#AspieLife: Forgiveness

Yes, even if you have Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and people are mean to you all the time, you still have to forgive people. It’s an essential social skill you have to cultivate. And if you have certain religious beliefs (Christian,) you are expected to forgive people. Even if they ‘discriminate’ against you.

It can be really hard, though. I have had an instance when a person who had been rejecting me for years really wronged me, and this person staged a confrontation with me, in which the person was clearly very angry, but the person claimed to not be angry. Another, non-Aspie person in the room at the time confirmed my impression that the person in question was indeed angry. I hate being lied to that way, because as an Aspie I have limited social skills, and a tendency to believe I am the one at fault in any social situation. If the person would have just said he didn’t like me because I was ‘weird’ and it made him mad to have to have any contact with me at all, that would have been easier to forgive than the lie.

Yes, I know, the person is probably in denial about his own emotional state. And I know that as a Christian I need to forgive if I want God to forgive me. But it’s hard to forgive someone who is not sorry, who blames me for the problem, who will continue to wrong me and blame me for it, and will not change.

The situation makes me angry, for reasons I won’t go in to here. But the Bible teaches ‘love your enemy,’ and if someone chooses to act like my enemy, I not only am required to forgive that person but to love him. It ain’t easy, though.

As a person with Asperger Syndrome, I know I often need forgiveness because I say the wrong thing, or say things where eavesdroppers can hear me and be offended. It’s part of my weak social skills. But it’s harder to forgive a neurotypical person for something I feel he should have not done to me, because I assume they have better social skills and just choose not to exercise them in my case. But, really, being neurotypical doesn’t mean having perfect social skills or being a nice person or being free from bad traits such as passive-aggressive behavior.

To forgive my ‘person,’ I have decided to pray for that person. My goal is to pray one decade of the rosary per day for that person. If you don’t know what a rosary decade is, it is 1/5 of the ‘normal’ rosary prayer. I have had a hard time doing a whole rosary at a time for years, and since my stroke it’s even harder, so I am going for the shorter 1 decade at a time rosary prayer.

If you have a problem with a specific person that it is hard to forgive, I recommend prayer for that person as a solution. It’s a way of reminding yourself that God is in charge, even of that person. God can make that person more enlightened and a better person— or God can make you a more forgiving person. Or both.

Wednesday is now the day for Aspie Life posts. I hope.

Have you ever had a social situation that called for forgiveness, and had a hard time forgiving that person? What did you do about it? What would you suggest other people do in that situation?

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