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.
I find this constant hair-splitting - such as 'People's lives aren't different. We all have the same life.' - to be really tiresome. Likewise, your amazement that people worry about such trivial things (to you) as paying bills.
I'm not talking about metaphysical or biological lives. I'm talking about real lives - the differences that people have in terms of their experiences, and what those experiences can add up to and do. You may have experienced some horrific traumas in your own life, which is a terrible thing. But we all respond to things very, very differently. Some of us pick ourselves up, find some form of enlightenment, and move on. Others of us don't. Does that mean we're weak? That we're misguided? Or does it mean that we're less resilient?
We've had this discussion before - about how, for instance, you seemed to regard homelessness as some kind of liberating and transcendental experience. Good for you. You've come to the place you are in life, with the understanding you have, as a result of so many factors. But, of course, you're going to take issue with that. True understanding about the lives of others means being able to look beyond your own particular psychological, spiritual, emotional and circumstantial experience and accept that others have not had such experiences. Or, if they have, they still might not be adapted - possibly as a result of individual neurology - to respond to them in the same way. We can't all see being supported by the state as a positive thing. We can't all see not being able to pay essential bills as nothing to worry about. We don't all have places of refuge to go to when things get really bad. I'm sure you do understand this at some level, and I know you mean well. But you come across sometimes as if you are the only person who has all the answers, and that anyone else's perspective is somehow faulty, inconsistent or otherwise questionable. Is it any wonder, then, that people sometimes get tired and irritated by it?
Martian Tom said:You've come to the place you are in life, with the understanding you have, as a result of so many factors. But, of course, you're going to take issue with that.
What makes you think I’d take issue with that? I couldn’t agree more or have said it any better myself.
You don’t have to see being supported by the state as a good thing. You are free to see the fact that somebody is giving you money to live as a bad thing, that’s your choice. I happen to be grateful for it and I don’t see how my gratitude makes other people weak? Other people don’t come into it. I’m grateful, that’s all I’m saying because without that money, my life would be a lot more difficult and it’s difficult as it is, living with autism and ADHD. And if people want to worry about not being able to pay their bills, let them. I learned that whether I worried or not my bills still didn’t get paid so why worry? I’m in a better position to do something about not being able to pay my bills when I’m thinking clear and my mind isn’t full of worry. Worry used to devestate my life in so many ways so I learned how not to do it and now it seems a ridiculous thing to do, to me.
The only places of refuge I ever had or have, are a shop doorway, if I’m lucky, and my mind.
I come across as someone who has all the answers TO YOU ~ other people will all see me in their own way as well. I can’t control how everybody sees me. If people get tired and irritated by me, I do have a good solution for them ~ don’t communicate or have anything to do with me. Some do some don’t. I like to get on with all people and I love talking to people who have different views from me, how else do I learn? But I can’t control other people who have all these judgements etc going on which says people can only speak and be liked if they say what they want to hear.
I’m constantly seeking out people who know more than me, which is everybody, because none of us can know more than we know and if somebody knows something we don’t know then they know more than us and I want to share their knowledge and wisdom etc. Everyone is our teacher, when you know you’re the student. Life to me isn’t a game I win or loose but an experience in which I can learn from everybody, if my mind is open to it and not full of rules and judgements and blaming. I love unconditionally because who am I to not love unconditionally?
Oh, and I don’t even know what you mean by hair splitting? Is that another way of saying we have different views, different ways of experienceing and interpreting the world? If so, how do we stop that? Do we all pretend to be like each other? I don’t understand it? And if we do all pretend to be like each other and experience the world the same way, say the same things etc who’s way do we follow and model ourselves on?