Hate Mail… (but are they even actually autistic)?

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”:

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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:

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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):

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Orly?

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)

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20 Comments

  1. I like Wheaton’s Law, “Don’t be a dick.” 🙂

    Interestingly, before I muted him, the twitter troll responded to me with something about how my reference to an ‘autistic community’ was somehow wrong, but he was too tired to ‘explain’ it to me. Which led to both my Spock raised eyebrow and my Inigo Montoya quote (You keep using that word…). Some communities you get to choose. Some you will be lumped in with by the larger world whether you want to be or not. And while we can choose the autistic people with whom we choose to interact, we will be looked at as a single group by the larger NT world. So we are a community one way or another. And while infighting and negative personalities may be inevitable, they also aren’t productive. (I generally tend to mute people forever instead of blocking them. There’s a part of me that finds it vaguely amusing that they might keep yelling at me and I never even see it.)

    I don’t like to see people attacked. It’s one of the times my ‘tear’em down and rip’em to shreds’ side gets released. I also don’t understand the people who try to excuse deliberate rudeness by blaming it on being autistic. Part of my masking behavior as a child was to limit attacks and bullying aimed at me. But the other motivation even then and throughout my life was to try to convey what I actually felt and intended. There’s no point where it hasn’t bothered me when I’ve been perceived as rude or angry or impolite when I did not intend to be. I hate, hate, hate that and go to great lengths to try to avoid it. Much of my anxiety comes, I think, from my constant fear that I’ve messed up or mishandled a social interaction. Most of my lengthy list of scripts and rules are designed to avoid giving unintended offense. I may be blunt at times, though I often will think and consider my words before I am, and I often miss signals or apply the wrong rule, but I’m almost never intentionally rude. And if someone tells me that’s how I came across, I want to fix it if possible. Or at least figure out why so I can try to not do it again.

    Being autistic may make that harder and even extremely difficult for some people, but I think that’s a human reaction. If you don’t even care if someone perceives you as rude, hurtful, or abusive I think that’s a real problem. And not a problem related to autism.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love your comments! 😊

      I lol’ed at the Spock-raised eyebrow – excellent visual! And Inigo Montoya is one of my heroes lol 😊

      You’re absolutely right that to the NT world, we’ll be viewed as one community. And we should be one community…but alas… The problem is that arses like that pop their heads up and start spouting off, and if that’s the first–or only–exposure to the autistic community that that NT has had, that doesn’t look very good; that NT might think that all ASD people are like that and they May treat us as such. (D’oh!)

      But of course, we can’t control that. Sigh lol

      My approach echoes yours 😊😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! Talk about a couple of jerks! I think both of them are projecting and if they’d really read your whole post they would know that it was the exact opposite of pompous or hollier-than-thou. You were making valid points about why the community should be more accepting.

    I had one troll on my blog who also clearly hadn’t done more than skimmed the post and so badly missed the entire point and got facts incorrect. These types usually aren’t really reading or they intentionally misconstrue and put words in your mouth. I find when you attack them with logic they can’t rise to the occasion and then take off.

    I have difficulty with Twitter’s format other than the most rudimentary so I don’t have much conversation there, but I will certainly have your back here!

    I wonder whether Mr. Jack-patoot would be willing to put his money where his mouth is and fork out $2500 for each yet undiagnosed Aspie/Autistic’s assessment fee? If not then he needs to get lost. If he’d really read your post he’d have answered his own question about why people have not been assessed. I’ve been pounding the pavement for months in order to get mine and as of yet have no committment from any of the professionals I’ve approached to arrange something financially feasible, or I’d have done it in December of last year.

    I find it interesting that both the male and female who trolled you used the word “abhor”. Although one was passive-agressive and the other directly aggressive they actually might be connected, but if so they are each other’s only friend, if that much.

    Even though both might be on the spectrum, it seems to me that they have other problems which have little to do with their autism that are distorting their perception of things. I have seen some very sexist males talking like this about female Aspies/Autistics who have not been officially assessed and also attacking feminism and I think they are narcissists (whether or not they have an official spectrum diagnosis). The root of it seems to be that they have a misogynistic view of women and take any opportunity they encounter to push their buttons.

    The woman who attacked you probably has other motives, but she clearly is unaware of (or refuses to accept) how many females have been misdiagnosed for years as something other than Aspie/Autistic, and that neuropsychologists and other mental health professionals can be wrong and miss it entirely. There are only a handful of experts in this country who truly know how to recognize this in adult women, and like you said, most of the criteria were written with males in mind, not females. If she wants to do something constructive then maybe she too would like to foot the big bill for people’s assessments.

    I suspect that her issue is more a matter of her using her diagnosis as a means of feeling special and she views the huge number of adult females born in the 60’s and 70’s coming out as some sort of personal threat to her uniqueness. Irrational, yes, but most likely that’s what’s motivating her. I watched a video on Youtube recently by a similar woman who seemed to believe Autism was very rare and because of abuse in her childhood felt as though she was more “entitled” than the next person. Her split was between Aspergers and Autistics and it seemed she had displaced anger against Aspergians who used the words Aspergers and Autistic interchangably. There seems to be a subset that views it as a badge of honor, that they’ve “earned” their legitimacy in some way (implying or even directly stating that others have not).

    This is sad because living with this is hard enough in the context of an as-of-yet unaccepting ableist culture and though this might be their twisted way of convincing themselves they are of value, it only isolates them further from potential support they could have had by instead banding together with others who walk the same road.

    This chip on their shoulder seems to deepen, but what they don’t see is that by going around attacking others they are contributing to their own alienation. Whether this is a lack of insight or a willful rejection of it, it is neither helping them nor those whom they are attacking.

    If any such people are reading here I challenge them to do something positive to affect a real solution instead of bashing people who are really doing something to make society more Aspie/Autie-friendly.

    Keep up the good work, Silent Wave. Your blog is inspiring. I haven’t been up to blogging in awhile due to health problems, but reading yours is formulating some ideas for my future blog topics.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much for your amazing comment! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, particularly the part about some people using their diagnosis to feel special. I’ve gotten this inkling from them; they really amp up the disability aspect and come across as attention-seeking, although this is pure supposition on my part, based on what I’ve observed. I should have placed a virtual bet with each of them, especially the male dork who was oh-so-sure of himself lol – I bet that since I was easily formally diagnosed soon after this, that he’s having to eat his words. I haven’t seen or heard from him, and I don’t expect to; he ran off and hid like the cowardly jerk that he is 😂😂👏🏼💞

      Like

  3. Wow, well done. The first thing that happened to me when I blogged was an established rated blogger (I won’t name them) having a massive go at me. I was shocked. Then I joined twitter and the amount of vitriol I encountered went off the scale so yes, I had to leave. I am just too sensitive (and yes diagnosed too) to cope. I don’t understand people who are diagnosed being so rude. I don’t understand anyone being rude and I sure as hell don’t think being autistic gives anyone a free pass to being obnoxious. Do as you would be done by or if you haven’t got anything nice to say then do not say it at all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m so sorry and so sad that this happened to you 😢 There’s just no excuse for that type of behavior, ESPECIALLY from people who are supposed to be part of our own community! There’s definitely an elitist vibe among some of them. Luckily, they’re in the minority, and not very well-liked by the majority of the community in general. But the division is still sad and unfortunate, and it remains to be a tarnishing mark on the community as a whole. About the only thing we can do is to ignore them and keep championing for our undiagnosed brothers and sisters 😊💜💙

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  4. Sigh. You are so much braver than me. I stay silent. I CANNOT cope with vitriol. I hate hearing it, seeing it and I die if someone accuses me of having generated some of my own. *shudder*

    Nasty people are like the bad apples; they abound in every barrel. No group of people, autistics included, can claim 100% goodness. These folk may well be autistic by definition, what have you, but obviously have other things going on. They may have been raised in horrid circumstances, in extremely cloistered communities, with harsh demands by teachers and care givers. I’ve no idea what motivates such souls to act as they do.

    I like Scott’s mute button. I don’t want tocause such folk equal harm, but I’ll happily press the mute button.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your comment! I agree completely. Sometimes we’ll never know what their circumstances are/were, and it may help to consider those. If we think along those lines, the solace or peace that that may bring is not for them, but for ourselves, which is where that peace is needed 😊 Those people are responsible for cultivating their own peace 😉💜💚

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  5. Congrats on your first trolls. ☺ They say that is how you know you’ve arrived. The worst trolls, though, pretend to be your friend and subtly get into your life, and the only way you start realizing it is they talk to you so often that they think they can start telling you how to act on media. My worst felt like she was the rider and I was the horse, and it took me a long time to realize she was an expert manipulator siphoning attention to herself. Trolls like that are really difficult to disentangle from without others being dragged in because they are friends with all your friends. When you reach the point where trolls want to be your right hand snd share the attention you get, you will know you’re a success that others want to emulate without having to work for it. The other trolls become a bit meh by comparison, but both are bad if they ever want to know info about your real work or family. Couple people have really showed up at my house out of the blue, so be cautious. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh wow! Thank you for your words of caution and wisdom. I’m so sorry that happened to you! That’s quite shocking! 😱 I’m relieved that you’re physically ok, and I hope you’re mentally/emotionally ok as well. What a disturbing experience! 💜💐

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t speculate on whether these statements are made by people who are autistic, but from where I sit, autistic or NT, they are unhealthy interactions and worth avoiding.

    Your comments about automatically being associated with the autism community as a whole are interesting to me. As far as I know I’m NT, with a daughter diagnosed with Autism. I am watching her peers assign her place as being within the autism community as if she has no place amongst the NT majority. When she talks to me about this I tell her about the autism community on twitter, and the blogs I usually read but don’t comment on. I see a huge movement and an active voice and personally I cannot wait until autists rule the world. A big part of me believes it’s inevitable. It will be a kinder and more tolerant place.

    Keep smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! So much appreciated. I’m so sorry that this is happening to your daughter; I, too, pray for a kinder world, one of more peace and understanding and unity. 💐💞💖

      Liked by 1 person

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