Do Autistic People Attract Narcissists More Often Than Non-Autistic People?
Differences in social information processing could be a main contributing factor.
Today I’d like to talk about the link between autism and interpersonal victimization, especially as it pertains to victimization at the hands of narcissists.
When I say victimization, I mean abuse in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, mental, financial, and/or spiritual abuse.
I’ve been involved in the autism community for a few years now, and I’ve noticed something interesting. That is, almost every single female autistic individual I’ve met has experienced a great deal of interpersonal victimization or are currently struggling to get out of a harmful relationship — whether that’s romantic, family-based, friend-based, or work-related. In these relationships, they’re being subjected to unfair or abusive treatment.
I mention females because I tend to befriend more females than males, especially at a deeper level, but I’m sure there are many male autistic individuals in these same situations.
This pattern I’ve recognized is well-supported by the findings of clinical experts who work with autistic people and/or work in autism scholarship or research.
For example, research by Andrea Roberts, Marc Weisskopf, and their team found that the more autistic traits a female individual has, the more likely she was to have been abused since childhood and the more likely she was to have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — compared to those with no or very few autistic traits.
Higher exposure to childhood abuse specifically, the researchers found, accounts for about one-third of these individuals’ higher risk of PTSD. The researchers state that, “Our findings suggest that children exhibiting even subtle deficits in social information processing may be at risk for childhood abuse.”
And this vulnerability is seen to be sustained across their life course; in other words, for their entire lives.
From my personal experience as an autistic person (diagnosed with level one autism in my 30s), my own social information processing issues are largely attributed to…