Former friends, loyalty and Being Autistic

I seem to utilize my blog at times where I feel really emotional, or post meltdown. Sometimes I feel calm and serene while updating but most of the time I am dealing with inner turmoil.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Periodically throughout the years, someone who made negative comments about my mother and essentially ghosted me over a decade ago, has constantly reached out to my family members to engage in friendly banter — all while choosing to ignore me with every attempt to find out what I did wrong, apologize and clear the air. This person would press ‘block’ nearly immediately.

I wasn’t trying to recreate a friendship we just had (which is what they thought I was trying to do), I was merely trying to reduce or eliminate the negative feelings they had towards me.

I thought this was the right thing to do.

Seeing the comment they made yesterday (on my family members post) was no different. I sent an apology, said their kindness ‘didn’t go unnoticed’ and attempted to reach out. I had done this periodically throughout the years in the hopes that they would grow as a person, forgive and ‘be okay’ with who I am as a person. I’m not sure why I would be lead to believe any differently when the example of their behaviour that I was presented with was kind, conversational and engaging.

Well, I was wrong. I was very wrong. Once again, I misread the social cues. I reached out and got blocked.

I went to my other (art) account and then asked them to “please do not interact with my family anymore.” I had told my family member how this person had been treating me throughout the years (with visual proof, this time) in the hopes that they would stand by me, support me and no longer associate with someone who had been treating me so disrespectfully.

The response I got was probably one of the cruelest, most judgemental messages I have ever received in my life. There were comments about me being negative, toxic, throwing a temper tantrum, how this person is in their 30’s now and they’ve grown and that’s due in part to the fact that I am no longer in their life, that my attempts to reach out (and in my words, reconcile) were harassment. This was two exceptionally long messages. I then explained that my family member had read the words they told me, and finally they told me to ‘go F myself’ and that I was ‘toxic AF’. This person also chose to misgender me. If they would have taken the time to even learn about my Autism diagnosis, they would have seen how these comments were rooted in ablism. I did not have my diagnosis until 5 years ago. I didn’t even self diagnose at the time we were friends.

Now, let’s not forget that people change a whole lot in 12-14 years. I certainly am not the same person I was in my late teens/early twenties. My main focus is doing what I can for the Autistic community and supporting cat welfare organizations when I am able to. My mindset is “What can I do for others?” —especially in times of distress.

The part that hurt the most is that this lead to a huge argument with my family member who was incredibly defensive and refused to cut this person out. Fortunately, this former friend of mine blocked my family — but in the end, it wasn’t really about the former friend. It was about remaining loyal to family. It was about being supportive of your family member when someone else has chosen to spew words that don’t; harbour any truth; words that were made to hurt.

I cried a significant amount last night. I had a meltdown. I felt like I couldn’t see, like I couldn’t breathe. None of the words I was saying (and the way I was explaining the situation) seemed to have resonated with those around me. I felt wholly exasperated.

I was essentially crying out for much needed emotional support and I was not getting it from those around me. I was not getting the “I care about you. This person treated you poorly. I love you, I have your back. I wouldn’t ever associate with someone who treats you like this. This is showing who they are as a person and it’s not reflective of who you are.” None of that. I got this kind of support from my friends, albeit – online. That doesn’t negate how thankful and gracious I was to each person who was willing to listen.

The moral of the story is: remain loyal to your friends and family. Stand up for them. Don’t allow them to be bullied by others. Don’t sit idly by and be complacent. Not involving yourself is essentially saying “hey, this behaviour is okay.” it’s not saying “i don’t want to be involved in drama.”

Engaging in friendly banter with someone who bullies your relative is a way to continue to re victimize and trigger them — yes, it is even worse if they are Neurodiverse. We need more allies. We need less people to be complacent with ableist behaviour and more people to stand up and say “this isn’t okay how you are treating them (my family). I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you unless you make amends and express kindness towards them.” either that, or swiftly blocking them without allowing pride to get in the way.

That’s all I wanted.

Reliving my (painful) past

I want to preface this post by saying that these are things i’ve experienced and at the time of writing this, I do not have a PTSD diagnosis. I, in no way, want to make those with a proper diagnosis feel less than or devalued in any way.

Often times I find myself in these dizzying spells with negative thoughts running rampant. They flood my mind: terrible, painful memories that I wish would vanish.

Discovering deceased pets, multiple instances of being bullied which included: thumbtacks, sharp side up- They would be left on my chair with an audience that consisted of my entire class, watching and waiting to see if I would notice and sit on it, purposely having dodgeballs thrown at my face, having friends-of-friends find out personal details about me and they would attempt to humiliate and berate me based on it, being excluded from birthday parties, having the whole class turn against me while the teacher was out of the room – that’s just some of the bullying that occurred during my elementary school years. Can’t forget the workplace bullying with all kinds of instances that included customers yelling at me, management making me cry or not believing things I say (I am very honest) and being fired – which was one of the most humiliating things i’ve ever lived through, co-workers being nasty to me for reasons i’ll never know.

I also can’t forget all the things my Father did: the daily verbal abuse, screaming so loud that you could hear him down the block, chasing me to my bedroom and holding the door closed so I couldn’t leave, yelling at me for questioning things he said and having friends witness his emotionally destructive behaviour which was embarrassing and continued to pile the stress on top of me. 

This is just a small portion of the hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that flow through my mind.

Even though I had the support of my Sisters and my Mum, I still felt so alone and depressed. I didn’t think I would survive so I failed to look after myself. I think sadness was one of the first emotions I remember experiencing.

I want these painful memories to subside. Easier said than done. I can’t seem to shake off things that happened as far back as I can remember. 

People often say things like “Forgive and forget”, “don’t dwell on your past”, “move on” and “live in the present”. It’s NOT THAT EASY. Diminishing the valid feelings of those who often have to suffer in silence is not something that sits well with me. It’s hard enough to allow those feelings to come to the surface, let alone feel comfortable enough with anyone to actually allow the words of pain to flow out of ones mouth. It’s a PRIVILEGE to listen to such agony. I don’t think it’s okay to interject comments telling someone to forget, move on and live in the present. It makes things worse.

I have reached out to some people that have caused me pain and forever haunt me in my memories and I was unsuccessful. I also was left feeling as though what happened was my fault. I do my best to cope.

Forgiveness is so much harder than its made out to be and it has stages that are very similar to grief. I would say that one of my biggest faults or personality flaws would be the severity of my anxiety. Many thoughts continue to haunt me, not only during my waking hours but even during my sleep.

I’m talking about those nights where my mind and my heart feel like they are racing in unison.

Trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn. Sometimes, I wake up at 3am and lay there, trying so hard to go back and sleep peacefully when my mind is at war with it’s self. My body becomes warm, clammy and my night sweats are the worst. I try to find something to think about or something to do. If one of my cats happens to be awake I will gravitate towards them; their soft hair, their therapeutic purring – it helps me stay mindful, it’s calming, it puts me at ease.

Every day is a new chapter but my story starts with pain and my book is still being written. There’s still a chance for happiness.


Years may go on…

..but words still hurt and the pain lingers.

closeup photography of loser scrabble letter

Photo by Shamia Casiano on Pexels.com

I believe in the power of words. Whether it’s for good or bad, words linger. The power you can have over someone else’s emotions and personal strength is more impactful then you probably realize. That being said, tomorrow is my birthday and today I feel a bit crestfallen.

15 years, 20 years or 25 years, does the timeline really matter if you still feel the same way that you did when that person said or did that hurtful thing to you? Does time invalidate the pain or the ability to make things right with someone who you may have said incredibly distressing things to? No. Never.

You have time to make things right; time to heal those who you have wounded.

I feel like a fool sometimes for reaching out to those people and try to give them a chance to make amends, clear the air and have a positive interaction with me — but some of those people would rather make it seem like I am the one at fault; like I deserved it.

Reliving these terrible instances is a horrible way to live. Oh, and not only live, but sleep, dream or even have nightmares about it. Why are some worthy of respect from these individuals, even friends of mine, and yet I’m not? I don’t know if it’s because I’m wired differently, because I’m neurodiverse or because my skin isn’t as thick as it could be. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I spent so many years crying and being ‘beat up’ emotionally by those around me, including a family member who should have set a good example. The term “emotional punching bag” comes to mind.

DoodleBeth illustrates it perfectly. It was truly kismet to see this images yesterday.

If someone gives you the chance to make things right, please don’t insinuate that the victim is the one to blame when given the chance to make things right:

“I am sorry you harboured this feeling for so long. i’m not sure if I can give you the response that you wanted – but I do hope you can mend that hole.”

 

In conclusion:

Please make amends with those you may have hurt.
Your words are more powerful than you realize.
Be kind.

My Story: Part 1

I was born near the end of the 80s. A time of plenty.

My entrance in to the world was a rocky one. I was born with a couple of birth defects and had surgery shortly after I was born. I had another surgery months (or weeks?) later.

I grew up in an upper class neighbourhood (in Vancouver, BC Canada) in a big pink house that wasn’t much older than me with my family being the very first owners. The houses surrounding us were mostly heritage homes, few of which are still standing today.

I attended a religion-based private/community school from Nursery 3 up until the 6th grade. It was horrible and I spent nearly every day crying. I’d start my day with a sense of dread, spend the middle of the day battling with my own self esteem as those around me diminished it any chance they got. I’d come home and have one of my parents ask me how school was or what I did. It was the last thing I wanted to answer and I would get scolded for being evasive.

I then transferred to a private school and the very same problems followed me there. 6th grade and part of the 7th grade. I wanted to vanish, forever. The kids were just as cruel but they didn’t spend 9 years of their lives growing up with me- not that it made any kind of difference.

I transferred schools again, this time it was a multi-modal program with another very high price tag for me to attend (yes, the last two schools definitely cost notable chunks of change). I had made a couple of friends, but I still felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t sure where I would ever fit in. This time, it was a couple of teachers that I clashed with. Mr. H – he got mad at me through my ’emo’ years for wearing a spiked bracelet. He told me it was banned and that I was NEVER to wear it again. I kept asking why? What was wrong with it? I didn’t get a solid answer. I was very upset. I went to the office and the receptionists were talking about me right behind my back. I called my Mom and within NO TIME at all she came to the school and confronted the teacher. She asked him, point-blank, if he thought it was some kind of “S&M thing” and he wouldn’t say anything! She then confronted the receptionists and they admitted they were talking about me.

I love my Mom so much, she’s always been my #1 and ALWAYS been there for me. She’s my best friend.

The second teacher, Mr. F was the art teacher. He told me once that all my art looked the same and constantly excluded me from events that were meant for everyone. It was a struggle to KNOW that i was purposely left out.

This is Part 1 of my story. If you’re interested in knowing more, please let me know.

Love,

Margaux

Socially Inept.

There are plenty of us who are able to express ourselves and plenty who can not. I always hope when I share my stories that I am able to speak from deep within. It’s incredibly humbling when I receive messages of support.

To know that there are people out there who find what I say relatable and comforting is wonderful.

With everything that has been going on in the Autistic community, primarily those who have chosen to speak for us/at us without being Autistic, I feel that much more compelled to share the experiences that have shaped me.

I feel fragile and lonely at times. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I am still growing, changing and evolving. I realize that the sentiment “be kind” can be so much more. Hold the door open, say hi to someone! Maybe even practice random acts of kindness? The simplest acknowledgement can really brighten a human’s day.

Love,

Margaux

Actually Autistic: Rejection and Defeat