DON”T BE A VICTIM
Everybody wants your money
or your time, your services, your free labor, your affection,
use of your home, car, OK you get it.
How do you keep yourself safe in the sea of sharks that our world has become?
Because it is difficult for many autistic individuals to figure out other people’s motives, and because so many of us are genuine, truthful, direct and trusting, anxious to make friends and to interact with others, it is easy for us to become targets for others’ gain.
Many people in the world are all too ready to take advantage of us.
Autism forums are full of reports of those of us who have become victims perhaps many times, without our realizing, at first, or maybe only very much later, what had happened.
I had my share of experiences with misplaced trust and too generous of a nature. I wanted desperately to interact with others, to be thought of as “good”, to do anything I could for the other person to “prove” how good, kind, caring and worthy of attention/affection I was.
In school I gave others money or my lunch, I did other peoples’ homework, I did research papers for my first(now ex) husband, took his tests, worked to pay his tuition and our rent while he went to school and to drinking/drug parties after and used my car both before and after we were married. I forgave him for ‘forgetting” to pick me up after a midnight shift and having to walk home over and over and over, and over.
I would have done anything to keep him from getting angry, or in any way being even the least bit unhappy with me.
I was used for sex, I was used for a place to stay, I was used as an unsuspecting driver of somebody who perpetrated breaking and entry while I waited patiently in my car for them to get back from “having to see somebody about a job”. I gave a car to somebody who “needed it to take care of their family”.
I gave money to people who were hungry, allowed them to stay at my apartment, bought them clothing, food, did their laundry, cooked for them, had sex with them, took care of their pets and their children, unknowingly gave information about friends on vacation and etc which led to those people being robbed. I was used, abused, and eagerly participated in this because I so badly wanted to be cared about/ loved, cherished by anybody.. anybody who would have me, at any cost to myself. I did it over and over for much of my life. Have you done this too?
I was trained to be a people pleasing victim. I was trained in very early childhood to never refuse to do anything I was told to do, to “respect my elders” and to worry if somebody told me I made them angry, hurt, sad, or “made them do that to me” .
I had to get therapy to learn that other people’s feelings were not my responsibility!
I learned that I did not make people angry, they chose to become angry over something I did or did not do.
I did not make other people sad, they chose to become sad over something I said or did.
I did not hurt people’s feelings, they chose to become offended at what I said or did.
What a change of mindset to learn I could make choices too!
I could choose not to drive somebody somewhere for any reason, I could choose not to have sex with somebody if I didn’t feel like it. ( and I never even considered how I felt about any of this, I was only interested in how the other person felt, and to keep them from getting angry.
I could choose not to cook a meal, clean the house, work 2 jobs, do other people’s work … I never knew I had that option, stupid as it sounds now all these years later. I had to have an outsider explain it to me, I simply could not see I had options, I could not think of other ways to handle any life situation regarding other people than the one that I had been trained to (abuse and trauma played their parts in that childhood training too)
My autistic rigidity kept me to the ways I had been trained to respond to others and I never questioned my automatic responses to others’ demands. I needed an outsider to point out the mistaken ideas I had and the alternatives I could choose.
I learned how to recognize when I was being manipulated and intimidated, and I had to learn how to recognize my own buried emotions. I had no idea of when I was angry, because I suppressed and denied it for so long, instead I was sad, impossibly sad, almost all of the time. I had to learn how to get angry, how to figure out what I wanted instead of wondering only what anybody else wanted of me.
When I learned to say NO I learned a very good defense mechanism to be able to avoid being used and abused, victimized. It is never too late to learn how to say no. It is a skill anybody can learn and practice, and you get better at it as you go along!
I also learned the skill of asking a few questions when presented with “opportunities” pleas for funds or assistance, pleas to answer somebody else’s needs of any sort, pressure to give, give, give, serve , serve, serve. Usually these requests come with a “honeymoon” stage.
Online or in person, users will smother you with attention, compliments, seeming words or acts of loving kindness and caring.
Internet scammers will approach you as a potential romantic partner. You are so fascinating, so good looking, so funny, wise, thoughtful, generous!!! They can not wait to interact with you, get angry when you don’t respond to them, want to know all about you.
Then they begin to want things. Money for paying taxes, for a missed payment for rent, for a medical procedure, for tuition for school, for tickets to travel from their home to come see you. Sometimes they do show up, but often there is a sudden emergency and the money is gone, could you send more?
There are plenty of versions of this in real life, with the person doing the scamming “working” several other individuals at the same time , without each victim knowing.
Such a scammer will tell you “its not your business” or” I have to work away from home,” they will not be willing to spend time with your friends or family, will never introduce you to their friends and family, will not want to go places or do things outside of your home.
Don’t be so anxious to be loved that you negate your self worth.
If the individual truly finds you valuable they will not ask these things of you, spend time trying to shame and upset you, threaten to remove their love or attention, etc.
Do your homework. Look into their claimed identity, look into their past, look into their circumstances.
If they do not share information about themselves willingly, and information that you can verify, don’t be fooled. You are worthy of real love and caring, you are worthy of a real relationship, you are worthy of being a true participant in other’s lives, not just a “support system” or a wayside stop.
Not only are individuals out to use you and profit through you, but there are so many online scams to take your money. Among them will be false cures and therapies, false programs with no scientific basis, no actually proven diets, supplements, tools such as lenses, physical “touch” adjustments, various techniques for “re patterning” the brain to make it work better.
Take a look at the very long list of “pseudoscience” listed under Wiki or other pages. Know as much as you can about anything another person proposes you invest in!! not only does this apply to Autism but also seek out scams involving banking, trading, finances, lost or found property, family members introuble, and so much more.
Regularly look for information about the most current scams being played on others… these folks are clever and some of the scams are very difficult to spot.
Research any new autism related or other medicine. Medical scams apply to all fields , wherever there are people desperate for relief be it through a supplement, treatment, claim, cure, or “therapy”, etc .
Search thoroughly and understand if there is actual science behind these claims.
Beware of claims without links to backup studies which have been duplicated repeatedly and which have been published and peer reviewed. “correlation is not the same as causation”. Is a good idea to keep in mind. “who benefits”? is another.
I had a doozy of a day yesterday on a page I admin/ moderate. In the same 12 hour period, there were questions about diet/supplements/ and the possible ties to autism, (there are none verified through science), posts about therapies using claims of breakthrough in stimulation of certain parts of the body to evoke cures of emotional dysregulation,( again, there is no scientific evidence that any of these works) and posts about books , a page set up to look like a blog, and selling books and programs meant as “therapy” using miracle claims from people who underwent the “therapy”/treatment/bought the books.
I call all this stuff “woo woo” and you should too.
Magical cures readily available, new radical discoveries revealed, do it at home and be cured…. does it even raise a question in your mind? It really ought to.
Don’t let predators feast on your hopes and your desires. Reason it out, think it out, do your homework. Don’t become a victim because you want so badly to believe what they are telling you.
I am here to ask you to be skeptical, do your homework on any new theory or cure presented for profit, thoroughly to see if it is backed up by actual science and tests performed and results published and peer reviewed. Be especially cautious if the results seem too good to be true. Usually that is the case.
One thought on “Autism and predators”
I can’t tell you how many people have attempted to victimize me in my life because they found me vulnerable, with few (or no) friends to protect or guide me. This is very good information for younger women with autism…how I wish I had read and recognized myself in this when I was in my twenties. It would have saved me so much grief. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to expose your painful experiences to us so we can learn.
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