How can I be a good friend when I cannot understand what it means to be a good friend to those who are not Autistic?
One of the biggest questions I have had in my life!!
Please bare with me as I try to describe something I see the impact of but like the wind cannot see. As I understand it when someone is hurting in order to relate a friend shares something similar they have been through therefore helping the someone who is hurting to not feel alone. Have I described this correctly? Ryan ( my husband) calls this relating which gifts empathy. A VERY important social skill.
But as an Autistic I lack this in every sense of interpretations of the Non Autistic.
Let me describe how it is for me.
Something has upset me. I am overwhelmed by it and so very sad about it. Here’s the kicker- It does not help me when someone shares how they have felt sad about something similar. It actually does the opposite. It overwhelms me even more. (please forgive me for not yet being able to articulate this) I cannot focus on your pain as well as my pain. What happens 10 xs out of 10 is I drop what I was experiencing in order to focus on the person I am talking to , which results in me feeling even more upset or more alone.
What helps me is just speaking about whatever is bothering me. I do not need the confusion of someone else’s problem.
I am very loving and have a lot of empathy and care for others, just not when I am going through a difficult time.
One person with cancer is better than two people with cancer BUT Zero people with cancer is the best!! These are the riddles of my life I may never solve.
Why are two sore backs better than one?
and would this precious child no longer feel alone if I knew and lived the poverty they lived? Oh how much better if none of us knew such poverty and tradgedy in life.
Why have so many relationships with my family, friends and acquaintances fail and ended? Was it because I didn’t hurt like they did? Was it because I only focused on their sadness and never on mine? Was it because I never want anyone to hurt, not even me so badly that I don’t want to even touch the edges of anothers pain or my own.
My brain goes on overload when I am upset or having a meltdown. The load of emotional pain is too great for me to carry and I cannot carry anymore .
Autistic Tip- When your loved one is upset, just listen and assure them calmly that everything will be ok. Do NOT try to relate to them with your own life pain it will only prove to overwhelm them. Distraction does not work.
Why? I really don’t know why I just know it is the most supportive thing you can do.
At the beginning I spoke about something I cannot see like the wind and yet I see the impact of. When two people that are Non Autistic relate in a conversation about a painful experience I can tell they feel supported. I can see they have a sense of being connected to something on this earth. I wish I could see what it is that connects them.
But all I see is that I am alone because I cannot connect my pain to another persons pain. I can however connect my joy to another persons joy.