“I feel as though I never really grew up”
Many of us autistic adults, seem to have an almost child-like character. I hope that readers will not find this observation insulting or demeaning in any way. I feel its important to be honest, and I am not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing.
I have always felt as though my emotions and personality never really developed passed childhood. Around other people I feel as though I am the child and the other person, regardless of their age, is the grown-up.
Behaving in a grown-up way, does not come naturally to me. Its hard work. I have to put a lot of effort into saying the right thing at the right time whilst trying to gain people’s respect.
My great fear in social or work situations, is that the grown-up act I’ve spent years perfecting, will fall apart, and people will see the real me, that is stupid, childish and not worth talking to. Low self esteem is one of the many things I have in common with other autistic people. We often struggle to understand how we fit in with the rest of the world. Autistic people often have trouble knowing whether they are acting in an appropriate way. I need regular guidance and reassurance of this.
It’s always a challenge for me to appear grown-up in social situations.
Our highly sensitive and powerful emotions add to our child-like behaviour. Sometimes, I feel I have the emotional control of a 5 year old. Without the help of medication for anxiety, I am hardly able to manage my emotions at all. The thing that upsets me most, is when someone says I’m “acting like a child,” or tells me to “grow up.” For some reason, this is the most hurtful thing anyone can say to me.
After many years of experience, and with the help of some powerful medication, I find that I now have some emotional control. I still live in a state of emotional high alert, but I am making some progress.
Like temple Grandin says, “autism is a developmental disorder, and I’m still developing!”
Thanks for reading–Steve