Autistic Social Skills: Cut me Some Slack Please

Why, as an Autistic person, do I find myself spending an inordinate amount of my time and thought processing on trying to making sure that I don’t “offend” anyone, when nearly nobody cares one bit if they offend me? What is up with that?

I am always second-guessing the things that I say, or write, to be sure that they are not going to offend anyone. I find that most other people don’t give a darn if they offend me. They do whatever they want without giving it even a passing thought. This is a serious unbalance of social consideration.

Since I have a DIAGNOSED CONDITION, that has a core feature of having difficulty with social situations, I should be given the benefit of the doubt when I am trying to communicate with other people. They should be looking at ways of helping me to get my message across instead of nit-picking my word choices.

Nobody is perfect, but it seems like people demand perfection from me when they are dealing with an area that I am diagnosed to have difficulty. Why then do they seem to DEMAND perfection from me when they don’t seem to care if they, themselves, offend anyone? What is up with this double-standard way of thinking about things?

No wonder so many Autistic people get frustrated with the world at large. You demand social perfection from Autistic people that most of you donʻt bother to even try to attain in your own social interactions. It is really unbalanced. It is just plain unfair and wrong for you to demand perfection from us when you donʻt seem to care to provide the same considerations to us!

Disrespectful and rude people are telling you all about themselves by the way they treat others. You donʻt need to allow them to bring you down. They are showing themselves to have a problem that you donʻt need to take on as your own problem.

I am going to keep on trying my best to be considerate and kind to others. I am going to keep on trying to Live Aloha! Living Aloha makes the world a better place for all of us! 

Here is my friend Paul Leo Klink speaking about the meaning of “Live Aloha” as well as other positive motivational things about the good that the attitude of Living Aloha does for everyone. – www.LiveAloha.org

Aloha

Aloha

Categories: Autism, Social Skills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Unconditional Acceptance

Q: Unconditional Acceptance, what is that?

A: The answer for me: accepting others as they are, without putting preconditions on that acceptance.

I see way too many people who seem to love criticizing and ridiculing other people because they are different from themselves, or because they make different choices for their clothing, style, beliefs, etc.

I am personally working on unconditionally accepting other people. (This doesn’t include toxic or abusive people. Bullies don’t get a free pass from me.)

If a person decides to have green hair and it makes them happy, why would someone else make fun of them for that choice? It is not your place to try to force anyone else to conform to your desires, is it? Leave them alone and let them be happy. It is none of your concern.

Another example would be tattoos. Some people ridicule, condemn, and judge people who have tattoos. Why? Tattoos have been around longer than any living person on this planet. If someone chooses to get a tattoo what business is it of yours? If it makes them happy then that is what matters. I have even seen people with one style of tattoo making fun of other styles of tattoos. Why do that? It is a form of judgment and oppression to be so negative and critical of other people. Does it make things better for anyone to do that? No it does not.

Another big example are attitudes towards disabilities. Too many people are ableist bigots. They only value able-bodied people and put down those with visible or invisible disabilities. Why do that? It is wrong. Think about this – if you currently don’t have any kind of disability, you are very most likely only temporarily fully able-bodied. At some point in your life you are very likely to become temporarily or permanently disabled to some degree. Nothing is guaranteed in life except change. Things change. Change is something that happens to everyone. Someday you might be one of those disabled people whom you look down on now.

There are plenty of other examples. I don’t need to list them all.

Try to be accepting that other people are not all just like you. They have the right to make their own choices in life. If you are spreading misery and hate then you are making the world a worse place for everyone. Try to spread love and kindness. Try, at the very least, to avoid being a bully who makes fun of other people. Try to make the world a kinder and more accepting place for all people.

Don’t be the prick that pops other people’s bubbles of happiness.

Be someone who helps to make others to smile. Try to make people happier for having you around them.

Thank you.

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism, Epilepsy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Autistic Aloha Comment Moderation

Here is a hint for people commenting on my blog, ‘Autistic Aloha.’ If your comment is: vilifying Autism; talking about a non-existent Autism “epidemic;” blaming Autism on anti-vaccine rubbish; calling Autistics a “burden,” “tragedy,” “damaged,” etc; or talking about a non-existent “Big Pharma Conspiracy;” I will not allow it.

I am all about Autism Acceptance. It’s MY blog and I don’t have to let harmful, hurtful, or damaging comments on MY blog. Those negative types of comments won’t make it past moderation.

Thank you to all the thoughtful, supportive, and Autism accepting commenters who add value by posting good comments to my blog.

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Socializing as an Autistic: The Burden of Second Guessing

It happens like this. One day I ran into someone at a gas station that I had not seen for a while. It was nice to see them and I enjoyed seeing them. However, as I drove away, an old familiar though process kicked in. —

  1. Did I say the right things?
  2. Did I forget to say something?
  3. Should I have extended my hand for a friendly handshake?
  4. Should I have given a quick hug?
  5. Did I look at the person’s face enough?
  6. Did I look at their face too much?
  7. Did my eyes dart around too much and make them uncomfortable?
  8. Boy, I sure hope that they enjoyed talking with me.
  9. And so on…  

This is the burden that I seem to have to bear during, and after, nearly every social interaction that I have with people. I feel so out of place, like a fish out of water.

Even though people should understand that my social skills will be spotty because I am Autistic, I rarely come away from social interactions without second guessing myself.  

I don’t know if I will ever be able to feel like I am totally getting these things right. Please know that I am concerned about doing the right things. Please know that I really do enjoy catching up with my friends. Please don’t ever get the idea that I don’t like you if you see me being awkward, or uncomfortable, during any social encounter. I really do like talking with you even if I am not that good at it. I am friendly even if it doesn’t’ always seem readily apparent. 

Thank you for your understanding of my Autistic social anxieties. Please remember that I am trying hard to do the right things. My mind is racing behind the conversation to come up with the right words. Please allow me a little extra time to process my thoughts. Please know that I value your time, attention, and friendship. 

Categories: Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Judgment and Oppression vs Love and Acceptance

Yesterday, a family member called to wish our son a Happy Birthday. As far as I can tell, that part of the phone call went well. However, after the phone was handed back to me an old familiar thing happened. I was told how I needed to do something differently than I am. I was subjected to the same old disapproval that I have been suffering from my whole life. I was given unwanted/unrequested criticism, correction and advice.

I have lived with shaming and disapproval for my “different” behavior my entire life. I am a mess of mental and emotional wounds and scars. This is the legacy of a childhood of being constantly shamed and punished for being an undiagnosed Autistic, an atypical undiagnosed child.

Unwanted “advice” always takes away my comfort. It is like ripping open an old wound or sticking a knife into one of them. Despite the clear boundaries that I have tried to put in place, this “loved one” once again triggered feelings of never being “good enough” for them. There I was enjoying my son’s birthday and bam! here comes anxiety from disapproval and oppression by a loved one.

I don’t want or need constant criticism, correction and disapproval from a “loved one” who spent so much time hurting me as they tried to make me more “normal.” I am really so done with putting up with that kind of treatment. Somehow, they even try to turn this around and make it a matter of my need to “forgive” them. I really don’t understand how someone who has treated me wrongly can demand that I “forgive all” without ever actually apologizing for this continuing emotional manipulation and abuse.

I am trying very hard to reduce the stress and anxiety in my life. This person never fails to induce bad feelings, anxiety and stress with their never-ending criticisms and disapproval. I really feel like I am under attack. I need to avoid this toxic oppression of my self-confidence and self-esteem.

I used to share “Don’t judge me” memes but now I think that we need some new memes that say “Don’t oppress me!”

I want unconditional love and acceptance. I don’t want constant criticism, emotional manipulation, and abuse. Is that so hard? I think that many Autistic people will agree with me on this. Love and Acceptance is what we need.

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Autistic Loner, Not by My Choice.

I have always been pretty quiet around people that I don’t know or barely know. Once I become comfortable with someone, I often open up with them. In fact, many times, the floodgates open and I attempt to tell them all about myself. I tell my life story to them. That’s when most of them decide to vacate and fade out of my life. I have no understanding why showing that I trust them enough to share my story with them runs them off, but it usually does.

My entire life I have usually only had one or two friends at a time. I am in my 50s now and it is still like this. I like people and I try very hard to be polite and a nice person. It doesn’t seem to matter. Because I look at people in the mouth instead of in the eyes, and other so called “quirks” of being Autistic, I am most often rejected. This is part of my story and the story of many others just like me.

And yet, people can’t understand why Autistic Adults are calling for more than simple Autism Awareness, we want Autism Acceptance. We don’t want to be rejected, shunned and excluded for being Autistic; for being “different.” We want to be welcomed and accepted, just the way we are, Autistic. We are not that much different that we can’t be good friends. Please give us a chance. We are loyal and good people. We are Autistic. Autistic is alright. It really is.

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

I am Openly Autistic! I am NOT ashamed to be Autistic!

I am annoyed with people who ignore and/or reject me because I am Openly Autistic.

I am annoyed with people who believe in keeping things like Autism hidden away because they believe in a shame-based mentality of keeping anything “out of the ordinary” deeply hidden away from public view. That attitude is wrong! There is NO shame in being who you were born to be. Anyone who tries to shame someone for being their own, unique, self is WRONG! 

I actually have some family members, and former friends, who are no longer on my Facebook friends list because they do not practice Autism Acceptance. :-( 

I am not going to put up with being condemned, judged, or shamed, by anyone for being Openly Autistic. I am going to be myself. I am who I am. I will not put on a fake mask of pretend “neurotypicality” to hide my Autism for the comfort of any neuro-bigot. If you cannot accept the real, true, me then I will not allow you to try and put me into a place of rejection and shame with your ignorance/bigotry! You do NOT get to do that to me and you do not get to do that to my sons. No you don’t! 

Neuro-bigots don’t want to practice Autism Acceptance. In fact, they want to put Autism back into their box of “shame” and keep on hiding it away. They want to make us hide our Autism and become indistinguishable from so-called “normal” people. They only accept people who can pass for “normal,” anything less and they reject it. Shame on them! We don’t need that bigoted attitude.

I won’t stop being Openly Autistic because other Autistics, like my son, deserve to have a better, more accepting world than the rigid, non-accepting one I had to grow up in! We need to be accepted as we are — Openly Autistic! We need Autism Acceptance! There is no shame in being true to yourself!

Live your truth

“Let me tell you something. Live your truth right out in the open. No hiding or apologizing for who you are. What do you have to lose — the good opinion of others? Believe me, they have no idea how to do life. And if they are looking at you at all when you’re busy living your truth, it is probably with a mixture of curiosity and admiration for the boldness they can’t muster.” ~ Jacome Nordby
Photo Link: http://101waystoloveyourjob.blogspot.com/2013/11/some-motivational-posters-for-work.html

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Autism — Tip for ‘Typicals’ — We Are All Around You.

Autism — Tip for ‘Typicals’ —

You probably already know someone who’s Autistic and you may not even realize it.

Forget your bad stereotypes.

We are all around you.

We are everywhere.

We’ve been here all along.

_____________________
Related links:
‘Wall Street’ Actress Daryl Hannah Is An Autistic Woman

Susan Boyle’s powerful, graceful Asperger’s statement – The singer reveals her diagnosis — and the “relief” of it

Dan Aykroyd reveals he has Asperger and Tourette’s

Adult Asperger’s: The Relief of A Diagnosis

Categories: Autism | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Born Autistic, Always Autistic, Even Prior to My Diagnosis

I would like to say something about my Autism Diagnosis and my social issues. I did not suddenly become Autistic on the day that I was diagnosed (as an adult). I have been Autistic since the day that I was born.

I was very well aware that I did not “fit in” well with most other people. I sometimes even told people that, even though I am polite and know to say “please” and “thank you,” my social skills are “poor.” I knew that I didn’t understand the social rules, no matter how much that I tried, and I admitted to having “bad social skills” to people before my diagnosis.

You know those scenes in movies and on TV where people go into a bar by themselves and go up to the bar for a drink? That was not me! I would never go into a bar unless I was with a friend or co-worker. I would never go into a place like that by myself. It just didn’t happen. It still doesn’t happen. I need to have someone that I already know to cling to, in order to function in that type of social situation.

I have always socially blundered along, accidentally offending and alienating people without any clue as to what I was doing wrong.

Now, I am disappointed to report that even though I have been diagnosed with a social disability, and I am known to be Autistic, people still don’t understand these things about me.

Even people who claim to understand Autism expect social perfection from me. Sorry, I am not wired that way and I am never going to be socially perfect. I can try really hard, but, I often blunder about making a real mess of things.

I sure wish that my loved ones and friends would understand my social skills disability and cut me some slack. It is frustrating that they seem to hold me to some impossible high standard based on an invisible social rule-book that I don’t have access to and can’t understand nor measure up to.

Unfortunately, many get offended at my every little mis-step and then they go on the attack, or withdraw without explaining it to me. It makes navigation of the social world that much harder for me because I suddenly get attacked for the delivery of my message and the actual message gets lost in the noise about how it was said instead of getting back to the core matter at hand. Sometimes they simply fail to reply and that leaves me lost and confused as to what the heck went wrong. Silence from others is so hurtful to me.

Please accept that I am well meaning and kind, but, I am socially clumsy and I am very likely to say or do things that don’t always fit the “hidden social norms.” Please accept me as an Autistic Adult and adjust your expectations accordingly. Please assume that I mean well even if I do make some mistakes. Thank you.

Categories: Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

An Autistic Core Feature: Difficulty With Social Interactions.

What is a core feature of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC)? – 

Difficulty with social interactions. 

Should you be angry or rude with someone in a wheelchair because they cannot walk? NO, you should not!
Should you become angry if someone who has hearing difficulties asks you to repeat yourself? Of course not! 

Similarly, knowing that one of the main issues for many Autistic people is having impaired social skills, should you become angry and/or rude to an Autistic for an unintentional social error? I don’t think you should.

With Autism, you should take a person’s good intentions into account instead of getting all wrapped up in a poor choice of words, or an unintentional social error. I want to do the right thing, but, I don’t always know the right words to say. Please help us by being kind and understanding. Please practice acceptance and tolerance for our differences. Please work with us, instead of against us.

Perhaps the self-proclaimed “Perfect People” who nit-pick and criticize the communication style of Autistics could keep this in mind? Perhaps they could cut us some slack and look at the actual intended meaning of our communications instead of getting all wrapped up in being offended by the way we say something?

Maybe they could STOP correcting us for the way we have said something, and instead try listening to the intent of what we are saying? Would that be too much to ask? I don’t think it is.

Please listen to the intended message of our communications and don’t side-track into telling us that we are not using the right “tone.” For most of us, our natural tendency is to “tell it like it is.” We tend to be honest and blunt. We are unlikely to “sugar coat” the things that we say. Isn’t honesty always the best policy? Yes it is. So honor our honesty instead of getting offended by our blunt “tone.”

This is so basic to understanding Autism that I don’t understand why so many people don’t grasp this concept. Difficulty with social interactions is a CORE feature of Autism. Please understand this. Don’t be so easily offended by us! We try very hard. Give this some thought before correcting us on how we are saying things! Thank you!

Categories: Abuse Stories, Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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