There are autistic people who get most of their self esteem from being the lowest functioning person in the room. Many feel threatened by the presence of a person who can’t do things they can.
There was this woman I knew who basically could function on her own. It was exhausting, so she needed help. But over the course of a year I saw her closely almost every day.
She could go shopping. She could make her own food. She could shower herself. She always had enough to eat. She could talk sometimes type others. Her apartment was kept in immaculate condition. It was spotless, her huge collections were dusted, her bed was made, her floors were swept and mopped. Everything was perfect in terms of self care, other than that she needed help just to get a break.
Her main problems were social stuff, namely her capacity for picking fights with people in really offensive ways, and then reporting them as abusers if they retaliated. She also stalked people, including me, and believed that everyone else’s support staff were gets by right, she’d follow them out screaming to their cars if they refused to talk to her. Bang on doors in the middle of the night demanding info about staff. Couldn’t leave the apartment without fighting and always blamed the other one, even though her favorite way to start a fight was to scream slurs at people.
Anyway I was supposed to be helping her get services. I was hoping it would stop her leaning on me and another disabled woman she’d found.
She claimed she needed total care. She claimed when I was not around, that I was cleaning her house for her. Ditto with the second disabled woman helping advocate for services.
She did this thing that made me want to slap her.
She would tell me that I had such better daily living skills than she did. But “don’t worry, it’s hard to have worse than mine".
When I was left alone for a week my apartment became filthy, as in bodily fluids everywhere and a huge mess. I barely got any food or water. Became skin and bones. Started passing out. Could do virtually nothing for myself. Senses so scrambled I couldn’t even understand what food was when it was in front of me. Bashed my head on things. And this went on getting worse for a year. And that was with help.
I tried to explain once what it really looks like to lack almost all daily living skills. She had the nerve to tell me that she could pick up after herself because she was so much more autistic than me, that she couldn’t function without neatness.
I made the horrible mistake of explaining to her I can’t function without neatness either, I just can’t create it because that requires skills too.
Next time I saw her my blood wanted to boil. She had dumped her laundry on the floor and failed to take out the trash. This was her idea of a mess. She said suddenly she couldn’t even clean up for herself either.
Later I found every time she met a disabled person unable to do what she could do, she’d start pretending she couldn’t do it either. Because she had to be the lowest functioning in the room.
My stalker was one of those too. I had to endure endless lectures about how I’d I didn’t rely on staff I could learn to take care of myself. After all, if she could do it anyone could. Never mind that she just straight out had lots of skills I’ve never had. People neglected to recognize them, but once they taught her, she had them. I’m not like that. I don’t have skills in reserve like that.
She kept telling me nobody should of let me out of mental institutions without daily living skills training first. Actually I got lots. It just didn’t take. Because I don’t have those skills.
But she just refused to believe it. Because in her mind, she was the lowest of the low low functioning anywhere who had language, she got lots of ego out of this, and people like me who grew up considered verbal but couldn’t do daily living as well must not exist.
(There’s a reason she most often targets autistic women who are well known, often not considered high functioning, and have a psych history that makes defamation easy. She wants to eliminate everyone in the competition for lower functioning than thou. I once saw her cuss out an autistic woman for posting pix, because she looked too normal for a Kanner autie. Nothing more.)
Another person I know, any time I mentioned a problem of my own, she’d snap at me. Like if I said they thought I was autistic she’d say, “NO, NOT LIKE THAT, I WAS A REAL AUTISTIC CHILD, like I spun on the playground by myself and I didn’t act like anyone was there when kids approached.“ (Yeah lady, and in preschool I played by myself and screamed at the top of my lungs if other kids came up, what of it?) Anything true of me had to be there times as true of her and I was supposedly some vague imposter in comparison. She always had to have the worst case of everything no matter what.
And I meet people like this all the time.
I call them lower functioning than thou.
Don’t be them.
How to feel the difference? If you accept that there are autistic people who can’t do things you can do, or look more stereotypical, without a wave of jealousy and desire to top them or compete with them… you’re fine. Otherwise, take a good look at your ego.
Also there’s a difference between simply wanting people to know people with your difficulties exist, and seeing it as a competition. The competitive part is the problem.