When I was a kid this was something I had learned to do. I think being teased by other kids had to do with it and getting into trouble for getting upset.
I hated being picked on by others and it always made me feel bad and always bothered me, it was hard to ignore. Also my mom would tell me to stop crying like a two year old when I would get upset so I had learned I wasn’t supposed to cry so after a while I started to hold it in and cry when I was alone. I also learned to ignore my own feelings and turn them off so words wouldn’t hurt because that was the only way I could be happy in life and deal with the depression and other kids being mean. I also learned to suppress my feelings when younger children would upset me because I had learned they could wreck things and upset you and you can do nothing about it because they are just little kids. I would be told he is just a little boy or just a little girl but yet I was never allowed to be that way as a young child. I can remember my mom telling me how she always gave me universal rules. That means she would give me rules that will never change because once I was allowed to do something, it was hard to get me to stop so that explained why I was never allowed to be a little monster.
But by 6th grade and my teens it did take a toll on my feelings. After holding them in for so long, it all comes out and it’s a big mess because you can no longer do it. You explode and then you have all these wild feelings and depression. I wonder what would have happened if I had said as a child that little kids can do bad stuff because they can and that is the rule they have at their age and older kids have to let them do those things and let them wreck their stuff they are making. Then my mom would have known I had it all wrong and maybe taught me differently. But I didn’t know I had it all wrong, I thought that was the way things were so it never occurred to me to express it.
I was in my teens when my therapist told me that the reason why I would get into trouble was because I was older so I was supposed to be a better role model for the child about how to handle my feelings and how to handle things and it’s the same with his four year old when he fights with his two year old brother. So basically punishing the older child just teaches them how to act better while for me it gave me the victim role and I thought I was wronged and felt victimized by the little child. Then after awhile I just didn’t want them around and my brothers were older so I didn’t really have a little kid problem anymore. My brothers were older and so were their friends so that made my life easier.
There are indeed parents who let their kids do bad things just because they are little and use their age as an excuse but there was nothing my mother or father could have done because it was not their child so all they could do is handle me. But as a seven year old or as a nine year old I saw it differently. I thought they could act that way because of their age and it was allowed and I was to let them do those things and I am not to get upset. I was denied my own feelings unintentionally by my family. I sometimes wonder if this is why I have troubles with feelings to this day or with emotion. My therapist said this was all a coincidence. I don’t know if he was saying that as a way to get me to feel other kids and my parents didn’t screw me up because this would have happened anyway or was he just trying to get me out of my denial phase of having Asperger’s. I still get in the habit of ignoring myself because I see it as a survival thing to live through life. Oh there is a change in my routine at work, oh turn off the feelings so I don’t panic and meltdown. I know acting that way wouldn’t get my job done or solve anything so what is the fricken point getting upset and having a meltdown or a panic attack?
I know this isn’t healthy but I also know I will just be the bad guy for my feelings because they tend to be childish and I hate having anxiety so sometimes I have to use this skill to get through it and it’s not always easy or successful if it’s too strong. Even my husband will say I act like a child with my kids. I know if I had to be the bad guy, I would learn to suppress them and hold them in again and then it will come back and bite me again years later. That was how I was starting to live my life with Jerry because any of my positive feelings was too immature for him. That wouldn’t be the life I would want because it would have been either have feelings and be ignored or suppress them and then I have a happy boyfriend and he doesn’t ignore me like I am not there.
I remember being about 21 years old, my mom told me on the phone how unhealthy it is to hold in my feelings. I was doing that everyday at work to get through the stress there and from breaking down and I would come home sometimes in tears after a hard day and days of things piling up until i couldn’t hold it anymore. Of course it was confusing when she told me this wasn’t healthy what I was doing when she was the one who would get mad at me for my feelings when I was 16 and when I was little for getting upset or even reacting. Now she was telling me what I was doing wasn’t healthy because I was entitled to my feelings so suppressing them isn’t good for my health. I was trapped. Either way was wrong what I was doing. I couldn’t win. It was like my mother couldn’t make up her mind so what did she want? I realize I probably don’t know how to do it appropriately so I had learned to suppress them and hold them in because that is how I can act appropriately. It was a strategy I had found as an adolescent and I thought then this was how things were. You could only feel a certain way and you could control how you feel so I always made choices. Then I was in my mid twenties when I found out these are not really choices and people don’t choose to get upset or choose offense. I could remember getting in trouble for how I feel so I had learned there were right ways to feel. But what I know now in my thirties is it’s not how you feel, it’s about how you are handling it and expressing it. But apparently I had it all wrong all these years. I was even lying to myself too because I believed I could feel anyway I wanted to feel so there was me thinking other people chose to be happy or sad so I would think of it as their problem. I do something and I find out it was upset the other person so I apologize, they don’t get over it so I would see it as their issue now. I still find this all alien because to my mind an apology is supposed to make someone feel better so they can move on and if they still hold it against you and not move on, I still see it as their problem because I had apologized because it was the right thing to do. The person was hurt so the only way to fix the issue was to apologize so I could have peace and get them off my back so they would feel better and be able to move on themselves or otherwise they are just making a choice. Now I don’t even know anymore how I am supposed to feel sometimes and how I feel. My therapist said this was all a coincidence but I don’t know. Or could he have meant my AS contributed to this because of how I saw it all and not understanding so it made me have this problem because of it and if I didn’t have it, it wouldn’t have led me to this. But I know child abuse can also cause this issue too in the abused and the thing is I wasn’t really abused, I was just treated like how most parents treat their children when fights and conflicts happen. But the difference is it doesn’t do this to them like it did for me because of my Asperger’s. Some might call this child abuse what i went through but to me I don’t like to call it child abuse because this was all normal stuff for all kids and to me child abuse implies does with intent and malicious and doing things out of the norm that are mean and my mom loved me and always advocated for me and made the effort to figure out how to teach me and she was smart enough to know my brain worked different and she didn’t need a reason for my differences, she just accepted that is the way I am and every child is different. She didn’t need to understand, she only needed to accept it and know for a fact that every kid is different. What might work on one kid won’t work on the other so what may have worked on my brothers didn’t work on me so she had to find a different strategy. So how can I say I was abused when all she did was loved me and treated me like how most parents would treat their children while there are abused kids out there not being given love and they are being beaten and starved and neglected or locked in a room or closet or being singled out? That would be so insulting for anyone that was abused that way while my mom gave me a normal childhood and loved me and she made her mistakes like all parents do.