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My family treats me like I’m slow, and it’s frustrating..



New member
Jun 28, 2018
I’m a 19yo/girl whose family regards me as slow who lacks any social skills at all. I don’t think I’m slow at all so this is very frustrating to me. What they don’t know is that I went through a period of extreme social isolation for nearly 5 years from 4th grade until the beginning of 9th grade. Whenever I’d try to talk to another child, I’d either be made fun of or given a blank stare, as if I was speaking some sort of foreign language. After trying so many times, it took a huge hit to my self-esteem and I became convinced that no one would ever want to hang around someone like me.

Something really amazing happened in 9th grade that helped me grow and become a better person, and I’m able to make and keep friends now, but sometimes the experience from my past still affects my present. I revert into being very shy when I am around strangers. I’m not willing to open up easily like how the rest of my family is— because I understand opening up to other people is a process. I am also an introvert in an entirely extroverted family, so they don’t understand my need for alone time and that I don’t have endless energy for social interaction unlike them. Making friends is also something I don’t take lightly. I don’t favor making friends for the hell of it, and if I’m going to invest my time in someone then I want something meaningful that’ll last years, maybe even a lifetime. I don’t think I’m slow, but if there’s a chance I might be, or maybe I’m just intelligent beyond my family’s intellectual capacity, then it’d sure make a hell of a lot of sense because I feel like I’m on a different plane sometimes.

Different people in my family have separate opinions about me, but one aunt in particular came up and told me that I must have autism one day. I was extremely hurt and the way she talked about autism made it sound like she didn’t understand what it even is, or how it affects the people who have it. I’ve met people on all ranges of the Autism Spectrum Disorder from high to low functioning, and I can tell you that I really don’t exhibit any of those behaviors or tell-tale signs that research and family physicians swear on. Yet, some people from my family speak to me as if they are talking to a 5 year old—very slow, dumbed down speech, never even grazing an intellectually stimulating conversation. Very frustrating. If this is how with disabilities are treated, then I’d really like to apologize to them and sit with them, because no one deserves this heinous treatment.

I’ve been told by friends and teachers that I’m very intelligent, kind, and that I have a type of charisma that makes me able to light up any room I walk into. I understand that not everything about my personality is socially acceptable, like my straightforwardness for example. Over the years I’ve come to understand that people dislike the truth, so I’d like to think that I’m kind enough to soften the blow, at least. I am way less hurtful when telling the truth than what I used to be, as I’ve come to understand that having tact is important.

My mom wants me to get tested for ASD, and I’m almost downright unwilling to do so. If I’m able to interact with people, make them laugh, make and keep friends, then I don’t see the point in a diagnosis because it would not affect my life to the point I would need to be classified with a disability. She sees it as a way to get a full ride to college for free (which I don’t really believe is true anyway), which is a story of its own...


Well-known member
Forum Safety Team
Sep 29, 2014
The Land of Oz
I am sorry to read this tokyogirl22, but can relate as my family treats me like I am slow too, despite having an above average IQ. My family treats me as if I am the village idiot and it is extremely frustrating. My condition is schizoaffective disorder.

I wanted to welcome you to the boards. I hope you are able to continue to share your story here. :welcome:


I have to post the usual disclaimer that we only get your side of the story so it's impossible to really understand the situation fully.

That being said if we go from what you're sharing, then it does seem like a pretty common case of a strong introvert that just happened to be born into a family of probably mostly extroverts.

The issue comes then because a ton of people just lack that mindfulness to understand that we're all individuals, that we can all be different without it necessarily being a negative thing, and therefore end up ostracizing those that deviate from their social norms because they're just incapable of imagining that some people are in fact just different.

That just seems to be the case here, maybe your family members aren't even doing it with any sort of ill intention at all but they just don't know any better.

Also in particular you seem like both a very mindful and cerebral person and that can be particularly off putting for certain types of people, even if personally I'd say they are both great qualities.

I would suggest that you try to explain to your family members the nature of your personality in the most calmed and rational manner that you could, but I suspect that you probably have already tried to do this and it hasn't worked. Some people are just inherently closed minded I suppose.

So what I would say is that keep in mind that in the end "family" is just a concept and you can choose who belong there, right now you may be tied to these individuals and they are obviously biologically related to you, but that in no way forces you to remain close to them forever if they are incapable of understanding you or showing you the respect you feel you deserve.

There's a big world out there and I'm sure that in time you'll come across friends, colleagues and partners that will be much, much more compatible with who you are or at least much more capable of accepting and respecting differences.

Now I'm not saying that you should cut all ties with every family member as soon as you possibly can, tolerance and understanding should go both ways, just that you shouldn't allow yourself to become embittered by your current situation and instead look forwards to a future with people that will help you be happy and not put you down, I feel that's the most productive way to manage your current frustration.

And by the way, while it's probably true that you're more intelligent than your family members (at least in some regards, intelligence has a very broad spectrum after all) I don't think this is a mindset you should dwell on too much; yes, it's awful to feel humiliated and unappreciated and feel like you're better than those people can be a way of coping, it can also lead you to the same mistake they are making, unjustly dismissing people.

Maybe along the way you will come across some really extroverted person that at first glance reminds you of your family members but deep down may be something more, but if you fall into that mindset of thinking immediately that you're just intellectually superior to them by default then you may not give yourself the chance to really get to know them.

Anyway, I think my point is that if rational and sensible conversation doesn't make them change their ways towards you then I think that the best you can do is simply try to tolerate them until you can move on in life towards a more positive environment and keep only as much or as little contact with them afterwards as you feel it's necessary.
static void

static void

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2018
My mother is like yours, but my father really believes in me. I feel like he understands me more, as opposed to my mother because we have a very similar character. We're like bread and butter.
Too many people go through this sort of pain in silence but we have to remember that conversations go both ways. There's a possibility that those people may not know how you are truly feeling, and the effect they are having on you. Some people are not very empathetic so they may find it difficult to read your facial expressions.

I suggest you do not keep your opinions to yourself when somebody makes you feel bad, because people value assertiveness as a way to show who has the power. When people do not level to you or you do not level to them, our natural instincts kick in (as you know all mammals exhibit hierarchical behaviour), and if we are not ready for the possible confrontation there's the risk that you could feel inferior to them.

I sense the presence of a desire for self-actualization and a loving relationship with your parents; keep working on it.
It's very likely that your mother or your offensive relatives are not gonna change, but you can change the way you talk to them. You are part of the family, and you have a right to be. Take your place and be proud of who you are. Only walk away if you notice that you feel very ill because of their lack of understading regarding your personality and how you like to live in the world.