I think I’ve finally figured out at last part of why I don’t seem to be able to ‘connect” with most people. Quite frankly, it has a lot to do with the fact that I wasn’t actually “raised” — at least not in the conventional sense of the term.
What I mean by that:
Most people (at least in principle) have access to various “role-models” (parents/grandparents/teachers, clergy, etc.) — at least some of whom attempt to actively participate in “guiding” the child/teen, in some manner.
Admittedly, this “guidance” typically takes the form of attempting to “enforce” some kind of (fairly) specific demographic “role” on the individual — one which (it is hoped) the nascent individual will eventually embrace, and regard as their “personal identity”.
For various (interrelated) reasons, my childhood/teens was almost totally “free” of the above.
First, (as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts), I had no credible “role-models”:
My “parents” were simply too “dysfunctional” themselves, to be able to offer me any kind of (credible) “role-modeling”: a burn-out drunk who was either off fucking whatever he could scrounge up (other than my “mom”, of course), vs. an anxiety-ridden shrew whose own (unresolved) “Daddy” issues had most likely led her to enable, mollycoddle, and cover up for my idiot, heroin-addict half-brother — irrespective of the nature of his antics at any given time (chronic truancy -> school bully -> school dropout -> drugs -> shoplifting -> “White power” ideology, etc.).
Add to that the fact that most of my other relatives subcribed to the notion that “children should be seen and not heard” (in other words: we were all expected to just STFU, and actively participate in coverups of all sorts — because actually talking to anyone who wasn’t a “relative” would have constituted “airing others dirty laundry”, or some bullshit excuse of the kind.).
A great example of the kind of “secrets” I had to attempt to explain things to my cousin, when she inadvertently stumbled across her dad’s “secret” stash of hardcore gay porn videotapes. Steve (her dad) was a truly pathetic and horrible person: The best way I can describe him: think of Jim J. Bullock (same speech patters/mannerisms), if he was profoundly “closeted”, coked-up, and tended to beat his wife on a daily basis.
The thing is: everybody in the family seemed to know about this, and be frantically attempting to pretend to NOT know about it. This is why nobody was particularly surprised when Steve ended up using my cousin Tina’s car to buy cocaine from an undercover cop — with Jennifer (his infant daughter) in the car, with him.
Predictably: Tina lost the car, both she and Steve ended up losing their respective teaching certifications/becoming unemployable in that field, and Jen was (nearly) taken away from them for “unfit” parenting.
I ended up having to “explain” about the gay videotapes nearly a decade later — when Jen was around 11 or 12 years old.
(Now, admittedly, I was probably around 20 years old at the time — but the fact remains, I was the only one not actively participating in the shitty “coverup” by that point.
Needless to say: my “relatives” were useless to me. for years, they tended to claim that I should feel “lucky”, because they were (seldom) physically violent toward me, etc. In other words, my upbringing was (slightly) better than what Dave Pelzer talks about — primarly due to the fact that psychological abuse and (physical) neglect is “better” tthan outright physical brutality.
I couldn’t really “hide from” my family by subsuming myself into a “peer”-group or “religious” affiliation, either:
My “peers” typically either bullied me, or “ignored” me because I was “weird”. (Think: a “White” version of Steve Urkel).
As for “religion”: I had realized early on (being the voracious reader that I’ve always been) that the greatest single “predictor” of religions “belief” is MERE GEOGRAPHY: if you’re “raised” Muslim, you tend to at least claim to “believe” in”/”practice” Islam — for example).
This is why Hinduism is predominate on the Indian Subcontinent.
Quite frankly, “choosing” a religious “identity” other than whateve rhappens to have been perpetrated on you during childhood requires a level of consciousness and effort which the vast majority of humankind are simply unable/unwilling to exert.
My problem has always boiled down to one simple fact: I am incapable of uncritically “swallowing” something without first attempting to KNOW (at least in some terms) what I’m being asked to “swallow”.
(This is why I — inadvertently — ended up destroying a Jehovah’s Witness woman’s “faith”, when she attempted to “recruit” me (at age 12).
But that’s another story.
So, NONE of the conventional “cop-outs” were available to me: As a result, I literally had no choice but to consciously CHOOSE my “identity”.
In many ways, I am the real-life equivalent of what would you’d get if someone grew up alone in one of those “cold-war” era civil defense bunkers — if the bunker in question happened to contain a library of books, record albums/tapes, and musical instruments.
That individual would most likely end up being “individual” to a greater extent than someone who had been “raised” to uncritically ape/parrot whatever happened to be most prevalent in his tribe.
The weird thing is: I may have been “lonely” back in the day, but I *NEVER* had the desire to “fit in”. If anything, I was “lonely” because there wasn’t a whole gaggle of other people who happened to share my specific interests — if that makes any sense.
I realized early on that it was impossible for any of “them” to actually “like me” — especially if such “affinity” came at the price of me attempting to “become” THEM.