Asperger's Growing Up
|The Ruby Horse- oil painting by Stephanie Tihanyi (copyright held by artist)|
Immediately following the birth, I was rushed to another hospital miles away, to an incubator, to assist breathing, because there was not one in my home town.This must of stressed my mother because she already had my 10 month old sister to look after and at that time my parents were very struggling finacially.
At 2, I was hospitalized briefly for an eye operation, but because I raised pure screaming hell on the kids ward they sent me home early. At 5, I absolutely refused to enter my first school, because it looked too much like a hospital. As far as I was concerned, hospital is where they abandon you.and I was not going in there. Eventually with my mothers coaxing I relented and actually enjoyed it.
Nothing else noteworthy stood out from my very early childhood behavior (pre-school) and I remember it as quite peaceful and pleasant, except I did spook my mother out with occasional odd qwirks.. She thought I saw ghosts and it gave her goosebumps because she said I would stare intently at the wall, cupboard, door or window and make smiling and waving gestures, as if someone was there, I, of course I don’t remember a thing.
Something that was significant in indicating AS, was that I remember my mother noting, that instead of crying, whining, acting shamed or protesting like other siblings or cousins, when being angrily reprimanded by either parents, is that I would become fixed and immobile. I would stand and stare blankly or inquiringly at the reprimanding parent, as if to say, ‘what are you talking about?, are you talking to me?, what is it that is going on?. My mother said I seemed genuinely confused as to the interactions taking place.
A hallmark of children with Aspergers is that they do not ‘read' (http://www.helpmehelpmychild.com/?page_id=222d’) faces and can’t tell when someone is becoming annoyed or angry, although they are able to recognise extremes of emotion, such as very happy/angry/sad.
Later on, this disability of mine, would lead me into big trouble. Because neurotypically brained people, assume all others react uniformly and they have a lack of imagination that there maybe differing cognitive styles. My odd reactions were deemed as defiant and willful to my authoritarian father. It was like a red flag to his bullish aggression. This, I believe lead me to be beaten by him the most severely, if not the only one, in later years. I simply failed to see the visual red flags and learn to shut up like my siblings. I remember my step mother saying "I don't believe you cant see your father getting angry, you know what he is like, I think you ask for it!'. To me those punishments were like a bolt out of the blue, with no warning signs. Getting hit was bad enough, never knowing when shit was going to happen made life and people seem very unpredicable.
I knew the other kids were not really bad. I also knew I was not doing anything bad that I could perceive, yet I could not understand this mystery. The lack of understanding was painful. My need for an asnwer lead me to create a theory. Somehow I came to reason, it was my social neediness for others, that put others off, (others, meaning other children, (adults, I had no problems with)). In an attempt to understand and control the situation, I figured, this is what made people withdraw. At last! I had an answer that gave me a sense of meaning and understanding. If I did not show to much social neediness, no matter how lonely I felt, I would not get rejected and no one would be at fault. If I showed I had a need or yearning for friends I risked being despised by them. Such childhood experiences such as these, are very emotionaly painful among those of us with aspergers and its not unusual for us tho carry these types of emotional defenses into our adulthood, as Lynne Soraya, writing on Asperger's Diary explains here, they can color our lifelong relationships with people.