Stop! It’s not Okay & is Never Okay– Structural Bullying in Autistics
“Don’t do this! Don’t do that! This isn’t the way to go! It’s never okay.” You’ll hear people saying this in ways of trying to stop bullies bullying others and to make them stop, to make them aware that they’re hurting others. Bullies tend to bully others for a lot of reasons. However, it still doesn’t give them a right, invitation, validation, reason or excuse to pick on the weak and vulnerable ones or even as they call us, victims. Every child will one day in their life get bullied and dread going to school to learn because of falling in the arms of the bully somehow as his or her target or prey. Bullying doesn’t always happen in schools. It can happen almost anywhere; like in the park or even at work for older people.
It has been on my mind and heart to share with you, my inner thoughts about this topic, as well as some other topics I’ve written in my book as well as my videos; to take you on a journey and to open your eyes. Also, to tell you that, what some of us go through isn’t okay, yet there are determining factors on how we’ll solve the problem and how we will conquer it. I believe this topic and many more that I’ve written and shared needs to be addressed and need to be heard, or even to be solved one way or another. Yet, I see and hear that not many people are willing to make the first move into the step of change. I find it really sad that, with some of the situations going on in some people’s lives, people tend to pick on them and make it even worse for them.
Although, a change movement is coming, it’s however slow. Yet, sometimes people fear change, or people just don’t want to become unpopular, or whatever title or status that they had. There are some people who haven’t been acknowledged. They’re the ones that are making a stand or they may’ve made a stand and that they’ve given up. It’ll take more than just one person to make the stand and make a difference in this world today, and that sometimes, the voices of those that make a stand aren’t heard at all.
Structural violence that leads to bullying may occur at any stage or age in our lives. Yet, what we do about it is the key. Do we wish to use our voice to be heard, or do we just want to sit here in silence and wait? We need to answer this question and more that needs to be answered. I feel that we shouldn’t have to sit there in silence and alone while all this is going on.
Many people with Aspergers Syndrome or anyone for that matter that’s different will tend to get bullied like I was, for being different and new to school, and getting used to my surroundings. As I wrote before, my parents, I alongside with my sister, moved a lot for our own personal reasons.
I want to share this right now: Structural violence has a real subtle way of showing or presenting itself. Despite our high intelligence level as Aspies, there’ll be some people who’ll try to tear us down in any way that they can.
Do we wish to go down to their level and attack them in the same way that they’re giving us?
Many of us Aspies, are usually happy, bright, cheerful, joyful and many more characteristic traits; as well as we’re usually most of the time, positive to what’s happening or is about to happen some of us. This and more that you’ve read so far of my journey, about my personal struggles are still a struggle. But not as much, as I’ve found some solutions and the courage to stand up and do what I feel is right, and to use my voice and choose not to be a victim or slave to some of the personal struggles that I’ve shared with you all.
These bullies or I’ll call them “Haters” that I was facing back then, wanted to knock me down based on their own personal struggles, insecurities, jealousy, hate and more. Some of the haters come in our social circle for a reason and may feel threatened because of us being different. They also are feeling insecure of themselves, as they’re losing control. Many of these haters try to be in control of everything that’s in their lives, yet their world is crashing down for whatever their reasons are. Whatever the reasons of the situations that they’re facing, doesn’t give them any authority to attack us in anyway or form. I find that some of the haters right now mayn’t be able to cope with whatever situation that arise in their life. For example, if their parents are at each other’s throats arguing, throwing fists and more, these haters may think that they’ve got the right and power to do the same as they’ve seen it in their own lives. This is how they may’ve coped most of their lives, and may think it’s the only way and answer for all of this.
It’s up to us in how we’re going to respond and act towards these haters no matter where or when it happens to us. Do we want to fight back so that they can gain the glory and attention from us, to obtain what they so desire and crave for? I’ll make this clear once again, that we shouldn’t have to excuse their behaviours and actions towards us and also to accept this behaviour and attitude. As we know, the scars and wounds are left behind, for us that have been bullied, are real. Yes, I do have flashbacks and nightmares of the times when I was bullied. Till today, I still do; but I then decided to become a victor and not a victim towards these bullies or haters, no matter what they’re doing to us; be it using their fists, words or cussing. All these are forms of abuse and violence. I’ve tolerated it for quite some time in the past, and thought as many victims would to be acceptable.
At the time, when I was a victim, so many questions and thoughts started to cloud my perception and judgment of life about whom and what I was. I felt real dirty and inadequate back then. Questions that I had were something like this; “Am I good enough? Why are they picking on me?” “Am I strong enough to get through this?” “What if I don’t make it?” “Am I just going to let them win?” These and many more were the questions that I had. I’m writing this; so that the bullies will know the pain that we all go through.
While being bullied, the haters or bullies will think in their own mind that they’ve got full control and power that they’ll in turn think of us as nothing. To me, I once believed that. But today, I’m here right now, making a stand and using my voice to share my story, believing wholeheartedly that I’m a victor, winner and a success. This is my story and without me making my stand, I wouldn’t be here today. I believe strongly that whatever we go through that it makes us stronger, wiser and smarter. Sometimes, the bullies or haters will attack us one way or another as they want to be in control at all times. Sometimes, many people today want to be in control of power, money, titles, statuses and more to gain these.
Structural violence; while I’m writing this down is defined as, “A systematic way in a social structure that harms or will cause harm or disadvantage an individual.” This is however really subtle and invisible, as sometimes may’ve no specific person who can or will be held responsible. Structural and behavioural violence I do believe, intertwine with each other. I also believe so strongly that there’s structural violence towards an Autistic person or anyone else that’s different, no matter what he/she does. It’s not okay and is never going to be okay to bully someone else that’s different.
Yes, we may communicate differently, we think differently and act differently and most of these can be invisible. We also have daily struggles and challenges that we face like you, and that most of the time, we’ll go about a different way to deal with it or to solve that problem. Everyone is different and has their own daily struggles, yet some struggles are real and may last longer than others for some.
We all have amazing strengths and courage than some people we meet and face in our social circle, and they’ll then feel threatened or intimidated or whatever the reason may be, that again may lead them to bullying us despite. Nobody asked to be bullied. Nobody has a label that says, “Pick on me” at all times. I believe that we all should be able to be loved, feel loved, accepted, wanted, acknowledged and more. Yes, we do act differently and sometimes, we express our feelings and emotions differently as Aspies. Sometimes, when we do express our feelings and emotions, we feel we’re being challenged and asked, “Why do it that way when you can do it this way?’ When we’ve got our own struggles sometimes, the bullies then in turn isolate us, and we’re left to face it alone. When it comes to being bullied, the victims are labelled as attention seekers or just crying-out wolves, or that we deserve everything that comes our way no matter what that is. Yet in reality, if you were to understand this we’re not; we just need help and support.
There are however many different types and forms of Autism. We’re like you all, trying to make sense of the world, trying to fit in and understand how the world works and many more. Many people may not believe we are Autistic, or that we have Aspergers Syndrome.
Sometimes, it’s up to us if we want to tell them or not that we’re Autistic or have Aspergers Syndrome. I believe strongly that, no matter where we are in life, we should be able to feel confident and strong enough to share with the people we’re with, that we’re alike. For example, if we were to be working or were going for our first job, at the end of an interview process you can discuss it. I’m sure to share with others that, I have Aspergers Syndrome and tell them how I work.
People may have their beliefs to what Aspergers Syndrome really is yet if they’re open-minded and willing to accept our differences, then that’ll definitely go a long way in the future. Being different can be challenging and exciting with other mixed emotions. Yet, I feel that being different isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing. Being different to me means that despite how I may speak and act or even think, I’ve got the tendency to change and accept any changes needed for me to grow more as a person.
I believe that we Aspies are special, strong, unique, yet sensitive. We don’t deserve to be bullied and treated in this way like any of us don’t. I feel that you’re trying to give us some sort of punishment, we don’t deserve or need. We Aspies have pure hearts and many people who had known me or have gotten to know me in my social circle can see this in me as a person. I’m loyal, kind, forgiving, empathetic and more. You may think Aspies may lack empathy. This could be wrong as most of us Aspies are great with people, having communication skills, yet aren’t given the chance to prove and show who and what we are. I also believe that, we shouldn’t have to prove to others around us who and what we are, as we should automatically be accepted and more like anyone of you so desire and crave for. Sometimes, I feel that we’re over-empathetic people and that we give too much to people regardless who and what they are, and some may say that our bullies don’t deserve what we give back as the opposite effect.
I want to strongly encourage others like me to share their stories, once that they can find the courage to do so, so that they can be heard and listened to one day. I’m praying and hoping for a change and that’s happening at the moment. I believe if we do share our stories, it’ll be therapeutic and re-assuring for others in what happens in our lives. I believe that, no matter what we been through, we all have a story to share and that we’re all victors and successes now, and that we’ll get ahead in our lives based on our attitudes and decisions that we make.
I believe that we need to make a stand, and bring forth everyday topics that need to be addressed and listen to. In the Autistic Community of the social media site, Facebook, many have addressed on my page, some concerns or their problems and would like people or anyone out there to support them, like anyone of us will need support once in a while. Despite it all, many people are good at hiding their problems and just be in denial, or leave their problems to a point where everything else will go wrong. What I need to address here also, that there are mental health issues that we Aspies do suffer too. Girls and young women with Aspergers Syndrome find it hard to act and look normal, despite having an Autistic brain. I’ve had a few people that have higher expectations of me to act and think differently, and not to try and be myself. I feel that I shouldn’t have to act like someone that I’m not. As I wrote before, that it’s not and never okay to bully anyone that’s different. We shouldn’t all have to be put on the shelf, or get told to shut up and buck up our ideas or thoughts etc. We need to be heard and treated the same way as everyone else. Like a saying goes: “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” We need to be strong and brave in anything that we face, or come our way now or in the future. I believe that NOW is the time to act and do something about this.