This is part 5 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.
Because sometimes autistic people struggle to understand how to fit in socially, they may do anything they feel necessary to fit in with peers.
First, let me say OMG this is so true. I have done things for people that no rational person would ever do. I have loaned money, I have done favors, I have massively inconvenienced myself and my family just to make one person happy more times than I care to admit.
If you know a person who is on the spectrum and you see them destroying certain parts of their life just for that “one new friend,” and they are doing so without any form of rational thought please talk to them.
Also, if you have employees who are on the spectrum, and see other employees asking “favors of a friend” and that one employee working their guts out to make everyone else happy…please…I beg you, pull that guy working himself to death just to make people like him and tell him to work differently. Someone did that for me and it changed my professional life. Now, if I am not sure if it is happening again I ask my sounding board (neurotypical wife) and she helps me sort through it. It has saved me a lot of time trouble and pain.
Why people do this to autistics, other than their own laziness, is beyond me. I wouldn’t do that to someone, and I now despise it when I see that it is happening to me. Someday I’ll figure out how to not hold a grudge, but I’m not there yet!