I've had trouble connecting with people for most of my life, now it's just getting ridiculous..
posted by readygo to human relations (37 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I have trouble developing friendships further than just casual conversation. People I meet that I seem to click with, have a lot in common with, and generally get on with quite well, don't seem to want to go further than a casual interaction with me.
I'm approaching an age where it seems this is just going to be the norm of my life, and it's really bothering me that I seem to have no power in making a sea change for the better. I am genuinely interested in other people and their lives, have deep compassion for others and have been told I have a very well developed wit and easygoingness with people, when I interact with them. It's rare when I meet people I really do feel like I click with, and have a deep affection for. Really rare. Even though, I am generally very open and friendly with most everyone I meet. I do like people, but it's rare that I find someone I really care about or have feelings for.
That being said, the same goes for other people that meet me. Even the ones I do meet that I seem to have a warm affection with and get along with really well, don't seem to want to know me better. I know that people like others who are similar to them, have similar interests, values, morals, and dispositions and humor. I can check all of those boxes, and do meet people who seem to share a initial interest in me, but this seems to fade after a short time of interacting with me. I seem to find myself alone no matter the efforts I put in to try to manifest new relationships in my life. I have no interest in trying to force things with people, and lay back if they don't seem like they want to reciprocate. I understand reciprocity, and think it's healthy.
The thing is, it seems that almost all my endeavors end up this way. For a bit of background on me- I came from a very unsupportive, psychical and emotionally abusive background. My family was dysfunctional at best, which I'm sure, a lot of families are. I was always invisible and less than my "male" sibling in the eyes of my father, to the point of not even existing (my sister also was treated this way, but not as much as myself- my father would literally go down the line of each child and how they were doing when talking to other family members on the phone, and would stop just at the point of me (I'm the youngest), and would say "so yeah, everyone's doing fine". Like I didn't even exist. This would be done as I am in the same room cooking dinner for the family, with my father siting two feet away from me, in perfect earshot distance from me. This behavior has existed since I was young, and continues to this day.
This pattern seems to have continued into my adult life. My family was never very social, I never learned very stellar social skills from them at all (I have hardly any relationship with my brother who was abusive to me and my sister, and only speak through his wife (my s.i.l), I have no relationship with my sister who was very close to me growing up, but very judgmental, emotionally abusive, manipulative and self centered, and very much a NPD personality to this day (I no longer talk to her, which is very healthy for me).
This pattern seems to continue, even though I've worked on myself and have grown leaps and bounds as a person, emotionally and spiritually. I seem to get a close to people or click with them, then they reach a point where they back away and I never get further with them. I know you can't make connections with everyone and that no one has an obligation to become friends with you or be close to you (I know most people already have enough friends and family and aren't really in need of expanding that circle). It's just when I do find someone I click with and have tons of commonalities with, we click well and have really great talks but when I suggest hanging out or giving them my number if they want to do "shared activity" that we both enjoy, I never hear from them, when I see them next or interact with them, they shy away from me and tell me "sorry i didn't call you", and then seem to feel uncomfortable around me (I don't act differently around them after the fact and just let it go. Hey, if you don't want to hang out, that's your loss :). i'm just puzzled as this seems to happen all the time. Even ones I've known for years that I have managed to hang out with regularly and do these things with, who have told me that I mean a lot to them and how much they really love me or I have touched their soul, they disappear.
I know you can't give me a diagnosis from what I've written. I'm just at a loss that this pattern seems to be the norm for me, no matter I seem to try. Growing up I was teased a lot in school for my appearance, spent a lot of time sitting alone by myself by at lunch because no one wanted to talk to me.
At that time I was very shy and extremely insecure from all the criticism and harsh judgment I got from family life which continued into school- people would literally move away from me when I sat down in class in h.s. All the friends I did have (who were like a family) all went to continuing education schools by that time, so the friends I had were somewhere else. I seemed to be one of those people who you felt just had the vibe to "stay away from", a more or less social pariah.
As I grew I developed high musical talents and became quite pretty and comfortable with who I am, and at ease with other people. It's been so many years now since that transformation, and I treat people with the utmost respect and openness, but I still seem to get the same reactions from people as I did when I was a kid (which I have long changed into such a better and more evolved person).
I don't know what to do, for it really seems this is my fate in life to be alone. As far as the opposite sex, I never get hit on, ever, or even approached (unless it's someone wildly inappropriate, like a 57 year old married man or someone who's waiting for the bus who looks like they've been living on the streets for the past year). It really wrecks my self esteem, because I feel I have so much to offer and make it my goal to be a kind and considerate person. Still it seems that I am not worth much to other people, enough to be a part of someone's life. I fully know that if someone doesn't want you in their life that's their problem, and I don't lament over people who disregard me in that fact. I think I have a lot of loveable qualities, and think I am a pretty awesome friend and person.
It's the people who I do seem to connect with, who seem to show interest/like me, who trail off or even don't accept my invitation to hang out and go further in the first place. This is what bothers me. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, which I have tried to change- alter my way of thinking, try new things/different approaches, meetups, not put pressure on situations/people, enjoy things for what they are.
I guess my question is, what am I missing here? To me it seems that I am generally off-putting to people and I don't know why, and I do so get that response from people that I barely even know (even when I am engaging and being friendly with them). It seems the key is having good rapport and things in common with others, in order to build relationships. Even when I do have these elements going and very positive cues from others, it seems to end up that they don't want to pursue a friendship or relationship with me. I'm at a loss.
I've been in lengthy therapy with a number of different therapists. I've taken anti-depression meds for very long periods of time, I am no longer (and haven't been for years) hard on myself, and am very compassionate towards others.
What am I missing? Could it be my family life of being ignored and made to feel i was invisible/didn't matter, be continuing into my adult life? I KNOW you are not my therapist so I'll head that off at the pass. Just wondering if anybody has any insight or shared experience/or thought as to what might be happening.
I would love to find a therapist who can help me with this problem, it really hurts when all I'm looking for is to be loved and to have a sense of feeling needed and appreciated and cared for- since I've had that only so rarely in my life.
If anyone has some really solid therapist recommendations in the California (OC) area, I would sure appreciate it.
Thanks for your time.