Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Problems With People !

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Hello !
Perhaps you can provide me with some input. Throughout my life I have struggled trying to find decent outlets and meeting the best kind of people.  I find myself totally isolated and throughout my life I have been treated as if I were some sort of freak which I am not.  I tried to be friendly but all too often my intentions were met with distrust, coldness, hostility, and several unkind remarks. I have tried to meet people with whom I thought there would be some common denominators but it did not work out. People who I thought might be friendly actually were not and were trying to have me remade into their own image.
Originally an extrovert, I now find myself increasingly uneasy and uncomfortable.  I sense that many in the past have a highly negative image of me in their minds.  I am a clean cut individual who does not drink, smoke, don't do drugs (never have !), do not have tattoos nor motorcyles.  I feel I do not fit in and worry greatly about my future as I have run out of both hope and options.  I am trying to move from my neighborhood because it is a very unfriendly place....have had problems with a neighbor who has had me branded as a 'child molester' (which I am not !) and as a closet 'gay' - among other things. I had to report him to the police on two occasions. Often I have get the impression that most people have these thoughts harboring in their minds about me so there is no basis of fact. I have been accused of harassment, thrown out of clubs, and threatened with police.  I now worry greatly about my future. I have often been harassed at work.  Now I am unemployed.  I tried to be an outgoing and humorous individual but all too often been told to 'stop getting into the mix' and the cycle of cruelty has tortured me most of my life. All the wonderful things from my past have largely vanished.
I cannot understand why I have invited such hatred from people and am haunted by fears that someday these people or future people will try to hurt and harm me. I live with my folks----many people have tried to pry into my life and I feel completely misunderstood and do not know what to say.  I am sick and tired of having to explain myself each and every time and also trying to find outlets - only to have doors slammed shut in my face. There were times when I thought that I might be turning things around -- only to find even more trouble.
Is this a common problem nowadays or am I condemned to continue living my life in this manner ?
Thanks !

Answer
Hi, Mark

It's hard to suggest a definitive answer to even such a well-written account of interactional problems, but one avenue you might pursue is a fairly recent specialty called social skills training. (Not to make any connection but to put it in perspective, it started with soon-to-be-released prisoners who got into trouble by sending out unintended signals and/or misinterpreting the cues of others.)

If you can find a clinical psychologist or other mental health professional who does this, you might find the experience quite enlightening as well as helpful, as it's generally done in a group setting. I hope it will work for you.  

Thanks for asking us, and the best of luck in finding some degree of resolution.

Alan  

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Alan Auerbach

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Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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