Friendships and autism

Making friends was always hard for me. And not only because I’m trans and rather wanted to play with the boys than the girls. But mostly because I’m autistic. I can’t read body language or facial expressions. When I was pre-school I visited a speech therapist, because I had pronouncing issues of certain letters just like “T”, “D”, “K” and “R”. Sometimes I even stumple over letters, speak too fast, or too silent and I was mutist (Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech does not speak in specific situations or to specific people… Resource: Selective mutism-Wikipedia). At the speech therapist we also worked on recognizing facial expressions. I remember how she told my mum she should watch my behaviour because “it isn’t normal”. At this time autism was only known as Kanner autism (non-verbal, often in combination with an intelligence deficit) so it didn’t came up.
My autism made it very difficult to me to befriend people. When I was little I didn’t know how to go to a kid and start a talk. It was not like I was shy to ask. I didn’t know how to ask properly. Even though I watched them interacting with other kids, I couldn’t make up what those kids were doing different than me. It was their body language. Not only that I couldn’t read body language from others, I also don’t know what my body language shows. But it seems to be at least confusing for most people. Still today I notice how I often get weird glances from peoples in the street. And no, I don’t think it’s because of my punk style or cane. Because I do get those glances also when I’m at places where I shouldn’t stick out. But kids, and later teenagers, often told me that I was “arrogant, ignorant, selfish, heartless” etc. I don’t know what they mean. I always try to be a nice person but I always get misread.

Today I still struggle a lot to befriend people. I don’t know how it works. But I’m also a burnt child (idiom). So often I had “friends” who suddenly turned their back on me and never spoke to me again, or who pretended to be my friend only to tell nasty lies behind my back. I was bullied in school. Sometimes even physical. Because of all this, it’s very hard for me to open up to a person, to trust them and to share personal things. I’ve build a wall. I’m tired of getting betrayed and hurt. I don’t know who I can trust and who not.

Another big problem is, that I don’t need much socializing as told here. So friends often took it as “you just don’t want to”. And when I came back asking them how they were doing, I got “Now I’m good enough for you?” People don’t understand. It’s exhausting. Yes, I like to have friends but on the same moment, I don’t want to, because then I have to spend time with them so often. It’s a misery and I feel stuck.
But if I got interested in being someone’s friend, I also can get kinda clingy. As a kid I often was told I was annoying. But all I want is to show, how much I like the person and how much I want to be their friend. Another difficulty for me is, I can’t tell if the person really wants to be my friend if I’m not directly told. So I often keep trying and trying until the person is really pissed at me.
Friendships are fucking complicated for me. But maybe I’m not made for friends…

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