I sometimes have difficulty in acting assertively because…

When I am honest about my thoughts or feelings, people become offended. I do not want to offend people and sometimes I cannot even understand their offence; even when I know why they are offended I become upset, because it seems that when people upset me they become offended but if I upset them well that’s still, apparently, my problem.

Welcome to my first rant as a diagnosed ‘sufferer’ of autism; just for the record, autism doesn’t make me suffer, neurotypicals do. Autism may be annoying, but NTs seem to be just plain retarded.

So, today, I got woken up by construction noises through my open window. Annoying, but it’s 10:30, so I shouldn’t even be in bed. Get up. Close the window. No problem.

Except, it’s still there, coming through the walls, subtle but jarring. So, on goes some tunes. Everyone else in house is in bed, so I am careful to make sure them music is just loud enough to block out the construction noises that everyone else can apparently ignore. I go downstairs, close those windows too, and at the same time check how much the music is reverberating through the floor. Not at all, all I can hear is the cement mixer.

All is good for half hour or so. The otherS get out of bed. I get a phone call. I get a promotion. All is, very, good.

Then, suddenly, the whole house is shaking. The floor or my bedroom feels like it is being punched from underneath, like someone is thumping the living room ceiling.

Now, let me get this clear, this is not an issue on a social, moral, philosophical or political scale, this is purely physical. I suffer from perpetual anxiety and this sounds and feels like an attack, and what’s more it is blocking out the music I have been using to block out the work noise from outside. I turn my music up, right up, until the thud is nearly gone, and realise I need to get out of the house.

Rush downstairs, stick the lead on the dog, grab some documents I need to photocopy and prepare to head round the corner to my Gran’s house; she has a scanner/printer. Just as I am about to leave, I mention to my mother that the other day I had my music up and I got told to turn it down straight away, I ask that next time I want to do so she remembers that, today, my brother was allowed to play, what she calls, ‘thumpy thumpy’ music, very loudly.

Well, I’m pretty much at the end of the story now. Next thing I know she’s raising her voice, wringing her skull, accusing me of having an issue with my brother, when clearly my issue was with her double-standards, and I’m on the back foot trying to explain how a bit of music can help me to relax but blaring bass attacks, funnily enough, are a bit much even for me. I leave the house, go to my Gran’s, to find Mum’s called ahead and Gran is ready to pick up the mantle and start shouting at me for upsetting my Mother. Great. Mum goes to her Mum when she’s been hurt, who do I got to exactly, when my Mum is the one hurting me?

Okay, I know I’m 26, but try not to judge me too harshly here, like everyone else. I’m calling out to the people of the internet because someone out there must have sensory difficulties like me and be able to understand that from the moment the road noises started, I was under attack. My anxiety was on a constant rise and whilst a bit of light music in the background can be amazingly helpful for dealing with this rise, people then taking it to the next level and playing dubstep at club volumes or shouting at me when I try to explain how it’s giving me bloody panic attacks is a surefire way to make my heart burst out of my chest (metaphorically), and for me to behave accordingly in response (literally) by (metaphorically again) melting down.

So, music’s been banned in our house (boy, I can’t wait until they get the pneumatic drill out tomorrow at meltdown o’clock), I can’t talk to my mother or brother because they both agree that, because I turned my music on first, that I ‘started it’, despite the fact that when it was just my music on, no one mentioned it being a problem and it CERTAINLY didn’t bang through the floor until after I had to turn it up, as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to hear it at all.

Now I’m trying to use self-help books to figure out how I could have handled the situation differently, but as far as I can tell everything I did basically followed the methods outlined in those books. I was looking for solutions, not problems, but then suddenly I found myself in an argument that I did not want or predict. My automatic response here is to shut up and not be honest about my feelings anymore, which is the opposite of the intention of the writing exercise prompt that is also the title of this bit of babble (I sometimes have difficulty in acting assertively because…).

I’m supposed to construct a positive challenge to get me out of my comfort zone and help me to be more assertive, but in this case I can honestly say I believe that I was being assertive with my Mum, and then my Gran, but was hit by raw aggression in both cases, which caused me to panic and in the end, both times, I broken down and cried; my Gran continued to shout at me whilst I did.

I need to get away from my family because I believe my Mother has, without necessarily meaning to, so demonized me in all their eyes, and they cannot see how she behaves when they am not around, that if I so much as suggest that she has upset me, I get verbally abused. But I am still recovering from the mental breakdown I had at work a year ago and have only just been officially diagnosed with autism; I am at the start of my road to recovery, I certainly don’t have the money to move out, and my support network is the origin and perpetuator of my neuroses.


4 thoughts on “I sometimes have difficulty in acting assertively because…

    1. Hi jack. So glad i came across this artical you wrote. My daughter alexis has aspergers and suffers simular issues as you .She is extremely sensitive to all kinds of sounds that most people would refer to as back ground noise. She hates the sound of me breathing. I mentioned to her yesterday that i thought you might be going through simular difficulties as her. I thought this after seeing a few posts from the family. Its a real shame that we dont know each other . maybe one day we will meet. You might be able to help alexis with her struggles. By the way she is also very good at writing and is hoping to get some work published one day. Good luck to you jack.

      Warm wishes


      1. Wow, thanks, it’s really great when you hear that something you have written has helped someone else, especially when, as in this case, what I wrote was kind of a cry for help in itself. I’d love for us to talk more, how old is Alexis? I’d love to offer support to you guys, and maybe get some back 😉 Even if it’s just talking online. I work with lower functioning children with ASD as well so I’ve got a little bit of scholarly knowledge on the subject, as much as one can when it comes to discussing something like autism, when we don’t even really know what it is! xxx


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