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corroonb
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13 Feb 2012, 9:38 am

I've been wondering about this for a while and I think it's an important issue for any autistic person. Should we pretend to be something we are not to fit in with a majority who may or may not be intolerant of our differences?

There seems to be a lot of pressure applied by psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists to normalize behaviour. There is an enormous societal emphasis placed on working with others particularly in a business and, increasingly, in an academic context. I can pretend if I need to but I increasingly resent doing so.



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13 Feb 2012, 10:49 am

There is a thread that's still being posted to called "persona".

Interesting topic to be, because I was doing this years before I knew anything about ASD and I thought I was very, very crazy.


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13 Feb 2012, 11:11 am

If you benefit from playing normal, then do it. There are benefits but watch the emotional cost. Just don't forget for what purpose you are doing it. There's no reason to do it just because it suits some shrink mob or interest group. It makes interaction easier but has no self purpose.



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13 Feb 2012, 11:18 am

I think that pretending is a large part of being human. The majority of them do constantly lie to each other just to maintain the appearance of belonging to the group, in order to survive.

Pretending to believe in certain moral values, such as the righteousness of selflessness, is a good example. All living creatures are selfish and look after their own interests, they are predatory beings which must devour other lifeforms to survive, but in order to be accepted into a group to increase their own chances of survival, they pretend to place the group's interests above their own. They try to adopt a persona of kindness and generosity, with an air of friendliness, because this is naturally appealing to the others.

It can be confusing to an autistic person, to see people pretending to hold moral values, while their actions clearly show that they do not. It is also very confusing how they all lie to each other like this, when individually they must know that they themselves are pretending, and so logically they must know that the others are pretending too. So they pretend to hold certain values because everyone else pretends to holds certain values, but surely if they all KNOW that it is a pretense, then there is no point. The illusion is completely transparent, and hides nothing.

Eh, I'm rambling. To answer your question though, yes, if you can pretend then you should. There is no reason to deny yourself anything in life simply because of a moral concern for people who do not share any such concerns. If you have an opportunity to deceive the mindless hordes of NTs then it would be a crime not to do it.



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13 Feb 2012, 12:45 pm

If you do not think you should, you probably should not. Who knows how it might effect you? It would be unhealthy to develop self-hatred over it.

I would like to live in a world where I am happy, and if I realise that I may be able do anything to make that happen, I consider doing it. Our actions can sometimes have effects on people, positive, or negative.

I can understand how that might be seen as selflessness, but to me it is congruent with all living things wanting to pass on their DNA. In my opinion, it is just that our extended consciousness sometimes allows us to see further than reproduction.


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13 Feb 2012, 1:10 pm

Well not only do I fail at pretending to be something I'm not, but I really do not see why I should spend my time and energy trying to normalize myself just to make everyone else happy.


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13 Feb 2012, 1:19 pm

corroonb wrote:
I've been wondering about this for a while and I think it's an important issue for any autistic person. Should we pretend to be something we are not to fit in with a majority who may or may not be intolerant of our differences?

"Should"? Maybe, maybe not ... how necessary is it to "fit in" just to have friends, be employed, and earn enough money to afford a house to raise a family in?

Very important, in my experience.



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13 Feb 2012, 2:44 pm

I have no desire to pretend to be anything I'm not when there is no benefit to be gained. This is a large part of the reason I've really never had any friends. When I have the option, I would rather be in my own thoughts or be engaged with my family than to try to fit into a social energy I don't understand.

But employment is different. Employers require a certain degree of conformity whether you are NT or HFA. If you want to be self-sufficient and responsible for yourself (and potentially others), you have to sell yourself to the man. If you look at it as a simple business arrangement, it's not so bad. I will be this for you in exchange for compensation. I think Aspies can actually have a certain advantage over NTs in employment situations as it is easier to not become involved in the kind of workplace drama that is often a drain on employee performance.

I guess my point is that unless you're independently wealthy you can never lead a life where you just get to be youself 24/7. You do what you need to do to survive.



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13 Feb 2012, 3:09 pm

Catamount wrote:
I have no desire to pretend to be anything I'm not when there is no benefit to be gained. This is a large part of the reason I've really never had any friends. When I have the option, I would rather be in my own thoughts or be engaged with my family than to try to fit into a social energy I don't understand.

But employment is different. Employers require a certain degree of conformity whether you are NT or HFA. If you want to be self-sufficient and responsible for yourself (and potentially others), you have to sell yourself to the man. If you look at it as a simple business arrangement, it's not so bad. I will be this for you in exchange for compensation. I think Aspies can actually have a certain advantage over NTs in employment situations as it is easier to not become involved in the kind of workplace drama that is often a drain on employee performance.

I guess my point is that unless you're independently wealthy you can never lead a life where you just get to be youself 24/7. You do what you need to do to survive.


What if you got nothing 'The Man' wants sold to him?


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13 Feb 2012, 3:32 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
What if you got nothing 'The Man' wants sold to him?


Well, that's the key, isn't it? I can't speak for any life but my own so will only offer my own experience rather than try to give advice. In spite of doing really well in high school, college proved to be a bad experience all around and my young dreams faded away after I dropped out. Wound up taking and acing a civil service kind of a test for a job for which I had no prior education, training or experience. They trained me and I'm still with the same employer 20-plus years down the road. Ideal? No. But it puts food on the table and a roof over my head.



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13 Feb 2012, 4:44 pm

I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. I just learned a few social graces to stop people from wanting to kill me.


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13 Feb 2012, 5:07 pm

Catamount wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
What if you got nothing 'The Man' wants sold to him?


Well, that's the key, isn't it? I can't speak for any life but my own so will only offer my own experience rather than try to give advice. In spite of doing really well in high school, college proved to be a bad experience all around and my young dreams faded away after I dropped out. Wound up taking and acing a civil service kind of a test for a job for which I had no prior education, training or experience. They trained me and I'm still with the same employer 20-plus years down the road. Ideal? No. But it puts food on the table and a roof over my head.


Well nothing wrong with keeping a job that provides you what you need........but that's just the thing I don't have what's necessary for most of the jobs in my area I've looked up so far. And I cannot make up for any of it via faking amazing social skills, optimism and self directedness, so I am limited to finding something that I can do effectively which limits jobs even more. So even if I decided 'ok I'm just going to conform in the name of getting a job.' I don't have the ability. But to each their own, there's gotta be something out there I assume.


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13 Feb 2012, 5:26 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
Catamount wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
What if you got nothing 'The Man' wants sold to him?


Well, that's the key, isn't it? I can't speak for any life but my own so will only offer my own experience rather than try to give advice. In spite of doing really well in high school, college proved to be a bad experience all around and my young dreams faded away after I dropped out. Wound up taking and acing a civil service kind of a test for a job for which I had no prior education, training or experience. They trained me and I'm still with the same employer 20-plus years down the road. Ideal? No. But it puts food on the table and a roof over my head.


Well nothing wrong with keeping a job that provides you what you need........but that's just the thing I don't have what's necessary for most of the jobs in my area I've looked up so far. And I cannot make up for any of it via faking amazing social skills, optimism and self directedness, so I am limited to finding something that I can do effectively which limits jobs even more. So even if I decided 'ok I'm just going to conform in the name of getting a job.' I don't have the ability. But to each their own, there's gotta be something out there I assume.


You may have to start out with something very basic that you think you can stand. Plenty of people, myself included, have worked their way up from a very simple, low paying job in to something decent by simply showing a willingness to show up to work on time, do what's requested of me, and be a polite, honest, conscientious hard worker while doing it. People do notice other attributes besides social skills; it just means that you have to make everything else about you more appealing. A drudge job loosely affiliated with something you are actually interested in, if done well, can be a good step in the right direction. It may not be a great job, itself, but it can open other doors if people notice how hard you try to do the best you can with what you've got. You may also find that you can deal with more than you think- I can tell you from personal experience, homelessness can be a powerful motivator.


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13 Feb 2012, 5:38 pm

Rhiannon0828 wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
Catamount wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
What if you got nothing 'The Man' wants sold to him?


Well, that's the key, isn't it? I can't speak for any life but my own so will only offer my own experience rather than try to give advice. In spite of doing really well in high school, college proved to be a bad experience all around and my young dreams faded away after I dropped out. Wound up taking and acing a civil service kind of a test for a job for which I had no prior education, training or experience. They trained me and I'm still with the same employer 20-plus years down the road. Ideal? No. But it puts food on the table and a roof over my head.


Well nothing wrong with keeping a job that provides you what you need........but that's just the thing I don't have what's necessary for most of the jobs in my area I've looked up so far. And I cannot make up for any of it via faking amazing social skills, optimism and self directedness, so I am limited to finding something that I can do effectively which limits jobs even more. So even if I decided 'ok I'm just going to conform in the name of getting a job.' I don't have the ability. But to each their own, there's gotta be something out there I assume.


You may have to start out with something very basic that you think you can stand. Plenty of people, myself included, have worked their way up from a very simple, low paying job in to something decent by simply showing a willingness to show up to work on time, do what's requested of me, and be a polite, honest, conscientious hard worker while doing it. People do notice other attributes besides social skills; it just means that you have to make everything else about you more appealing. A drudge job loosely affiliated with something you are actually interested in, if done well, can be a good step in the right direction. It may not be a great job, itself, but it can open other doors if people notice how hard you try to do the best you can with what you've got. You may also find that you can deal with more than you think- I can tell you from personal experience, homelessness can be a powerful motivator.


I don't plan on working my way up for some company....unless I end up getting hired at a head shop or something I just want enough money to live on so I can spend the rest of my time figuring out something more or less meaningful to do and maybe look for a different job if I have some stability and get sick of whatever job I get. But anyways to the point I would likely show up on time, do what is requested and be as polite, honest and conscientious as I can while working hard. But the issues start even there for one I can never seem to work fast enough for anyone that is usually one of the main complaints that I work to slow, even if I feel like I really have sped my work up. Other then that under stress I end up working even slower and having a very difficult time keeping my cool due to all the overload......So I pretty much have to find something I can handle a bit better or i am guaranteed to get fired quite quick. Also if I literally had no shelter i think my only focus right now would simply be food and trying to keep out of the cold certainly not trying to find work as I would be in no position for such a thing in that state.

But I just have to keep looking for something that does not require so much pretending......because its hard enough just to work effectively as myself let alone trying to make sure I come off normally even though I can't come off normally.


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13 Feb 2012, 5:53 pm

Who_Am_I wrote:
I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. I just learned a few social graces to stop people from wanting to kill me.

Add a few more to get people to actually like you, and you can have friends and job security!