The brain is amazing and so much is still unknown about it. For anyone that has seen and held an actual brain, it's a bit gelatinous. A blob. So it's hard to fathom how incredible it is with regulating every bodily function, every thought, every action. Even more incredible is how dramatically different it functions with each person. This is particularly evident in neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals. Over the past year I have learned a lot about my family and myself when it comes to communication within neurodiverse relationships. In a nut shell, it's really hard. Communication in general can be hard, but it's quite a bit more challenging with neurodiverse couples. What's interesting, I've always been in neurodiverse relationships. There's something about these individuals and their ability to discern right vs. wrong, to listen and provide rational advice, and their devotion and friendship that I respect. But I also find that the lack of empathy, shutting down, and stunted emotional intelligence is a struggle. This leads to feeling isolated, not heard, and sometimes loneliness. What I talk about is not an isolated relationship. Actually, a lot of individuals are attracted to people who are opposite of them. They compliment them. But what comes with it are challenges that can lead to poor communication and individual needs not being met. That's why it's important to identify ways in which we can meet our own needs. It's unrealistic to expect for that one person to meet all of your needs for the rest of your life. In fact, that's pretty unfair and puts a lot of pressure on each of us to be something that we are not. So, yes neurodiverse relationships are hard, but they are also more typical than we think. I am now working on an oil painting that portrays these relationships. It's very personal, but I think it also captures the feelings a lot of couples have. It's through this process that I am able to meet my individual needs of being heard, which brings me joy. For those of you that are also in neurodiverse relationships, I hear and see you.
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