I wear masks. What does it mean wearing a mask? Simply put wearing a mask is a term used when someone with autism, ‘camouflages’ their social communication difficulties. It is also called camouflaging or dissimulating.
For me, wearing a mask is not so much about trying to hide my autism. It has more to do with handling the interactions I face with other people in my life. Sometimes, if someone makes a comment or an opinion to me that I find offensive or hurtful, I feel that I need to wear a mask to try and blend in more and not be so obvious with my emotions. Sometimes I think that by displaying my emotions openly, such as appearing very angry and upset to the other person will cause conflict.
Being very non confrontational, I do not like arguments or conflict with people. Call it what you may but I am more of a peacekeeper than anything else.
So, for me, it is less about hiding and more about control. It just makes it very hard to be my authentic self when I am feeling emotionally threatened by another person.
For some people who are camouflaging or dissimulating, it allows them to get through social interactions without there being a spotlight on their behaviour or a giant letter “A” on their chest.