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Dealing with demands of 'friends'

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Dealing with demands of 'friends'

Postby KitMcDaydream » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:55 am

Hi

Hoping someone on here can offer a few specifically avoidant perspectives as I'm kind of stuck in a rut? :?

I was dx with Autism many years ago so relationships and social rules aren't a strength for me anyway. But as a part of this I can be very avoidant particularly when challenged.

Basically I had a 'friend' from years ago when I was in a better place mentally, we had stayed in touch but recently seemed to be drifting further apart. After I seemed to no longer be on her friends radar (I'd been left off an important life event mentioned to everyone else on social media and others in private beforehand) I took it she no longer saw me as a best friend but she still seemed to want to visit so I allowed it but seeing her more of an acquintance in my mind.

Anyway last year I was in a bad place mentally had no desire to see anyone so we hadn't seen each other for 6 months. When we did finally meet up, their last words were 'it better not be 6 months next time' ... not the best thing to say to me with the way I was feeling towards her anyway and the fact neither of us had really seemed to agree on anything during the chat I took it as a threat challenge 'it had BETTER NOT be 6 months next time'

Before they'd left the property I'd decided it was going to be at least 7! ..now sometimes I can talk myself out of these moods and realise I'm possibly been 'unreasonable. but as it happened by the next time we were due to meet up the country was still in early stages of strict lockdown anyway so it had to be cancelled.

At first I answered messages but then as its gone on, its like they try to trick me into answering to start a conversation, wait till we've been chatting for a bit then start demanding to know when they're going to be able to see me again! I had told them I was in the shielded group, this is only going to work until the end of this month when shielding is relaxed from 1st august.

I've counted the exact days and it won't be at least 7 months until second week in Sept so just avoiding answering any messages at all cos they won't stop friggin nagging me and will mention someone they know whose also been shielded but starting to meet people outside again etc and I'm running out of excuses unless I tell them I'm texting from hospital and unfortunately got it so in isolation (which I may do if I get absolutely desperate and cannot face having to meet up at all).

Does anyone else experience stuff like this when faced with 'demanding friends'. The fact I know they're EXPECTING to see me and expecting me to conform to their wishes (whether I actually want to or not!) is making it worse. I've completely lost all desire to see them and starting to feel like I'm being bullied into it now (which I'm quite sensitive to having been severely bullied in the past & also possibly have C-PTSD). I really do feel like I'm been FORCED to do something ..like when you know you have to force yourself to go to the dentist or through surgery even though you really don't want to have to deal with it..it;s that kind of feeling for me.

Do you tell anyone you're friends with that you are avoidant and warn them if they get too demanding you'll be unable to co-operate? It causes intense anxiety for me. Not sure if I have PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) - a subtype of Autism or AvPD on top of Autism, as PDA wasn't known about when I was orginally dx many years ago.

I don't know whether to end the 'friendship' completely and eliminate all future demands from them instantly or how to deal with it. I have a feeling if I said I wanted a year's break from them they'd be constantly demanding why and I'd end up totally unable to answer the phone at all incase it was them.
I'm finding myself praying for a second wave (and I know this sounds awful) but they would get it so I get a break from their demands to see me for a few more months!

Any advice welcome???

Kit
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Re: Dealing with demands of 'friends'

Postby KitMcDaydream » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:40 am

ok Guess I'm not gonna get a reply on a forum for avoidants with everyone avoiding the expectation to reply! Didn't think that one through did I?...lol!

I'd ask NT's but I don't see how they can even imagine wanting to avoid things so much given most of them are so dependant on others and social media!!
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Re: Dealing with demands of 'friends'

Postby lilyfairy » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:12 am

Hi Kit

I have autism too. The diagnosis (which has not been formalised, but the professionals I deal with say "yes, that's you") is relatively new and I'm still understanding that "oh, that's an aspie thing" rather than them being just my own quirks/the "there must be something wrong with me".

My issue with friends is that I've often felt I've been the one who has had to make the effort. I've had to call, or write, or contact them first, which feels painful. I'm reaching out because I want a connection but other people seem too busy. Or prefer to just communicate through social media. I don't have social media because I like my privacy. It's been a long time since I've felt close enough to someone that they've been the one to make the first move.

If someone made that six month comment to me I'd feel hurt/attacked. But that may just be me- you seem to take it as a challenge. I've not told friends I'm avoidant. I've told two about the autism but they're both people I don't have strong connections to. They're people I've trained with at the gym. I'm friendly with them and they know a fair bit about my life and the same with me towards them, but I don't feel close to them either.

Personally, I'd likely just withdraw from being in contact with them the more they asked for- I don't think it would even be an intentional thing, that's just how I seem to react. I've often made excuses why I can't go when I'm not comfortable.

They sound like someone who NEEDS an answer. If you're not comfortable, you don't need to conform to their demands. It's up to you what you want to give- or not give. If you do want to meet up with them, can you keep it to something you are comfortable with? Like meeting up for coffee with a "can't stay long- have an appointment I'd forgotten about at 11am..." rather than agreeing to spend half a day with them.

I do think it's still totally acceptable to be wary about meeting up with people with the whole Covid thing. I live in a country town- the risk here is currently low, but it's still not zero and could all change very quickly still.

KitMcDaydream wrote:I'm finding myself praying for a second wave
I was quite ok with isolation- and wouldn't have an issue going back there. It was nice to not have expectations on me socially for a change- and I could control how much socialising I was doing.

KitMcDaydream wrote:ok Guess I'm not gonna get a reply on a forum for avoidants with everyone avoiding the expectation to reply! Didn't think that one through did I?...lol!
It is one of the quieter forums. And yeah, sometimes it takes a bit to be bold enough to hit submit on your reply. Don't be offended if a response is not as quick as some other forums here.
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Re: Dealing with demands of 'friends'

Postby KitMcDaydream » Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:57 am

Thank you for answering LilyFairy.

I have recently discovered (or finally begun to understand) that alot of my avoidance has been due to an intense fear of speaking. I suspect I may also have selective mutism as have always had situations I felt unable to speak at all in in public places, queues, presentations/college/meetings etc and with confrontational people. I now believe thats what my 'deaf alter' was about (I also post on the DID boards).

It's complicated but the friend was also a deaf student who had met my deaf alter many years ago. These last years though Ive been doing a lot of research after certain symptoms seemed to intensify again seemingly triggered by peri-menopause coming on.

Anyway I have since reached a point where I understand my autism better, the SM, the dissociation part of which includes understanding that part of my 'hearing problem' is actually auditory processing disorder and I do also get severe Tinnitus so often confuse quieter sounds in environment for Tinnitus noises as I don't process sound properly. ..a side effect of this seems to be I don't seem to feel I relate to her anymore on top of the fact her actions seem to indicate she no longer saw me as her best friend anyway, I seemed to have just 'disconnected' from her.

I am no longer 'Deaf Thea' (or Thea is no longer coming up front to deal with life as I live rurally, no one else signs). I've found the confidence to speak on a 1:1 basis with neighbours and briefly say hello to other dog walkers (previously I'd only ever been able to speak to family members and to the dog).

I see 'myself' as an hearing person with autism/processing issues and SM rather than a deaf student/person who uses sign language and interpreters and embraces Deaf culture. I think that is part of the problem too along with the fact I know she's lied to me in the past and we've just grown apart.

I realise her 'demanding explanations' and face to face meetings is triggering the SM part as although I don't freeze with her cos she signs, its instead triggered 'fear avoidance response' maybe more related to social anxiety?

I'm not initiating any contact so hoping she'll get the message and it takes me a week to respond when I get a text cos I know how an innocent 'how are you' is going to end up 'when can I see you again'?

it just totally perplexes me though...if she's already decided I'm no longer her best friend and we've grown apart why does she still feel a need to visit and 'see me'? ..is this meant to be obvious to me??? ..would a NT(non autistic) person just know/understand what was going on here???

so still baffled! :shock:

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Re: Dealing with demands of 'friends'

Postby lilyfairy » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:41 am

You're welcome. Apologies for my late reply. I've not been about the forum much the last week or so besides momentarily poking my nose in. I did read earlier in the week but didn't have the words at the time.
KitMcDaydream wrote:I realise her 'demanding explanations' and face to face meetings is triggering the SM part as although I don't freeze with her cos she signs, its instead triggered 'fear avoidance response' maybe more related to social anxiety?
Maybe with the freeze response it is less triggering because you are focused on signing, and understanding what she is signing, and it is less about facial expressions and eye contact than it would be in an ordinary conversation with a hearing person.
KitMcDaydream wrote:I've found the confidence to speak on a 1:1 basis with neighbours and briefly say hello to other dog walkers (previously I'd only ever been able to speak to family members and to the dog).
That's really good. :D Where I can I try to keep interactions to a small number of people at a time. I can do bigger groups, but often walk away totally exhausted.
KitMcDaydream wrote:I'm not initiating any contact so hoping she'll get the message and it takes me a week to respond when I get a text cos I know how an innocent 'how are you' is going to end up 'when can I see you again'?

it just totally perplexes me though...if she's already decided I'm no longer her best friend and we've grown apart why does she still feel a need to visit and 'see me'? ..is this meant to be obvious to me??? ..would a NT(non autistic) person just know/understand what was going on here???
That goes over my head too I'm afraid. I've had people in the past who always needed to "fix" things, even when they'd reached a point of being beyond fixable. In the end I had to bluntly say "you can't fix this, leave me alone" and I cut contact with them- it was just too much to deal with and they would not let it go.
First rule of mental health: Learn to distinguish who deserves an explanation, who deserves only one answer, and who deserves absolutely nothing.

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