Even in one's community one needs to be wary of toxic people.. I think my narc radar has improved since going no contact. Whatever a person's diagnosis, I know I do not want to be treated badly anymore. I was at a disability group meeting for a book club, and a new woman showed up. She was friendly and asked me if I wanted to come to her drop in center and she told me she wanted to start a group for Aspies and those on the autism spectrum. In this disability group they do not know about me being an ACON and only know about my Lipedema, and disabilities that show like being hearing impaired.
I wrongly believed that drop in centers were for the poor, lonely or even physically disabled and those living on the edges of society but more on that later and remembering feeling glad this person was opening her drop-in center to autistics. I said, "Yes I would be very interested." She told the group she was an Aspie too, about being bipolar, and talked more about her "autism-Aspie" story. She was the director of the drop-in center via a peer counseling program. While I wanted to make sure this place was okay, I have always wanted to take part in a Aspie meet-up and have wanted the chance to meet more people and have some successful connections in this community. With the group, I was very eager. I knew two male Aspies as acquaintances in the community I could invite.
I did warn her I am housebound a lot but would love to be part of the group and maybe we could get it started and it could keep going on it's own and then I would come as often as I could like another community group I am in. Maybe we could put out fliers and advertise. Being Aspie, I have been involved in online Aspie groups and met now real-life although long distant friends in them, so having the chance to meet other people who face this challenge, was exciting to me. She acted friendly and talked to me just fine at this time. Sure she was a bit withdrawn and awkward but that was nothing I was not used to. I had my husband drive me to this place and he came with me. So it was just her and us, the first time. The second time, I invited this local male Aspie who I had met in the disability book group a year or so ago and was trying to get a message to the other Aspie I knew as well. When the group was supposed to be held a second time, the other Aspie showed up but she did not show up. So he was kind of upset he drove there for nothing, and no group happened. The books for the group and place for it were locked up. She never apologized and started acting weirder. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Well I will try one more time.".
Things got even more strange then, I noticed she started ignoring me and being overtly rude to me. Now I have been around other Aspies, including a close friend of me and my husband and even WORKED with autistic children in classrooms. Her autism seemed weird to me like she could turn it off and on like a spigot. I felt suspicious something didn't add up. Friendly for a time with smiles and then cold as a fish. Maybe she was higher on the spectrum but that didn't make sense, she spoke of going to meetings in our state capital and was highly organized. She seemed able to socially function among movers and shakers, I would be scared to even talk to. I know Aspies get diverted and distracted, I do all the time. Sometimes my voice will go monotone or my mind will wonder off, but I even learned the basics years ago, say hello to people etc.
I got some bad vibes that worried me as I met up with her. Something seemed odd about her like she was far more career grasping then I have ever seen an Aspie be and higher functioning in some ways while trying to appear to be lower functioning. The second time I met her, I thought in my head, "She doesn't seem to be vulnerable like autistics and Aspies are". She also seemed to be very wealthy from things she talked about including vacations, trips, two highly successful adult children, and other matters. It was weird because the drop in center is in a very poor side of town.
She was the boss at the drop in center and I noticed other people seemed to make paths for her and you knew she was in charge no matter what. This kind of surprised me. Most Aspies or autistics do not exhibit such strong signs of "leadership" and keeping people "in check". People almost seemed afraid of her. A friendlier assistant director was there, we talked to as well. The place only had a few clients coming in, 2 or 3 at most. I talked to them but they were more quiet. We colored in adult coloring books a few time. I was still checking the place out and was glad to have a place for the autism group. One thing with the director, she told me she had this Comfort Dog, and the dog started making appearances with her later. She was so high functioning seeming, I thought she was training the dog for some program until I realized the dog was HERS.
Anyhow the third time, I and my husband show up for the time of the group meeting and we enter the front room of the Drop-in Center. I feel weirder about being there because I am finally starting to suspect the place is mostly for those who are heavily medicated and don't just suffer from garden variety depression and anxiety but full blown psychotic mental disorders with full hallucinations and time spent in the psych ward. I have been diagnosed with PTSD in my past and struggle with depression but never have been hospitalized for any mental disorder. I don't judge people who have, but I noticed a lot of the programming at this place was focused on people successfully "recovering" after psych ward internments. The focus was to get them employed again and self supporting. I felt odd there as a very physically disabled person knowing I am unable to work in my physical condition.
Anyhow we come a third time for the group, she the director of the Drop-In Center is sitting there, only 4-5 feet away and I say hello, and she flat out ignores me and my husband. I am VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I joke and try to add levity to the situation to get her to speak to us and allow for distraction and other matters but time passes with her giving us extreme silent treatment. The group where we are reading a book on Aspergers together is due to begin. My husband is not the confrontational type so busies himself talking to someone else in the room. I had the thought, "I do not want to beg this person to talk to me". I am trying to let go of people pleasing and other behaviors that have only dug my scapegoat hole deep. So I sit there and stare straight ahead too after trying to get her to talk to me two times. I talk to the person my husband is talking to and then I have us get up and leave after waiting 25 minutes. There goes the Aspie group. I already know I am not coming back.
The whole situation was so strange. I later wrote her a letter asking her why she did not speak to us and saying that I had a hard time understanding her version of autism and maybe she needs to explain this better to people so there is more understanding. She never responded back.
I am familiar with autistics who go mute, but this seemed like the hard cold freeze-out of a narcissist. I've been down that road too many times not to know what it feels like. She wanted me gone, maybe because she knew I was only going to bring a few more clients in? She asked me to do art projects almost right off for the place but I wanted to familiarize myself with how the place worked being unsure of how drop in centers worked and the culture. My husband told me be careful of people who want something from you. My energy is very low and I am realizing my failure to "deliver" is impacting me socially.
This sounds bad but I decided to look her up on Facebook, and her wall was public. If any flying monkeys inform her of this article that may cease pretty quickly but I noticed the day I wrote her the letter she complained about people not understanding her. I think she meant me since it was the day I wrote her the letter. She was very angry, and this posting had a "how dare they" attitude to it, instead of a "I feel sad someone misunderstood me". She said she had "Kanner's autism". This blew my mind because Kanner's autism is where they do NOT desire closeness with other people. Aspies and autistics normally want connection but fail in getting it. Why is someone like that in such a people based position where there are people coming in especially with severe mental disorders?
I had a lot of time in special ed classrooms in my 20s, most people with Kanner's are totally non-verbal and usually lower functioning, they are not organized people directing drop in centers. I wonder who chose this woman to work with the severely mentally ill if her social skills were so extremely low? I did not feel like I was around an autistic who was going mute or too afraid to talk. I dealt with kids who were severely autistic in classrooms. My nephew when I was in contact with him had HFA [high functioning autism] between out and out autism and Aspergers and he was quiet all the time. You could ask him questions and he would ignore you, but it was not an offensive kind of ignore. It's kind of hard to explain, it was DIFFERENT then this.
Something didn't add up. She had pictures of herself meeting with politicians including talk of meeting with a lt. governor on her PUBLIC Facebook wall and one regional politician who is well known. Some of these photos appeared on a public Facebook page of a non-profit she ran related to the later Drop in Center. These are meeting I would be too afraid of and Aspie to deal with myself. She was at the center of all her family photos, she had a high number of friends. Most of my Aspie friends are under the 100 mark, if not lower.
Her Facebook wall seemed to have people constantly praising her and defending her. It seemed to read like my mother's facebook. I have never seen this happen with another fellow Aspie. She even told this one guy off who was an Aspie too, they were actually talking about autism and he unfriended her. On the public Facebook wall and on the public Facebook organizational wall where she ran a nonprofit, she bragged about buying a $2,000 dollar vaccum cleaner for her home and paying $5,000 and some odd change for the trained Comfort Dog. The dog is supposed to help her with the severe autism. I was right about her being wealthy, as there were pictures of her very lavish house with things like wooden floors, rich fabrics and decked out kitchen with stainless steel and espresso machine.
I have never met any autistic person like this. I was very weirded out by this whole experience. She seemed put off during one of those first meetings at my knowledge about autism. The drop in center really was not for me. It did bring me down some to attempt to integrate with the community again and have it end in failure. My sense of not belonging here has gotten greater and greater. I have been more lonely then before. I feel like I don't belong anywhere.
Sometimes it is very hard. Humans are social creatures, they want people to talk to in real life once in a while. I do think this person treated me very wrongly. I do not trust them. I am glad I got away from them. It could have been worse, I had my husband with me knowing I needed to check this place out--I have been more cautious since the catfish incident and I listened to the "bad vibes" I got. My fault was in giving her a second chance but at least my time spent around her was very short. I supposed since autism and Aspergers is a neurological condition, it is possible other personality disorders could enter in, but I'll leave the actual diagnosis to the professionals. The whole thing confused and bothered me greatly. Please tell me what you think of this experience. Thanks.