With anything that can breed insecurity the need for something safe and familiar is often there. With Asperger’s being a life long condition it can create the need for a “safety net” in the form of a very strong bond. By no means am I saying that having strong bonds is a bad thing, but it can sometimes pass in to the realm of dependency.
A healthy relationship can pass in to dependency due to the routine of someone constantly being around. This unfortunately can alienate the person whose friendship is being relied upon due to the sheer amount of attention that is needed from them. Unfortunately, this in turn can lead to the person striving for safety to push even harder if they feel they’re losing the friendship. This in turn pushes the friend away two-fold.
As I mentioned emotional attachment can come from the feeling of routine, and knowing what to expect. Knowing just a single person’s moods and habits is much easier than having to learn numerous peoples when your interactive skills might lack polish. This type of one to one relationship often doesn’t suit non Asperger’s suffers as they like a wealth of friends with unique characteristics. If friendships are formed and a close friend starts to branch out with new people it can lead to a sense of abandonment.
As I child I found it difficult to form and maintain bonds with anyone who I didn’t see on a constant basis. This included family which would leave me feeling frustrated as I would think “this is my family, how come I can’t be close to them?” I’d always enjoy the atmosphere at family parties, but I’d stay in my own room away from people as I found chatting awkward. Even though I couldn’t form bonds on a level I would have liked with my family, I had close friendships with people who I went to school with.
The maximum limit of people I could give my attention to at any one time seemed to be two. I could function in a bigger group but never really felt the need to when I had one or two close friends. However it got to a point after spending an amount of time with people, I would almost need a cooling off period and would then move to another person or two. It would be as if I hit my saturation point with a person and couldn’t possibly take any more of them. It wouldn’t even come as a result of anything major like a falling out; I would just suddenly lose interest in spending time with them. Thankfully this would never cause any problems as the people I would be close to were part of a bigger group of friends. This more than likely meant a transition between people would seem ergonomic and barely noticeable.
With age, relationships generally get more complex with people becoming much more aware of feelings and motives. Because of this people can become reliant on the gratification of others to feel self worth, as a result of struggling to find it within themselves. I’ve found myself in a similar situation where I’ve accepted someone relying on me because of the feeling of importance, but more importantly the bond it gave me. After a time however, this would weigh down to the point where the signs of Asperger’s would be much more prominent in my day to day life. Due to that I would then withdraw from that person in an attempt to refresh myself. My need for sleep would become much greater and my concentration would greatly decrease. I’d also be much less likely to want to leave the house as a result.
The end product of that cycle would be as I pulled away for my own space, the person who I was in a relationship with would notice me pulling away and push harder for my attention. I’ve even got to a point where I giving a “disclaimer” along with myself, about needing my own space from time to time. People agree that there’d be no problem with that, until that time arrives and become much less understanding. I don’t think this is a lack of consideration on their part but the feeling that they’re being rejected.
Due to repeating the same process with people I decided to look at my relationships closely to try and identify what patterns kept re-occurring. Probably the biggest mistake I would make was to over exert myself in an attempt to please people. This would be fine for a while but it would get to the point where I could no longer keep it up as I would be drained. This would lead to me pulling away for my space as I’ve mentioned before. This simplest way to avoid pushing myself too far has been to simply let me people know what to expect of me. It may seem rather matter of fact to do something like that but it lets people know where they stand, and lets them decide if they’re happy with how things will be.
With previous relationships (whether it be friendship or romantic) it’s got to a point where I’ve had to think about the experiences I’m getting from it. I’ve had to do this as habit has made me accept behaviour and situations that I shouldn’t have tolerated. I’ve been aware of “feeling wronged” but accepted it regardless which has eventually led to ill feelings. If I’ve left something unsaid that I’ve felt I should have, it has at times led to resentment. When that point has been reached I’ve become aware that the relationship has become habitual and one of dependency.
I think it’s important to identify your own personality; your traits, preferences, likes and dislikes and your own morals system. When you have a good idea of that it will be easier to know what you look for in relationships. Your relationships may not always be your idea of perfect, but you yourself can’t always be perfect for someone else either, so some give and take (within reason) will probably be required. The important thing to keep in mind is that someone is there to supplement your own personality, not to fill in “gaps.” If you feel you have thing missing from your life then it’s important to try and find what they are. Sometimes this will mean reliving things from your past that could be painful, but working through those issues will allow you to feel good about yourself without anyone else’s validation and will negate the need for unhealthy attachments.