On the outside looking in,
Walking through life on your own,
No matter how large a group you’re with,
You never have a friend.
Watching everyone having fun,
Making plans.
Someone comes along.
A tiny light of hope in your mind,
You open up your heart to them,
Show them who you are.
They seem to want to be friends,
Another comes along,
Your two becomes a three,
The three becomes a four,
A group forever more.
Or so you think.
But before long,
You’re on the outside looking in again.
You three, not me.

One of the things about being a mother is that you hope that your children won’t experience what you did growing up.

I can remember being PW’s age and chasing the people who I went to primary school with around the playground, playing one game or another. There were always people who didn’t understand me, who called me names or pushed me away physically. So I went looking for friends who did understand me.

For a brief time at secondary school, I had a best friend. We hung around together, had sleepovers, went swimming and to the movies. We got into trouble together and had a lot of fun – or at least that’s what it felt like at the time and how it seems in my memory.

Then things changed and while we were still friends, we were doing different subjects and hung around with different people. I had trouble with this change – it wasn’t her fault… and deep inside I knew that, but I still blamed her and our other friend.

I don’t any more because I understand the why – 20/20 hindsight is useful.

We moved away from each other – she went to one uni, our friend went to another and I stayed home for a year before going to a third. After that our friendship broke apart and stayed broken, no matter how many times I tried to mend it. They had other friends that understood them in ways that I never could.

It hurt a lot. It still does.

It happened again in University – I opened up to other people and it feels a lot like while I took them into my heart, they didn’t want to be there. They moved on to other friends and places…

So I closed that part of me up and guarded it. Since then no one has been able to touch it.

Now I am very much alone – yes, I have TOH but that’s a different kind of relationship (women will understand what I mean) and I am on the outside looking in of so many different groups. I’ve opened up that part of me to counsellors and looked at it with their help.

It still hurts. I don’t think it will ever stop hurting – it’s a grief of sorts. I’m grieving for the girl I was and friends that I feel I lost. Maybe I never had them.

I see them on social media, celebrating various things, and I’m reduced to a comment in their lives, someone who used to be their friend. And I know I’ll never have that again because I’m too scared that opening that part of me up again to anyone else will mean getting hurt again and again.

When I try to open up to people, the intensity of my attempt to be friends scares them off or they aren’t interested and I can see it happening again. So I close up again.

I’ve stayed closed for so long that, as a consequence, I have people that I see at classes or groups but no real friends. When I’m online, in social media, I can kid myself that I have real friends – they’re always there if I have a problem, someone always answers when I as a question. I can be myself and no one runs the other way.

Or at least that’s what it feels like.

I’m hoping that it doesn’t happen to my children.

I can’t write about my personal friend wrecks anymore. So here are some links to other people who can:

https://themighty.com/2015/07/making-friends-when-you-have-autism/

https://www.autism.com/adults/friendships

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_friends.html

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