What I do have is a complex relationship with masking – which I want to be honest and hopefully nuanced about. Stigma exists, often we don’t have a choice (those of us who’ve learned masking as an adaptation). For myself as a bilingual person, I have come to think of masking as a bilingualism wrought by the necessity of living between worlds with different cultures.
I hope to write more about masking and caring as my situation evolves.
It’s perhaps important to conclude with the view that faux enablers are not necessarily ‘bad people’ per se. They may have good intentions which are simply maladaptive. This is tricky, because the truly malicious may be easier to discern and disengage from. In the end it doesn’t really matter – the only thing which does matter is you.
But unmasking means changing habits and changing thought patterns too. Unmasking means I can begin to find my own contours and stay me shaped for longer. This makes it easier to locate myself if I have to mask. I can recover more quickly too.
Returning to the differences in processing with which I began my piece, it seems to me that as NT move speedily onwards to the next person and the next opportunity they may fail to notice many examples of autistic kindness.
What an unfortunate processing deficit that would turn out to be.