I am afraid that some of the things I’m about to say could possibly be offensive or portray me in an unflattering light. But when I started this blog, I promised to be brutally honest, and so far I’ve stuck to that promise. The fears I will discuss have been simmering in my mind for a few weeks, and I need to write about them, try to suss out the threads.
A while ago, I wrote a post about the possibility that I could have Asperger’s. I explained the reasons I thought that possibility was likely and the reasons I thought it was unlikely.
Last time I saw my latest pdoc, she mentioned that it seemed as if I could have Asperger’s. In the post I linked to above, I touched on an insecurity I felt about that label, but my thoughts have taken a more personal turn, one related to how I view myself.
Even if one day someone should proclaim I have Asperger’s, it never occurred to me that it would change my perception of myself, not until that appointment with the pdoc.
At the end of my appointment with the pdoc, I said that I felt like I never belonged anywhere, like I couldn’t connect. We discussed how I’ve often felt like I was “different” than other people. She said, “You are different.” Then she brought up that I reminded her of some of her patients with Asperger’s and that perhaps it was something I should think about.
I don’t know why, but something in her tone made me feel as if I could be slightly offended at the idea of me having Asperger’s. Maybe that implication wasn’t really there, but it evoked questions in my mind. Should I be offended if one day I’m “officially” diagnosed with Asperger’s? Would it offend me?
Since I was a child, I’ve felt different than everyone else. Yet I could occasionally spot similar differences in other people. Unlike me, though, those people seemed to be able to connect with others. This would make me resentful. Why should they have those connections and not me? What was with my rotten luck?
I could (and still can) tell when someone was socially awkward. I could tell when someone had qualities others would find off-putting, and I could tell when they didn’t seem to comprehend social cues. I, on the other hand, did understand social cues, even if I couldn’t convincingly follow those cues.
I thought there was nothing off-putting about me. Sure, people seemed to keep me at a distance, but that was surely because of my timidity or my dull-as-dishwater personality.
But what if there is something off-putting about me? What if I can read the off-putting quality in others, yet I’m blind to how off-putting I am?
I feel like I can’t live with knowing I’m off-putting. It’s hard to explain why. If I am off-putting, I don’t know why I never perceived that feature in myself. All those people I’d seen as off-putting . . . I didn’t look down on them, but I would excuse some quirks of theirs because I could tell they were just different. In a way, I feel like this is condescending, like it’s a comment on their intelligence or something. But what if I’m one of the people others think they should treat like that? If so, that would seem to reflect on my ability to understand fundamentals about how the world works.
Now that I’ve laid out this fear in writing, I suddenly get it. Literally, I just understood at this very minute. Being treated like that, knowing others treat me like that, would frustrate me because I believe I do understand those fundamentals; I just somehow don’t fit into the world. This would be unlike those other people I’ve met before, but perhaps I am being insulting to them as well. Perhaps they really could understand those same things without behaving according to them.
Yet I feel like I do act in a societally appropriate way, but I’m just unable to form connections.
Or maybe I’ve been deluded my whole life about this matter. Maybe I’ve been completely oblivious about why I’m an outsider; maybe it is caused by more than the social anxiety.
And that’s also something I can’t handle, the idea that I’ve been so erroneous about myself all my life. I’ve been thinking that I’ve been a consistently self-aware person, but perhaps there’s a large piece of myself I never even noticed.
And then to have that be a part of myself that determines what people think of me, how they interpret my actions . . .
It seems like an unfair way for others to define me, because it’s not my defining characteristic at all. At least, it feels that way to me. But I could be wrong . . . and the thought of being so completely wrong for so long, it stings.