All of my life, I have been subject to a social and emotional naivete that is rarely seen in adults, unless they are ASD or ACC (there are some other syndromes but can't recall them specifically at this time.) I would add, that almost like a magnet, those who would abuse people like us seek us out, and I've been told we 'stick out' to them easily. I have a great deal of difficulty in understanding peoples' true motives...I only see the surface. And, no matter how many times I get burned, I still see only the best, expect the best from most that I meet.
Many with ASD, and I suspect a DCC (disorder of the corpus callosum) find that we can much more easily relate to, and understand animals. The reasons for this are quite simple, animals are honest communicators, i.e., "what you see is what you get." Human beings on the other hand project a persona or a mask (this idea comes from Carl Jung) and the the mask they were for family, is different than that of friends, and again different for work, different for strangers. This is a given, this is the human way. The rub lay in the fact that one can wear said mask, project a certain persona and have entirely other motivations behind it. In this way human beings are dishonest communicators.
Now, the average person on the street that I meet, is not going to use this in a negative fashion, but a more socially accepted way of relating to others. Then there is the serial abuser. They seek out and are drawn to those they clearly understand they can mislead, manipulate and take advantage of. And no matter how many times someone like me experiences this, we continue to fall victim to it. The only other alternative is to block people out of our lives completely.
It is my observation and personal life experience, that sexually abusive predators, spiritually and emotionally abusive predators, and those predators seeking to take advantage of us materially or otherwise are drawn to us like flies.
gaslighted, even by my own family members. I have also been taken advantage of materially and physically, defrauded, lured and beaten, and worse.
I have to fight every single day to keep the desire to engage the world socially on any meaningful level. In many ways, it would be so much easier to hide under a rock. There is the stereotype that both Autistic and DCC people do not want to be social, that we are always introverted, that we lack empathy and the desire to comfort others...In fact in that way alone I am an extrovert. I want to make connections with people. More often than not, however, if that individual is not the type to take advantage of me, the majority of people in my life eventually find a way to bow out of the friendship or relationship. There is misunderstanding as often on my part as another individual's part. I have grown jaded, and greatly mistrust most people. This is especially true of those to whom I am closest, those who express love and appreciation, and understanding....I am always in fear that the "other shoe will drop."
This subject is all the more reason that parents of ACC and higher functioning autistic children and adolescents (even late adolescents) be wary of those who enter their child's life. While the degree to which the individual has the naivete can vary greatly, it is nonetheless a part of the majority of those with these diagnoses.
In my own case, I have tried over and over again to strengthen my ability to read people, by this I mean accurately detecting emotion from facial expression, tones and body language; understanding the effects of actions upon individuals (cognitively and emotionally, and precognition of their desires etc); and foreseeing possible consequences of one's social behavior. I try to no avail..
There are in fact times when I can read a person correctly, but it's rare. And I find that I so greatly mistrust my ability to do so (largely justified) that I often do not even try, or simple accept in very literal and face value ways what is before me, all to my peril.
Why am I writing this? Do I have a solution? No, I really don't, but my intent is to share with others curious about ACC and ASD this aspect of our makeup...to start a discussion about it. It is one of the great banes of my life, one of the many things about my diagnoses, that I honestly can say I hate, but have not found any effective method to cope with.
Thank you for listening :-)
And as a reminder, any and all comments to my blog are moderated, the pass through me and need my approval before I either approve, reject or mark them as spam. Much of what I have written above makes why I do this self-explanatory.