By Out-of-Sync Woman
I felt incredibly awkward and embarrassed during a family get-together when my Dad made a big deal about my blogging. I’m not sure what my Dad was trying to accomplish but I wanted to say “there’s so much more to me than that. Also, I’m an adult so when I want to talk about it, I will.” I felt like he was putting me down, “Oh, look at my special needs daughter and how accomplished she is.” It made the conversation awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. Plus he didn’t feel the need to do that for my sister.
I really need to talk to my father about that. I’m not sure how to word it. Perhaps, “I appreciate the fact that you want to celebrate my job but I’m an adult and if I feel like talking about it I can. When you made a big deal about my job it made me feel uncomfortable since I’m able to talk for myself. I would really appreciate it in the future when I say that I don’t want to talk about it, you would stop talking about it please.” It’s so hard as an adult I want to be respectful of my father but at the same time, I am an adult and I want to be treated with respect too.
Speaking up is hard but as a special needs adult, it’s even harder. I don’t want to be perceived as cranky, whiny, or ungrateful but on the other hand, I can do it myself. I can also ask for help if I need it. I don’t know that my Dad at that moment understood he was undermining my ability to communicate and feel comfortable just socializing with my sister and her children.
I’m really trying to be understanding of my Dad and to not take it personally but it’s so hard. If I was giving advice, I would say think about your problems and come up with easy to understand language. Write it down and find a time that works for both of you to communicate your issues sooner rather than later. I try to be clear and concise which means to explain why I felt uncomfortable. I would use a lot of “I” statements and try to be honest but respectful. I would also try to be understanding that these types of situations occur all the time. It’s okay to communicate how I feel and he has the right to feel the way he does. I would also understand that I may not get the reaction that I want. That he may not change his behavior but that I just need to stick up for myself during the moment.
I have to remember that this is a skill in progress and to try my best. I am trying to be kinder and more understanding of myself and others. On the other hand, I’m developing into more of an advocate for myself, sticking up for myself, and being stronger. I don’t think that being strong and gentle is a contradiction. I believe that it is important to have both qualities to be successful in life. it took a long time to get to where I am right now and learning a new skill will take time. As always, I wish everyone the best.