Published on 12, July, 2020
I told a friend this afternoon about my recent revelation of being autistic. I've known her for years, and I thought she'd be supportive, but she wasn't at all. She questioned why I'd want to have a label. And she also said "well we are all on the spectrum to a degree". I felt she was being distant, and almost dismissive. I tried to explain how this revelation has been positive and is very freeing for me. Our phone conversation has upset me. And I wonder if it's time to move on from this friendship. This isn't the first time she upset me in recent months.
Has anyone else had this experience? I'd like to hear your views.
It is strange that so many neurotypical people view an autism diagnosis as a stigmatic 'label', when most late-diagnosed adult autistics view it as a revelation. Perhaps you could make it more understandable…
Is this because of their lack of awareness? Maybe it is because we are bad at communicating so we have trouble saying to them that is not ok. Telling them you need to read about this topic and inform yourself…
'No wonder you’ve been having such a hard time, you must be reassessing your whole life and figuring out who you are.”
Such a simple thing to say, but so meaningful. One of my friends said…
I haven't had this experience, mainly because I don't have friends. I am sorry this has happened to you. Is it because you are starting to unmask and not trying to hide who you are and your friend is responding to that. Maybe they are just not very informed about autism and neurodivergence. If youve been friends for a while you might want to try and talk to them and be honest with how you feel and ask them if anything is going on with them. This may be minimising your problem sorry. I think you need to focus on what will make you happy, and try to give your friend another chance this may just be new to them but if it isn't working then maybe it is time to find friends that are happy that you can just be you. You shouldn't hide who you are just to make others happy. Hopefully this is helpful. I don't know I don't have much experience with friends though.
Thank you. Now I've had time calm down a bit. I do react quickly and find it difficult to manage my emotions. I'm wondering if she's maybe just worried about me. I know that she's okay, cos she was fine until I brought up the subject.
I have been extremely disappointed by the reactions of those I know well. They just don’t want to know about it or accept it.
Maybe try talking to them in person, be honest with how you felt about what they said and how it came across to you. I don't think it's about accusing them, it is a matter of trying to understand why they did what they did. Also it is hard to talk to people through the phone or texts so face to face might be better, as this feels like a very emotional topic. It might just be a misunderstanding, or maybe it is something bigger. I don't know.
I get caught up in my head sometimes as well. Rushing into things. I am working on it.
Is this because of their lack of awareness? Maybe it is because we are bad at communicating so we have trouble saying to them that is not ok. Telling them you need to read about this topic and inform yourself. I think it might be because we have trouble standing our ground. Maybe they are just bad people. I don't think so, there is a law along the lines of don't assume maliciousness when it can be explained by stupidity.
Then again, that still does not make it ok. If someone had a broken leg, I would assume people would be supportive maybe they just don't like the fact we are different and it is not easy to see. It is our fault we are the way we are. Not trying hard enough, to fit in and be palatable.
My parents are similar telling me it is just a label and I just need to fit in, it is not ok to just be me and not trying to inform themselves about it. I don't know how to talk about it so I just stay silent. It's not malicious I think they are trying to do what they think is the right thing which is what they have been taught. They have had to fit in.
I don't know.
I think your first response nailed it perfectly.
Some people are just ignorant and their knowledge of autism won't extend beyond a very surface level, limited understanding. That's potentially what's going on with Justbe's friend.
Thankfully, all the people I've told have reacted very well to it and have been very supportive. But then I specifically told people I knew would react in a constructive way.
Some people I just wouldn't tell as I feel they'd be confused and annoy me with their take. But they are people I've since largely moved on from anyway.
Thank you for your input. I told my friend because I thought she'd be okay about it. I hadn't planned to tell many people, and I won't because of possible said reaction or worse.
There are alot changes going on for me right now. All of them I see as positive, and I'm changing.
1. Autism revelation 2. Working though traumatic grief (which essentially has meant that I've survived the last 8 years, but I haven't lived). Something I've masked as well as the autism. But I'm now coming out the other side 3. The possibility of getting a really great job.
I sometimes wonder if the people around us get so used to our way of being, that when we start to change (even though it's for the better), they find it difficult.
If I was going to be charitable I would say that people are just very uncomfortable about it because they don’t understand it and so they don’t know how to react.
But it’s disappointing that they couldn’t at least feign politeness.
Oddly, the only positive reaction I got was from a very senior colleague at work who I was inadvertently very blunt with about something. I made a mental note to seek her out later and explain but she came to me and I told her what was going on.
Her reaction was (paraphrasing) “wow, no wonder you’ve been having such a hard time, you must be reassessing your whole life and figuring out who you are”. She then said I only had to tell her if something at work was too much and she’d work around it. And she’s kept her word.
Amerantin said:(paraphrasing) “wow, no wonder you’ve been having such a hard time, you must be reassessing your whole life and figuring out who you are”. She then said I only had to tell her if something at work was too much and she’d work around it. And she’s kept her
How lovely was that
I've been assessing my whole life in less than a week. I'm exhausted. But I feel so much more relaxed. I'm happier. I can accept myself now, forgive myself, not be so hard on myself. And be myself
It really was lovely, wasn’t it. I need to have another chat with her and let her know how much I appreciated it.
And yes, the number one benefit of diagnosis is being more forgiving to ourselves. Still a lot to wrap our heads round though!