Things I wish people would stop saying to those of us with Asperger’s Syndrome

Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado
Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado

“You can’t possibly have any understanding of yourself and be Autistic at the same time. That just doesn’t happen’.

Well actually, yes it can and it does happen.

Individuals with Asperger’s are hyper aware of their feelings, their environment and those around them.

So hyper aware in fact that we experience sensory over load.

Yet every time we, as people, try to share our understandings of ourselves with others and  attempt to have our own personal views and needs both met and respected, we run into a brick wall of prejudice.

One that ensures that instead of being listened too, we’ll constantly have to  deal with having our personal truths questioned simply because of the mistaken belief that we are a particularly insular and self-absorbed type of person.

Due to this, instead of  being listened too when we try to talk about our feelings, we usually end up  being told things like:

-‘Why do you always look so sad? You should smile more”.

Well here’s a tip.

Why not try believing us when we tell you that we’re not sad we’re just so completely and utterly lost in thought that our faces automatically relax.

This process of relaxation means that our mouths and lips relax too.

And just in case you’re not up to speed with anatomy, it actually takes muscle contractions to create a smile.

So if a person’s face is completely  and I do mean completely relaxed, there will be no muscle contraction, hence no smile.

Besides, we are aware of the fact that we’re always having our facial expressions read by those around us, as if they were some kind of social barometer that might, potentially, give the reader some kind of insight as to what we’re feeling.

We’re also equally used to being blamed for an observers inability to read us due to our perceived lack of facial expression, whenever such exercises in futility fail to succeed.

Which is, once again, why you should believe us when we tell you that we’re not sad, just lost in thought.

Perhaps a far kinder thing to do would be to try asking us what we’re actually thinking about.

By approaching us in this way you’ll give us an opportunity to bring you a little closer to our world rather than pushing us away with false observations that only serve to make us feel even more self-conscious than we already do.

-‘You should get out of the house more. You’ll feel better for it.’

For those of us who are feeling overwhelmed due to sensory overload, the last thing we need to be told is to “get out of the house’, or to ‘go out and be around people’.

What  we really need when we’re feeling overwhelmed is to be left in the peace and quiet of our own surroundings and to be allowed to withdraw into our own safe space, without any ensuing argument or being accused of being anti-social.

So please, please, please try to understand that when we insist on the need to have our own space and to take things at our own pace, we’re not trying to be willfully stubborn  or malignantly anti-social.

We’re simply trying to do whats best for us by being mindful and respectful of our own needs so that we don’t end up in a full on ‘meltdown’.

Usually it takes years for us to learn how and when to walk away from situations before they escalate into a ‘meltdown’ so please understand that doing so is a sign of our maturity, and not our immaturity.

Please spend a little more time trying to love us and a little less time trying to  judge us.

Thank you.

 

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19 thoughts on “Things I wish people would stop saying to those of us with Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. Nicely said. In my own experience the most hostile people are the most outgoing and ostensibly ‘friendly’. But their attitude can change like lightning if I don’t respond the way they want me to. Sometimes I can turn this around, but usually I can’t…. I haven’t been real hopeful about raising awareness about AS because it seems like NTs will just find new ways to attach stigma.

    1. Thank you Sofania and yes you are right. Some days it does seem as if others are almost determined to find fault. One day I hope it will no longer be so. Wishing you all the best. Cheers Seventh.

  2. Very well said, beautiful thoughts, once again. And so many times what we are thinking are beautiful thoughts – beautiful to us at least!
    And there is also the benefit concerned with ageing; that the more we use those facial muscles, the more lines and wrinkles are generated as we age. I know that because I am well into my sixties and, because I let my face relax so much of the time, thinking without expression my face is still smooth with very few wrinkles! I believe that is why so many on the Spectrum look younger than their peers.
    If only others could see us as serene rather than sad…
    I find that by wearing a very slight hint of a smile that others, even strangers gat a glimpse of my serenity. That serenity that comes from knowing who we are and what our limits are and taking the time to pursue that best of all activities – thinking!

    1. Fantastic comments Tyrojack. I’d never considered that the reason we are often said to look younger may indeed be due to the fact that we don’t plaster on false expressions all day long. Brilliant. I also love your use of the word “serene”. You have such an absolutely wonderful way of putting thins. “Serene rather than sad”. Yes indeed. Cheers Seventh

  3. @Tyrojack, I never thought of that either, but you might have something there. And serene is a nice word.

    @ Seventhvoice
    Also, instead of ‘self-absorption’, why not just understand that many of us are extreme introverts and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that? It’s not a character flaw, or a handicap. Introversion is beneficial for emotional health, creative work, self-knowledge and insight–even empathy. If people actually bothered to ask us what we’re thinking rather than making assumptions they might, indeed, find what we’re thinking is very positive and even quite beautiful. And it would be much kinder to ask us, rather than to simply dictate how we should act and feel and attribute to us what is so often their own negativity. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad I found your blog.

  4. You say to “try asking us what we’re thinking about.” What would you say to a woman who has truly respected her Aspie husband’s need to be isolated and alone in his thoughts… who has asked that very question countless times (in five years) and never once, not one time… gotten a response outside of, “nothing”? Do you think Aspie men and women are inherently different? Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.

    1. Yes, I do and I’ve often written about these differences. I know many people disagree with me, but from my observations, male Aspies are even less inclined, like most men even without Asperger’s are, to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Women on the other hand, often welcome the opportunity to speak about the topics they love, which often include analyzing our own thoughts, feelings and reactions. Hope this helps but please remember that it is only my point of view.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve linked to it in my post because I so much want to help others understand what is really like for those who live with on the spectrum, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. You do a wonderful service here to bring understanding and also acceptance. As a mother of an Aspie daughter, I am more grateful than I can adequately express… ❤ http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2016/03/08/the-voice-of-aspergers-syndrome/ (I hope it's okay to put my blog link here…I did a pingback but I'm not sure if it worked…) Thank you so much… Sherri

    1. Thank you Sherri. You are welcome to share your link. The more we speak the more we expand the truth of our experiences rather than leaving any and all understandings of Autism in the hands of medical experts and dry text books.

  6. Thank you for this article. I’ve just recently found info on female Aspies and our struggles and it makes me so happy to know I’m not alone.I completely understand what you mean about the “brick wall”. It’s hard for me to open up to others because when I did in the past I got negative judgement or dismissal. There are no other people like me that I know of, so I really appreciate that you’re sharing your experience.

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