Those with ASD: Easy Targets for Discrimination and Hate


Sadly, being stigmatized and labeled as mentally ill is a normal part of life with ASD. Too many people are ignorant of the fact that ASD is a neurological difference, not a mental illness, and positively not a negative trait. What most do not know is that ASD can be an asset. Take it from someone who knows someone who is on the spectrum.

When I read the negative tweets about Greta Thunberg, I shake my head. On the flip side, when I see the possibility that perhaps her ASD is being used to further some agenda, I’m also dismayed. I believe that she’s being insulted by some and used by others because she has come out of the closet with her neuro-difference from the NT majority, and it sickens me.

She is a teenager, for crying out loud! And the people who are insulting and using her are supposed to be adults who should be setting a positive example for the rest of society! But sadly, being a child doesn’t shield anyone on the spectrum from being stereotyped.


Every day, people with Autism continue to be mistaken for being “crazy” or “retarded” (God, I despise the R-word!). Because of this stigma and ongoing unfair treatment, many can eventually become mentally ill because a person can only take so much hatred and adversity before it begins to take a toll on the psyche.

This only re-enforces the stigma! It serves as confirmation to others who are clueless of ASD that they are mentally ill. With that said. It only goes to show that we have a long way to go before we reach the goal of neurodiversity and that, even in 2019, people on the spectrum continue to experience discrimination, prejudice, and hate.

Greta Thunberg is a brilliant child, and I believe that it will be people like her who will break the stigma and pave the way for people on the spectrum to one day be accepted and allowed to live happier and more productive lives.

Why Targets Can Become Bullies Themselves


I wasn’t only a target. I also became a bully after being hurt for so long and made to feel powerless. I admit this today with the greatest sadness and remorse. I didn’t like myself very much in those days.

Like attracts like. Good produces more good and evil begets evil. Reactive bullying is a defense mechanism used by victims of bullying- bullying in response to the abuse they face every day. Targets of bullying feel that they have power over nothing, and it’s a feeling that’s the equivalent to a slow death. Some victims learn very quickly to become bullies themselves to reclaim some of the power their tormentors have taken from them. Because their classmates torment them, victims often get the impression that to stay off the bottom of the pecking order, they must find a target of their own to degrade and humiliate.

People need to have control over something. It’s a natural human need. Bully-victims, as we call them, often bully others who are more powerless to make themselves feel better about themselves. Crap always rolls downhill and no one wants to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Just as there are people who fight to stay on top, there are others who struggle just as hard to keep off the bottom. An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It is the same with most bully targets.

I was guilty of the same thing. I am ashamed to admit how cruelly judgmental I had become in high school. I consistently pointed a finger, I scoffed and laughed at people, and I scapegoated those I thought were weak and pieces of scum. I thumbed my nose, looked down on, talked down to, and lorded over particular kids. And I did it in front of an audience. All because I felt powerless!

At the time, it was the only way I knew to survive.

The bullying I dished out to these kids served as a temporary fix to my brokenness. It was only a salve and a Band-Aid. It was akin to being a drug addict and getting a hit to keep painful withdrawals away. It took away the symptoms but not the cause. It was the same when I would bully and look down on people less fortunate than I was. The self-esteem high I would get from looking upon these types with scorn and loftiness was always short-lived.

And so, anytime I would start to come down from my self-esteem high, I would have to, once again, look for someone else weaker than me, to pick apart and degrade by pointing out their bad qualities to feel good again. I constantly probed others, looking for shortcomings that I could use against them. If I could not find any flaws, I would simply make them up and then convince my target of it. It was a cycle that would continue for a few more years, and today, I hate that I resorted to that.


I am telling you this because I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been both a target and a bully. Understand that there is something seriously wrong with anyone who has to resort to bullying to feel good about themselves. If you have to look down on someone and mistreat them by pointing out their misfortunes or less than desirable qualities, the real problem is within yourself. You’re only trying to hide your own imperfections by highlighting the flaws of another person.

One doesn’t achieve real confidence by resorting to these harmful and temporary fixes. Real security flows continuously and is steady. It oozes from every fiber of your being naturally and effortlessly. Authentic confidence is unshakeable!

It is quiet, and there is no need to boast. There is no need to cause psychological, physical, emotional or spiritual harm to another human being to achieve it. It is still there but obscured- hidden because some creep from the past has wounded you so severely that you have suppressed it out of fear. I believe that each one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly chip away and erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier. We turn cold and begin to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it. Before long, we regard the feelings and suffering of others with indifference. We don’t give a crap about anyone, how they feel or what they think, sometimes even the people who love us. We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold, and we secretly or openly, take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

I can say this because I was there. I allowed my bullies to change me from a caring, loving child to an evil, spiteful teenager. I had become this person my parents never taught me to be. I was angry, full of bitterness and spite because of the horrible way others had treated me. I went from being friendly and accepting of everyone, regardless of what they had, to this cruel, cold, heartless human being who picked out the imperfections of others and used them to degrade them.

How had I learned to be so cold, calculating and heartless? My bullies had taught me. From my cruel and narcissistic classmates, I learned how to bully and degrade with stealth and precision. They had taught me by doing the same to me. I learned from them how to be meticulous and cunning with my taunts.

I used to get my kicks out of seeing others’ friendships and relationships end. At different times in high school, I would instigate fights between other people, then stand back and watch proudly what I, at the time, referred to as my handiwork. I enjoyed watching the two girls that I had very stealthily turned against one another, duke it out between themselves, laughing inside while making sure to cover up my bursting gratification with a false look of concern.


And why did I do this? Because I had no real friendships myself and was jealous of other girls’ friendships. I wanted to destroy those friendships to feel like I was not the only one. I tried to inflict pain on them because I was suffering. And it would feel so much better to have someone else suffering along with me than to suffer alone. Because I was miserable, I wanted someone else to be unhappy too.

I was in a very dark place then, but I am happy to say that I have managed to dig myself out of that hole, and now that I am wiser, no one will ever again put me back in that place, EVER! Also, I now enjoy seeing others happy and fulfilled.

You do not have to do what I did and change your personality to survive. You don’t need to become evil and spiteful like your bullies. It’s not necessary to inflict chaos in the lives of others to feel better about yourself. There are better ways to feel good and to be happy.

Instead of bullying the bully, continue to be yourself. Kill them with kindness or come back at them with something funny to throw him off-kilter. It will take the wind out of their sales because they cannot shake you. Even better, you will feel better about yourself in the long run, just knowing that you did not have to turn into some venomous snake to survive, and the confidence that you get from this will be authentic and long-lasting. Whereas, the power you get from bullying others will always be superficial and short-lived. As a result, you will be on a constant search for flaws and fodder to use against people to feel better. You will also search for a backup victim in case your usual target is not available. Take it from someone who has lived it, this is exhausting and is certainly no way to live.

Better yet, befriend the kids who are more powerless than you because it’s a sure bet that your classmates or coworkers bully them too. Befriend every bullied person in your school or workplace, make them your allies, and be an ally to them because there’s strength in numbers! Bullies will seldom approach people in groups because they’re nothing but cowards. Bullies are like wild animals and prefer to target the person who is separate from the herd because it makes the person vulnerable.

I want you to know that being bullied does not give you the right to become a bully. Think about how you feel when someone mistreats you. Now think about how your target must feel. Any satisfaction you get from bullying another person is temporary. Whereas, the power that you get from showing kindness and love is infinite!

The Power of Saying “No!”


Saying “no” can be difficult and at times, even downright scary. Like when bullies are trying to force you to do something you don’t want to do and threatening either physical harm or worse social exclusion if you don’t do what they want you to do? I know the feeling because I’ve been there.

Nobody wants to get hurt, and the natural human response is to submit to make the pain and torment, or the threat of, stop. In your mind, you’re thinking, “Alright, alright! I’ll do it if you’ll go away and leave me alone!” I get that because it’s what I did. I submitted to my bullies many times, too many times, falling for the false promises that they would let me be and stop hurting me. But-

They never made good on those promises. The harassment didn’t stop. If anything, it only got worse! Anytime I did say no, I got threatened and yes, even physically attacked.

Saying no to a bully is never an easy option. It’s often risky, especially with bullies, because they don’t take no for an answer, least of all from their targets! However, not only is it necessary and imperative, but it feels darn good sometimes!
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve said the word “no” a lot more than I did, regardless of the retaliation I would have faced, unless one of my bullies had done something drastic, like pulled a gun. That would’ve been an entirely different story.

In no way would I advice anyone to risk their life. If someone pulls a gun on me, I will do what I must do to stay alive! I’ll do what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear. I’ll dance a jig wearing fluorescent orange and white polka-dotted bell bottoms if it keeps me from dying!

But if they only threaten me with the business end of their fists and I know I’m only going to come out of it with a shiner and a fat lip, then it’s much safer to say no. Those wounds will heal. But the psychological injury of wishing I hadn’t let myself down will last for years.

However, if you do choose physical safety first, I want you to know that you’re not wrong for that. In no way will I ever think less of you if you submit to your bullies’ demands. As I mentioned earlier, a natural reaction is to obey to keep from being harmed.

And the winner is...

Today, I say that little two-letter word a lot more and will continue to say it in the future, no matter what people say, how they feel about it or what they do. I would much rather get the crap kicked out of me and still feel good about myself for taking a stand than to spare myself a beating because I caved under pressure and let myself down by doing something I didn’t want to do. To me, that’s worse than getting my butt kicked! But that’s just me.

My physical wounds healed, but knowing I let someone else force me to do something I neither wanted to nor agreed to, left a psychological injury that took a long time to recover from. I ended up asking myself, “Now, why didn’t I tell those creeps to take a flying leap off the highest cliff head first?” That feeling of powerlessness was worse than the physical pain I would have suffered.

So, permit yourself to say that tiny little word because it can be so empowering! You may indeed get your tail kicked, but at least you’ll feel good knowing you got hurt because you stood for something! Those psychological benefits will significantly outweigh the embarrassment of any beat down! Besides, you forced a bully to do something foolish and which will likely get him in trouble with an adult or the law! So, I ask you! Who’s the real winner here?

Victims of Bullying: Why it’s So Important to Set Boundaries

Vector prohibiting palm

You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.

During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry. I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship. It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.

A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.

In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover. They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.

But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out. Understand that timing is everything. And that you do have power, but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.

No entry sign

I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice! The difference between kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.

Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!

It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a bootlicker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict! Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.

Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do! However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.

So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!

Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.

*Not the real name of the town

Like Versus Respect

Judgemental girls

There can be respect without like. However, there can never be like without respect. Put simpler, a person doesn’t have to like you to respect you, but they do have to respect you to like you.

Respect and like are different in that like is simply based on commonalities and good feelings shared between people. When someone likes you, they enjoy your company and the positivity you bring to their life. Respect, on the other hand, is regard for another person’s safety, space, freedom, privacy, property and individuality. When someone respects you, they may not necessarily like you, but see you as having the same rights and considerations as they and everyone else. That’s perfectly okay because not everybody is alike and shares the same beliefs, feelings, ideas or backgrounds. Like is subjective.

Put another way, someone may dislike you, but if you were lying badly injured on the sidewalk, they would more than likely stop and help you, even stay beside you and hold your hand until the ambulance arrived.

On the other hand, when a person does not respect you, they have no regard for your safety, space, freedom, privacy, property or individuality. They don’t see you as having the same human rights and considerations as they and everyone else. That person will think it’s perfectly okay to violate you because in their mind, you somehow deserve to be violated. They will also be much less likely to stop and help you if they see you lying injured on the sidewalk because they’d most likely wouldn’t care if you ever got to a hospital. They would simply act like they didn’t see you lying there, or worse, step over you with a look of contempt and keep going.


Someone can dislike you and at the same time, respect your right not to have your boundaries crossed. When they disrespect you, they won’t acknowledge your personal boundaries and are likely to trample your dignity and human rights. In their mind, you either don’t or shouldn’t have the same human rights or dignity as them and everyone else. The person will more than likely wish you harm or ill will and probably dread breathing the same air as you.

Signs of Disrespect

1. Lack of regard for the person’s freedom- this could include, belittling their opinions and ideas, taking away their freedom to speak by talking over them when they are speaking, getting angry with them if they would rather spend time with family than with you or the group.

2. Lack of regard for the person’s safety- you bully them or put them in danger of being physically hurt. You can’t stand the fact that the person even exists.

Signs of Dislike

1. Nothing in common with the person. You wish them well, but you’d prefer not to be around them. You have no problem coexisting.

If you are a victim of bullying, you must be able to distinguish between the two and take the appropriate steps to take care of yourself.

Disrespect is mush worse than dislike. Dislike is a part of life and mush easier to deal with. Disrespect, on the other hand, is harmful. The people who dislike you won’t necessarily try to hurt you but will act neutral around you. They might even greet you and say a few words to you just to be polite, but won’t buddy up to you.

The people who disrespect you will have absolute nothing to say to you, or they will talk terrible to you, shame you, humiliate you, try to sabotage you or physically assault you.

The more you know.

The art of subtle bullying – how to identify it and how to deal with it

Mommy Me is a blog about parenting and as we know, if you’re a parent, there may come a time when your child becomes the object of bullying in school. I enjoyed reading this post and it has a lot of great insights. Please feel free to follow Mommy Me’s blog!

Mommy Me

Bullies don’t always act directly. Some bullies want to make sure no body knows that they have such intent. They can bully you in a way that no one notices but inside they may be tearing you apart. Such bullies torture you subtly but constantly and so powerfully that it might affect you emotionally and lower your productivity at workplace, school or even at home.

How to identify it ?

Isolating you :

Subtle bullying can happen almost anywhere. If you are in a group, say group of friends or at workplace, you might be isolated from that group, you might not be invited for parties or events. And the bullies make sure you get to know that you are not invited in the most subtle way after the event and you end up thinking about the reasons for not getting the invite the whole day.

Criticizing your talent :

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