I want to feel more comfortable around people
My son was diagnosed with autism a few years ago and I stopped working so that I could take care of him. I also was dealing with an abusive relationship (mentally, physically, and emotionally). Now I live like a recluse and I always feel nervous around people.
How can I feel more comfortable around other people?
It sounds like you have taken on a caretaker role for a while as well as experienced some pretty severe interpersonal trauma. It makes sense that you would feel nervous around people. Working through the trauma of an abusive relationship in itself can be a difficult process. And then to add on the caretaker part can make things even more difficult.
First off, you may want to seek support to work through what you have experienced. Many cities offer support with survivors of domestic violence and there is a hotline to help with this 888-724-7240 as well as online resources. Processing the isolation of this relationship as well as working with your son can help to overcome the anxiety related to others. Accessing autism support networks may be of support as well. Other parents that will understand your experiences are a good and tend to be safer place to start in attempting to connect to others.
Very importantly, go slow and be kind to yourself as you begin to adapt to a new life of allowing others to care for you as you so clearly have for others.
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I would look at getting engaged with a support network of individuals who may also have autistic children. They will understand some of the things that you are experiencing at home and you may also find someone who feels that same way as you. If you have not sought professional counseling for the abusive relationship I would seek out a therapist who can help you process through it so you do not repeat similar choices in your next relationship.
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Probably a good portion of living like a recluse was necessary so you had time to rest and recuperate from so much major adjustment in your life.
Have you told some of the people in your life about the many changes you've been through? It is possible people sense something different about you and aren't sure whether to ask or not ask questions.
Also, understand what type of qualities you'd like to offer and receive in a friendship. Given that raising a kid who has autism takes a lot of energy and time, the way you socialize will change.
Start with one person whom you're pretty sure would welcome you and whom you would gain by bringing them into your life.
As a result of how this interaction goes, how you decide to spend your time together, what you'll discuss, you will know more about yourself and what you require to feel good around other people.
Then, you can consider if you're ready to add others into your world.
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