I am wondering if the female with Asperger’s Syndrome could also encompass a loss-of-identity-of-self element.
I have always had a hard time understanding my own interests, likes, wants, and needs. My desires become obscured and distorted based on my current love-interest. This could be a love of a person, as in friendship and/or romance.
I seem to morph in and out of existence based on my current lifestyle and interest. I can hold onto certain elements of self, primarily my special interests since childhood, e.g., writing, drawing, poetry, nature, animals, music, but other interests and ‘trademarks’ of my personality readily change without much effort and without me even knowing based on my interaction with another person.
Somethings that hold true and steadfast for my character and sense of self include:
Great Love and Passion
Lack of Manipulation
Lack of Game Playing
Intellectual in depth Processing
A Child-Like Heart and Spirit
The Desire to Serve
The Desire to Make a Difference
The parts of my life that alter when I have an interest in another:
Spending less time on a past special interest or activity.
Focusing on new relationship, sometimes with nothing else seeming to matter, except pleasing the other person by becoming akin to their likes and interest.
Vast amounts of emotional energy spent on the person, in comparison to the amount previously spent on self or another.
Partaking in future planning regarding the person.
Over-analyzing and focusing on aspects of my appearance, habits, behaviors, and goals; effectually comparing myself to the other, and wondering in what ways my self could better reflect the other person.
Revamping of what I choose for entertainment, recreation, and sometimes food/drink, clothing, etc.
Taking on the likes and interests of the other person, including book, music, and movie genres, entertainment, social events and various activities.
Taking on mannerisms, dialect, ways of speech, or other unique characteristics of the person.
Taking on belief systems, philosophies and/or personality traits of the person.
This is usually not done at a conscious-level. Typically, I am blinded to my own behavior, justifying what I am doing with some mind-conditioning or logical sequencing, such as rationalization or total denial. This morphing differs in codependency, as I remain intact in my self-esteem and sense of worth. I do not enable. I have clear boundaries of what I will not tolerate or allow in my comfort zone. I maintain a sense of joy in my own life and accomplishments. But it is similar in codependency in my want to over-give, transform based on another, and my tendency to obsess, fantasize, and make the person more important in reality than he or she truly is. In some ways the person becomes like my god or sun, and I the dependent mortal or planet.
Even with all my growth and self-reflection, I still get caught in the pull-push state of wanting to be myself in completion and wanting to figure out how to be what another wants me to be. Even with this strong awareness, this morphing of who I am transpires without warning or clear indication, until I am in the transient state of a chameleon of my personhood.
This morphing is a common part of the female with Asperger’s condition; the female with Aspergers molds her own behaviors and mannerisms in a way that she believes will satisfy the need of her beloved.
The downfall in this behavior is foremost: losing self-identity.
The other issue at hand is the female with ASD cannot ever meet another’s expectations in completion, because the wants and needs of another individual (aka her ‘best friend’) are in constant transition.
It is important to note that this act of morphing is instinctual in nature to many females with ASD. She is seemingly programmed in the brain to morph based on attraction or interest in another human being.
I repeatedly try to transform my own ways and behaviors to meet the needs of another, without even realizing I am partaking in this behavior. Once I catch myself in this chameleon action, I pull back and wonder why I have once again fallen into the trap of losing self. From here I question the sense of self in all aspects, and become boggled by the concept of simply being.
During the morphing phase, I live my life through the eyes of one person. I see myself being watched by this someone at a distance. I see myself adapting, conforming, and molding in an attempt to fit some faraway expectation or goal, I have subconsciously created. I watch my own self through the eyes of someone else. I match my movements, choices, and even sometimes my thought processes to what I think this individual expects or desires from me. I do this without much awareness or analysis, much like a robot following a pre-instructed and installed program. There isn’t much thought to what I am doing or why I am doing it, beyond doing.
Usually this perspective, the way I interpret myself being ‘seen,’ and how I respond in word, thought, and action, shifts every year or so, depending on the duration of a relationship. Everything I do, I imagine and I believe is seen through the eyes of a human being beyond myself (boyfriend, lover, husband, best friend, boss). My movements, my words, my way of being, revolve around this someone beyond myself.
It is like constantly having an overseer observing me. I question would he/she behave like this? I ask, “Is this bringing me closer to his/her liking?” It isn’t as much a need for approval as wanting to match myself to this other. Interestingly, at the same time this morphing is transpiring, I still maintain my own self-esteem and self-love. I like who I am. I want to be me. But I somehow get lost in the process of befriending this high-interest person.
High-interest in the keyword and key point.
Without the high-interest, I am not drawn into the morphing and adjusting of self. With high-interest, my brain attaches, much like it does with a special hobby or activity, and I become a scientist dissecting the person, as if the person were a project. My brain’s natural ability to dissect, take apart, and rearrange pieces of a whole into a new whole takes over. I become a detective of self and other; again, not typically at a conscious level; though I have some awareness of what I am doing, a cloak to my full reality remains. This cloaking action resembles some sort of protective mechanism and functions the same way as in my high-interest projects, (aka: fixations). I cannot seem to pull myself out, or properly analyze and confront my own behavior, until the passionate interest has subsided; the stopping point/tilting point usually being a new special interest. I go from one to the other, a child on the monkey bars of a playground, not letting go of the one in hand, until the next in hand is firmly grasped.
Through this way of being, I lose track of who I am. Yet, I wonder if I ever was to begin with.
If I take time to process this sense of being, and the ‘whys’ of the way I respond in passion to another, I become confused in thoughts of ‘what is being?’ and ‘what is self?’ I have no idea of who I am, beyond space and matter, and a reflection of the universe. I am ever-changing and transitioning substance. I adhere to the string-theory, to ancient philosophies and belief systems—that of being nothing but the combined perception of others. In truth, I know a thousand others would have a thousand interpretations of this self I am, and in a year’s passing even these opinions would all transition. I am never stagnant, and awaken a new person not daily, but minute by minute. I have no general sense of self or of being. I am that I am. In essence I am nothing.
Perhaps because of the ‘no self’ theory, I transform without intention when fixated on another. Perhaps, like some spiritual teachers have professed, I am merely taking on the characteristics reflected in the person I am observing because I am only, and will always only be, a reflection. Perhaps, I am wired in a way, spiritually or biologically, in which I am not a solid form made to stay stagnant and unwavering; or perhaps I am more keenly alert and aware of the changes and transformations inside of me, to a point that the changes distract from me recognizing a fully forming personhood.
Regardless of my hypothesis, I get trapped in the cyclical repetition of morphing.
In the last season of inquiry, I have reached a new threshold, in which I have questioned: What do I want in another person? What makes me happy? What are my true needs?
The only answer I hear is: love
Beyond unconditional love and acceptance, (and beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs), I don’t understand needs.
Any needs, to me, seem obscure and border on self-based, ego-needs. Who am I to claim a need without at the same time delegating to another how I wish him/her to be or respond (change) in order to please and satisfy me? And what is it inside of myself that is not complete and satisfied in which I need another to fulfill me?
With these thoughts, I become entangled in trying to contemplate the very basic nature of self needs and self-identity.