A few weeks ago, in my mind, I disowned my son and sister as I realised I was holding myself hostage to still try to please them. They won’t speak to me about my autism and want me to carry on as I always have, which is masking wildly to please them.
I realised this was clearly a choice I had been making as I didn’t want to loose them from my life but I am no longer capable of doing that. I didn’t want to make a fuss about it so I didn’t say anything to them at first but it came out during a conversation with my son, to which he had no response.
Today, the reality of the situation became clear. It’s my dad’s birthday and they’re all going out for dinner tomorrow to celebrate. They know I don’t have the money to spend on meals out although my mum offered to pay for my meal.
I was going to go, even though I didn’t feel totally comfortable with it. I checked out the restaurant and there was something on the menu I could eat and I was going to make the effort.
However, after today’s events, I really don’t feel included or part of their plans. I feel like they feel they have to invite me. I don’t feel like they really want me there and they certainly won’t want me there if I go as myself and I definitely don’t want to cause a scene. So I’ve made the decision to not go.
Before I made the decision I felt upset and I was getting worked up but since I’ve made the decision, I feel at peace.
We can’t change others but neither should we change ourselves, for the sake of fitting in. So they won’t understand my decision. They’ll think I’m being a drama queen just after attention. But in truth, it’s the opposite. I don’t want any drama or attention regarding the situation.
I tried to talk to them, which wasn’t easy for me, but they didn’t want to know. There’s nothing I can do about that.
I’m actually closer to my mum and dad than I’ve ever been but that’s because I keep my visits with them short and not as frequent so it’s probably a good thing that I don’t go because I never really know when what I’m saying is appropriate or not. I certainly wouldn’t feel 100% relaxed tomorrow, which puts me at an even greater risk of saying something I apparently shouldn’t have said or behaving in a way they deem inappropriate.So I do think this is the best decision all round.
I’m doing well. I’m eating better, I’m sleeping better, I’m slowly building my fitness back up, I’m slowly regaining the ability to take care of my basic needs and my home and I’m slowly moving towards setting up my business so I can once again support myself financially. All of this takes up just about all of my energy. I’ve got nothing left for masking. So for my sake and theirs, I feel like I’ve made the best decision. And now I’m going to go for a walk in the sun, buy some more delicious strawberry’s (a rare thing these days to get delicious juicy strawberry’s) and have another early night. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have enough energy to go on a bike ride.
Thanks for being here and for being my family.
It's happened to me too, BlueRay. My brother and I were always pretty close - until he married his second wife in 1983. None of us in the family really liked her. But it was his choice. Since then, and progressively, she's alienated him from his own family. Firstly, and most damagingly, from his own children - a boy and a girl - from his first marriage. Her own child from a teenage fling became the golden child who could do no wrong. She was the same age as my brother's natural daughter - 7 at the time - so you can imagine the rivalry and difficulties.
With me, it was a case of an extreme personality clash. Me: shy, immature, gawky, socially 'inadequate' (in her perception). Her: loud, brash, opinionated, argumentative, always right. Things have come to a head in more recent years, as my brother has become progressively 'Stockholmed' by her. We've had some awful rows - usually instigated in some way by her and her manipulations. The final straw was when I took over mum's full-time care. She didn't trust me, and I know she was trying to poison my brother's mind behind my back. She would often come over and find fault with what I was doing. Ultimately, though, I used to baffle her with science. I was a trained care worker. I could run rings around both of them on medication, regulations, mum's medical history, etc. She took over control of mum's funeral arrangements. Her daughter criticised me over things that were none of her business. Finally, on the day of the funeral, SIL and daughter went against mum's express wishes and squabbled with my brother's natural daughter at the reception. They never thanked me for what I'd done. They didn't acknowledge it at all. The only concession they made to me was to let me off £8, which was the difference between their expenditure and mine over the funeral and associated costs. I made the decision there and then to rule them out of my life. I've stayed friendly with his natural daughter, though, who was severely emotionally damaged by what happened to her as a child. Now in her 40s, she's made a successful career for herself and has a nice home and family. Her dad hardly acknowledges her existence. To be honest, I think his mind is poisoned. If the truth be known, his loyalties are divided. I think, deep down, he suffers, too.
He (and they) don't know that I'm still friendly with his daughter. Or, at least, they didn't.... until last weekend. It was her birthday. I bought her a card and cycled over to deliver it - at the precise moment that my brother turned up to deliver his own 'token' card. We exchanged a few words. It was very embarrassing. He's bound to have gone home and mentioned it - which'll infuriate my SIL. Good!
The long and short... it's hard to do these things. To cut people off. Especially blood. But it comes down, in the end, to having to be selfish about it and decide what's best for you in the long term. As you say, you'll never change these people. Hopefully, in the future, something will happen - and the worm will turn. Until then, as I often say... they can think what they like. As it stands at the moment, they certainly seem to like what they think.
Thanks Tom. Yeah, I’m not going to allow this to get me down. I honestly thought that my diagnosis would change things but alas it hasn’t and I’m no longer able to tow the party line just to keep them happy.
My mum just phoned and asked me if I’m going tomorrow. I just said I’d rather she gave me the money to pay for my petrol to go to a family wedding later on in the month. I didn’t tell her the full reason why I wasn’t going, as I don’t think that’s fair on her. She’s autistic herself (un/self diagnosed) and she would feel like she’s in the middle and I don’t want to make her feel like that. And she’d worry about it and it would make it hard for her to relax and enjoy herself. I’ll walk away quietly and keep on doing my thing. I don’t know how they can leave me out of things like they do but I guess family doesn’t mean to them what it does to me. But I can walk away with peace and love in my heart, knowing we can’t change others but I can put my energy and focus on being the best version of me and if that doesn’t include them, then so be it.
I’m currently sat at a local park/lake in the sun, enjoying the warmth and the sound of the water feature, so it’s all good. I’m processing this really well and in a very mature way, which means I am getting much better which is what this is all about. Thank you for being part of my journey and thanks as always, for your support. It means a lot, it helps and I appreciate it.
The sister fair enough but I think you should give your son basically unlimited leeway unless he's bullying or abusing you.
Families like to have every member in their properly appointed place and behaving as they always have. That means that when somone changes their behavior or role the rest of the family can struggle to deal with the new dynamic and, as you've found, resist strenuously. It sounds as though your sister and your son genuinely don't know what autism is. There may be ways you could help them to understand, or at least to understand how much the masking hurts you, although I realise they may simply not want to bother. Sometimes we have to let go of people who are toxic to us and, whatever you do, I wish you the best with it.
Sounds good. Meditative. I've just been for a swim. The sea was choppy, but luke-warm! That's almost like meditation for me: swimming along, free of the land - gently rocked by that beautiful cradle.
You can leave the door open, and let him know it's open. It's then up to him whether or not he chooses to go through it.
Yes. Unfortunately, it's the only way to deal with toxic people. Constantly appealing to their hoped-for better nature and understanding most often leads to more frustration.
Hello BlueRay, I’m glad to hear that you are doing well and slowly regaining your independence and health. Remember, it is as difficult for us to know what others are thinking, as it is for them to know what we are thinking. You should do what is best for you, and allow others the time to realise, that a happy and healthy BlueRay, is best for everyone.
‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.’ Walt Whitman
All the best, Graham
Greetings Miss Shiny-Blue-Person...(!) I like this Thread so far and many responses thereto. This here may be a trivial/repetitive Post, though...
I would support (and make effort to support) those who support you; you mention your parents. If it makes them happy, then try to do something --- upon another Thread I suggested that if one is not fond of "parties" then just give a BIG Gift/Card, and write your, um, love/respect in a Card/Note plus explanations, and then leave it at that.
Also I wonder, with regards to letting others "think whatever they want", it is a good idea to somehow find out whatever they are thinking about oneself, at least at times, and every now-and-then... else thoughts shall "snowball" into great lies and mistruths and cause much confusion/trouble later on... (or something...)
Always try to explain yourself and justify whatever you do to others. This is how true understanding and support/friendship is found out, upon both sides. (That is how I see things, anyway.) ... But I do not "Mask", and so do not know about that! Also -one more thing, here, is that if you have been masking (acting falsely or whatever that means, sorry) for a LONG time, then persons would become used to the "Mask" and when there is the sudden change to the real, then it may be misunderstood for a very very long time. Try to explain and be patient yet maintain your own self + Energy as well.
This Post threatens to Loop a lot, and so that is all for now. Good Luck. (Sorry, this was longer than I intended!)
I totally understand that and the day before, a friend handed me a book about angels so I asked for a message and I opened the page and it was titled ‘parents’! Lol! haven’t read it yet but it fed my conscience, so I will read it. It might say something I wasn’t expecting.
The thing is, he’s got a very aggressive attitude towards me, mainly I think, because I’m currently not the person he thought I was but he’s not prepared or not ready or whatever to hear me out and this is creating stress in me. So it’s not as if I’m closing the door on him forever but I’m no longer going to be doing everything I can to simply make him happy at the expense of my health. This is time for me to look after myself, get myself well and be able to look after myself again and provide for myself financially etc and I need all the energy I have to do that. I’m not cutting him out of my life but I am no longer giving space to people who add only stress to it.