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".
I thought you said you didn’t want to tell them you’re autistic? I’m confused now
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.
How do you honestly expect people to treat you if you treat them as if they’re flakey, liars, idiots and incompetent? If you know you can do things a better way, why not be kind and share your knowledge? Why not be compassionate and see that these people are tortured with the lies they tell and how it makes them incompetent to the degree they can barely do their jobs? Why not be understanding and accept that they see, hear and experience the world in a completely different way to you and because you’re aware of it, and they’re not, why not insist that some sort of base level understanding is reached between you and them otherwise it’s going to be very difficult for you to get on at work and they would miss out on a really great employee?
Life is a much more pleasant experience when you can accept people’s differences instead of labelling them as idiots, liars, incompetent etc etc. They may be different, but they’re still human beings with hearts and souls and mothers and daughters etc etc, they just experience the world in a different way to us. It doesn’t make them wrong and us right, we’re just different.
Where have I ever said I treat people badly? Just because I'm good at spotting the liars, the BS and the incompetent, doesn't mean I don't play nice.
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.
Do you honestly think you can treat somebody with genuine love, kindness and compassion if you are holding onto the belief that they’re liars, they talk BS and they’re incompetent?
Do you really think that by being dishonest and pretending to be nice you are going to illicit genuine affection, trust, loyalty, kindness, understanding and a good connection that will develop into a good relationship?
It sounds like life is a game to you and one in which all is fair in love and war and that it’s perfectly acceptable to be dishonest and lie to people and put on a ‘nice’ front. Why is it ok for you to be a liar and to be dishonest and put on a front and it’s not ok for them?
It sounds like when people are around you, they honour you and get in on the game and play you at your own game. I bet they’re nice to other people who are being genuinely nice to them.
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.