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Social Relationships and Emotional Closeness

December 1, 2016

I don’t think people realise how difficult it can be for some of us just to keep up some of the basic social niceties. For those of us unfortunate enough not to be taught how to socialise and not encouraged enough when young to engage with others, it is never easy. It’s like having to learn mathematics or a language as an adult, when you were never taught these things when you were young. And with no one to teach you, as everyone else just assumes you know these things and there is no clearly visible external or behavioral signs of the difficulties you have. So no one even makes allowance for you, and people regularly tend to misunderstand you. They see a quietness as coldness, when it is simply an inability most the time to know what to say in certain situations, so you freeze up and keep quiet. Other times it will be you misunderstanding others. Not recognising warning signs of a coldness of someone towards you, through failure to read between the lines, or/and not recognising a warmth directed towards you, and so fearing how to respond in kind, just in case you were to act inappropriately.

The thing that makes it even worse, is that often the harder you try to relate with people and form bonds, the more unnatural you become in your approach and in your actions. You end up pushing people away who start to feel uncomfortable around you as they are not sure how you may act next, given your limited awareness of the social conventions for acting, behaving etc in many situations. Particularly in open situations where there are not clear cut rules of what can be done and what can’t. What should be said and what shouldn’t. These situations are where you develop natural closeness and relationships with others, and these situations/area’s are what seem to be largely barred to me due to my difficulties.

This makes life a real struggle a lot of the time. It is a basic emotional need to have atleast 1 to 3 close friends who you can trust and on who you can rely regularly in your life. Without this need being met, you are never going to feel you have a strong foundation to move forward in your life. Particularly when you are someone who struggles anyway to socially relate to others, and someone who often doesn’t have much in common with many others. It makes life an uphill struggle, climbing a ladder that is falling down a drain all the time you are climbing it, and so you spend a lot of effort just to keep above the surface, always anxious of being dragged under the ground if you don’t keep scurrying away up the ladder.

Then there is family pressures. The very same family who did not teach you how to socialise properly is often now quite happy to use that against you to ensure your dependence on them for emotional closeness well into adulthood. The whole situation then becomes a case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only hope is to improve my social relating, but at times it just feels I am fighting a losing battle. Things that come easier to others take me a great effort. I get less reward for more effort as a result, and always feel unfairly done by. The resentment swings one way then the other. First against the unfairness of this social reality, then against the family who have manipulated me into a lifetime emotional dependence on them. Then back again and back and forth.

It has been a problem in all my endeavors in my life, that though I enjoy the task at hand and get on well with this, I always end up accruing more and more problems and difficulties in my relationships with others. From running at the athletic club, the act of running I love, but the social relating tends to wear me down over time. To jobs that I do, the requirements of the job give me a good challenge and sense of purpose, but as relationships form through working with the same people regularly, I begin to feel more and more strained and unsure how to act and relate with them.

I can only keep trying my best, and bringing it to the focus of my awareness will help, I guess I need to focus on achieving some small things in these areas for now, and not try to burst in and try to be straight away seamlessly capable of forming lasting emotional bonds and relationships with others. Not to set the bar too high, but just try for some steady level of achievement and then be content with that, and not trying to push on too soon to the next level before my body/mind has had time to adapt to this level. Its like progressing through running, you have to gradually increase the load on your body so it can adapt in time, but there is always a lag as your body adapts, it is not instantaneous, and so you have to practice patience, otherwise your body will just breakdown.

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