I spend a lot of my time trying to get NT’s to understand what it is like to be on the spectrum. It is always so clear that NT’s don’t understand, and most don’t try to. We hear it from them all the time. You know the drill- ‘you look normal’, ‘are you sure you really have Aspergers?’, ‘you are just using Aspergers as an excuse to act this way’. I know this is a weird comparison, so don’t read to much into it- But watch the compassion NT’s have for someone with a physical handicap. Look at how genuinely caring they are for someone with Downs. Then look at how they treat those of us on the spectrum. We are often treated like the invisible man. Like nothing is possibly wrong, ever.
Normally I am good at wearing the mask and covering up the invisible man. The mask that makes NT’s feel at ease because I am good at pretending to be “normal” and I can fit in pretty well. However, these past few months have been stressful for me in my personal life. And as any Aspie can tell you; stress does not bring out the best in those of us on the spectrum. Yes I have had a few melt downs around the people I trust enough to do so. But what really gets me is the way others have changed. I still wear the mask around them, but I am clearly doing something differently. I have noticed since I have had some stress in my life, that most all of my NT friends have treated me very differently.
The logical side of me says that when I am having stress, my friends will care enough to ask if they can help, or at least ask if I am okay. But that isn’t the case. And I can say that this is not the 1st time in my life I have seen this happen. I find it not only an odd behavior for NT’s, but also very painful. I tend to lose faith in people. The same people whom I have helped when they were in need, the same people I considered to be like family… I become the invisible man once again.
So to all of you NT’s out there who are really trying to connect with, or understand someone on the spectrum, I offer you the following. We are not emotionless robots. In fact in many cases we feel emotions 100 times stronger than you do, we just have a difficult time expressing it. And that leads to frustrations (melt downs). Yes, we know we are awkward sometimes, but it is not intentional. And it is just awkwardness, it is not the plague. Treating us like a we are disposable is the worse thing you can do. Almost all of us are fiercely loyal. It takes a lot for us to show that loyalty, but once we do it is because we trust you. When you betray that loyalty… there is no greater pain for an Aspie. When you treat us like the invisible man, and just ignore us, we only hide deeper within ourselves. When you actually get angry at us, for no apparent reason, you lose us. And that loss hurts us more than you can imagine.
So for now, I will remove the mask, hide and be invisible. It is safer that way at times.