People treat me like I’m stupid

stupid

I wonder if it’s common for people with Aspergers or high functioning autism to come across to others as lacking basic intelligence.

I get that from people all the time and I hate it. In social situations, such as at work, where I have to interact with neurotypicals (NTs) who I don’t know too well, I’ve noticed people patronize me, they repeat things to me as if I didn’t understand them the first time, or just respond to me in a condescending way, as if they’re talking to a two year old. I am paranoid but I don’t think it’s my paranoia because they don’t act that way to everyone

I think people’s behavior toward me is because as an Aspie, it’s so difficult for me to process the things people tell me in a normal way, especially when I’m forced to deal with people in a group setting. I am also almost silent due to my shyness and unwillingness to get involved in social conversation. That probably makes me seem a little dim too.

I don’t hear that well either (I have only 20% hearing in my left ear due to having severe ear infections as a child), so that makes it even harder for me to understand what people say. I often have to ask them to repeat what they just said, which irritates both me and others. I’ve told people I have bad hearing, because being asked to repeat something annoys people less if they know there is something wrong with my hearing.

I find social chatter and small talk overwhelming and it’s not fun for me at all. It’s a lot of work for me to process all that. Of course there are some people who just intimidate me anyway (probably narcs) and I totally clam up around them and act really stupid and inappropriate when I’m forced to talk to them or ask them a question. Socializing is just so difficult! NT’s love it. I don’t.

It makes me so angry that I’m treated as if I’m a mental lightweight by people who know very little about me. I so want to say this to people who talk down to me or ask me the infuriating, “Did you get that?” :

“Look, you don’t have to act so condescending toward me. I’m not an idiot. I understand what you say. I understand a lot. I may look stupid to you because I have Aspergers, and that makes it almost impossible for me to process verbal communication and body language very well or deal with people in a group, or know how to act when you’re yammering at me. I also have Avoidant Personality Disorder, which exacerbates my discomfort in social situations. I get very anxious. But I want you to know I’m actually very smart, probably smarter than you. My IQ is above 150 but I know you probably think I’m lying. If you could see the way I write, you would be shocked at how intelligent and insightful I am. I see a lot of what goes on, I notice everything, I know a lot about a lot of things. I just don’t know how to communicate that well except in writing, or react appropriately when you tell me something. So please stop thinking I’m borderline retarded, because I am not.”

Of course I’ll never say this. But I wish I could!

Having Aspergers and Avoidant personality disorder combined with only partial hearing really is a handicap to dealing with the NT (neurotypical) world.

People who love me and know me well, and people who read what I write know I am not stupid.

Besides, Einstein had Aspergers too, and all his teachers thought he was retarded! πŸ˜€

49 thoughts on “People treat me like I’m stupid

  1. You are definitely not stupid. People tend to treat me that way in real life, too. I suspect some of it comes from not having a great deal of wealth. Seriously, people who have high paying jobs or big inheritances are perceived as being smart. It’s a false assumption, but there’s some powerful stereotypes in our world. If you have symbols of high status, people assume you must be highly intelligent. I assure you this isn’t true. Many of those people are dumber than a box of rocks πŸ˜‰

    Intelligence is a really tricky thing to define, so I prefer wisdom instead. Computers are intelligent but they lack ethics, intellectual curiosity, and wisdom. There are some people who really are genuinely retarded and I prefer their company over the company of some so called intellectuals. A bit of heart and wisdom has far more value in the world.

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    • Not having money is definitely assumed by many people as a sign of low intelligence. Having Aspergers is also a handicap in getting ahead in the work world. It’s hard for us to get promoted because we have so much trouble making the connnections with the people who can help us get ahead. When you’re regarded as not very bright by most people, they also don’t want to promote you because they don’t think you could handle it.
      I used to have a job as a clerk in a store. I heard form someone else that my boss didn’t want to promote me to assistant manager (when he was looking for one) because he thought I was stupid. That really hurt a lot.

      But the assistant manager he hired quit, and there being no one else at the time, he promoted me to that position. I stayed in it for 4 years and was very good at it. He stopped thinking of me as stupid and we began to have a lot conversations about many topics , and later on, he actually told me he thought I was extremely intelligent!

      When people get to know me, and I trust them, they realize the truth.

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      • You are very smart.

        When people get to know me they realize how smart I am too. LOL, then you have a whole new problem, intelligence tends to scare people. Being a smart girl can then be a double whammy, because it makes people nervous. So, be kind to yourself and don’t let all the pea brains get you down πŸ˜‰

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      • I struggle big time with this issue, I am actually very hearing impaired, so a lot of people think I am slow. There is a lot of times I have to guess what people are saying because people get totally fed up if you said, “What?” three times and you’re wearing your hearing aid in the “good” ear and totally deaf in the other. If they are very old and talk very gravely or slurring or have an accent forget it, any would be friendships with people I can’t hear just aren’t going to work out. So I have that on top of the obesity to deal with, and severe obesity people expect serious developmental delays, I am not sure why, but they do, but with me they can tell something is DIFFERENT because of the Aspergers and this complicates things massively. Groups make me confused and there are times NTs will have conversations and I won’t even get the joke or what on earth they are talking about. NTs deal with all these subtleties and things I am not enough “in the in group” to know. The work world was a disaster for me with the Aspergers and weight and health problems combined. I am glad you had a supervisor who figured out how intelligent you are. You are very smart but the poster above brings up the point that “too smart” in this society can scare people off as well. How do we win? LOL

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        • I think we were separated at birth. YES YES YES to everything you said! The only issue I don’t have is the weight problem (and I can hear pretty well from my right ear so I tel l people to talk to me from that side), but everything else sounds like me to a T.
          I agree that people who are too smart can scare people off though. If people don’t think I’m dumb, they know I’m really smart, but if it’s a narc who knows I’m smart, they try to bring me down because my insight into them scares the hell out of them.

          I agree with you that fat people are stereotyped as stupid in our society, and that’s such total BS. I don’t know where that comes from either . Maybe because a lot of them are poor, and the poor are assumed to be stupid, idk.

          I was never, ever in the “in” group in my entire life. I cared when I was a kid, but really don’t give a shit now. They’re usually not the nicest people to be around anyway.

          I hate having to deal with the work world with all its NTs and narcs. I want to write for a living so badly it almost hurts. I’m trying to make it happen! I believe this is what God has planned for me too, in church this morning I kept thanking God for bringing me this far in so short a time.

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      • The reason ‘a lack of funds’ is presumed to be due to ‘stupidity’ is that (according to Normalistic Instinct) all rewards are based upon how dominant one is in a given milieu – and, by extension, ‘if one cannot achieve a goal by means of ‘deception and manipulation’ – that goal is an unworthy one.

        Ever wonder just *why* ‘celebrities’ are paid as much as they are – how they’re, uh, ***worshiped*** by so many people? The reason is that they’ve somehow achieved a sizable measure of social dominance (and hence, their names are on the tips of everyone’s (?) mental tongues.) – and everyone wishes to be ***like*** them.

        The reason they wish to be ‘like’ these paragons of dominance is 1) when one imitates a given thing (person / animal) one (supposedly) essentially BECOMES what one imitates. (at least according to most (non-autistic) people’s comprehension of social reality / Magic(k)). 2) upon
        becoming, one can (initially) influence the thing imitated (again, Magic(k)) – and then, ultimately,
        3) usurp its position in ‘the great chain of being’ – which is a hard-coded instinctual concept within Normalism (and, hence, systems of ceremonial magic(k) as well.)

        So, lacking ‘power’ (ample funds being one form thereof) is symptomatic of ‘moral deficiency’, according to the instinctual / Magic(k)al comprehension common to those having those instincts which define such people as ‘adequately normal’ – and, the correct way to ***cure*** this type of Moral deficiency is by means of ‘Moral Effort’.

        Yes, even by reading and then following books like ‘The forty-eight laws of power’ / How to make friends (frenemies?) and influence (control like a puppet) people. Those are for *starters*. Of course, there are other books and *tomes* which are obvious corollaries to the two mentioned – and, upon study followed by application, one’s ‘score’ in terms of dark triad traits should increase – until one becomes ”o Theos’ / The God “

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  2. I have really been trying the mindset of, “I’m enough”. Its been hard though slow in going. With the level of fear and panic that rules my life right now, its hard for people to see through to the real me. Lots of people, even in church, feel that I choose to be that way. They see me as an intelligent person, just as an idiot who won’t use her brains. Thus I look like a user or a fraud. Or needy. Or yes, stupid.

    Challenge is even going to the gas station, walking across the street, it feels so bad. I’ve been told by my therapist in the past that fear is the most hardest thing, cause its protecting us from death, real or imagined. I refuse to take pills to solve this issue. I have tried, the pills doesn’t take away the fear, just makes you less aware, kind of goes against the point really.

    But yeah, “I’m enough” really does work for me. Especially in social settings where I’m staring down at my shoes or think my skirt is inside my pantyhose. I just feel those two words down to my emotions. its been good for short durations of time. See I really am trying.

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  3. Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    My dear friend. Anybody who reads you will know that you are far from stupid. I follow you with enthusiasm. You are very truthful, and thoughtful. I look forward to your next blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a lot of people react to me that way too because of low-self esteem, social anxiety, bipolarism, etc. It seemed as if they thought I was dimwitted. But then they would freak out or become scared of me when I decided to speak (or write a lengthy email) after months of silence, and I didn’t sound stupid, lol. Good ole stigma. You’re not alone, as many people deal with it. You are obviously not unintelligent in any way.

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  5. I am sorry you have to deal with that. It may not help, but in my experience I get the feeling that this may be a generational thing. I am 16 and was diagnosed as autistic (later clarified to AS) when I was 8. For half my life I have received counseling and special training in how to handle interacting with NTs as well as excellent customized educational opportunities that let me learn in the ways that work best for me.

    As far as I know, none of my classmates assume that I am unintelligent. Most have come to understand that even though I do not express myself in the same ways they do, I do UNDERSTAND.

    Between my own help and my classmates exposure to me, and a few other guys like me, I think I see a growing level of empathy between us. My hope for the future is that when people my age are adults and out in the world, that sense of “Other” will be less important and play less of a role in how NTs treat us.

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    • It probably is generational. Aspergers/high functioning autism was not diagnosed on people my age when we were kids. Bullying wasn’t addressed as a serious issue either, like it is now. People in your age group are diagnosed with Aspergers while still young and can be taught methods of coping. Bullying is a big topic now, and is considered a crime in many cases. It wasn’t years ago. When I was young, if you were bullied, everyone blamed YOU and told you to fight back. They said I was overreacting and too sensitive. I was sent to psychiatrists to try to find out what my problem was, and no diagnosis really fit. They put me on meds, but of course aspergers cannot be treated by any meds . I’m self diagnosed but it was confirmed by a psychiatrist later. Ralizing I had Aspergers was a revelation to me–and a relief–it explained SO MUCH! Then realizing I had a narcissistic mother–that explained ever more. It was like, BINGO! These are the things that have been plaguing you your whole life! Sometimes it feels good to have a label, or to be able to label those who have hurt you.

      When I was in school, though, no one thought I was stupid, even with my “stupid” way of acting–because my grades were always really good (well, except for 2 years in high school when I was severely depressed) and the other kids–even the ones who hated me–asked me for help with their homework, assignments, etc. I even used to be asked to tutor in my statistics class in college (hilarious because I always sucked at math).
      It’s different in the workplace though, where you aren’t graded and don’t have a chance to prove your intelligence the way one can in a school setting.

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      • Yeah, I cannot really imagine living like that. My school (it is an all male preparatory school) has a strict no bullying policy that everyone understands. I have never seen anyone here step over the line into bullying.

        I have a lot of respect and admiration for people your age who have managed to succeed and thrive without decent help until into adulthood. I love my life and I know that is possible through the excellent support I have received from friends, family, and faculty. Without that support I would be a complete mess.

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        • That’s wonderful you have that type of support. In some ways, in spite of the difficulty finding jobs your generation is experiencing, you guys have the advantage of things like bullying being taken seriously as a real issue, and more up to date psychology that recognizes Aspergers as a real disorder — It was so hard to live all those years wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why I was so “different” from other people (the NTs)

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      • Yes, and don’t you love the way people treat those of us who are hard of hearing? They get all offended whenever we ask them to repeat something, as if we were perfectly capable of hearing it the first time, and we’re just being annoying on purpose. After a while I stop asking people to repeat things I didn’t hear or understand, and I just accept the fact that I’m going to miss most of the conversation and not get the joke that everyone else is laughing at. And don’t even get me started on how much I hate talking on the phone — another thing that people with perfect hearing can never understand.

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        • I have that problem with people getting annoyed when I have to ask them to repeat something and I learned a neat way to handle it.

          It’s my left ear I’m almost deaf out of, so if someone is speaking to me from my left side I will actually tell them ahead of time I don’t hear well on that side, so they should move to my right side, or I warn them I might have to ask them to repeat what they said. That way, they know to expect me not to be able to hear them ahead of time, and don’t get so annoyed. It actually works!

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          • Unfortunately, I don’t have a “good” ear. So unless people speak at a reasonable volume and articulate their words, to me it always sounds as if they’re mumbling. I have fantasized for years about getting a hearing aid — not one of the discreet, almost-invisible ones, but one of the big, obvious ones… because whenever people see that someone is wearing a hearing aid, they instinctively speak up and articulate their words more clearly.

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            • A hearing aid would help. My roommate is hard of hearing and uses a hearing aid. When she wears it, she says people treat her with more respect–as a handicapped person instead of someone who deserves to be shouted at and treated like she’s stupid.

              Isn’t there any way you can obtain a large hearing aid? There may be charitable organizations that could help you with this. I would Google “free or low cost hearing aids” and see what comes up.

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        • Oh I always feel so awkward talking on the phone…those awkward silences…never knowing what to say. I also hate when people tell jokes in a group because if I don’t get it, I have to pretend to get it and laugh or be thought stupid. (especially if it;s an inside joke I wasn’t filled in on)

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  6. It seems as if one isn’t ‘young, good-looking, wealthy, and psychopathic / narcissistic / Machiavellian’, then one is of no real worth among Nt’s / Normies. In short, the only real “intelligence” that currently matters is “social intelligence” – which autists are (by definition) *lousy* at.

    Yep – count me in, too – deaf on right side (Goldenhar syndrome), formally diagnose as autistic seven years ago in my late forties,

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    • Hi Dennis! Glad you stumbled on my blog.
      Yes, I agree, real intelligence isn’t valued, only social intelligence (which isn’t intelligence so much as cunning/charm) is. It really sucks for Aspies 😦 And introverts in general, they don’t even have to be Aspies. It sucks for them too.

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  7. The obvious (supposedly half-hidden) aspect of being named ‘dumb/defective/inferior…’ is that the one naming you as defective is saying they are not so. Their true speech is : “I am better than you/ am more dominant/ have higher social rank.”

    I used to think that meant they were better in all things – and therefore expected them to know more than I do. ( I find ignorant Norms ***very*** annoying to this day, because I’ve bought their Blatantly Stupid value system…)

    Turns out a lot of them know more about *Being Normal* than I do. (watered-down NPD / ASPD, really – the power differential triggers something like acquired situational narcissism) Otherwise, lots of them are **annoyingly** ‘dense between the ears’.

    GRR…

    Blatantly Stupid -> B.S.

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    • I agree with everything you said. NT’s drive me insane sometimes., with their irritating small talk, shallow interests and pointless socializing just for the sake of socializing. I can’t deal with it most of the time. They exhaust me.
      I don’t think most of them are actually NPD/ASPD but I get what you’re saying. They seem to lack empathy. IDK, it’s weird. I just can’t relate to them.

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  8. Remember Normdom (for the most part) honestly ***believes*** that “irritating small talk, shallow interests, and pointless socializing” is not merely the vast majority of their lives – but also, such ***social gamesmanship*** is nothing short of critical.

    In short, if you’re not ***gaming*** everything and everyone – you are a fool, stupid, and worse.

    Think of it this way: the study of psychopathy / NPD is valuable for the following reasons:1) There is a lot written about ‘the extreme Normal brain’ and its behavior – much more than the

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  9. continued from previous misbehavior…

    Much more than the more-usual denisens of Normdom. corollary: you know the territory by finding its boundaries. 2) rank – real or perceived – is a massive variable in Normdom. A useful simplification is ‘social predators see themselves as being better than everyone; your average Normie sees themselves as being better than some and less than others.

    corollary: this distinction is of little consequence when one is outside of both the dominance hierarchy and (by extension, humanity). That bring the third and last point: 3). When one is a dalit/ untouchable / pariah / untermensch – everyone is better than you, according to Normalistic instinct. If the power differential is large enough, then it doesn’t matter what a given Normies’ PCL-R score is.

    If he or she’s got Normalistic instinct, there is a real likelihood of ‘situational Narcissism or situational Psychopathy… Caste atrocities (in and around India). Gay-hunting (Russia). Holocaust. Ugly Laws / eugenics. Roma (europe)

    So the psychopath is a nine. So most of Normdom is between two and four.

    If one is socially dead (not fully human…) anyone who thinks themselves better than you is likely to prey upon you if they

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    • Dennis, did you take a look at the Narcautism Spectrum I posted this morning? I think it was meant as a joke, but it actually explains a lot…

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  10. Wish this thing didn’t mess up so much!

    Norms will prey upon ‘lesser beings’ if the reward is great enough (e.g. drug addiction), the effort is small enough (naivete or functional equivalents) or espcially when the risk is minimal.

    The last is what ‘untouchables’ of all stripes need to worry about the most – when predators needn’t worry about prey made defenseless. (Nuremberg Laws -> Holocaust)

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    • I think you’re getting NTs confused with narcs, but for Aspies, dealing with some NTs can be just as daunting as dealing with narcs.

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      • No, it isn’t just me. Try

        https://angryautie.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/the-institute-for-the-study-of-the-neurologically-typical/

        Go down the list of comments to the above – and you’ll see someone other than *me* speak of Normies having ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’.

        Granted, ***most*** of ’em have the full measure – as in most of them do NOT have the full S. Vaknin version (hope I spelled his name right…) – but there’s two issues I’m aware of:

        1) there is a documented condition called ‘acquired situational narcissism’, in which individuals who were formerly NOT narcs can think and act as if they were – to the point where they’re indistinguishable from ‘the real deal’. The cause seems to be a sudden massive influx of ‘dominance’ – as in everyone starts, uh, worshiping the person in question – their name is on everyone’s mind, they get huge amounts of attention, etc…
        2) While most Normies do NOT have ‘the real deal’ – either the usual type, or the acquired type – those situations are when the phenomena of ‘I am the God’ is applied globally. That, thankfully, isn’t that common. What is much *more* common is the common-garden-variety Bully.
        Bullying is both predatory and narcissistic; the bully is after increased social standing, which looks an awful lot like a version of Narcissistic Supply. While serial / habitual bullies are often NPD / ASPD – they’re commonly outnumbered by ‘bullies of opportunity’ – which is something more or less ALL Normal persons have both the capacity and (at least some of the time) the motivation to do.
        So – if you’ve been bullied (raises hand) you’ve encountered someone acting like a Narcissist . More, if you’re an autist – or you present like an autist does in some unconsciously-discerned fashion – you soon learn that just about ALL of the people you see and encounter can ‘turn bully’ if they think they can derive social profit from doing so with acceptable levels of risk and labor.

        Therefore, if a person is Normal – they can, and under the right circumstances, will – act JUST like a full-tilt Narc / spath. (e.g. twentieth-century Genocides…) In contrast, autists may or may not have the DRIVE toward dominance that provides the motive – but as a rule, lack those instincts which make acting upon such drives feasible. (Even the most socially-inept Normie can ***game*** me with nine-tenths of his brain on strike, and the only thing I can do to prevent it is ‘stay clear of Normies as much as I can’!)

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  11. The vast majority of Normdom has sufficient *latent narcissism* present that the distinction is essentially a ***quantitative*** one.

    “The Lord of the Flies” (W. Golding) might be fiction – but does depict the likely outcome once outward restraints upon human nature are removed.

    Diagnosable Narcissists aimply do Normal more consistently and with greater intensity than is the rule; and, should opportunity knock (in the form of vulnerable individuals) – just how many Norms are going to resist that kind of temptation?

    I’m glad for my lack of capacity – as if I had the usual abilities, I’d most likely be a pred myself!

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