Understanding social skills training

I really am not sure where I am intending to go here.  A lot of this is more or less a bit about what my experience with social skills training has been.

First off, I want to say that I do not recall any official social skills training that I received.  So, I honestly believe in a lot of respects what I have experienced may well be a lot milder than what a lot of people with similar issues have received.

One of the sites I have recently come across is a site called “Real Social Skills” which has a slogan “non-compliance is a social skill”.  I have also learnt that for me, a lot of things which I have been told, actually have been really damaging for me.

I have been told over and over to “think of others first”.  This may work well for people who may actually spend most of their time, trying to figure out what they can get for themselves, and how they can serve themselves.

The problem with this idea isn’t so much that it is a bad idea, but more that with any kind of “advice” of this sort, you need to understand the ground that you are walking on.  For me, most of the time I have found I have to consider other people primarily, in order to not end up in conflict.

I am incredibly conflict adverse.  Which means that for me to be in a situation where there is conflict around, and it is a common thing for myself, I need to try to find how I can minimize any options that conflict will be directed towards myself.

This requires a lot of thinking about others first.  I know full well that I cannot avoid conflict, even if I pretty much try to avoid dealing with people.  But because of my conflict aversion, the frequent times when I end up in conflict when I am told (or at least it is implied) that I simply have not been doing enough of “thinking about others” means that I really find that I simply can’t safely be in any relationship where such statements are made, at least not when they are a common way of handling the conflict.

Let me give a somewhat fictionalized specific example.

I am talking about how things have been going with me, and how I have been really stressed out, and feel like I have been putting a lot of unrecognized effort into trying to make the fact that the living situation is not one which anyone in the house is really happy about.

I am talking about the fact that every day, I find that there are things which I really would like to do for myself that I find that I simply am not being able to do because other people in the household are repeatedly getting in the space which I need to do that.

Some of the things which I have been trying to do include on some days the simple act of having a shower which doesn’t involve repeated pressure changes, not really having enough hot water to have a 15 minute shower without having to switch on full pressure hot water, with no cold in order to have a “warm enough” shower.  To be able to quietly enjoy a sauna (not happened in probably close to a year now (at least 6 months)).  Not being able to do the stuff that allows me to breathe relatively easily through my nose when done regularly, and when done far too infrequently leads to really nasty headaches.

I would like to think that these things really should be stuff which is encouraged for someone like myself to do.  The only thing on that list which I force myself to do, is I make a very serious effort to go have a shower at least once every other day.  Not so much so that I feel I need to have a shower that often, but it is the one thing which I feel accomplishes some of all of those things which I need, that is considered socially acceptable enough in the house.

When I bring up that I have been having a lot of problems doing what feel to me to be really basic self care things, and that some of them have gone weeks, if not months, since I have last felt that I could do so, without ruining the effect of trying to do them, I end up getting told that “we all need to work harder”.

That feels like the person who comes to the family dinner table, gets served last, and gets at best a few scraps at the end of the meal and when they complain, being told that “we all need to eat.”  While the statement is not a statement which is factually incorrect, it is dismissing the issue at hand, and making it seem that the issue which the person has laid out quite nicely as one they are facing every day, is the same issue that the person who at least seems to not have to deal with on a very frequent basis at all, which indeed it is not.

While this specific issue was not really a “social skills training” thing, it comes along very nicely with the social skill of “think of others first” and then failing to actually get any acceptance that you are already doing that, when you complain that another person simply isn’t showing a bit of respect for who you are.  And honestly can’t even (and doesn’t even want to) see that they are coming across repeatedly as thinking about themselves first, especially when they try to explain why it is “better” to do things the way that they want to.

I’d really like to thank those of you who have supported me on Patreon.  This post, like many has been supported by you guys.  I really appreciate the support I am getting there.  And please if you don’t already support me there, I hope you would consider doing so.

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