You have Aspergers? Really?! I wouldn’t have known…

Have you ever heard this? I have.

It is one of the most annoying things I hear (almost every time I tell someone). It often goes one of two ways…

1) Wow! I had no idea. You don’t have poor social skills at all. I wouldn’t have known otherwise since [insert something they think I am good at that they heard aspies can’t do]

2) Really? Are you sure? You really don’t seem anything like my [insert one person they know who is on the spectrum]. They [insert something they do that I don’t].

So, which is more annoying?

Well, the second one makes me want to punch the person in the face. People who (you might not be able to totally tell from how I wrote it, but in some cases it really is how they feel) think that I really don’t have aspergers. Somehow, they think I made it up or was misdiagnosed or just that I’m part of this whole aspergers “fad” (excuse me?! I hate when people say that). However, I know then that they just don’t know what they are talking about and I can ignore them.

First option. How am I supposed to reply? “Why thank you! I’m so glad that I fake it so well. I’m so relieved that my neurotypical disguise has been working!” or “It’s called coping mechanisms and teaching myself social skills through painful trial and error” or how about, “I’m so glad that you think that is a compliment. You might need to work on your social skills though since that is sort of rude and implies it is something I am trying to hide”.

I’m sure at some point I will want to vent about this more. I get way too many stupid comments about this stuff and it always drives me crazy.

1 Comment

Filed under My life as an aspiefeminist

One response to “You have Aspergers? Really?! I wouldn’t have known…

  1. You may find that, for you, AS is a meaningful label, but surely you understand that not all people feel this way? I for one do not. I understand that modern society encourages people to monitor and categorize their own behavior, and that of others, and that medical labels (as authoritative definitions) may help people to structure and legitimize their idea of themselves and the social reality in which they navigate (their “place in the world”), and that, for many, various practices of medical self-labeling are a source of great mental relief. There are those, however, who strive to understand the more general social reality behind these increasingly particularistic social narratives, like “poor social skills” as a distinct social disability, that frame our thinking about ourselves and others. We do not want to go along with every medical meme that comes our way without questioning the assumptions (about normality and abnormality, desirable and undesirable behavior) that lie hidden behind its discourse. I personally feel that many characteristics of AS could be more productively discussed under topics like “alienation and social estrangement in late modernity,” as opposed to encapsulating them in an individualistic-reductionist discourse like the one that has developed around AS.

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