I was diagnosed with Asperger's around ten years ago, at the age of forty. Up until then I'd only heard occasional references to it, yet they all matched up with me so well that I felt I needed to find out for sure, so got a referral from my G.P.
And it was a revelation to me, discovering that I'm not just a bundle of random weirdness, but actually a very consistent specimen of the Asperger's species.
Partly why I've joined this forum is a phrase that's kept ringing in my head "Normal people scare me". For a long time I didn't know what it referred to, and yet, it really struck a chord. Not that I'm outwardly "scared", but certainly there's an underlying nervousness whenever I have to interact with anyone other than family or very close friends. And looking the phrase up, yes, I discover it's the name of a documentary film all about the Autistic spectrum.
And partly I'm here to confide in you, my fellow freaks. Because, underneath my calm, good-natured exterior I'm really quite angry and about the way I've been treated all my life. Constantly excluded from the normal social world; so often finding myself hated by people despite doing nothing (that I'm aware of) to trigger it; finding it very hard to fit into work environments. About the latter, it's almost comical the way that some companies preach a very accommodating ethic, yet they can be so unyielding when presented with Asperger's type behaviour. I work in IT, and a previous large company I worked for had a procedure where new software requirements were discussed round a table with the in-house clients. I'd just joined this software development team, so I was a newbie to the platform in question. My two fellow developers had years of experience. And yet I found myself being reprimanded for not "saying stuff" in the meetings. Reprimanded!!! How can that happen??? This newbie, trying his best to understand the requirements, which he hasn't seen until sitting there in the meeting, and trying to digest what the experienced developers are saying about how the requirements can be accommodated into the existing system. All this uses every modicum of my conscious focus. And yet I'm expected to say stuff as well??? To make useful remarks??? It even got to the stage where I found myself threatened with disciplinary action over it - which prompted my resignation. (And that really sucks, considering that my computer programming abilities were second to none).
Anyone might say "Why not just tell them you have Asperger's syndrome?" Well it's never been as simple as that. In fact, it's a lose-lose situation. If I tell them I have Asperger's then, yes, they'll be obliged to make special allowances. But the payback is that my personality, as seen by others, is lost. Everything I do will be scrutinised as "is that because he has Asperger's syndrome?" Going from being seen as just a weird person, I'm instead perceived as disabled ...a cripple. Little short of a "retard".
And that's also the strange irony with Asperger's... socially I am a "retard" (although not so much now, as I've learnt to adapt). But other skills I have are significantly superior to the average person's. I.e. my design skills; my spatial awareness; my ability to conceptualise 3-d structures in my mind, my ability to construct algorithms. Sorry, I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet, just to convey the fact that although I have deficiencies in some ways, I also have other abilities that more than compensate.
It angers me that I (we) have been forced to operate in a world that doesn't understand us, doesn't appreciate us, and to have to bend ourselves to fit into it. We shouldn't be seen as misfits. We should be proud members of our own Asperger's species. Because that's really what it amounts to - we are different to them, but very consistent among ourselves.
I certainly wouldn't want to be any other way. To be "normal" would mean being a completely different person, and losing the things about myself which I regards as most precious. What I'd like is to see Asperger's being more widely recognised and appreciated. Not as a disability, but instead as a respectable "differentness".
Hi - welcome aboard.
Your post reflects my experience in the workplace too. I'm a CEng but I've spent my life being used and abused by the NTs because of my Asperger's.
Can you be absolutely sure, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that they used and abused you because you have Asperger or could it maybe have been that in those situations you were unable to stand up for yourself?
If your theory is true, it would mean that they would use and abuse me as well but I can assure you, they wouldn't, so there’s a flaw in your theory.
I don't want to insult you, but you seem live in a tiny bubble and are totally clueless and unable to understand anyone else's lives - especially those with responsibilities.
If you actually understood the weaknesses that Asperger people have with communication when they are being manipulated by narcissists then you wouldn't post such facile statements.
I think you’ve just described autism! And yes, I am autistic, so you’re right!
But I do understand other people’s lives. I learned this skill. I understand them very well. I studied social work and that sort of thing and became a very good, highly sought after and very well paid social worker and mental health nurse practitioner, so I not only understand the lives of others, but I’m also very good at helping them to create better lives for themselves.
I understand the difficulties that autistic people have with communication because I’m autistic and share those difficulties. The difference is, I never blamed my difficulties on anybody else. I owned them.
When I was getting raped, time and time again, because I didn’t understand the signals or what was going on, I didn’t blame the men who were raping me. I decided that I was going to learn to protect myself and look after myself no matter what it took or I would simply end my life. So I probably succeeded because my life, quite literally, depended on it. My first step was to stay away from all men. This was hard for me because I have always hung out with guys more than females. But if I didn’t want to get raped, that’s what I had to do and that’s what I did. I’m still vulnerable, but over the years, I’ve learned enough to be able to keep myself relatively safe while still enjoying the company of males. That’s just one example. It wouldn’t enter my head to blame somebody else for something I couldn’t do, that doesn’t make sense to me and it takes away what power and control I have.
Says it all.
And just for the record, you can’t insult me, you don’t have the power to do that, only I have that power.
Sure does. When we blame other people for our difficulties we give away our power and we become victims and people then treat us as victims. It’s a vicious cycle.
But I do understand other people’s lives.
No, you really don't. You think you do. There's a big difference.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.
And all I’m effectively saying here, is if I blame somebody else for anything to do with me or my life, I instantly become a victim and other people will then treat me as a victim and it’s a vicious cycle.
If on the other hand, I take responsibility for myself, whether I like what is happening to me or not and whether I can do anything about it or not, that doesn’t come into this. The second I blame somebody else, I give away any power I had and I become a victim and from there on end the story is predictable. Victims don’t achieve anything much in life because they have already given away any power they had and might have built on, because it was less painful to blame somebody else than admitting I’m absolutely hopeless with communication, I have no idea why, I don’t understand what’s going on with me or why people are treating me like this, I don’t know where to get help etc etc and deciding to do something about it rather than blame others, which sets my fate pretty clearly.
p.s. I came close to taking my life when I was in a 7 year relationship with a narcissist. I lost my family and friends etc all the usual narcissist stuff went on, gas lighting etc but I didn’t BLAME him for my distress and my wanting to kill myself.
I eventually understood the situation and what was happening and instead of crying like a baby and blaming him, I did something about it. I went to who I believe is the world’s best and certainly she’s leading the way in recovery from narcissistic abuse and I did the work, which was hard work, day in day out for several years and I still go back to it at times. It was the start of me getting my diagnosis as well because even after all that work, I could see there was still something wrong with me. If I had blamed the narcissist, I most likely would never have found out I was autistic and I’d still be playing the victim card. I would probably still be clinging on to him in some way because he had made me believe that he was my world. So, I do know a thing or two about narcissist abuse with the autistic partner as well as with nt partners because during several years of hard work recovering from narcissistic abuse, you’re in touch with hundreds of other people doing the same thing, so you learn more, beyond your own experience.