You must have Asperger’s

I’m an introvert. I’m also somewhat reserved and emotionally careful. By emotionally careful, I don’t mean I have a hard time trusting or loving people. I mean that when I feel something, I think about why I feel that way, and that why shapes my response.

These particular aspects of my personality annoy or frustrate some people. A number of those irritated people have told me that I must have Asperger’s. They usually phrase this in an accusatory way and use it to try to convince me that my response to something is atypical, and therefore wrong.

I don’t think I am an Aspie, but it doesn’t really matter.  Being “accused” of having Asperger’s when someone doesn’t understand my reactions is offensive – not because having Asperger’s is a shameful thing (it most certainly is not), but because 1) it derails meaningful discussion and 2) it’s cruel to people who do have Asperger’s. On average, people with Asperger’s might respond differently to a particular situation than  neurotypical people, but that doesn’t make an Aspie’s response insincere or wrong – just different.

Whether or not someone has Aperger’s, telling them that they do doesn’t help the situation.  Instead, people should just ask about whatever response is upsetting or confusing them.

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  1. Clarissa says:

    How annoying! As somebody who has a severe form of Asperger’s, I also suffer from people’s belief that they can identify it based on something they have heard in passing or seen on TV. When I tell people I have Asperger’s, they often tell me, “Of course, you don’t! You don’t look at all like an autistic!” I still haven’t figured out how we are supposed to look to convince people of who we are. There is another response that is equally annoying: “Oh, so you have Asperger’s. That explains a lot.”

    People often confuse autism with being shy and introverted when two things don’t necessarily overlap at all. people with Asperger’s often come off as very charming, sociable, and gregarious. That’s why it’s silly to try to “diagnose” people on the basis of some vague notions about autism gleaned from the media.

    I think that it’s up to every individual whether they are interested in identifying as autistic or not. Some people find it comforting to do so. Others prefer not to. It really isn’t anybody’s place -or anybody’s business! – to diagnoze them without a specific request or specialized knowledge.

  2. Mike says:

    I have run into this accusation and similar as well. A former friend of mine* accused me of being “psychotic” because ichor, blood, guts, etc. (in person or on screen) don’t really disgust me in any way. And because I don’t experience jealousy or similar emotions.

    I’m not dispassionate, though — it’s just that my passions are oriented differently.

    I’ve run into too many people in my life who are entirely too concerned with appearing normal to other folks they don’t even like. And that their friends appear normal as well. I now take that as a clear warning signal to stay away from someone.

    *If I were truly psychotic, he’d have likely ended up in a Troy-Bit chipper-shredder for his antics.

  3. Lizbet says:

    I can relate sort of. Except I was told I was a sociopath. I think that there is a desire to force women especially into a certain emotion response, and why they don’t comply exactly as expected.. there is something wrong. Also, who can resist diagnosing?

  4. Aspergers is a condition which greatly affects a person’s behaviour but the INDIVIDUAL always comes first. It’s terrible to think that people who obviously don’t like your individual reaction seek to blame it on a medical condition rather than simply accepting that perhaps you simply have a different point of view.

    There is merit in suggesting that someone may have aspergers ONLY when recognition of that fact could lead to a marked improvement in their lives. Usually, this means that it’s only appropriate to inform young children (via their parents) because the best support for aspergers is early intervention.

    Even then, if you’re not a professional, it’s unwise to make judgement calls on this sort of thing.

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