Confusion, Gaslighting, and Being Taken Advantage Of
I think this image is perfect for this post because I’ve had this blank yet slightly terrified look on my face many times before, and I’ve never been able to find an image so close to how I look when I’m afraid.
I’d like to talk about gaslighting, confusion, and being taken advantage of as an autistic person.
Most of the comments I receive are positive or, even if they don’t agree, they are at least constructive.
However, over the past couple of days, I’ve gotten comments that not only confuse me, they frighten me.
That isn’t because anyone was outright mean or threatening, but there was just something about them that triggered me very deeply.
I realize that this is an area where autistic people are especially vulnerable; being unable to determine the meaning and/or intention behind words or actions.
Many words and actions can be temporarily confusing between the neurotypes, but the misunderstandings can either be cleared up or moved on from, depending on the situation.
Sometimes, the misunderstandings unfortunately lead to arguments and the end of friendships.
Then there are the words and actions that completely scramble the brain and make no sense to the autistic person even if they analyze it for days.
This is where I get tripped up. When I am exposed to very verbose yet what appears to be calm and rational “analysis” of myself that I do not recognize as having anything to do with me (it sounds like they’re talking about someone else entirely), I don’t know how to respond.
That’s what I’ve run across these past few days. That type of comment, and, at first, I wrote it off in my true snarkastic fashion. Then (and this always freaks me out), the other person was painfully calm and rational in their response, yet it felt threatening yet made no sense to me whatsoever!
My point in all this is, I think this is how autistic people are so susceptible to experiencing gaslighting because many of us honestly don’t know if someone is trying to be helpful, trying to be a jerk, just winding us up for fun, or outright trying to abuse or take advantage of us.
It’s the creepiest, most unsettling feeling I can describe, yet for as “articulate” as I am, I still don’t know if I’m describing it accurately enough.
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