Sociopaths and narcissists lack a normal conscience and ability to love and interact with others in a healthy way. They are purposely malicious, but they often fit into society quite well. They play the games better than the normal people do, and that’s why they are so hard for novices to spot.
Some people are not good at playing social games. They aren’t great with small talk, they are shy, they are introverted, they have anxiety. They may be perfectly nice and caring people, but they don’t fit in well. These are the people who are often mistaken for snobs or abusers because they aren’t like everyone else. They are the kids who get bullied at school because they don’t have the same interests or mannerisms as most of the other kids.
The crowd does not like people who are different.
Then there are people who are not “neuro-typical.” These are people on the Autism spectrum. They aren’t malicious in the way that narcissists are, but they have little to no idea how to interact with others and show emotions. Some are high functioning and/or extraverted and they try to fit in, but they are often rebuffed because they are awkward and don’t socialize like other people. Others are non-verbal or only use a few words.
While many people never recognize an actual predator because predators are usually charming and socialized, people will see someone who is different or “weird” and vilify that person.
I am watching this happen in my local NextDoor group. If you haven’t used this social media site, let me warn you, you might hate your neighborhood after you see the way your neighbors act online. I have been consistently disappointed in the cruelty and petty behavior I see on my city’s page. I live in a wealthy suburb that is full of self-important and hoity-toity people. I own one of the very few lower-priced affordable homes in the area, and I have repeatedly faced social discrimination for it. I have watched a city police officer complain about the poor people who get to use our schools but don’t pay as much tax because their houses don’t cost as much. I have watched neighbors call others “trashy,” and complain about each other. I have watched them nitpick and whine about the smallest things. It’s a horrible example of humanity.
Most recently, I am thoroughly disgusted by an ongoing “discussion” smearing an autistic man. It is headed by one woman who seems extremely determined to destroy this man and run him out of the neighborhood, and she reeks of narcissism. His “crimes” include walking around the area all day and getting to know details about people, (remembering trivia and details is common for many autistic people,) remembering people’s schedules and asking them questions when something changes, making awkward conversation without beginning with small talk, going to people’s back yards to take their trash cans to the curb and help them without permission, asking a woman where she went to church and then visiting that church, and other such things.
For weeks, I have watched this “discussion” about how horrible and annoying this man is, and I have watched this one woman in particular keep pushing it. I am struck by how petty the complaints are. These people simply dislike him because he is not “normal.” He is “weird.” He doesn’t fit the normal format of society.
A few people have stepped in to point out how cruel this is, how it is going on too long, how mean it is to keep talking about a person with a disability, how harmless he is if you stop bullying him for being different, and other such points. I have argued repeatedly about how mean this all is, and how inappropriate it is to trash this man online. I am now targeted. My anger about bullying has not made me popular in this town. One woman accused me of supporting perverts and being naive about predators. Oh, quite the opposite! I KNOW predators. Predators are charming and delightful. This guy is just different, and I am so horrified by watching one woman in particular try to chase him out of the neighborhood.
Many of us are different in a variety of ways. We may not be on the autism spectrum, but many of us relate to the world in unique ways because of the things we have been through. I have always been “old” in my mind and behavior because I had to experience too much too soon. I have always had anxiety, and jumped easily at loud sounds. I have always been “weird” and have been targeted for it. There is no way I can stand by and watch others do it to a man with developmental disabilities.