One doesn’t have to have been blogging for very long, nor does one even have to have hit the Blogger Bigtime before the nearly-inevitable happens: one can attract the attention (and the misplaced ire) of one’s very own troll.
I managed to attract two within the same week. Go me.
Both are presumably officially diagnosed as autistic. But I’m seeing some pretty neurotypical (albeit on the unhealthy end) behavior here.
The first “hit” happened about a week ago. Apparently, WordPress marked a comment on my blog as spam (link to the post where I first mentioned it). Therefore, I didn’t see it right away. (And as luck would have it, I very-accidentally deleted it when clearing other spam out of the spam folder.) Unlike many trolls out there, this person actually is someone that I’d been following on Twitter, and apparently, so are several in our Twitter friendship circle (although probably not too closely, because I hardly ever see them mentioned in conversations or on profile pages).
Needless to say, given the attitude they displayed in their comment, I’m no longer following them. It’s not that I’m butthurt; it’s that I have no time or energy for this type of person, nor do I desire to interact with people like this. I have no time or patience for drama.
Here’s a comment I received, from a blogger known on Twitter as Planet Autism, in response to a recent post in which I expressed understanding toward those who are against the idea of self-diagnosis, by acknowledging that there may indeed be “imposters”:
Personally, I was actually shocked to receive this. I never intended to come across as “holier-than-thou”. I just tell things as I see them…as I see them…from my own perspective…and usually, about my own situation or observations.
Don’t I have that right? Whose place is it to tell me I can’t? Is there some legislative line-item that I failed to receive the memo about?
These types of accusations and suppositions (as well as the act of reading things into peoples’ writing/speech that aren’t there, i.e., making assumptions and implying hidden meanings that don’t exist) are actually extremely neurotypical behavior. This person is supposedly a parent on the spectrum, of children on the spectrum. They sound very defensive, very protective. Of what? What threat am I to them?
Then they refuse to own their accusations by saying that they don’t harbor me any ill-will, followed up immediately with a textbook example of “using your autism diagnosis as an excuse to be an arse to someone under the name of ‘bluntness’ “.
Now…this may sound hypocritical (but stay with me–it’s not), because I am going to be blunt but trust me, I would have responded this way no matter what, and I’m not going to use my neurotype as an excuse to do it. I’m going to be blunt and borderline-hostile in return, because after all, this person approached me and initiated this conversation. And I don’t take these things lying down; I’m all about polite and cerebral disagreement, but if somebody pokes me unfairly or illogically (which it’s my opinion that this was), I’m going to respond with the appropriate amount of fire…
First of all: bullshit. Someone who just got done calling me “pompous”, “antagonistic”, and “holier-than-thou” certainly does “harbor ill-will”. Maybe not severe ill-will. But they’re definitely not saying prayers for me. They’ve never come out in support, either on Twitter or on WordPress. In fact, other than following them at some point (probably because they followed me at some point?), we’ve never interacted at all.
Second of all: Honey, I’m as Aspergian/autistic as they come, and one of my goals is NOT to use my neurotype as an excuse for being mean to anyone. That kind of comment wasn’t even bluntness; being blunt is one thing; being rude and presumptuous is quite another.
Third of all: I just love (sarcastically) when somebody tries to call me out on what kind of doctor I am. Trust me, I’m licensed in my state as a portal of entry primary care provider, my license is in good standing with no disciplinary actions against me whatsoever, and I’m absolutely qualified to diagnose and treat. I practice a subset specialty of family medicine, dealing with chronic conditions. Happy now? By the way, since you brought it up, what kind of doctor are you? What gives you the right to assume that all self-diagnosed people are full of shit? Guess what: they’re not. Roughly 99% of them are onto something, in my own experience (which parallels that of many others).
Aye, aye, aye.
Oh look–here’s another one. The first one was mild, a kind of “child’s play”; this one is–well, a child in a supposedly grown male body.
This one’s pretty vile, so I’m issuing a potential Trigger Warning (for bullying and cruel denial of autistic people) for the images below.
Just today, I received a vicious attack from a real live troll. He claims he’s a member of the ActuallyAutistic community, but his behavior screams otherwise. I know nothing about this person, other than the behavior he had demonstrated. From the limited amount of interaction I/we had with this individual (maybe a total of a half-hour and that’s a generous estimate), he clearly is full of hate and anger. Hate and anger that did not start with me. It’s so “primed and ready” that it has probably developed from long-standing issues, of which I know nothing of the nature.
Before blocking this person, I snapped a couple of screenshots. Again, I’m issuing a Trigger Warning for these images, for people who are sensitive to this type of person/behavior.
He hit me on Twitter first:
And then proceeded to read me the ranty riot-act on WordPress (which got caught for my moderation, in response to another recent post, this one calling out those who are jerks toward ALL self-diagnosed people):
Who’s “we”? I found the exchange on Twitter was pretty funny, actually (albeit in a pathetic sort of way). It’s not exactly like he had an army of support, “hearting” his war-cries and “re-tweeting” his tirades. He struck me as an army of one, a legend in his own mind. I was bored, so I found it semi-amusing. But only because today has been a rather pleasant and relaxing day for me, which also means it was one of my “stronger” days, where I truly could let it roll off…
…especially once the Twitter Tribe came to my side! I am entirely grateful for that! I’m proud and humbled at the same time to have them as friends, blessed to have them in my life. In less than a half-hour (at most), this guy seemed to disappear, probably slinking back into the hole from which he came, with his tail between his legs. I don’t like to gloat–it’s not my nature–but this jackhole initiated the whole thing. He came at me.
Why is that? Was it because I’m female (especially the second one, not so applicable to the first)? That possibility crept into my mind as soon as a fellow Twitter-friend chimed in, saying she’d gotten a troll of her own today, too.
What’s with people? Are they putting something in the water? Is the moon almost full? (Come to think of it, yes, to answer the latter.)
Do these people think that females are an “easy target”? That somehow we’ll just hush up and go away? Not this one. He picked the wrong adversary.
I don’t know what the second guy’s true issue is. But it certainly doesn’t resemble true Asperger’s/autism. It smacks of the deranged, childish end of neurotypical behavior.
In a parallel universe, there’s a sadder side to this story…
What if today hadn’t been one of my “stronger” days? What if, like on so many other occasions, today was one of those days where I was fragile, hanging by a thread? What if I’d been on the brink of self-harm or suicide? What if I’d been an addict, experiencing the temptation to resume my addiction?
What if an encounter like this was the last straw that threw me over the edge?
More than a few people voiced their doubts about the legitimacy of this guy’s autism spectrum diagnosis. And this, my pretties, is an example of the type of attack that can come from a (possibly) false-positively diagnosed “Aspergian/autistic” (in quotes because of the (potential) inaccuracy of the diagnosis).
These people could be considered another type of “pseudo-Aspie/autistic”. And they’re just as harmful as the “imposters/pseudo” spectrum people I’d recently written about.
I’m sure that he actually has received a diagnosis of Asperger’s/autism.
And I think that he takes it very personally; it might even be a source of shame for him. (Although that’s pure supposition on my part, and I could be wrong.)
And I think that whoever diagnosed him as such is (probably) flat-out wrong (hence, my compulsion to write my previous post, which mentions the possibility of false-positive Asperger’s/autism diagnosis). Either that, or he has (many?) other issues, and these issues could be dominating his mindset, edging out any Aspergian/autistic traits he might’ve had. (I’m supposing here, too, and again–I could be wrong.)
I don’t like giving people like this any attention. They’re not deserving of my time, energy, bandwidth, or brain power. They’re also a tiny part of my otherwise-overwhelmingly-supportive and positive community. They add nothing to the conversation…
…or do they? They don’t add anything meaningful, that’s for sure. But I do think that people like this do need to be called out and discussed from time to time. Because any of us who tweets or writes (especially the blogging community) is vulnerable to attacks like these. And some of them may not have an unusually thick skin. Some of them might not be having a “stronger” day on that particular day.
It’s the sweet and sensitive among us, those hanging by a thread, those running out of spoons…that need the most support. So I’m speaking up in advance in support of them. One of the (several) goals of this post is to let them know that they’re never alone. I’m pretty pacifist by nature, but if any of the innocent good-natured people of the autistic community ever get attacked like this, I’m stating here and now that that’s not OK, I’m not going to tolerate it, I’m not going to stand by and let it happen, and I’m going to attack back. Support and protection of the innocent is one rare instance in which the outside/online world gets to see my Warrior Side.
So that’s why I feel that I had to dedicate this post to that conversation.
It’s unfortunate that I even had to. It sucks that it even happens.
But in doing so, I’m hoping to champion for a more supportive, inclusive community. These divides, cliques, and splinters do nothing for us. Neither do tiffs, attacks, or bickering. Unity (or at least tolerance) is where it’s at.
Because hopefully, before too long, I’m going to have an official diagnosis of my own, and if this jackhole didn’t look like an ass already, he’s certainly going to look like one later. (Isn’t the word “jackhole” cool, by the way? It’s really nasty-sounding and punch-packing without needing censorship, and it’s not going to offend the vast majority, since it’s not profane or ableist. Very versatile word that launches a good strike–my favorite kind of word.)
Luckily, these are just my first two trolls. (Being realistic, I’m sure they won’t be my last.) I’m blessed and heart-warmed to say that everyone else has been amazingly and overwhelmingly (in a good way) supportive, caring, encouraging, nurturing, and an absolute blessing. I’ve never encountered such a group of intelligent, thoughtful, evolved people, and I’m shooting-stars-lucky to have them and all of you as friends.
I’m pretty open when it comes to friends. I really try to be versatile and tolerant; we don’t have to agree on everything. I’m not going to get mad at someone for disagreeing with me. I’ll even engage in respectful, intelligent debate on various topics. I can agree to disagree if that’s what it comes to; I’d rather do that than lose a friendship over a silly debate topic.
And if anyone ever attacks you, I’ll step up and fight alongside you. I won’t let people hurt the ones I care about. People who attack those I care about are going to get smacked back down. Profanely and verbally-violently. I don’t let innocent people get hurt without doing something about it.
I insist upon only one thing: don’t be a jackhole lol. 🙂 ❤
Update: Planet Autism and Wallace Runnymede look like complete ignoramuses now, since my diagnosis was a complete slam-dunk, an easy play for my diagnostic PhD psychologist to call, and I had a piece of paper within a week, giving me access to accommodations for university and whatever else I need. It’s the most obnoxious and presumptuous that end up looking the least wise.
(Image Credit: Cyril Rolando)