I have a socially challenged family. Awkward social antics are commonplace. I was not taught proper social behavior. If we were together for dinner, my family read at the dinner table. Thus, I didn’t learn how to have conversations. So my family is horribly insensitive to my NLD struggles. They basically don’t realize what NLD does, how it makes me more exhausted, how I need help understanding some of the visual-spatial problems, et cetera. I guess they’re not capable of these skills, but I still feel angry, as I didn’t get the social coaching any kid needs, but someone with NLD more than requires.
These days I attend speech therapy, even though it’s a long commute, and I just plain can’t do all the things I’m supposed to work on. Progress is painfully slow. Often, my family’s been most of my social exposure, but many of the examples they’ve set have been confusing or counterproductive, let alone insensitive to my special, NLD-related problems. So many times, I just feel more stressed at family events. You see, my family doesn’t act much like a family, and not towards me. Friends are quite unusual, even though I’m open to making more. And a dating relationship–despite being thickly in the age when marriages are expected–feels obsolete.
As a family friend recently said, “you’re a beautiful young woman–you don’t have a boyfriend,” and I had to say no. Men don’t really acknowledge me. They may comment on my appearance, but don’t really try to know me. Luckily I’m very comfortable being single–much as a single young woman can be in our pressured times–but every holiday, I feel sad, as I know couples are planning romantic dinners, where they will celebrate their relationships. I’m glad for them, but sad for me. Year after year, I see the same thing again–me the wallflower on the side, writing about people instead of relating to them, a little like Emily Dickinson, wars in books, metaphors I play with. It’s easy to feel, in our impersonal times, that people around me don’t care, at least not in the ways I need, and don’t consider knowing me.
Day after day, I suffer from seeing the social realms other people experience. And so I feel stuck. If I could do some things again, I’d attend a smaller college where I could more easily make friends. I would also pick a major with more communication requirements. And I would never have stopped my musical activities. My family is unable to, or won’t, provide the social support I need. So I wallow in hope and despair.