Autism is no excuse to be a jerk
On previously-mentioned message board which I have no longer been visiting, someone wrote a post about a man at his church who was joking around with him. The poster felt that the man was making fun of him, because he laughed a lot. He said that he had tried not answering, but the man continued to try to converse with him. He asked the board for advice about what to do to get the “offender” to leave him alone.
There were four pages of responses, and all but one or two involved things such as the following:
-Call him a swear word and walk away.
-Scream at him, including swear words, and tell him to quit being said swear word.
-Tell one of the higher-ups at church that this man was harassing him.
-You get the idea.
I posted something like this: “I’m absolutely tired of hearing that people on this board can’t make friends, and then this is how you tell someone to deal with a man who may well just be trying to be friendly? Many people with ASD falsely believe that someone is making fun of them; I know I’ve done it many times in the past. Instead of being flat out rude to this man, try something like this. ‘I appreciate that you’re trying to make conversation with me, but I find myself not understanding your jokes and it makes me feel as if you’re laughing at my expense. I’m guessing that this is not your intent, but it’s upsetting me, and I thought you should know.'”
In this case, it was so easy for me to see these people’s bad attitude and how it was causing them to act rudely.
You see, that’s when I realized something. I’m no better than they are. At work, everyone talks behind everyone else’s backs. And lately, when I’ve been immensely frustrated, I’ve been doing the same thing. I talked about J to A, and D to J, and J to D, and C to J, and J to Kand… oh my.
I’ve been really intrigued by Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galations 5 lately. To me, they seem like a checkpoint. Are you loving? Joyful? Peaceful? Patient? Kind? Good? Faithful? Gentle? Do you have self-control? You can’t show all the fruits of the Spirit without being in the Spirit. If you are in the Spirit, chances are good that you will show its fruits. Some come easily to me… gentleness, for example. Others, like self-control and peace, not so much. So in my prayer journal I wrote down the fruits of the Spirit and how I could demonstrate each one at work, since work seems to be my big stumbling block. Today I will focus on self-control by not speaking words in anger or frustration.
0 thoughts on “Autism is no excuse to be a jerk”
I’ve been on the other side of the coin. I’m not autistic, and there was an autistic girl that would sometimes hang out with my group of friends at college. Her parents babied and spoiled her because of her autism and she was kind of a brat about things. When we’d all go out and get food, we’d pick something up for her (not asking her to pay), and she’d complain about the fact that we didn’t get ranch dressing for her or something like that, and then chew us out about it. She’d get really rude when someone liked the same guy she did, and that guy didn’t like her back. Things like that. Like she was entitled to everything in the world.
We put up with it for a while, but eventually, we all got a more than pissed off about it and told her to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.
I’ve been around autistic people, and honestly, I don’t feel there was any valid excuse for her acting the way she was. At least not consistently, the way she was.
I had the misfortune of being assaulted by an autistic jerk a couple years ago. At least I thought he was a jerk, anyway, even though I kept my head through the incident. I felt bad for being mad at him, but to this day I’m still mad. In fact, I wrote a blog entry about it. Let me dig it up…
Not being a jerk is paramount to survival, because you never know when the person you’re being a jerk to is an even bigger jerk than you are and will call you out for it. Reminding others to be polite is always good advice.
In high school i was in a few classes with this girl, Monica. She was mean, rude & disrespectful. She also happened to have Cerebral Palsy. She wasn’t mentally retarded by it, only physically, so she knew what was going on around her though she couldn’t talk well. I didn’t like her because she often made fun of or was very rude to people though they only tried to be nice to her. I mean, i could understand it. You’re trapped inside a body that has failed you & you have to hear people talk to you like a baby or humor you just because you look like you’re broken when inside you’re whole. I can really understand how frustrating that would be. But i don’t think it was any excuse to be cruel. She’d backtalk to teachers often and didn’t even show them any respect. She got away with it because the teachers were reluctant to discipline her.
My overall point is people are people are people are people. Everyone is dealt a hand that’s riddled with problems of all different shapes & sizes. In the end we’re all fighting our own battle. Acceptance, peace & love should be shared by humans, not a sense of entitlement.
I recently had a “blow up” on facebook with some friends from church because they were making fun of a nameless person. It upset me, not because I thought they were talking about me, but because if they could do it to one person, they COULD do it to me. It really bothered me that they were talking about someone behind his back.
Then I found out the whole story… and if I had been dealing with the stuff that they had been dealing with because of this person, what they said about him was kind in comparison to what I might have said.
As far as not catching jokes goes… The best thing to do sometimes is learn to laugh at yourself, so even if they are making jokes at your expense… at least you’re getting a laugh out of it too. Some of the greatest philosophers have said that one of the best things you can learn to do is laugh at your own self.