Q. Between the ages of 6 and 10, I was severely bullied, but I was given the impression by grown-ups that I shouldn’t be so sensitive. (I now realize they probably did not pay attention to what was going on.) I was threatened with knives, bashed with a broomstick, and on at least two occasions suffered injuries that took months to heal. One of the girls involved ended up in the state hospital for the criminally insane.
I now often feel intense anxiety when in the presence of girls that age. When I hear people saying nice things about children, I feel overwhelmed with anger, and while I do not have any specific thoughts of harming kids, I find myself wanting to go off on rants telling everyone the “truth” about the inherently evil and vicious nature of children.
I also have Asperger’s. My question is: Would it be worthwhile to seek treatment? I am concerned that it would be difficult to find a therapist familiar with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) adults because I have heard of cases where further emotional damage is done because our motivations and reactions are different from those of “regular” people.
I want to start dating after having been single for a very long time, and the reality is that most men of an appropriate age for me will be divorced or widowed (I’m 37). And my friends are becoming parents. What do you suggest?
A. Your insight into the problem is very good in that you recognize the origin of the difficulty, which would make any therapy less involved than you may imagine. What you need is support in coping and help with taming your thoughts. With the advice of a professional, I am recommending cognitive behavioral therapy. The fact that you have some form of Asperger’s is not a factor here.
Q. I’m allergic to velvet and similar fabrics that are soft and fuzzy to the touch, and having my skin in contact with them results in redness, itching, and hives. The problem is that I’m pregnant, and that sort of material abounds in baby clothes and soft toys, which no doubt will be given to us. My mother said, “Well, you’ll just have to wear gloves all the time, because it’s unfair to deprive your child of proper toys and clothes just because you’re a little finicky.” How do I politely let people know velvety items are not welcome?
A. “Finicky” means difficult to please. “Allergic” signifies an abnormal reaction of the body. There are many clothes and toys that are not made of velvet. As for getting the word out about you and velvet, you might drop it into casual conversations with your girlfriends. Should a few things arrive that are soft, fuzzy, or velvet, simply return them for credit.