. People with dissociative identity disorder typically also have dissociative amnesia and often have dissociative fugue.


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KaleidoscopicMagpie
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21 Apr 2022, 6:28 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I had similar to what you all are describing when I was first diagnosed at age 55. What parts of me was learned skills and what parts of me is faking out myself? I did not know and it bothered me. I finally figured out that at this point in my life everything is too fused together to be able to separate, it all is just me.


Dissociative disorders - Mayo Clinic
Quote:
Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.

Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help keep difficult memories at bay. Symptoms — ranging from amnesia to alternate identities — depend in part on the type of dissociative disorder you have. Times of stress can temporarily worsen symptoms, making them more obvious.

Treatment for dissociative disorders may include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication. Although treating dissociative disorders can be difficult, many people learn new ways of coping and lead healthy, productive lives.

Signs and symptoms depend on the type of dissociative disorders you have, but may include:

Memory loss (amnesia) of certain time periods, events, people and personal information
A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
A blurred sense of identity
Significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life
Inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress
Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by "switching" to alternate identities. You may feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and you may feel as though you're possessed by other identities. Each identity may have a unique name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. People with dissociative identity disorder typically also have dissociative amnesia and often have dissociative fugue.



That's quite scary. I may be ostracised for this, but I feigned dissociative identity disorder to cope in an abusive relationship. Maybe there's a reason I did that, I don't knkow.


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Interests: Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Arthur, education, names, geography, detective fiction, animals, especially dogs.


ToughDiamond
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21 Apr 2022, 7:37 pm

I guess it may help to get among kind people who more accept you for who and what you are. Then maybe, little by little, you'll become more confident about finding yourself. Alternatively you could spend a lot of time alone where there's nobody to put pressure on you to hide your real self, but with nobody to compare yourself to, that might not be very helpful. Though it's a way I've used with some success. My self-confidence and self-esteem is more precarious than simply low, and when I'm alone and free from the fear of being judged, I feel less guilty about my personality and traits.



Masonlandry
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24 Apr 2022, 10:32 am

I've been thinking about this for a couple years now. I just recently got a diagnosis at 26 but I've known I had ASD for a while now, and always felt like there was something wrong with me before I knew ASD was on the table. Having a diagnosis has helped me accept that there isn't something "wrong" with me, and I helps to know an explanation for why I'm different than most people around me. But I can get over the fact that I don't really know who I am. I spent my whole life trying to act like other people just to avoid embarrassment and anxiety, and it's such a habit that I don't even really know how to unmask, even when I'm alone.

I've also always been such a people pleaser than I tend to say 'okay' to whatever other people around me want to do or watch or talk about, so I don't even really know what I enjoy. I don't really know what to do about it.



CrazyEspy
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24 Apr 2022, 1:11 pm

Yakuzamonroe wrote:
This is something I've been thinking about for a long time, a few years in fact, and I'm wondering if anyone else has been through the same thing.

Early in life, I struggled with intense self-esteem issues, allowing others to define who I am by allowing shaming and abuse to shape my personality. This has gotten so bad, at one point, I simply tried to model myself into the person other people - close friends, family, mentors, teachers - into the ideal(heh, "ideal") person. Of course, this amounted to me perpetually masking my autistic behaviors to the point I hadn't really acted on my own ... like I never let the person underneath out to breathe. I'm now at a point where I'm realizing this was the case and I'm at a loss as to how to move forward from here.

Can anyone relate? Is there any advice anyone can give me to deal with this? It's really heavy and I'm not sure what I should to from this point forward.


Yes and I can't mask for my life either so me displaying my natural personality in many cases with my PTSD shock collar that zaps me every time it catches me being too wild and free in many situations especially at work I only have brief moments of clarity on. I don't know how to move forward from here either besides trying to suppress the physical symptoms from that shock collar like loss of vocal control and extreme surges of adrenaline pumping anxiety. In that case when I push that down I tend to do fine but it seems like the only thing I can do is keep perfecting my current supplement stack and manage thought loops the best I can.I can't go back to kratom because the line between wasted and feeling normal for me is too thin and I get sick from it now through withdrawal association anyways. Flying blind here when it comes to making progress there. I hate what this twisted, nightmare world has done to my brain.