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.