#AspieLife: Always Being Wrong

When you are born with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) you ought to be given an hourly Miranda warning: If you give up your right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in the court of public opinion, and you will be presumed guilty of being wrong, wrong, wrong.

Even when neurotypical people say vile things to us in front of witnesses, those things tend to be ignored, unless we are foolish enough to complain about it. And then, we are called whiners. Still wrong.

I have grown to a mature age and I feel I have gained a lot of insight, but it seems that no matter what I am periodically slammed over the head that as seldom as I speak to other people, whatever I say is so wrong I’d be better off pretending to be mute. I have been hated for misinterpretations of things I’ve said when other people were eavesdropping on me. And this by people who ought to know that eavesdropping and then gossiping about the things overheard are considered morally questionable behaviors.

But we can’t go the fake-mute route. The problem is, if we faked being mute we would be assigned care-givers to make our decisions for us, and we are too intelligent to be happy suffering the effects of someone else’s wrong decisions. We’d rather decide for ourselves on things that are important to us.

Why do we always get the grief in interpersonal situations? There are a lot of people in the world that have poor social skills— poorer than ours, oftentimes. Yet it feels like we Aspies are getting harshness when other people with poor social skills are getting forgiveness and understanding.

I’ve come to believe that our problem is something that most of us can’t fix. We do things unconsciously that make other people think we are weird or odd in a way that is blameworthy. When we don’t make eye contact with others, or we try to make eye contact and are found guilty of ‘staring,’ people decide we are ‘shifty.’ Not quite honest and reputable people.

If we say the things we think, and other people feel we are being tactless, people think we are mean or crude or socially unacceptable. It won’t matter if you play the disability card and tell everyone you have Asperger Syndrome. People feel it is quite OK to ‘discriminate against’ someone who is mean or shifty, even if they also have Aspergers.

And so, in many situations, we just have to accept that we will be considered ‘wrong’ for reasons we can’t control or fix. We could try being very ready to apologize, but I used to get yelled at a lot for apologizing too much. I don’t have any ultimate answers, but I know that we can’t let these things give us low self esteem. We are doing the best that we can. If other people say we are ‘wrong’ but expect their own flaws to be ignored, we shouldn’t let that get us down. Just try to be kind to others on a regular basis— they already think you are weird, so what do you have to lose?

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#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?