Some while back, I’d added talking about Asperger’s Syndrome to my list of topics on here because I think I have it. Am sure I have it. Still haven’t been officially tested, because I’m terrified that people won’t see it.
Most of my friends don’t.
Then again, all but about three of them have never seen me without some sort of mask on.
I don’t mean that I actively go around being someone I’m not, although that is kind of what happens. What I mean is that I mirror other people, I mimic their mannerisms, their inflections, their way of speaking so they don’t notice that I’m different. I’ve done it instinctively, it seems, for years. I’ve been doing it so long that I sometimes forget that I’m doing it.
But when the mask slips… When suddenly I’m faced with a situation that I don’t understand, like a foreign facial expression, or an attitude that I don’t know where it came from, I begin to panic. I get nervous, and then, if/when I can’t figure out what I missed or what I’ve done wrong, I become angry.
We saw it often enough with the Boy. I followed the rules, I did what he asked, I gave him what he said he wanted. But it wasn’t enough, and I have fixated on the why wasn’t it enough so much that I’m almost permanently angry about it. It doesn’t compute, it’s not logical… To most people who know us both, he and I fit. He’s the only one who seems not to see it.
And that hurts.
But this isn’t a post about him.
We’ve mostly moved past the Boy. We’ve fixated on Mr. Nice Guy. It’s the fixation that’s the problem.
In my research about Aspies, fixation is kind of a thing. I’ve obviously experienced it, too, but because so few of the people who know me are willing to actually believe that I have Asperger’s, I’m extremely hesitant to base anything on my own experiences alone… It’s exhausting feeling like I have to prove myself to the whole world.
Except my mother, who’s been surprisingly helpful with this whole Aspie experience. Because she’s known me the longest, and she saw me before I could develop the masks, she recognizes some of the traits. It makes sense to her.
I guess the mask thing is both a boon and a bother for me at the moment…
I had told Mr. Nice Guy that I really hated that people weren’t what they pretended to be. It came up in a conversation where I was explaining to him that, with me, what you see is what you get.
Which was mostly true. I was trying really hard not to wear a mask for him. I wanted to try to be myself, my full self, not some fragmented part of myself. I wanted to see if the Boy was right and someone could like me if they saw all of me.
On the other hand, several of the girls at work told me I should hide my crazy. I was explaining to them that the fixation was kind of starting, and they all kept telling me to just enjoy myself, have fun. Don’t put any pressure…
But what about the pressure I am under all day, every day?
Beside, is letting someone know you’re thinking about them “putting pressure” on them? I would think that was sweet. I’d love it if a guy told me he was thinking about me, and wanted to be with me more than once a day.
And in the beginning, between the first and second dates, Mr. Nice Guy did just that. He put forth the effort to let me know that he was thinking about me. He started texts and responded to them.
Then he stopped, after the second date.
He was busy. I get that.
I do! I really really do!
The logical part of my brain (which, contrary to popular belief, is, in fact, all of my brain) recognizes that he was busy and couldn’t text right away, and that he would text when he got a chance. I even recognize that there was a hint of some kind where he was telling me that he had to catch up on all of my texts when he would go on break. I recognize that that was a clue or a hint or something to tell me to slow down.
I recognize it because I’ve seen it before, and it’s usually right before they stop responding altogether. So I became hyperfocused on explaining to him why I was texting so much. He needed to understand.
Texting is one of the social skills that I’m apparently not that good at. To me it is just a continuation of a conversation. I don’t need to say hello or ask how you are because it is irrelevant for the continuation of the conversation.
The Boy has admonished me for this a time or five. I’ll go right into whatever conversation I need to have with him, and he’ll stop me to say hello and ask how I am. He’s even pointed out that it is one of the things he hates about the way I fight or argue with him, because we will have had a fight or argument, and then I’ll come up with a new point that needs to be said, or sometimes an apology, but with an explanation, and I’ll jump right into that. No pleasantries, just right into what’s important.
But…it was my understanding that texting was supposed to be about getting right to the point, isn’t it? That’s why there are so few characters per individual text… not that that matters anymore now that texting is unlimited.
Back in the early days of cellphones, you had to count your letters, which is why things like “LOL” developed. Now that’s not necessary, and so I type whole words and sentences (except LOL, I kept that), but somehow I also kept the feeling that there was no need for pleasantries.
Speaking of points, we’re straying a bit…
So, my experience has taught me that when a guy mentions that I’m texting too much, it means that I’ve become bothersome. I’m not fun anymore. I’ve become a chore.
I’ve already shown my crazy.
When Mr. Nice Guy said that he had to catch up on my texts, I panicked. I finally told him that I needed him to set rules for me because I was intrigued by him and I was afraid I was being pushy, but it was just because I was curious about him.
He responded by asking me why I was intrigued by him… I don’t know what that response means in relation to what I’d said. I needed a phone call, or actual rules, or to be able to TALK to him.
So how do you fix it? And this is legitimately a question I have. I don’t know the answer to it. I’ve never successfully navigated this roadblock.
To me, because my brain works logically, I feel like if I explain myself, then things will be easier. If I can explain that I’m just really excited about the other person, that I’m curious because I think they’re interesting, that they’ll take the compliment and understand.
But, what happens if they don’t accept that response? Well, then, if I can explain that I just sometimes get fixated, then that might help…
But that sounds crazy. So now I’ve made them think I’m crazy. Or worse, that I’ve fallen for them in a really short amount of time, which, while I like him, isn’t really the case.
So it comes down to the big reveal. I need to explain that I have Asperger’s, and that because of that, I sometimes get hyperfocused on things and people, and that because I like the way Mr. Nice Guy makes me feel, I didn’t want that to go away, so I was trying to recreate the situation that led to the good feelings, and the less he responded, the more I felt I needed to explain…
But how do you explain via text that you have Asperger’s? That you are somewhat broken by normal, conventional standards?
You don’t. You explain it in person so you can get a read on how they react… so what do you do when they are too busy to see you face to face? You try to explain it via a phone call. And when they don’t answer the phone? You leave this really strange voicemail because you NEED to get your point across.
And then you follow it up with the text you didn’t want to send. Three different ways…
And now I’m waiting for some sort of response…
Knowing, from experience, that it won’t come. And ridiculously hurt because I did actually like this one.
Well, I liked how he made me feel. I don’t think I knew him well enough to like him, but I had hoped to remedy that. And now I might not have the opportunity.
Is it fixable?
I didn’t know how to date properly before I knew about the Asperger’s. Now that I know why I suck at it, I’m still not doing a very good job of it.
And it’s really frustrating because I put a lot of effort into the Boy, training him to respond the way I needed, and to kind of accept me the way I am.
Is it always going to take me years to train someone to understand my needs, only to have them tell me I’m too much work?
I’m feeling especially broken today. And I’m already overwhelmed from work stuff, which caused a panic attack and raised my blood pressure to abnormally high levels yesterday and today. I think I’m officially in shutdown mode, and I’m hiding in my writing (both this blog and my NaNoWriMo project).