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Friday, September 4, 2015

Yet another person insulting herself

The post I wrote on Aspergers Syndrome back in 2011 has gotten 383 comments, far more than any other post on this blog. Many are hostile ones from Aspies or their kin.

I got another critical comment from "Anna" two days ago. We had the following exchange (her comments in italics):

One issue clearly established in the research literature is the terrible rate of bullying inflicted on children and young adults who are on the ASD spectrum by neurotypicals and its equally terrible impact on the adult lives of the victims - or at least those who don't become suicides at an early age. The marginalisation, othering and bullying of neurodiverse populations is a tragic fact of Western culture which encourages the bullying, and in my opinion - such as it is - your opinion piece fits with the definition of "othering", so it is part of the problem, not the shining authoritative light that you appear to believe it is, not a solution but a sharpened knife hidden behind a pretence of objectivity and 'fairness'.

By all means, let's cover up the truth then. And your bit about me seeing myself as a "shining authoritative light" seems to be a bit of projection.

Projection? Whatever, have it your way and so be it. You seem to habitually respond to critics with ad hominem remarks, please review your responses and note how often you have done this.

I'm not about to wade through all the comments, but if you're so inclined, why don't you do so and see that I generally only respond with ad hominem remarks when such have been directed at me. I would use your previous comment as an example: "your opinion piece is…..not the shining authoritative light that you appear to believe it is." Are you seriously trying to suggest that this comment is not dripping with venom? As I said, projection.

[end of correspondence]

My guess is that Anna is either therapist, a school counselor, or related to someone with Aspergers. She's also from the UK, as you can tell from her spellings of "marginalisation" and "pretence."

I've written in the past about how people's favorite criticisms almost always reflect on themselves. Aspies have accused me of having Aspergers, a gay guy accused me of being homosexual, and a sociopath once said I was a "narcissist" who got a "buzz" out of hearing of other's misfortunes. 

Anna wasn't as nasty as the commenters I've linked above. But, she has made two accusations here. The first is that I seem to see myself as "a shining authoritative light." Yet if you look at her first comment, you'll see that the language she uses is straight out of the Aspergers support literature, and she seems to be presenting herself as an authority. (Whether or not she is a "shining light" I cannot say.) 

Her second accusation is that I use ad hominem attacks -- of the sort she had just leveled at me. (But as I pointed out, I tend to respond in kind -- she started it!!)

Always remember, whatever people accuse you of is likely true of them. 

Anyway, that's my life these days: fighting with complete strangers. (Too bad, in this case: I've always liked British women. Hmm….I wonder if that was Keira Knightley just using the name "Anna.")


Jokah Macpherson said...

"Always remember, whatever people accuse you of is likely true of them."

It can be a fun game to turn this back on yourself and think, "What do I usually accuse people of?"

When I tried this on myself, I concluded I most often accuse people of being unaware of others around them (e.g. the fat couple walking very slowly down the sidewalk in front of me when I'm in a hurry). Does this mean I'm projecting and I'm actually trapped in my own solipsistic bubble where I'm ignoring the problems I'm causing everyone around me?

Steven said...

She wrote that your opinion piece wasn't the shining authoritative light that you think it is....she never said you. It's not a big step to think she meant you but strictly speaking she said your article. Am I just splitting hairs?

John Craig said...

Jokah --
I've done the same thing. What I seem to accuse people of most often, at least on this blog, is being sociopaths. But I'm definitely not a sociopath, and was unaware that such people might even exist for the first 25 years of my life. But maybe writing about something is different than constantly blurting it out in your private life. I suppose the one thing that drives me crazy with people I deal with is hypocrisy. But I don't think I am one of those, either, negating the rule I stated in the post.

I don't know you personally, so can't answer your question, but if you're self-aware enough to ask that question, my guess is that the same isn't true of you. maybe I should have said that rule applies more to narcissistic personalities.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Technically you're right. But you're also right that it's a pretty minor difference.

Anonymous said...

So, your post was a way of venting for you, eh? I had a friend/co-worker sort of vent to me yesterday about another newly hired co-worker. While talking to my friend/co-worker, she warned me about this newly hired woman - be careful around her, she comes across as nice, pleasant, but she's dishonest, willing to lie to your face about about what others supposedly said about you (this happened to her via the new hire). My friend/co-worker (who excels at her work) said that the woman will lie to your face and try and stir up drama. Venting can be good for all - the talker and the listener! In the future, if I am around this newly hired woman, I'll keep it to the minimum with her.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
To be honest, this entire blog is a way of venting. (I started it in '08 purely as a way to let off some steam, although it's turned into a little more than that since.) But yes, that post in particular was definitely a venting.

Wow -- I can almost promise you, based on the little you've told me, that that new coworker is a sociopath. Spreading dissension by telling people what others say about them, particularly when it isn't true, is a sociopathic hallmark. Non-sociopaths simply don't do that, and sociopaths love to do it. Trust me on this, I've seen more than a couple sociopaths I've known do it. They do it partly because they love to cause ill will, but also because it gives them power in that social or business milieu. The people to whom they "report" will actually trust them more, and see them as being "on their side," when in fact the sociopath is not on anyone's side but her own. Beware.

Anonymous said...

My friend/coworker went to our director and reported the conversation that took place (lol). I had two days off this week, so I returned to work yesterday. Apparently, the woman is coming on too strong with other staff members, so hopefully, she won't be with the organization for much longer (keep your fingers crossed). Fortunately, I have very little contact with this woman. Like I said, if I am in her company, I'm keeping it to the minimum with her, not saying a whole lot. Since you said that she's a sociopath, I am especially wary of her. Thanks.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Your friend did the right thing. Hopefully management will see what the new co-worker is all about and axe her before she causes too much harm. A sociopath is always a liability in any organization to which they belong. And you're right to keep your contact with her to a minimum, too, by the way.

Anonymous said...

My friend/coworker is in graduate school, studying to be a family therapist. She's seeing this woman for who she is, having told me yesterday about red flags that she's already picked up on regarding the new hire. According to my friend/co-worker, the woman's employment history is a red flag, figuring this out just from what's she's learned by talking to the new co-worker. Personally, I want nothing to do with the woman. I'm hoping she'll be canned in time.


Mark Caplan said...

By describing the syndrome, you can't avoid "othering" those that have it, since "othering" means describing how someone differs from the norm.

Anna is right regarding bullying, though. As we all know, boys who lacked athletic ability and behaved oddly did tend to get stigmatized. I doubt this tendency is unique to "Western culture," as Anna implied. Does she think a Comanche boy who kept falling off his horse wasn't ridiculed?

I don't know why, but in 2013 the the psych profession officially dropped the term "Asperger's Syndrome." (Did Aspies bully them into dropping it?) Maybe a reader knows what the correct term is now for people with the disorder.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Ha, great points.

Yes, any description of our actual diversity at all is "othering." And yes, bullying is in the eye of the beholder. And yes, Western culture is the only one which can safely be criticized.

I'm not sure why the DSM stopped classifying Aspergers as a separate condition either, but now they just talk about people being "on the autistic spectrum." Maybe setting Aspies apart "othered" those who were further along in the spectrum, who knows.

Rifleman said...

I've written in the past about how people's favorite criticisms almost always reflect on themselves.

Similar to preachers who speak out against gays, often closet gay. Anti-alcohol, drunk. Condemn prostitution, picking up prostitutes.

Check out this case:

Monsters Among Us: Stephen McDaniel killed Lauren Giddings after researching how to dismember a body; He was sentenced to life in prison

There is also this, and it is no mere aside: McDaniel may well have been out to toy with the very system of justice that he would have, upon passing the bar, been sworn to uphold.

John Craig said...

Rifleman --
You're exactly right, preachers who speak out against gays are a perfect example, as are those who condemn prostitution the most loudly.

I just spent about ten minutes browsing through those Stephen McDaniel articles and their links. He's a good example, too: and his eventual goal was to be a judge! Interesting that the detectives assigned to the case said that McDaniel was a budding serial killer, it just so happens they caught him on his first one. He had that wimpy, almost bookish look that some of them have, at six feet and 125 pounds.

It's interesting how many serial killers have tried to get into law enforcement. Edmund Kemper, the 6'9" 290 pound killer from Santa Cruz, California in the 1970's, was a wannabe. Kenneth Bianchi, one of the two Hillside Stranglers from Los Angeles in the late 70's, had also tried to join the police. It's a credit to whichever departments rejected them that they were rejected, but I'm sure some sociopaths slip through, in fact I've always thought that law enforcement probably has more than its share of sociopaths. (Other occupations in which they're overrepresented include district attorneys, hedge fund managers, politicians, and CEO's.) Most departments these days have screening systems in place to weed them out, so there are fewer than there used to be, but no screening system is perfect.

Anonymous said...

You were right. The new employee is no longer employed with our organization, having been let go this week (on my days off). She worked three weeks and was finally let go. The final kicker (as told to me by my friend/coworker) - the new employee lied about another employee, the lie was reported, and the woman was dismissed.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Glad to hear it: justice was done. Management was smart, and caught on to her quickly. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

Anonymous said...

My friend told me that we must have a sixth sense about people because the former employee caused the hairs on her neck to stick up. I think some people do have a sixth sense about others. Mine seems to be faulty. Glad the woman is gone.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
A sixth sense for sociopaths is something you can only develop after having been exposed to them in the past. I'd say yours is pretty good now.

Anonymous said...

My spath radar is improving. I'll leave it at that. That's one spath which is down, out of the way, a good move for all.