I should just quit talking to everyone.

I’m annoying. I know it. And, I don’t like it. Even with some medication to help me focus, I still annoy people. That might be putting it mildly.

Yesterday, I was having a great day, feeling good about life, my family, my purpose. I told my autism therapist that in the morning. But, the feeling didn’t last. My wife and I went on our usual walk when she got home from work, and I’m genuinely grateful we can do those. She is now wiling to listen to me discuss how I’m feeling.

At one point, I told her I was still getting used to and unsure of our current family dynamics. By that, I mean that she is starting to be gone more and more. On the one hand, I don’t mind the solitude for a while. On the other, I really can use her help.

For example, taking care of our dogs can be difficult for me. Our older dog has to be lifted several times a day, and doing this causes me some physical pain and problems that require me to lie down for a couple of hours. On last Saturday, I had to take my son somewhere, but before I did that, I had to lift the dog four times. The pain was not bad, but the effects were not good. It’s very frustrating, and I wish I didn’t have all the physical difficulties to go along with the mental ones.

I am not lying in bed presently because of autism or other mental issues, but because of physical ones. They are also high-functioning. As I like to say, manageable but tricky. People typically see me when my issues are managed. They don’t see how I have to deal with them. Other than my immediate family, I don’t think anyone knows what I’m dealing with. Many people know I had colon cancer and half my colon removed, but they don’t know the extent to which I have to rely on others to do some basic things. I wish I could get my twenty-pound dog up two steps without getting hurt.

We also still have our youngest child at home. While he is independent, he still relies on us for transportation, most of the time. He doesn’t have his own car yet, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to afford another one. (My wife takes care of all of our finances, and she said we’d be fine if I wasn’t working, but we are suddenly on a strict budget. I don’t know what’s really going on, but I trust her. It’s one thing I can’t worry about, though she’s pestering me about details of purchases now. I don’t buy much, so it’s OK.)

Back to the walk. I raised my concern that she might be going too many places, especially with our youngest child still at home. She countered that with a fair response, pointing out all the plans she makes for him and so forth. She is good at those things, planning and taking charge. Then, I asked her why she thought I mentioned it. I was hoping she’d see the underlying issue, my sensitivity due to my childhood. But, she never remembers that. I suggested that if she knew why I kept asking certain questions, I might stop asking them.

These discussions confuse her. If it’s not concrete and right in front of her, she often doesn’t understand. “Tell me what I’m supposed to do,” is her response to any “why?” question. Does that sound a bit like autism? She has certain aspects of it for sure, but she doesn’t want to hear about it from me, only from an expert. (And, that’s another trait of autism.) More about my wife and autism in an upcoming post, I hope.

At some point, we discussed some food she had bought, and I asked where it was. My son had already gotten it. This frustrated me on a couple of levels, including the nutritional aspect of the food and what I had planned to do with it so he and I would parcel out how much of it we ate. But, I knew that, if she’d given it to him, he’d probably already eaten it all.

When we returned from our walk, my wife did what we mutually have agreed is a bad idea. She told my son that I had wanted what she gave him and asked if he’d get it. Of course, he’d eaten it. I overheard this, and I wasn’t happy. My son got put in the middle by doing nothing wrong. I texted him an apology this morning. My wife, thankfully, admitted she acted wrongly, and that’s a big improvement from the past.

Then, as we are playing a game, enjoying time together, she commented that she had to get to sleep soon since she was working the next day. I replied that I was glad she was working and that I was happy staying at home. I also said that it fits our personalities perfectly. She can go be the provider, organizer, practical one, and I can be the romantic, idealist, creative one. In other words, I was simply saying that I knew she had to sleep, and I wasn’t complaining since the day had mostly gone well, and I was happy with our current setup. That was, in some ways, a way to acknowledge what I’d failed to earlier on our walk.

But, somehow that went wrong. Before I knew it, I was being criticized for being passive-aggressive by one of my children, and my wife wasn’t happy either. She said that I was getting in the way of her work on codependency. That really upset me! I made my statement that as soon as I finally had a diagnosis that said I required support and, by the way, I’ve had cancer and major surgery, that needing help from her did not make her codependent. And, thanking her for helping me was not passive-aggressive. Apparently, it was the tone of my voice or the fact I’ve said things too many times. I’m not certain. ButI do know I was genuinely happy, trying to express being happy, and that failed.

I can’t even express appreciation or happiness without getting in trouble! I probably had to leave my last job because I couldn’t properly tell or show people I appreciated how much they’d helped and encouraged me. When people get upset or start to ignore me, I get confused, and I try another way to show them I like and appreciate them, and when that doesn’t work, I get more upset and confused. How can everything fall apart because I can’t even tell someone “thank you,” or I’m glad you help me or understand me without upsetting them? It’s so stupid. Or, I’m so stupid.

So, I should just quit talking to everyone. It only seems to upset people, no matter how positive and encouraging I’m trying to be.

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