There are times when you have just had enough. You cannot be the solver to everyone’s problems nor can you be the supporter for them whenever you are unable to hold your own mental health grounding. I must realize that I need to take care of my mental health and accept the fact that I need to be assertive and fight for what I need to do to take care of myself.
Sometimes, because of the wanting to feel wanted by others whether that be a peer, or other figure out there that gives us attention we turn a blind eye to what we know is internally destroying our mental health. Others can see when we become triggered by instances we know when the issue arises and it draws attention that something is bothering us. Yet, we as autistics don’t see it as victimizing and think of it being something minimal and not a problem, or that they are thinking differently than us.
However, it is tearing at us slowly and we bottle it up to the point the person we are being a support to realizes that we got something to tell them. When we tell them what is on our mind (because that’s the trait of many autistics) they are first taken aback, but in hindsight they know that it has honesty because if you have the policy of honesty with them, they know you aren’t hiding what you are thinking (another autistic quality.)
Once a minute is taken by the opposing moment to see that they are causing this distress, this issue is causing the person who is stressed, they feel bad. They feel bad, but sometimes we must realize that they may not totally understand that they are the problem. The one that is stressed must use whatever defense mechanisms necessary to protect their mental wellbeing and understand that there is a potential for the person needing you habitually doing the behavior over and over again without realizing it. You as the person needing to step away need to stand your ground and take a stance and not re-engage if you say you need to step away and take a break.
We are all human, we all have needs. We also have the right to not do something that doesn’t seem healthy, right or seem comfortable to us. If you are realizing that other people are stepping away from someone it is likely that they are not the only one in this battle and they are exhausting all listening bodies just because they feel needy. However, because they reach out to you doesn’t mean you have to be clamped down to them. Use all necessary tools and mechanisms to avoid being triggered by them. You deserve to feel free and not feel guilty because you want to help them. If you are realizing that it is mentally tearing you apart, it is a red flag.
You are better than being stuck in a relationship that frustrates you or you don’t feel at ease in. Recognizing these signs is a big key in learning that you need to step away. When doing this you want to be polite, cordial and assertive, factual and honest. Don’t mince around words. If they don’t want to agree or feel they did something wrong, be honest. If you need a break, state that. If they don’t respect your need to be in your space, then do what is necessary to ensure that you don’t feel controlled by their actions and sulking to want you to give them your undivided attention. Especially in pandemic times, everyone deserves their space to feel free and not tied down to something that they don’t want to be involved in. Eventually that person will understand if there is a problem or if they need to work on issues so they can positively interact with others. Ultimately it is their decision to want to change. If they do not want to change, then you did all that you needed to do. You must recognize this at the earliest opportunity and attempt to get away from it if it is unhealthy for you. Again, if you see the signs, it is likely it is a pattern and you are just a part of the process they are following.
You must do what is necessary to protect your mental health. If you have had enough of something, you must assertively stand your ground and do what is necessary in a healthy and appropriate manner to avoid causing your mental health to decline further. You cannot let it get to the point that you cannot control it on our own. If you need support or a listening voice, reach out to them, you can find them almost everywhere. You are never alone.