This is part 6 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 give a better, more rewarding reaction when bullied.
Many bullies, or as we say in the politically correct world of the professional workplace, employees with dominant personalities, are looking for a specific reaction from someone when they do their “thing.” They may not even realize it, but they are looking for something.
So, let’s take this in context with the other 6 parts of this series. Autistics will do anything, say anything, even bend over backwards to be liked. Bullies by default don’t seem to like the people they are bullying. Therefore, I have seen it, people on the spectrum will bend over backwards, work their ass off, beg, plead, even screw up their personal lives to make someone happy.
Some people just can’t be happy. People on the spectrum have a hard time understanding that, and will work themselves silly, stay up at night, fret and worry over why this one particular person that they are trying to get to like them to do so, and it took me years to realize that in some cases it just won’t ever happen.
If you are not on the spectrum and you see someone you suspect might be falling into this trap, pull them aside and talk to them. Call it a mentoring moment, whatever you want but give them a hand. They will appreciate it in ways I can’t even begin to describe.