The Damage of Dismissing Autistic People When We Ask For Help

Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on December 6, 2021 The video’s public release will be January 26, 2022. That’s OVER a month early!

Transcript:

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Wednesday morning, or afternoon, or evening, depending on what time and what place in the world you are tuning in from, autism info dump event -I guess.

This week, I am going to be sharing something that really bugged me when I first found out I was Autistic; and actually, if I’m honest, it’s still really bugs me.

It bugs me so much that this is one of the main reasons I started blogging and talking about autism on the internet, and that is people not believing us when we tell them we are Autistic.

If you would like to know my thoughts about this, please do stay tuned.

Welcome back Lyric here.

I’m a pale-skinned non-binary human with short dark hair was shaved sides and green tips. Today I’m wearing dark large, winged, black, eyeliner, that is fairly thick, and a bit intricate, with orange eye shadow, and a bold, medium purple maroon lipstick. I’m also wearing a purple spaghetti strapped tank top and a wooden Thunderbird pendant. I’m sitting here in this RV, which is lit a bit more dimly than usual.

Today… I’m all dulled- dulled?? What words?

All dolled up.

Can’t even get it out my mouth…

Makeup is just one of many reasons non-autistic people have told me that I couldn’t possibly be Autistic and I’m going to share a few of the other reasons, things I have heard.

I’d love for you to share with us things that you have heard.

 I’m also going to talk about why I think this happens, so let’s dive in.

When I found out that I was Autistic, at the age of 29, suddenly, all of these moments in my life, that never made sense, made sense. It was like this key that unlocked a handbook, that I had been missing, that was basically an instruction manual for my life.

My life finally was complete, and I understood myself better than ever before; and I was really excited to have this explanation, and potentially share this with other people in the world, or people I cared about, or people in workplace situations, so that I could get what I needed, in order to be a more effective employee, and get what I needed in life from other people; because for a lot of years I’ve been missing that… but when I went to go share this information with other people, it didn’t always go so well.

Very quickly I discovered that people either would not believe that I was Autistic, or because they have a very narrow view, and poor understanding of what autism actually was, due to many prevailing stereotypes, they would be unable to understand how being Autistic could apply to me. So, when I would tell people that I was Autistic, they would very quickly dismiss what I was saying.

People would say things like, “oh, I never would have guessed” or, “well, you must be very high functioning.” “You don’t look Autistic.”

I feel like, a lot of times, these are supposed to be compliments, because the other person thinks that autism is a bad thing, or being Autistic is a bad thing. It’s the equivalent of saying something about yourself, where you’re putting yourself down, and the other person feels uncomfortable, so then they say, “oh, no, you’re not” or, “oh, but you’re awesome.”

And they’re trying to like make it better, because they are uncomfortable with you speaking about yourself badly… but the problem is this is not a compliment, because being Autistic, isn’t a bad thing, so it’s sucks, because I now know that you really don’t understand Autistic People, and now I’ve got a lot of explaining to do, and I’ve got to decide if I really have the energy to do all the explaining, and if it’s now worth it, to do all of the explaining… depending on our relationship, and how much I think I really can get you to understand what’s going on inside my head.

The other comments that I have heard, both in person and online, are things like:

“Are you sure?” “I don’t believe you!” Who diagnosed you?” “I hear that’s very overdiagnosed these days.” things like this, that are invalidating, because the other person, for whatever reason, doesn’t believe you’re Autistic.

This is really harmful for someone who is trying to come to terms with the new autism diagnosis, or discovery, if they have just figured out they’re Autistic. Maybe they haven’t gone through a diagnostic process. There are a lot of reasons for that, which I’ve done videos about in the past.

But it puts these feelings of doubt, and when I first found out I was Autistic, I went through all of the stages of grief, including bargaining with myself, trying to prove to myself that I wasn’t Autistic, and these kinds of comments were really hard, because I was already dealing with that. I needed to get past that phase, and really accept the information, for it to be beneficial for me, and so these kinds of comments can really set someone back.

The other types of comments that I got that were exceptionally harmful were when I had just found out I was Autistic, and was trying to assert new boundaries with people, based on this new information, and new understanding of my Autistic brain, and my NeuroDivergence, and what I needed to be the most successful version of myself, and so when I would try to speak up, for a need that I had, people would dismiss me and say things like:

“Oh, well you never complained about this before. Why are you complaining about this all of the sudden?” Shutting me down.

Uh, another comment that people would say would be things like “Don’t make excuses.” “Don’t let this autism become an excuse.” “I don’t want you to not push yourself, because you have this label now.” – fristraited grunts.

Not being heard, not being heard. There was no ability for me to get help, when I was asking for help, trying to express my needs, and people were shutting them down like this. That was extremely harmful, especially considering how hard it was for me to even ask to get my needs met, because I didn’t even want to ask in the first place… and then being shut down.

And then, back then, being someone who didn’t know how to stand up for my boundaries, because they had been violated and dismissed; and so often my needs had been invalidated. For example, “this light’s really bright!” and it was so bright it was giving me migraines, and people saying, “It’s not that bad! Nobody else is complaining.” so I just learned to sit down and take it, and just live with the pain, since I was in elementary school.

That is the big problem I have with these types of responses, when Autistic People are trying to share, or ask for help from NeuroTypical people, or people who don’t understand what autism is, is… we are being dismissed. We are not being heard.

Often it is because the person we are telling is uncomfortable with the information that they are receiving, and doesn’t know how to handle, or respond to this information appropriately; or the other person is operating based on misinformation, based on stereotypes and stigmas.

Maybe they only know one Autistic Person, and because all Autistic People are different, and unique, they cannot possibly understand that you are not going to be just like the Autistic Person they already know, because they don’t know enough Autistic People to know any better.

Either way, this is hurtful to Autistic People, and it is one of the reasons I started my blog; and started screaming into the void of the internet every Wednesday.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been here for over five years now, through this journey, from when I first found out I was Autistic, and was dealing with the frustration, that still hasn’t gone away… of people not believing that I was Autistic.

I’m really grateful for all of you who read, and share, and comment, and watch. This channel, wouldn’t be possible without the help of viewers like you.

Thank you, also to the Patreon subscribers, YouTube channel members, and Facebook supporters; who had access to this video about a month early. It’s just my little way of saying thank you for those of you who do that little monetary support, to help fund this blog and make this possible, I’m really grateful for you. I’m grateful for all of you… for your time, your comments, your, your shares, and your feedback.

Whether you are subscribing monetarily or not, you are a crucial part of this community and this channel. So as always, I want to send my sincere thank you to everyone.

I will see you all next Wednesday. Bye!

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Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU!  (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)

With gratitude,

– Lyric

2 thoughts on “The Damage of Dismissing Autistic People When We Ask For Help

  1. Yeah, I’ve heard just about everything you’ve heard. The one that hurt the most, was from someone that is caring and understanding of just about everyone. “You’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re normal.” That was a knife in the back. She’s like a second mom to me… 😔

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