Autism Awareness and communication. Please be truly aware…

This is Autism awareness month. And everyone is talking about Autism, but no one is trying to be AWARE of what life on the spectrum is like.

For me, it would be great if people would be aware of how difficult communication can be. I am constantly defending myself because people miss-read what I say. If that my fault? in part, yes, I try to communicate clearly. Sometimes I just can’t get the words in my head to come out right. Sometimes I use the wrong tone of voice. However, when others assume I meant something other than what I said, it is frustrating. Even worse is when I get condemned for something I didn’t say or imply. Remember, I am black and white, I don’t IMPLY anything. If you are aware that I am on the spectrum, and you are aware of how I communicate, then please be aware that I say what I mean. Nothing more. If you are aware that the words sometimes get stuck, and are hard to get out, then why to you assume that I am being rude or that I must be angry because I am not answering right way? If you are aware, then why do you get upset when I say one thing, but you chose to add words that I never said? If you are aware, then why can’t you see how frustrating it is when I can’t communicate? When you wont try to listen?Why can’t you see how much it hurts when I TRY to communicate, and you shut me down either by talking over me, not listening to what I say, or by judging me before the words are even out of my mouth?

If you are aware that I live in fear that my every word will get twisted around as soon as I speak them, why do you twist my words? If I say my feelings are hurt, why do you twist it to mean I am angry? If I say yes, why do you accuse me of saying I really meant to say no? If I say you are right, why do you call me condescending? If I say I was wrong, why do you call me a martyr?  Do NT’s REALLY communicate like this???

If you are aware of these things, then you must also be aware of how bad it hurts to be accused of not saying what I really said. Aren’t you calling me a liar every time you do that? Do you know how painful it is to tray to tell someone how you feel, or what you think, only to be told your words must mean the opposite of what you said?

What is on the other side of this coin? Please be aware that I take YOUR words at face value. I assume you say what you mean, and mean what you say (also be aware that this affects my trust in you when you don’t say what you mean). Please be aware that I do not really get subtlety. Please be aware that I don’t understand why you get mad and walk away without telling me why. Please be aware that I cannot read your mind (or your subtle clues).  All I get is you are mad or offended by what I said, or how I said it, or something. Yet you won’t even take the time to tell me exactly WHAT I did that was wrong? How I do I defend that?

Please be aware that this lack of communication is frustrating, and frustration leads to meltdowns. It is compounded when you want to get mad at me for a meltdown, when you are the one not trying to listen. When I am trying to find a way to fit in your world, but you refuse to try to see my side.

You force us to live in your world of grey subtleties, yet you refuse to live in my word of black and white. All the while you preach awareness.

How to love an Aspie


Lover (Photo credit: Squirmelia)

I have been getting a lot of questions about Aspergers and love so I thought I would share my thoughts.
First of all I think its a myth that people with ASD can’t love. We can and we do. The problem is that we love WAY to much. We go all in with blinders on. I don’t mean in an infatuated kind of love. We feel emotions so deeply. All I need to do is watch my 8 year old Aspie around his Mom to verify this. Combine that with a deep feeling of right and wrong and we either become the knight in shining armor, or an overbearing geek.
We do get frustrated however. (important note- frustration leads to melt downs). When I feel like I am loving more than I am being loved I tend to get frustrated. When I feel things are ‘not fair’ in the relationship I get upset. I tend to withdraw and guard my feelings and I often grow quiet. If that frustration builds it is often the beginning of the end of a relationship. Resentment is a terrible and powerful force in an Aspie.

It took me many years to find the balance needed to make love work. As a youth I was very overbearing and most girls ran. In my late teens and early 20’s I was the knight in shining armor and I always had girls, until the relationship got deep and serious. That’s when I had no clue how to effectively communicate. And in truth I had NO CLUE how to read those subtle clues. In effect I wasn’t showing love in a way they understood. I wasn’t reading the clues and understanding what she needed. How many times have I said in frustration ‘just say what you mean?’ Once we got past that early stage where you are on your best behavior trying to impress, I was emotionally lost. As I grew older and had a few failed marriages I began to realize the importance of friendship in a relationship. More importantly I realized the value of forgiveness. No,I can’t forgive my ex for cheating on me. But maybe if I had been forgiving of all the small things that messed up my routine or caused me sensory overload I wouldn’t have come across as such a jerk. Maybe if I forgave my partner for being mad at me for NO REASON at all… Ok I now know there was a reason. Again I didn’t SHOW my love in a way that an NT mind could accept. But more on that later.

Then it happened; at 41 years old I found my soul mate. I found my best friend. And nothing on this planet would stop me.
She was my best friend. She loved me for me, with all my flaws.
Sound perfect? It is now but it wasn’t always. We spent the first two years in hell. Her hell was trying to decide if she could give herself to a quirky guy prone to temper tantrums. A guy who was blunt. A guy who didn’t give a Damn what anyone thought. And a guy who didn’t catch any of her subtle clues for affection. But at the same time she loved the guy who was honest and trustworthy. She loved the guy who would do anything she asked. She loved the guy who proudly bragged about his wonderful and beautiful girl friend. And she loved the guy who was her best friend above anything else.

My hell came for a total lack of understanding. I loved her. I respected her. I knew she loved me. She was my best friend friend. I would do anything for her. All she had to do was ask. I knew she loved me. I knew she felt safe with me. Why then couldn’t this woman commit to this? Why was she stringing me alone?

Then it happened. The missing piece. OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION.

We talked… We would talk for hours every day. We grew deeper in love as we got to know each other even more. To me the pure honesty was like an emotional high. She allowed me to say exactly what I felt without fear. I learned to LISTEN. (hard for an Aspie to shut up and listen). That communication lead to trust.
That trust made us fall deeper in love.

Then we found out I have Aspergers. And she didn’t judge me. Didn’t see me any different. She helped me understand it. We learned to communicate even deeper. At one point we had a document on the computer. I would right things that I couldn’t verbally articulate. She would reply. I would reply and so on…

I learned she wasn’t criticizing me when she said I needed to hug her more. She learned I didn’t love her any less for not hugging. Now she comes to me and hugs me, pulling my arms around her. And I don’t recent it. I may be uncomfortable but I try to hug back. She only makes me do it for a moment.
She understands I get overwhelmed now. In fact she will often suggest I go play a video game, knowing that is an escape for me. Before she thought I was an immature jerk who liked to play games more than I liked being with her. And now I play games less often.

Her love for me was so deep she actively started trying to get in to my mind. She wanted to understand how I thought and how I felt.
I love her for that.

And I learned that I need to talk about my frustrations. I know I come across as selfish when I need my routine. But I have learned to temper my response when my routine is messed with. I know if I speak calm she will fix it for me.
Case in point: I always know when my stuff has been moved. And I get upset when things aren’t exactly where I put them. She would clean the bathroom sink and I would find my razor or toothbrush moved slightly. It would just annoy me! Who messed with my stuff!?!
Now she warns me and tells me Before she cleans the sink. Avoiding my little melt down. Tell me that ain’t love.

How do you love an Aspie? Be a friend first. Be honest. Communicate without condemning. Try to understand, try to fit in their head and see the world the way we see it. Be fair and not judgmental. Most of all be patient and understanding. Don’t take our frustration to heart.

Aspies, How do you love an NT? Be a friend first. Be honest. Communicate without condemning. Try to understand, try to fit in their head and see the world the way they see it. Be fair and not judgmental. Most of all be patient and understanding. Don’t take their frustration to heart.