This is not how I think things happened, this is how I think I feel things happened and will continue to happen. Intellectually it was a minor incident that is past. Physically I am crying often and my head, back and stomach are clearly showing that I am not over anything.
This is not a pleasant read but I think it’s an accurate reaction of at least one autistic person to an everyday problem. Read this for insight not for pleasure. You have been warned.
Hiding at home is safe, easy and painless. What are the benefits of going out? Sure I enjoy talking to people, seeing things, hearing things; like the wind as I am sitting here in KSP typing. But the cost is pain, anxiety and less energy for other things. And that’s if everything goes well.
Recently there was an incident. I was critiquing someone’s writing. No not freelance, I did not walk up to someone and start criticising them. People don’t like that, and the etiquette books tell you not to so I had an early heads up. I may have previously mentioned that Alex; yes Dafty Bat herself, and I are submitting pieces for inclusion in an anthology (in our writing group) so we are critiquing each other’s work.
I remember now I have talked about this in my series Why Was Everyone Criticizing Me? .
So Alex starts; but I am over excited by the brilliance of the piece the guy had written so I was pushy and went second. To cut a long story short I was interrupted, and a fellow member suggested I had spoken long enough and that it was time for his turn; he may have mentioned this about 10 times. Interrupting in terms of elaborating or discussing the point just made is welcome but I felt this particular guy was getting off track and moving away from the section I was discussing in a way that was confusing for me and maybe for the writer. I was assertive at first; I felt I understood the situation and it was appropriate.
It was difficult for me to concentrate with the constant interruptions, conversation about what I was saying was fine, but having to stop and discuss whether or not I was taking too long, whether comment for comment would be more fair , really put me off and lengthened the time I spent talking; finding my place etc. I reached the point where I was sufficiently agitated that I was concerned I may be aggressive; so I conceded. The other guy started his critique. I was so angry I began to cry. I hate that weakness of mine but worse was to come.
I suddenly realised what I may have done! I an isolated crazy person with no formal qualifications and incredibly little real world life experience had been going on and on about my opinions over 20 minutes and I was only 2 thirds through. I had interrupted this guy’s comment, told him that he was too far afield and insisted he waited for his turn. Without any authority or support I had made a scene.
This is the biggest problem I have with dealing with humans; when I am enjoying myself I get carried away. So here I was lecturing one guy about writing, telling another guy off for manners and I wasn’t even the facilitator.
The wave of anger broke leaving me humiliated and confused. I wanted to run, but leaving might be seen as aggressive and I didn’t want to make a scene, especially with Alex there. So instead I cried, started to stim, couldn’t speak and was generally acting like a 2 year old throwing a tantrum.
When he’d finished I was asked if I had any more to say. I shook my head and my Mummy told them ‘no’ for me. He suggested I was being ‘grumpy’, which at first I was.
A woman was crying and acting like a baby so of course the others turned on the guy a bit. He offered to get me a tea a couple of times, I refused. He asked if he were forgiven a couple of times and I refused.
It’s not that I don’t forgive him, it wasn’t even his fault. But I resent the way he asked; with no remorse and in front of everyone when I wasn’t talking. He is a really nice guy but I’m getting scared of him. He touches my shoulder and arm out of the blue which hurts and shocks me; autistic reaction, I’ve told him but he says he likes to see me jump. He invades my personal space; he insists people pay attention to him even if you were listening to someone else when he started speaking. He clicks and waves his fingers close to me; which makes me feel motion sick, even though I have asked him not to. He insists on eye contact; I try to stop him insisting with Alex because eye contact is painful and disturbing for our family (common autistic trait), I say try because he still complains. I have been told I have extremely good eye contact, years of fear drummed the lesson in, but it still hurts and given the length of time he seems to want to maintain eye contact even I become distressed and the pain intensifies too much. I tell him but, eye contact is important.
And he gives us things; it’s a nightmare; reciprocity, rudeness in refusal, obligation in acceptance. It is all too complicated and weird.
But the biggest problem is; he has a mental health problem. Bang! He needs special treatment. I may bleat about autism & anxiety and depression but the truth is my serious suicide attempts are behind me. A little light self harm and psychosomatic illnesses are the worst outcome for me.
I may have already been instrumental in bullying another person out of this group, only finding out later that she had problems. If anything happens to this guy…
KSP used to be my sanctuary. My psych has been encouraging me to write more, and to spend more time in this safe haven. But I may have to rethink this whole thing.
Sometimes I forget how bad my temper is. One of the reasons I have tended to avoid people is my fear of my destructive temper. I am scared I will run people off of course, but more importantly I am terrified that I will seriously hurt someone.
I cry, it is humiliating and it brings people to my side even when I am wrong. Now everyone has seen the crying, flapping baby how in the hell will they ever take me seriously again?
I cried again when I came on Friday. Fortunately absolutely no one turned up for either group. Hooray my first time facilitating my own group and they stay away in droves. But my point is I have broken here, the flood gates are opened and they will never be entirely closed again. This is no longer a safe haven.
But I have tangled myself up here and it is going to be difficult to get out.
The biggest issue I have is that I have absolutely no idea about what is happening.
Am I helping? I volunteer, I bring decorations, I turn up so groups can go ahead & money can be collected. But I am rude and talk too much. I don’t put much cash directly in the place. And my volunteering is incompetent. If I am putting off others by my presence I am definitely doing more harm than good.
I need to know who was right and who was wrong. To modify my own behaviour certainly but that would be easy; I could just pull my head in irregardless, problem solved. Except I am going to be a facilitator and will need to intervene if this kind of thing ever comes up. There are no hard and fast rules and my judgement is garbage; I can’t do the job. And now they know I can’t, but it is too late and they are not game to tell the crazy, crying women to bugger off.
At home I have kids to traumatise, a husband I can push further over the edge and pets to neglect. There is nowhere else.
I am so sick of being in a world I don’t understand, surrounded by people that are incomprehensible. If only I had never put myself out on this limb. How in hell am I ever going to get back to safety?