0 Blogging About Autism: What kind of partner should a person with autism seek, a fellow Aspie or the complete opposite?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

What kind of partner should a person with autism seek, a fellow Aspie or the complete opposite?

I am excited to answer this because I have so many thoughts on the topic and advice based on my own horrible and sometimes heartbreaking experiences trying to interact with NTs and I do hope I can add some valuable insights. I do not speak on behalf of every autistic person because we are all unique and I do want to make that very clear in all of my posts. I am going to give you a fuller picture of why it might be difficult for an autistic person to communicate with a NT and vice versa because communication problems and a lack of patience on their part are the reason why I lost a lot of NT people who I actually cared about.
Autistic and NT Connections
There are some adaptions to interactions that autistic people might need to interact that NT cannot provide. On the other side of that coin there is also things NT people need that autistic people often cannot provide no matter how hard they might try. I will mention the things I needed from NT relationships that led to breakdown
As an autistic person I need quite a lot of reassurance because I struggle with perceptions and understanding how people are receivng my communication towards them and I also struggle to understand their communication towards me. The feeling of drowning during face to face conversation is common for me in regards to trying to interacting with NTs and I always end up feeling like this
I am drowning sometimes within the first few seconds of the conversation but the person speaking to me can’t see it because I am focusing on smiling or nodding and trying to keep on top of the things they can see outwardly. and I usually can’t tell if that is even working.
I want so badly for people to see that I am listening and that I do care because I know that my delayed processing speeds can make me seem aloof or uninterested. I am trying with delayed processing speeds to answer people in a reasonable amount of time and it is a fight against emotions, frustration, energy levels, negative intrusive thoughts and my want to always be polite to people.
Whilst people hopefully see a smiling or nodding person my brain inside is on a rollercoaster spiraling through way too many thoughts and struggling to pick which one is actually important and which isn’t.I watched a autism documentary were an autistic man went to work in a cinema and the woman there gave him what she thought was constructive feedback. She told him that she wants his inside to show on the outside and so he should smile more and be more welcoming.
The problem with that is we are often trying to do that but can’t even tell if we are. If someone had said that to me, I think I would have resigned because it is extremely ignorant and insensitive to tell someone battling with perceptions and processing speeds to appear happy while they do it. It is the effects of autism which is for many disabling and you wouldn’t tell someone who couldn’t walk to try or someone who couldn’t see to see. Some people need more awareness of brain difficulties and how disabling they are and I do hope to make that happen in any way I can.
Then after trying so hard my brain goes into shutdown and at that point, I feel nothing and can’t even pick a thought because there aren’t anymore floating around. My mind becomes as empty and big and still as a calm sea. I feel this is my brains defense when I can’t cope and have reached my limit from trying too hard to do something that is incredibly hard for me. I love the sea and go out of my way to travel to see it and when I am infront of it, I feel the feeling that I feel in shutdown. It is nice to feel nothingness in a mind of chaos but frustration and self hatred comes afterwards when you realise how much you are struggling to make connections and do something that comes naturally to most.
This can lead to me getting overwhelmed and then all of the information within my head just floods out and in those situations I either break down crying or sometimes manage to contain it all until I get home and cry there instead. You can probably imagine how scary it might be to feel so much uncertainty in conversations with people and even with those who you love and have known for years.
Why Does This Occur?
A lot of NT people are use to being able to rely on themselves and those around them to just know everything will be ok. I wish I knew how it felt to be so sure of my own perceptions and the perceptions of others. I have tried throughout my entire life to find stability in my emotions and thoughts but I have never managed. All I can do is make use of techniques I learn through CBT to try and manage them but the problems are never going to go away.
I will always need reassurance from those who love me and this is never going to change. I am lucky to have found someone who can relate to my struggles and who is also disabled. I could barely ever find a NT person who understood me or didn’t just want to use me. I think I might have once but my perception problems led that connection to end. An NT person can usually see or feel those metaphorical green reassuring ticks that say I am happy with what I have said or done.
Or they can feel sure inside that something either did or didn’t go well. I would not forget though to add that others with brain conditions or mental health problems can probably relate quite strongly with what I am typing here and perhaps even those who don’t identify with any kind of brain problem or mental health problems.
Sometimes our childhood can lead to us growing up full of fear and uncertain in life.I have to physically put tick emojis into my phone reminders to convince myself they are actually completed. WIthout my visual cue in my phone I would forget that a task had been completed but with human interactions I am rarely ever sure how it went.
This leads to Repetitive Questioning
This occurs after something has traumatized or hurt me. It sometimes occurs after I have had what should have been a simple conversation. I often can’t pick up on the subtle parts of conversations like hints or suggestions. I can’t tell if someone is instructing me to do something or suggesting that I do it. When you need reassurance for the simplest of things some people get irritated with you or they think you are being smart. Either way it can bother people and they sometimes end up snapping.
We need honesty and directness from NT who want to be with us and in my personal experience that was nearly impossible to find. We tend to say it like it is without any hidden motives and I feel that really should make it easier to communicate with us rather than to actually make it harder. For some people it bugs them and they make wrong assumptions about us. Honesty seems to shake some NT people to the core and yet we are usually very honest because we need that so much in return due to struggles with communication.
NT Honesty, Lies and Emotions
I was very unlucky with NT men and I always ended up meeting the predatorial types and that is not to say there aren’t predatorial types of women and that could also apply to aspies too. I found I was extremely open and honest always I wouldn’t lie about anything and they were lying about almost everything. Some lied about their age, two lied about having cancer, one lied about being in a wheelchair and I only found out when I met him and that didn’t affect my view on him but the lie certainly did. All of the NT I met struggled with emotions until I met my Husband to be. He does struggle to communicate sometimes but we both make effort all of the time to come to understanding.
I know I am very emotional and I have seen many NT using the phrase snowflake in regards to people like me. I wouldn’t really get offended if someone called me one but I do care that it is becoming normal to mock people for being sensitive. I do think the part of the world that mocks people for being sensitive are contributing to mental health problems and perhaps even some suicides because men don’t feel like they are men if they show emotion.
If you want to be with a NT you will need to find a pink shoed penguin (a sensitive NT) I speak about them in my answer to this question which can be found here https://traumaandsilence.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-penguins-with-differently-coloured.html
NT people always got fed up of me after a while and couldn’t keep up to my emotional needs. I would have done anything for them but they had limitations in regards to me always. My Fiance is much like me he is very kind and caring and he doesn’t always have an answer to my questions but he listens and he tries to understand me and that is all I really needed. I was never looking someone to fix me and I learned pretty quickly that knights in shining armor didn’t exist. I grew up believing they did but society and Disney have a lot to answer for. If you are expecting a man to come riding into your life on a horse and save you then how can you be in any way supporting him? Relationships are 50/50 it is my experience that both people need saved and emotions need to come out. Burying them or not sharing them drives people apart or it can come out in other passive aggressive ways.
A lot of NT people will not adapt to you and they will expect you to adapt entirely to them and that is regardless to whether that means entirely losing yourself in the process. If you find a pink shoed penguin (a sensitive NT) you will have found someone who can accept you fully as you are and you can adapt to and accept each other. I am sure there are many out there. unfortunately, I met a lot of the self serving and egotistical NT of the world that some would refer to as narcissists. Being with the wrong NT could lead to a lot of pain for you and losing your identity.
Being With Another Aspie
I actually was convinced for a while that my fiance must be an aspie because all of the other men couldn’t understand me and didn’t care enough or have the patience to even try. Some wanted to use me and some made me feel defective because I had anxiety problems. Most took advantage of my problems with processing and social cues and I ended up meeting some very abusive men.
But then I remembered that I was around other aspies in the last school I attended (I moved schools alot) and I found the ones I knew were overbearing to me. I liked them and they seemed like nice guys but I just couldn’t deal with their emotion overload because I am already in constant emotion overload myself.
My fiance has had traumas in his past as well as me and he can identify with how I feel and why I feel the way that I do. He makes a lot of effort to understand me and since he is deaf, we both understand communication problems.
In fact the other day I was at my sisters and had to make a phone call about our wedding, My sister wanted to find out if the two adjoining rooms we booked had enough room for her and my niece and if my brother in law could stay in the other one with my fiance.
This led to intense exhaustion, shutdown then meltdown. My sister didn’t understand my need for quietness in that moment and spoke to me whilst I was trying to process what the person was saying and then proceeded to put the vacuum on after I had politely asked the TV to be turned down.
My fiance and I glanced at each other with pure understanding as to how hard it is to have problems with communication.
I had to end the call and phone back and go out into the back garden and when I did, I had all of what I needed to say written down. I had to tell the person I was autistic to let them know that I wasn’t just being difficult because I feel like they were exasperated with me at that point. I kept repeating stuff to try and make sense of what I was trying to communicate before having those written words infront of me. I kept pausing and panicking and well it didn’t go very well.
I am sitting here typing this whilst simultaneously listening to my favorite 80s songs playlist. When it comes to phone calls or face to face contact with NT people, I struggle to process so much more than I do typing. Typing I have to focus quite hard but I can get my words out and see them so the visual cue is there for me to process my words and feelings. I grew up in an abusive home and used music and romantic films to escape until I did escape. Some music has such a calming effect on me and I think it helps still my mind a bit. Some music causes flashbacks to traumatic situations and so I avoid listening to it. My most wanted gift at Christmas as a child was a typewriter and I loved it so much when I had it. I think I knew even then that typing was the key to opening up my communication and it was a way to side step the disabling effect that autism has on everyday face to face communication.
Meeting Online
Be careful looking for a partner online if you do and especially if you are autistic. We already struggle enough with social cues but people are able to be much more devious behind a computer screen and I learned that the hard way.
Final Words
Regardless to whether you find an NT or an autistic partner you need to find an understanding one. One who is willing to adapt to you and you need to be willing to adapt to them. I don’t advise trying to make it work with someone who is the “my way or the highway” kind because you will either get hurt or lose everything that makes you who you are in the process.
Thanks for reading and I wish you luck

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