My husband yesterday commented that he thought he might have mild Asberger’s, because I pick up on subtle cues in his family’s behavior that he never notices. I believe he’s conditioned himself to choose not to notice, because there are other situations where he reads emotional cues just fine. He just ignores those from his family. These people are NOT in any way dysfunctional. They’re just Midwestern, and while I am from the parallel universe known as “Indiana” there’s just so much stuff I’ve broken with in terms of “silent expectation” starting with silence that I felt like I was visiting foreign territory.
The holiday was fine, but there was some subtextual female politics going on among Mike’s aunts. Since a)I no longer accept authority figures – making the not-so-subvert henpecking a pointless exercise on the part of the older females that I could choose to get pissed off about or not and b)these aren’t people I see all that often, I didn’t worry about it too much. Judging from the somewhat disturbing conversation with my sister-in-law about the “way things are among women” I’m pretty alert to this particular tribe buying into a paradigm about female to female relationships that will really undercut their happiness long-term. As it was, at least two women weren’t too happy that I still refuse to do the approval-seeking dance that most women joining a tribe do. Sure, approval would be nice for the peace it brings when it’s granted, but since I gain no benefit from having approval – and this dance involves me continually seeking approval and not getting it – well, I’m not going to bother. I’ve experienced profound and persistent rejection throughout my life – these are amateur female manipulations, and when it comes to sidestepping 0r screwing with that crap, I’ve become a pro. I could leave every single one of them a gibbering wreck if I wanted to, but I don’t because Mike gets upset with me when I do that sort of thing.
On the other hand, Mike’s uncle likes me and seems to think I’m hilarious. I have no idea why.
This thing about the approval seeking is staying with me. I know for a fact I’m expected to more of it, and that’s not how I function. If you like me, you like me. If you don’t, you don’t. Besides, what good is your approval if I don’t like myself? I’m the one I have to live with, after all.
Actually, this explains a lot. Sorry in-laws, ass kissing just isn’t in my cultural makeup. But talk to me when you need to help someone escape an abusive spouse or stand up for their basic civil rights. I’m great at the not ass-kissing.