Why I warn people I have Aspergers.

wired_differently

At the time I wrote this post, I thought I had Aspergers.  I don’t.  But I still think this is good advice if you do or even if you don’t.  It could get you out of a lot of awkward situations.   

Most neurotypicals don’t get Aspies. Although there’s a certain cachet now for Aspies on the Internet (because so many of us feel more at home online than in the real world), in the neurotypical world, we’re still socially awkward oddballs who don’t fit in.

I noticed if I say nothing about having this disorder, people tend to treat me like I’m stupid, snobbish, or annoying, or sometimes all three! As Rodney Dangerfield (who probably didn’t have Aspergers) used to say, “I can’t get no respect!”

On top of my Aspergers, I’m also avoidant — AND I have hearing issues. As a child, I had a lot of ear infections so I have only 10-20% hearing in my left ear. My Avoidant personality and hearing deficit both tend to exacerbate my Aspie traits, so when it comes to being able to interact normally in a social setting, I just plain suck at it. I usually just stay quiet but people still think I’m probably a cold and unfriendly person, if not stupid.

assburgers
I didn’t make this graph but it made me laugh.

I found a sort of solution to this problem, and found that it does improve the way people treat me. It’s a very simple solution. I TELL people I have Aspergers (and hearing problems). No further explanation is generally required. If they know in advance that my brain is differently wired and keeps me from reading social cues well and that I also don’t hear very well (from my left side), then they tend to be more patient and become less annoyed at me for asking them to repeat things, saying something awkward, or saying nothing at all.

At first it embarrassed me to tell near-strangers that I have a mental disorder differently wired brain (I don’t tell them about the Avoidant PD–it’s not necessary and no one know what it is anyway), but it’s a lot less embarrassing than being thought of as an idiot, a snob, or an annoying person. Doing this gets easier over time. Now, telling someone I barely know I have Aspergers and can’t hear well out of my left ear feels no weirder than telling them I don’t care for shellfish. And it’s usually met with a knowing “Ah, okay then.”

There’s an additional benefit too. If someone doesn’t know much about what Aspergers is, it gives me the opportunity to tell them. Since it’s something I know a lot about, and I like to talk about psychology anyway, telling people I have Aspergers acts as a sort of icebreaker. It disarms them, and sometimes they share something personal with me.

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About luckyotter

This blog is my journal. I just choose to share it with the world instead of keeping everything inside my head. I'm a recovering Borderline and have also struggled with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I also have Complex PTSD due to having been the victim of narcissistic abuse for most of my life. I write mostly about narcissism, because I was the child of a narcissistic mother, and then married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist for 20 years. But there's a silver lining too. In some ways they taught me about myself. This blog is about all that. Not all my articles will be about NPD, BPD or other personality disorders or mental conditions. I pretty much write about whatever's on my mind at the moment. So there's something for everyone here. Blogging about stuff is crack for my soul. It's self therapy, and hopefully my insights and observations may help others too.
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14 Responses to Why I warn people I have Aspergers.

  1. Tony Burgess says:

    I think you are fine just the way you are. I have some friends who are like you and they help me see the world in a different way. You be yourself and show the world what you got.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. safirefalcon says:

    That’s a good idea. And makes sense. Have you ever ended up in a convo explaining what Asperger’s is?

    When I read the part about you giving an awkward answer or silence in response to not hearing something, it made me chuckle a bit because…

    Both my grandmothers were pretty hard of hearing in their elder years. My maternal grandmother used to just smile at the person and let out a fake little laugh. I used to think this was so funny since I knew and when I read that part in your post I had a flash back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Yes, in fact today I was. I actually enjoy explaining what it is to people who don’t know much about it. It’s even a kind of ice-breaker. So it has an added benefit! (I’m going to add this to my post-thanks!)

      I’ve done that “laughing a little because I had no idea what you just said” thing. It’s SO awkward! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. annepm2015 says:

    I nominated you for the Blog Award today. Please see my blog post for rules. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Well, I’m honored by this! 🙂 I actually don’t do blog awards anymore, but I’ll certainly stop by your blog and say thank you! It’s much appreciated.

      Like

  4. Alaina says:

    You know what’s weird…. on the inside, I feel like all the things you say you have with your Asperger’s. I feel extremely shy, socially awkward, avoidant and introverted. But when I took the online test for Asperger’s, I didn’t have it. The other weird thing is that, despite how awkward I feel around people, most people in real life social situations warm up to me right away. This always surprises the heck out of me, because I worry that people aren’t going to like me.

    When I was elected president of my nursing school class, for example….. I didn’t run for it, I was. never the type to run for anything, I never had the confidence or the desire. So I was shocked beyond belief. I still don’t understand it. People tell me how calm I seem, when inside I am freaking out. So I guess in a similar way my inner socially awkward shyness does not show. Or something. I am just weird.

    Like

    • Alaina says:

      Oh good grief… there really is something wrong with me….. now I am beating myself up for my last comment, because I am thinking that anyone with Asperger’s who reads that will probably think “Well bully for her!” — like I am bragging about people liking me and voting me class president and all, when that isn’t how I meant this comment…. I just meant to emphasize, because I always feel painfully awkward and shy and insecure…. oh damn now I am mad at myself. I am not having a very coherent day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As a parent of a ten year old who has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s, I did wonder whether telling people was a good idea – most of the time it is quite difficult to see (he just comes across as a shy, quiet boy), but in social situations, he is very awkward and I wonder if it might be easier if for people understand the reason for his awkwardness?

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      It could be, but with ten year old’s it can be hard to say how his peers will react.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking more about other parents. I know he is reluctant to tell his friends (even his best friend), so wouldn’t force the issue. We’re just trying to get our head around it all – his diagnosis was a bit of a shock, as we hadn’t realised what we were dealing with (despite being hyper-vigilant when looking for “autistic” tendencies since he was a baby). I am just trying to read as much as I can about it so that we can help him!

        Liked by 1 person

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