I have noticed that some autistics feel they have an entitlement, a privilege. They think they are entitled to special treatment because they are any or all of the following:
an autistic advocate
active in autism politics
someone they think is important in the world of autism
all of the above and/or
because of the co occurring conditions they may have.
If I like someone I cannot demand that they like me back, if I think of them as a friend they don’t have to feel the same way in return, if I show them affection or if I help them they are not under any obligation to return the feelings or favours. My choices are not their choices.
I must be careful not to consider myself a victim because of these things – because that is a presumption that I deserve better; that is privilege. I may still be a victim of discrimination, I may still be a victim of wrongful harm or treatment. But I am not a victim if other autistics do not like me, I am not a victim if others do not appreciate my work. I am a victim if I am bullied, abused or harassed.
Along with this I also have to recognise when others need personal space, when others are enforcing their boundaries and in return, I too get to have personal space, I too get to put up personal boundaries. The thing is these must be clearly communicated from the beginning in a firm but fair manner to avoid miscommunication. I have made mistakes in this area but I acknowledge and own them. And have learned from them.
All too often, from our place of privilege we get angry. Angry over the wrong things, angry at people and not the issues. We judge and attack others for their autistic behaviours instead of guiding them, teaching them, and communicating. We look for the ugly instead of appreciating the good in them, the good done by them, the beauty at their core.
And only when we learn to communicate our needs and wants effectively will we be able to work together for the common goals we all strive for: awareness, acceptance equality and affirmation for all autistics – amongst our peers and amongst those who are of a different neurology. Looking for the good in others, and affirming that will get us so much further.
And from a friend:
“The strongest people are those who can restrain themselves from throwing hurtful words. Even if they know they can, it does not mean they should.
Anger has a way of inflicting injury on another, but leaves you wounded too.” Dodinsky