I spend half my life trying to not offend people. My safe space is the comments section here on my blog where the only social rule is: be interesting. I’m especially grateful to people who disagree with me; it’s out of control for me to chase someone around arguing with them in person, but in the comments people think: She’s so responsive!
“I’ve been married and divorced twice. I don’t look at it as failing… My life isn’t perfect but it’s pretty damn good and I’m steering my own ship. My house and life are serene. I fill it with stuff I want to do… Having a partner is overrated if you aren’t happy.
Only someone with autism would say that. Having a partner is absolutely NOT overrated. Steering one’s own ship IS overrated. Wanting to do everything how we want to do it at the cost of making compromise to share life with someone else is the definition of autism…The human race would not have survived if it were normal to want these things.
[I had] a narcissistic/borderline mother who made emotional chaos normal in my childhood…So I picked two husbands where emotional chaos was normal. Then I got sick of feeling emotionally drained and got out. Since then I’ve navigated carefully to protect my serenity. In therapy again now to expand my thinking around this and more. I don’t think I’m autistic.
I replied: You’re autistic. Here’s why:
Self-analysis is autism
Just because you can spew DSM stuff doesn’t mean you’re not autistic. In fact, analyzing ourselves as a hobby is a marker of autism — we are constantly trying to understand how to world works, and how we feel comfortable. Because actually we can’t do either of those things. And the real reason we are out of step is that our brain makes us blind to ourselves. We see other people clearly but we don’t see ourselves.
But wait, all that analysis has payoff. People with autism are better writers than everyone else, because we spend our life memorizing dialogue and replaying it in our heads trying to figure out what just happened. In my writing course, I never see an autistic woman write bad dialogue — she’s been practicing in her head for too long to ever miss a beat.
Borderline personality is autism
So many autistic women think they are not autistic but “just recovering from a mother who has borderline personality disorder”. But autism and BPD frequently go together and scientists think BPD is so similar to autism that it’s another autism spectrum disorder. BPD is caused primarily by a mother who has BPD and autism; her erratic parenting causes her autistic daughter develop BPD.
Narcissism is autism
Narcissism and autism are so similar that scientists are thinking narcissism might be a subset of autism so we could just delete the narcissism category from the DSM.
There are many published papers explaining why narcissism is part of autism. You don’t need to know every piece of research but you do need to know that if your therapist diagnosed your parents or your spouse with narcissism it’s because the therapist doesn’t understand autism, and you have it, and that therapist can’t help you.
Divorce is autism
When the commenter writes that she’s been divorced twice. That’s probably because she decided the men have a problem (narcissism) and she has a problem (raised by a mom with BPD) and she felt depressed. But depression is part of autism, regardless of who we pick to marry, and staying married protects against the worst depression.
Autistic marriages are likely to end because we have the most emotionally compromised dating pool. If you’re not autistic you sort out people who violate all the social rules for dating. So autistic people are left with a dating pool of each other, and we don’t even notice there’s anything wrong.
Loneliness is autism
That is, until the honeymoon glow turns to marital glower and loneliness seems hard to separate from choice of spouse. I’ve done that. But once you get divorced, you’re forced to diversify your ideas about loneliness.
I used to think loneliness was something I had from not being around enough people, and that’s why I feel less lonely when I write on my blog. But I discovered that loneliness is a neurological disorder. Loneliness isn’t caused by a lack of social support. Loneliness comes from chronic illness or social anxiety. And the only way start feeling less lonely is to first acknowledge it’s an autism thing.
Interestingness is autism
So, yeah, I do think the commenter has autism. She must be really interesting to have appealed to her ex spouses because she — like me — is totally interested in her own stuff. So we are magnets for people who like interestingness. And wanting life to be interesting is not normal. There are higher values than that. But not for us.
So it’s no wonder that adults with autism know more about autism than mental health professionals. And if you want to know if you have autism, don’t ask a professional. Ask someone with autism. And if you want your life to get better after you find out you have autism, talk to people who also know they have autism. You get really smart about yourself really fast once you have that label.