So I had a bit of a meltdown today interacting on a certain social media site with a casual local friend who is slightly older and a medical doctor. He was making a political post about Martin Shkreli, the unscrupulous pharma executive known notoriously for jacking up the prices on life-saving drugs, heedless of the real-world consequences. We happen to agree on the actual topic at hand, but my friend had to introduce his post with some shitty abelist language about how “Asperger’s should be a disqualifying condition for CEOs, but sociopathy is evidently still acceptable”, blah blah, because at least Asperger’s people “can pretend to feel compassion.”; *Sigh* I get the jab you’re trying to take at unscrupulous capitalist greed, dude, I really do but….goddamn, lay off the abelism….so not necessary.
I gently pushed back saying “Aspies can feel compassion, it’s not ‘pretend’.”
And he responds with “yes, but they have an inability to show it.”
This sent me into a blind rage and I told him to go eff himself and his overbroad generalizations, that I was Aspie.
And he responds with “Case in point”.
No, no no. See, if you had said “It’s imminently clear that Scottish people are all belligerent drunks!” and I, being Scottish(American) get MAD at you for saying so, you don’t get to turn around and cite that as “Haha! See, belligerence!”
Maybe, or maybe you’re just acting like a racist sh*t-head. Or clueless Abelist sh*t-head, in this specific case, and my response is completely logical.
I admit, I got triggered and flew off the handle, I should’ve had better self control.
But it *IS* infuriating to have a Neurotypical sit and try and explain to me, an Aspie of 44 years, how Asperger’s people are “really like”. I don’t care how many letters you have after your last name, either. My life experience as a diagnosed ASD person counts for something, dammit, and I will call you out when you make bullshit blanket pronouncements about ASD people that are oversimplifications, over-generalizations, or just plain lazy.
If a person with an ASD tries to correct your misunderstandings about Autism/Asperger’s, you don’t NT-splain back to them. The thing you should do first is sit down, shut up, and LISTEN.
This pissed me off all day and I avoided that particular social media site the rest of the day and just listened to lots of anime podcasts to find my “happy place”, and I was determined to go see my Aspie friends today as well to decompress and process. I was so grateful for them tonight.
I needed them more than usual because tonight I also paid my respects to the memory of a work friend’s father who passed away unexpectedly very recently. I was there to support my friend, and I’m grateful we got to chat a little before the service. Hearing him and his wife (also my friend) get up to speak during the services was very moving, and I could not help but tear up during both of their heartfelt remembrances. I looked straight ahead and downward, averting my eyes when my friends broke down a few times and needed a moment to regain composure. But I cried with and for them, and quietly brushed aside my tears.
I was sitting with a mutual friend and his wife, with whom we frequently all play in the same tabletop RPG gaming campaigns. This mutual friend’s wife after the service I could tell was experiencing agorophobic-like symptoms of high anxiety, uncomfortable with the large, unfamiliar crowd. Her husband was obligated to make the social rounds, and she found a dark alcove to flee to. I followed and whispered to her that I don’t like big, unfamiliar crowds either. She smiled and relaxed a little and we made small talk about our shared Science Fiction interests, what we had done for Thanksgiving, our Christmas holiday plans, etc. She was grateful to have one other friendly familiar face in a sea of unfamiliar people. I stayed by her side chatting until her husband was able to return to her. I then bid my farewell to both of them and rejoined my Aspie Adult support group meeting, already in progress.
Oh, but wait, we Aspies aren’t supposed to be able to show compassion, right?
I know the road ahead for my friend who lost his father is going to be hard; and this week I gave him some space, but I also sent him a brief email to let him know I was still there and to confirm I’d be attending the services and also to let me know when he was ready to start having lunch together again. I was also grateful for our mutual friend & his spouse for attending the services so I had familiar faces to sit with during those intense moments. And I’m grateful for my Adult Aspie support group afterwards for having a safe space to deal with all the swirling emotions this day has riled up in me, and for this blog for me to be able to condense it all down into a piece of semi-coherent writing. I thought of updating my status on the particular social network with the contents of this post, but figured it would be too vague, passive-aggressive sounding, and a little to tl;dr for the average attention span of the average user of that popular site. So I decided to post here instead, where I hope some of our readers just might benefit.