I'm almost 59 years old, which means I'm almost 60, and I've been asking myself that question for as long as I can remember.
Why do other people interact with each other so easily? What is it about me that seems to scream "talk to her differently, treat her differently, don't befriend her..."? What secret do all the others know that somehow I missed? Can people really take one look at me and sum me up completely, judging me unapproachable, unlikeable, not right, not "one of them"?
I remember feeling this way in kindergarden. I still feel this way every day at work.
Don't get me wrong; I do have friends, I do have pleasant small-talk conversations with co-workers, but I still feel like an outsider.
Did it start when I was very little, and found out that not everyone else has a home life consisting of at best, a drunken father passed out on the floor and an anxious, angry mother too preoccupied with him to fully interact with her children? At worst, a father who wasn't drunk enough that night to pass out so there would be a shouting match and sometimes violence - at least once involving a knife? Other kids might have been home playing with their siblings, who they actually got along with, instead of each sister hiding in her separate bedroom rather than supporting each other, because of the intense rivalries? Other kids might be having a pleasant time around the dinner table with their families. Dinner at my house was something you bolted down so that you could be excused from the table rather than have to endure the heavy silence full of hatred and resentment.
Did I miss something in life - something that makes me an "other" - rather than a "part of things"? Is it visible on my face, is it a smell, or a temperature or - what?
How can I fix this?