1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

How would you appear if not masked in public?

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by 22222, Oct 17, 2021.

  1. 22222

    22222 Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2021
    Karma:
    +137
    Guess this question is a little strange. But people sometimes mention not wanting to mask anymore. And I wonder, well what does that mean?

    What kind of actions or traits would an unmasked autistic person show that would normally be hidden with masking?

    Personally I think I would probably make everyone around me very uncomfortable...including myself.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    I think they're referring to medical masks in a pandemic. Not how we autistic folk "mask" our traits and behaviors to temporarily pretend to a certain extent to be NT.

    Oddly enough I was in California on Friday near Hangtown (Placerville). At a public event on Apple Hill, few people were wearing masks indoors in areas with the doors wide open. Just seemed odd coming across the border to witness this.

    It does seem that such sentiments are growing, and not necessarily reflecting any one political position. Perhaps another indicator of "Pandemic Fatigue". It's making things confusing to say the least.

    Without a mask I suppose I'd look even older than I am! :eek:
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. 22222

    22222 Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2021
    Karma:
    +137
    Oh - lol - I should have made my question more clear. I was asking about the masking that people with autism often do in public to try and fit in better. I read people saying they are not going to mask their autistic traits anymore and I wonder what they mean.

    (regarding covid masking: I live in the Bay Area, CA and it is rare to see someone unmasked indoors - we still have a mask mandate even tho my county is 84.6% fully vaccinated)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. crewlucaa_

    crewlucaa_ ugh idk lol

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2021
    Karma:
    +720
    I'm actually not sure what the answer is. Sometimes when I hear people talk about "masking," they're talking about being unable to/uncomfortable with smiling or other facial expressions, but I think there's more to it than that and more than one definition. I would also appreciate someone else explaining this :)
    I'm almost always smiling or laughing irl (except for when it would be inappropriate to do so, of course.) I've never felt like I had to "mask" anything... my facial expressions are what they are. I think that's why I'm confused about what it means, because it's not something I've really encountered in my own personal life. I actually hadn't heard of it until recently.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    Ahhh. That's an easier one for me to answer...lol.

    Masking our traits and behaviors is often quite exhausting. Especially if we do it for work so many consecutive hours in every day. Sometimes it can get to be just too much. But when we let our guard down to reveal our true selves, it can blow up in our face.

    It's a tough decision when people on the spectrum decide to drop such a "defense mechanism", knowing the potential consequences. An experience I've had enough times to keep the mask on, even when it hurts. :oops:
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. crewlucaa_

    crewlucaa_ ugh idk lol

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2021
    Karma:
    +720
    Oh ok, so I was completely wrong lol. I've heard it used to describe facial expressiveness but maybe I misinterpreted that.
    So to clarify, what it actually means is hiding Autistic traits from NTs?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    Facial expressiveness is another way of masking. One I've used on occasion as well. But it's not to project sincerity, but rather simply to appear going along with the rest of the herd. No joke intended.

    To be agreeable and give the appearance of "fitting in". Often looking genuine enough for them not to give it another thought and keep the focus off you- and your autism. But it's just an act- a "mask". The trick is for only you to know the truth.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. crewlucaa_

    crewlucaa_ ugh idk lol

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2021
    Karma:
    +720
    Thank you for clarifying! :) I tend to misinterpret everything lol
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter You know, that one lady we met that one time. V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    10,187
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Karma:
    +6,077
    I think I'd be more open with people. More openly curious. Ask more questions. I'd lay out on the grass and smile more.

    But there would also be times when I was quieter. When I didn't talk on purpose.

    I think I'd dress a little different, and behave a little different too, not afraid of what others think.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 4
  10. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    Well, clearly I've been guilty of that myself. ;) :p
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  11. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    I've tried to very briefly explain the whys of masking to my closest relatives. But never how I actually do it.

    That would get me in real trouble to elaborate in any detail. But then even with my closest relatives I never totally let my guard down. I can't. At my age I know better. Sad, but true. :oops:

    Those consequences...the things that can lead some people to becoming quite belligerent with us in the event we suddenly went full-blown Aspie and got very blunt and less-than-diplomatic with them.

    And at times I can struggle with trying to be diplomatic. At times, taking a lot of energy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
    • Like Like x 4
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. 22222

    22222 Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2021
    Karma:
    +137
    Oh - I see - masking is trying to fit in - appear like everyone else. Maybe if I stopped putting so much energy in to appear "normal", it would be easier for me to make friends.

    I am fundamentally a playfull, non-serious silly person... who can be serious if needed. Then I try to cover this all up with an attempt to be a dignified quiet normal person.

    No wonder I am exhausted all the time. I feel the need to portray myself as the opposite of what I naturally am. Whaaat the heck!? I'm going to try stopping and see what happens.

    But then I also spend alot of energy trying to hide my ADHD symptoms. Well at my age - lol - I might as well just let it all go and see what happens. Just decide to laugh if I end up clearing the room.

    There is a group I want to join. Maybe I should show up with a balloon....
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
    • Like Like x 5
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  13. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874

    Making friends...that's a tougher proposition. Something that IMO takes more than a visual deception of masking and appearing agreeable. You have to work on being friends. When sincerity counts.

    And sometimes there's nothing you can do about it if there's no chemistry with the other person. At times almost a hit-and-miss proposition. A few of my friends ended up as my girlfriend...which at times baffled me. But I wasn't complaining either!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
    • Like Like x 1
  14. 22222

    22222 Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2021
    Karma:
    +137
    It wasn't until I was in my 60s that I first tried to initiate a frienship. I asked someone if they would like to join me for lunch. That was something I had never done before - had never thought of doing before.

    And there was a few years back when a woman asked me to join her on a trip to a museum. Well she never suggested anything again so I figured she didn't care for my company. But it is only this year that it occurred to me that maybe she was wondering why I didn't invite her to anything.

    All my life, friendships were never initiated on my part. I was simply clueless. I find it strange that I am starting to better understand now. Other than that one lunch, I haven't been able to act on my new understanding because of covid. But now things are starting to open up so I will give it a go...
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  15. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    26,220
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +34,874
    I'm inclined to believe that for many of us on the spectrum, it's terribly difficult to initiate being social. Especially with a lifetime of defense mechanisms making up most of our "social repertoire". Sad, but true at least for me. I'm certainly no extrovert. And if there's anything I deliberately try to hide, it's my OCD. Something I tend to keep to myself with the exception of this forum.

    How would I do if I didn't mask in whole or in part? "Crash and burn". :(
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Richelle-H

    Richelle-H Hiding Behind the Magic 8 Ball of Infinity V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2021
    Karma:
    +603
    Thinking about the question posed; I was always someone different depending on the situation. I was not masking in the sense of trying to fit in. It was more me creating a feeling inside that would make me as comfortable as possible within my surroundings; the heck with anyone else.

    I always met the world head on and walked away from any wall I hit. I always figured if I didn't click, I didn't want to. That all led to being rather unfazed when I was diagnosed in my 40s.

    Now, I couldn't honestly tell you if I was masking or not. I am just who I am, take it or leave it. I have no room left in my life for those who do not want to make an equal effort.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,592
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2021
    Karma:
    +3,790
    When I divorced my first husband I consciously decided to be myself always. At the time a.s.d was not even on my radar. I just knew that pretending had gotten me into a mess and pretending had kept me in it. I have been openly myself ever since, to the best of my knowledge anyway.
    I admit though it can be hard to know if that is the full truth.

    We all play roles in our daily lives. The daughter, the mother, the shopper, the employee...we do what we need to do and sometimes that conflicts with what we really want to do.

    What I know I do more than I used to, is admit when I am confused. I no longer play it cool and try to figure it out on my own. That can be frustrating for some people but I figure it is a good time for them to learn to be a better communicator! :p

    I am also quite bold about telling people when I have reached my social limit. "Sorry all, I am getting tired. It is time for me to go." So far no one complains.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  18. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,784
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Karma:
    +8,284
    I took you literally anyway, regarding masking and in truth, cannot truly say, as I have masked since a child, because I sensed myself was not acceptable.

    I guess if I had to come up with an answer, it would be stimming and for me, that would involve swaying back and forth and wringing my hands together and those genereally happen with either high excitement of deep anxiety.

    But, since I suffer from social anxiety, I am too self conscious to be seen as different, however, saying that, with those I know, like Suzette says, I have become bolder, since my diagnosis. I state what makes me uncomfortable and my elders ( priests) comply.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,693
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Karma:
    +7,030
    Back in highschool I didnt have a whole lot of choice, so my "masking" consisted mostly of just never talking, and stuff like that.

    But these days? I couldnt care less. I'm well aware that I appear quite weird to most people (particularly if I have my chain with me, as that's the first thing anyone notices). I just... have little reason to care. And even less patience with the concept. I'll do as I like, thanks.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,184
    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Karma:
    +7,791
    I never had to mask at home with my parents and that is why I was so comfortable with them.

    One incidence will always stand out in my memory of forgetting to mask when three of my uncles
    were visiting.
    I had to find a temporary place for Mom to stay while I had major cancer surgery and rehab.
    These three uncles whom I barely knew came to offer help.
    I found a place in a short term memory care facility for her and all of us took her there to get her
    settled in.
    Later that day when we got home the uncles were sitting outside talking and didn't notice me
    coming out to join them when I heard what they were talking about. Me!
    One said to another he wondered what was wrong with me and asked if the others noticed how
    I acted while out with them that day.
    He said I acted like a child let out of a cage, yet afraid and nervous.
    The other remarked about how I had no boyfriends nor ever married and I was over fifty years old.
    There must be something wrong with her, but, what? That was their conclusion.

    That was a fine example of what they thought when I was just being myself that day and not
    thinking about trying to act my age or "mask".
    Now in my 60's, I don't have friends. I live rather reclusive which can have it's own problems
    when you need a little help and no money to pay for help.
    But, I've given up masking even out in public. Trying to act as an NT expects is too much effort
    now that I really don't need to.
    If I want to act happy and so called childish, I do.
    If someone says something crude and I want to snap back at them, I do.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1