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I cannot communicate and it's getting worse

P

Psycho

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I have posted a version of this text on a range of forums, including Reddit, Mumsnet and whatnot. I don't really know what I'm getting at and what I expect to get out of this, but I need somewhere to address the issue in an analytical, non-emotional way, and though I have tried, this doesn't seem to be possible in real life. I suppose some people might think I like talking about myself, but I really don't - I just know my behaviour is abnormal and prevents me from functioning in society, and now even my family. I don't know what to do. My family loves me unconditionally and blah blah blah, but I am an emotional burden to everyone and myself. I wouldn't this "social anxiety" - at least, it is definitely more than that. Although I guess that doesn't matter.

I have a good job and manage to function there, but I hate everything I say, every second of the day, and I know I am unpleasant and annoying to everyone, even my mother with who I am very close. I just don't understand how people think and what to say to make them like me or at least not be annoyed. I do know that need for approval makes me pathetic and is part of the reason I am not liked, but that's neither here nor there. I talk too much about myself, and people find that annoying, but I used to talk about abstract topics, philosophers and science and politics, and people used to hate that too, because, I guess, it wasn't relevant to them and they weren't interested. When I say "people", I mean a range of individuals - both family, colleagues and casual acquaintances. I get offended, if not easily, then by things that people find incomprehensible. This means most "normal" remarks hurt me.

I never had a boyfriend because although I am very attractive (mother was a model and I inherited her looks), sexually liberated and comfortable with my body, I hate the emotional/communicational aspect of relationships and find that even people who want a one-night stand or a no-strings-attached fling need too much communication from me, be it nudes, video calls or constant meaningless texting. For full disclosure & to make sure I'm as objective as possible: I have lived with an extremely serious health issue for most of my life until the age of 21. It has been surgically rectified a year ago (before that, no one had known that was possible), and naturally, I'm not denying it has fully shaped my personality and contributed to the issues described above. As for which disability: I had stenosis in my throat, lived on next to no air for 20 years and despite that did advanced ballet and yoga. It was tough but it has little to do with my anti-sociality. I was never bullied for it or anything else, save for one isolated incident in a school where I didn't spend long, but I was always disliked. I did use to try to make friends when I was much younger and did anything I could, even managed to get in with the "cool" crowd for a bit. But that didn't last long and didn't affect my general inability to function in society. I lived alone a lot, first boarding and then in my own flat at uni, but all that is irrelevant. Every morning I come to work early and when I occasionally meet my co-worker by the lift we try to talk and everything I say is stupid and irrelevant. I know it sounds like bullshit but I am in pain. I don't know how to keep living and what to do. I am only 23 and if this is what life is like I am scared to think what I might do.

I've been trying to get mental health help for years, but I have no friends and most professionals think I'm whining. I don't know what to do. I wake up in dread every day and no one understands what the problem is. It's as if whenever I express myself out loud or in writing, I feel uncomfortable and unhappy because I said something stupid or inappropriate or that upset someone. I have always been out of sync with people, since prep school, but for a short time my family thought I was doing okay and had learnt to be charming and pleasant. I did not. Now I think they were just deluded.
 
midnightphoenix

midnightphoenix

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When you say you cant communicate, do you mean you have problems finding the words you want to say, or is your mind blank as in "i have to say something but i cannot think of what to say to this person"?

reason i'm asking is part of my own disability is i misplace the right words in my brain, mines a learning disability among other things, by the time the word i want appears in my brain and starts heading towards my mouth the word sometimes disappears somewhere between my brain and my mouth :hug:
 
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Psycho

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When you say you cant communicate, do you mean you have problems finding the words you want to say, or is your mind blank as in "i have to say something but i cannot think of what to say to this person"?

reason i'm asking is part of my own disability is i misplace the right words in my brain, mines a learning disability among other things, by the time the word i want appears in my brain and starts heading towards my mouth the word sometimes disappears somewhere between my brain and my mouth :hug:
That sounds tough. Does writing things down help to keep on track?

I cannot relate to that specific example. I should have made that clear, but I am a wordsmith and a published writer, also work in the media. By "communicate" I mean the social/emotional side of it, as in, I don't understand how to make conversation, even with close family members, I don't understand why people say what they say and what they feel and how I should react - in an appropriate way, that is. I remember being perplexed at funerals and never sad, I find the "wrong" things funny and recently I've just been annoying people, I can feel it in the air. When I'm with men - and there are always so many who want it - I don't understand what they want (apart from the obvious thing), how to react to their compliments (that's why I hate them). I don't get the "social codes", I guess, even the most primal ones within the family and to do with death, say.

To my knowledge, I am not autistic, though it has been suggested I am a psychopath. Can't comment, although. Anyway, I went to one of the best public schools in the country and spent 40k last year on one-to-one coaching (mainly to do with public speaking, but you'd think that would help address my sense of total and utter alienation!).

Alas, no such luck. Thank you very much for your reply and the hug, I needed it.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Do you feel much empathy for others?
 
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Psycho

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Do you feel much empathy for others?
Never. Not once in my life. Hence the psychopathy point that keeps coming up. But I am good at psychology (I know it doesn't sound like it, but I am, as long as I distance myself), so I understand, in a rational manner, what people feel when and why. Especially on the neurological/chemical level. But since empathy implies one feels the same, shares in the experience, as it were - no, I don't feel any whatsoever.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Does this mean you are mostly indifferent to what others feel? How about towards animals? Some people get pretty worked up about animal suffering, seems like sometimes even more so than they do for humans.
 
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Psycho

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Does this mean you are mostly indifferent to what others feel? How about towards animals? Some people get pretty worked up about animal suffering, seems like sometimes even more so than they do for humans.
I don't know, I feel this is not strictly relevant, but I always appreciate the chance to think through this. I do so quite often. From what I've read, and I read pretty much 24/7, people feel a sort of tingle or the so-called "pang" at the thought/sight of animals or people being hurt. I don't feel that, but I do think that people who hurt animals are pathetic, and animals usually like me. I thought the Amazon fires were a tragedy because so many animals died. I felt nothing physically but I was conscious of a sense of calm regret for a few weeks after that. I like to watch squirrels who come by my house and they usually hang around me. I like cats, like watching them and touching them and always had cats. They like me. I think you are right with regards to indifference - in some sense I certainly find animals less annoying and exhausting than humans.

Thank you for engaging in this conversation. I really appreciate it. I don't know what to do about my interactions with humans, though, as I feel matters are somehow coming to a head there.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Maybe others sense you don't feel for them and that could be what puts them off. Maybe you know all the reactions you've learned that people usually have towards each other, but for you it is a sort of acting that is not based on any deeper feeling? I wonder if that puts others off, because they want that genuine emotional response and are not sensing it from you, because you don't feel it, so how can you express it if it isn't there?
 
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Psycho

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Maybe others sense you don't feel for them and that could be what puts them off. Maybe you know all the reactions you've learned that people usually have towards each other, but for you it is a sort of acting that is not based on any deeper feeling? I wonder if that puts others off, because they want that genuine emotional response and are not sensing it from you, because you don't feel it, so how can you express it if it isn't there?
Yes, I believe everything you wrote is spot-on. Not that I didn't know that to some extent, but always good to have it confirmed externally. Hence why I've been looking for unemotional people like me who are fine with it. They do exist - my mother's boss is in that kind of marriage and her husband and she are well-matched. But then, she is a bit better adapted, maybe she has it less severe. Sometimes, as this week, I feel that calm, rational dread as I understand that when my parents die - in fact, if they die tomorrow - I will be the kind of person who has no chance of even expressing her thoughts to anyone. Although I guess that's fine. I like being alone. The first three months of the pandemic were heaven to me. Family was stuck abroad and I was working from home in PR (meaning everything was on hold and I had next to nothing to do except content writing), so I just spent two months in silence re-watching 'Breaking Bad' and it was glorious. The happiest time of my life so far. Now I'm with people again and I get frustrated at this gap between us.

I am glad you got to the bottom of it.
 
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Psycho

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I have a way of replying conclusively to people but I would appreciate anything else anyone else might have to say.
 
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Psycho

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The whole thing is worse this week. Has been deteriorating for some time, but I've finally managed to piss off my mother, which has been a long time coming, and feel close to having some sort of breakdown at work. I can't picture it happening as I hardly ever cry and never raise my voice, but I've been imagining self-harming, and all that. I did that once or twice as a child but it didn't do anything for me so I don't intend to repeat. I have been entertaining insane thoughts to rent out a flat (London, we're talking) though I own a giant house, just because I have a family friend staying over (and my mum) and I can't picture coming back there and talking to them every evening. I can't talk at all and it really is getting worse. I am reminded of Francis Dolarhyde, for all of us Thomas Harris fans, when Reba tells him, "You speak very well". I feel like that every evening in my own house, like I have a speech impediment and cannot possibly get out anything I think - and if I do, they will bully me in some way. Which is insane as my mother had never done that, but that's how it feels. So I come in, try to listen to them and try to react to their news/banter appropriately, which I've always been bad at, anyway, but now it's a nightmare. I can't even conclude my thought here. They project a sense of togetherness that alienates me, from what I can tell, because it reminds me of how isolated I always am. My mother has offered me physical contact and the sort of thing meant to reassure that she is on my side, but it seems to have made things worse. I don't know what to do with all this. My job is also hell and getting worse (for me, subjectively speaking), every second. Thinking of quitting, but that's a bit like the renting a flat thing - utterly insane and unproductive, besides, I am very well paid. Another job won't be any different, either. I don't know. The only thing that helps is I'm in headphones 24/7, I even sleep in them by now and that separates me from people. What a blessing.

A close friend/mentor who is over 4 decades older than me and who I usually loved keeping in touch with texted last week and I can't bring myself to reply. I just can't, I want people to fuck off. I don't know what to say and am done exhausting myself over it. But my silence probably means I'm done with that relationship too - probably the last one that I've been keeping alive. I don't "feel" anything about that fact, either. It's just funny, I guess, that someone can do that willingly. She is the opposite of me, hyper-social, and she will be insulted at my silence. Deep inside, I find myself relieved because that's me free of yet another social obligation.
 
M

Mav2126

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I know how you feel about wanting to tell people to fuck off. I find when I add a friend or two to my life I find it utterly annoying that they text me or call me I don't want to constantly communicating or texting on the phone. I just want to be left alone.
 
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Vegan_veggie

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Look, there isn’t any nice mental health help out there. My opinion is that it’s full of nasty staff who make well people feel ill just to keep themselves in work. Poverty stricken people who are either homeless or nearly homeless don’t mind sectioned because it gives them a free place to live and free food. But kids with wealthy parents who have gone off the rails somehow get done because their parents use the service to get their kids off their plate and it gives the mental health workers the opportunity to sink their teeth into unsuspecting individuals who presumed their parents would always take care of them but won’t. It’s a cold service with no solution and will make you feel worse about yourself. All you can do is pray for your life and accept we are born to die a painful death. These people in your life are using you to big themselves up by putting themselves above you it distracts them from the reality that eventually they will suffer and die too. I know because I suffer in this way too. Constantly hoping I’ve said the right thing so that my so called friends will still like me. Reasons people aren’t liked is if they are perceived as ugly or are an anomaly somehow such as being ginger. I’m a ginger and always struggled socially and with my mother who isn’t ginger. My dad who is ginger has an awful temper so I have no one to depend on for friendship even in my family. Only pretty females and goodlooking males have friends that’s all there is to it. These are the only successful ones in society, they are the only ones who have hope, everyone else fails over and over again. But then eventually even the good looks wither away and they die too so really there is no hope although it’s not painful to be goodlooking throughout life. All you can do is distract yourself with anything nice you possible can like having a pet instead of friend seeking, good food, reading, gentle exercise, exploring websites like these. Goodluck
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Only pretty females and goodlooking males have friends that’s all there is to it. These are the only successful ones in society, they are the only ones who have hope
This is not true. Where did this come from? There are plenty of not so good-looking people with friends and who are doing well in their lives. On the other side of the coin, not all attractive-looking people have it all going their way either. There's so much more involved in this life than just what someone looks like. The person who started this thread says she is "very attractive" but is having problems socially.
 
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