Solid Exterior… Crumbling Within

Long ago, I learned the fine art of presenting a solid exterior to the world.  I was bullied relentlessly and any emotions I showed regarding this only brought more bullying upon me.  So I clammed up.  I hid my pain and anger from the world (except for my closest friend) and pretended as if I were a brick wall.  No matter how much I felt like my entire world was crashing down around me, I made it look like I was the most solid person in the room.  Or, at least, I tried my best to make it seem that way.

In college, all I wanted was to be "normal."  Everyone around me was dating so I wanted to date.  I had no idea how to go about this so I clumsily made my way through those four years with a solid exterior/crumbling within.  Every person holding hands, every quick kiss in the hallway, every conversation about significant others chipped away at me inside.  I had a few breakdowns, a few times when I let my crumbling exterior show, but I would erect a new "solid exterior" the first chance I got.

Fast forward to the present day.  As I posted on DadRevolution.com, NHL has been diagnosed with some behavioral issues.  We strongly believe that I share these issues.  In other words, he inherited them from me.  Add this to the growing list of "Ways I’ve Screwed Up My Son’s Life Through Genetics."  Intellectually, I know this isn’t my fault.  It’s not like I said "Hey, here’s this bad gene, let’s send that on to the baby.  Here’s a good gene, we’ll hold that back."  Still, I find myself blaming myself for all of this.

Going back to the bullying.  I always figured that it was a quirk of circumstance.  Kids bullied me and so I became an introvert and so kids bullied me more.  But what if it was the other way around?  What if I was introverted because of these behavioral issues and *THEN* kids picked up on it and bullied me?  It might seem like a small technicality, but it is huge to me.

If it was the first one, a quirk of circumstances, then NHL stands a fighting chance of not being bullied like I was.  Of not going through the living hell that I went through day after day after day.  If, instead, it is all traceable to behavioral issues, which NHL has inherited from me, I may have genetically doomed him to the same torture I encountered.  I still feel pain thinking about high school, even though I graduated 17 years ago.  How can I not feel some pain at dooming him to this same fate?

And yet, even now, I put up that solid exterior.  I’m a brick wall, able to take anything thrown at me, at least that’s how I like the world to see me… until I come crumbling down.

2 comments

  • I’d like to think that things are a bit different today. We can’t change how others react to a child with autism or Aspberger’s, but we can be proactive by educating, and by making these diagnoses and treating them with therapy and behavioral modification.

    I know that knowing this doesn’t make your life, your pain from your past or your worry for you son any easier, but at the very least know that autism and Aspberger’s are more understood, discussed and worked on with therapy now more than ever.

    With all that said, knowing these things and thinking about it logically doesn’t make you feel any better. Believe me, I know. I sought an evaluation for my son at sixteen months, services began at 18, and the official diagnosis of autism was made at 24 months. Even though I knew what it was and I knew it was coming, and I knew we could work with him and take advantage of all sorts of therapy, it was still a devastating blow.
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  • ahhhhh I so hear you! and can relate! it is a really difficult thing to act so tough and strong when on the inside we just want to hide in a dark room and sob. It’s tough, i have been there, I know what it’s like, and it can be exhausting. Sometimes I find that i don’t have the energy to put up a front and it’s usually in this time that interesting things happen in my life. What is so bad about showing the world our true selves? it’s tough, but I think worth a try! good luck to you. 🙂
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