My day in Aspie hell

workweek

Aspies sometimes have problems getting ahead in life. We may be intelligent and creative, but because we don’t really play well with others and are easily stressed and overwhelmed by social situations on the job and most of us aren’t good at schmoozing with higher-ups and playing the political games that are required to move up in an organization, many of us overlooked for promotions or just treated badly, as if we are mentally deficient. Many Aspies are underemployed, especially those of us who have an exceedingly low self image due to having been badly damaged by our psychopaths. If we were cursed with psychopathic parents, we were never given the tools other children were blessed with to succeed in life. Someone with Aspergers entering the workforce without life skills and survival tools is severely handicapped. It seems like some sort of cosmic joke that Aspies and malignant narcissists seem to be thrown together so often. It happens often enough that there has to be something more there than sheer coincidence, but I’ll save that thought for another time.

I read a study recently (I will find the link later) that found that people who are quiet and don’t talk very much are seen as less intelligent than gregarious, outgoing people. Many people with Aspergers are painfully shy and don’t make small talk easily. When forced to socialize, our attempts can be awkward and sound stilted or just weird. Unfortunately that probably makes us seem kind of slow. Socializing and engaging in small talk are extremely draining for someone with Aspergers, because it’s hard work. It just doesn’t come naturally.

In a way Aspies are like narcissists in that we have to “rehearse” how to act. The difference is a matter of conscience and emotion. The narcissist has no problem assessing a social situation and the appropriate way to behave, but for them it’s all cognitive. They are chameleons. When it comes to empathy and emotion, however, they are at a total loss. Since they can’t feel anything, they have to first decide which emotion is appropriate and then “act” like they feel that emotion. Aspies have the opposite problem. We can feel empathy and compassion, but have trouble expressing it. We are not good at putting on masks. We might seem cold and aloof but we are not. That’s why so many of us prefer solitude, where we don’t have to be “on” all the time.

Currently I work part time in a company where we are sent out in teams (or sometimes alone) to clean houses. It is a low level, grueling job, but I chose this over other service jobs because it seemed to require less social interaction than most of the others. I could just go to a house, clean it, and leave. I wouldn’t have to deal with customers in my face all day, or with office politics. It’s a good set up if I’m working alone (which I prefer) but most of the time I’m sent as part of a two person “team.” My regular partner is great, and respects my odd personality and knows I do a good job. I still get to work independently and she never has to check up on me.

Today I had the worst day an Aspie can have. My regular partner was off, and I was assigned a “special” (first time cleaning) that requires a lot more than a regular spiffing up. These specials can take all day. I don’t mind the extra work (and they do pay quite a bit more), but I was partnered with someone I knew I was going to have a problem with. She’s a very loud, extremely outgoing, rather aggressive personality and she is only 19 so she isn’t very mature either. Just being in her presence was triggering and causing mental overload. She just kept talking, and talking, and talking. I really didn’t know what to say, so I made polite noises and felt very triggered and overwhelmed. My stress levels were reaching dangerous levels–when I become sufficiently stressed, not only do I get pounding headaches, but sometimes my natural passivity and agreeableness breaks down and I snap and say something I regret. I wanted to jump out of the car and run away. By the time we got to our assignment, I was almost ready to quit my job. It didn’t help that I hadn’t been able to smoke in her car, and was having a major nicotine fit.

stress

When we got inside the house, I started with the master bathroom, attempting to stay out of her way while she did the dusting. I let my mind wander to other things as I cleaned, such as what I might blog about tonight, and what I could cook for dinner. But my partner kept coming in and asking questions, or worse, telling me I was doing my job wrong. She is not my boss, but I’ve noticed some of these young girls act like they know everything even when they don’t, and try to tell people what to do when they have no business doing so.

Like most Aspies, I dislike confrontations, so I let this pass the first few times. But by the 3rd or 4th time, I had enough and snarkily told her I knew how to do my job and she wasn’t my boss. She didn’t seem to like that, and whined that she was “just trying to help.” That made me wonder if she is a narc.

She kept talking and talking and talking. I wasn’t even listening to what she was saying. I had a pounding migraine and I felt like a raw nerve. The car ride back to the office was painful. She seemed like someone with ADHD, with all the fast talking and jarring topic changes in mid-sentence. But even worse was that she was constantly checking her phone WHILE SHE WAS DRIVING. She kept asking if her driving scared me. When I told her no (which was a lie), she started talking about how she likes to deliberately scare this other girl when she drives because she acts so afraid. Yep, I think this girl is definitely a narc.

I was so stressed and keyed up on the ride home that all the muscles in my face and back of my neck hurt and I thought I was going to throw up. For an Aspie, having to deal with a person like that all day feels like a day on the battlefield. It’s very debilitating.

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27 thoughts on “My day in Aspie hell

  1. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    I am so sorry about your day. I wish you would try to look into writing you do it so well. Maybe you could try and write articles and try to get them published or something. I know it is hard to do but you really have talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I am slowly picking myself up and trying to get back into writing professionally. Years ago I was a medical editor and reviewed books professionally. I fell down the socioeconomic ladder due to psychopathic abuse and my own codependency. I’ve freed myself from all that which I am grateful for. I’m establishing a relationship with God and I feel like blogging is a great start. Eventually (like a lot of other bloggers lol) I want to write an eBook, possibly a complilation of my best and/or most popular posts. Or maybe something completely different from this. I haven’t decided yet. But blogging is giving me the confidence and experience to want to try something like that.

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  2. I’m sorry about your bad day. I often have a hard time with younger girls too. I’m sure there are some lovely ones in the world, but so many of them really do seem to think they’re the boss and that the whole world needs to revolve around them.

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  3. Your post is intriguing. You really must do more writing. I feel like I know more about Asberger’s now than I ever have before. You are an excellent resource and voice for Aspies. Thanks!

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    • It’s funny because I am totally self diagnosed. Many if not most adult Aspies are, because very few people older than Millennials were diagnosed with this as kids–it wasn’t even recognized as a disorder. People with diagnosed autism were severely autistic, meaning they could not function at all and had to be cared for by others. People with high functioning autism or aspergers like me were just considered weird or socially awkward or just neurotic. We were sent to shrinks who gave us tranquilizers or antidepressants and tried to psychoanalyze us. That doesn’t work for Aspies. But even though I’m self diagnosed, this was confirmed later by a psychiatrist. There is no cure. It’s a brain disorder but the cause is still not known and there is no drug to treat it. The best we have is cognitive-behavioral type therapy that can teach more effective social skills.

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  4. That sounds just awful. Two of my kids are autistic and they would have come home enraged and tearful, especially my daughter. Your descriptions of your reactions sound a lot like hers to similar situations.

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    • Yeah, it sucks. I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. When I was a lot younger I showed my emotions a lot more than I do now and because I was “too sensitive” I was bullied a lot. I always came home in tears. It was awful. I’m glad bullying is getting a lot more attention these days and some action is being taken legally. And kids with Aspergers are being properly diagnosed when they are still children. When I discovered I was an Aspie, I felt a huge sense of relief. I never knew what was wrong with me, but that explained everything! And then later, realizing my mother was a malignant narcissist and SHE was the one with the problem, not me, helped me realize I really wasn’t the “loser” she liked to tell everyone I was.

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  5. Ugh, yeah that’s pretty awful. I am the same way with people like that. In fact today we had a carpet cleaner here. He’d already done the living room carpet prior to today’s visit, but today he brought a helper. Our house isn’t big so I sate in the living room to stay our of their way while they did the rest of the house.

    Well Mr. Helper was one of those talkers who would just talk and talk and then when I’d attempt a response, he would start to talk more. This is a trigger for me. And I did find myself getting frustrated.

    So much of what you describe in this post, I can relate too. Although I enjoy conversation…much better when it’s one on one, I do have a tough time in groups or in situations with people like the one you describe above.

    All the stuff you point out as Aspie characteristics, I see in me. Hm.

    Btw: dog walking and pet sitting is a good job for people who don’t like to work with people. I used to do it closer to full time and still do a little bit. It gets lonely at times, but for the most part it’s great…not to mention fairly peaceful.

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    • I did think about pet sitting, but the requirements to get bonded, etc. are offputting. Our area is glutted with established pet sitters and dog walkers, it would take a while to build up a clientele. But I totally agree it’s a perfect job for aspies!

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  6. When I did it close to full time I worked for an already established company. I had quit a very toxic job and went home and started calling all the pet sitters I could find. It actually didn’t take long to find one who needed an employee. My area is also over run with pet sitters. šŸ™‚

    Some will also hire you as an independent contractor. So still someone is finding the work for you. And you get to be insured and bonded on their policy in both situations.

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  7. I have a close friend with this condition, and i know its not a walk in the park. Some people seem to think that aspies are different, that they should be picked on and ridiculed. NOT WHEN I AM AROUND. Confrontation is bad enough for most people but my friend with this condition finds it almost impossible to function if a situation like this presents itself. Indeed, only recently, i jumped in to defend my friend from a situation on facebook, where she was being stalked and victimised just because she has asperges. I see that the person who actually did this is following you too Lucky Otter. So be careful sugar, none of us really know who we are speaking to or about on social network sites. I love your blogs and your openness and honesty.

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  8. I don’t think I am an Aspie but I have never been good with crowds. When I was younger, I was always being accused of being stuck up or aloof. In reality, I just don’t know how to make conversation. I spent most of my growing up alone, so I never really learned how to talk to people. I think I just live a lot in my head.

    I do try to talk to my son.

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  9. There used to be a guy at my work who would always chatter and I always wanted him to shut up because I didn’t want to talk or listen. I wanted to do my thing, play my game or read or my laptop, but luckily I have not seen him around in months. I wish I was honest enough to tell him I don’t want to talk and I want to do my thing but I am too polite lol and too afraid of being rude.

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    • Yes, some Aspies can talk TOO much. Not all are quiet and shy all the time. People with Aspergers just can’t read social cues so they either stay quiet if they’re aware of this and afraid they might act or say something inappropriate– but if they’re not aware of it they can talk your ear off.

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      • I have no idea if he was aspie or not but he must have liked me because I was the only person he talked too lol. I didn’t see him talk that much to anyone else or maybe because I was the only fluent English speaker there and the rest spoke Russian so they didn’t have very good English speaking skills.

        I’m a very quiet person and I always prefer to do my thing on my break. I just go to the bookstore first before work and then it’s time to clock in by the time I get there. I used to talk a lot but now I am quiet. I always find my own hobbies more important than talking.

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        • I love my hobbies too. I prefer them to interacting with people (except online).
          I sort of miss living in New York because on my lunch breaks I always haunted the bookstores! I used to have about 3,000 books but for financial reasons had to sell most of them (along with my massive LP collection) — now I have about a tenth of the books I used to.

          I didn’t know this guy didn’t have English as his first language. Sometimes foreigners who don’t understand English misuse it or don’t know the various nuances a fluent speaker does. They may use phrases inappropriately because they don’t know better. I’ve known several people from other countires who only seem awkward or shy because English was not their native tongue.

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          • No he spoke English, it was everyone else at work who didn’t have it as their first language so it could be the reason why he only spoke to me. I can’t imagine if everyone wanted to talk to me and kept yapping. One person is enough.

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