Feelings of loneliness?

I am autistic and so is my child. All my family know about my child's diagnosis and some know about mine. Despite this, I feel intense rejection or isolation from some members of my family. As though every time my child gets upset the other children are whisked away and told it's not their fault (not that it is is there fault but it's the whisk them off and turn their back on my child which hurts). If any other child in my family was upset I would try and comfort them and reassure them. This doesn't seem to happen for my child (by some).

I feel such intense loneliness sometimes and that is my worse fear for my child; that they will be lonely. It hurts so incredibly much that some members of my family seem to struggle to accept us. It could be my own misinterpretation but it causes such anxiety and nausea. 

Has anyone else felt this kind of rejection and loneliness and it be unfounded? I want it to be unfounded.

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  • Hi there,

    No... you're certainly not alone in feeling alone.  I suppose I feel 'aloneness' rather than 'loneliness', though, because I've spent much of my life alone and engaged in solitary activities. I started to disengage from others at around the age of seven, when I'd been in school for a couple of years and found it to be an unfriendly place at best - and a hostile place at worst.  By ten, I was spending a lot of time alone - reading, making up stories, playing games in which I took all the parts, etc.  That's pretty much how it's been for the rest of my life, too, up to my current age of 58.  Wherever I go, I tend to end up on the margins once I'm engaged with any kind of group - such as with colleagues in the workplace.  It baffled me for years - what's wrong with me? - until I got my diagnosis almost 3 years ago now. 

    I say 'aloneness' because I don't feel the need to have others around me and am quite happy with my own company.  After work and at weekends, I see no one at all apart from passing acquaintances in shops or on the street.  I focus on those lifetime activities of reading, writing, artwork - and also looking after my cat!  On the other hand, I understand the feeling of isolation very well, in the sense of being misunderstood or rejected by others.  In April, I lost my mother after caring for her for the last six months of her life.  She was the only person, throughout my life, who really understood me, and who I could go to for counsel and support.  Without her around - though she is around in another sense, I feel - there isn't anyone else.  I've not been very close to my brother for a number of years, even though he lives just a few minutes away.  Since my diagnosis, the estrangement from him has become even more pronounced.  I sent him my diagnostic report to read.  But he never mentioned it afterwards, and whenever the subject of autism comes up, he shuts off.  I think this is largely coming from his wife, though, who is one of those who regards anything smacking of 'mental health' as a no-no.  It's not discussed.  Almost as if it's an embarrassment.  A blot on the escutcheon, as the old saying has it.

    And maybe this is part of the problem for many people.  It's very difficult to get non-autistic people to understand our particular neurological set-up and our take on the world.  There are analogies that can be used.  A cat in a world of dogs, for instance.  An Apple OS in a world of Windows.  A bike in a world of boats.  That can be helpful.  But, in my experience, even the most receptive and understanding of NTs can still not quite get it.  The less receptive and understanding ones, then - well, they're a challenge.  And people are often suspicious, or even fearful, of things they don't understand. This is why, unfortunately, we have racism, sexism and homophobia in society.  Ignorance, in some ways for some people, is always the easier option.  Autism has a much higher profile and is understood much better now than it was before, through things like films, TV programmes, documentaries, and high-profile cases.  But still there's a long way to go.

    How openly have you spoken to members of your family?  Have you tried asking them to look at things, read things, etc - or are they simply not receptive to any of it?  If the latter, then sadly that's the case for an awful lot of people.  And like with my brother, you can try and try and try with it - but the more you try, the more isolated they become.  Some people simply don't want to listen, and can't be made to.

    At least you know that you will never be alone here, and will always be accepted here and listened to here.  And understood, too.   I hope that's some comfort, at least.

    All the best,

    Tom

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