This is part 4 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.
As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.
My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.
About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.
First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.
Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.
The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.
I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.
Autistic people tend to take things literally, making them very easy to manipulate
Ok, as an autistic I may not be the best person to explain when this happens. It happens to me all the time. People say “hey let’s get you a promotion,” to me means a promotion is coming….now. It doesn’t mean what most people think.
Hey “I really liked your idea,” could mean yeah it was cute, but not going to be done in this case. To me that is fantastic let’s move forward.
People pick up on this. If they want me to take a crap task when I’m working for someone else you will hear things like “this kind of thing really matters at year end reviews,” which means it matters, but it won’t help. You can list it on your accomplishments but it won’t help you get anywhere because it is a task no one cares about, no one wants and anyone can do (they just avoid).
I take that to mean it will help and the next six months are spent working on this crap task, and it does me no good. This was commonplace when I made my living as an engineer, which I no longer do, but be careful if you fall into the same category I did!
BTW, if you are not autistic and you do find people who take stuff literally, and you do this kind of thing to them…shame on you. It advances YOUR career at the cost of someone else’s and I hope you don’t sleep well and giant fire ants invade your next picnic.