Close friend learning to unmask hurts my feelings?

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Joined: 6 Feb 2024
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Posts: 121
Location: Texas

21 Mar 2024, 4:34 pm

I can kind of understand why it hurts my feelings but I don't understand why it makes me feel so invalidated.

Do you think my friend is kinda mocking me, intentionally or not?
What are your thoughts on unmasking? Am I being unreasonably butthurt about it?
How can I be more supportive of my friends that unmask and not take things personally?

v v v

I have someone that I have been really close friends with for two years. Last summer, she started suspecting that she might be autistic. Her reasons first included that she is close to people that are autistic (me, our mutual friend, her girlfriend, and another one of her friends), that she is awkward socially, and a bunch of random stuff that I have not really heard of that she learned from instagram. (ex. she shares how autism is so common in trans women like her and her girlfriend; jokes about how she could 'go nonverbal'; she does autistic "nesting" whatever that is. Basically she just reads more modern examples of signs and traits than I do)

I can see why she suspects she might be autistic and I would not be surprised at all if she is. She has previous history of OCD, anger issues, depression, self harm, and a couple of our friends suspect BPD. So there's already some possibly comorbid stuff if she is autistic. I don't know anything about the stuff she has gotten from instagram but some things she shared about her childhood I do recognize as signs from my own childhood reports.

--> My issue is that she has picked up some things from the internet about learning to unmask and accept certain traits and I am a bit embarrassed and possibly offended by how she is going about it.

She told me she was trying to let herself "stim" and whatever and she is.. copying my hand and arm movements to do when she is happy? It makes me upset not just because it feels kind of like mocking me but also because I do those more when I am stressed or anxious and I can't completely control them. I find them embarrassing and often painful.

Then I felt even more embarrassed and ashamed when she told me she did it because she decided to try and found that the hand thing I did was kind of relaxing and fun for her... I did not like hearing that. Possibly because I have swollen and bruised knuckles and have trouble writing for class because of that stim.

She would ask and tell me about this autism stuff and about how she is enjoying the process and all that but I ended up asking her to stop sharing some of the stuff with me because it kinda made me feel like poop. I feel bad for not letting her share positive experiences with realizing she might be autistic but I guess I am too immature and sensitive to be happy for her. I was just referred back to social therapy and ABA and I am generally struggling with the negative side of all the stuff she is having fun learning about and doing.

I'm probably projecting because I have had similar butthurt feelings from people sharing their feelings and experiences with unmasking which I see basically as reducing the amount of control over things that I have been trying to control and still want to control. I want to mask better using social therapy and ABA in order to get by easier in life and to reduce the experiences with ableism that my behavior and speech gets all the time. I also get worried that people learning to unmask will forget how to mask and then experience the s**t unmasked and low masking people experience.