I have learned a lot over the course of my Autistic life.
Mostly about who I can and can’t trust.
Unfortunately I’ve learned that I can’t trust anyone.
After spending the entirety of my relationship life with people who were abusive and toxic, I had built up a very big wall for self protection.
After I finally succeeded in removing the last abusive one from my life (for the most part) I spent many months in a state of shock and trying to come to terms with a lot of traumatic things that then proceeded to occur directly after it.
When I started to come out of it months later and get to the point where I could start taking steps in actively repairing all the damage that had been done over many many years, I met a person who I really wanted to believe was the friend I’d never had.
While I was taking steps to work through PTSD and a whole mess of other issues (changing my name was one big step I took. Leaving the past with my old name that was associated with all the trauma) this friend appeared to be right by my side.
The meeting was quite unexpected. I had recently made my debut into the lgbt world, and met this person on a new group I had joined on FaceBook. This group was completely out of my field of experience. I had till then only been in groups for Autistic people and those from the assistance dog community. I was used to the dynamics in those groups. I knew how they worked.
But this group was way out of my known social interactions.
Then up popped this person who I had actually known from the beginning of my Kobash Mats adventures. I hadn’t met her in the flesh but now she lived not far away.
We started to hang out. I was not used to having a friend mind you. All my social interactions were online. I had put up a guard against friends after suffering some very nasty things at the hands of people who said they were my friend.
I was still guarded. But over the months of spending time with this woman who was a personality the polar opposite to mine, I started to let that guard down.
This woman was vibrant. She was concentrated orange juice. Completely undiluted and on the go. She had suffered her own loses and traumatic events. So I felt assured that she would be able to relate to mine even if they weren’t the same.
I found myself stepping out of my comfort zones and into things I wouldn’t have been pushed into doing before.
Every now and then I would get the niggling thoughts. I’d see something that wasn’t quite right, a reaction to something, the concerns would hover just in my field of vision to torment me that things were not going to end well. I brushed them aside. Like I usually did when I really wanted to believe in something.
I hate that my mother was right.
She warned me.
But here’s me at 44 years old. I’d suffered enough. I was prepared for anything. I was an old hat and discerning.
I was a fool.
I joined an app (yes one of those apps). I was on the full go and on the mission to make new friends (and maybe something else) and get to know this whole new life I was embarking on. I was ready to push past the trauma of the past and the people who had hurt me. The friends who weren’t friends.
I started chatting to this one lady. After a slow start, one day the messages came on more and more. I thought I was being careful.
Her attention of me, and the flattery, the sweet words and the consolations, the anger at those that had hurt me and her admonition that I was safe with her, that my son was safe with her. I wanted to believe them.
Thoughts of Brian Lumleys dreamworld books with the undead pirate princess, sweet and lovely on the outside, but death and corruption and ooze just beneath the surface…….
Those are the visions that played in my mind upon hearing those words.
I thought I was being over careful. But again I didn’t listen to my instincts.
Things became intense very quickly. And the while my friend was encouraging me and pushing me, “your girlfriend this, your girlfriend that”…..We had by this time gone out a couple of times. For coffee, the movies. When valentine’s came around my friend pushed me to give this woman a gift. I wasn’t ready for that and I thought it was too soon, but she insisted and said it was the right move. She even bought me the necklace with which to give to her.
My friend asked if I wouldn’t mind if she sent this woman a friend request because she said she wanted to suss her out. I didn’t think anything of it and thought she was being protective. I thought it was sweet.
During this time my friend had been going through relationship troubles of her own. I felt so bad for her but had no idea how to help.
After a particularly troubling time there were concerns for my friend as she also had a history of suicide. And when she went quiet all of a sudden I sprung into action.
I have a horrible fear of driving on the highway. My peripheral vision is really wide, and with the constant flickering going past that field of vision and the hyper vision at the front, I get quickly overloaded to the point I can actually feel my eyes start to shut down and I panic.
But I smashed through that and drove over 40 mins down the highway in the rain (I couldn’t even see the road) just to get to my friend in the case she did something.
I don’t even know how I made it there. But I did. I told her she was coming back with me so she could hang out. She didn’t have to talk if she didn’t want to. She could drink or do whatever, but she was coming with me. I brought her back to my house where she did drink and then I drove her home. At night time. With the headlights to blind me and my vision impaired. But I did it because she was my friend.
I almost didn’t make it home. I almost died running off the road I couldn’t see anymore. But I did it. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else.
We all hung out one afternoon and evening. It was fun. Just having a few drinks (for me it was the first drinks I’d had in years as I’m not much of a drinker and don’t like the taste). After hours of talking and just sitting on the living room floor, my friend dozing on the couch behind us, and us watching tv, she leaned over suddenly and laid one on me out of nowhere. No build up or anything just bam. I was shocked as I didn’t expect it. This was a first kiss. My mind was already whirling from the unexpectedness of it, but then she put me on the spot by pressing me as to what I thought of it. I had no idea what to say. So I fumbled and said it took me by surprise. Which it did.
Of course I started over thinking things again. My past was quite religious so thoughts of damnation were swirling through my head. I was also terrified of the thought of stringing this woman along because of the abuse from my past because I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever be able to have a physical relationship with anyone. I was really trying to force myself through that past and fighting it. One half of me wanted to take the chance that not everyone was out to hurt me. But the other half was just waiting for it to happen again.
I tried to talk to my friend about how I was feeling but I didn’t feel that she heard me.
Then a couple of weeks ago an event happened which my girlfriend (which I believed her to be by this time) actually saved the life of a young man.
Boy was I so proud of her. She was amazing. Not only was she super intelligent, but a hero as well. I bragged.
Of course up to this point we had stuck to text communication because I don’t do well on the phone. I can’t concentrate on what the other end is saying and I lose the conversation. The day after the event the gf asked if she could call me. I said yes.
She was very upset about the events following what had happened to the young man outside her apartment building, the cover up by the council and police of what had actually happened. She was ranting on the phone. But I let her. Even when my brain was struggling because she was so angry and getting more and more agitated and the energy coming through the phone was so intense. She was getting more riled up and then said she needed to calm down. I had no idea how to help her. It was late in the evening and being a single mum I couldn’t just leave my son and go over to her place. I was racking my brain trying to find was to take some of this agitation away from her.
I thought, I’ll distract her with something funny. That sometimes helps me when I’m angry and upset. Maybe that will help her.
I had the perfect funny anecdote that was fresh and I was still giggling over it. I thought that will certainly distract her so she can calm down and the be able to process things better.
Now in my Autistic mind this was the perfect thing to do. We suck up everyone’s emotions and energies and after already being overloaded by own concentrated versions of those energies, our brains just don’t cope with them and we have no idea how to help when we see someones who really needs our help.
I started to relate her the funny anecdote. I didn’t get very far before she started yelling at me over the phone. It got louder and louder. She yelled at me for pandering to idiots, she yelled at me for not picking my battles, she even started yelling at me about my sons dad and court and a whole bunch of other things totally out of nowhere.
I went into shock. I do not ever cope with being yelled at. I spent my whole relationship life being yelled at.
My brain started to shut down. I tried to interject a couple of times to make a correction or to stand up for myself, but she would just yell over me to be quiet.
The she stopped. A few more words were spoken and then she hung up after getting me to tag her in a link on fb.
I was completely stunned. I was in total shock. I started going down a ptsd spiral and I fought to not get drowned in it. But for anyone who does suffer ptsd you know it’s not that easy. And it doesn’t take much to send you into one.
The next day I battled with my brain to be able to send her a text saying it was not ok that she yelled at me. She had actually sent me one first to say she knew I was cranky at her and that she wasn’t trying to be hard on me.
I wasn’t cranky. At all. I was shocked. I sent through that I was processing to which she replied she’d leave me alone then. I was still as I always am, afraid that I would be seen in the wrong light. So I pushed myself together to write the text in defense of myself and that it wasn’t ok what she did.
She said I was right and that she shouldn’t have yelled. I said thank you.
I was full of adrenaline and emotion. I knew that she had just had a bad event happen. I was feeling so guilty that I was going through a ptsd episode and having all these thoughts rushing through my head.
I hate playing games. And I don’t like it when people just stop communicating. So she messaged me I still responded. I couldn’t get out more than one word here and there, but I still responded. She accused me of playing games and playing the silent treatment. I defended myself and said I don’t do that, and I was actually in and out of appts with doctors and physio that day as well.
She then dropped out of contact.
The next day a post popped up on my fb feed. She was over at my friends house having drinks. Just the two of them.
I was stunned. I really was. But I was telling myself that I was being an absolute tool bag and no way anything was going on.
I called my friend to see what was up but she didn’t say anything about this woman being over there but told me to come over. So I did. I drove down the highway in peak hour traffic telling myself over and over what an IDIOT I was being.
When I got there they were having drinks and playing a game of jenga. I felt like I walked into something. But I stood there like an idiot because my brain decided to work against me. Should I sit next to the woman? What if she didn’t want me to? I got the feeling she didn’t want me sitting next to her, but she was wearing the necklace I’d given her whatif she got angry if I sat next to my friend? I went back and forth like this for what seemed like an eternity. Feeling like I an idiot. Am I standing normally? How do I put my arms? My feet? What is a body supposed to do???!
In the end I pushed myself in the woman direction. Did she just move away a little or did imagine it? I felt this intense energy that she didn’t want me there at all. And after being there for about an hour and the feeling getting worse and worse I made an excuse and left.
I felt like a complete fool.
The next afternoon I still hadn’t heard anything from her so I made the first move and said I was sorry for being weird on the weekend.
She ignored the text.
But the next day she sent me a message saying she’d been doing some thinking and……..I hope we can still be friends.
What are else are you supposed to say to that but ok? Even if you don’t mean it? I mean all the talk of wanting to get to know my son (she sent him a friend request without even asking me), all the sweet words of what she wanted to do with me, that we’d travel, the road trips….. All stopped.
Of course all the little things that niggled at my mind started coming to the surface, remember this thing that happened that time? What about that time we all hung out and she kept moving toward my friend, that wasn’t in my imagination….I remember at the beginning of it all when she said the end of her past relationship was her fault. I had “forgotten” about that. Even when she started telling us about what a nasty person her ex was.
The inconsistencies built up. I tried to talk to my friend about it. I really wanted to talk to her about it. But she said she didn’t want to get in the middle. I was stunned. I was there for her when she was having issues with her girlfriend. I sat and listened even when she kept repeating herself because that’s what friends do.
That’s what upset me the most about the whole thing. The fact that I couldn’t even talk to my friend about it.
I sent her a detailed message about and I thought she finally heard me and that everything was ok. But now this woman is hanging around her with her. Alot.
I spoke to her about it. I asked her if there was something going on with them and she said no. But she’d video chat me and she was sitting right next to her acting like it was perfectly normal. Was it just me that gets upset by this? I posted about it on my autism group. Every single one of them told me it wasn’t in my head. They told me to delete both of them. But I didn’t because something was going to happen. I could feel it and I was worried for my friend. I thought this woman was playing games.
After calling and telling me she was coming down and we’d hang out, and I’d wait around all day, my friend wouldn’t turn up. Then a post would pop up on my newsfeed and she and that woman were together. But my friend would tell me that she got tired early and went to sleep.
I knew something was going on. But another friend we had in common was assuring me that no way would this friend go out with her. She wasn’t like that.
Then yesterday morning I got a message. It was from that woman and she said she had something to talk to me about. Of course the adrenaline set in. I was already having a potsy day and the palpitations were wreaking havoc on me. But they amplified. I spent half an hour debating with myself on whether or not to respond. In the end I did and said, what is it?
She replied I think you can guess. I really couldn’t guess. I already “knew” that there wasn’t anything going on between her and my friend so it wasn’t that.
I replied, well my empathic abilities don’t extend to telepathy so you’ll have to tell me (smiley face).
I was standing in eb games when her reply came through.
Poodle and I are together.
I could feel my brain explode. I lost the ability to speak. I ran out of the shops (well I limped as fast as i could). My son knew something had happened. He asked me was I upset and I said yes. He said let me guess, they’re together?
I was stunned that he had picked up on it. My 16 year old who is also Autistic, who I thought was oblivious to this stuff had already known. I sat there blinking at him. He said, it’s ok I didn’t like them anyway.
I tried to call my friend to see if it was true. No answer. I messaged her. No answer.
Another message. I hope you can be happy for us.
I felt like I’d been punched in the face. My turned back on and I replied, what do you honestly expect to happen? I talked about all the sweet words, I said it was only one event that I didn’t react the way she expected and it was over. How did she think I’d react that she’d gone to my friend?
That was my one fear about all of this. Not that I was single again, but that I was going to lose this person who I thought was my friend over it.
But that’s exactly what happened.
The other woman then started on the attack. I have no idea what it is to be an empath. During that nasty event that happened to her all I did was force my own agenda and talk over her so she couldn’t speak.
Hang on. That’s not what happened. My memory for these things is a steel trap. I remember everything. Well I don’t remember that we’re out of toilet paper and there’s a pandemic where if you have toilet paper you’ll die from coronavirus.
But I remember all that other stuff. I can’t ever forget any of it.
I said I barely got a word out before you started yelling at me. I did the only thing I could think of at the time to try to help you calm down and I got yelled at.
She said she wasn’t going to go into it with me because, she isn’t going to let me ruin what she has with my friend….. But I’d blocked her by that time. I wasn’t going to let her play that game with me. I wasn’t going to let her gaslight me into thinking I’d been the wrong one during it all and that I saw it all wrong…..no way. Not again.
Gaslighting is an all too common occurrence for Autistics. We are a target for it because all we really want to do is help. We want to take the other person’s pain away. But when we try to defend ourselves, our over thinking minds are a prime target for gaslighting.
Of course during all this my friend stayed silent.
I was completely crushed.
The one best friend I’d ever had in my entire life was gone.
That is the thing that tore at me the most.
That out of all of it I saw the friendship in a way she obviously didn’t.
Our intense feelings of loyalty don’t extend to those outside of the Autistic community.
I had let myself me vulnerable to another human and it cost me. Again.
What has all this taught me?
To not trust anyone else. That Autistics should stick to their own kind because no matter how nice someone appears to be, no one else but our own kind will EVER understand us. I know we still have issues within our own community as there are in every other one, but at the core…..
Others will force their own agenda while accusing you of being the one doing it.
Whether be it passive aggressive or not.
I won’t be letting anyone get that close ever again.