Control is perhaps the biggest reason I wish to remain anonymous. For as much as I was the most passive, easy-going child, happy to go along with anything, preferring to be a follower being led, I’m realizing how much control I need to have over everything. This is something no one would expect of me, something that took finding out I had Aspergers and re-examining myself to discover.
Gentle and usually soft-spoken no one would consider me a control freak. But once again, I am not like other people. I do not fit their boxes and definitions. I desperately control things that no one sees.
I exhaust myself trying to control my environment, physically and emotionally. Organization is crucial. If it’s not organized just right, clutter happens and then it goes to pieces and then I feel like I just can’t even try because I can’t keep up. Things have to be separated to make sense. Literacy materials need to be in their designated area not to be mixed with the math materials. Organization is my black and white all-or-nothing. Either I spend hours getting everything its perfect spot that “makes sense” or if it doesn’t “make sense,” I can’t care and it’s a disastrous mess.
I’ve realized, emotionally, I rule my environment with an even tighter fist. I meticulously monitor how much of myself and my emotions I invest in situations. If it’s situations up for change that I cannot control or know exactly what will happen, I let myself enjoy it little, I refrain myself from forming any sort of attachments, I keep myself from relishing in the positive because I innately understand the more I benefit from it, the more it hurts once it is gone, the harder it is to shake, and the wound I will carry with me.
I desperately try to control my environment from triggers and stimuli. Emotionally, I avoid, I escape in my head, and I don’t engage. Physically, I wear sunglasses outside, I adjust the volume on tv and movies constantly, I keep the blinds closed, I keep the lights low when I am overstimulated, I shift the thermostat, I eat the same foods, and I listen to the same music.
What is odd to realize is how much I try to control in other people. I’m passive. I let other people set the tone. I learn from them. I like to follow. However, I know almost exactly what they know about me (or spend copious amounts of time desperately trying to). I know and have very strict control over exactly what personal details, emotions, and thoughts I relay to each person.
But in a way, I have to. Even in all my cautiousness to communicate, I am still misunderstood left and right. I have to make sure that this image of me is so strong that someone’s default reasoning for a miscommunication would be erring on the side of good intentions and not meaning to harm or being selfish and immature.
It is always the truth, it is always me, but I have to stay overly cautious in how I relay this and how I act. I have been accused of being cold, mean, selfish, manipulative, a chronic liar, over-sensitive, and other things that stung me to the core, making me afraid to interact with anyone as I feared I was poison to other people. I have to be so careful in how I am seen because I can’t always understand how I am. And sometimes it has come off very bad, in ways that blind-sighted me, and in ways that were absolutely not my intention, but no one’s believed me. So I have to remain vigilant in what the other person knows and perceives of me at all times. If I don’t, it’s not that I might lose a friend, I will lose a friend.
Having a friend able to open and peruse my thoughts in this blog without me knowing exactly what they have seen, terrifies me. I am afraid they will find a contradiction. I am afraid they will piece me apart, perceive things how I never intended them to be, realize that I am bad, and not only leave me, but leave me lost, confused, and overwhelmed by my own self fearing they are correct.
The worst is when someone, out of good intentions, tells another friend things about you. Those weren’t things you warranted the other to know yet. I interact with a very strict set of social rules that I have learned. Now I have to rework the social skills I internally programmed for this person and I don’t even know how because I don’t even know exactly what the other knows. Are they now seeing through my attempts to look secure, like I have it all together? Do I need to reveal now that I really don’t? I wasn’t ready to be there yet. But will they start to think I’m a liar if I don’t?
My other need to control the information another knows about me is because I can’t always read the other person either. Often, I will go over and over and over again in my head what I think they know of me. Like a trail of bread crumbs, I try to follow their train of thought, I try to follow what they are thinking, I try to understand why they act the way they act, and I try to guess the appropriate thing for me to do next. I need to know exactly what they know because I need this information like puzzle pieces to try to fit together. I can’t put myself in other people’s shoes. I need these bread crumbs.
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I don’t do quite the same things you do (my organization is more akin to organized chaos, give or take, for example), but I still have weird control issues that I never understood until the diagnosis. I’m weird about food — extremely picky unless I’m familiar enough with the dish or am making it myself. I don’t like watching TV or movies with other people because, well, I don’t know quite how to articulate why. It’s always felt like a control thing, though. There are words people used to call me that, to this day, even though people don’t attribute them to me anymore, are still triggering. I fear people will inevitably call me those names again. I understand the anxiety and pain about people’s perceptions and what could happen if I stepped the wrong toe forward, made the wrong move I wouldn’t realize was wrong until it was too late.
Did it help reading some of research regarding Asperger’s? Reading what like-minded people felt? Have you ever come across the blog Life on the Spectrum?
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It’s helped so much reading what other people have written! I also find out that after I write some things down, I’m able to make better sense of it and notice things that I wouldn’t. I first started to seriously recognize that I have Aspergers after an email I wrote to a friend. Reading my thoughts, I could just see I was so black and white and really couldn’t put myself in other people’s shoes. Despite being close to them, I really had no idea what the other person was feeling or thinking. Starting this blog has helped me notice a lot of things about myself.
I know what you mean about the words that are triggering. I’m the same way. If a situation seems like it’s going in the same direction to merit those words (even if it’s not true at all), it’s horrifying on so many levels. Misunderstanding something that was said with a negative reaction is a HUGE one for me. Especially because what typically follows is people think you are backtracking or making stuff up to make it seem better or ok, when really, that’s how it is. And when you see this path start to happen, you feel cornered like a caged animal with no real way out.
No, I don’t think I’ve seen that blog, but I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the suggestion!
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You’re welcome 🙂
My biggest thing lately is even talking about Aspergers syndrome to people. On the one hand, I just want to explain it several times to different people, but I often feel like I might seem attention-seeking. I don’t want to use AS like ammo, but I also don’t know how to explain myself. Have you felt like that?
I’m not there yet… 🙂 I think I feel like I need more observational data or more time testing the waters first, because once I share, I can’t take it back. And this is so new to me, I don’t have much, any, experience to go off of. So I’m not entirely sure I’ll like the aftermath, like maybe getting treated differently. But I HAVE been catching myself really wanting to share because 1.) I have a hard time lying and I feel like I just need to spout what I know and 2.) I feel it’s good for people to know about me and to have a better understanding.
The few friends I have told, I’m really glad I did. I think it really helped them understand me more, like I’m not being immature or over-sensitive, things affect me differently, or that I really might not understand a situation or come across the way I mean.
Have you read the blog Everyday Aspergers? When I told a friend, I sent them a few posts from there to show and validate how my thinking really works. That seemed to really help. I was just kind of like: This is pretty much me exactly. This is how I think. And this is a real thing because lots of people think the same way. Look at this person thinking the same way. 😉
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Thanks for the blog rec 🙂
I can understand the lack of experience feeling. That’s pretty much where I am now. I’ve read so much that I have so much to spout off, but I need to space it out more, I guess. Most of the people I’ve told have been great about it (the other percentage being very… silent?). I got to take to a couple yesterday who were the ones who recommended the doc who ultimately gave me my diagnosis, and they were especially great about it because they understood what it was like (they have a son who is similar to me). When I go back to college, I think, is when I’ll probably experience more of the negative side of things some people talk about. The people who lash back or say stupid things.
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Silent is tough… I find myself getting really angry and intolerant with that kind of silence. I don’t know why! I just find that particularly hard… like it’s a rejection or an “I don’t really care enough to say or do anything.” Even though I’m sure there’s other things I don’t understand going on.
I find I LOVE people who have children with Aspergers. Such a relief to feel understood or looked out for in the right way.
I’m lucky that I’m out of college now. But I remember that it is challenging to be around so many of your peers! But it’s a short time, and doesn’t last forever. Focus on and enjoy the best parts of it because it’s such a fleeting time in your life and try to block out all the negativity!
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