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aquafelix
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20 Feb 2020, 11:44 pm

When I was younger I had a habit of trying to make friends with the kind of people who in hindsight were my natural predators and enemies. Imagine a gazelle trying to casually buddy up to a hungry lion. . . ouch! messy.

I think this could be real safety issue for some aspies. Particularly women. Anyone else have this predator blindness and how did they over come it. I think I kind of overcame it with paranoia - seeing everyone new as a potential predator, but I think that this a less than perfect solution.



Mona Pereth
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21 Feb 2020, 5:28 am

aquafelix wrote:
When I was younger I had a habit of trying to make friends with the kind of people who in hindsight were my natural predators and enemies. Imagine a gazelle trying to casually buddy up to a hungry lion. . . ouch! messy.

I think this could be real safety issue for some aspies. Particularly women. Anyone else have this predator blindness and how did they over come it. I think I kind of overcame it with paranoia - seeing everyone new as a potential predator, but I think that this a less than perfect solution.

I think it's important to be cautious and take reasonable privacy precautions, yet be friendly. Yes, everyone new may be a potential predator, but be slow to conclude that they are actual predators.

Reasonable privacy precautions include:

- With people who know your legal name, home address, and/or other identifying info, don't -- until you know them very well -- tell them anything about yourself that you would mind seeing someone blab about in a public online post, or anything you would mind someone saying about you to your boss or to your landlord.

- Conversely, the people with whom you confide personal stuff, such as us folks here on WP, should not know your legal name -- again, not until you know them very well.

But, while firmly maintaining these and other self-protective boundaries, be friendly and considerate to everyone you meet in either category.

Anyhow, I personally have had a few very bad experiences with a few very bad people, but most of my relationships/friendships have been basically good.

One of the ways I protected myself was by insisting that my friendships have specific identifiable roots, e.g. revolving around some specific common interest, at least initially. I'm under the impression that the more narcissistic and otherwise predatory kinds of people tend to start relationships based primarily on mutual flattery, rather than based primarily on a common interest. So I think the natural autistic tendency to focus on one's interests was actually beneficial to me in terms of attracting people who sincerely shared my interests to a similarly intense degree, while repelling narcissists.

This isn't foolproof protection, but I think it helped me a lot.


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Karamazov
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21 Feb 2020, 6:32 am

I have a history of falling into friendship with people who were bad for me, although not for the most part due to them being predatory.
More the case that they were often neurodiverse in a non-AS way: having a bipolar girlfriend in my twenties was a particularly awful one, I couldn’t cope with her instability, she couldn’t cope with my lack of intuitive emotional nous... in retrospect that was very, very bad for both of us.
You are right though, we can be very vulnerable to entering social/romantic relationships with people who are functionally abusive, whether they intend it or not: for the most part I’d be generous and assume they’re struggling with their own problems... and get out of the situation ASAP, but that’s just how I roll I guess :wink:



aquafelix
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21 Feb 2020, 8:00 am

Yes Mona, I think the the privacy stuff is really important for people you don't know well. However, this post was prompted by a nasty experience with a boss who knew all my privacy stuff.

I had been in a workplace for a long time where everyone knew my issues and I even had a written agreement outlining adjustments between me and my boss. The problem came when a new boss arrived who didn't know me and saw my adjustments as indulgent and inconvenient. Once the boss found out that I didn't want the agreement to be known at the company HR level, the boss thought they could ignore the agreement and tried to leverage me into changing my duties in a way that would have caused a rapid burnout for me. I protested strongly, but knew I was trapped and had no choice but to resign or stay and end up a total wreck. I was utterly traumatised by all the lies, cruelty and injustice of it all. It was doubly stupid because I was a very productive worker and in a very specialised high skill role. My resignation caused the new boss major problems and they have not been able to replace me.

I made a complaint against the new boss and HR investigated and the new boss was disciplined and almost fired over what they did, but by that time I had another job. What frightens me is that I didn't realise what the new boss was doing was unreasonable and illegal until my coworkers pointed this out to me. I was too focused on keeping the new boss happy.



shortfatbalduglyman
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21 Feb 2020, 10:19 am

That's why I avoid everyone

It is better to fail to interact with someone you should have interacted with, than interact with someone you should not have interacted with



Brisienna
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21 Feb 2020, 2:02 pm

I've had some struggles with this over the course of my life, but a helpful litmus test that I've found is to watch whether people are asking more exploratory questions vs guiding questions (those that seem to follow a narrative leading to a pre-determined conclusion or request) or no questions at all, to be an indicator of whether someone is genuinely interested in me as a person vs just being interested in something they might be able to get from me vs not really interested in anything in particular but just passing time interacting with me because I'm there.

Unfortunately with our particular issues, I think there is a tendency to feel more comfortable with the latter two cases because they're less taxing to our conversational abilities, so if we're not conscientious about it we can inadvertently be pulling away from people who might be good for us to be around and get closer to while feeling more relaxed than we should around those who aren't.

While not something that can be universally applied to every case, it's something a counselor thought happens frequently enough to bring to my attention to consider, that with certain communication deficits we might have to over-ride intuition that equates conversation going easy with going well because reality can be quite the opposite, ie: good people aren't always easy to talk to, but if they're willing to be patient with our awkwardness then they'll probably be worth the effort to get to know, but people where conversation seems to be easy because awkwardness seems to "disappear" are probably not really listening or have other agendas besides our best interests in mind.



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21 Feb 2020, 2:05 pm

aquafelix wrote:
Yes Mona, I think the the privacy stuff is really important for people you don't know well. However, this post was prompted by a nasty experience with a boss who knew all my privacy stuff.

I had been in a workplace for a long time where everyone knew my issues and I even had a written agreement outlining adjustments between me and my boss. The problem came when a new boss arrived who didn't know me and saw my adjustments as indulgent and inconvenient. Once the boss found out that I didn't want the agreement to be known at the company HR level, the boss thought they could ignore the agreement and tried to leverage me into changing my duties in a way that would have caused a rapid burnout for me. I protested strongly, but knew I was trapped and had no choice but to resign or stay and end up a total wreck. I was utterly traumatised by all the lies, cruelty and injustice of it all. It was doubly stupid because I was a very productive worker and in a very specialised high skill role. My resignation caused the new boss major problems and they have not been able to replace me.

I made a complaint against the new boss and HR investigated and the new boss was disciplined and almost fired over what they did, but by that time I had another job. What frightens me is that I didn't realise what the new boss was doing was unreasonable and illegal until my coworkers pointed this out to me. I was too focused on keeping the new boss happy.


I've been in similar situations at work too. You have been very wise to choose this path in your career: "I was a very productive worker and in a very specialised high skill role", it will pay off. By now, I can't do pretty much what I want if the work gets done for similar reasons. But I never put anything in writing or admit to anything, it all goes under "he has his quirks" or even people being told that they can have the same accommodations when they give the same results :lol:

I'm very private, all information is offered on a need to know basis or shared with people who have actively earned my trust. Some of these nasty lessons taught me well and they stayed with me.


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21 Feb 2020, 5:57 pm

aquafelix wrote:
When I was younger I had a habit of trying to make friends with the kind of people who in hindsight were my natural predators and enemies. Imagine a gazelle trying to casually buddy up to a hungry lion. . . ouch! messy.

I think this could be real safety issue for some aspies. Particularly women. Anyone else have this predator blindness and how did they over come it. I think I kind of overcame it with paranoia - seeing everyone new as a potential predator, but I think that this a less than perfect solution.


I am pretty intelligent, but somehow, when some people get to know me they can very much take advantage and in the past I have been really taken advantage of, especially at the workplace. (Not at all at the last job as they are good people).
Then because I have been taken advantage of I get overly stressed and head for a burnout... As I go to try to recall every interaction I have ever had with the individual taking advantage... And sometimes if I get no support I will get burnout and hand in my notice.

I then reach a point where I don't trust anyone except my Mum, and then I slowly have to start trusting people again starting from the closest people to me. I lost friends in the past when I did this as I didn't want to know anyone other then my Mum and immediate close family. It is a coping mechanism I guess? Never thought of it like that before.


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Mona Pereth
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21 Feb 2020, 6:41 pm

Brisienna wrote:
I've had some struggles with this over the course of my life, but a helpful litmus test that I've found is to watch whether people are asking more exploratory questions vs guiding questions (those that seem to follow a narrative leading to a pre-determined conclusion or request) or no questions at all, to be an indicator of whether someone is genuinely interested in me as a person vs just being interested in something they might be able to get from me vs not really interested in anything in particular but just passing time interacting with me because I'm there.

Hmmm, I disagree with this particular litmus test.

It seems to me that a truly "predatory" person is likely to ask lots of exploratory questions, for the purpose of figuring out how to take advantage of me later on. On the other hand, someone might initially be interested in only a "pre-determined conclusion or request" but then become more interested in me as a person later on, as they get to know me.

I do agree with the following more general point:

Brisienna wrote:
if we're not conscientious about it we can inadvertently be pulling away from people who might be good for us to be around and get closer to while feeling more relaxed than we should around those who aren't.

[...]

good people aren't always easy to talk to, but if they're willing to be patient with our awkwardness then they'll probably be worth the effort to get to know, but people where conversation seems to be easy because awkwardness seems to "disappear" are probably not really listening or have other agendas besides our best interests in mind.

It is well-known that con artists tend to be smooth talkers.


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aquafelix
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22 Feb 2020, 8:41 am

shortfatbalduglyman wrote:
That's why I avoid everyone

It is better to fail to interact with someone you should have interacted with, than interact with someone you should not have interacted with

I don't think avoiding everyone is a great strategy. Everyone needs allies. Eventually a predator type will cross your path and find you alone and without friends making you easy prey.



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22 Feb 2020, 9:37 am

Since 1974, nearly everyone just pretended to be friends only to see what they could get out of me and nothing more or pure bullying and hate even from my own family have acted as social predators by making sure I was surrounded by such people, either predatory or parasitical. Anyone who called themselves my friend would only act friendly to favours not out of genuine friendship, and if I saw what was going on that I was being mugged off then they would show their true predatory colours and bullying or hate speeches based on projection of NT traits about me or lying about me to their family result. Yet I get told ,don't be this!', 'don't be that!'. But the favourites get preferential treatment. That's predatory behaviour, and I have experienced this obscenity greatly since 1977 from outside the family. I would be asked what I have to offer or it would be assumed I have a lot to offer but if I asked that question to someone, then I would be told. I don't know what you mean. That is either predatory or parasitical behaviour.



dracblau
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22 Feb 2020, 11:55 pm

I used to have a bad habit of making friends with people who would end up ridiculing and bullying me, or using me for something or other that they felt they could take from me without reciprocity. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve finally been able to drop those ‘friends’ and just keep the ones that are nice to me.
I think blindness is a good word, as I assume people have good intentions if they are befriending me.



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29 Feb 2020, 5:12 pm

aquafelix wrote:
When I was younger I had a habit of trying to make friends with the kind of people who in hindsight were my natural predators and enemies. Imagine a gazelle trying to casually buddy up to a hungry lion. . . ouch! messy.


:lol: On the "Ouch messy part."

Yes, there was a time in my life where I would try and be friends with predators and more than once. However, for me it was trying to pet them only to get bit which I finally got tired of it.

One of my predators was a roommate of mine, who I did try to make friends with but I soon discovered that she only wanted a roommate/business deal with me. She also discovered something was off about me and soon used that to bully me around. Especially since I was not picking up on the whole roommate agreement thing or live up to her expectations.

One time she said she lied to me by saying she was having a birthday party but that I was not invited because I was still under 21 and because I didn't fit in. She was 6 years older than I was. She also would get mad at me everytime I would turn around until I would cry.



adromedanblackhole
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08 Oct 2020, 12:02 am

aquafelix wrote:
When I was younger I had a habit of trying to make friends with the kind of people who in hindsight were my natural predators and enemies. Imagine a gazelle trying to casually buddy up to a hungry lion. . . ouch! messy.

I think this could be real safety issue for some aspies. Particularly women. Anyone else have this predator blindness and how did they over come it. I think I kind of overcame it with paranoia - seeing everyone new as a potential predator, but I think that this a less than perfect solution.

I very much relate to the sentiment of this post.
In fact I have posted this sentiment across various completely unrelated threads strewn across this site.
My coping mechanism is very similar: I view essentially all of humanity as an unfeeling apex predator that does not see me as entirely part of its kind and thus prey. When I project strength amongst the hyenas, they do tend to submit in fear but then it becomes a game of collectively working together to break me down. I have no real solutions to offer you aside from the mutual understanding that humanity is cruel and given the opportunity to never interact with the vast majority of them I take that option every time.



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08 Oct 2020, 12:05 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
One of the ways I protected myself was by insisting that my friendships have specific identifiable roots, e.g. revolving around some specific common interest, at least initially. I'm under the impression that the more narcissistic and otherwise predatory kinds of people tend to start relationships based primarily on mutual flattery, rather than based primarily on a common interest. So I think the natural autistic tendency to focus on one's interests was actually beneficial to me in terms of attracting people who sincerely shared my interests to a similarly intense degree, while repelling narcissists.

This isn't foolproof protection, but I think it helped me a lot.

This is really fabulous advice Mona



adromedanblackhole
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08 Oct 2020, 12:14 am

Aspiewordsmith wrote:
Since 1974, nearly everyone just pretended to be friends only to see what they could get out of me and nothing more or pure bullying and hate even from my own family have acted as social predators by making sure I was surrounded by such people, either predatory or parasitical. Anyone who called themselves my friend would only act friendly to favours not out of genuine friendship, and if I saw what was going on that I was being mugged off then they would show their true predatory colours and bullying or hate speeches based on projection of NT traits about me or lying about me to their family result. Yet I get told ,don't be this!', 'don't be that!'. But the favourites get preferential treatment. That's predatory behaviour, and I have experienced this obscenity greatly since 1977 from outside the family. I would be asked what I have to offer or it would be assumed I have a lot to offer but if I asked that question to someone, then I would be told. I don't know what you mean. That is either predatory or parasitical behaviour.

I very much relate to this. Recently a friend of mine who I would have considered something like a sister showed her true colors for a second or third time and I just felt like yeah okay that's enough. It could just be that people generally speaking just don't have great hearts and this is just what's out there. NT people are more capable of dealing with it because they're the same.