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Eddy98
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13 Apr 2022, 12:52 pm

Hey ho!

I've a little issue with myself I would like to talk about: TW: @buse mention

I recently got to know about "masking" and I believe... I have been doing this my whole life until I couldn't anymore a few years ago. I think I was told how to act normal by my family without their or my knowledge that something about me was different. But maybe they couldnt notice something different about me because of the @buse my mother and I were facing, they probably thought my behavior was a reaction due my PTSD.

So I was.... well not neurotypical per se but I didnt look autistic, just weird and odd. But my "mask" broke slowly over the last few years, I started to stim, to be overstimulated more than I was used to, I struggled with a lot of things, acted different when my mind was "gone/foggy" and more. And now, that I learned more about autism, I relate more and more. That all happenend when I moved away from my family, so maybe it has something to do with that?

But what I struggle with, is if it's possible to "mask" from a young age until young adulthood because of the way you were raised? Because it feels like I am finally free to be... simply me. Does that make sense?

Peace&love Ed



skibum
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13 Apr 2022, 2:27 pm

Yes. Many of us, if not most of us, have been masking since we were tiny kids. I even have an Autistic cousin whose parents are also Autistic. Because the parents are also Autistic, they raise her fully allowing her and encouraging her to be her Autistic natural self. Yet she is five years old and has already mastered the art of masking because she is in school.


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autisticelders
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13 Apr 2022, 4:17 pm

makes perfect sense to me. Abused before I could speak, and after leaving home found an abusive partner. I masked but always knew I was different, never could figure out why I made folks angry, I never intended to offend! learning about autism in my late 60s I suddenly could see how it happened, led to diagnosis at age 68, just amazing I had not figured it out before! Who knew about autism back then? I never compared my behavior in my old age to the autism that is supposed to be what one looks for in kids. What a relief to know everything all those years was not "all my fault" but was autsim behind the works and nobody knew!


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Eddy98
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13 Apr 2022, 6:02 pm

skibum wrote:
Yes. Many of us, if not most of us, have been masking since we were tiny kids. I even have an Autistic cousin whose parents are also Autistic. Because the parents are also Autistic, they raise her fully allowing her and encouraging her to be her Autistic natural self. Yet she is five years old and has already mastered the art of masking because she is in school.


I see... thank you! I hope that your cousin will be okay in school :)



Eddy98
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13 Apr 2022, 6:09 pm

autisticelders wrote:
makes perfect sense to me. Abused before I could speak, and after leaving home found an abusive partner. I masked but always knew I was different, never could figure out why I made folks angry, I never intended to offend! learning about autism in my late 60s I suddenly could see how it happened, led to diagnosis at age 68, just amazing I had not figured it out before! Who knew about autism back then? I never compared my behavior in my old age to the autism that is supposed to be what one looks for in kids. What a relief to know everything all those years was not "all my fault" but was autsim behind the works and nobody knew!


Im glad you found your diagnosis! I never considered myself autistic but for "fun" I made a test and even if the results dont matter as much, yet the questions made me think and how people already saw me as autistic because of my stims and me being odd. Now Im self-reflecting a lot and realising that autism fits me better than I ever wouldve thought.

So thank you for your answer!



Elgee
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16 Apr 2022, 11:20 pm

I have an official ASD diagnosis, but I'm an outlier in that my masking has always been very minimal. I can't understand why this is, especially since I'm a woman. I never tried to act like other girls because I could NOT RELATE TO THEM. I also didn't care for them. So the idea of mimicking them never entered my mind.

My masking, what little there was, consisted of fake smiles, fake nods to show fake interest in the other person, maybe a little "glow" to my eyes to show fake interest, suppression of urges to talk about things I found interesting that others wouldnt, and suppression of stimming. In summary, pretending I was interested in the people who were talking to me when I was actually quite bored. I consider this MINOR masking, not enough to ever cause burnout or exhaustion.

Consequently, if I was around people long enough, they'd figure out that I wasn't fitting in, that I was odd and strange, and/or a bit rude or too forward.

How does a FIVE year old know to mask??? I began feeling different in third or fourth grade.



orbweaver
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13 Jun 2022, 6:04 pm

Elgee wrote:
I have an official ASD diagnosis, but I'm an outlier in that my masking has always been very minimal. I can't understand why this is, especially since I'm a woman. I never tried to act like other girls because I could NOT RELATE TO THEM. I also didn't care for them. So the idea of mimicking them never entered my mind.

My masking, what little there was, consisted of fake smiles, fake nods to show fake interest in the other person, maybe a little "glow" to my eyes to show fake interest, suppression of urges to talk about things I found interesting that others wouldnt, and suppression of stimming. In summary, pretending I was interested in the people who were talking to me when I was actually quite bored. I consider this MINOR masking, not enough to ever cause burnout or exhaustion.

Consequently, if I was around people long enough, they'd figure out that I wasn't fitting in, that I was odd and strange, and/or a bit rude or too forward.

How does a FIVE year old know to mask??? I began feeling different in third or fourth grade.


I relate to this. My parents are both ND and one of them is certainly on the spectrum (and thinks she may be as well), and a huge amount of my autism was just indulged inside the home. I was even homeschooled for part of my childhood instead of being sent to special ed, as my parents refused to get me evaluated but were facing pressure from the school system. My parents just believed I was gifted and misunderstood. But, make no mistake, they were *insistent* I learn and practice manners. And many of my manners were still rather rough around the edges until my 30s.

I didn't want to be like "normal" kids, they were dumb and more boring! As a teen and young adult, I came out of my shell for a while and spent time with goth kids, nerd kids, stoners, and outcasts, and I managed to get up to some teenage adventure.

I didn't really begin to face a pressure to actually have some kind of socially neutral feminine persona until my 30s, and my burnout actually came at the end of that period. I don't know whether I felt more social pressure because the culture changed (and I feel it really has, there is much more normie female social pressure within spaces I once found to be very inclusive and welcoming of weird women) or because there were different expectations of that age group. In my late 40s, I feel like the pressure has let up *a lot.*


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Nic na Mara
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14 Jun 2022, 1:12 am

It's so good to read, I'm not the only one, who struggle with this problem all my life.
I feel the pressure from society. Expectations that I cannot meet. I have to stay seated at the dining table and listen to the empty conversations of others. I'm only silent because other people talk too much. I look up at the clouds or watch my dog getting along with the other dog. I would much rather be somewhere else, alone with myself, that I feel comfortable with myself again. In my mind, I've long since left the table with the others. If I'm absent from the communal dining table, I'm selfish, unsocial or just weird and of course wrong and disturbed in my behavior for them.

I'm pretty exhausted. I do it, because it was taught to me from my earliest childhood. I think, masking was forced on us by NTs. It finish me. I'm overwhelmed and I don't know how to explain myself. The NTs just don't listen properly or they don't want to understand, because it's easier for them to criticize my behavior and to label me as rude and disturbed in behavior.
I don't want to be an outsider, but I am, because I'm misunderstood and then cast out.

By the way, I'm also looking for help and advice from more experienced ASDs.



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14 Jun 2022, 2:26 am

I intuitively sense that the greater the adversity we face when growing up, the greater and more refined our adaptive skills become. If we have a more right brained dominant bias, greater still will our masking become. Many in the spectrum who have experienced profound childhood neglect often become so convinced of their adaptive self that they suffer overwhelming personality and self worth problems.

My uncle, who is in the spectrum and suffered severe childhood abuse, developed disassociative identity disorder. Sadly, his experience is not rare for many vulnerable people with High Functioning Autism faced with appalling childhood neglect.