ASD/ND and Vulnerability

AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
edited November 2021 in General ASD
Ive started seeing an Autistic talk therapist as there are some difficult times ahead of me and will need the support of a professional.
It's kinda nice to not have to do the translation piece for the NT mind for the first few weeks of therapy, they just get it, instantly.

Anyway, I have homework and its to think about the ways I have been vulnerable in the past and about how I am vulnerable generally.

At first it seemed like an easy task, but... lol, its not so straightforward.
Im posting it here to help me think it over, perhaps others might share if they feel inclined to and I hope to  come up with something concrete for next week.


  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    So to be precise vulnerability is:
    the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

  • Hiding my vulnerabilities became my second nature in the environment where I grew up... it's not easy to acknowledge them or talk about them now.
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    Its counterintuitive for me also, I didnt know the ways I was vulnerable in childhood, I knew the abuses were wrong, but I didnt have the awareness of how to protect myself. Protecting others was acieved by putting myself in harms way instead of them, its a compulsion I do even today.

    I suppose the starting point to the answer could be areas where I was dependent on others, a pet peave of mine in adulthood.

    I absolutely hate being in those situations, financially, emotionally, socially and physically history tells me that im in a huge risk area where my safety is dependent on others.

    Thank you Magpie.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I find it hard to answer things like this, too. It's difficult to really pinpoint a specific way I am or was "vulnerable". I guess I can say that throughout my life I've often been prone to manipulation and of being too trusting of others, partly from flat out naivety due to ASD and partly from trauma. I'm probably not that great at hiding my vulnerabilities if I have that issue. lol
  • I just saw this, Amity. I wonder how the therapy is going. A unique idea to me; an autistic talk therapist.

    I’d say for myself that I learned early not to be vulnerable. But then I think of all the times I’ve been blind-sided by actions I never dreamed could happen. 

    I have tried not to be dependent on others for anything. Interesting topic for thought.

  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    edited November 2021
    Hope you find recovery Amity. A good therapist can make all the difference, mine has helped me enormously with CPTSD and regulation of my nervous system.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    @blazingstar Its going well, quite like chatting with one of you to be honest, we need more neurodiverse therapists for sure. We are distinctly different, as are all people, but there is a shared perspective based on similar experiences of the world.
    Its a bit like speaking the same language Vs communicating through pigeon english, the first has less barriers and less room for miscommunication.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    @Teach51 I very much enjoyed what you wrote, you might consider posting it again sometime, or pm it to me, I didnt get time to absorb it. 💜
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    I've realised something about being vulnerable today: narcissists... the grandiose and the covert/vulnerable ones see me as a potential source, Ive had both types in my immediate family.

    What Blaze said above about being blind sided sparked the thought of how often this has happened with Narcissists, particularly the covert/vulnerable types, despite knowing their ways, its the perspective of seeing the best in people that leads to trouble for me.
  • Amity said:
    @Teach51 I very much enjoyed what you wrote, you might consider posting it again sometime, or pm it to me, I didnt get time to absorb it.

    I am feeling very vulnerable at the moment, struggling with trust issues and trying to discover what it is in my way of expression and self-management that makes me such excellent prey for narcissists and sociopaths. I am like a magnet for the disturbed. I don't feel so protected online at the moment but I am glad that you liked what I wrote Amity. I am finding that therapy is giving me a much stronger and balanced sense of self though I don't think CPTSD is ever cured, just made more managable.

    I have changed fundamentally in one thing: I used to make excuses for people who would abuse me verbally or otherwise, thinking that they can't change their nature and deserve compassion. Mostly I was completely unaware that their behaviour was off. Well maybe they do deserve compassion. But so do I and if I am to deal with the very serious challenges that life has given me then I deserve my own compassion, nurturing and protection first of all and this is something that is not easy for someone with CPTSD. I am abstaining , distancing from anyone who's presence makes me tense up, my chest tighten when they talk to me, freeze my brain. It feels good, it's as if I have been watering everyone else's plants and neglected to water my own, caring for everyone's feelings but my own.

  • Teach, I agree with you. When we can see the pain and the conflicts and reasons that others can be mean, unavailable, snide, exploitative, it seems like we should be able to take it in stride. And some days  or some people, maybe we can. But I have found this not to be a useful tool in my personal life. (It is useful when dealing with my clients. I realize their limitations and try to work with them. But if it continues for too long, I suggest they look for another case manager.)

    At some point in my life, I started to say to myself "Why am I always the person who has to be understanding and forgiving and tolerant, when no one does that for me?"

    I tried to "make" some friends or husbands to consider this, but no one got it. I was just told to me more tolerant and understanding. I got rid of those people in my life. Not by being mean, but just stopping that dynamic. (People thought I was being mean, but I wasn't.)

    Now, for the most part, I don't have any friends. I made some very strong connections with others doing the kind of work I do. No one else understands it. But I suspect these connections would go away if the work went away. 

    The one who quit without notice. I have known her for at least 15 years. For the first five years, she was a guardian case manager and I actually worked for her, as the case manager for her wards. When that job was reorganized, she came to work for me. 

    But, I have to say, even though there was no "notice," I have been expecting something for years. I have listened to her talk about terminating other previous relationships and she was pretty negative. I had in the back of my mind that some day, she would betray me in the same way.  So, I knew. 

    Not sure if any of this is helpful for anyone. It's just what came out trying to respond to Teach and Amity. 

    If you don't like it, just toss it out. 
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    ^ I think what you posted is helpful, Blaze. I'm having to learn to not just excuse other people's behaviour due to the problems they may be having (or had in the past). It's helpful to see that other people deal with the same thing (although I'm sorry you guys are dealing with it) and how they've handled it.
  • blaze said: At some point in my life, I started to say to myself "Why am I always the person who has to be understanding and forgiving and tolerant, when no one does that for me?"

    it's interesting, I asked myself this question as young as 5 or 6, it happens to those of us who were raised in dysfunctional families, and were perhaps the only ones who could see the madness, the violence, the chaos and  hurt caused in such families. I always felt the insults that were hurled at my mother as if they were daggers thrown at my own heart, I grew up with the default that the task of fixing the injustices of the world was on my shoulders. The fact that nobody protected me or even really saw me as anything of value deprived me of developing any sense of self- value or self- defense. I do have some good friends who I have made on my spiritual journey and in a twelve step program, but I prefer to keep my environment clean of crazy makers, people who offload their anger on me, and expect that I will always forgive them. I am excited and stimulated by some  volatile, unpredictable, aggressive  men, it is clear to me why and I must remind myself that I deserve the best treatment, no less than everyone and anyone else, and that my sense of judgement is permanently impaired in the main. 
    It is important to never give up trying to be happy, with whatever socio-economic  conditions life has given us, however challenging. I am fortunate that my therapist is the most amazing and compassionate man and who has insisted on giving me a substantial reduction on his fee and has taught me how to feel my emotions, taught me how to trust him, how to attach to people. I have had very bad therapists, it is so disillusioning and disheartening, finding a gem is indeed a gift.
  • I appreciate your input teach. Some of this resonates with me. When I was at most 6 years old, based on where we lived at the time, I became aware that my parents could not properly care for me. I remember exactly where we were and what we are doing when I had that come to me like the preverbial light bulb. 

    But I didn't around to wondering why I always had to be the one to change, to understand, to have compassion for, etc., until I was in my 30s. As much good as Alanon did for me, it did set me way back in seeing that I did not have to take emotional cruelty. The message I heard was always to change myself and not others. This focus hindered my understanding of standing up for myself. That said, Alanon did amazing things for me in terms of the connections I made with people and the understanding of how I grew up. So I don't mean to critisize this valuable program. 

    I am pretty much convinced that my mother was an aspie. She was a musical prodigy who gave it up by 1) switching her major from music to chemistry for "the war effort" and 2) having five children. She was at University of Chicago on scholarship I am sure as her family had no money. For those of you who don't know, University is very exclusive based on brilliance and not like the ivy league schools where pedigree is more important. She was also very awkward in social situations and I was embarrassed for her for many of her embarrasing behaviors. I now look back with so much compassion for her inability to have the life she could have had, had she not been bullied by my father. 

    So, now that I know something about autism and bullying, it is clear she was aspie and my father was a bully. He would scream at her, belittle her, she couldn't do anything right.  She had no idea how to defend herself. He would go to hit her, and I would put myself in between them and told him off. I'm not sure what happened after that. Things calmed down I'm sure, I was probably sent to my room and the fight. 

    Obviously I shouldn't have been put in the position of being her protector, but I can't imagine doing it differently. I still try to protect the weak, the vulnerable, the ill, the dying, and so on. I have found places in life where this is of value and is beneficial to others and to me. 

    People who help others, like me, usually find themselves patting themselves on the back for their "good works," but I have come to see that this work provides me with connetions to people and to spirit and it comes through me, it is not me. 

    I am glad you and Hylian have found therapists who can be helpful. My experiences would curl your toes, but it is good to hear where it is working and is helpful. 

  • I have tried not to be dependent on others for anything. Interesting topic for thought.

    Indeed, for most of my life, I've seen the idea of being dependent on others for anything as a vulnerability/weakness in itself. I was blind to how I was exchanging one vulnerability for another.
  • Bender said:

    I have tried not to be dependent on others for anything. Interesting topic for thought.

    Indeed, for most of my life, I've seen the idea of being dependent on others for anything as a vulnerability/weakness in itself. I was blind to how I was exchanging one vulnerability for another.
    This is true, and relevant for me also.
  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    edited December 2021
     I think that I am learning that asking for help from people I trust despite feeling vulnerable leads to intimacy.

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