Page 1 of 2 [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,098
Location: Long Island, New York

11 Aug 2022, 12:16 pm

Opinion: The two types of masking in neurodivergent people
The author posits there are two types of masking deliberate and non-deleberate. He thinks deliberate masking tends to occur in people who are diagnosed(self or official), while non-deliberate masking tends to occur in people who do not know they are autistic.

It is speculation but it mirrors my experience.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Pteranomom
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

Joined: 21 Apr 2022
Age: 39
Gender: Female
Posts: 343

11 Aug 2022, 5:27 pm

I really don't understand this concept of "masking" as substantially different from stuff NTs do, too. The article gives the example of making fake smiles, but NTs do that all the time, especially everyone in service jobs like waiters and cashiers.

Then it talks about pretending to be interested in the same stuff as your peers so you can "fit in" but again, millions of NTs do that all the time. It's called "adolescence." Normal kids are absolutely obsessed with fitting in. There's a reason adults put so much effort into telling kids not to give into "peer pressure."

Maybe I just don't understand something important, but wanting to fit in with others is one of the most normal impulses I can think of.



HeroOfHyrule
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 May 2020
Age: 21
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 8,863
Location: Pacific Northwest

11 Aug 2022, 6:02 pm

Pteranomom wrote:
I really don't understand this concept of "masking" as substantially different from stuff NTs do, too. The article gives the example of making fake smiles, but NTs do that all the time, especially everyone in service jobs like waiters and cashiers.

Then it talks about pretending to be interested in the same stuff as your peers so you can "fit in" but again, millions of NTs do that all the time. It's called "adolescence." Normal kids are absolutely obsessed with fitting in. There's a reason adults put so much effort into telling kids not to give into "peer pressure."

Maybe I just don't understand something important, but wanting to fit in with others is one of the most normal impulses I can think of.

I think a big difference is that a lot of the things that autistic people use to mask they have to consciously learn out of necessity, ​while allistic people may just naturally pick those things up from others or innately do them.

Wanting to "fit in" for allistic people might be innate, due to a genuine desire to, and just geared towards mimicking the interests of other people or other minor things, while a lot of autistic people may have to try to "fit in" mainly for "survival". Not "fitting in" for us doesn't mean just being slightly teased for having differing interests, but means being noticeably very different in behaviour, maturity, expression, etc. and then being pegged "odd" and thus receiving abuse and isolation from others. Possibly attempting to mimick interests is only a very small part of trying to "fit in" for us.

Some autistic people may also rarely innately smile, and may need to fake smiling in a lot more situations than allistic people do. Instead of just doing it at their cashier job to please their boss, an autistic person might need to make a conscious effort to when enjoying time with friends or in another situation where smiling occurs naturally.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I watch a lot of cartoons and anime. I also have a cat and a rabbit as pets. I like to learn + catalogue information about other organisms, especially rodents (+ related animals) and great apes.

I don't often respond to PMs, unless I interact with the person that's PMing me a lot on the forums.


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,098
Location: Long Island, New York

11 Aug 2022, 9:55 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Pteranomom wrote:
I really don't understand this concept of "masking" as substantially different from stuff NTs do, too. The article gives the example of making fake smiles, but NTs do that all the time, especially everyone in service jobs like waiters and cashiers.

Then it talks about pretending to be interested in the same stuff as your peers so you can "fit in" but again, millions of NTs do that all the time. It's called "adolescence." Normal kids are absolutely obsessed with fitting in. There's a reason adults put so much effort into telling kids not to give into "peer pressure."

Maybe I just don't understand something important, but wanting to fit in with others is one of the most normal impulses I can think of.

I think a big difference is that a lot of the things that autistic people use to mask they have to consciously learn out of necessity, ​while allistic people may just naturally pick those things up from others or innately do them.

Wanting to "fit in" for allistic people might be innate, due to a genuine desire to, and just geared towards mimicking the interests of other people or other minor things, while a lot of autistic people may have to try to "fit in" mainly for "survival". Not "fitting in" for us doesn't mean just being slightly teased for having differing interests, but means being noticeably very different in behaviour, maturity, expression, etc. and then being pegged "odd" and thus receiving abuse and isolation from others. Possibly attempting to mimick interests is only a very small part of trying to "fit in" for us.

Some autistic people may also rarely innately smile, and may need to fake smiling in a lot more situations than allistic people do. Instead of just doing it at their cashier job to please their boss, an autistic person might need to make a conscious effort to when enjoying time with friends or in another situation where smiling occurs naturally.

I think we have to do a lot more of it which often leads to mental health issues.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


HeroOfHyrule
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 May 2020
Age: 21
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 8,863
Location: Pacific Northwest

12 Aug 2022, 12:52 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I think we have to do a lot more of it which often leads to mental health issues.

Yeah. A lot of autistic people spend most of their day consciously trying to mask (forcing themselves to restrict stimming, constantly monitor facial expressions and movements, fine tuning interactions with others, preparing/scripting for conversations and social situations, etc.). It can be extremely exhausting and harmful to have to do that all day, everyday, with basically no breaks besides for when you're completely alone.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I watch a lot of cartoons and anime. I also have a cat and a rabbit as pets. I like to learn + catalogue information about other organisms, especially rodents (+ related animals) and great apes.

I don't often respond to PMs, unless I interact with the person that's PMing me a lot on the forums.


SpiralingCrow
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Apr 2022
Age: 47
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,558

12 Aug 2022, 4:57 am

I fail to see the difference here. Whether you know your autistic or not the base impulses to fit in or hide some aspect of oneself is the same. The only difference would be the vocabulary you use to describe what your doing. If you know you're autistic it's masking. If you don't know, then it's acting, playing it up, faking it, etc.

And I agree that everyone, ND or NT, to some degree or another alters their behavior depending on who they are with. You behave differently depending on whether you are with peers, coworkers, boss, doctor, child or stranger. Masking is less exhausting to NTs than autistic people. I know it is for me.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,098

12 Aug 2022, 6:42 am

They might think that if you don't know you have ASD, you can't be consciously masking that specific condition. But it's possible for such a person to know they have a particular trait that happens to be part of ASD, and they could be consciously masking that, e.g. they might be aware that they have a hobby eccentric enough to invite ridicule so they hide it. And such compensatory learning isn't necessarily conscious.

NTs also learn to mask a lot as they grow up, so it's hard to see what's different about that. I suspect most people present themselves as more "normal" than they really are, and do a lot to fit in with the people around them. If you find out or somehow sense that people get weirded out by unusual behaviour, you'll probably adjust your presentation on the grounds that you don't want to needlessly alienate people, if you want to get on well with them.

I still don't understand the term "masking." The last definition I saw of it seemed to include a lot of things that were quite far removed from the idea of deliberately behaving falsely to avoid being spotted as weird or on the spectrum. That's why I don't understand the term. It seems to stretch the usually-accepted definition of masking to catch many other kinds of behaviour. So why do they try to group them all together as a real concept that can help us understand something?



CockneyRebel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 107,975
Location: On a special base where the Christmas soldiers of the world live

12 Aug 2022, 12:32 pm

I put on my family mask when I visit my parents. I keep Germany at home and I try to wear the British family last name. I don't mention anything that has to do with Germany, especially Hogan's Heroes.


_________________
Oberfeldwebel

Age: 47
Gender: Non-Binary
Pronouns: He/Him/His
IQ: 86 and I use all 86 of them.


Pteranomom
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

Joined: 21 Apr 2022
Age: 39
Gender: Female
Posts: 343

12 Aug 2022, 11:33 pm

I hope people can find ways to avoid having to do such stressful things, at least around friends and family and loved ones.

It seems like a lot of people are more worried about being judged than it's actually worth, though. School can be brutal, yes, but here in the adult world there's a lot more room to be yourself because you're freer to pick whom you want to hang out with (outside of work).

My son worries that people will make fun of him for liking cats, for example. Not because he's ever been made fun of in school--he's homeschooled. He puts so much effort into not being perceived as liking cats (e.g., screaming if someone mentions them,) that it comes across as much weirder than just liking cats, which isn't actually weird at all.

I hope everyone can find peace and acceptance.

Oh, I hear the neighborhood cat in my living room...



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 85,120
Location: Queens, NYC

12 Aug 2022, 11:36 pm

But what makes your son embarrassed about having people know he likes cats?



Pteranomom
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

Joined: 21 Apr 2022
Age: 39
Gender: Female
Posts: 343

13 Aug 2022, 12:54 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
But what makes your son embarrassed about having people know he likes cats?

I have no idea. I wish I could convince him that liking cats is perfectly normal. But after a year of going to pet the neighborhood cats almost every day, he has finally started to accept that his siblings know.



StrayCat81
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 24 Jul 2021
Age: 41
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 214
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

14 Aug 2022, 2:17 pm

Pteranomom wrote:
especially everyone in service jobs like waiters and cashiers

Yep, and masking for long time is actually a health hazard, even for NTs. While someone autistic has to mask not only at work with customers, but in every kind of social situation.

NT in service job masks with customers. Autistics mask with customers, workmates, random strangers and most often with friends and family. Heck, some even mask with themselves and forget who they really are. That is huge mental health hazard, that's why people get burned out eventually.



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,859
Location: temperate zone

14 Aug 2022, 7:14 pm

Neurotypicals are all charlatans.

But in order to survive aspies have to...PRETEND to be charlatans!



Mountain Goat
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 13 May 2019
Gender: Male
Posts: 12,472

15 Aug 2022, 2:33 am

Definately two types of masking... I have done both, one mask on top of the other.
First masking is self learned to avoid trouble and is automatic. Avoiding stimming etc.....
Second mask on top of that is also self learned but is manual masking that one does to hide from making embarissing and noticeable mistakes. This for me is where I pretend to be thick with a funny sense of humour to make people laugh while doing it. It is how I can connect with people as otherwize I can be a bit of a loner.



jimmy m
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 74
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,382
Location: Indiana

15 Aug 2022, 9:34 am

I believe there are two types of masking.

The most common type is that Aspies try to merge into society. They try to blend in but because they have a different brain structure, they are unable to do so. Over time, perhaps in their 30s, they suffer severe distress and some experience breakdowns.

I am the second type. I am Peter Pan. I live in my own world. I use my great strengths to overcome my weaknesses. Around the age of 12 or 13, people change from children to adults. I never changed. Even at the age of 73 I am still a child deep down inside. But I am a very, very, very smart child. In my late teens I grew a mustache and in general no adult could easily recognize that I was still a child deep down inside. In general most people stop learning in their 20's or 30's. They just apply their basic knowledge and work until retirement. But my brain is different. It keeps learning and learning and learning. Its a good life.


_________________
Author of Practical Preparations for a Coronavirus Pandemic.
A very unique plan. As Dr. Paul Thompson wrote, "This is the very best paper on the virus I have ever seen."


quaker
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Age: 56
Gender: Male
Posts: 541
Location: London

15 Aug 2022, 3:37 pm

My foster parents were obsessed with being "Normal." Growing up, each day I was told I was odd, percular, deranged. To survive I had to conceal all my idiosyncratic ways and quirks as if my life depended upon it... which it did.

Subsequently, I unconsciously crafted my masking skills to such a highly refined degree that I become consumed with rage. The rage turned inward and soon I become so lost to myself and the world that I was sent to a psychiatric hospital when I was 15 in the year of 1980. Nothing much was known then about OCD, C-ptsd and HFA.

However, those of us in the autism spectrum do not have a monopoly over masking. I have met many courageous men and women, some in the spectrum and some clearly neurotypical. Each individual finds their way to safety and if they are lucky, later find their way home after the long and lonely exile.

The words of Rainer Maria Rilke speak deeply to me in this context:

Somewhere there must be storehouses where all these lives are laid away like suits of armour or old carriages or clothes hanging limply on the walls.
Maybe all paths lead there, to the repository of unlived things.