I was just wondering, what sort of coping mechanisms might an adult, on the spectrum but never diagnosed, be likely to have picked up (esp. harmful ones, or ones they may be unaware of) in the process of passing as neurotypical? A lot of what I've been able to find about coping mechanisms has been centered on consequences of Applied Behavior Abuse etc.
there are about a million possibilities or more. so i invite anyone to add their own! (btw, i love how you spell out aba.)
a few of mine:
- the ability to “postpone” a meltdown until i’m alone, which usually makes it way worse.
- dissociation when i have to be in bad sensory situations. often combined with shutdown.
- in social situations, answering questions or telling stories in a way that does not reflect my own thoughts and feelings, but instead repeating something i heard or read somewhere. this is much quicker and leads to more socially acceptable answers than trying to say what i think.
- being in panic/stress mode literally all of the time in order to get through school, university or work life. as a result, burning out and collapsing every 2-3 years, and harder every time.
- pushing myself to stay in bad sensory situations without showing any signs of distress. dissociation helps.
- in general: the ability to have a socially acceptable “outward face” that is still weird and quirky but does not show my distress.
- having meltdowns in the toilet at work and coming out afterwards with a forced smile.
- the skill to do almost anything after 2 hours of sleep at night. usually followed by a meltdown in the evening.
- the ability to control my stimming in a way so i just appear nervous and restless but not too “weird”.
i also have developed some good coping skills that are actually helpful and pleasant for me. for example:
- lists. making lists of everything. writing everything down. lists are good.
- a generous supply of excuses for why i can’t do a thing: “i have a headache.” “i don’t have good ears.” (for auditory processing.) “i am tired, i need to sleep now.” “i just like calm spaces.” etc.
- i could probably think of more but i don’t have the time right now, sorry.
so, followers, if you would like to add anything, please do!