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Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective
Posted on Monday, November 28 @ 15:40:27 EST by
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Kirsten has this to say:

Bullying is a problem that affects nearly everyone, autistic or neurotypical, children or adults. At one point or another we’ve all faced a bully, or been a bully ourselves. Bullying and the damage it can cause is a popular topic of debate right now—we’re finally leaving behind the archaic “it builds character” mentality—but for those on the autism spectrum bullying can be even more difficult to combat.

What is bullying? Pure and simple, bullying is harassment. A bully is someone who regularly makes others around them feel badly. Bullying can be physical (assault), mental (verbal abuse), or indirect (spreading rumors).



Some bullies know what they’re doing. These are the mean kids (or adults) who are angry, hurtful people who put down those who are weak because it makes them feel powerful. Often times these bullies have their own problems with self esteem and lack of control, and take their issues out on those around them. Some bullies aren’t inherently mean people, and have a tendency to be manipulative and controlling without realizing. For example, a jealous boyfriend who won’t let his girlfriend have male friends is an abusive bully, but he might not realize it. From his point of view, he’s protecting the one he loves from other males who might want to take advantage. But intention does not excuse behavior. Bullying is always bad, with no exceptions.

Bullying is such a broad topic that it’s hard to pin down exactly how to recognize bullying, or to know how to stop it. As with most things in life, it’s a case-by-case deal.

If someone you know (your boss, your friend, your classmate…) is making you feel badly about yourself on a regular basis, you’re probably being bullied. Even if it’s passed off as “friendly teasing,” or “it was just a joke!” Remember, real friends don’t hurt each other. A professional, courteous boss doesn’t patronizingly call you “sweetie” when you’ve done something wrong. An ordinary classmate doesn’t laugh at you for something you can’t control. For someone who’s faced a lifetime of bullying it can be hard to break the cycle, as the long-term toll on self esteem that abuse creates can convince the victim that they are at fault, that people treat them this way because they deserve it.

Individuals with autism are often bullied, but many people forget that autistics can be bullies too. Autism can make it hard to put oneself into someone else’s shoes, so to speak. And if a friend fails a test, it might seem tempting to ridicule them for being stupid, without taking into consideration how that might make them feel. When I was in third grade, there was a boy in my class who was easily startled, so I had a lot of fun digging up worms and showing them off to him and giggling at his frightened reactions. Looking back, I know what I did to him was wrong. He was constantly wary of me, and I’m sure I made him feel pretty badly about himself. He probably wondered, what is it about me that makes people want to do these mean things? I was a little slow on the whole theory of mind thing, and it simply didn’t occur to me that scaring another person was wrong.

On the whole, most spectrumites are victims, not abusers. I myself have been bullied as far back as my memory goes. Before it was my peers, it was my teachers. I remember my preschool teacher absolutely hated me. I had no idea why, though in hindsight I bet it had something to do with me being a flaming autistic. Once, during recess, I picked her a bouquet of dandelions, because I liked getting presents, so maybe if I gave her a present she would be nice to me. She took them from me, with a snear said that she was allergic to flowers, and threw them into the woods. Another time, she dislocated my shoulder when I wouldn’t put down my yogurt after she blew the whistle for the end of snack time. I didn’t want to let go of the cup (I was still eating) so she tried to wrench it from my hand, which my weak toddler joints couldn’t handle.

When I entered public school it seemed like wherever I went people didn’t like me. My classmates would leave, whispering, when I entered the building blocks corner. Rhyming songs about how no one would marry me were sung at recess. I was called a beaver (for my teeth), a twig (for my body), and a retard (for my hand flapping) and my only defense was to chase my attackers with the threat of a cootie-contaminated kiss.

As I got older I made my first “mother hen friend,” as Tony Attwood refers to them. Through her, I became part of a small group of classmates to whom I could belong. It was much easier to laugh off bullies’ mediocre insults with a wingman or wingwoman at my side.

But then middle school started. We were all split up into four class groups. My three best friends and I were evenly divided up between the “teams.” So I was stuck with 30 or so other 12-year-olds I’d never met. The only people on my team from my elementary school were, coincidentally, the kids who found me to be the best bullying target. My aspergian back talk about things like the real pronunciation of “retarded” said through my Hermione Granger teeth, made me stand out like a sore thumb. So, needless to say, my middle school years weren’t all that wonderful. Everything and anything I did, innocuous or not, seemed to get me negative attention. When I dyed my hair pink, my classmates teased me about “killing someone and soaking [my] hair in the blood.” When I tried to dress like everyone else, I was confronted with snide questions about who I thought I was. When I went back to my thrift store clothes I was made fun of for being too “punk.”

I took solace with the other outcasts of my team, who just so happened to be the Goths. They seemed so strong with their studs and pins and chains, and they hated everybody else just as much as I did. I started wearing chains around my neck (from my garage instead of hot topic) and ripping up my pants on purpose. This didn’t really help my bullying situation, but at least I finally had a niche I could fall back on. The Goths didn’t think I was so ugly that I would die old and alone, or that I was so stupid I would end up homeless.

By high school things got better. I was reunited with my old friends, and because they’d met new people over middle school, our group had expanded. On the rare occasions bullies picked on me, the other kids in the class would actually come to my rescue. We were mature teenagers now, beyond all that kid stuff. People still made fun of me (“Kirsten Lindsmith” apparently had connotations in and of itself), but it was behind my back so I didn’t have to deal with it. For once I could ignore it all. Unfortunately, by then my self-esteem had been damaged to the point that I couldn’t even conceive of the notion of self-love. In the back of my mind, I thought I was slow, stupid, ugly, a loser, and any other unwanted adjective I could think of. Throughout high school I was again and again walked all over by people I loved and trusted because I thought that’s just the way things were. It was burned into me that no one would ever love me, and the best I could hope for would be for people to begrudgingly tolerate me. I honestly believed that other people’s feelings mattered more than my own, and that my happiness was somehow worth less.

After receiving my diagnosis, I read that people on the spectrum are far more likely than neurotypicals to fall victim to abuse. I hadn’t even known what abuse was (other than spouses hitting each other on CSI) but for the first time in my life I cried in public when I looked up a checklist on abuse in the dining commons at my university. I fit every one of the bullet points for symptoms of a victim.

These days nobody bullies me. But my life so far has been mostly spent being a victim of bullying in some form or another, and it’s taken its toll. It’s taken me years to build up the (rather delicate) self-confidence I possess today, but the slightest insult will send me spiraling into a meltdown. Wherever I go I feel that strangers are staring at me, judging me, hating me. I’m anxious and frightened wherever I go. I assume the people around me (my friends, my family) only tolerate me, and probably find me annoying. I’m incredibly unstable and unsure of myself, and I personalize nearly everything negative I encounter. Thankfully, now that I’m in college I don’t even have to interact with my peers. I’m in a much safer bubble compared to public school, and I have all the time in the world for therapy and whatever other voodoo magic will help me recover. I often tell myself that I’m a wimp, that I shouldn’t be so affected by the things people have done to me years ago. But I’m slowly coming to accept that trauma is a very real thing, and I’m not just “over sensitive”, or “over emotional”, as people have called me in the past for feeling hurt.

If you are being bullied, whether it’s by a stranger, a peer, a teacher, a parent, a romantic partner, or your best friend, the best thing you can do is to tell someone. Get your feelings validated. Know that you are not “overreacting,” and that no one deserves to be treated hurtfully. If your best friend is a bully, that means they’re not your best friend.

I hate the classic mantra “just ignore them.” Oh, don’t listen to the bullies, they’re just lonely kids with bad homes. Or they’re just bad people. Or they’re just aliens. It’s not really all that easy to “just ignore” someone who is screaming at you in the hallway, or laughing at you on stage during your school play, or stealing your clothes after gym class. Public school is a breeding ground for harassment. Everyone’s at “that age,” and you’re all crammed in together with nowhere to run. You can’t avoid a bully who goes to the same 1000-person school that you do.

But know that it does get better, as overused as that phrase has become. There will always be bullies in the real world, but they become much easier to avoid. For one, adults are actually allowed to go to the police and file harassment charges.

I don’t really have any advice for dealing with bullies, as that’s pretty clearly not my strong suit. But seek strength in numbers, even if it means being “that kid” who tells the teacher. It’s better to report a bully and be moved to another class than to grow up in an environment where you feel unloved, even hated. Get away anyway you can, and know that it’s not you who’s drawing out these feelings in other people, it’s the bullies who are seeking an innocent target upon whom to unleash their manipulative evil.

No one deserves to be bullied. Not you, not anybody.


               


 
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Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by shulamith Tuesday, November 29 @ 17:41:11 EST
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I also have had at least one experience where i was bullied by a teacher. It's awful because then the other students take their cue from the teacher and think it's okay to do it too. I think that with all this talk about cyberbullying, people forget the real-world bullying that goes on all the time. It's not just certain "mean kids" who do it. Students who seem nice and normal will bully kids with special needs who don't always know they're being bullied. I think people on the spectrum are more susceptible to abuse partly because in the therapy we receive, we're taught to measure our behavior against that of neurotypicals and to judge our progress that way. This leads us to have less self-confidence in our own way of life and behavior- we're set up to agree subconsciously with bullies' insults. At least that's been my experience. I do have one issue with this article. I think people on the spectrum can be bullies, but it is not always a comparable situation. If people on the spectrum honestly don't know they are hurting someone, that is different from a highly social neurotypical, who knows exactly what he/she is doing, picking on someone. The bad intentions may not be there for a person on the spectrum- they may think they are joking around with the person. Not always, but that is something I feel the author should have clarified.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by lumlock Tuesday, November 29 @ 08:33:38 EST
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Cops are even bullies hurting and even killing people for the heck of it and using the law to cover themselves, and we are one of those victims.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Dingus Tuesday, November 29 @ 09:37:07 EST
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I remember bullying not only by students, but also by teachers in high-school. In particular, the sports teachers. There were some really rough times.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Tuesday, November 29 @ 11:46:32 EST
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I think, in a guy's sense, my story is almost identical. I had *the* top (or bottom) name in middle school and the first half of highschool when I decided to try a catholic school an go out for football. Like you I also spent a lot of time with the alternative crowd, though admittedly this actually brought me to a lot of the guy friends I still have today. I don't know if Atwood has any kind of correlation for the male flip of the Mother Hen thing. Some of the guys I ended up best friends with in highschool were even some of my worst bullies for a spell previous; I don't know what flipped with them or how it did. Like you also, even though I don't get bullied directly anymore, I still have some very intense feelings that I carry with me; however it comes down to absolute worth. Finding out that I'm not good at something fundamental and literally can't improve, embarrassing myself in a worst-case scenario fashion because I'm forced into a contest and angered the person I'm partnered up with (certain things will not improve motor-skill wise) ends up hitting me in the face with stamps in such a way where, if I'm not ready for it, I'm keeping a straight face, going home, penning notes and scheming my own end. My thoughts would be less about hurt and more on brass tacks; that human life only had value if it was performing well, that if I was just an inherrant aboration someone could either murder me or squash an ant and that there would be no difference in the value of that outcome. The biggest challenge comes with trying to teach myself to accept life as it is; when you have been bullied for most of your life (or even the dichotomy I did later on of having loads of friends on one side and loads of bullies and haters on another) you end up in a place where you feel like you have so much negative equity to dig yourself out of that you would have to reach the absolute peaks of human achievement to justify your existence. I suppose that has made some great rock stars, CEOs, presidents, nobel prize winners, or great generals, but far more often its a path where people burn of or bust along the way simply because they're not quite as acceptional or resourced as those who do make it. My take on bullying anymore: yes some of these guys/girls are taking out what their parents do to them on the people around them. Others are just blatant narcissisists. I can't remember the study but I've heard it referenced by a lot of different people; on a self-esteem test of all kinds of different people from different walks of life college students scored the lowest, convicts scored the highest. Aside from cycle of abuse I think its mostly a eugenic thing - it's meant to kill you, its meant to stop you dead in your tracks, and if the residual effects don't end your life its meant to make sure that you know your place from there on out, as well as the people around you who will have an evermore evolving sense of what a person's traits and behaviors look like who has or was bullied through school. I don't think society deliberately (consciously) marks people for death so to speak, perhaps there are a large enough minority of people who are quite moralistic about social darwinism, but I think its our animal side showing when people do what they'd naturally do without thinking (and I notice so many adults talking about how they used to bully and they don't even understand why they did it - IMO its just that instinctive). On the flip we're considerably kinder to our 'weak' than most animals, if not any other, in that we don't outright murder people for coming up short. I think the reason why it was embraced for so long as a character builder though was that it served its societal purpose in thinning the weak from the herd wonderfully (if it beat you down rather than making you harder/stronger). It might even be that the backlash now against bullying has a lot more to do with the fact that anyone - even the lowest common demoninator, is procreating and society is having a sudden valuation change in what it interprets as 'strong' or 'weak' (based on changing economics, technology needs, etc.). Part of why I have a hard time not getting incredibly passionate on this topic, aside from having lived it, is that I think its symptomatic of one of our biggest core problems that keep us in the dark, keep our society from really advancing and keep corruption at the top of things; the genetics game and the secondary/tertiary beviours that it draws out of us or coerces us down to. Our tendencies are still domineering at the root, some people are made to feel remorse at a young age whereas others are increasingly rewareded for it as life goes on and as a result of the latter everyone around them is hardened/desensitized by their presence. I'm really in doubt that there's even such a thing as a choice in the matter from any which side as its really our environments and genes that create us.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by jovialwilliams Monday, November 28 @ 23:53:42 EST
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No one should be bullied, but everybody deals with it even the ones who you can't believe have ever been bullied. Sometimes, I have found myself to be the bully, but I have more been the object of it. Strangely, some of the childhood jerks have become my friends and good friends at that. I also have a great amount of trauma from certain experiences mostly as the result of bullying, but I am also learning to cope and to a certain point have learned how to cope(still working on it). I can sympathize with what you are saying. However I think if a friend, classmate, etc. is bullying, that person should be told as such before condemning him(gives the person a chance to realize what he or she is doing.) There are a few truths you should know to help your self-esteem. 1. You have a pretty face. 2. You have given many people intelligent and well-thought advice. 3. I don't think you are a loser because even though you may have been through hurt that you may never be able to fully describe, you are winning a lot even though it might be little by little if you don't give up. That's my perspective(I like to give my own opinion about things I feel strongly about even though I don't usually give it.)



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Chymistry Monday, November 28 @ 22:10:23 EST
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I completely understand what you went through. For years I was bullied till I just bullied myself. The way I understood things use to be that if I did everything right I could at least be ignored and alone; while if I made any mistake, public or private, personal or not, I would be an object of ridicule. Also the whole time I was just trying to be "Normal" because there was no excuse for me to be different. I am 26 and was just diagnosed in September with Asperger's at the college I attend and this is the first time in my life that i actually understand why I'm different and why it is okay and important to love myself. I agree completely with your comment: No one deserves to be bullied. Not you, not anybody.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Monday, November 28 @ 21:42:36 EST
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I find it interesting to how you defined bullying. Sometimes we bully or were getting bullied when we dont even know it. Bullying has the reputation of the tough kid in the school yard. Or with jr high/high-school, the kids overtly making fun of you in the hallways. Being bullied or harassed can often be very subtle, and it disguises itself in the idea of joking around. Even tho, Id say I have mostly been the target of bullying, occasionally I hate to admit it, Ive been the bully. To think of about it, most of us probably have aspie or not. Its interesting to redefine bullying and to realize that a few incidents that left me feeling horrible this past yr was a form of bullying and discrimination. For us aspies, as we grow into adults, we are often not outright bullied or targeted, its subtle.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Ria1989 Monday, November 28 @ 19:16:54 EST
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Great article Kirsten. I was taken under by a mother hen and it's what got me through elementary school to high school, but of course, I was still bullied periodically. Though I remember bullying one friend of mine who picked on me, I generally kept my mouth shut and was a victim. Even being in a group with normal females does not usually prevent one from being bullied within the group, sadly. There's still the "lovely" hierarchy.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Tomsfolk Monday, November 28 @ 20:53:50 EST
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Another fine article, Kirsten! I was bullied in the 1950's and 1960's and my Aspergian son in the 1980's and 1990's. Teachers did it. Other students did it. My experience has been that the bullies bully until they die. They always have their toadies to back them and do their bidding. They get away with bullying because teachers and other adults (coaches, parents, clergy) are afraid of them. Many times their parent(s) is/are bullies as well and threaten any official that speaks out about their precious little offspring. Until lawmakers, police, teachers, and all those in authority grow a pair and enact and enforce SERIOUS consequences, bullying will continue and those of us who are and have been victims of it will be left with the scars for the rest of our lives.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Tambourine-Man Monday, November 28 @ 17:26:39 EST
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Of course the blog was great! Your blogs always are! I also wanted to tell you that this is my favorite picture of you. : )



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by cathylynn Monday, November 28 @ 17:34:59 EST
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you mean feel bad - that's when you feel unhappy about something. feel badly means there 's something wrong with the sensation of touch.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by sunshower Monday, November 28 @ 17:05:04 EST
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Great article. I think you make good points about unintentional bullying, and also about the long term effect of bullying on self esteem. "Just ignoring it" or "avoiding it", especially in terms of verbal bullying, is pretty poor advice. I think, as you have done, attempting to integrate yourself into some sort of friendship group by any means necessary is the best form of protection you can get. Bullies target vulnerable people, and that especially includes isolated people. I know that integrating oneself in a group of people is easier said than done, and probably nearby impossible for many people here (throughout my time at school I probably only succeeded two or three times, and each time was very short lived - even before I was ousted I was a "outlier" - on the group fringes). However, I do think this is a good goal for one to work towards - far better than trying to practice "ignoring people" for all the good that will do as a preventative measure (however, if you are actually able to not let hurtful insults get to you - in which case I'm guessing you're some kind of a god - then ignoring would definitely be a good approach).



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Grisha Monday, November 28 @ 16:56:11 EST
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For one, adults are actually allowed to go to the police and file harassment charges. This is always what infuriated me the most - so much is said about "protecting the children" from predators, violent videogames, etc, but children don't have the simple right to go to school free from verbal/physical harrassment or violence from their peers. I think recalcitrant child bullies should be held (age-appropriately) criminally liable for their conduct, or at least physically seperated from their non-violent peers.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by klaswullt Thursday, December 01 @ 05:08:28 EST
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I got aspergers I am pretty, you got aspergers and if that is you, then I promise you are really pretty! My apologizies. About bullying, I had my experience of it. Sadly I am a aggressive person who was an abuser and bully in school and university. It was the one way I could get away from being bullied and being rather smart I dominated the other kids quickly and manipulated the teatchers to approve of everything I did. I also tried to protect the kids from other bullies, who I found to be other kids who didn't want to be bullied. As an adult, the bullying continues as I see it and in highter university and in life in general, I experience that aspergians including me are always picked down, understimated and getting the shortest stick. In adult life you can't fight back just with a sarcasm and a first fight. We are oppressed, which is unfair since we are smarter than them. Without us they couldn't survive.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by vampresstcullen Thursday, December 01 @ 02:41:23 EST
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Oh, hmm... I think what you mean by bullying isn't what I think of when I think of it (as in I think you include way more things than I do), to say that everyone has been bullied or been the bully at one point or another in their lives. The verbal and/or physical bullying I think of as bullying isn't done by everyone and not everyone is a target either, well anyways to the point : it sucks! Bullies=Losers



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by SlivalSchwarzman Wednesday, November 30 @ 23:34:22 EST
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I had a bully-teacher in 5th grade who was terribly rude to me. She often made sarcastic remarks about my social awkwardness and let the other kids laugh at me as I cried. I had just started taking new meds that year, and they made me sleepy, so I would sometimes fall asleep during class without meaning to... Whenever she saw me do that, she made me stand up for the rest of class...and her class lasted half the school day! I told Mom this, and she reported it to the assistant principal, who made the evil teacher stop doing that. That teacher still found other ways to torment me, though...



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Deuterium Thursday, December 01 @ 01:26:42 EST
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Thank you again Kirsten, this is one of the few websites that has front-page articles that hold my attention. This part in particular I think cannot be emphasized enough: "If you are being bullied, whether it’s by a stranger, a peer, a teacher, a parent, a romantic partner, or your best friend, the best thing you can do is to tell someone. Get your feelings validated. Know that you are not “overreacting,” and that no one deserves to be treated hurtfully." This can serve well in all kinds of bullying/abuse. At one time in the past I was sexually manipulated, and for a long time I had just thought it was all my fault. Eventually I'd finally worked up the ability to tell my psychologist, and she helped illuminate to me that this person had deliberately exploited my naivety and inexperience with relationships (likely only made worse by AS, though my testing results regarding possible diagnosis are not yet complete), and that I was not at fault nor should feel guilty for what had happened. This helped me gain the momentum to get some of the opinions of my closest friends who then all concluded the exact same thing (without being aware of each others' conclusions), and really helped me to begin clearing that terrible weight from my mind. I've since started to regain the slightest possibility that maybe I *am* capable of being in a relationship. I have a lot of confidence-building to go before this can happen, but I don't feel as abysmally lost as before. You have little to lose and a lot to potentially gain by talking about the things that bother you, even if you feel that you already understand why they do bother you (because in actuality you might not).



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by so_subtly_strange Tuesday, November 29 @ 20:38:55 EST
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thats sad to hear you were so attacked. Was it mostly male or female peers? My bullying issues for the most part dissolved following elementary school. Afterward I was more commonly subjected to unexplained exclusion. I like that you mention the goth scene. I found the same solution to somewhat alleviate my social issues. Ironic that they are view as such a negative influence, they were so much more accepting of me and my strangeness than anyone else. again to the theme of bullying I would like to make reference to lunchbox : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRFJoUBP54o&ob=av3e



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Lecks Tuesday, November 29 @ 18:04:39 EST
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This article made me look up the symptoms of abuse victims after what you described and I'm actually shocked that I fit so many of them. I always thought that I managed to file the bullying behaviour directed at me as "just jokes" but I'm starting to realise that they may have had a real impact. I'm unsure what to do, seeing my psychologist might help but it just feels so ingrained, so pervasive, I've always been like this.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by NZaspiegirl016 Tuesday, November 29 @ 20:37:12 EST
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This is a great article! I absolutely hate bullying. Like you, I have been bullied for as long as I can remember. I can still remember my so-called "friends" in primary school would say mean things about me while I was right there. I would tell them they were offending me and their reply was always "We were joking!" But that didn't really help. And then there's also "If we made it wound like a joke, it wouldn't be any fun" Also isn't a valid excuse for saying hurtful things. Bullying is wrong!



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by rabidmonkey4262 Tuesday, December 06 @ 22:02:35 EST
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The best thing I ever did to prevent bullying was to join a group. I was pretty lousy at sports involving teamwork and coordination, but most Aspies could manage as endurance athletes, so I joined the swim team. I was never bullied again after that. It didn't bring me friends, but at least people respected me, because bullies don't like to go after kids in groups. They pick on the loners.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Lonermutant Wednesday, December 07 @ 02:27:45 EST
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You Aspie girls are much more mature and more social than Aspie boys growing up. Aspie girls aren't still interested in Lego when they are 15, they are actually planning a future career, like nt girls their age. It's the immature that's the problem, just not the Asperger's.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by OverlyIntense Thursday, December 08 @ 01:16:04 EST
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I appreciate that post, because it makes me feel a little less alone. But intention does not excuse behavior. I especially appreciate that observation. I like to say "good intentions don't make for good policy". It's amazing how someone will claim that gossip isn't gossip when they "do it to help me". More like help me to go through several months of depression. Gee thanks. Then they say I'm overly sensitive, as if that's not an opinion and my emotions are invalid. The one I really love is when they say something like "I'm sorry I did this to you". When I ask them for clarification about what exactly they mean by "to you", it turns out what they are really saying is "I'm sorry you're the one with the problem". No, it's not my problem! Your the problem! It's only my problem if I put up with it. I'm better off stomping the dust off my feet and not associating with them. Bullying doesn't go away, as you pointed out. It just becomes more refined. Stand up for yourself, someone else, or step outside the role someone else is expecting, and you'll often see that their true inner bully will show its ugly head again. I have had insults and accusations hurled at me, fingers pointing in my face and poking my chest, been aggressively approached, screamed at hysterically, and threatened. Now that I see that behavior for what it really is, manipulation, it doesn't phase me. In a sense, I do it back to them. If they hurl an accusation, I just say "You don't know that. Who do you think you are, God!?" As for threats, it depends on who the person is. If I don't know them, I'll say something like "My purpose wasn't to make you angry. I'm sorry you felt that way, because it wasn't my intention. I don't know you, so I will stop. Not because you're threatening me, but because I love you." Its easy because its all true, and I really do feel compassion for them. It's like I can see the facade they are trying to push. They most likely didn't grow up in a good environment, and their not any worse than the people who abuse me behind my back. Its like time stops and I see everything. Or like skiing off a cliff. It takes practice, and I made lots of mistakes before I hit a home run, but I highly recommend it for everyone who has been bullied emotionally. Physical bullying is worse, if you're unable to defend yourself to any reasonable degree. Generally girls, and physically smaller guys, had it worse than me. I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't been a tall & athletic wild card. I regret not sticking up for people like you, but we were all who we had to be. I stand up to it now, and did so recently when I was walking along and saw a kid on the playground being bullied. I went up to the teacher as they got in line to go in, and calmly pointed right at the bully to his face and said that he was bullying a weaker kid. I made a point of doing it that way, because I didn't want the kids to think the other kid was a narc. I've also stood up to adults in public, but I digress. I think the same adrenaline rush that I get from that, is also what bullies are addicted to. But their way is a drug. My way is life. Anger can be good if it is rational, and I don't feel hate for the person. If I only hate what they're doing, and I think and talk rationally, then that's when I know I'm seeing things clearly. I really could say much more, but I've already written a lot more than I intended. I realize how it might sound, but I can't help it if you want to assume the worst. I felt like sharing, because it seems like it would be important for Aspies to be capable of. For me it was an amazingly healing experience, because I had kept it all in for my entire life. It's like discovering that I can fly. It has also been very helpful with emotionally abusive family members. I'm not perfect, and I'm not "normal", and I still have to struggle not to give into haters, etc. But this made my life a hell of a lot easier in many ways. Peace out.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Androidraptor Tuesday, December 06 @ 14:27:11 EST
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I was also bullied throughout most of my youth. By other kids (especially my sister's friends), teacher, though the worst one was my own mother. Seriously, you guys who can at least come home to a loving parent count your blessings. I came home to a shrieking harpy who deliberately did and said things that hurt just because she could. I tried my hardest to tell other people too, but no one really took me seriously. It was all "oh, she just doesn't want to take responsibility for her actions BECAUSE OF HER ASS-BURGERS" or I was overreacting. The fact that that woman could put on one hell of a nice act didn't help. I really wish the subject of abusive parents was touched on more, especially abusive mothers. For all people are quick to scold school bullies, it seems like the reaction to a bully mother is to assume the kid had to have done something to deserve it. I had the pedestal mothers are put on, I really do.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian man's Perspective (Score: 1)
by TimT Tuesday, December 06 @ 20:09:50 EST
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I went to a seminar by Tony Atwood. I found his feeble attempts at understanding Aspergers amusing. But when he hit the topic of bullying in school I started having a panic attack. I have reached peace & healing from the abuse through Jesus. In thinking about these bullies, I realize they are merely reenacting the trauma they grew up with. When you suffer loss or shame, you either grieve down the pain in a safe environment -- or you stuff it into your subconscious. Our subconscious wants to express the pain by role-playing the situation. That means finding someone who could be adapted to fit the bully role or the victim role. The subconscious then plays the counter-role. This is called codependence. Someone who is alone, clumsy and insecure is ideal for role-playing the sadistic tableau. Especially an autist who hasn't been taught how & when to actually fight back. We have to be taught literally everything. I recall years ago reading about autistic laments about bullying. I mentioned stabbing the bullies with pencils to back them off. Suddenly there were news quips in England and the U.S. about autistic people doing just that. The whole bullying thing is a social phenomenon. In adolescence there is an instinct to compete for marriage and rebel to leave the house. They are still treated as children when they are not. Pity the younger brothers or sisters. They bring their traumas to school with them and act them out with other children. There's your young bullies. If the adolescents were treated as adults, they would humbly come to the adults to learn how to do it. They would learn how to be caring at a younger age. There would be very little bullying in grade school. Another part of bullying is the homosexual problem. Predators offer friendship to lonely autistics to seduce them. A lot of us go along -- at a terrible price. Then neurotypicals stereotype us as homosexuals and bully us for what others do. That was really frustrating.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by rabchild Tuesday, December 06 @ 07:32:10 EST
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As it relates to your use of the phrase "mother hen", I recently figured out that a long time friend who intentionally and explicitly took that role in my life ultimately became resentful because, shockingly, the job was difficult and I didn't absorb it on her terms. She gradually and subtly became a bully and undermined my self understanding to the point of doing quite a bit of damage. I didn't figure it out because of course I took it at face value that she'd never do aything to harm me, right ? This would simply be my own negative experience with a "mother hen" but it seems relevant as an observation of one slowly becoming the bully.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by TheWingman Tuesday, December 06 @ 11:14:14 EST
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If I could go back in time, I would have just refused to go to school. That would have went something like that: "Go to school!" - "No" - "Why?" - "Because I'm being bullied there" - "Go there anyway!" - "go to hell!" You never recover from being bullied, still today I can still feel angry and depressed because of that. Never accept to go to school if you are bullied. Trust me.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by klikmaus Sunday, December 04 @ 21:25:32 EST
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Without a doubt, bullying is a persistent problem across the field, but there's also another group of bullies that hasn't been addressed yet-- family. While it's almost unthinkable (unless you've experienced it yourself), bullying and other abuse from family members can have a far greater impact than playground confrontations. Childhood enemies you can eventually move away from when you complete your schooling but your siblings and parents you are stuck with for the rest of your life. When they find pleasure in tormenting "problematic" one, it's extremely hard to maintain a positive attitude with so many challenges.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by halfaspieguy Sunday, December 04 @ 21:26:18 EST
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Thanks for this article. I am 54 yrs. old and have just been diagnosed with Asperger's. I have always been a complete push-over. My father remembers that I would be treated badly by other kids and that I would "just stand there and take it." He tried to teach me how to defend myself but I just couldn't hit anyone back. When 6 or 7 boys took turns beating me up one day, my sisters rescued me and asked me why I wasn't fighting back. I responded, "Because they are my friends." My mom and dad went to great lengths to explain to me that if people are beating you up they are not your friends. Now at 54, I find myself still wondering if I am really being bullied, or if I am just so easily pushed around that "normal" NT behavior feels like bullying. Any thoughts?



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by artrat Saturday, December 03 @ 02:08:01 EST
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Very Good Article! This one I can relate to. I have been bullied by teacher's too. I used to walk the halls and kids would slam my entire body against the wall and trip me. There was this one teacher that would walk past and smile. He got some kind of amusement out of my pain. School is a prison for aspies.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by rondeau Saturday, December 03 @ 13:53:14 EST
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Good show again to be sure. The key term here I think is “safe target.” Though a child with little or no skills to defend themselves will always be a safe target, I think girls are the largest oppressed group on the planet. Really, it wasn’t too long ago that if your mom worked in an office, being bullied was in fact the order of the day when her male boss was not having a great day. However, not to pick on one group, anywhere you have folks that can potentially have control over others, there is going to be a certain percentage that will abuse that power. The classic study on this notion involved a group of college students who played roles half as inmates and half as guards; the study had to be shut down early because the guards started acting too much like guards and the inmates started acting too much like inmates, which basically means that humans have a dark side. They are capable of some pretty heinous things often times not just to their own kind but to the ones they claim to love...... Certainly, being born into a supportive family network is ideal, but all too often that is not the case and it does not mean that the parents were bad people. A single working parent will find it difficult to have the extra time for any special needs to be sure. It wasn’t till I was in my twenties that I realized that I was going to have to build the support network that I needed if I was going to be able to do even half of the things I wanted to do. Though I had the hypersensitivity, I was bounced around for much of my childhood. Though I only went to the eighth grade, I still can’t name all the schools I went to; that is not good for an Aspie kid. However, I realized that there was a dramatic differentiation of how words were used in different settings. So, just as I thought I was getting the vernacular down, the language changed. So kind of like “just don’t listen to them” but is was more like I just could make out what exactly they meant…LOL...... Finally, it is good that this kind of stuff comes out; I know that my Aspie brothers and sisters out there have traversed the most difficult of paths just because they are different; for there wasn’t a single one of those paths that I haven’t been on. Though we can’t change where we come from, we can change where we are going hence forth. In order to do that more efficiently, it is better to be able to air the wrongs done to us by the evil, the mean, and the insensitive; in so doing we are breaking the chains that have bound us and are unshackling our hearts and souls. Let the bully know that he or she hurt us then but no more and certainly not forever. Thank you for introducing this subject......



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by MindWithoutWalls Friday, December 02 @ 22:55:40 EST
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I'm always impressed with everything of yours that I read, Kristen. I offer a warning and some hope. First, I warn that it can be a shock to discover that when an adult is bullied by another adult, it can be nastier, in some ways, than when children bully each other. Adults are more experienced in being mean and in getting away with it. They also have more ideas about ways to do it than children do. Further, unless they actually do something illegal in the state in which they live *and* get caught *and* get properly and successfully prosecuted, complaining about them can be even less effective. This is partly because adults are expected even more to handle things themselves, so it's less acceptable to try to get help. The good news is that self-defense can at least be argued if you need to use it, whereas you can get into trouble for fighting regardless of the need to defend yourself in school. So, kids are expected to behave with more restraint than adults in that case. But it should also be remembered that adults who commit violence are often (but not always) capable of much more brutal things, which goes back to what I said about adult bullying before. I was shocked when I got (mostly verbally) sexually harassed at my first job and saw not only how little I could do about it but how bad I looked when I was finally successful at putting a stop to it by going over my supervisor's head. But now the hope: Not only does bullying often subside as one get's older, one's feelings of self-esteem also gradually improve. I totally relate to the feelings expressed here, and I admit that I still sometimes struggle. But my overall sense of peace with myself is greatly improved. My sense of my place in the world is more stable, I feel better about myself, I don't blame myself for everything, and I'm able to be more forgiving towards myself and others. I still sometimes feel bad, but having felt that way doesn't upset me when I feel better. I have more balance, so I can accept the bad times simply for what they are. I let them be, experience them honestly, and let them go when they're over. I used to get angry with myself for being weak enough to feel bad, but I don't anymore. I've come a long way in the decades since my childhood. It's been a slow journey, and I've often had to work hard on myself. But you're right; things really do get better. It's not just a slogan. It's the truth.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by League_Girl Friday, December 02 @ 05:23:33 EST
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This article makes me wonder if my ex was a bully. He tried to cut me off from my online friends, he had low self esteem and he was very negative so he had negative opinions about me. he also acted like I was retarded because he felt like he was with a kid than with an adult. My dad even thinks he put me down to make himself feel better. My husband thinks he burned bridges. But I laugh at my husband being in pain. I can't control my laughs. It's uncontrollable. Does that make me a bully? I also teased other kids growing up and I loved seeing their reactions so i could relate to what Kirsten did to the boy in her 3rd grade class. The dislocated shoulder part may have been an accident so I don't see that as bullying. I do ignore bullies now online and I don't get bullied in real life anymore. I also ignore what people tell me like if they tell me I am stupid or selfish. I wonder if they are bullying me? What if they think it's the truth? I also ignore it when people call me a bully when I stick up for myself. I also look back and wonder if some things kids did was actual bullying or if they were just being honest. In 4th grade I was told I was a show off and kids would do weird behavior around me but I wonder if they were trying to be mean? They really did think I showed off because of my odd behavior. Lot of people think people who are different do it intentionally for attention and that isn't uncommon for autistic people. I wonder how many of us have been called a show off? I also remember being told to go away and go home and not being allowed over at my friends houses. Kids are blunt, they do say what they mean and "go away" is one of them. I now realize they maybe didn't do it to be mean. They were just being honest. Them not wanting me at their house, I didn't follow their rules because I didn't know the rules and they were kids so they didn't know how to help me or what to do so telling me I can't play was all they could do. Plus when you are annoying, people don't want you around and kids will be honest by telling you so and tell you to go away. But grown ups will sugar coat. They may put up with you and not say anything or make up excuses to avoid you. I still wish they be honest despite the fact I remember I would always feel bad when I get called selfish or spoiled or to go away or that I am annoying or mean or that I talked funny. But unfortunately honesty can be considered bullying. No wonder people on the spectrum can be accused of it and be seen as one. Then they wonder why people don't like them and why they reject the or why people are so hostile with them. I also realize even though kids have a TOM now, they still don't have it enough to put themselves in other peoples shoes so that is why they do these things. Despite that it makes them feel bad themselves, they just don't have the ability that others feel the same way too. Even though they feel bad when they get made fun of but yet do it to others still, they just don't have the ability yet to figure that out that it makes someone else feel bad if they make fun of someone. So a grown up has to correct them and tell them something like "Do you remember how you felt when Kyle made fun of you teeth?" and when she says yes, the parent then tells her that is how she is making her little brother feel when she makes fun of him. My third grade teacher had this golden rule for his students, "treat others the way you like to be treated." I think that was there to help kids put themselves in other peoples shoes. To help with their TOMs. It's so hard to tell what lack of TOM part was the autism and what part was normal since children under the age of ten have this issue as well about putting themselves in other peoples shoes. Only way to tell is if you were/are past the age where you are supposed to have developed it and you still lack it or have difficulty with it still. Then you know it's the autism. I have forgiven all my bullies from my childhood. I know some of them were mean than innocent but I forgive them. Hey I have been a bully myself so it would suck if someone held a grudge against me for something I did when I was eight. Holding a grudge against a childhood bully is like my mother still being mad at me for biting her on the neck or me being mad at my brother for scribbling in my The Little Mermaid book when he was two or for dropping his bag on my head when he was a year and a half. Kids change. Some stay bullies and some grow out of it when they realize it's wrong. So that's why I forgive. I think everyone has been a bully at one point in their lives and whoever says they have never bullied anyone is either lying or don't realize. Bullying isn't always intentional. You may be aware of your actions and what you are doing, but you may not realize what you are doing is bullying. But I think in their teens, when victims kill themselves, the bullies should face charges and get charged with murder or manslaughter. Maybe that will get kids to bully less because they be so afraid of their victims killing themselves because then they get in trouble. But then the US senators or whatever ate going to have to draw the line for what would be considered bullying and what not because if rejections were considered bullying by law, it be all chaos and tons of teens be going to prison or juvi hall. Same as if they tell someone to shut up because they didn't want them in their conversations. By then, teens should know better.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by aussiebloke Thursday, December 01 @ 20:15:04 EST
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I'd be intrested to know when does it stop ? Late 20's I imagine , and I'm talking about those with out co morbid because I would imagine by this stage of life bullying would be due to co morbid and not autism related ?



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Taupey Thursday, December 01 @ 22:42:21 EST
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This is a great article and I want to "Thank You" for writing it and sharing your story Kirsten. :) Sincerely, TaupeyAna



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Kurt1990 Thursday, December 01 @ 22:55:50 EST
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I have aspergers syndrome, I'm looking to meet a female aspie, hit me up if you wanna get to know one another.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Master_Pedant Friday, December 02 @ 02:31:57 EST
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There's something that seems missing from this story. What did *your parents* say about this bullying? I know you sorta talk about not knowing about what abuse was until recently, but I'm wondering if you told them something about what the situation was like. In very early elementary school I endured physical bullying. My father told me to "hit back - harder", but I could never bring myself to do it. I had quite an innate sense of deference to the legal-rational bureaucratic authority of teachers and thought it wrong to do that, plus I don't really think I have *that* many aggressive impulses to begin with. My father did tell me the story of someone he knew in Junior High who was a loner and pummeled a bully to the extent that said bully never did anything again, but I never felt like I could do that and definitely feared potential negative consequences. In junior high and high school I sorta think I benefited from something similar to what Daniel Tamment has described - being so isolated and in ones own world that normal bullies don't know what to do with you. I was very reclusive for much of my early life and rather friendless.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by acrodym Thursday, December 08 @ 01:19:52 EST
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Thank you for your great blog. It was really helpful. This modern day, I agree that the Anti-Bullying Bill should be granted to prevent the bad effects it does to different types of people be it kids or adults. We should educate the people specially the young while we can as we still have time to change the world to a more better place. Restaurant Business [restaurantcommando.com]



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by starryeyedvoyager Saturday, December 10 @ 09:07:03 EST
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I gotta admit, I guess I have been on both ends of the bullying chain in my life, but I only realized when I became more mature that I also was a bully of sorts. As a victim, bullying was mostly of physical nature, and I was lucky enough that I had the courage to fight back as soon as it began, and it always ended the bullying. My own bullying was, of course, more in the ways of mocking other people. I started speaking at a real early age (with about 7 months I could speak in whole sentences), and by the time I was in elementary school (about 4th to 6th grade), my own linguistic abilities matched those of the average adult person, so it was very easy for me to outwit my classmates if I chose to. And I made that choice by far too often, especially with one classmate who was both easy to pick on and enrage, resulting in him attacking me. And I realized only recently that I wanted him to respond in a physical nature, so I had a reason to beat him. I was not stronger or anything like that, but I did start practicing Judo and Karate at an early age, and I now see that I just used him as a live training dummy, without wanting myself to be the apparent aggressor. I do feel sorry for what I did, as the kid had serious problems due to his situation in his family, which I exploited without ever giving it a thought. I guess this is just another piece of the huge puzzle that is my Asperger's, and nothing I am too proud of.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by BigSister Monday, December 12 @ 20:34:52 EST
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Good article. I gave a speech to my class on bullying recently - wish I'd seen this beforehand. Kids can be nasty, and adults aren't always a safe haven. I'm not on the spectrum, but my little sister, an Aspie, was always bullied growing up. I saw how she was treated, and it was horrible. Both grown-ups and kids alike messed with her. I couldn't stop it - I was only barely less unpopular than her myself - but I could and did moderate and shield her from the worst of it. She'll be coming to college next year, and to be honest, bullying is one of the things I'm concerned about. I've seen bullying on campus, and not only is it not nice, it's incredibly hard to stop because people hide it in different forms. Gossip, passive aggressive comments...nothing that you can point to. Talk to the abusers, perfectly nice people outside of this scenario, and they'll say the other person deserved it, and they'll go so far as to become angry with you if you call them a bully. My resident assistant (the person who is supposed to stop this sort of thing) this year is actually one of the culprits from last year. So, yes, I'm scared. Thankfully, my bullying fighting skills have improved since elementary school...I only hope I won't have to use them.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by BeauZa Wednesday, December 21 @ 22:04:59 EST
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I can empathise with your memoir in that it almost entirely reflects my own life up to this point. Thank you for sharing it :)



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Lastdaysguy Sunday, December 25 @ 03:09:58 EST
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Out of all the other times I was bullied in school, 6th grade was my worst school year ever and I did get some of my gym clothes stolen from my locker because they copied the combination to my gym locker. After I graduated college, when I started working at Safeway as a part-time bagger, most of the people were nice to me but the main manager isn't. He tends to be rude and mean at times especially with my job coach. But what I still can't understand, even if he was nice to everyone else, why can't he do the same with me.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by JWLuke787 Monday, December 26 @ 01:44:18 EST
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Having been bullied for 3 straight years and having watched it occur, I can safely say there is a significant portion of the time where the person in question causes the treatment they receive. Whether they realize they are doing it or not should be the question people ask. My asperger's caused me to act strange and not understand why people did things certain ways. Regardless, my behavior caused it. [It stopped when I worked out hard and gained some wrestling and football buddies.] Now for another instance. Some fool I knew claimed to the teachers, his parents, and even a judge [several times], that he was beat up because he was being "bullied." Truth was he continually tried to make fun of people and claimed he could "kick anyones ass." It was his mouth that got him into trouble. Frankly I'd rather allow bullying to continue than have my freedom of speech threatened in any way.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by LabPet Tuesday, December 27 @ 05:54:25 EST
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Kirsten, Thank you for posting - - Bullying is a serious matter that is often painfully ignored or overlooked and you've stated the case. I think we, as an AS community, need to have better measures to prevent bullying, which can have devastating effects on those of us who are especially more vulnerable. For an outsider to say, "just ignore it" is dangerous. Bullying is harrassment but also becomes character assassination which then eqates to lost jobs, ended relationships, and wrecked lives. For those bullies who are in the psych profession (met them), they need to be dealt with promptly. I guess the best way is to entirely leave any bullying environment - there's always better. 5 stars, Kirsten.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by BuyerBeware Tuesday, December 27 @ 14:10:56 EST
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I can completely identify with everything you've said. I've recovered some measure of self-esteem... ...only to find out how easily all that hard-won self-respect can be taken away again. I'm back to believing that I elicit this kind of treatment, that I deserve it simply because I am different, that although that is not right in a moral sense, it is correct in being an accurate representation of the facts of life. Good luck out there. You are (apparently, anyway) a good bit younger than I am (nearly 34). Maybe a better world awaits you. I don't know.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by JJR1971 Wednesday, December 28 @ 00:56:47 EST
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Currently dealing with a work-place bully--my boss! The woman is at least bi-polar, and possibly a low-grade psychopath. Mean, arbitrary, cruel, spiteful... I'm doing ok right now only because her attention is focused on the newbie employee and not on me; I've learned to "look busy" and otherwise "stay under the radar"...I'm desperately trying to transfer internally to another department but keep getting thwarted because I keep getting passed over for promotion by younger NTs who are more schmoozy/charming than me despite my superior levels of education and actual work experience, etc. It's all very frustrating. In school I did have one bully of note in Middle School that I finally stood up to in Band class...pushing him with a mighty shove across several chairs...he still disliked me and gave me dirty looks but he stopped the constant harassment every day after that, after I fought back. Guess I wasn't worth the trouble anymore. In High School, I joined the NJROTC, and NJROTC cadets tend to look out for each other. You beat up one cadet in uniform and you'll find yourself surrounded by 10 more. Plus we carried fake guns that could be wielded as nasty clubs in a pinch which also served as a deterrent to bullies. I did not have any bullies to worry about in college or graduate school, thank goodness. Just wish I didn't have to work for one now as an adult.



It gets better (Score: 1)
by Pickle-Marie Wednesday, December 28 @ 05:19:03 EST
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I don't think that the phrase "It does get better" can ever be overused. I have a crystal-clear memory of a random friend of a parent, noticing that I was having trouble socially, saying "Jen, you just have to stick out a few years (of school) more. After that it gets better, and keeps getting better." She was kind to say so, and generous to notice how unhappy I was. That one moment really changed a lot for me and gave me a lot of courage and staying power that I desperately needed; so much so that when I heard about an actual project a few years ago (for LGBT kids) called the "It Gets Better Project" I burst into tears, I was so moved by the idea of marginalized young people getting together to say it to each other. I still am. Some stuff is so important that it just doesn't get old. It gets better, folks. It really does.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Ysone Thursday, December 29 @ 05:09:13 EST
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I totally agree with all that you have said on a very personal level. But I also think that not everyone is out there to try to bully us. It's just really hard for us to tell the difference between a friendly joke and a tease sometimes. And I do seem to realize that I have the tendency to shut people off, or think that people are not doing what i want for them to do intentionally when they just don't understand what I want or what I am after. I guess while i am as scared of being bullied as you are, I don't wanna stop trying to make it better. I want a girlfriend someday deeply. And i am gonna keep working on my people skill ;))



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by BoltOn Sunday, January 01 @ 02:56:34 EST
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Great piece Ms. Kirsten. Pretty much maps 1-1 onto my own life experiences. One of the things that ground me down was the amazing, brick-thick STUPIDITY of the NTs around me, and the bullying was only one component of this. An amusing example involving Teachers in primary school (not sure what americans call this, 'grade school'?), I was about 10. The class went swimming (might have been swim training) at the local pool - the local pool happened to be right next to my house whereas the school was right up the top of the hill. Upon exiting, at the end of the day, I pointed out my house to the teacher - you could literally see my parents' front door from the pool. If they were worried about paperwork, all they would have had to do is send someone over with me to the door, it would have taken a maximum of 6 minutes. No, this was too complicated for them. No less than THREE teachers had a short conference, then decided no this wasn't going to work. I had to walk all the way back to the school (over a km, uphill, in the hot sun), upon which I was 'released'. I cried all the way up the hill, to the annoyance of other kids being supervised back to school grounds, and all the way back home. I couldn't stop. I smashed things, hit walls and banged my head on the walls and bedhead. It wasn't just the inconvenience, it was everything. That was my first encounter with REAL, honest to goodness, NT STUPIDITY. In adults!! And it stuck. Its one thing that has had a surprising effect on me. I don't know why I'm still amazed by NT thickness but.... I am. Must be some part of me still has faith they will one day evolve. But yes, at that point I started to doubt that Adults were any better than the kids around me. The view at that point starts to look very black, very black indeed, for a 10 year old boy. How the hell did I make it. No idea, time to write it all up!



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by QueenoftheOwls Tuesday, January 03 @ 17:13:33 EST
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That is an interesting wel-writtenarticle but I disagree that bullying affects everyone, both autistic and neurotypical, at least certainly not to the same degree. I also think bullying is more than evil individuals trying to manipulate an innocent target. I believe bullying srves a societal purpose; it tends to keep "deviant" types in check.Who are the most popular targts for bullies? People who do not conform to the socially approved norm: autistics, gays, fat people, mentally impaired people, people of unpopular racial or religious backgrounds, people who look or act "weird;" that is, individuals who somehow are perceived as constituting a threat to the status quo. Bullying keeps them in line by inhibitng them from protesting their outcast status too vociferously. Bullies do not think of themselves as evil; they think of themselves more as social policemen. At least, that is my experience. People that look, think and behave just like "normal" people do not generally become targets of bullies.Bullies do not vanish after public school. They grow up , not to become drunken abusers or imprisoned felons, as we would like to imagine, but more often they become pillars of the community. I agree, however, that autistic people can become bullies as well as targtrs of bullies. I did this sometimes,but it was an attempt to deflect attention from myself by pointing out that thre was someone even "weirder" than I in the vicinity who ought to be put in her place.Charli Devnet



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by QueenoftheOwls Tuesday, January 03 @ 17:13:33 EST
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That is an interesting wel-writtenarticle but I disagree that bullying affects everyone, both autistic and neurotypical, at least certainly not to the same degree. I also think bullying is more than evil individuals trying to manipulate an innocent target. I believe bullying srves a societal purpose; it tends to keep "deviant" types in check.Who are the most popular targts for bullies? People who do not conform to the socially approved norm: autistics, gays, fat people, mentally impaired people, people of unpopular racial or religious backgrounds, people who look or act "weird;" that is, individuals who somehow are perceived as constituting a threat to the status quo. Bullying keeps them in line by inhibitng them from protesting their outcast status too vociferously. Bullies do not think of themselves as evil; they think of themselves more as social policemen. At least, that is my experience. People that look, think and behave just like "normal" people do not generally become targets of bullies.Bullies do not vanish after public school. They grow up , not to become drunken abusers or imprisoned felons, as we would like to imagine, but more often they become pillars of the community. I agree, however, that autistic people can become bullies as well as targtrs of bullies. I did this sometimes,but it was an attempt to deflect attention from myself by pointing out that thre was someone even "weirder" than I in the vicinity who ought to be put in her place.Charli Devnet



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by TakuroSpirit Tuesday, January 10 @ 17:39:22 EST
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I don't think I have any sort of autism spectrum disorder but I have social anxiety disorder brought on by people taking my introverted and quiet nature as a reason to attack me through the years. I was bullied and harassed all through school. Even in college I received several negative comments and pretty much every job I've ever had eventually devolves into some sort of harassment. The last one being the worst experience of my life - people pretending they were going to hit me with their cars in the parking lot, reassuring each other temps don't last here so they won't have to deal with me (was hired permanent), lights turned out in bathroom, comments made about body odor, my actual emails and chat transcripts read aloud for fun (I stupidly logged in a couple times while bored at work and didn't lock my computer), etc. Once as I walked out to my car after work someone shrieked "Lose weight, fat ass." and slammed their door shut in a fit of giggles. Because I guess that was funny or something. I have this tendency to get very absorbed in what I'm doing and though I have no hearing issues I will not "hear" someone talking to me while engaged in that activity. I've been snapped out of my "fugues" many times with someone angrily yelling my name. I've been labeled stuck-up, conceited, stupid, full of myself, crazy, etc. I haven't worked in about 3 years and though I need the money, I'm just fine with it. I'm not eager to jump into a new situation where everyone slowly turns against me. Yes, I could make an effort to chat people up and smile when I don't want to but I don't see why I should have to alter myself to appease the damaged egos of others. I do try to interact and appease as I can, but it is literally exhausting. Physically exhausting. I know I don't deserve any of this treatment but it's still hard. I've also been on the receiving end of rude and even completely incorrect remarks by teachers. For instance my 6th grade teacher said I was introverted. True. He said this as though it were a defect and informed my mother that I didn't care about other people. I care. I'm just not going to contort myself or jump around for approval and affection like some love starved puppy. Just saying. Junior high was the worst. PE/Gym class was a nightmare. I was not good at sports and the other kids wanted to win win win, even though it was only gym. The teachers would insult me. I was hit in the head with a basketball and tripped while doing laps. The teacher laughed. I could go on and on. An unfortunate symptom of my SAD I guess. Speak so little I get the verbal diarrhea when I do interact. I'm trying to repair myself. I've tested very high on intelligence tests (not that it really matters), I have a degree, I have talent, I learn fast - blah blah blah but I just feel like I can do nothing. I also got the bullying from my severely verbally abusive father and my mom was less than supportive actually once telling me I deserved what I got from other kids because I had a "bad attitude". I've managed to force my way through life, get married, go to college, travel overseas, and have two kids. But every step is mired in - I'll just admit it - all out fear. I too feel only tolerated, skeptical of anyone liking me, stared at, judged, and constantly on the brink of some sort of abuse. It sucks.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Matt1988 Wednesday, January 11 @ 19:59:04 EST
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Cannot believe anyone thinks this girl isn't beautiful, NTs really are bas***ds sometimes...keep your chin up Kirsten :)



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by PennySue Sunday, January 15 @ 20:30:39 EST
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I don't think I've ever gotten over the intense bullying I had as a child, and I'm almost 48. Still, to this day, although I am a Christian, I wish that those particular popular girls and boys who were so cruel to me had horrible things happen to them, and failed in life. I'm so ashamed at those feelings, but still, to this day, I don't understand mean people. I don't understand why people dismissed me on sight, ignored me, or made fun of me, or why they will be mean to me today (I have one person at church who is just HORRIBLE, not only to me, but my husband, and other people as well. She hates me supposedly because of "how I treated people", and I have no clue what she means. Whatever I did to someone, she has never gotten over, but supposedly my husband says she is just intimidated or threatened by me). In any case, I still don't get it. I'm still this confused elementary age kid when it comes to understanding mean people.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Miche Wednesday, February 01 @ 03:17:25 EST
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I found this article via a post by a friend on facebook. While I am neurotypical, I lead a Girl Scout troop that has several special needs girls, two of whom are autistic. Others in the troop are classified as highly gifted. They are bullying magnets. I was bullied by two teachers as a child, and your description of your emotional state as a result of all of the bullying made me cry. It is the perfect description for me, only I am 48 years old. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!!!!!!



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by imarie1985 Friday, March 23 @ 19:13:16 EDT
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I am glad no one bullies you anymore, i hate hearing stories like that Probiotics [www.customprobiotics.com]



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by dabih Sunday, March 25 @ 00:37:19 EDT
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I agree that bullying is a terrible thing, how many lives it destroyed! But, at the same time, in many cases, towards the autistic people it comes in a form of self-defence. NT's got hurt many times when they try to communicate with an autistic person. It is not an excuse, in most of the cases, it is caused by misunderstanding, lack of education and proper training. Recently I read an article about how the eye contact is managed by autistic and NTs. For NT lack of eye contact is an offence, too much of the eye contact is an offence too. It is not something they can realize or have a control off. They just feel uncomfortable and over a very short period of time it transforms in a dislike. As I said, it does not excuse them, but at least it shows how this bad attitude could be build up. As a parent of the autistic child I do know that I was constantly making him uncomfortable when I was asking him to look at the person when he is talking to him, even look into the camera to make a picture. Or, when he had a meeting with his friend, I was shocked when he stopped playing with her and asked her to wait when he will make a clean up in the back yard. I was trying to "help" him and told him that his behaviour might ruin their relations. It made the situation even worse. I regret all off these cases, but sorry, it is extremely hard to go against your own nature. So, please, help us, by explaining us how it is to be autistic, so we could understand you better and be more aware when we might hurt you.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Magykal Tuesday, March 20 @ 19:58:58 EDT
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in my experiences the autistic kid (if able) is often the bully on purpose, not because they're mean people but becuase acting mean is socially exceptable and acting autistic isn't being nice, friendly, having friends, and being autistic isn't easy in fact it's almost impossible in some situations. But learning a few good comebacks and how to act like nothing bothers you is a lot lot lot easier. So smetimes we are being mean nad we know it's mean nad we're sorry it's mean but we feel like there's nothing else we can do. So is it wrong? yes. Is it exceptibal? No. but is it understandable yes? yes. so give autistics a break let them be the good guys for once. Sure it'll take sometime to pull them out of their little bubble of meanness (they'll think it's a trap) but in the end they'll be more happy and so will you



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by kellywilliams Thursday, March 22 @ 01:29:06 EDT
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I've been bullied since elementary. Somehow being humiliated in front of lots of people brought great depression to me. And this time I have to stand up because it is not fair, to think that all of us are born equal. And also to think that this bully has his own personal problem as well.



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Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by caveman2 Thursday, March 29 @ 23:11:52 EDT
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I used the term bullying the other day and the feedback I got made me reflect a little. I think what I and some others call bullying is very similar if not the same as what boys do to each other all the time. It is finding your place in the pecking order, how tough you are, how fast with your tongue, knife, fists or whatever the current equalizer is for the little guy. The little guys are the first to embrace equalizing technologies. I look around and try and figure out how to use what I've got to get what I want. It those area we can compete pretty well I would say. I suppose a common learning experience is finding out how tiring those social inputs and output can be. Then I go back and find my balance by being myself for a while and enjoying the peace and quiet of the cave.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by lapinmort Friday, April 13 @ 14:36:44 EDT
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As a kid, I was rather tiny for my age, and the type who was quite happy reading comics sci-fi books in my corner, and daydream about traveling in space and and fighting bad-guys in an exo-suit that could fly, while the other guys were playing basketball, handball, etc... I sucked at those kind of sports and always fumbled the ball or sent it the wrong way. This is what I used to hear a lot of on an almost daily basis: "You are not normal" "You are stupid/an idiot/retarded/immature" Even girls went at it too. None of them would even think of dating me. I felt pretty bad being myself because of that and it bummed me out for a long time. There was definitely physical bullying too. One big fat teacher used to grab my hair every morning, and shake my head left and right while asking "why didn't you do your homework", I never told my parents about it until much later in my late teens. I was also regularly bullied by other boys who were taller and bigger than me, all the way up to my mid-teens. The only thing that made a difference in my case is that once physically attacked and pushed against the wall although I tried to avoid confrontation, I always fought back. Then at age 16 I started training with a cousin who was into bodybuilding. No gym, just homemade weights, bars and pulleys, and warming up by running in the streets. Within a couple of weeks, I still had no big muscles, my body was hurting like hell, but I noticed that the way I felt about myself was different. Also, my walk was springy, chest out, arms out, head high, and it was not even forced. And guess what? I still had a small frame at the time, but nobody ever messed with me since. Bullies don't attack people who look strong. They attack people who look like a weak and easy prey. People who walk tall in the street are less likely to get mugged than people who look worried, or fearful, or trying to make themselves really small and unnoticeable. Don't look walk like a victim, don't quack like a victim, and chances are the bullying will stop.



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by Jarrad1094 Saturday, May 12 @ 07:31:41 EDT
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wow thats exactly the same as my experience and im on the exact same level as you are i was absolutely infuriated when i did exactly what the teachers tell you all through primary school only to get told they cant do anything unless they see it i was so infuriated i went so fast around the corner and ran into three of the bullies and wound up knocking all three of them to the ground and i just walked off without a word iv found with male bullying it seems to adopt a animalistic sense the only thing they tend to understand is violence you attack them and they wind up leaving you alone because most bullys control their victims by fear and nowadays its a bluff you smack one around they are more than likely to defer to you bullying today is mostly emotionally oriented but this psycology still applys and this kind of behaviors is slightly similar to behaviour in male prisons its so base and primal my method is that i thought of bullys like animals iv lived with animals all my life so i can see the similaritys and the surprisingly and shocking fine line between a human and a wild beast i finally snapped in year 9 and went and clobbered the pack leader and everything else fell into place people were nicer to me and it was much better bullying still occured but it was much less frequent . me iv always been big so i stood a chance a smaller person is probably gonna have to aim a kick in the groin for an effective outcome and i am not encouraging this but lets just say it worked for me and i was suffering every form of bullying so that was at the time mostly by everyone in my grade so thats grades 8-9 thankfully it slowed down in year 10



Re: Bullying. . . The Real Problem. . . An Aspergian Woman's Perspective (Score: 1)
by TrudyG Saturday, May 12 @ 15:54:12 EDT
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An interesting and informative post. Like most who have posted replies here, I too was bullied. As a child I was highly intelligent and tended to isolate myself (usually to read), but part of that isolation came from the fact that I was bullied. I was bullied throughout grade 1 (at one point, I was taken behind a hill at the back of the field of our school and forced to strip, an event I have no conscious memory of, though my mother says I told her about it when I was 15 or 16), until we got a new principal halfway through my grade 2 year. She was great, and really took control of the school, stepping firmly on the bullies, although it continued in more moderation. Unfortunately, I was also bullied at home; not by my parents, thank goodness, but by my younger (middle) sister, from the time I was about 4 or 5 (and she was 2 or 3) right up until about my early twenties. I still feel uncomfortable with her today, a decade and a half later (although some of that is because she's very extroverted and still tends to push). I have a much better understanding now then I did then - she's bipolar, and so has her own issues - but it's never helped that much. One of the things I'm seeing my psychologist for (aside from the co-morbid depression and dealing with the rest of my emotional issues) is trying to get through that large block of anger left towards her. It didn't help that at the time, the best advice Mom *could* give me was the tried and (we know now) untrue, "Just ignore her, she'll get bored and stop doing it." Added to that is my Asperger's, which wasn't (officially) diagnosed until a few months ago, and which wasn't widely known until the year I graduated from high school (1994). I used to get crying jags because of the bullying and frustration (I still do!) and my parents never knew how to deal with it (which I just realized might have happened and asked my mom about, actually). I couldn't seem to make more than one friend at a time, and I usually ended up smothering that friend because I didn't want to lose them (and so lost them anyway). I was obsessed (and still am) with science-fiction and fantasy, to the exclusion of much else. I was highly intelligent (as I mentioned) but graduated with a B average because I couldn't seem to handle projects (I ended up procrastinating on them, or not turning them in because they weren't "perfect"). And university was a disaster, every time I've tried it (though I'm hoping for better now). So, yeah, I know about bullies. And I know some bullies can grow up and become good, productive members of society (witness my sister, who teaches junior high - and has a kid with low-functioning autism in her class! - and has two wonderful kids), and some end up continuing to lose their way. Some are ignorant of the damage done, and some do it deliberately. Some are trying to shore up their self-esteem (like my most persistent bully in elementary school, save my sister, who had learning disabilities) - well, most of them, I believe - and some just prefer to put people down. It does seem to be a part of human nature that bullies exist, but it's not a good one. Humans are "pack" animals, and animals are not kind to the weaker members of their species. (Don't believe me? Check out a household that has cats, where one is noticeably smaller than the other(s). I've been in that situation twice; one of the small cats was a bully, and the other is mostly a victim.) It's something we need to learn to control, as we (as societies) are slowing learning to control our xenophobia and fear of differences. Anyway, enough preaching. Thank you for this article, Kirsten!


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