“By Now…” – Two Words That Can Cause Irreparable Damage in Inter-Neurotype Relationships
At the risk of repeating myself, I’d like to do a post that’s quite similar to the “Can’t you just…” post.
While the statement, “Can’t you just…” can appear at any time in an NT to ND relationship, the “By now…” statement usually happens after years or even decades have gone by and can be even more painful and damaging.
I’ll give you some examples of what I mean:
“I thought my daughter would have developed a sense of direction BY NOW.”
“I thought my husband would be able to read me BY NOW.”
“I thought my aunt would remember my birthday BY NOW.”
“I thought my brother would have learned to not take everything so literally BY NOW.”
As I’ve said before, being autistic isn’t something that changes or “goes away” because of the tender, loving care and time a non-autistic person puts into it.
Love isn’t ‘powering through the challenges’ while holding out hope that eventually the autistic person will change. Your friendship, kindness, and caring doesn’t yield a ‘reward’ of a non-autistic person in the end.
If that’s what you’re hoping for, both you and your autistic loved one are in for a world of hurt.
Can autistic people make compromises and learn how to show their non-autistic loved ones they care for them in NT language? Yes. Just like non-autistic people can learn autistic love languages and express them, as well.
However, autistic is our native language.
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The best way to improve communication with your autistic loved one is to understand how your autistic loved one’s mind works! Intentions, motivations, and personal expressions (facial expressions or lack thereof, body language, etc.), are often quite different in autistic people than they are in neurotypical people.
Experience a better understanding of your autistic loved one by reading books about life from an autistic perspective as well as stories that feature autistic characters. You’ll have so many “Ah ha!” moments and start seeing your autistic loved one in a different light (and you’ll have a better understanding of their behaviors, which you may have been misinterpreting up until now).
Books I recommend for a better understanding of your autistic loved one:
Think of a Spanish person who speaks English as a second language. They may speak English at work, at their children’s school, and at church, but what language would that same person likely curse in after dropping a plate, stubbing a toe, or getting cut off in traffic?
Spanish, their native language!
I don’t want to make it sound as though autistic people, as a whole, can’t learn, change, or grow. We can and do. But, at the core of our beings, we are autistic just like you are non-autistic; and that fact will never change no matter how well we learn to speak each other’s languages.
So, if your brother is still literal, your husband still can’t “read” you, your daughter is still directionless, and your aunt still forgets your birthday even though you’re in your 40s now, stop focusing on those specific things.
If those things (or similar) really hurt you and you need or want something to change, communicate that need or want directly. But don’t hang all your hopes on it!
Instead, look for the positives in your relationship and understand that ultimately, love is wholehearted acceptance, and in that wholehearted acceptance comes peace.
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