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superboyian
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29 Mar 2022, 1:24 pm

How common is it for most people who are milk on the spectrum to be masking their autism in front of the general public, at a workplace etc?

Had a meeting with my partners social worker some time back and that’s something that she was known to do. But she also pointed out was that I was basically doing the same. When I look back at it all these years, I’ve spent a good vast majority of my life doing just that. The only time that people were aware of my diagnosis is if they either ask or I got into a very uncomfortable situation.

Seems like it’s a very common thing people on the spectrum do.


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autisticelders
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29 Mar 2022, 4:26 pm

I was never able to mask enough to hide all my autism. I was still liable to be bullied and avoided or else persecuted at work. I never fit in no matter how hard I tried. bulled at every single job for 50 years and over 40 jobs. Failure at social masking, of course I didn't learn of my autism until after I retired. I may have had more insights to gain better skills if I had known and understood many things that became evident after I obtained diagnosis and all the insights that gave.


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auntblabby
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29 Mar 2022, 4:42 pm

what is "milk on the spectrum"?

i never was able to hide who i am, i always wore it on my sleeves, so to speak. masking requires the ability to act, such genes i seem to have been born without. born a hermit. chances are still even i'll die a hermit. but i volunteered for this particular incarnation so i should not complain about it. i will find out if it did me any good when i meet my maker.



Fnord
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29 Mar 2022, 4:56 pm

Masking is something that everybody does, to greater or lesser degrees.

I mean, when you treat any one person different from another, you are masking for at least one of them.

People have their family masks, their work masks, their friend masks . . . different masks for every context.



auntblabby
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29 Mar 2022, 5:05 pm

i try my best to not treat people differently.



Fnord
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29 Mar 2022, 6:17 pm

One of the things I have noticed about popular people is their ability to adapt their behavior to different social situations. They just seem to know how to blend in and still be noticed.



Edna3362
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29 Mar 2022, 6:47 pm

Fnord wrote:
Masking is something that everybody does, to greater or lesser degrees.

I mean, when you treat any one person different from another, you are masking for at least one of them.

People have their family masks, their work masks, their friend masks . . . different masks for every context.

Those sorts of masking is different from the autistic related kind of masking.

Such masking is usually to do with one's levels of responsibility, emotional guard, or some weird social roles dynamic and is very much tied to one's will over self control.

The personality is simply stretched or molded into or with that particular state of change.
A type of "masking" in reaction to environment and social change makes a shift in personality and behaviors -- and is ultimately relevant to one's self restraint and adaptability.


But not autism related masking.
It is akin to being deaf and pretend you can hear people by reading lips.
Because people doesn't want to deal with that -- and when people refuses to see any possible equipment to help you communicate because they'd rather see and do things the "normal" way.

And so refuse to use equipments and communicate the fact that you're deaf.
Worse, is that not everyone can do the same -- and not any person could typically relate to that kind of adaptability.

A high risk, high effort and low reward game for all I know where burnout is inevitable.

It's not your typical everyday masking by shifting between worlds from home and work. Or the kind where one pretends to not be depressed and anxious, or discomfort, hurt and cold.


I don't mask enough to pretend what I like and dislike, or what I can and cannot do, about what I feel or thought, or lie stuff about myself and to the world.
But I blend enough to be responsible. To not do anything stupid or unreasonable, and make the best sound judgement I could over a situation.
And sometimes stand out well for reasons I usually don't understand. :P

I'm also aware that not everyone could or would. And I understand why...


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Dear_one
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29 Mar 2022, 11:25 pm

I mostly avoid situations where masking might be called for. I can pass, but doing it for more than an hour a day is a stress. However, I think that I've managed to get pretty good insurance for a mask slippage by joking around as much as I can. Gaffes seem to be overlooked as failed jokes. As long as I've managed to get a laugh, I feel that there is some empathy and common ground. Occasionally, I'll just exaggerate one of my quirks as if I always do it for amusement. Jon Richardson does this so well he makes a living at it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCApQ2MwhYo



Benjamin the Donkey
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30 Mar 2022, 12:39 am

Fnord wrote:
One of the things I have noticed about popular people is their ability to adapt their behavior to different social situations. They just seem to know how to blend in and still be noticed.

I think the difference is that, for most people, the masking is so automatic it's unconscious and not especially stressful. For a lot of autistic people, it's difficult, conscious, and very stressful.


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timf
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30 Mar 2022, 7:02 am

Popularity or at least acceptance may be something like the Woody Allen movie Zelig



JimberryAndTheCouscous
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30 Mar 2022, 8:44 am

If I do not mask then I am 'weird' and viewed with suspicion. If I mask, if I model to the best of my ability those I deem to have strong social skills then I am still viewed with suspicion. My modelling may be imprecise, inappropriate or not quite exact and then there is still something 'not quite right' about my interactions that I am sure is picked up by others subconsciously (as I am still predominantly unsuccessful in making and maintaining relationships or having positive interactions) if not consciously. I am frequently selectively mute and far more likely to have my needs met and in more timely fashion than when communicating verbally. This is despite having attended a prestigious university. Speech, nor indeed the written word necessarily equates with communication. I prefer to write over speech due to problems with appropriate volume, emphasis, prosody and sequencing. Preferring further Makaton for allowing for more process and fewer sequencing errors and a great curbing of my 'marked one-sided verbosity' and 'tangential speech' (In truth I consider that characteristic to have been incorrectly diagnosed. I am sure that I am actually perceiving greater connections between 'topics' and the issue is more with regard to difficulties in summation which would contextualise and explain the relevance of my 'tangents'). Difficulties with nuance, contextualisation, 'relevance' (in the ear of the listener?!) and more, remain, regardless of the communication method employed. I would dearly love to learn BSL and intermingle with a (to my mind) more peaceful folk. I also seem to have greater problems in understanding the meaning of others than expressing myself (though slightly less often when the other is prone to differentiate and convey semantics more frequently with pitch changes than rhythmic stresses), however I know I frequently err even in expressing myself coherently as evidenced by the few occasions where my self advocacy to be paraphrased is enacted. Best wishes to all those here. Please have a GrEaT dAy! Jim (from Jimberry and the Couscous). I have a joke that my speech is one long sentence for me as well as for those around me! (grammatical sentence, penal sentence). ps I apologise that I have focused here mainly on just a small proportion of communication/interaction. I rarely attempt to model or mask gesticulative or body language. A ''minefield in which I have scant idea in which to tread. pps anyone else have a tendency to post scripts? In speech also? ppps cheers! :oops: .. pppps I also have great difficulty understanding (and using) written and 'spoken' punctuation.


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30 Mar 2022, 11:28 am

NTs often mask too. Some NTs only pretend to be interested in something just because their friends are. Like my NT cousin, when he was around age 20 he went on party vacations with his friends (vacations that involve a lot of clubbing), and he admitted it really wasn't his thing. He preferred going on hikes in nature but his friends didn't. So he had to go along to these parties, because I suppose he liked his friends. He was glad when covid hit because it gave him an excuse not to go out to these clubs for about a year.


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HiccupHaddock
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30 Mar 2022, 2:51 pm

I think masking can be trying to appear more 'normal'.
I've been told that I don't do enough eye contact, so I try to do that more (and I can if I try), but it's tiring to focus on that for long periods like work meetings.
Similarly, consciously trying to avoid things like fidgeting (stimming).
I would call these masking?



auntblabby
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30 Mar 2022, 5:19 pm

some well-meaning people early in my life tried to teach me how to "mask" by, among other things, smiling more and wearing more normal clothing. what they didn't realize is that this is me attempting to escape from RBF by smiling-
Image
and even when i wore "normal" clothing, my asymmetrical body shape rendered that futile as well. but god bless 'em anyways :heart:



Dear_one
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30 Mar 2022, 5:39 pm

In Russia, if you smile for no reason, you are considered an idiot. McDonalds had to provide special indoctrination to keep their corporate look consistent.



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31 Mar 2022, 2:15 am

I don't mask, whether not learning to or incapable of doing it. What you see is what you get with me, for good or bad. I'll be more comfortable around people I know, of course, and I'll share more things the closer I am to someone, but I don't behave much differently overall. There's just Dill. I wouldn't want someone to make eye contact with me if it hurt them, so I wouldn't want someone to mask for me. This is all within the confines of my personality, as the Autism isn't our personality, even if it makes us share symptoms.

Other than some sticklers for correct nonverbal communication (calling out the lack of eye contact, for example), I don't think it affected all that much. My lack of verbal communication bothered people far more, as I'm quite a bit quieter offline than on (this one isn't really Autism, because I can talk just fine).