Were you a smart child? I was. Not genius or savant by any means, but I was above my peer level smart, especially in English. And do you know what I learnt about being a smart child? Your peers don’t appreciate you showing them up, and adults don’t take you seriously because you’re “only a kid”. To your peers, smart = negative. To adults, smart = impressive, but shut up you don’t know what you’re talking about run along and play with the other kids.
So, if you’re constantly being told, or made to feel like, your opinions/thoughts/feelings don’t matter what do you do? Internalise the invalidation. Your peers don’t have interests the same as yours – you adapt. And you stop talking and start listening to adults talking – you absorb.
And you lose yourself.
What are my needs and wants as an adult? I don’t actually know. I still adapt. I still absorb. And I reason that this is “OK” because if I’m fulfilling others’ wants and needs that’s somewhat satisfying. And if I don’t voice my wants and needs then there’s no chance of someone disappointing me by not being able to fulfil them.
And yet! I am disappointed. Often. In myself for not allowing my vulnerability through. In others for not noticing my struggle, for not gently pushing me, for giving up. More internalised invalidation.
“I’m not worth listening to. Don’t bother speaking up. Your opinions aren’t valid. I am wrong. Ignore those feelings of discomfort, others’ know better.” Over and over like a broken record.
Rationally, I know the above is a load of crap. It is hard to not allow these thoughts to become self-fulfilling prophecies though when you are extremely alert and sensitive to criticism of any form. I expect it! I don’t expect to be taken seriously. When I offer opinions or ideas I cringe, waiting for the negative. Or positive feedback with a “but…”.
I am a culmination of all my thoughts/experiences/words/feelings, and everyone else’s in my life too. I am a collage and I don’t know what parts are me and what parts are others. I just don’t know.
I hope someday I find someone who will accept me as a work in progress, who will be patient and gentle with me, and will help me grow and in turn grow with me. I had decided I was done with relationships a week ago in my “I’ve recently been diagnosed Aspie, I’m making all major life decisions NOW” phase, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll meet someone to change my mind. I think this is a want and need for me to be honest, not out of desperation by any means, just a fulfilment type thing. And in the mean time, I will continue working away on myself, trying to figure myself out, and keep working on how to be comfortable as me; as opposed to “me”. It’s a lonely life when you isolate yourself.