The Chameleon World of AspienGIRLS™: Fantasy, Acting and Masking

CAVEAT: AspienGIRLS™ is a registered and trademarked 3D character and book series

The Chameleon World of AspienGIRLS™: Fantasy, Acting and Masking

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Females with Asperger Syndrome, Aspiens, tend to live in their heads, caught up with endless analyzing, copious amounts of thoughts, creative processes, ideas and worries. Aspiengirls™ are different in many ways to their peer and also to male Aspies. Females are known for their aspienpower super-abilities to fly under the radar by using advanced chameleon coping strategies of imitation, copying, acting, mimicking and masking.

A social meter does exists with Aspiens, in which some Aspiens seek out and want more social interactions than other Aspiens do. Females with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) who do want more social interactions have been observed mimicking socially successful and popular people, (usually a peer or a character on television) and copying or mimicking the person’s personality by copying their speech, words, tone of voice, accent, style of language, body language, clothing, hobbies or interests.

Aspiens are usually aware from very early on in life that they are different than their peers. To fit in and/or be accepted they may become someone else, a persona who is more likely to be accepted, not be viewed as different, or stand out from the crowd. Aspiens learn very quickly how to act in specific social situations, a strategy so successful that other people, and even at times the Aspien herself, may not be aware that her social intelligence is actually an act or performance. Her performance is facilitated by her above average to genius intelligence, chameleon-like skills and acting abilities. Aspiens have been observed to change their personality’s according to their environment, group or the situation they find themselves in. Over the long-term, this  coping strategy comes at the cost of her self-identity and self-esteem. The cost is that no-one really knows the Aspien, including herself. Many an Aspien believes that if others knew who she really was that she would be excluded, bullied, out-cast, or worse, institutionalized. These remarkable coping abilities have additional costs in terms of a “social hangover”, a period of exhaustion from social activities, people or the world. Aspiens typically return home from school or work completely socially exhausted and often meltdown, in front of their family members and/or pets. Only solitude will restore their energy levels and emotional world.

Aspiengirls™ who do not seek as much social contact tend be engaged with fantasy and imagination. Aspiens often identify with fictional book or movie characters that are fantasy based (Harry Potter or Hermione Granger are two examples). Aspiens often have imaginary animals or imaginary friends, with whom they talk to, interact with and it is these imaginary relationships that provide support, comfort, and company. Many an Aspien finds it far more i interesting to be in their fantasy world than the dreary and boring existence of day-to-day activities on Planet Earth. Other common worlds that Aspiens find fascinating include other cultures, languages and eras, where they may feel like they may fit in better.

Aspiens often develop an interest in science fiction and planets, fantasy worlds of unicorns, fairies, witches, and so on. While, it is common for typical females to sometimes enjoy escaping into imagination, Aspiengirls™ have an intensity in this area. For example, one girl I know of was so upset about a fantasy book series ending at Book 6, that she proceeded to write the next Book 7 installment herself! 

The array of camouflaging and coping strategies often mask the unique traits, gifts, talents and characteristics of Asperger Syndrome for some time over the course of elementary school. This is one major reason why Aspiengirls™ are underdiagnosed, diagnosed much later than males. or misdiagnosed.

Aspiengirls™ tend to fly under the radar, often until high school. Now, in adolescence, the psychological, social and emotional cost of masking becomes apparent. Aspiens are often only diagnosed in their adolescent years, if they are at all due, to their first nervous breakdown, when an eating disorder, identity issues, anxiety disorder, depression and/or traits of Borderline Personality Disorder become apparent. Years of pretending to be normal, constantly watching and analyzing their peer’s social behaviors, trying very hard to fit in, not make social faux pas, being a chameleon and wrestling with identity and self-esteem issues, takes it’s toll. Coupled with bullying, the  enormous stress often causes an Aspien teenager to have a breakdown in their ability to  function in day-to-day life. It may or may not be at that time that the Aspien is given an explanation for what she has felt and known all along – of why she is different – that she is, in fact, an AspienGIRL™.

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For more information on the AspienGIRL™ Book Series and Planet Aspien™, please go to:

Website (Currently under construction): http://www.aspiengirl.com.au
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AspienGIRL
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aspiengirl

Tania Marshall©. 2013. All rights reserved. AspienGIRL™ Book Series, AspienGIRL™ and Planet Aspien™ are registered Trademarks. Duplication in whole or part is explicitly forbidden. Thank you.

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26 thoughts on “The Chameleon World of AspienGIRLS™: Fantasy, Acting and Masking

  1. Fantastic post, thanks. This reflects much of my own story, which I had a go at explaining a couple of weeks ago in my own blog, but this explains it so much better! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Hello! I’m 36, French, and have been recently told by too professionnals (in a renowned autism diagnosis center) that I can’t be an aspie since I’m able (among other things) to show good amounts of imagination (I write short stories and so on)… Just thought I’d share to let you know how things (still) are, sometimes, here in France…

    • Hello Caroline and thank you for your message. I am very intersted in how Spectrum Conditions are viewed and supported in various countries. The female profile is one that has only recently been discovered. It was thought that few, if any females were on the Spectrum. We now know this to be untrue. We know that there is a distinct female profile adn many Aspiens are writers and have wonderful imaginations. I do suggest trying to track down a professional who is familar with the female profile. I do provide diagnostic assessments via Skype if that is an option. Also, many individuals have taken in my female profile blogs to their professionals when seeking a diagnosis. It is the case that is is most often quite the challenge for an adult and for parents of AspienGIRLS to get a diagnosis and I hope to change this with my book series. Take care and thank-you again for writing from France:-)

  3. I said since jr high that I was a chameleon, I thought it was a BAD THING ..I was A HORRIBLE person…because I always tried to “copy” someone, couldn’t be whoever “me” was, like I was a “LIE”? who the HELL was “ME”?
    I was a FAKE? ya know? I was NOBODY!!!! everyone was Someone EXCEPT for me…I had to be someone ELSE because I myself was NOTHING alone in myself, everyone had SOME kind of Something

    • Carey, thank-you for your message. Your comments and feelings are quite typical of feeling “different”, of not “fitting in”, of feeling, as you say, like a “nobody”. Rest assured, you are NOT a no-body and people on the Spectrum have many gufts, talents and superpowers:-) All the best

  4. Amazing post that reflects my life in its entirety. Thankyou so much for allowing me to come home and nest every now and then when the world gets too much and I once again have to face who I really am 🙂

  5. Thanks for another great article. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to go into schools for my daughter and thoroughly explain to them how to “read” her when she’s confused or is getting stressed out because she’s not given enough processing time to respond to them questioning her about something. Even then, I get a couple of teachers that REFUSE to accept that’s what it is – her either getting quiet/still because she isn’t sure what they’re asking, what it is they want to know, or even just thinking of the answer – as opposed to “normal” teenage oppositional behavior of the “silent treatment”.

  6. Aaah the fantasy world bit. Exactly. I kinda reassures me to know that I am not the only one who talked to imaginary friends when I was 14, because I was too alone. I’m better at social things now, but I do not know if I act or not.

  7. I felt like hyperventilating as I read this…the emotions of my adolescent self just came rushing back. I’m almost 40 now and have “outgrown” or progressed through a lot of my Aspy difficulties. My chameleon tendencies actually served me well in sales for many years. I do notice a crash after socializing. And there are still people that, from the get go, I find impossible to “read” and therefore the emotional cost of interacting seemed to outweigh any benefit. I do have to remind myself that sometimes that some social niceties aren’t as dishonest as they seem, but spring from empathizing with whoever you’re interacting with. I could go on for ages, so I’ll just offer heartfelt thanks for your insight.

  8. Excellent, excellent post here! I appreciate the reference to a possible correlation between Aspergers and Borderline Personality Disorder…there is a great deal of similarity and overlap
    which is often overlooked by clinicians.

  9. I am in my late 40’s & was diagnosed at 42. You have written about me & many aspects of my life. I adopted the role of a chameleon at 13 & mastered it as an adult. I have now reached the stage where I no longer have enough of the significant energy reserves required to be a chameleon, very often. These days, I am forced to be more of myself which is helping me learn self-acceptance. Thankyou, so much for sharing your understanding of many of us with the rest of the world.

  10. Thank you for all your validating, encouraging and educational blogs, Ms. Marshall. You have made a huge difference in my growing self-acceptance and self-advocacy. I am excited to think your work will keep informing the world of counselling professionals that heretofore have no understanding of the female spectrum. You are a critically important figure in my well-being; thank you very much.

    • Dear Heather, thank-you for your message and kind words. I am pleased that you are finding my blogs helpful. Thank-you for taking the time to let me know and you are most welcome. I have a book series I am working on, based on my years of work in this area. Book 1 is due out end of February and Book 2 is due out June, 2014, available at http://www.aspiengirl.com
      All the best and please feel free to share my blogs with your counselor. All the beat Heather:-)

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