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

Featured was always afraid of being caught

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Pats, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,623
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +6,623
    Keeping in mind that I had no idea about autism, and no idea that I could possibly be autistic, One of my biggest fears in my everyday life was being caught. I couldn't figure out what I was afraid of being caught as, though. It's not that I was doing anything bad or making mistakes that I was afraid someone would discover, it was different than that. I could never put into words what I was afraid of and the closest I came was in talking to my sister. I was trying to explain this fear and told her it was like I was afraid of being found out, like I was hiding something even though I didn't really feel like I was hiding anything. But I was afraid of people finding out the person I was or that there was something wrong with me that I was afraid other's might see.

    I knew I was different and I knew I never felt like I fit anywhere in this world. I knew I had no interest in what other's did. Everyone liked the same shows - I didn't. Everyone liked the same styles - I didn't. So on and so on. The fact that I had no interest in these things didn't bother me, except I could not participate in conversations about those popular things. I was caught and questioned about rocking a few times, but I was just a little embarrassed and hadn't realized I was and really didn't know why or that I was doing it (though when I stopped I did realize it was more comforting when I did rock). Everything about me was different.

    Where was this fear of being caught coming from? It was when I learned about the autism and masking that I finally knew what it was. It was being afraid of someone finding out who I was - now I can put a label on it - afraid of someone finding out I was autistic. I think that was one of the hardest things in dealing with not knowing and why I feel so strongly about diagnosing, whether it's self or professional. So no one else has to go through life hiding something that they can't even figure out what it is. I want them to know it and know to be okay with it and not live in that unknown fear. If you don't know where the fear is coming from you can't fight it. So knowing or not knowing may or may not have changed a lot of things in my life, but it would have changed living with the unknown, which is no life at all.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 7
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,592
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,538
    I don't think that is rare at all. And I think everyone, NTs included does not like to be branded 'different' (except at times in a swaggering fashion/style sense). Its mostly due to how we see such differences often handled negatively (if not primitively) by our species, such as in mocking, bullying, ostracizing, or worse. And we see examples of that everyday practically in the news.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    367
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +851
    I can totally relate.

    I accepted and consigned myself as someone who will always be an outsider. Nothing about me ever really fits with anyone, anywhere. My behavior, habits, hobbies, ideas, the way I think. Pretending to fit in (what I now know as part of masking) was survival.

    But there really is a sense of relief and freedom in knowing that my brain is just wired totally differently. I don't think it's totally taken away that feeling of "I'm an outsider," but it's made me more accepting of myself, and made me learn that masking, trying to act and think like everyone else, never worked in making me feel better.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,592
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,538
    I have felt similarly. One aspect I did enjoy about masking was when it succeeded, as in a small accomplishment. As an analogy, when I was stationed in Europe with the military, there was a negative attitude towards us held by many, particularly the younger adults. It was a kind of game for my wife and I to try and blend in, learn enough of the language to briefly pass for locals.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  5. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,792
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +5,338
    I've had this exact feeling for years and always wondered about it and came up with guesses for what was causing it but never talked about it! Holy moly!!!!

    Did the feeling go away with the diagnosis and sharing of the diagnosis then? You determined that was what had been causing it?

    Is that what it is!?!?

    *faints*
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,623
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +6,623
    It WAS the autism I was unaware I was trying to keep hidden. Yes, being open about it helps. But somehow it was just the entire process of learning that I no longer felt the need to hide anything. Before I knew, I think I felt something was wrong/different and didn't know why. I thought maybe I was a bad person. Once I had that label I knew why and what it was, so, yes, I no longer was afraid of being found out. There are still some things that I mask and might not let others see, but nothing near what I felt day to day before.

    (Funny, @Fino I thought about you as I was writing this, too. I wondered if you had ever felt this way since we tend to be so similar in so many other ways. :) ) Oh, it was some things that are said when I've read or listened to things about masking that brought back the reminder of feeling this way - but I don't remember what it was exactly.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  7. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    398
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,212
    Pats, this is intriguing. It seems to be anxiety stemming from guilt, but the source of the guilt is the enigma. It would be a wonderful premise for a Hitchcock thriller - unraveling the behaviors to find the source. I think I was more aware of my peculiarities than anyone else was. Perhaps it was my dutiful compliance and cooperation that hid my internal misery. I never complained and I accepted all the frustration that went along with trying to be like everyone else. I wasn't consciously hiding my weirdness. I thought everyone could see it. I had childhood anxiety, but I think it was feeling lost and not knowing how to ask for help. Problems and major events always got attention, and I never commanded attention, so I lived with the weirdness and frustration as a normal part of growing up. That just perpetuated anxiety. The only real saving grace is that I always kept trying. I had no reason not to. In a round about way, that has been a blessing in itself. It was like walking a tightrope and having no reason to look down. It's functioning on blind faith. I've learned how to fall and get back up. What choice is there?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. jared mills

    jared mills Rookie

    Messages:
    173
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +84
    socially,i feel the same way:different.that's why i keep my aspergers hidden from anyone i'm interacting with,including women who i may interest,chubby ones also,even if i'm avoiding them like a ninja not to be spotted by them upon eye-contact & they end up knowing about & it's what drives me to socially be free,and nothing else !
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,792
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +5,338
    Uh-MAZING.

    I'm so grateful that you're open about your thoughts and experiences. Every thread you made has been a valuable learning experience for me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Major Tom

    Major Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,001
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,600
    I always had that fear too, but I think in my case it was shamed into me by my mother or slapped into me by my step father. Appearances are everything to them and they lived a lie. Of course I didn't realize this when I was younger, so I always felt shamed into not being who I really was. I felt like I was living in a nightmare the whole while I was growing up. I only learned everyone wasn't like her when I moved out of the house. I had a good group of friends and started to realize it's ok to be me.. I'm really thankful for those friends. I'd hate to feel the same way that I did when I was growing up now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  11. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,729
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Karma:
    +11,083
    Being blamed for things you didn't do tend to put you on edge.

    You could be accused at any point.

    So a family thing,over here.

    If you read Kafka.A bit like that.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,623
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +6,623
    You know, it may have stemmed from guilt - that would make perfect sense. Especially since I felt guilty over anything and everything. So perhaps guilt from not being the perfect person, nurse, mom, etc? And not wanting anyone to find out I wasn't perfect? Then once I learned about the autism I was more accepting of all my flaws. That makes sense.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,623
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +6,623
    How old are you Major? :) When I was growing up, everyone was expected to behave in certain ways and if you didn't your parents or teachers could and would smack the crap out of you. I think the majority of my life I lived a lie because it was NOT okay to be me. The only time I was ever happy was when I lived far away from family, sometimes they didn't even know how to contact me, and had no friends (and was living out west).
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,570
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,359
    I have masked in the past. Still when I tell people I have Autism they've been accepting of me.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Clueless in Canada

    Clueless in Canada Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    384
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2019
    Karma:
    +912
    I relate to much of what you say, Pats. I was raised not to stand out, not to complain, not to make a fuss or a scene and to put everyone else's needs before my own. To be fair, my mother was raised this way too. I have spent my life with that vague sort of fear you mention, of being found out, my ignorance revealed. Even now that I am accepting the reasons for my being different and for certain difficulties there is still fear of shame. I came very close to a meltdown in the doctor's office a couple of days ago, with a locum and not my regular GP. I faught it hard and although I know I did not look 'normal' the fear of losing my dignity was so strong and yet how will I ever get help if I don't reveal myself? I am caught between those two needs often, the need to get help and the need for privacy and dignity.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,219
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +10,706
    I often have a feeling of guilt or anxiety, I'nm not sure what the feeling actually is, without me knowing what I have done wrong to feel guilty about. As @Fridgemagnetman says, I think it stems from being blamed or punished for things I was unaware of doing wrong as a child.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  17. Jenisautistic

    Jenisautistic Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    161
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Karma:
    +489
    Originally when I was younger I didn’t really want anyone to know I was different I just wanted them to like me for me but at the same time be like everyone else in a way not to be a scene but I guess to be more NT I’m not really sure what my plan was as a child .

    I wanted to understand everything about the world just like The song strangers like me in Tarzan
    But I was very eccentric and still I am.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  18. JDShredds

    JDShredds Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2018
    Karma:
    +584
    This is an interesting issue. I can't say I experienced it quite in that way, but it may be a matter of confidence. I've always had a bit more of a "to hell with what they think" attitude, so I don't think I concerned myself with "being found out." But the sense that I was undeniably different was always clear.

    One exception may be my habit of talking to myself for extended periods of time. But even that I kind of chuckle at and just recognize I need to do that to process my thoughts effectively. So what if "they find out?" Yup. I was talking to myself. Welp.

    In hindsight, I'm surprised I wasn't confronted more often about my stimming habits (that I was totally unaware were even called stimming), though I do remember quite vividly and painfully when I had to read a paper in front of the 8th grade English class and my teacher commanded, in the middle of my reading, "stop shaking your leg!" My anxiety went from 7 to 10 and my anger from 0 to 10 in that moment.

    Anyway, it sounds to me that your fear is connected to a sense of shame of being different. Was there an experience early in your childhood that may have led to this? Like being ridiculed at a young age for something other kids didn't do?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,623
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +6,623
    Oh - having to speak in front of class was bad enough. To be criticized for the way you're doing it - shame on them. I had a teacher that would examine our hands before lunch and would send me back to the bathroom over and over claiming mine were not clean enough. Every day. I have always had that olive tan complexion and my knuckles always looked shaded and I tried and tried at home to scrub that shading away and never could.
    My childhood, I was treated the same as my siblings. But I do think I took what my parents said more seriously. Things stayed drilled in me that my siblings could shake off. So I ended up with a lot of hang-ups that my siblings didn't. Maybe the 'taking things literally (and more seriously)' could have played a part.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Tony Ramirez

    Tony Ramirez Christian with Asperger's Syndrome

    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2019
    Karma:
    +264
    When I was younger I did not mask it because I did not know I had Asperger this is back in the 80s 90s but I thought I was weird that I was the only one quiet in a corner in a room.

    Now I don't care I am going to social groups in my church heck I am at one right now typing this. If people want to talk to me fine. If not then so be it as I don't fake being normal.
     
    • Like Like x 3