Not falling for it . . .

Nope. Sorry. Not happening.

Maybe, hopefully, I’m learning.

A couple of people have texted me this week, and I decided not to respond. That would feel rude, except I know what they are doing!

It’s a trap!

The one was my father. I feel sorry for him, but he was given twenty years worth of chances to avoid his current situation of being isolated from his family. I’m not going to be the one sucked back in to his poisonous world. That place has caused me and others too much pain already, and he’e nearly ruined my life as it is. Well, my empathy for him might be what has almost killed me. It doesn’t really matter.

Perhaps, someday, he can prove he has changed and is remorseful, but I don’t think one text of a picture to me will do it. I don’t know what will, to be honest. I’m just the person who popped into his head, most likely, and I’m the only child who never has officially written him off. Furthermore, I’ve tried hard to be kind to him. That’s a mistake I’ve made with others as well, even as they are being anything but kind to me. Some people don’t mind hurting others, and the worst ones are, predictably, the hardest to spot.

Sadly, I don’t have reason to think he can change. I’ve accepted some people can’t or won’t change, even to the point where they destroy themselves. I’ve finally given up hope on him and have been grieving the loss of the father my siblings and I should have had.

The other text person is a bit more complicated and specific to a subject. I’m not confident how aware the person is of what she is doing. Honestly, in her case, some of what she does is similar to times I’ve realized — well after the fact — that I’d done something that was interpreted in a way that I never intended. It’s very painful to think I may have made others feel like she has made me feel! Those are the moments when I want to hide and never come out. However, the same brain that has weaknesses also has strengths, so I keep working on both.

She may intend well; I think she does. My father likely does not. This woman’s intentions are somewhat selfish, though she is transparent about it. However, this text was a bit sneaky, and the last time she did something like this, it created problems for me and others. I realized I’d taken the bait, but I got out as quickly as I could. This time, I’m not taking the bait at all. She won’t like that, but it’s the only sensible option, now that I know what she’s doing, no matter her intention. In essence, she’s finding a way to have me come to her house without directly asking me. Visiting her is not the concern, but the way she is going about it. Maybe it’s how she was raised to do things, but she doesn’t want me to come to her house just to see something. The good news is that she has, ironically, helped me realize some problematic traits I have. I’m certain they are mostly from autism, at least in my case. There are so many things I wish I could take back! But, I will at least learn from them.

Instead of falling for intentional or unintentional “traps,” I’m accepting there are people, situations, and topics that are bad for me. Politics and most social media, for example!

Regarding people, what has happened to me is precisely what my former boss warned me about when he got to his position. I’m sure he has wanted to tell me, “I told you so,” more than once, but I think he knows I already feel stupid enough.

I’m sometimes a year behind – or much more – but I like to think I figure my problems out, eventually. Hopefully, it is finally sticking. I’ll continue to make mistakes, but the longer I go without making any big ones, the better I will be. Not beating myself up when I mess up is also essential, and I can’t make certain mistakes again at all, as they are far too overwhelming.

Now, there are better things to focus on! And, there are other people! The world has far too many good people to let a very few bad ones hurt me. And, the good people have far too many good traits to focus on the bad ones. We need to encourage the good in each other. My wife can’t quite accept what I now understand about some people. I keep telling myself now that I made the same mistakes, and for much longer. She may never believe it from me, and I think she’s a bit too dismissive towards thinking anyone could possibly have mistreated me. I now have to accept that doesn’t matter. It’s time to move past that as well, as she may not be able to understand. I’m not falling for the traps I keep setting for myself!

That’s been difficult for me to believe for a couple of decades. But, if I can ignore a person or a message and not feel guilty about it, I’ve done well.

Now, I need to make sure I’m not the one people want to ignore, and I don’t blame them if they do. Some already do; they are the smart ones!

Life is a bit of a minefield, and I’m certain autism doesn’t make traversing it easier. Sometimes, I think I can spot the mines accurately, but then I have no idea what to do with them. I’m learning that now. No more falling into traps!

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