I have been misunderstood for so long that I am terrified of it. That fear causes me to second guess every minor detail of any social interaction.
I wonder if I am doing it right, if that person will actually like me this time, if I can repair the damage if I do it wrong, or if I will just have to accept whatever inaccurate judgment is made about my intent or character.
My wondering and second-guessing magnify all of what I worry about, and I have unfortunately been oblivious about how that comes across to others.
I get so defensive because when I do mess it up, it is almost always because I was doing what I thought was right or what someone told me to do or what I saw someone else do.
I wish and beg to have a second chance to make a better choice, trying to learn from these mistakes and devastated/embarrassed that I made them.
I plead to be understood that way, but I never explain it right.
A better way of responding is to admit I have no idea how I should have acted in X situation.
I made a mistake in pulling from my set of ‘how to act’ script cards in my head.
All I wanted to do was to be liked and to show my interest and enjoyment in whatever is going on.
I misunderstood what was expected of me to show my true intentions and feelings.
I can see how or why I made that mistake and would have made X choice instead if I knew then what I know now.
I didn’t know that my intensity, mannerisms, tone, topic of conversation, dominance of conversation, facial expressions, or silence make me come across to others as odd, weird, inappropriate, offensive, distracted, or negative.
I am just trying to fit in and relate to people.
I am just trying to be accepted – to show I am interesting, smart, funny, nice, caring, empathetic, and fun. I sincerely thought that was what I was doing.
My intent was not to hurt or offend, and I am so sorry it came across that way.
It wasn’t ME doing it.
It wasn’t who I really am doing it.
I was just following the wrong script …
I need help to understand what I should have done or how I should have acted or what I should have said to learn how to come across as I intended.
It is that last part that is so hard to explain.
It is humiliating to admit I need that.
It feels like I am asking to be understood like a child and that I need to be treated like a child.
It risks having that person lose all respect for me as an adult. It will make them think I am stupid or mentally disabled.
How could they possibly ever like, love, honor, or respect someone of my age if I require that infantile level of care socially?
I end up concluding that no one could, so I can’t admit anything like that to myself or anyone else.
My defensiveness just sounds like I never take responsibility for my behavior and have every excuse possible for doing something that was odd, inappropriate, offensive, hurtful, or weird.
I beg for forgiveness and swear from my soul that the consequences of my behavior were unintentional.
I promise to never let it happen again.
Without understanding the real cause of the problem, I was powerless to even honor any of the promises I made to improve.
The benefit of the doubt was granted to me for a while, but any reasonable person would feel taken advantage of and disrespected by me over a long period of time dealing with that.
There would always be that pang of doubt over my true intentions.
How could anyone believe otherwise with a pattern of behavior that can only be rationally explained by malevolence or extreme psychopathology?
My behavior over time is viewed as toxic and unacceptable and relationship-ending.
I have had to try to find a way to live with the fact that I will never be truly understood, I will never feel loved, and anyone in a long-term relationship with me will feel alienated, unloved, and taken for granted.
I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me that would cause such a disconnect between how I know I am vs how I come across.
If I didn’t know the cause, there wasn’t a clear way of fixing the problem.
I would also project these feelings to others, thinking that they were unfairly blaming me for things that they were interpreting wrong just to have an excuse to argue with me, or take attention away from things I might be upset with them about.
Despite that, I tried so hard anyway in every conceivable way to be better, do everything better, get along better, be understood better … always to frustrating and disappointing ends.
The resulting depression, resentful anger, self-esteem issues, loneliness, and hopelessness that I have had to endure my whole life is indescribable.
Causing those feelings in others, despite every effort otherwise, has also been an excruciating and devastating emotional burden.
At a breaking point of desperation, counseling and therapy have provided needed comfort with answers to what has vexed me all this time, and a plan for improvement.
I finally know why all of these things are happening, but 50 years of heartbreaking relationship misunderstandings are not easily fixed or believed by others.
All I can do is try to explain and make amends. I need to forgive others for the pain they caused me, which was usually as a consequence to misunderstanding my behavior and intent. I then need to match my actions to my words and do everything in my power to understand and improve myself to avoid (as much as possible) causing the same problems in the future.
Admitting any of this publicly causes immense discomfort for me, perfectionist that I am.
This is a major factor in properly taking responsibility for the consequences of what I have done, how I have behaved, and how I treated others.
Courage to face that level of humiliation is also the same courage that will help me make the required changes needed for my personal transformation and growth.
So the truth is, I recently found out I have high functioning autism, also known as Asperger’s Syndrome.
I am simply taking all this one day at a time …
I hope the experiences and perspective I am sharing will be of some assistance to others who need some inspiration
… or maybe just an example for how to learn to laugh at yourself to avoid the abysmal funk of depression.
Either way, I am successfully fighting the intense urge to hide in a cave for the rest of eternity – go me!
This explanation, however, should not be interpreted as a desire to absolve me from responsibility for my actions.
My efforts to understand what causes my anxiety and how I come across to others, and using that knowledge to improve my relationships and social interactions, hopefully will demonstrate that I am taking responsibility for my behavior.
Above all else, my greatest desire is to properly show those I love and care about how I really feel and avoid unintentionally hurting or alienating them in the future.