Autism: frequency, sociability
I have this genius, great-writer friend, Siderea, whom I haven’t seen in years and don’t hear from anymore, but she’s insanely busy and has 900 other friends, so it’s not weird that we’re not directly in touch. Anyway, she wrote 2 amazing posts recently on Friendship that I want everyone on the planet, but certainly everyone who knows me, to read.
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I have been Eager Edith with Aunt Carol and other people at various times, but these days, I’m Busy Betty with almost everyone. (Not so much because I’m “busy” in the traditional sense, but for spoons reasons.)
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Siderea taught me about meta conversations way back in… 2002? Earlier? Also, the types of topics that are taboo to talk about. (But we talked about them. I love talking about stuff like that!)
Spouse… does not love conversations about meta. Nor taboo topics. Spouse doesn’t enjoy psychology in general.
Now that I know I’m autistic, I also realize that… I talk, and puzzle things out, as one of the most effective methods for self-soothing my anxieties. Lots of anxieties & puzzles => lots of talking, but no offline conversationalists.
Hence, blogs. Twitter.
Since talking with my sister ~2 weeks ago, I’ve been puzzling over why even family relationships that I assiduously cultivated go sour.
“Frequency of sociability” is huge.
Talking to a family member once a week is… way way too often. While I enjoy hearing a voice (at least sometimes), I mostly hate talking on the phone and have the usual autistic difficulties parsing what’s being said — I would prefer conversing through writing. The other person(s) mostly refuse to text, email, or write letters, but will call me (irregularly), talk way too fast, and often about things I know nothing about.
Then there’s triggers.
With the family members I’ve talked to the most often, despite me saying (over and over) that I have ZERO INTEREST in talking about my mother, or my parents, or their health, or anything related to them, … somehow they come up as a topic, regularly.
Worse, I’m then bludgeoned with the other person’s ideas of how I can RECONCILE with them?!?!&%$ which I also have ZERO INTEREST in. I’m given advice (that I didn’t ask for, and don’t want) about how best to go about it. I’m cajoled, then pressured. I’m appealed to, along axes that hold no weight with me.
Every attempt to change the subject… fails.
Incidentally, back when I still spoke to my mother, she behaved exactly the same way… about me “reconciling” with my cousin the rapist.
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I think I might could enjoy talking to a (non-missing stair) family member… a few times a year? Once a month?
But only if I’m not constantly being badgered with “advice” that’s actually somehow mandatory.
I also don’t want to hear excruciating levels of detail about anyone’s craptastic job.
The health problems of third parties? Mostly boring. Occasionally, depressing and anxiety-producing.
(I have lots of health issues of my own. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about them. I don’t expect other people to find them interesting.)
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At least my sister goes to movies. Likely she still reads books. She’s an artist. She probably has ideas about something that isn’t How Mea Should Be Behaving.
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Sometimes I ponder what people in my family of origin would have to talk about if I ever did “reconcile” with the people who abused me.
Anyway, thinking more about “frequency of sociability”… I like intense sessions, but I need them widely spaced in time. When they’re too close together, I burn out on them, and the other person. For instance, P, my old therapist. When I stopped seeing her, I expected in 4–6 months, I’d write a post about the things I gained from our sessions. It’s actually been 8 months, and I still feel ‘too close’ to it to even want to think about it much.
It took me 4 years from breaking up with my parents to begin blogging. I’ve been writing about them (among many other things) over 6 years, and only now do I feel like I understand things well enough to move forward confidently. If I was still talking to my parents? (Rather, if my mother was still hammering at me about Stuff) I’d have very little bandwidth available to even discern my feelings, never mind figure out what to do with them.
This needs more thought.