CAVEAT: AspienGIRLS™ is a registered and trademarked 3D character and book series
The Chameleon World of AspienGIRLS™: Fantasy, Acting and Masking
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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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.