Relationships & Hardships

I tend to feel like a burden to others.

That being said, someone recently shared with me that the frustration is more that I am quick to pull back the request for help than that the request was frustrating in of itself.

My first response- defensiveness. Once I started to let go of “If this is my fault, then everything is my fault”, I started to think. My first thought was that I did this to protect others from me and after thinking this over for over a week now, I realized the truth.

I do it to protect myself. Over the years I’ve been told by multiple people “I don’t know what you expect from me” or “I don’t know if I can be the friend you need” and each time I crumbled. To me, I thought I was just asking for friendship, albeit an intense one, a best friend maybe. I didn’t understand why my presence was so demanding or so overwhelming to others.

Then, I thought it must be my Aspergers Syndrome. Some of it may be because of the social and communication challenges but ultimately, this is not the sole answer.

Fortunately, (I think) I am slowly beginning to understand. I think that what I have been trying to ask people to do is be my family. I do not have a close relationship with either of my parents and I think I got things very mixed up somehow. I started seeking emotional support from people who, naturally, already have a family of their own. This is where the seemingly “needy” behavior has been stemming from. I never knew why but now that I know this about myself, I need to fix it- fast. My first solution? Push everyone away. No that won’t work.

But I still can’t believe that this just now dawning on me. All of this time, I’ve wanted (from almost strangers or acquaintances), a family: a mother, a father, brothers, sisters… I’ve wanted that closeness I saw when I watched “7th Heaven” religiously year ago. I’ve even told a couple people in my life over the last decade that I saw them as something like a “big sister” so how have I not made this extremely important connection before? It must have totally pushed them away and now I finally get it. But it doesn’t make me happy to realize this- I feel very very sad about all of this instead and I can’t shake it. It’s like a part of my inner-self is just now being told to grow up.

When I was much younger, I used to pray that God would somehow give me an older sister- a protector from everything scary. Someone to go to when things were too much. Someone to laugh with. Someone to cry with. I wanted to know that someone would be there.

I had no clue that I was imposing such a request. I wish I had known so many years ago. But the issue is- I still want that. Every holiday season is such a challenge. Knowing I won’t be seeing my father and knowing my relationship with my mother is definitely tense. She and I are both very passionate people and unfortunately both passionate about very opposing things. We love each other but its not any sort of typical mother daughter relationship.

I tend to ramble forever, but because this topic is so close to home and because I have no clue where to begin to rectify the situation, I need to stop and go to bed. I don’t want to dwell too long on this mistake that has been ongoing for years. I don’t want to get stuck in this “woe is me” state of mind. Perseverating won’t help but I will find a way. Getting closer to my either of my parents is not in any way an option, at this point, at least. But seeking family elsewhere is not an option either. It’s going to push people away anyways as it has.

Maybe prayer will help. It has to.


About Gretchen Leary

I am 31 years old, I live in the Boston area, and I am writing from the perspective of an individual with Asperger's Syndrome.
This entry was posted in ASD, Aspergers, Autism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Relationships & Hardships

  1. Leah Kelley says:

    You are looking so deeply… and you are willing to explore the complexities of what you want or need and your relationships with others. The difference between what we have and what we wish we had can be so painful – and it sounds as though you are saying that your drive to get what you wished for keeps distancing you. Gretchen this is powerfully insightful… and a positive thing to learn about yourself. I wish I had more to offer in terms of a supportive comment, but … I will just say that I understand.
    Hugs and sending positive thoughts…

  2. I understand this so completely. I don’t know how to be “friends” – I know I’ve been needy with people, and my general solution is just to not ever open up. I just hide away. But some people are kind and listen. It’s a lonely existence, and maybe one day I’ll figure it out too. But this post struck really really close to home for me, too. *hugs* (if you like them)

  3. Nomad says:

    I know this. So well.
    Hugs to you dear. I love hugs too. 🙂

  4. usevalue says:

    Howdy Gretchen,

    Thanks a lot for this. I’ve had a lot of experiences like this recently. I find I have a terrible anxiety in forming relationships with people. I think it’s typical of aspie thinking to see things as all-or-nothing, and this is true of interpersonal relations. When I feel myself getting close to someone, I tend to invest major significance in it. Their opinion becomes all-important to me (and since I can’t often figure it out, and in the absence of knowledge I often assume the worst, this is terrifying). I expect, without even thinking about it, that they will be able to provide all sorts of answers to me. I get horribly disappointed when they say something which, under normal circumstances, might only cause me mild discomfort or confusion. Eventually I start to gush and panic at them, and they withdraw.

    I’ve had better experiences with other aspie-ish individuals, who seem to have similar expectations. I’ve gotten close to a few people over the years, though not in a really lasting way (various life circumstances imposed a distance between us). But on the whole I wind up feeling distant from the world, both because I am guarded and because it seems to be guarding against me. Some days I think I’m totally mad.

    I’m glad you share all of this on the internet. Would love to write to you some time if you feel so inclined. All the best.


    • usevalue says:

      p.s. I am also quite distant from parents. I feel no small amount of chagrin when I read books by Attwood or others saying that Aspies often have close relationships with their parents. The exception that proves the rule?

      Christmas was vile.

    • Write me anytime!

      I feel like everyday is one confusing battle after the next. One wrong sentence and I feel like crying and then the next minute I feel like I’m strong if someone laughs when I actually tell a joke people get.

      It’s almost an abstract form of shyness.

      The all or nothing is absolutely true. Why be friends when you could be best friends? Why be best friends when you could be family. This is where a lot of confusion stems from because my family is nothing like family. My marriage is separate of course.

      We all crave stability and to be wanted. When you are raised with a sense of neither of those things, it sure turns things upside down.

  5. The Truth says:

    I’m not an aspie, but I can relate to a lot of what you walk about, so much it just made me cry 😦

    • Aww, don’t cry. I usually cry when I write these. It’s a huge release and I know that I am extremely open about my life which is sort of intense for some people but I feel like so many people out there struggle with things and don’t realize how many others do and one of my goals with my blog is to help others feel less alone.

  6. Simon Edgley says:

    Reblogged this on I can pass for normal, but only for a while… and commented:
    Goal Achieved 🙂

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