When Aspies are around people that they know care about them, or are put into a situation that is going to last beyond what they can fake their way through, they will let their true colors fly and tell you every little thing that bothers them, which is pretty much every little thing! Ask my poor husband – though I have gotten better at letting things go.
However, when Aspies are around people for just short periods of time, they often act like nothing is bothering them. This is because the act of trying to tell someone that something is bothering them is so difficult, they would rather just put up with the situation as is. They know they will get a break soon enough.
For instance, I very seldom told my roommates that anything they did bothered me. I knew that the situation would eventually change, so no worries. I just tolerated things as is, and moved on when I could. However, when I got married, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate everything forever, so I was open about what was bothering me.
Aspies can seem cold and calculating. Unfortunately, that can be the case. But here is why. Aspies actually feel things much more deeply and intensely than most other people. However, they become cold and calculating over time because they feel misunderstood, they feel like no one will ever give them what they really need, so they are going to have to get it for themselves. Because it is difficult for them to communicate at all, and on top of that, when they do communciate others often don’t understand them, they give up on communicating. They do care about others, but every little issue is so much more intense for them, that they get overwhlemed and end up just focusing on themselves because they are so overwhelmed.
I have found that the only people I am able to trust are those who have been friends with me for decades, and have proven themselves to be interested in my well-being. They, of course, are not perfect, but I am finally able to forgive and trust them because of the openness they have shown me over a long period of time.
I don’t know that any of this is so different from neurotypical people, though. Maybe it just happens to Aspies faster because of their greater difficulty in dealing with situations because of the intensity of their senses, and the intensity of their need to have things, “just so.”
For example, when I am out with my family, one of my children might ask, “what time is it?” If my watch says, 5:27, but my husband tells our child that it is 5:30, immediately I feel very agitated, to the point that I want to yell out, “it is not 5:30, it is only 5:27.” I have learned to let that feeling of agitation pass, and it is getting less all of the time, but I don’ t know that it will ever go totally away. I have never chosen to feel that way about something so small. It just is the way my body reacts. My husband says it is petty to worry about such small differences, and he is probably right, unless of course you are timing a race or something that does require exact time measurements.
We don’t mean to be picky just to be picky. We truly feel like our world is going to end, like are head is going to explode, like our heart is going to stop. Thank goodness God is faithful and able to hold us and comfort us and help us let things go. And that He provides others to be His hands and face and voice to help us learn to let those feelings pass over us, but to not let them overpower us, causing us to act in ways that always get us into way more trouble than we ever bargained for!