Do you ever feel guilty because of your behaviour due to your autism? I'm not really thinking extreme behaviour, more the little things.
I'm asking this because the other day I saw my parents for the first time in a while. I spent the whole time I saw them waffling on about myself and things I wanted to talk about. Afterwards I realised that it hadn't occurred to me to ask them how they were or what they'd been doing. I felt a bit bad when I realised this. I don't want them to think I don't care. I feel quite selfish when this happens but its not because I don't care about them and their lives. It just never occurred to me to ask and I find conversations about other people hard to keep going.
Do other people have situations like this and then feel guilty?
I mainly get it at work, and over small things. For instance, I may be focusing so much on something that I'll ignore something else and need to be reminded (I've explained to my manager that I have a tendency to do this, and at least she understands). An example the other day, too. I was working with a more experienced member of staff and we were performing a task that needed us to pay particular attention. Unfortunately, he'd started chatting about something I knew a bit about, so I got sidetracked and made a small mistake. It was more of an oversight. Fortunately, I noticed in time and no harm was done. But I felt bad about that for a few days, because it was a silly mistake to make. The truth is, though, it wasn't really my fault. We should both have been concentrating on the task and not chatting. It could probably have happened to anyone. I felt bad about it for a number of reasons - not least because it made me look incompetent.
I suppose in some ways I set quite high standards for myself, and when I don't attain them I feel guilty. I need to stop it. It's been ingrained throughout life, though - starting with that incident with the number 3s in the classroom when I was 6 - when I'd done something right, but was told it was wrong. I strive very hard to get things right now, so that they cannot be called into question, and when I don't quite make it I feel very bad about it.
So basically, you are allowing your little 6 year old self, who is frozen in time, to rule your life.
How can you say the mistake wasn’t your fault? Who’s fault was it if it wasn’t yours? NT people can often have a conversation and still pay attention to what they’re doing. If you can’t, then it’s not the other workers responsibility to not talk when working with you, it’s your responsibility to not talk, regardless of whether the other person wants to chat or not. It’s your responsibility to say, I’m sorry, but I can’t chat and concentrate on the task at hand, at the same time.
But making a mistake doesn’t make you incompetent and I think you know that. It seems you were more interested in what others think of you because you said it made you look incompetent. Why do you care about not looking competent? While ever you care about what other people think of you, you will always feel bad, because no matter what we do, we can never please everyone or make everyone like us and why should we. If we like ourselves, that’s always enough.
Guilt is not easy to shed, when it is heaped upon you at an early age it can do damage which stays with us for life, our psyches seem to be malformed by it in some way and in our efforts to build up a meaningful life for ourselves we try to set standards and develop expectations of ourselves, in my case I now believe that the combination of Autism and ADD has caused me to screw up constantly throughout my life. I have let people down, let myself down, can think of a thousand things I would have done differently if I had only understood what had been going on to any useful extent and people I love have been hurt and disappointed by my numerous flaws, seeming carelessness and general inadequacy.
How could I not feel guilt over these things?-It would mean that I was callous and entirely self-centred if I did not, like it or not, my sense of guilt is one of the few things I can point to-even if it is as welcome on my doorstep as the corpse of a dead friend when I look for things to reassure myself that despite all the mangled garbage which spins endlessly around my mind like lumps of rock and broken glass in a concrete mixer, the fact that I feel that guilt makes me feel like a decent human being.
Having waffled on about that subject for so long I now must say that Guilt is one of the things I am going to try and unburden myself of, my diagnoses for ASD/ADD only came quite recently and it has sparked a desire in me to do a sort of audit on my life and try to differentiate,-based on my increasing understanding of the implications-, there are things in my life i am not proud of but very, very few of them were in anyway malicious or knowingly harmful, it's those I should identify, and work on. Hopefully in time I will be freer of the stuff which has weighed me down, unnecessarily for too long.
Guilt is not something you can simply stop doing.
Guilt is something you can stop doing but it's not easy and it takes time, lots of time, and lots of patience and effort and self compassion and understanding, kindness and self awareness etc etc.
It can and probably does take most people years to rid themselves of guilt. It's certainly taken me a long time. It's taken me many many years of intensive inner work and there are still some deeply held things that I can feel guilty about, which are mainly if not all due to what I did or didn't do with my son and family.
But I don't allow it to continue when I become aware of it and because of all the inner work I've done so far I can usually say the ho'oponopono prayer, which only takes a minute or two, and the guilt leaves me, even if it leaves only temporarily.
And I've noticed that I tend to feel the guilt more when I'm not feeling so good. When I'm feeling good I don't tend to feel it, or when something doesn't go quite to plan, I can feel the guilt arise but the ho'oponopono prayer does the trick nowadays.
I used to use several other tools that were more in depth and I would use them over and over again, sometimes hundreds of times a day, every day, for years. It dominated my life. Not just feelings of guilt but any bad feelings and then when I got my diagnosis of autism, a whole new level of awareness met me and a lot of the guilt feelings went, as I could see instantly that I couldn't have done any different under the circumstances but I could easily get myself upset thinking about things I did or didn't do to/with my son. I don't think I'll ever forget those things completely but I can do what I can to make up for them now and that at least helps in some way to make me feel better about all the hurt etc I have caused in the past. Although I'm not quite in the position to help others but I do my best and as I come out of this burnout and get more organised, I intend to do much more.
We have been programmed to feel guilty in the same way we've been programmed to worry, but neither of those feelings helps in any way so I learned to get rid of both of them. It hasn't been easy but it has been far easier than living with guilt and worry and now I'm free of them so it was all worth it.
I don't think we are in disagreement, I more or less wrote that I believe the act of shedding erroneous feelings of guilt is a process which is a very positive course to take but will not happen overnight, I can be very forensic-albeit for brief periods-when going over events which did not end well for me I try to pinpoint the exact thing which I did wrong-or, was done to me-in an attempt to reach an accommodation with the new, uncomfortable, possibly deeply unpleasant version of reality in which I might find myself. Attributing responsibility fairly is an art I am going to have to master, I will only feel relieved of my guilt if I am totally convinced that I had not been in the wrong.
I am tough on myself but life is tough too and I have a lot of experience in living a life screwed up so the terrain is not new to me, the difference is that now I can see a way out-or a potential one- I will soon start on Medication for my ADD and the prospect of there being something out there which I can take which will help me gain a little more control over my life is exhilarating!
To be rid of guilt you have to first rid yourself of the idea that there is a right or wrong. While you think there is such a thing as right and wrong, guilt and blame and judgement and all those destructive emotions and thoughts will remain.
Oooooooo you got adhd meds? I’m waiting for them. I tried a couple off a friend and they are the best drug I’ve ever taken, they beat my favourite drug of choice, heroin, hands down and I never thought I’d hear myself say that! I’m so excited for you. I’m waiting to see the adhd psychiatrist, my doctor said she’d write a nice letter to him so I can skip the assessment process as I said I need them now and can’t wait for all that business, I said I’d do the assessment after if needs be but give me the meds. She was too scared to prescribe them, I don’t believe she can’t but I accepted a compromise of going straight to the psychiatrist with her recommendation. I’m sooooooo excited for you. Are you taking Ritalin? That’s what I tried and it was amazing for me. I won’t take it or rely on it all the time but for specific things, like getting my course work done and writing, it works great. Very very excited for you ️
And no, I didn’t think we were in disagreement either, you said clearly in your first post that you think it’s a good idea to get rid of guilt. I didn’t mean to sound like I thought we were in disagreement.
Blackbird said:Guilt is one of the things I am going to try and unburden myself of, my diagnoses for ASD/ADD only came quite recently and it has sparked a desire in me to do a sort of audit on my life and try to differentiate,-based on my increasing understanding of the implications-, there are things in my life i am not proud of but very, very few of them were in anyway malicious or knowingly harmful, it's those I should identify, and work on. Hopefully in time I will be freer of the stuff which has weighed me down, unnecessarily for too long.
I feel this way too.
I do blame myself and feel bad and frustrated at my mistakes, I wish to turn time back and correct things, but I can't.
I am not 'guilty' of anything worse that other 7 billions people do all the time.
You can't accept guilt for who you are and for just being.
I did start an earlier reply but I tapped on the wrong key and it all just disappeared.
I am not on any Med's yet-my appointment to decide which ones I should try is next Tuesday in Guildford. It will be with the same Doctor who gave me my ADD assessment, when I first spoke to him he gave me a choice of three which were Ritalin, Dexamphetamine or Atomoxetine, The Ritalin seems a bit tame and the Atomoxetine too risky from the side-effects point of view so I am going to ask that I get the Dexamphetamine. I'll let you know how I get on with it-I'm confidently expecting a Superman-type transformation! Um, not really! I am looking for a radical change though and will not stop until I find the one that works the best for me enabling me to use rather more than what feels like the 5-10% of brain capacity I am currently running on.
Going back to what was said to yo regarding "skipping" the assessment process-mmm, not sure about that, In my case I was extremely lucky getting mine so quickly-there had been cancellations so they could fit me in. the normal wait i was informed was around 18 months from referral. I cannot imagine the circumstances under which they would move an individual so far up the waiting list but they would have to be pretty compelling and as we on the ASD/ADHD spectrum have proved ourselves to be a resilient bunch of people I don't think that the rules are broken on our behalf very often.
Yes, please let me know how you get on. I only know about Ritalin as it was given to me by somebody who takes it. It worked for about 6 hours, I think it was, which was perfect for me and they had such a profound effect, that I’ll definitely go for that, but like I said, I don’t know about the others. I only want to use them when I really need to, which I’m hoping, with all the other things I’m doing, won’t be too often.
I recently got noise cancelling headphones, after somebody on here said they helped them with concentration related to adhd. I went right out and bought some after I read that and they’ve been amazing, in several ways.
I haven’t learned too much about adhd yet as I’ve been coming to terms with the autism diagnosis and figuring that out, so any updates you can give on how you get on with the meds or anything else would be really great, or if you have any good info to share on it.
I’m not ready to dive in deep to learning about it yet, that’s another reason why I wanted the meds, I want to get through my current phase and then start looking into how I can super charge my adhd and make it work for me. I hope you hit the jack pot first time with the meds ;) you sound like you know what you need and what you’re doing.