For allistics, every interaction is on some level a power struggle. It’s not about understanding; it’s about asserting. You can see this in politics as well; the more explanation a candidate gives for a position, the less people seem to respect that candidate. If they just assert, “this is how it is,” no matter how irrational or unreasonable it is, then people back away and go, okay, clearly they know what they’re talking about.
I don’t like to fight, I have no interest in controlling anyone, and I want to know the reasons for things so that I understand how stuff works. But the more that I try to earnestly engage with allistics on my level, giving them all the tools I need to deal with a situation, the more aggressive they become. Because they see it as a fight they can win.
So the more quickly and bluntly you can shut them down, give them no leverage to even question your decisions, the smoother things will tend to go—as unintuitive as that feels.
“I’d rather not.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I just can’t.”
I can’t stress this enough: allistics don’t want to know things. They don’t want to understand reasons or methods or meaning. They think they have it all under control, and that you’re undermining them, insulting them, if you give them anything to work with that interferes with the conclusions that they will form on their own.
You’re controlling the story, they think, with all these facts and details, and not letting them write it themselves. How dare you. Well, they will show you who’s in control of the story.
The only solution is not to engage. Don’t give them anything. Then they can’t throw it back at you.
“This isn’t a negotiation. This is me telling you no.”
I think this is why consent is such a big issue for me. I don’t do power struggles. I don’t do negotiation. For me to say something, I’ve already worked out all of the angles I can and proposed the most generous possible solution, reserving as little as I can manage for myself. For someone to question that and say, no, you’re being a dick; I need more than the 95% you’re giving me, it’s just…
I said no.
Fuck you, I said no. I won’t let you kill me.
I am so vulnerable to manipulation and guilt, to give up what autonomy I have over my own mind and body and emotions and needs and desires. I’m so prone to giving more than I can spare, even after I’ve drawn the final line, just to keep the peace.
No more explanations.
Setting boundaries is hard as hell. But if you don’t, it’s an invitation for abuse.