Springingtiger's Blog

Mature Autism – Missing Mother’s Day

The day my mother died I stopped biting my nails , I still tear broken nails with my teeth, but the habitual chewing stopped. A part of me was upset when she died, but I had an overwhelming sense of freedom. Apart from a couple of years after University I never really returned home once I had left, and I did not enjoy those years when I did live with her.

Sometimes my mother was over affectionate – too frequently – and when she was affectionate she liked to hug and kiss, I didn’t and still don’t feel comfortable with physical expressions of affection. On other occasions she would lose control and become violent hitting me with whatever came to hand, sticks, shoes, a piece of blackboard with nails in it, she even when I was four, kept a cane in the bathroom with which to punish me. She was incapable of preventing me from repeating things for which I had already been punished, she never could get me to appreciate that my actions had an impact on others, and so she snapped and struck out. I learned to fear and hate her.

Then there was the rejection. My mother sent me away to boarding school whereas I wanted to remain at home and so I knew she wanted to be rid of me. Once I had left home I rarely returned except for a few years when I lived at home, but I did not enjoy it and returned to Glasgow almost every weekend. Later I took my daughter to visit her grandmother and on that visit I challenged my mother with her treatment of me. She replied that nowadays some people might consider her treatment of me as child abuse. The last time I saw my mother she was in hospital dieing of cancer, I told her that she should not feel she had to hang on to life if she didn’t want to and that I would not love her less if she chose to go, and then I said goodbye.

I was sad when she died, but I was also very relieved. Several years later I was diagnosed with Asperger’s and started to reevaluate the events of my life. I remember her telling me of the times when she had to hold me as I howled as if my heart was breaking. She told me she sent me away to school because she feared because I was so sensitive I would be bullied at the local school. I must admit that sending me to Giggleswick was very good for me. I suppose in some ways I must have been unmanageable, I suppose when all else failed hitting me was the only thing left to try. She must have regularly been on the edge of despair as my behaviour frequently was dangerous to myself and others, and despite all her efforts remained so. My lack of social skills must have challenged her as I tended to see others as objects of curiosity and didn’t always treat them well.

If Asperger’s had been known when I was a child things may – or may not – have been different, but now I understand much more. I wish we had known about my Asperger’s before she died, we could have talked about it, I could have told her I loved her and actually meant it. At least I can see my mother differently now, but I am sad that I shut her out. I do miss her, but now I’ll never be able to tell her or return a hug instead of freezing.


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