Getting a therapist this year was probably one of the best and most valuable things I have done.
One boundary I am setting right here and now is just because I am open about being autistic and advocate for autistics and autism, it does not give ANYONE permission to share with others I am autistic especially right in front of me, on behalf of me or for me. I do not disclose to everyone I like to get to know people and not be defined by a diagnosis. There are many layers to me. Being autistic is just one.
Being autistic I am very easily manipulated because I do not like conflict, I can't read people's intentions and I also do not like to hurt peoples feelings.
However, there comes a point where you have to really look at how you like and do not like to be treated.
Do you know that saying 'actions speak louder than words'. I take that saying very literally. i will remember peoples words and see if they are actually true to them.
When someone has hurt me deeply I can no longer enagage with that person. That is inclusive of family members also. I am very tolerant and will give people chance after chance but these people I have learnt take up too much of my energy. As I have learnt to realise sometimes you have to realise your energy is spent better elsewhere than on roundabout relationships. Relationships are like people they should grow and when they don't grow they die.
What used to happen in my pre diagnosed younger years was people would treat me rubbish, say hurtful things but they would be quite popular so I would tolerate it thinking if I won them over I would be popular to and more protected as a result.
In my post diagnosed days I have now learnt to be very careful about people, their actions and intentions and as a result I have set boundaries about what I will and will not accept from people.
My therapist still hates the fact that in a public or office setting, someone may make a comment attacking me or a trait of mine but in a way it comes across as harmless. I know the intention behind it but I let it slide because I also know 'making a big deal about it' could potentially create a big deal of stress for me.
The boundaries I have in place are:
- If someone has upset me I will let it slide but I will then speak to someone I trust about the situation and seek advice
- If someone continually disrespects me after I have told them I do not like how they are speaking to me, I will not invest much energy. The texts will become non existant or I just do not divulge personal information.
- If someone hurts me, apologises but the behaviour is repeated then these people become non existant in my life. This is inclusive to family. I have a three strikes policy.
- If people speak for me they are distanced. I do not need people to explain my actions or tell people why they think I am the way I am. I am quite capable of doing this myself and whilst the intention may be good the harm it creates it actually more because by doing this you are taking away my voice. If I am struggling to get a point across what needs to be said is 'do you need time'
- I choose my social outings carefully
- I will correct people if what they are saying is wrong.
- I recognise when the help becomes less.
I stick to boundaries by reinforcing them. If I do not like a situation I leave. I try less to people please but can be respectful in a setting even if my respectful is not giving eye contact and being mute when a person I do not trust is in my vacinity. It can make things awkward but I just can't fake my way through that. It gets me nowhere.
I am assertive when I set boundaries but I worry I make the wrong decision. However, I have found setting boundaries a healthy way for me to navigate life better.