Is This Subreddit Obsolete: A Found Essay on the Spectrum

by Josephine Reece

What is flirting?

A girl on the street just smiled at me, what do I do? Tips on what kind of socks to use?

NT = Neurologically Typical, aspie slang for “normal person.” What “normal person” really means is a subject for another thread.

One thing I can fully say is as somebody who has Aspergers (diagnosed) is that I hate how so called “normal” people lie so damn much about everything and call it “kindness.” People pretending to be my friend happens all the time to me! It’s the social construct; people find more meaning in the way something is said than what actually has been said.

I was always accused of being manipulative (most NTs accuse you of doing what they are doing themselves), until I actually started being ‘manipulative’. As in, learning their
games and using the same methods. Also NTs can be… giving and compassionate. These people freak me out the most. I’m like WHY ARE YOU SO NICE?! It’s rare and refreshing though.

Do you have a minor superpower?

Is Aspergers your race or language?

I read at a second grade level in kindergarten, a fifth grade level in first grade, high school books in second grade and my mom’s college textbooks by third grade. I argued with EVERYONE because they were WRONG and I thought I was HELPING them by correcting them.

I have two ways of thinking about this subject. In the first way, I am a deep, complex, and unique being. I feel emotion. I know things about myself, I know what I’m capable of, I know what I want, I know what I am. In the second way, this physical form is wholly reactionary: subject to environmental and physiological pressures. I am a biological machine. My self is inevitable and physics-based. I take solace in the notion that at least I’m complex enough that I might as well be magic.

I will look at something—take my favorite pendant for example—and I can spend hours imagining what went into making it. Where the metal came from, where the stones came from, who dug them from the ground, how old the stones are, who polished them, who set them in the metal & finished the whole piece, how long it took to make, how much they got paid to do it, what their name might have been, what kind of life they lived, where they lived, if they’re even still alive, etc. Considering I have a longstanding fascination with science and rationality, and need caffeine just to focus my brain away from everything in the universe, every day is a one-man expedition to wonder.

Not to be disrespectful, but does anyone else get offended by hearing Aspergers described as a mild form of Autism?

Does anybody else have to seriously struggle to stop themselves associating Neurotypical thinking with stupidity?

Today I had an enlightenment. There is nothing “wrong” with me. I just interact with people differently than the majority of others, and I see my label as a way for the majority of people to justify how others can interact differently.

“It” is not “it.” “It” is “I.” It’s not a thing, it’s part of who I am as a person. Now to some extent, these things get rolled into observable traits that differentiate an aspie from an NT, but that is far different from saying that there is some Asperger’s ghost who “makes me
do stuff” or whatever. Since AS is not particularly separable from personality, you should understand that there is tremendous variability on the spectrum, just as much as there is

variability in the expression of humanity. People all have their own struggles, their own victories, their own attitudes, and their own history in life.

It is a spectrum of high and low, both have its extremes, each extreme is as bad as the other. High and low just shows its effect in different ways, not on its severity. There will be milder high functioning autism and milder low functioning autism, there will be people that are severe and some that nearly non-autistic. It’s this 3 Dimensional model of things that autism and Aspergers can have in all of its forms, an individual experience.

The DSM III had four symptoms for autism. In the DSM IV, one is autistic if they display 8 out of 12 possible traits. That means that two autistics could have almost entirely different symptoms (at least theoretically).

What, as an Autistic, is your biggest passion?

What fictional/literary characters do you associate with?

I’m (almost) fifteen and I still sleep with my blanket my mom got for me when I was born! I also carry it around the house, snuggle it, and keep it with me when I’m on the computer!

As a teenager I still collected beanie babies, and I loved Pokemon so much that it was all I talked about for around two years (it was my narrow obsession).

I used to hide in the very farthest back corner of my closet or under my bed as a child. It is very comforting to know that you have the SAME spot to go to every time when you need quiet.

I was eating ice cream with some friends in the dining hall back when I was in college, and I thought it would be really nice to just put it on my face. The best part was that it resulted in a decent percentage of people at the table putting ice cream on their faces. :-)

Sometimes, if I randomly hear a word or a phrase, I generally figure out all it’s anagrams, synonyms, homophones and sometimes rearrange the spaces in a phrase to see if it makes sense in another way.

If I don’t know how to respond to a situation I pick a character reaction from TV. Also makes other people’s responses easy to predict. I usually went for Buffy the Vampire Slayer because I knew it back to front.

Lately, I’m forcing myself to remember things that made me laugh, trying to recall the feeling of laughing and the source of it. It is hard, but it truly takes my mind of whatever is making me anxious.

I’m forty-four and I like coloring books. I was at the store with my daughter and we were checking out. The cashier was ringing up the coloring books and looked at my daughter and said, “You like Tinkerbell.” My daughter said, “Yes.” Then she looked at her and
said, “You like Spiderman too.” And my daughter said, “That’s for my dad”.

What could my AS husband be thinking when he doesn’t respond to my crying? How can I express my feelings to my aspie brother without hurting his own?

My brother used to get into a lot of trouble because he liked to wave his arms around so he often hit people.

I learn very easily and other kids took advantage of that, they used to trick me to do their assignments. They would be nice to my face and ask: “Please help, what’s the answer to question X?” etc, etc, etc. And I would help but as soon as I left they would start talking about me and make fun of me…

I was called a vicious animal by a teacher who everyone else enjoyed. He was not aspie friendly, he thought I was vicious for yelling, but not the other kids for hitting me in the head with textbooks.

My son has Asperger’s in his thirties and he is so naive he doesn’t realize that some people pretend to be his friend but in fact they just make fun of him or take advantage of him.

I really hope I get a wife when I’m old enough but I honestly don’t like relationships! Like, romantic relationships! I just don’t like them. Like, they are nice and sweet and all but I could never take a girl out to dinner, I would never talk, I just, don’t! Wife: some one I can respect and can respect me while both loving each other as if we just met! I know age doesn’t matter, but forget I’m fourteen for a second! Love is different to everyone! We each has describable and indescribable feelings towards love!

I’m pretty sure I’m aromantic and I’m now forever alone by choice and happy that way. I mainly pursued dating because of pressure/expectations from my parents, friends, etc. But I’m much happier single.

‘Caring’ is a weird topic to me. I care about my wife because ??? I mean, I love her, but love is just blah blah blah and I’m sure we could go on for hours but you get the point. I find I don’t want to BS the people I’m close to, but even they need/want it.

My wife tries to understand me, but it is hard. I get that, but she tries and I appreciate it. Every time I try to talk to her about how I feel it even ends up with me saying ‘sorry’ because stuff just comes out wrong and I hurt her feelings.

As a female aspie, communicating with my husband is probably one of the hardest things

I have to do on a daily basis. Also, understanding my own emotions in order to flatly state how I’m feeling and why. Basically, my emotional IQ is that of a seven year old, and
while I know I’m upset or irritated I don’t know why. If I don’t know why, I can’t tell my husband, and he’ll think it’s his fault.

Why do I hate kids?

Is anyone else driven absolutely up the wall by people stomping around all day? How can you function with Neurotypicals?

I think aspie guys have it easier, people expect more guys to be on the spectrum, girls are “supposed to be normal”.

Some people just don’t understand the face value mindset of aspies. They think you should hear what they mean instead of what they say.

I’m fifty-five, but it’s worse on the whole than when I was in my twenties’s. I tend to zone out when I’m talking to people. I find confrontations harder to deal with. I don’t have a solution, all I can say is I’m still here, still trying.

NT people really like it when you show them you’re paying attention to what they’re saying; it helps them to believe that you’re taking them seriously.

I have a fiancé that I’ve been with for five years, and even after that long, I still question whether its good for me to be living with someone or not, every day. Living with someone else injects so much chaos into what would otherwise be my very efficient, orderly life, and it stresses me out so much that I’m only a fraction as functional as I would be living on my own.

Aspies are too accepting and trusting. They believe other people have their best interest at heart. The NT world is not so black and white. NTs can be users and manipulators as well as giving and compassionate. As an aspie, you need to prepare to deal with both kinds of people.

I have been told by many that I have the patience of a saint. I’ll let you in on a secret, it isn’t patience. It is simply one of the most profound strategies for setting boundaries that I’ve ever learned. I learned this strategy in one of my favorite stories about the Buddha. It was said that the Buddha was a man possessed by an unshakable serenity. He was filled with peace, joy and compassion that radiated from him. There was another man, one filled with anger, resentment and hurt. He heard of the Buddha and believed he could find the chink in the Buddha’s so called unshakable serenity and so he sought the Buddha out. When the man found the Buddha he proceeded to mock him, curse him and throw every insult imaginable in a effort to break him. Alas, the Buddha smiled and was truly unshakable.

The man continued berating the Buddha until the Buddha gently raised his hand and inquired of the man, “Excuse me sir, may I ask you a question?”

“What?” The man replied angrily.

“If one man offers a friend a gift, and the friend declines to accept it. To who then does the gift belong?” The Buddha asked.

“Well I guess it belongs to the man who offered it,” the man replied.

The Buddha continued, “Well then, if I decline to accept the gift of your abuse, does it not then belong to you?”

The man fell silent.

I think I ruin people’s interests for them—is anyone else like this? I am freaking people out but don’t know what to do.

During my whole life (I’m twenty-four) or at least since I can remember I rarely had any close friend… Sometimes I get to know one person who is kind to me and we are sort of friends but only at school/work, like talking but never having his phone number or going out during weekends.

I struggle with friendships most of the time. Luckily I have found a few friends I suppose are good. I just don’t know; what is ‘close’ defined as? Is it sharing deep/strange thoughts? I do that with everyone, really, as long as they ask for me to initially. Is it an emotional thing? I don’t have a large spectrum of emotions, it’s always one of five values; Irritated, Indifferent, Neutral, Deeply Content, and Irrationally Depressed. I have felt all of these toward all people, regardless if I classify them as a “close friend” or not. ‘Close’ to me is not even defined. It feels like I’m detached to everyone, really. I also have the problem of a friendship going well, but me resisting as time goes on. Not sure why. I seem to not be able to stand people the more I get to know them. I see flaws in their personality and I find their looks to be less attractive over time. The relationship seems to go from interesting to repulsive. I have to focus to overcome my aversion to them.

It’s the fear of “the other.” People are scared of what they don’t know, so they do what they feel they have to to defend themselves. Unfortunately, sometimes that means attacking the other person by tearing them down.

Don’t worry about confidence; just try to make sure that what you say is true. The rest will follow.

More than anything, I think that learning about Asperger Syndrome has helped my partner and I because she’s better able to look past some of my quirky, often seemingly “selfish” behaviors. (I was horrified when the first thing she googled after I was diagnosed was “asperger selfishness.” I didn’t know that I came across as selfish.)

I’m an NT/bipolar who’s been lurking here for a couple of weeks since a wonderful first date with a guy diagnosed with Aspergers. He didn’t admit to me he has Aspergers on our first date. I just thought he was shy and nervous. After that I did some research on him and found out (when dating a librarian be assured s/he will research you!). You all have been a source of great info and stories. This relationship has been amazing! I’m not here to tell you how to be in a relationship, that’s a very personal thing and depends on the couple. I would just like to offer you hope that it is possible to find an NT that understands and is caring.

So my daughter (nine) was just diagnosed. Now what? How do I tell people?…how do I tell her?

My Mom didn’t tell me I had Aspergers until a few months ago (I’m eighteen) though she’s known since I was little. I always thought I was just fundamentally wrong as a person and it was incredibly frustrating and lonely, I feel that if I had understood why I was having so much difficulty it would have been a lot easier.

I was diagnosed with AS about a year ago, I’m now thirty-three. Often I wonder how different my life would be and how different I would be if I had known when I was a kids. At least I would have had an explanation, but also an excuse.

What I do regret is that my parents didn’t know. This would have helped them deal with me. Would have probably resulted in having a better relationship with them.

I’ve always said the same thing…my son’s not ‘broken’, he doesn’t need to be ‘fixed.’ He’s just different than Husbandthing and myself, that’s all.

I love that I have no clue how he’s going to react to new stimuli and circumstances. I love that the few and far between things he does decide to talk about are always amazingly unique and imaginative. I love that he finds humor in things that no one else would. I
love all the strange bodily and facial movements he uses to express himself, that fly in the face of what I have observed in others. I love that, every day when we wake up—we get
to face the world together. I am uniquely qualified to be his mother, and he is uniquely qualified to keep me guessing. I’ve never been so massively ecstatic to be so woefully unprepared. He keeps me laughing. He keeps me pondering. He keeps me wondering, thinking, imagining, and surprised. I never realized how alone—and honestly, kind of bored—I was, until he came into the world. He’s a challenge, but he’s a challenge I needed.