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freer feelings lead to … love?

July 5, 2016

Some 25 (maybe 30) years ago, I read a science article about how people who had strong relationships with their siblings lived longer and were happier and healthier. With a will, I set to strengthening my relationships with my siblings. It didn’t work. They have always remained mostly strangers to me.

When I married, I tried with Spouse’s brother. It seemed to work for a time. Then he found his wife (now his soon-to-be-ex-wife); they soon had a child together. I suppose he doesn’t have enough emotional energy for multiple people.

= = =

6 years ago, when I realized not only was my life falling apart, but my health might be failing, I took stock of what resources I had available to me. What resources I would always have available.

I didn’t want to be caught short with something that would disappear when I was in direst need.

= = =

Relying on other people to be resources that don’t disappear has always been tricky for me. Sure, sometimes they really do disappear.

Other times, though, I change. I change enough that what brought us together doesn’t matter as much anymore. I think this phenomenon is related to special interests, to how autistic people bond with special interests more than, perhaps, the person themselves.

My best friend for 18 years was someone who had dated Spouse (so knew his family firsthand) and liked psychology and was in counseling and was smart enough that she seemed to know everything. I didn’t realize it at the time, but over a period of time, these things happened: I healed enough psychologically to minimize the time I spent with my in-laws. Even though I still like psychology, since I stopped working, I spend face-to-face time with almost no one (besides Spouse). I have enough coping skills that I don’t need counseling as often as I did earlier in my life. Instead of needing a mentor for the world of work (which my friend was very good at), now maybe I need a friend to be someone who is also a writer and creative person. Who sees us as peers, rather than she always being ahead of me. Who encourages more than gives advice.

It’s taken me 3 ½ years, and a self-diagnosis of autism last summer, to figure out everything in the paragraph above.

But I was only able to figure all of this out because I broke up with her 3 ½ years ago. If we were still friends, my emotions and thoughts about her would still be so tangled, I wouldn’t know what was going on.

I don’t know what neurotypical people do with all of their feelings!

Things that you can’t say for social reasons… what on earth do you do with them?!?

In my family of origin, sooner or later, those kinds of things get screamed at you in anger. I don’t recommend that.

= = =

When I’ve spoken here of not having intelligent and insightful people giving me insight into myself, I meant face-to-face. Where there’s body language, and I can read their lips (when necessary). Where maybe I can get a hug, or touch their arm.

Where I’m having a conversation in real time with someone who, as I tend to say now, “knows my name”.

Besides Spouse, I’m hard-pressed to think of the last time that situation happened.

Back when I was still friends with my ex-BFF, we always lived several states apart: I saw her once every 3 to 5 years. Because there was so much feeling packed into short visits, I don’t remember if there were insightful exchanges or not.

= = =

Maybe what I want is impossible. I don’t know.

I believe now that I got the idea from a blog I read. The blogger writes about having relationships like this. But she also seems to find friends wherever she goes, and I — decidedly — do not. (Unless they’re trees and rivers and bumblebees. But you know, they don’t speak English.)

= = =

Maybe this is another one of those phenomena where I inadvertently offend every human friend I still have, write thousands of words over and over, and only then realize…

This isn’t really about what I want other people to do for me.

This is about what I want from myself.

I want to put myself first.

I want to be delighted by myself.

I want to feel beautiful and magical and amazing to myself.

I want to be in love with my own life.

= = =

Before I found myself writing those words, I would’ve said I was. So what’s missing?

It’s really really hard to make myself a priority. I try and fail a lot. It seems like work, the bad kind; shouldn’t it feel like delight?

Well, it probably did, when I was 5. But then I was discouraged, over and over, from paying any attention whatsoever to what I actually liked and wanted. So now that I can do it, I resist doing the scary thing. And then I resent that I’m not well-liked — projecting outwards, I guess.

Well, how do I behave when I’m falling in love with someone?

Can I treat myself like that?

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