Ascent Publication
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Ascent Publication

Growing Up Misunderstood…

Me and Rob with a lemonade stand. We were probably 4 years old.

Growing up I was frequently misunderstood. People called me loud, obnoxious, a spazz, temperamental, said that I talked too much, had no social skills, and that I could not sit still. My parents blamed me for being a spoiled brat and themselves for being overly kind to me and giving me everything that I ever wanted as a child. My mom later in life told my ex that if she had to do it over again she would not have spoiled me so much. She had no idea what I was dealing with.

I was held back in first grade and made to repeat. I did not understand why I was held back at the time. It is not as if my grades were all failing. I did not learn to ride a bike until third grade, even though my friends had learned a year or two before I did. While I enjoyed playing t-ball with my friends, when it came to learning to play baseball I never was any good at hitting at ball out of mid air. A psychologist who my parents had me see in 6th grade told me that I was emotionally about two years behind most kids my age in development. I could never hit a target with a bow and arrow, but that was partially because I was brought up right handed and it was discovered in my late teens that I was naturally left handed. In spite of all of this I was told that there were things that I was simply brilliant at.

I regularly had meltdowns that were always misunderstood to be temper tantrums. Most of the time I did not feel angry when a meltdown would occur. Yes there were times when my mom was fighting with me that one would occur, but that was only half the time. Because my parents did not understand that what I was experiencing was a meltdown I would be punished for having them. I was punished for my pickiness in eating. This was labeled as me being spoiled. As a child I would be forced by my mom so sit in a chair completely still and silent any time she would get mad at me, always daily sometimes multiple times daily. While I have many great memories of childhood, there was a constant underlying theme of punishment and not being acceptable socially.

In 5th grade my parents had me switch schools. The Catholic school they had me switch to had classes that were 1/3 smaller than the one which I had been attending. My parents thought it would help, but instead it only made matters worse. At the school that I left I was at least able to get along with some of my classmates and thus things were not too bad for me. It took me 2 years to begin to fit in with my class at the new school. Thus 5th and 6th grade were pure torture. I do not make friends easily and so it was 7th grade before I really began to start making friends with my class mates. In 8th grade I was getting straight A’s and my life seemed to be on track, finally. But then in 8th grade my family moved from the Cleveland area to the area near Wheeling, WV and the process began all over again.

Making friends for me has never been easy. I have a hard time knowing how to remain appropriate in social settings. In large social settings I can get quite reclusive. I have learned to combat that now by having my camera with me at most parties that I go to, which gives me a reason to talk to people. But that was not always the case. I have a hard time talking to people about things that I am not overly interested in, and have a very hard time knowing when it is my place to speak in a conversation. I have often been labeled as rude, condescending and been told that I talk down to people or use words that others don’t understand and thus make them uncomfortable. Due to not talking much in large gatherings where I don’t know very many people, my extended family sees me as self centered. They further see me as narcissistic because I don’t talk about anything other than what interests me.

My parents had me in and out of counselling my entire life. They were convinced that I was a problem (and not their parenting, even though everyone else could see that they were very hard on me). I hated seeing counselors. I was always made to feel like I was a problem. My dad expected me to handle things like an adult. My mom had unrealistic expectations of me. I had such a disdain for counselors and psychologists that by the time that I had a car crash last year and was having recurring nightmares along with panic attacks and actually needed to see a psychologist that he was not going to sit there and tell me just how messed up I was. Every time when I was young a psychologist wanted my parents to come for a session or two the counselling ended abruptly. Yeah, in their minds, I was the problem.

I did not fit in very well in high school. I had a small class, which in hindsight was not good for me. Of all my classmates I only still talk to 3 of them and one of them is my real good friend. The school was a small Catholic school so I was limited in what subjects I could study. I remember to this day being upset the school did not offer German and that I had to study French or Spanish. I chose French and did miserably in the subject. I graduated with decent enough grades (over 3.0) but no where near what I could have done because of my lack of interest in studying.

In 1991, when I was 18, I was diagnosed with ADHD, even though I did not agree with the doc who diagnosed me with that. It would not be until the crash last year that gave me anxiety attacks and nightmares that I would finally find a psychologist who I could work with on the anger from the past. I had been working for it for years on my own, so much of the work was done by the time I had gone to see this doc. As I have noted in past blog posts, I did not even know that Aspergers Syndrome existed until I met the ex-girlfriend in 2014. I further did not believe that she had it until she told me the tell tale signs to watch out for and I began to notice that she was right about having it. Like many people I had a very typical view of autism and people who are autistic, not even imagining that I might be on the spectrum.

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Michael Goltz

Michael Goltz

I am an autistic artist and photographer who’s slowly working at peeling back the layers of life in order to open myself up to newer and more fluent creativity.

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