Saturday, 20 June 2015

Aspie Anger



We aspies often seem to have this deep-seated anger. It's usually entangled with, and comes out of, our pain, our confusion, our shame and our negative experiences of the world. We live in a world that doesn't like us, accept us, understand us, or, for the most part, seem to even want to. We are demonised, called a disease, an epidemic, brain damaged, a burden, a trial, something to be eradicated, or cold, arrogant, selfish, egotistical, rude, and anti-social to list but a few things. We are frequently bullied, harassed, abused, assaulted, reviled, ridiculed and rejected. Our families sometimes don't like or accept us, we struggle at work or school or home. And then we're told it's all our own fault.

So it's perfectly understandable, our anger. It's also understandable how it's often inseparable from our hurt and shame and confusion, and our feeling that we are somehow 'bad', just for being our autistic selves. We thrash around in it, not knowing whether to get mad at others, or to beat ourselves up. We tend to flip-flop from one to the other, sometimes not having the courage to express our rage at others because we don't know if we're in the right or not, or we're scared of them, or feel like we need them, or don't deserve better, and so on and so forth.

Often, our rage and pain become so bad, it leads to what I call "F*#k The World" syndrome. This is when the whole world seems like some ghastly, confusing merry-go-round, and all we want is to get off the ride, find some hole to crawl into and pull the cover over ourselves, screaming at the world, even if it's only in our heads, to LEAVE. US. THE %*#@. ALONE. We hate the world, and hate people, at times like that. This is understandable, and undoubtedly necessary at times, but in the long term, it's not a good place to stay. Our loneliness, fear, shame, isolation, confusion and misunderstanding of others, the tendency to 'go off into our heads' too much, get mad, lose it, and then recoil again in even greater shame and confusion and self-hatred... all these skyrocket when we're in that state, and just add to the whole mess.

I don't have any magic bullets for all this. But I do feel it's possible to change our lives. The most important thing is to accept and embrace our autistic selves, wholly and completely. This can be hard when we get so many negative messages, but sooner or later we have to free our heads from all that. This can only really be done effectively with the support and understanding of other autistics, who can provide feedback - "No, you're not crazy, I feel like that too, I've had that happen too, you're fine as you are, they had no right to do that, here's what I did", etc, and help you learn how to set boundaries with others, if need be.

The second thing is to accept, even embrace, our anger. Given how we've been treated, our anger is legitimate. We have the right to be angry, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's kind of amazing, really, that we're all still alive to tell the tale. Own your anger. You have a right to it. Know that feeling anger is fine - what matters is how you express it. If you just lash out, the result is almost always bad. Channel it into self-empowerment instead.

If our anger demands it, we can get into advocating for autistics in general, to try to change the world, not just our own individual lives. This is not for everyone of course. Not everyone has the stamina or interest or ability to do this. But we can and need to come to some kind of self-acceptance. I'm not saying it will solve all our problems. But for sure being able to reject all the crap that gets shovelled on to our heads on an almost daily basis, has to go a long way. Having friends who understand, because they've been there, done that, and are often still there doing that, experiencing that, is a treasure beyond price. And actively rejecting all the anti-autistic crap, and expressing your anger in some constructive way, is even further beyond price.

My Love-Hate Relationship with the World



I have become aware lately of how much I both love and hate the world. Actually I think I've always known this, but I recently seem to have become way more conscious of it.

When I say "the world", I mean "everything that we know exists", and by "love", I mean love in its broadest, spiritual sense.

I love the Universe, in all its infinite variety and splendour, the amazing beauty of the stars and galaxies and so on. I find pictures of space totally awesome, and mind-blowing, when you think about the immense distances of space. They're saying now those vast distances aren't so empty after all, which to me makes it even more awesome.

I love our planet, because it's home, and utterly beautiful too, on the whole, still. I love wild sandy beaches, heaving oceans, thundering waterfalls, soaring mountains, rolling hills and the ever-changing skies. I do what I can to take care of it all. I love the environment.

I love animals too, not in any cutesy-Bambi kind of way, but because they are what they are, and worth caring about. Pets bring pleasure to many, working and farm animals are valuable, while wild animals play their part in the ecology. They're all our responsibility.

I even love human beings, most especially my family and friends of course, but also humanity in general. There are good people in the world, many of them doing good things, things that will help the world. Even knowing that there's also a lot of people doing harm to each other, doesn't change my concern for everybody's welfare. I want the world to be a better place, not only for autistics, but for everyone.

I even feel compassion, or at least pity, for those I have the least in common with - the blandly ordinary folk whose lives seem so boring you wonder how they stand it; the mega-rich whose wealth doesn't seem to guarantee them personal happiness; the hate-filled religious fanatics and "loony right" types; and even the abusers, rapists, murderers, etc, the last two groups of whom are so far from the Light I don't know how they'll ever find their way back. Yes, even them. (I avoid them like the plague of course, but I still pity them from afar.)

So I love the world.

But I also hate it.

And a lot of that hate, or at least loathing, dislike, exasperation, anger, rejection, etc, is connected to the reasons I love it.

I hate the idea of humans stuffing that beautiful Universe up. Even though, as an avid sci-fi and fantasy fan, I've enjoyed many stories of space travel, I kind of hope it never happens in reality. After all, colonising different parts of our own planet didn't really improve things all that much, did it? It simply created a whole new raft of problems.

I hate how so many people, especially those in Big Business, seem to be racing each other to pollute and generally stuff up our planet, would it really be so hard to be environmentally responsible? We've only got one planet, people!

I hate how some people treat animals. I'm not sentimental, I'm not even a vegetarian, and I know you have to assert mastery over animals (think of dog attacks, or a 500-pound bull trampling a human into the ground, and you'll understand why), but it doesn't need to be done with cruelty. Mistreatment of animals upsets me deeply. And I don't like either the whole 'performing seal' thing, or dogs on cushions with bows in their hair, and so on. The forcing of animals against their true nature seems to me a travesty of dignity for the animals concerned.

I hate the sensory barrage of the world. The whole blaring, glaring, flashing, whirring, humming, roaring, reeking, heaving, seething, frantic, chaotic mess of it. I hate how bloody overwhelming it is, and how pervasive it is. Sometimes I wish it would just STOP. Even just for a little while.

I hate how difficult social contact is in general. It feels like a minefield I have to tiptoe through, for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, and getting people mad at me. I hate feeling I have to choose between pretending to be NT or offending people with my bluntness or 'weirdness'. And sometimes I end up offending them anyway, or they sort of withdraw from me, or give me funny looks. I hate how tired I am at the end of any day spent having to 'make nice', and how distant I feel from, and how jaundiced I feel about, humanity in general by then, especially when I know that most of them are really not bad people, and that it's me, not them. I hate how shitty that makes me feel.

I hate the emotional games some people play. They seem to love to spin emotional webs and jerk others around. Why can't they be honest? Why do they have to screw with people's heads? What on earth do they get from it? It leaves me feeling confused, lost and like the ground is shaky beneath my feet. And then there's all those so-called 'nearest and dearest', with their silent demands and unspoken expectations, which you can't possibly know, not being bloody psychic, and yet they feel perfectly entitled to punish or pressure you when you don't meet those expectations. I hate how in relating to such people, I used to feel like I was lost in a swamp.

I hate how some people never say what they really mean, using various kinds of roundabout talk, clich├ęd rubbish or New-Speak instead. This seems particularly prevalent among politicians, bureaucrats and similar authority figures. An offshoot of this insanity is when these same people put in place policies designed to make them popular, but which actually harm those most in need. You can usually spot these policies by the weasel words used to justify them.

I hate how hard it is to navigate through the world, and how little help many people will give you, especially if you are in any way different. Dress differently, look differently, behave differently, be obviously homeless, poor, an immigrant, disabled, or anything else outside the norm, and most will simply look away, or dump on you for being whatever you are. I hate how judgemental of difference many are.

Most of all, I hate how so many are so cruel to each other, the damage they do, the wars they start, the oppressions they perpetuate, the 'isms' they create and keep going. I especially hate the jeering, sneering, sniggering, name-calling, derision, bullying, beating, abuse, spirit-crushing, cold-shouldering, forced normalisation and so on that is perpetrated on autistics, but I also hate how anyone else who is 'not normal' is treated. I hate that people think that it's okay to do these things to people, especially those who are most vulnerable.

I hate how if you don't or can't or won't "fit in", then you're cold-shouldered, excluded, and if you finally withdraw from it all in overloaded confusion, your absence probably won't even be noticed. The world is a cruel place, and I hate it for that.

So I hate the world. And I don't know what to do with that hate, or how to reconcile it with that love.

How do you feel about the world?

Update!

I know I haven't posted much this year, I do apologise if you've been checking fruitlessly. It's not been a good year for me, the latest thing is that on the 31st May, I fell and broke my ankle rather badly. This has meant I have had difficulty getting to an internet connection to upload new posts as I don't have internet at home. It also means I've been even more short of "spoons" than usual. This doesn't mean I haven't been writing though, and I hope to get some new posts up soon. Keep the faith people!