I wish there were a way to know what’s actually going on.

My life feels good right now — in some ways. I’m at a job temporarily that has gone well for a couple of weeks. While I’m close to starting there more long-term, I’m not quite ready to decide. Self-doubt creeps in, but also I don’t know if I can maintain my energy level enough to do it.

However, I’m also trying to rebuilt trust in people. It would be so much easier to hide for the rest of my life, but many people are telling me not to do that. Of course, that’s what I was told as a child, and I tended to end up hurt/ignored/discarded then. It’s not that way with everyone, but there have been such significant relationship disasters in the recent past, that I’m being very cautious.

I’m also being kinder to myself, I think, recognizing how correct I am to call out the gaslighting/invalidation of my wife, our marriage counselor, and any others who have dismissed the abusers in my life, namely my parents. I am realizing how toxic this has been for a long time, and it’s made me question my sanity. In turn, I became somewhat paranoid about myself and others, and that doesn’t tend to help relationships.

Toxic enablers can be just as bad as the toxic people. My wife has allowed my parents to blame my siblings for all the family drama. She has gotten mad at me for suggesting anyone could be taking advantage of me or her. I have not been perfect in this. About five people, including my boss, warned me about a toxic person at my former workplace, and I, in essence gaslighted myself, became my own toxic enabler.

It’s easy to happen, especially for people who feel sorry for others or like the attention they get. Note the opposite reasons. Is a person empathetic or selfish? Can they be both?

If you have empathy for someone, and they respond positively, isn’t that filling a “need” you have, even at a basic emotional level? I don’t know how you separate these out entirely. If you want attention from someone, that may be selfish. However, it also may mean allowing another person a chance to do something for you.

For today, I’m about to go to this job. I dread the drive, but it’s been exciting. I’m more enthused about life in general than I’ve been for a long time. It’s also because I am about done with a marriage counselor who has made some serious mistakes. That might be another post, but her lack of understanding of autism and my ability to spot numerous lies didn’t create a good atmosphere after a while.

Nonetheless, I’m not letting anyone gaslight me into feeling too hopeless again. I’ve now had enough experience with highly toxic people to not care so much.

As my wife has tried to be less controlling, I’ve decided to hold her to that. I now am telling her I don’t need her help and to keep away from this job. Suddenly, she doesn’t like hearing I don’t need her. Since my official diagnosis of “requires support” was met with a backlash of criticism and scrambling to find ways to be less helpful, I will give up on that. I don’t need her, especially when others can help me. I’m going to stick to that line of thought for a while, and I’ll see how serious she is about her latest repackaging of apathy.

It’s so bizarre. Her view on relationships has never made sense to me, and I’ve given up on ever being able to share emotions with her. She literally cannot understand them, even “normal” ones. I’ve had numerous people tell me this – therapists, siblings, friends, coworkers, and children. I’m finally, sadly, convinced. (And, autistics are the unemotional ones. Well, maybe some of us, but that’s not true of me.) But, I also feel free! I’m liberated from the thought it’s all my fault. It’s not all my fault!

I need to go. This next week will be significant. There is much to ponder and decide about my future, and I need to get that right. But, one mistake I would rather not make is to misjudge people or not know how to get away from them when I do. The toxic people in my life will have to go, and I will continue to stand up to people who want to take advantage of me.

In the past, I got hurt in the process, but now I will try not to worry so much about the “feelings” of others, as that is apparently what you are supposed to do. It makes no sense, and I don’t know if I can do it, but I have to remember that evil can cloak itself in a smile. That makes all smiles frightening. Oh, am I smiling now. Oops.

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