If you’re autistic, have you gotten deceived by bad and dangerous people?

I was undiagnosed while in the Navy, sailing around Asia. Ironically, although I was taken advantage of in both Navy and Asia-related contexts, the most dangerous people always proved to be my family members.

I was originally slated to enlist in the Navy as a Nuclear Engineer, which would have come with a hefty bonanza of an enlistment bonus. My dad tried to convince me to use it to buy him a new truck, stating, “I wish I could have done something like this for my parents at your age.” I didn’t understand until roughly two years later that this was highly manipulative behavior. It took multiple trips to a chaplain’s office for him to even wrap his head around my family situation.

Somewhat fortuitously, I was reclassified as a conventional Electronics Technician, which warranted a smaller, yet substantial bonus. I used it to buy a laptop and an iPod.

After completing sea duty, my mom opened two credit cards under my name because she knew I wouldn’t press charges. I gave her all of the money I saved up on sea duty to keep her out of prison and she never paid me back. Again, I didn’t realize how abnormal it was for an adult child to act so selflessly towards his parents. I didn’t know I had another option. I was completely brainwashed even years free from their toxicity.

The grifters outside the gentleman’s clubs and GoGo bars had nothing on them!

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Dating With Autism

I technically could have been termed an “incel” at several points in my life, despite having an extensive dating history.

I was traumatized by early experiences with the opposite sex and never learned how to flirt or connect on an emotional level. I became a victim of circumstance; my first relationships were based entirely on availability. I was terrified of being “weird” or “creepy”; I had no idea how to prevent it.

An abusive upbringing only made things more difficult.

I have high functioning Autism, which remained undiagnosed until I was 28 and likely would have prevented me from dating in my young adult life were it not for sheer luck and the fact that I spent my twenties working in the Navy, living in Japan, and traveling around Asia.

My dating life was always characterized by bursts of glory followed by months of long dry spells. During said dry spells I could barely find a date and relied on the “foreigner effect” to attract women. Often I would hang out at Navy bars and invite random women back to my apartment so I wouldn’t feel lonely.

Online dating was also a lifesaver. Social media in general enabled me to interact with women without being thwarted by my awkwardness.

The longest of my dry spells was when I moved to Tokyo after separating from the Navy. I had a nervous breakdown when I started at university and attended therapy throughout my tenure. I could barely even go in public without feeling lightheaded and experienced near-daily panic attacks.

I finally decided to get married and now live in the Philippines with my wife. I’m as far away from my past as I could manage.

So, ultimately, a lack of a support network for people can lead to anger and frustration. These factors can lead to anger and unhealthy coping mechanisms for individuals on the spectrum. It’s a hard cycle to break out of and it requires concerted effort.

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