Four Problems with Asperger’s

I’m not really in the best mood today, so this post won’t be that long. Here are some problems I have with Asperger’s:

1. It’s not like a lot of disabilities. People with disabilities act as if they can understand my disability on the basis of their own. And, indeed, there is some overlap, since all of our disabilities hinder us in some way. “You have to deal with your disability,” I’ve been told.

But, if I didn’t have an arm, I’d know how to deal with that. I’d try to use my other body parts, or get a mechanical arm, or do whatever else can help me. The problem would be identifiable, so I could deal with it. But a social disability is not as identifiable. I usually haven’t the slightest idea when it is manifesting itself! The person without the arm always lacks an arm, so he knows what he’s up against each and every day. But I’m not sure when my social impairments are being fleshed out. Or maybe I am sure, but I’m not sure what to do about them.

So there’s a clear difference between a physical disability and a social disability. And I wish people would stop acting like they understand what I’m going through, or like they’re experts on how I should cope with my disability. Sure, they can give good advice on social skills, but only I know what it’s like to “deal” or “cope” with my own disability (Asperger’s, as it exists in me).

2. How much are my bad social experiences my fault, and how much are they other people’s? Should I beat up on myself? Should I beat up on other people? Surely I’m the problem, since other people have lots of friends, whereas I do not. Yet, other people can be jerks.

You can see that I hold both views simultaneously. I wonder if there is a third and better way to look at it. I’m not really looking for a middle ground, since middle grounds are too murky to me. I’d like a concrete way to look at bad social situations.

3. How do I know when I’m doing socially well? Is it when other people like me? Here, I tend to beat up on myself, since I can try to be friendly, yet many people don’t seem to like me.

4. Here’s something that really gets on my nerves: Whenever I tell others that I have a social handicap, they dismiss it as a problem by saying that they also have that kind of issue. And, indeed, non-Aspergians can be shy, or socially awkward, or just plain jerks, or challenged in terms of maintaining healthy relationships. But many of them have their circle of friends, and I doubt any of them can truly say that they’ve never had a girlfriend. So I sympathize with them for whatever problems they face, but they’re not in the same boat that I am.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for today. No, concerned family, I don’t want to talk on the phone about it for a long period of time, since I’ll have things to do tomorrow and the next day. Maybe I’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep. Then, I’ll have to deal with people again, and the inner desolation will come back once more. And if the social experience is good, it won’t last. That’s life.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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