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Monday, February 25, 2013

Responses to Aspergers post

One post which continues to get a lot of comments is the one from August 2011 on Aspergers Syndrome.

A few of the comments are from people who've had to deal with Aspies, and they are in complete agreement with the tone of the post. One or two seemed almost relieved that someone else had experienced the same things they had.

But many of the comments are from Aspies, and those are very critical. My favorite is from one guy who, among other things, stated, "I'm not here to be your bitch." (As if I somehow implied that he ought to be.) He also said I have an "entitlement problem" and am a "little dictator." This is typical Aspie behavior: instead of sticking to the subject and arguing about it calmly, they try to make it about the person they're arguing with.

The sheer volume of responses to the post is in fact telling, and almost comical. In the post I describe how awkward and rigid Aspies are, and also how they are unable to take any criticism. So the Aspies who read the post respond either by criticizing my character or accusing me of saying things I hadn't. But really, they are actually proving me right: Aspies melt down if they have to take any criticism.

One of the more interesting comments I've gotten was on the post about Al Gore and Aspergers Syndrome.

The commenter called me "an ignorant ass."

I can't help but wonder if I got that comment from the man himself. (I sure hope I did.)

This blog comes down much, much harder on sociopaths than on Aspies, but I never get comments from people defending sociopaths.


lowly said...

So, do all Aspergers have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)? Lol

John Craig said...

Lowly --
I know you're joking, but you actually make a very good point. It sure seems that way. They also seem to have narcissistic personalities, at least insofar as they can't take criticism, or ever admit they're wrong, or even take a joke. (Most seem to be without the egotism that narcissists exhibit though.)

the_riesen said...

I don't know if it is fair to label them all aspies. The internet is full of trolls and people that just want to say obnoxious things. PLUS I mean if you are right why would hold it against them?

John Craig said...

The Riesen (Cory) --
True, it's possible that some of the commenters could be trolls, but most trolls wouldn't bother to read a post on Aspergers, and you can tell from the tone of some of the comments that they are from people whose feelings were hurt by the post. I think there were a few, like the commenter who called herself "neurotypical," who are related to people with Aspergers and were simply sticking up for them.

BTW, I don't know if you noticed, but in a more recent post ("Are Aspies responsible for their own behavior?") I highlighted your original comment, and the answer to your question is there. Maybe I shouldn't hold it against them, but annoying behavior is annoying no matter who it's from.

enilina said...

In blogs like Captain Awkward, I'm seeing more and more people refusing to let aspies use their condition as clubs to beat their families, friends, and romantic partners with.

Interesting you mentioned narcissistic personalities because discussion of theories on the connections or overlaps between aspergers/autism and Narcissist Personality Disorder (a subset of sociopathy?) are fairly common in Survivors of Narcissistic/Psychopathic parents support forums.

John Craig said...

Enilina --
"Captain Awkward" is a great name for a blog about Aspies.

I'm glad others are coming to their senses about this subject. Aspergers is not a "special gift," it's a disability that is a burden not only for the person who has it, but also for those around him.

Don't know if you saw my response to your other comment, or the post after this one, on whether Aspies are responsible for their own behavior, but the idea that they have absolutely no choice but to be as obstinate, willfully obtuse, and hypocritical as they are is a little thin.

Anonymous said...

Being hard on yourself is a great way to discourage others from doing it, right John? Jeez, when are people finally going to see all the wonderful GOOD sides to those poor psychopaths.
Guess who

Anonymous said...

I honestly do have Asperger's syndrome, and I read your original post. I found it to actually be true for the most part. It is true that we don't know how to react to certain situations like being in parties as you said. You were spot-on with that. I know that in my experiences that I don't know what to do in a room full of dancing people. I also can have problems with judging people's emotions. I will say, however, that you did come in a bit too much for me when you compared us to narcissists. I understand the comparisons, since we can have trouble admitting when we are wrong. However, I will say myself, as an aspy, that I am not going to keep telling people they're wrong. I will say I'm a bit hesitant to admit defeat when it comes to something like a scientific problem. I'm always willing to admit when I'm wrong like anyone else. However, I am on the mild side of this disorder, meaning that I don't experience these kinds of feelings as intensely as those who suffer from this far worse. I will say, however, that at least for me, when it comes to things like not immediately admitting I'm wrong, it's more of an inferiority complex, like I'm trying to prove to myself that I know things. It isn't always similar to narcissism. I just think you ought to be a bit more specific with how people in different parts of the spectrum are with things such as admitting defeat, and so on. Also, since we can tend to misinterpret information, I would just word what you're saying a bit differently. Thank you for reading this.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you for writing it, and for taking such a reasonable tone.

I actually said some of the same things you said here in one of my most recent comments on that original post, if you look at the most recent comments. (I think the one I'm referring to is at the moment second from the last.) Someone wrote in to thank me for writing that post, since it accurately described his experience with Aspies, and he referred to them as borderline psychopaths. I said that they're not sociopaths, in fact are in some ways the opposite of sociopaths, and that while their behavior in some situations is very similar to that of narcissists (they generally can't admit they're wrong, and rarely say they're sorry), it's coming from a different place.

Anonymous said...

I read a pentagon report Putin may have aspergers, while its very unlikely it's much more believable considering certain things about him;

Russia is a naturally cold country, people do not smile to each other on the street or greet one another.

If the person is ruthless enough they can find ways to rise to the top without being friendly or nice.

If the person has enough common sense to know they have aspergers and their syndromes they can hide it better.

Putin surrounds himself with people he needs to function, that is part of his personality, he can choose carefully who to stand by his side to compensate for his syndrome if he had it.

If the person is intelligent enough, they know to avoid being out of the publics view except for key times and how to intimidate. Putin speaks German but when meeting Merkel he used a translator and brought a dog with him knowing she has a fear of them. Keep the other person too afraid so they don't spot anything off and have a person to double check what they say.

Also Russia is not such in a good state, the masses are too bigoted, not as developed in education and too drunk to care. They like Putin and want him so they can overlook things about him. His publicity stunts such as hunting without a shirt on or owning exotic pets would be laughed at in a Western European country but Russians eat it up like he is cool. If he had bizarre aspie habits and they leaked out they would just love him more while everywhere else would thing he is weird or creepy (which is honestly is).
Like the story about him just stealing a football ring, such rudeness is bizarre and creepy but he has power so he can get away with being "quirky" like that.

So while he likely doesn't have it, it's more believable that he and others like Hitler who led a nationalistic racist Germany had aspergers considering people in countries like Sweden or France would just think he's bizarre and a freak.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I've head about that Pentagon report too, and I don't buy it. I think a sociopath is far more likely to rise to power than an Aspie. Surviving in the KGB all those years and then rising to the top of the government requires an ability to manipulate people, and sociopaths are far better at that then Aspies are. Bringing a dog to a meeting with Merkel is a far more sociopathic than Aspergery ting to do. And I interpret his macho posturing, which the West loves to laugh at, as more of a cultural difference.

I'm not saying Putin is necessarily a sociopath, merely that I don't think he's an Aspie. He reminds me more of a South American drug kingpin than he does of, say, Al Gore.

Anonymous said...

I posted before on another one of your posts.

There are two extremes you may have met, the one who is proud to have aspergers and is stupidly innocent, people say to them "that guy is fucking weird". I have met many, I always have this urge to chew them out on the spot saying "get real".

The other thinks they are cursed for life and refuse to move on with their life, ironically the fact they understand they have aspergers and what is means to them means the syndrome is mild enough that people say to them "you don't have aspergers, what are you talking about?".

What do you think is the right way for them to approach their life?

I think you may underestimate how capable a person with mild aspergers is. Like I said, if the person with mild aspergers is incredibly intelligent and overall ruthless enough, I feel they can find a way to get what they want done. I have when I was younger been able to manipulate people to some degree and blend in by being a different person with each group.

Honestly with the above tactics, it's more believable Putin would have mild Aspergers than Obama if forced to choose, no?

I am neither intelligent nor ruthless, but I did do some manipulation in the past.
I convinced certain teachers I was young shy and innocent to get them on my good side (although I am ashamed I did that) while being able to be a great bullshitter with class presentations and essays that everyone wanted me in their group project.

I don't think putin has aspergers, but if someone as socially retarted as Hitler could become Fuhrer or someone as stupid as Ribbentrop the foreign minister, it's possible.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I think a lot of the Aspies who've written in, especially on that original post on Aspergers, fit into the two categories you've described. But the ones I've known personally don't. They've mostly just led outwardly normal lives, while being awkward, which may not have been that apparent except to those who've known them well.

Neither approach would be right, however. The right approach would be to get on with your life, while being aware of it and adapting to the extent one can.

This is the first time I've heard it suggested that Hitler might have had Aspergers. I don't know much about his personal life, but in his public life, he was an extremely shrewd manipulator of people, so I would doubt he had it. Which is not to say that people who have it can't rise to the top. Al Gore got roughly half the popular vote (was it slightly more than half?) in 2000.