Asperger’s / autism and loneliness…

Loneliness is another one of my internal tugs-of-war.

On one hand, I cherish and frequently need time alone.  I get to rest, recharge, and reset my whole system.  During these times, I don’t necessarily feel lonely.  I’m comfortable with myself, partaking in my individual “one-player game” activities.  I don’t get anxious about being alone.  I don’t need to constantly surround myself with people to feel complete or valid.  I can often stand on my own and be OK.

During other times, I do get lonely.  I can feel lonely even when surrounded by lots of people (sometimes, especially when I’m surrounded by lots of people).  At times, I’ve felt lonely, even in the company of loved ones.  I can feel like those around me don’t truly understand, and that I can never hope to explain myself enough to be understood; no amount of explanation would suffice.

When I was a small child, I was an only child.  I played with my mom, or I played alone, and that was that.

In school with other kids, I also played alone.  I’m sure that I was mostly fine with that.  But I can’t remember everything; there may have been times in which I might have wanted to play with the other kids, but was too shy or self-conscious to do so.  I’m not sure if anyone made an effort to include me, and I’m not sure if I made an effort to be included.  I might have, somewhere along the line.  I’m sure there was rejection involved.  And I’m sure that at some point, I simply gave up, and played alone by default.

I have often felt lonely in the midst of the crowd of people that is my extended family.  I don’t share anything in common with most of them; they have different priorities, values, opinions, and thought processes than I do, and I’m not exactly sure where I stand with many of them.  Everybody loves Gramma, and Gramma loves everybody, but beyond that lies a vast sea of the unknown.

I have often felt lonely with my partner (whom I’m 95% sure is also an Aspie), whose manifestations and characteristics often differ from mine.  He’d been incapable of giving affection or accommodating me.  This has since, I’m elated to say, changed a lot, and for the (much) better.

I don’t generally feel lonely with my friends.  There is the rare occasion on which I do, but that typically involves my being under a stress that they’re not.

Sometimes I feel lonely with my nuclear family (my parents and sister).  I feel a lot in common with my sister, although we’re also very (interestingly!) different.  Talking with her is always a blast.  It’s unfortunate that she lives in another country, thousands of miles away, because I rarely get to see her; she’s fun to hang out with.  I feel that my mom understands me the best of anyone, because she’s intimately familiar with how I operate (and she’s looked at my astrological chart – sorry – it’s another special interest – bear with me).  But sometimes it’s even hard to explain or express myself to her.   It’s not anyone’s fault; that’s just how it is.  My dad probably understands me more than I realize, because we’re a lot alike in many ways.  But there is plenty about each other that the other just can’t understand, and may never.

I’m glad that my workplace is small enough that I don’t typically feel lonely there.  It’s just my partner, a contractor, and an employee, all of whom are wonderful and sweet, genuine people.  I really lucked out in that area.

I don’t usually feel lonely by myself; I can occupy myself for hours, usually engaged in an area of focus.  It’s interesting how I feel the least lonely when surrounded by the least amount of people.  I wish I had an answer for that, but I don’t.

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