Continued from “Just Be My Friend” II …
Random thoughts here before I go into the next post, I am not sure how many people understand what I am expressing in these posts. I am not sure if anyone has felt to the same degree of disdain, confusion, fears, and longings toward relationships or not. When it comes to “marriage” it is not really toward the idea of a relationship it has to do with the word and how that word is a trigger for me it makes my mind and body feel shackled with unrealistic ideology and expectations –- anxieties about never being able to have a “normal” relationship. I am not negative toward anyone’s happy relationship — I actually think it is a great thing to read about positive relationships. I want that for my kids, I never want them to experience the types of traumas and pains that I have associated with relationships that includes all relationships. In recent months, I have found that not worrying about it so much and just being is making it much easier. I still have anxiety and panic, but they leave soon enough.
By David and I working toward redefining what marriage is to us and how we would like to live it out has given me a new confidence — it really is ok to be different!
Things are much more positive for me in the friendship department. I have several women who I connect with online who wonderful. We may not interact every day, but we do communicate. I feel that they are strong women who radiate a healthy perspective and balance for their family and themselves. I find it a great pleasure to communicate with other women who are intelligent, make me think, and allow me to share without condemning or judging me. I have not had that in my life so it is a great experience. My life was full of few women friends who only wanted me in their life when they needed something, guy friends, or I was secluded with one boyfriend/spouse. Being online for several years now, I have made friendships that may be considered acquaintances, but I would still help them in any way I could and I try to show my support by reading and “liking” their posts or fb posts. I comment when I have the time too. I have been making several friends in my personal life too and many of them I have come right out telling them that I am Autistic/Aspergers. It has been a great experience so far.
As I share, I admit I still struggle — I wait for the negative to come and I anticipate the sudden anxiety to strike when I least expect it.
I continue to wonder if I am the only one who struggles with these things I share in the relationship department. There have been several times that I read posts or thoughts from people who make general claims about those who are Autistic when it comes to relationships. I personally do not feel that it would be responsible of me to do that. I feel that my experience is mine alone, we can share, empathize to the degree of actually feeling as though we have experienced it, have similar feelings and responses, but I will not claim that all people are like me or experience anything in the “exact” same ways. I look at each person as an individual with individual gifts — no greater, no less. How we work through our journey is unique and valid. I had to deal with my own inconsistencies in these beliefs when it came to David – I was not fully accepting or compassionate toward him when it came to his journey because of my own pain. It seems that both of us were operating that way because he too holds strongly to such beliefs toward others.
Onto the original thoughts that go with this post.
We did spend much time talking about and processing many of my struggles. We still do when I am triggered or bombarded with sensory sensitivities, anxiety, and /or PTSD in turn it has benefitted David. I am not one to keep quiet with people I am close to, but I did for a long time. I stuffed my fears, my pain, my resentment, my anger, and my disillusionment and so did David. We mourned what we thought we had, and there was a season when we were not sure it was best for us to stay together. We considered divorce and guess what, this had nothing to do with our Autistic child or my Autistic self. Yes, those factors contributed a lot of stress sometimes, but the reason for our marriage reaching this place had to do with that fact that we did not know what a healthy relationship was and we did not know how to communicate to each other.
We had assumed that we “knew” each other; in reality we had not established a relationship.
We had one, but because of those other factors it was not as strong or balanced as we presumed for so many years. It was founded on our unspoken expectations and ideals that we brought in thinking that the other understood. David’s stress and pressure from trying to keep us financially afloat was too much for him. He didn’t talk about it. His denial about Autism, trying to grasp me being Autistic, and the multiple other things that he was wading through on his own had caused him to be angry and in a constant state of tension. A major issue here was that David had isolated himself completely. He is now a big part of the community and establishing some great things for the future here. He has made some good friends and this has helped him a great deal to have men to talk to. I am excited to see what all transpires and at some point I can’t wait to see my role in it. More social for me, eek! I digress. His constant state filled with his own anxieties, fears, tension, frustrations etc… influenced me and triggered me often.
I became afraid and confused by/of him.
His words were ever-changing and inconsistent, yet he would claim that I misunderstood him. I eventually started recording him or writing down everything he said to confirm that I indeed was not crazy. I reached out to people and family to talk about what was happening to regain my sanity. I read as much as I could about how my past of abuse, being undiagnosed Aspergers, PTSD, anxiety, depression until a couple of years ago affected me in my current state, and I shared with trusted people (such as my psychologist, I have not needed to see her for over 6 months now) when I could not make sense of what my mind was saying or the emotions I was feeling -– not for them to tell me what to think, but to help me process. I made a plan to help me do what I needed to do in order to build myself up and regain independence that I had given up. It helped me to build up my voice and confidence then, one day something happened -– I was able to speak up for myself.
Side note: When I realize that something is making me fearful, it does something to me and ignites a “warrior” type of feel.
I am not a fearful person, I cannot think of much that truly scares me (Unless it has to do with my kids that is a different type of fear, I am not going to break down the fears here.) because when it does I go after that thing like a hungry lion. I do not know why I do this, I believe it could be because no one was ever there to protect me. When I had night terrors as a child my mom did not comfort me. When I had scary dreams I was not allowed to wake her or come to her. I had to comfort myself, for many things. I had to face bullies alone, I had to face my abusers alone and I did; though phantom lingering fears and anxieties have stayed with me my entire life. I have found that what I do find the most fearful is the “unknown.” Even still when I find that I am afraid of it I press through until the fear subsides. My mom had no understanding of how frightening and panic inducing night terrors/nightmares were even though she heard my screams.
She felt that bad dreams were no big deal, you just go back to sleep.
Um… not that easy especially, when you are a little child. I do not want to make my mom out to sound horrible, but she was not the comforting type. I am very distracted today forgive me … Because I had realized that I was afraid of David’s responses, words, and actions I became aggressive in my attitude toward him when I felt he was being mean or making inappropriate jokes that hurt me. It escalated up to that event which, in hindsight is good because it allowed me to tell him point blank “I am terrified of you.” He was devastated, it truly crushed his heart. Figuratively. He had no idea. Once I reach the point of “attacking” my fears especially in relationships, normally any threats of someone leaving, withholding emotions or information do not matter to me. I am done with the pain and the consequences are no longer as valuable as they once were. (There is only one person who can continue to induce these fears in me and trigger them in an instant, my dad. I do not know why and on some days I am not affected at all on other days it can knock me to the floor into a sobbing mess.??)
I wish I could be “done” with anxiety and PTSD, everyday gets better and better so I will embrace that.
Since I was able to speak up and tell David what I was feeling it opened the door over the course of time to share with him what I had analyzed about him and our relationship. He felt horrible. I did not intend for that, but I had to express what I was feeling and going through. I needed him to understand and I needed to understand him. We had to trust the process if we were going to have any sort of relationship together or not with each other because no matter what we have children together. When I felt it was appropriate, I was not in an emotional state and he was open, I confided in him the traits that I had observed he had picked up from his upbringing to protect himself. They manifested through manipulative/narcissistic traits. I told him straight out about those behaviors and how they triggered me. Also, after I had spent quite some time analyzing our relationship from the beginning I shared the red flags of our relationship that shared those traits.
This is where David’s character really shines.
It was hard, painful, upsetting, and yes, there was a bit of anger and denial at first, but he is the type of person who will take in the information and process it. If he does not agree he will say so and will give his reasons as to why, I respect that. We work together and give the freedom to share openly, we allow each other to process, and understand that there may be emotional responses, but we try not to react to them. We are learning mutual respect, openness, validation of feelings, expression, time, and giving the person freedom to process in their own way. He is just as determined as I am to become a better person and work together in order to establish a strong relationship and change those things that have been so ingrained in us that work against that. The last post coming soon wraps all of this up, I hope. These posts are to help me solidify all that I have been working through. I am not sure how people may perceive them, but my hope is that people can understand and possibly by sharing my experience it helps others. This has been a challenging one to write, but I think it is worth it. I appreciate very much those of you who read and go through these posts with me, thank you!
A couple things that I wanted to share.
I just watched this today, it seems to go right along with my instincts of going after my fears.
Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space
I may have shared this before, but I still think it is a good resource to share.
Toxic Relationships: A Health Hazard