First off, let me distinguish between the words, “seems” and “is”. These two words mean very different things and, especially in the case of this writing, mean a world of difference in what I’m talking about.
This post isn’t called “How it Feels When Your Relationship IS One-Sided” because I don’t think that’s always been the case with me and my history. Generally, it just seems one-sided.
Let me be the first to say that I’m not only autistic/Asperger’s, but I deal a lot with depression and low self-esteem. These three things alone aren’t a great combination, but when you mix in a relationship with the usual ups and downs, it can be a deadly combination for me.
It’s our “fight, flight, or freeze” response that our reptilian brains come reprogrammed with. Over time, we can become more and more vulnerable to negative thoughts, panic, anxiety, and an onslaught of intrusive memories when we feel threatened in some way.
I’ve been in many a relationship where it seems as if things are one-sided–that when it comes right down to it, the other person’s needs, wants and desires seem to come first.
That turns out to often times not be the case, but as I said before, what seems to be and what actually is, are two entirely different beasts.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times over the years where I’ve felt neglected, disappointed and hurt because I felt like things were always going the other person’s way and that my feelings, needs or wants didn’t matter.
More often than not, they did matter to the other person. I was just too blinded at the moment to see it and realize it.
Typically, I was wrong about how things really were. That’s not to say that my feelings at the time weren’t valid, but in the end, it turned out that I wasn’t always correct and that I had let my depression and self-esteem problems get in the way of clear thinking.
As I’ve gotten older, though not necessarily wiser, I’ve come to realize this more and more. When we let depression, fear of rejection and low self-esteem take control instead of keeping a level head, things can go from not so bad to completely horrible in the snap of a finger.
What could be a minor thing can easily end up blowing up in our face in a big way and no one wants that t to happen. At least, I know I don’t.
This is something that as I reflect back, I realize that I’m still learning and I truly hope that should a similar situation ever arise in the future, I have the chance to try harder to not let these feelings of being overwhelmed take over my body and not let these negative emotions take control, if even for a short time.
History can be a great teacher and even though right now I have these thoughts on my mind and realize that I can cope better with situations, I pray that in the future I never get put back into a situation where I have to try and remember them on the fly.
When I try to remember things like this on the fly, I believe I tend to fall back into my old habits and that’s something I definitely don’t want to do.
I’ve also dealt with a lot of trauma in my life–physical, mental and verbal in nature.
Those of us who have been through a lot of trauma have a predisposition to interpreting things negatively. My partner has done a lot of reading on the subject of trauma and she has pointed out that trauma actually changes the wiring of the brain, often permanently.
When we are hurt repeatedly, the sympathetic nervous system is sensitized to the point of generating hair-trigger responses to even neutral situations when they remind us of something similar that happened to us.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t work to reprogram our brains through deliberately choosing to search for and focus on the positives. But that does take a lot of hard work and doesn’t happen overnight.
If you’re like me and you have a history with a lot of setbacks and traumas, you may think you’re crazy or that you’re a complete idiot for getting yourself into what seems to be the same dramatic scene over and over again. Just remember that sometimes your reptile brain sometimes takes control, so do your best, in those moments, not to believe everything you think.
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