Asperger's isn't always recognized as a possible cause of strange behavior. It can be mild (causing only somewhat unusual behavior) or severe, causing almost complete inability to function in society without assistance. Personally, I have always had trouble deciphering the normal rules of social behavior. These rules have no rhythm or reason in my opinion. I prefer a structured life with well-defined rules and routines.
I do seem to process information more slowly than normal, making it difficult to participate in discussions or activities that require quick thinking. I also have trouble with organization and seeing the "big picture," often focusing on one aspect of a task.
In any event, I have been able to live a relatively normal life. I'm often regarded as shy, reserved or even snobbish by others. But, that's not my intent at any level. Because I am misunderstood on many occasions, I sometimes feel disconnected and distant from the rest of the world, a feeling called "wrong planet" syndrome. So, I have learned to enjoy my own company.
I do struggle to understand emotions in others, and I miss subtle cues such as facial expression, eye contact and body language. As a result, I may appear aloof, selfish or uncaring to others. Again, this is not me. I believe I am a very caring person, especially when it comes to animals. Also, I am usually surprised when informed of the "supposed" hurtful or inappropriate effect of my actions toward someone, because hurting that person was the furthest thing from my mind.
I find making small talk difficult and even annoying. If you want to talk about Hollywood, politics, or the weather, I'm not interested. And if I don't look at you while you're talking, that doesn't mean I'm not listening or uninterested.
Those of us with Asperger's are often preoccupied with something to the extreme level. At times, we may only talk about our special interest. But that's what makes us special. We have a lot of traits that work to our benefit. For example, we are...
- able to adhere unvaryingly to routines and stay on task for extended periods of time
- perfectly capable of entertaining ourselves
- not likely to discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, age, etc.
- not likely to launch unprovoked attacks, verbal or otherwise
- able to avoid playing head games
- not interested in taking advantage of other’s weaknesses
- equipped with exceptional memories
- able to notice fine details that others miss
- more likely to talk about significant things that will enhance our knowledge-base rather than “shooting the bullshit”
Too often, we are told, “Something is wrong with you.” And sooner than later, we may unconsciously absorbs this negative statement and begin to believe it. We are vulnerable people who will face certain difficulties, and these are often highlighted by people who see only the negatives rather than the positives such differences can represent. This lack of positive awareness, combined with an inconsistency of knowledge, leads to inaccurate stereotyping.
Maybe we need to take another look and see what kind of positive traits are found. I believe there are a lot of traits in the Asperger's personality that the non-Asperger's person can afford to implement into his or her own life. Like everyone on the face of the earth, we are people with a mix of strengths and weaknesses. We are different, but not defective. The world needs all different kinds of minds, including the Asperger's minds.
Thanks for reading,
Walter C.==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples