I’m creating a new community outside of social media on Substack (where I can have more control over my space), and I hope you’ll join me as a free member (but I also have paid subscriptions if you want access to bonus content).
“Autistic People are bad at socializing.”
NO! Let’s reframe that:
“Autistic People socialize in an Autistic way.”
I’m Autistic, and though my socialization can look different than non-autistic socialization, my way of socializing (The Autistic Way) is NOT wrong.
The way ALL people socialize and play is influenced by their individual configuration of NeuroTypes (Brain Types).
I am no different; therefore, my Autistic and ADHD brain affects how I communicate, interact, socialize and play.
In my experience, it’s not that Autistic People are “bad at socializing” or “don’t care for people,” but that many of us are tired, anxious, or fed up with trying to socialize with people who refuse to put in the effort to meet us where we are (expecting us always to do things their way).
Autism was my primary diagnosis (almost seven years ago now). I’ve always been Autistic (but didn’t know it for much of my life).
When I was diagnosed Autistic at 29, I also received a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety is something I’ve developed (due to trauma from how I was treated in life) that also affects my socialization.
Frequently, in my life, I have been rejected when trying to share with others and pushed away or disregarded when trying to express my needs, feelings, or discomfort.
My natural tendency to keep to myself has been reinforced, thanks to the amount of rejection I’ve experienced over the years on the occasions I did try to share.
People around me have denied my lived experiences and perspectives, and each denial has caused me to retreat more deeply into myself (beyond my natural aptitude for solitude, which was already relatively high to begin with).
I’ve always had “reduced sharing of interests, & emotions” and a decreased desire to “initiate or respond to social interactions” (if compared to my non-autistic peers).
I’m mostly happy on my own, but sometimes I DO want to reach out and share, but I struggle to figure out how (or worry my attempt won’t be well received), and the uncertainty is enough to stifle my attempts at connection.
Safe people are few and far between, but they are everything, but I’ve found many people unsafe for me. With unsafe people, my input doesn’t matter because unsafe people don’t care about what I have to say.
My joy comes from engaging in and sharing my passions with safe people, but I am happy to chase my joy alone, as I’ve done since I was a young child.
I have “difficulties” adjusting myself “to suit various social contexts.” People less frequently are willing to change themselves to meet me.
I don’t do shallow, small talk. I want to talk about the things that are important to me, the things I spend most of my time thinking about – the things I care about. I do so with such intensity it can be overwhelming to some (many) people.
I want deep conversations about our fears, pains, traumas, and the world’s injustices but (like my play) this is “inappropriate” (if you ask some people).
I enjoy socializing (with a purpose) if we (a group of safe people) gather over something we’re all passionate about (like I did back in my Cirque days). I also enjoy socializing with other Autistic NeuroDivergent folks.
#ActuallyAutistic #AskingAutistics: Anyone relate?
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