After a few years of experimentation and documenting occurrences, my conclusion is: I do not recommend disclosing autism – not in this society.
I know this is a horrible thing to say.
Bullying in the workplace, being targeted, scrutinized and set up for an automatic double standard, where you’re the only one called out for any and every mistake until you are walking on eggshells, and then being told you are “trying too hard,” until you feel like a bear being poked with sharp sticks, an honest person gaslit at every turn-
that is worse.
Until our society improves, until we value people, do not disclose your autism. Learn to hide it, and learn to hide your breakage from hiding your autism.
What I do now: I stop speaking. When I am put on blast, when I am being singled out for things my coworkers do all the time, I stop speaking.
I go home, and I am now spending weeks with my therapist separating my feelings from the actual circumstances. I am working out my hurt on the boxing bags. I am knitting myself back together.
bullies will not win- and they will not break us. By the time autistic people are adults, a lot of us have survived not only multiple suicide attempts, but abuse, damage, violence – the lessons from trusting people too much, one of the gifts that comes with autism.
So we, autistic adults, are resilient beyond what you can possibly imagine.
I will not speak, because I know a very eloquent tirade will come out of my mouth if I speak to bullying in the moment. I do not speak, because no matter if it kills me, I WILL treat others with respect, no matter what kind of disrespect they feel free to dole out.
and I know the potential pitfalls of this: I have already had it happen, where someone rushed to report an incident, flipped it around, put their actions in my mouth and my words in their mouth. “I have never, in all my time here, been spoken to so rudely; I am disappointed, and I am hurt.” one of us said it, and the other stole it, and reported it.
One rule for me, another for them. I know this. It is always this way.
Hide your autism, and build your armor, wound by wound, scar by scar.
I am here for you. I am here to remind you to pick yourself up off the floor, because as long as you are still breathing, you still have fight left in you, and I will lace you back into your gloves and put you back in the ring, even if I am crying for how hurt I know you are.
Welcome to the ring: this is autism. Hide it, and fight them.
The irony? If employers realized what they had in autistic people, they would value us so highly. They have honest people who will NOT lie. they have people who log rules into a file in their brain, and follow the rules. They have people who love going that extra mile,
until they break us down –