At least in the area where I live it seems that the ordinary expectations ordinary people have of one another are very low.  Without going into too much detail because it’s not other people’s standards, behaviors and attitudes that really bother me, I can say that it’s my reactions to other people that create my own problems for me.

Sometimes I just think, “I don’t like very many people” and leave things at that.  It’s when I try to “join in” with others that I repeatedly find myself at odds — with no solutions I can find except to withdraw yet again.

I have had several bumpy interactions in the past 48 hours within a number of situations involving people.  I do have high standards and high expectations that are not shared by very many others.  I wonder at myself.  How did I come to reside in such a singular kind of universe within myself?

Neighbors’ children threatening other people’s property bothers me without solution.  Workers employed at a nonprofit business that supports a worthwhile social program who are lazy, slovenly and rude to the point they are completely sabotaging the success of the entire venture bothers me.  I worked hard volunteering there lately but I personally cannot continue because I cannot make inner peace with fighting what amounts to a losing battle all the way around.  I do not want to participate in that scene.

And then there was my attempt to venture into a social circumstance where fun is permeated by pot use and alcohol consumption by everyone else involved but me.  I partake of neither substance and do not understand how mature adults find such alterations of self to be at all positive.

All of the people included in my complaint list seem perfectly happy with their status quo.  I expect so much more of people!  Today I am considering how the combination of factors in my abusive childhood influenced how I experience people.  I was prevented from having ongoing social interactions that perhaps (probably?) would have created such a powerful need in me to have people in my life that I would never have formed such clear ideas about what I value in others in the first place.  I would have been created (socialized) to give up nearly everything within myself that would stand in opposition to being included rather than excluded from ordinary social situations.

I did not end up becoming a “socialized” being who could accept and overlook what people choose to do — because they can — and evidently want to.  It’s not my job to be any kind of a social conscience for others.  They can take me or leave me.  I hold no special significance or importance in others’ lives (with the exception of family and close friends).

I did not gradually learn sets of social “rules” and skills that I could use to negotiate troubling social situations.  I can only withdraw into isolation.  It can’t be just chance that isolation is exactly what I was raised in.

I am the only one who needs to make peace regarding these matters within myself.  I try to live up to my own high standards in my life.  It’s hard to make peace with this being a lonely road for me because as such an unsocialized person from 0-18 I did not learn how to compromise.  I did not learn to either like or understand people.  Most importantly, I did not learn how to need them at all costs or to accept as normal the (to me) illogical and detrimental choices people seem to very often make.

I am left not feeling better than other people so much as feeling completely different.

Am I unable to bridge the gulf I feel or just unwilling to “play the game?”

Often people confuse, dumbfound – and yes – disappoint me.  I cannot see any real benefit to selling one’s self short, which is how these patterns appear to me.  Did I just so miss the essential (it seems to me) ordinary socialization experiences others had that keeps them all content to be together on a boat that I watch sailing by without me on it that no solutions are even possible for me? 

I have never met another person whose first 18 years included along with direct abuse the kind of extensive isolation and solitary confinements that happened to me.  I cannot explain to others I meet what my world WAS like let alone what my reality is like for me today. 

I cannot learn more by asking questions, either.  This approach is not a part of ordinary social experience.  I either “get along” with all sorts of people or I don’t.  When all the coins are flipped it’s the DON’T side that comes up most of the time for me.

I can’t go back and redo my childhood.  I cannot grow up all over again to be involved in the many thousands of kinds of social interactions that evidently prepare people to do nearly anything — accept anything — blatantly question nothing that seems to so threaten so many people — just so they can NOT be alone.

Other’s social needs seem to be fulfilled in ways I cannot begin to imagine.  I don’t know how to pretend all is well while all that is not well is ignored.  Most social interactions are a LOT of work to me.  I end up feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.


What is the good in all of this?  I always try to find a positive angle — but all I can think of is that as I write and publish this post there may be readers who understand exactly what I am describing.  It repeatedly puzzles me that I could come out of such a torturous childhood looking for too much goodness in people while I am repeatedly disappointed by human reality.

I was not trained for living in the social world of human reality.  I realize this.  It seems to have been something I was born knowing that humans are perfectly capable of so much more goodness than what they choose to live by.  How else, out of so much badness in my childhood, could I have come to these troublesome conclusions?

It’s not that I ever thought about any of these things during the first 18 years of my life.  I did not.  Do I notice these conflicts of values now simply because I can?

I do not know.


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  1. ı understand what you mean. I too had the same background and it is really hard. You watch all these people being happy and interacting with each other and know that you can’t get in.. you live in a different reality.. it gets better with age and practice. I want to say to all the young people out there reading this: you can change this. But you have to prepare yourself for hard work and some embarrassment. You’ll have to go through all the process and mistakes you were supposed to go through while growing up. It can be done.

    • Hi there and thanks for writing!! I do want to just mention that in reality some of us have been so changed by trauma and its impact on our early physiological development that we may always have to work consciously and through direct choice to accomplish more comfortable social interactions. Some people are also very much extroverts or very much introverts, so no matter what kind of trauma we have lived through it can be helpful to do a little reading about those patterns as they affect us all one way or the other, as well.

      I recognized myself a lot when I watched the movie “Temple Grandin.” I don’t believe I was born with autism in any way but severe abuse and neglect most especially birth to one and birth to two can create those same patterns in non-autistic people.

      Glad you stopped by and hope to hear from you again sometime! thanks, Linda – alchemynow

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