Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autism is no excuse

Alright; I have to leave for work in half an hour. Let's see if I can squeeze out this post.

The premise is this: I don't think autism is any excuse to be a jerk.

On previously-mentioned message board which I have no longer been visiting, someone wrote a post about a man at his church who was joking around with him. The poster felt that the man was making fun of him, because he laughed a lot. He said that he had tried not answering, but the man continued to try to converse with him. He asked the board for advice about what to do to get the "offender" to leave him alone.

There were four pages of responses, and all but one or two involved things such as the following:

-Call him a swear word and walk away.
-Scream at him, including swear words, and tell him to quit being said swear word.
-Tell one of the higher-ups at church that this man was harrassing him.
-You get the idea.

I posted something like this: "I'm absolutely tired of hearing that people on this board can't make friends, and then this is how you tell someone to deal with a man who may well just be trying to be friendly? Many people with ASD falsely believe that someone is making fun of them; I know I've done it many times in the past. Instead of being flat out rude to this man, try something like this. 'I appreciate that you're trying to make conversation with me, but I find myself not understanding your jokes and it makes me feel as if you're laughing at my expense. I'm guessing that this is not your intent, but it's upsetting me, and I thought you should know.'"

In this case, it was so easy for me to see these people's bad attitude and how it was causing them to act rudely.

Oh, shoot.

You see, that's when I realized something. I'm no better than they are. At work, everyone talks behind everyone else's backs. And lately, when I've been immsensely frustrated, I've been doing the same thing. I talked about J to A, and D to J, and J to D, and C to J, and J to Kand... oh my.

I've been really intrigued by Paul's list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galations 5 lately. To me, they seem like a checkpoint. Are you loving? Joyful? Peaceful? Patient? Kind? Good? Faithful? Gentle? Do you have self-control? You can't show all the fruits of the Spirit without being in the Spirit. If you are in the Spirit, chances are good that you will show its fruits. Some come easily to me... gentleness, for example. Others, like self-control and peace, not so much. So in my prayer journal I wrote down the fruits of the Spirit and how I could demonstrate each one at work, since work seems to be my big stumbling block. Today I will focus on self-control by not speaking words in anger or frustration.

Autism is no excuse to be a jerk, Lydia. Don't forget it.


  1. I agree.

    However, NT's can think you're a jerk when you have nothing but the best and happiest thoughts behind what you are saying.

    But I agree with you about not being a jerk in responding. But at the same time, they often react negatively to the kind of response you suggested, as well, and subsequently use it against you. If you are perceived as weak (weakness in this context being not as keen on social interaction) they WILL use that fact to "out-do" you or use you as a scapegoat. They do the same to one another, because they are terribly competitive, and the ones with the sharper skills come out on top.

    Kindness is always the way to go. But don't fool yourself into thinking that revealing your weaknesses will bring out the good in NT's. You may luck out upon occasion, but overall, they naturally compete and whatever they can do that's better than you, socially or otherwise, they will use to their own advantage.

  2. Hey Moose, what is this them and us stuff? We are all humans and all have failings and strengths. One of those failings may be that we NT's fail to read signals just as much as an autistic person might. Just becaus we are are NT it doesn't make us super face and signal readers. Sometimes we might be having a hard day, or not enough sleep the night before, or have a head-ache. Maybe what you suggested makes us feel uncomfortable. There's more than one way of buttering a slice of bread and there is always more than one way to address a situation. We have plenty of situations where we don't know what's going on, or how to deal with it. Where do you think eating disorders, depression or failing to deal with a crisis in a rational way comes from? We are not all terribly competitive and we are not all trying to out-do one another. Mostly, we are trying to live our lives, keep our jobs, bring up our children or whatever else we happen to be doing. I applaud Lydia for her attitude. It is the most healthy and the most constructive for all human beings to aspire to.

    Lydia - I hope work was a little easier today. xxx

  3. Hey Moose - did you miss the part about autism being a SPECTRUM disorder? Since both my girls have been diagnosed I have come to the conclusion it's more of a continuum with all of humankind on it so don't go thinking just because you have a label you get to monopolise not understanding or reacting in the "right" way.

    Lydia you really are too cool for school! Talking/moaning/gossiping about people when they aren't there is such a "normal" thing to do and whilst it might not be very nice at times it can be good to know you're not the only one who feels that way and/or to vent feelings before they get out of control.

    Hope you're having more fun today