I’m autistic, gay and transgender and my best friend is also autistic and has gay parents (2 dads).
We share everything together and do everything together, I can even tell him about the homophobia and transphobia I go through without having to think it through. He is the best friend I’ve ever had and he is much higher functioning than me (not jealous at all).
Lately, I feel his personality has changed a bit. I also have PDA and I’m trying so hard to help him understand but he denies it. He sometimes patronises me a bit because I can’t face going out with him for a long period of time (staying out late until the early hours of the morning). He tells me I ‘need some encouragement’ like I’m a primary school child.
At one point when I was so distressed (on the verge of an autistic meltdown) I really needed him. Because he was busy at the time, he seemed angry and impatient - I asked if he was angry with me and he said no and ‘I need to STOP’. I was so heartbroken I felt like he was more my teacher than my bestie. He said he feels controlled by me when I’m not controlling him at all.
We had a sexual health nurse come to our inclusive group (which was thankfully informal and not too strict like it was at school and college). I swallowed my pride and asked for advice on LGBT relationships. She denied it and told me I’ll change my mind in 10 years time and said ‘I’ll be pregnant whether I like it or not’. This session was so patronising and pathetic.
My best friend said he’d wish he’d been there to back me up so I then thought he was becoming his old self again. I took him and myself to see the counsellor at my inclusive group then worst came to the worst, he ended up arguing and said I’m definitely controlling.
He gave me a very patronising talk when we were walking; he told me to ‘LISTEN’ like I was some primary school child just because I was guessing what he was going to say. So I did let him talk and even though he kept reassuring me he wasn’t angry with me, I kept saying sorry and I was feeling patronised.
I’m currently staying away from him for the moment but this has scarred me; I have been crying myself to sleep and randomly bursting into tears because of this. Hanging out with other friends doesn’t make a difference in my wellbeing so I feel it will have the same effect on them.
I miss the old him so much.
Welcome to the forum,
Well firstly; yes that's a tough situation, and I can see why you'd be so upset - I hope it's at least helped you a little bit to write about it. Of course, without knowing both of you much better, it's not so easy to give exact advice, but there are a few things you said which stood out to me. But do remember, I may be completely wrong (it would hardly be the first time - I've had nearly 50 years of practice at it!)
You mentioned that he's "much higher functioning" than you, and I wonder what makes you think that, or what you mean by "high functioning". From the way you describe his patronising behaviour, it certainly sounds like he thinks he is, but I have a hunch that part of the difference may be that he's better at "masking" his autism. That is, he's just better at hiding it from people so that it's easier to fit in with folks like those that he stays out late with. The trouble is that masking is a very draining thing to do, and most people who mask are a lot more insecure inside than it looks like from the outside, because they fear that their mask might fall off and they won't seem quite so "high functioning" any more- and the strain of it can make people's moods get rather erratic.
I know this may be a painful thing to hear, but I think you're right to stay away for the moment, and maybe even to prepare yourself for moving on to new friendships. The moaning about "controlling" and getting argumentative sounds to me like he might freaking out a bit that you're growing in confidence, even that you might be dealing with your autism better than he really does underneath his mask. It's easier for him to feel more "high functioning" when he can imagine you as like a little kid; not so much as you become more confident and secure.
I'm not saying that you weren't true friends, and maybe you still can be, but it's not usually healthy when one friend thinks that they're a bit superior to the other one. It often happens that the "senior" partner starts putting the "junior" partner down, because the "senior" one gets to like having things that way a bit too much. He seems quite hung up on making you seem more 'normal'; like the going out late thing, and denial of your PDA - in other words, he's encouraging you to mask who you really are. Yet I can promise you, your way of being more realistic and open about your autism and PDA is a much happier way to live in the long run. Being "higher functioning" (however you define it) is not half as important as being comfortable with who you are. And as I guess you know from when your friend was his "old self", friendship is far more awesome when your friends are comfortable with who you are too.
Losing a friend is always a sad thing, even terrifying for some of us. Grieving is perfectly natural, and your tears are nothing to be ashamed of. But you mentioned having other friends to hang out with, and while those friendships are nothing like the same, they are a good sign that you will be able to find another best friend in time if you need to. And if your old friendship does grow back together again, maybe things will be a little less "lop-sided", which would make it an even better friendship.
PS) I really admired your restraint describing the nurse as "patronising and pathetic" - I'd have had a hard time not using some very rude words indeed! What a disgrace!