I’m going to ignore the fact that the DSM no longer includes Asperger’s as a diagnosis. Asperger’s remains a useful way to categorize people with very low social skills and very high IQ — and a high rate of manic-depression and suicide. It’s useful to separate out these people in order to help them. It’s like separating out people who have a gene for breast cancer. There are things you can do to make their lives better.

My son and I have Asperger’s so I am constantly thinking of how to help both of us better fit into the world. Here are three things that stand out to me.

1. To get along with someone who has Asperger’s, look closely at that annoying car.

You know when you’re on the highway and everybody moves along like a ballet – merging, exiting, changing lanes. There’s moving over for a truck. There’s moving away if you’re blocking someone who wants to go faster than you. There are all kinds of unwritten rules we adhere to in order to not run each other over.

The Asperger car is the one on cruise control at exactly the speed limit. Technically, that’s what everyone is supposed to do, but there are a million scenarios where if you refuse to slow down or speed up, you actually make everyone else’s life hell.

But there’s no way to tell that annoying car, “Hey, you’re breaking the law,” (because they’re not) and you can’t tell them, “Hey, you’re being inconsiderate,” (because they’ll say, “Well, that merging car could have slowed down until I got by.”) You can’t tell that car, “Hey, there are some unwritten rules you’re not paying attention to.” (They’ll say like what? And then they will argue.)

So there’s no way to tell the annoying car they’re annoying because they actually don’t understand the concept of annoying. They only understand the concept of right and wrong. People with Asperger’s have an intense need to do the right thing the right way. But often they fail to see what that is: Am I doing the speed limit? I’m right.

2. People with Asperger’s don’t have friends.

Someone with Asperger’s doesn’t feel a huge need to connect on an emotional level with lots of different people. They might think they are connecting emotionally. But it’s not how other people do it.

Like, the Asperger father who never called to say he loves you, or the Asperger girlfriend who disappears for five days because she didn’t know you would expect her to be there. It’s a friend who never calls or emails because they don’t see communication as part of a friendship.

There are a million different ways people with Asperger’s inadvertently isolate themselves from the world of friendship, but suffice it to say that while people with Asperger’s have lots of depression and lots of anxiety, you’ll rarely hear them say they need more friends.

People with Asperger’s want one friend. The problem is that in adult life your one friend has to be your spouse. So if you know you have Asperger’s you need to focus carefully on finding a spouse. Theoretically, this should be easy because high IQ and good looks go hand in hand, and the definition of Asperger’s includes higher IQ.

The thing that keeps most people with Asperger’s from finding a mate is understanding they need one. People with Asperger’s understand the theoretical need for a date for the prom. They understand theoretical desire for sex. They understand the concept of everyone has a house and kids and they don’t, but they don’t understand the leap you make to get there – you have to actually want to be close to one person.

It’s overwhelming to be close to people. A lot of people with Asperger’s who are married sleep in separate beds or have sex with minimal physical contact but you need to find the thing that’s going to work for you so you can have that one intimate relationship. Otherwise, you’ll get older and realize everyone is paired off and there’s no room for you to have your best friend, because adult life best friends are spouses.

3. Asperger’s is actually a workplace issue.

If you have a high IQ and low social skills it means you’re generally right and you generally don’t notice when you’re wrong. So life is pretty good, not for the people around you, but for you, if you can just go with that.

The problem is people need to be connected in the world to feel useful. It’s no fun to be right about everything if you can’t also be useful about what you’re right about. So people with Asperger’s need jobs, and people with poor social skills get fired.

There are a few ways to think about getting a job. One is that a job can be a break from the overly sensory aspects of the world. You can get a job where everything is the same. Your job is repetitive, nobody bothers you and the office is quiet. For some people this type of job would make them kill themselves. For someone with Asperger’s this job is like a vacation. Think DMV, court reporting, librarian, or even retail.

I spent most of my 20s doing retail, and though I didn’t know I had Asperger’s, I knew I adored my job. I had the books in every section of the bookstore memorized. I knew every publisher of every book. I loved the monotony of shelving books alphabetically day after day. Even the customer contact was lovely. They would only ask me questions about my narrow bookstore topics or sometimes ask for change. This is the type of job that is perfect for someone with Asperger’s.

The reason we stop doing these jobs is because we’re ashamed of having such a high IQ and enjoy doing jobs that don’t require high IQ. So part of getting along in the world with Asperger’s is accepting that not everybody has to have a high IQ job just because they have a high IQ.

The other thing you can do with work if you have Asperger’s is specialize. People with Asperger’s are obsessive. If you can find a way to get paid for what your obsession is, then your employability is secure even though your social skills are not.

Don’t kid yourself that typical Asperger’s specialties are useful. Memorizing air travel minutia, train schedules, military formation, Pokemon decks: You cannot monetize these fetishes. Memorize stuff other people with Asperger’s are unlikely to gravitate to, like the characteristics of Generation Y. Then people respect your work.

Really, I have a feeling that what gave me the ability to bridge from a quirky writer to a marketable writer was focusing obsessively on Generation Y. Nobody could memorize the facts as fast as I did, and because they were all in my head I could synthesize them faster than everybody else and come up with trends. It gave me a key advantage in my career that separated me from the typical career paths of unemployable people with Asperger’s.

When people say to me, “I have someone in my life who has Asperger’s. What can I do to help them?” my first thought, no matter what age they are, is that the person with Asperger’s needs to understand that they need a life partner and they need a job. The high rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in the Asperger population come from not having these two things. It doesn’t matter if you get paid a lot. It doesn’t matter if you have kids. It doesn’t matter if you make enough money to live on your own. You just need those two things: a life partner and a job.

206 replies
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    • Melkorn
      Melkorn says:

      True.. I believe the diagnostic criteria says average to above average IQ

      This entire article is riddled with errors about aspergers and stereotype generalizations -_-

  1. Ike
    Ike says:

    I have AS and could not care less about socialization nor having a “life partner”. My misery comes from the fact that my AS precludes me from being able to have any jobs other than the most low paying and menial jobs. This wouldn’t bother me so much if I hadn’t worked the same miserable jobs to pay my way through college where I held a 4.0 GPA for four years, thinking that slaving away then would make a better future afterward. It didn’t.
    I’m stuck as a wage slave working jobs that make me want to hang myself until I get too overwhelmed by all the work/the misery of it and have to quit, wait a month or so, then take on another high school drop-out level job. I’ve worked hard and earned more than I’ve received. I see the people I grew up with who drank, smoked, and partied their way through life but because of their natural gifts, they have the competence to perform well-paying jobs.
    In closing, you’re absolutely right about needing a job, but if it’s one that makes your life worse, then it’s not worth a whole lot. A life partner is not needed. The only thing that could make me more miserable than I already am would be to be married. I speak from experience – I was at one time married and it was the worst thing I ever went through.
    When you’re an aspie, there’s one general rule that will always apply: Life is hell, and then you go there.

  2. Jo
    Jo says:

    This is so interesting reading these posts.
    My 19yr old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 9. He has a lot of the traits but his downfall is maths which he has always struggled with and is holding him back now.

    His passion is aviation – he can name all types of aircraft built with what engine, modifications made throughout history etc etc.

    He really wants to work in the aviation industry and went to college to get a level 2 Engineering Diploma but cannot progress to the next level through college because he was told the level of Maths will be beyond him.

    He has no friends (although given the chance he would be the most loyal friend anyone could wish for) and doesn’t go out unless it’s with family, so when he got his first job (albeit casual) over the Christmas period working a night shift stacking shelves for a local supermarket we were so proud!

    He worked hard, did extra shifts. Then he was let go when the contract ended, although 7 out of the 9 casuals were offered permanent employment.
    My son was one of the 2 that were let go.

    I can’t tell you how gut wrenching this has been for myself and his Dad.

    My son feels he’s not good enough to even stack shelves.
    He was too slow because he wanted to get it right!

    For years, I have had to listen to other parents talking about their children taking exams, going to University, of course, or employment which they were able to secure easily and their relationships – like all this just comes so easy.

    And yet these parents are ‘worried’ about their children.
    They don’t know the meaning of worry!

    All we want for our son is that he is happy, independent and able to make his way in the world.

    He is fortunate to have a very loving and supportive family.

    • John
      John says:

      I can empathize with the “too slow because he was trying to get it right” For the sake of efficiency, I will call those with Asperger’s using the acronym AS, and everyone else NT.

      Basically with most jobs that don’t require a high level of decision making, two of the most important things you can do is be efficient and accurate. Just something I noticed, NTs spend most of their life being focused on efficiency, while those with AS focus more on accuracy.

      NTs in adolescence, while superficially lazy to those with AS, are actually quite not. They are more likely than kids with AS to start their chores, and finish them in a timely manner. They have more pragmatic organizational skills, doing things right away so they don’t forget about them, and organizing things in order to quickly get to them, as opposed to organizing to look aesthetically “neat”.

      People with AS, more often than not, spend too much time on their special interests in adolescence, causing them to be behind on these pragmatic skills.

      This is part of the reason why their are so many of us in STEM fields, because accuracy for the most part determines your effectiveness, and so little of us anywhere else, where efficiency determines your effectiveness.

      Without going into too much extra detail, if you want to son to survive his second job, which will likely be again in retail (because that is where most start), then he can start around the house. Doing things right away, and doing different chores, and practicing pragmatic organizational skills (there are good books on this), all while using a stopwatch (focus on balancing speed with accuracy), are good practice for the real world.

    • John
      John says:

      Also, I don’t know too much about a level II engineering diploma, other than I assume it is one from the UK, and I am under the impression that there are still professional careers available for holders of them.

  3. Sarah Sweetnam
    Sarah Sweetnam says:

    Omg! Thank you! Thank you, thank you! Everyone needs a label, its so we can help each other! Thank you! My mother and I have asperges and my sister has something else, she’s on the severe scale, currently having genetic testing, its been 2 months and still no reply. We started saying that she has a new disability, because 2 months is a long time to wait. Her test results may have even been sent overseas. The doctors dont know what to say! We’re just so happy something is being done! My mother always finds herself in the middle of an arguement with disability services regarding labels. Labels help us indentify our symptoms, our feelings, our idiosyncrasies, our humor, our intellect or our lack of. Labels help us to identify when we are sick, when we are sad, when we are angry and when we are happy. Labels help us explain to normal people why we’re being different, why we arent talking, why we are doing what we are doing. Its just go nice to know that their really are others out there who feel the same way! God bless you! xx

  4. James Aranes
    James Aranes says:

    I am an Aspie, and my IQ is 125, and my father, most likely also and Aspie (but never formally diagnosed) has an IQ of 150. Why am I telling you this? So no one here believes Aspergers is of necessity a diagnosis of low intelligence.

    Also, I usually get along well with others in the sense that I am not off putting to them, but they just don’t have the urge to see me again, so I don’t know if this is the Aspergers or that I am just boring! :) If anyone is lonely, I always find that writing about it, or about anything else is good “medicine”, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up writing the great American novel?!

  5. Braden Glenar
    Braden Glenar says:

    Hi my name is Braden, i came upon this website searching for social help. Which i don’t want you to get the wrong idea i’ve gone through a lot of guidance and training to help me. i was looking for things that people with aspergers do that i could stop doing in connection with mineself. Im not going to post my whole life on this website but my father has aspergers undoubtedly. He was enlisted in the military for most of my life and i never really saw him. when he got home all he did was play Mmorpgs like Everquest and Vanguard. He forgot to pick me up at school several times and he played for days at a time. i never had any friends and for most of my childhood i was bullied, i still hold grudges. “yes i have aspergers” i dont know what i do wrong with things and id like some advice on how to improve my attitude. Because i know trust me i know im not perfect and i dont have confidence but people feel like i think im perfect.
    and im always trying so damn hard to find a way to work with my peers and recently i just feel lonely. i feel like a slob and i just want to know how to improve myself to be at better standards. ive been through residential programs and mental hospitals and i just want some help from a person who has experienced what i have or knows how to react to these things…

  6. AP
    AP says:

    This was a great post. I stumbled across aspergers 3 years ago after watching a movie called “snowflake”. There something about her that was me…. Although I was more functional but related to the touching – not enjoying it. When I started reading and taking online informal test…after spending most of my life privately struggling socially…. I immediately felt relieved. When I began to embrace it, I am at peace and now learning how to deal with the extreme sensitivity. It overwhelms me trying to understand the true feelings that differ from people’s action. I just said to myself I hope God could bless me with one person that sees me and maybe if I accept this I can help someone get me because I’m doing better just learning a routine helps me , and asking for more understanding helps me in my associations. Im good alone so learned to balance myself socially. I’m super smart and attractive so people never understand why I’m alone all the time. My family just don’t get me and can’t handle I’m different because considerate successful outside of intimacy. Nice to learn how others make themselves functional .

    • AP
      AP says:

      I do wonder how adults get an official diagnosis. I think once you learn about it you know by the instant relief. But….

  7. Gerr
    Gerr says:


    I have been diagnosed with Aspergers the other month, at the age of 42.
    I think the discussion about being right is interesting. I always thought my right was everybody’s right, as I ould not understand any different, until I realized at the age of 25 that my right ould be different that other peoples pereption of being right, without being wrong at both ends :).

    I disagree about Aspergers need a job I have been working 25 years non stop, and have been unemployed 3 months now, what really gives me a break and I am re-energizing. The problem is with my obsessions at work, I am sspending a lot of energy, and now I have 2 small kids…my energy leves are always low (esp as one of our daughters has pdd-nos, what is very demanding)

    But no problem. For those with Aspergers and do not have a job.. Find routines!!!! Like study in the moring, relax in the afternoon, by sports, and then read a boo in the evening when not having a job. The routine is vital!

    WHen not having a friend – try to find one in real life. I met my wife trhough TV- dating at age of 27. And it turns out she has Autism too, but with her I feel 200% comfortable – we found out without realizing we were autistic.

    When I am in stress I behave far more autistic then when having stress less life, but changing from a life with stress to a life without stress is a hard process ( for everyone, but people with Asperger may be more fearful to hange then others)

    Also try no to think in black and white, and as my job coach explains, the tinking in black white starts with proper use of language – so even when we speak, we must rationlize the words, in order to think in the grey area – lie everyone does )

    That way we stay sane…and for young people …It gets less hard when growing older . Just dont be on internet all day , and try to break free from obsessions or speial interest that can fill your entire day – just try to change your routines several times a day to get more energy out of your activities :)

    • Gerr
      Gerr says:

      p.s. I have been diagnosed offiical Aspergers as the DSM was not translated in 2013 and the old version was still in place , so I am one of the last diagnosed Aspergers :)

  8. Juliet Potter
    Juliet Potter says:

    I just broke up with an undiagnosed Aspie and this article rings true. I still love my ex – we had a child together – however after the courtship (which was beyond wonderful), his sole focus on me became unbearable and obsessive.

    He works in design slash IT from home and I took offices simply to have my own space. He then proceeded to track me, call me constantly, control and monitor my every move. There simply was no separateness and he just seemed happy to be in what I considered a rut, same same every day sometimes not showering or even changing his clothes.

    There seemed to be no equilibrium or normalicy and it is hard to pin point or describe but he either over did-things or under-did things. Example – he loves to make eye contact but it was too much and made people feel uncomfortable (I used to call it his weird googley eye thing), he loved to socialise but then would want to be the centre of attention and corner someone to chew their ear off. He is ‘over-nice’ which made people untrusty and perceive a fakeness about him.

    I felt I did the majority of the housework and yet he swears he did it ALL to this day. He swears he paid ALL the bills and yet I paid above and beyond. In his recall and after our seperation, I am the most horrible woman on earth for breaking up our family – he is the good guy. His family and friends believe I am nasty and he is so lovely. It compounds my pain to know others outside see this ultra kind and thoughful person and yet it is NOT what it is. It is an illusion. It is a mind-fuck. Leaving was a necessity to preserve my sanity. I cannot stress this enough.

    He was incredibly slow in all things – speech, every day tasks, every single thing. Late constantly. We would be sitting in the car for half an hour waiting, waiting. He would say and do incredibly immature things. Adding to this, his long and boring stories that had no beginning, middle or end started to irritate me, as did his passive aggressive behavior (which became unbearable and made me feel like I was going crazy), picking on our children (particularly my son), saying embarrassing things, going off on multiple tangents. I begged him not to wake me up if I was asleep (I was working full time and after our child was extremely tired)and yet he would blow on my face to wake me up. I would ask him not to do this and not to wake me up yet he would continue over and over and over with what seemed to be little recall of my repeated requests, somehow like a gold fish not remembering. He would relay events that happened in an entirely different way – what HE perceived them to be not what actually happened. As I had three children and a business to run with staff, I could not cope. I felt I was going crazy. I asked – begged – him to separate so I could have space to work out in my head what the hell was going on and he refused to leave, in fact it made his (and my reactive) behavior worse. To be honest, I look back and see the wonderful courtship we had, why I was attracted and how others after me will also see all the top-line wonderful attributes – he is very handsome, charming and thoughtful; but I simply couldnt live like that and I honestly cannot imagine how anyone else will either for a longer period of time. I feel angry, like Ive been duped in some way. This was my second partnership and with children and I feel so bitter that I made another mistake – angry in my inability to cope with it.
    I feel I need to warn his new partners. I wish we could have found an equilibrium… somehow…

  9. Jess
    Jess says:

    I have Aspergers and I know a few people with it. Out of all of us there is only one that doesn’t have friends (not me). Most of us have a fair amount of friends, we just don’t feel the need to spend all our time with them or communicate with them every single day. But we do enjoy the company of other people, when we choose it. Saying people with Aspergers don’t have friends is wrong. Maybe YOU don’t, but I’m sorry I am NOT like you and I DO have Aspergers. I also highly enjoy sexual contact and touching,

  10. bilharx
    bilharx says:

    Hi I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and dyspraxia. Stimulants help me but there’s still something missing. I also had more issues with the social side of dyspraxia not many issues with the physical side and always thought I wasn’t Aspergers because I believed Aspergers had no empathy. Wrong of course. I’m a woman and don’t fully identify with stereotypical Aspergers but fully identify with the female version. I also did have issues with ADHD diagnosis because of the female issue.
    Anyway, just wondering how having BOTH ADHD and Aspergers would present in a woman. It’s difficult to find examples. I get examples of one or the other.

    • Ingrid
      Ingrid says:

      Hello there! I am a 20 year old female (am I old enough to call myself a woman now? I think so…) and I have ADHD and aspergers, so does three of my siblings (I also have some with just ADHD), and we are all very different. I am not really sure what you are asking here. Do you want to know how the ADHD interacts with the aspergers in a female? If so, some of the things I often think about is that my ADHD makes concentration difficult and my aspergers give me hyperfocus when I am interested. Which means that if its not interesting, getting it done will be slow or not at all. Hyperactvity and impulsiveness in combination with less than stellar social skills can cause… Interesting results. I always try to be very careful about what I say and do, as not to emberrass myself. I get very insecure because I have problems knowing if people laugh because I am funny in an acceptable way, or if they are laughing because they have never experienced something so stupid. I mostly just shut up, It’s easier. Not saying you should shut up! I myself are trying to talk to people more. Many of them seem nice enough.. I think I went a bit off track here… How abou this: if you want to ask something specific, you just reply to this and ask, maybe I will have something constructive to say.

  11. K
    K says:

    I’ve been depressed over not being able to find a partner for 5 years. I can’t even find a date! How the hell do you get a woman to say yes? I’ve been rejected by probably between 100-150 women over the past 5 years. I’ve only tried with women on the Internet because I have no idea how to talk to a girl I’m interested in in person in a way that is appropriate and non-invasive (like, how do you find out if she has a partner without being too forward? Before waisting your time and being friendzoned by someone you could never see as just a friend?

  12. Virg
    Virg says:

    Thanks all for your insights and info! I am married to an “aspie” as you call it and it is not easy. He definitely feels no empathy for me if I am hurting, can’t even understand it, but if he is ailing I am his nurse. It is very very hard for him to operate and understand what not to say in groups and how to treat people, so a lot of times he blurts out words that others look at as odd. Over time my family has gotten used to it, but I have to remind him kids are in the room, or think about what you say, etc. Thank you again — helps me to understand a bit of where he is coming from.

  13. lesleyreynolds
    lesleyreynolds says:

    thank you that was so helpful to read. Is anyone able to give advice on the following issue;

    I have identified a very dear friend as having many Asperger’s traits. I know he would not be receptive to the suggestion of this but I know it would help him in life and our relationship. What is the best way to lead him to self discovery because I know he would not take the suggestion from myself.

  14. gina rex
    gina rex says:

    I appreciate a “peek” into your family’s experience with Asperger. Much of the text sounds like cheerleading for the established psychological view that being social (or hyper-social in the U.S.) is de facto normal and good and that Asperger intelligence is annoying, dangerous and a disorder, simply because we are not amenable to social indoctrination. That is, we’re too smart to believe the religious baloney (psychology is not a science) that those who don’t obey the priesthood and its stifling rules are subhuman. We are labeled and accused unjustly: I for one am thoroughly tired of discrimination against Asperger individuals. If the attacks made on our way of perceiving the universe were being made against African Americans, women, Asians, Hispanics or any other group, those groups would be outraged. Why aren’t we standing up for ourselves? An Asperger scientist.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Excuse me mam, but people with aspergers DO have friends! You are wrong about them!They do need hugs and those who don’t are autistic! Autistics are always confused for aspies and vice versa! I know someone who is miserable because the people she really loves do not show her enough affection and always assume she hates it when she always prays for it all the time! She doesn’t feel comfortable asking for it, because her dad and other sane relatives are not comfortable with it either! I mean they both connect hugs as being incestial, but at the same they know its not incest to hug each other or kiss on the cheeks or forheads!

    As for friends, very few people like the girl, because she is a loser and a geek! People ignore her or reject her all the time, because she doesn’t want to kill her hair with dyes and bleaches and makeup irritates her eyes, so men always choose the less natural beauty the fake woman over her all the time!

    She has PCOS and has undiagnosed allergies that contribute to her lack of beauty.

    This woman always is trying to find someone to marry and men leave her for no logical reason and she always gets hurt. She is trying to get married and loves lovemaking, but the men always leave her and she always suffers from that all the time over and over, because men use her and they claimed to love her.

    The woman told me that she has been chaste for the last 2 years, because she is fed up with how the beautiful and intelligent men treat her and that she seeks a man of that description who will love her and will treat right all the time!

    She wants love and almost everyone treats her badly. There is always someone who says bad things about her and causes the breakups or maybe shes cursed, because she dabbled in the occult. People just stop liking her when shes been nice to them the whole time. Her exfiance and his parents do not understand her and legally got rid of her and that drove her to near suicide a few times so far.

    She usually sleeps alone, because she has a small bed (her parents use always money as an excuse not to better her environment!)and she only can keep a man for less than 11 months. She likes sharing a bed with a partner and always struggles with going to bed at a good time, because she feels as if she hasn’t done enough in the day and hates sleeping alone! She hates when the cats won’t share the bed! She is needy, but her needs are not abnormal, they are perfectly normal for a geek and loser. I didn’t call her a geek and lover, she told me she was those things and i understand why.

    Shame on you for saying untrue things about people with aspergers, because that just encourages people to not like them and it encourages people to think that they don’t want love when MANY DO. many do try to love, but being hurt all the time makes them feel unloved and unwanted and the lies you spew are only making people think that they do not like people and want to be alone when in fact that IS NOT TRUE.

    I am sick of people who lie about my friend. SHe wants love and she deserves it, those who don’t deserve their loneliness. Stop assuming bad things about aspies and learn to open your mind mam, because your attitude stinks.

  16. dd
    dd says:

    You obviously have issues cuz ur hella narrow minded and general. And you are not that smart! You may be good at IQ tests but in practical daily situations that is almost irrelevant! A truly smart person would realize that everybody is different and everyone has different opinions and ideas. I have genetic and mental disorders and I’m still smart enough to figure out how others view me! And how to interact with others, maybe I suck at it but at least I try! Maybe you just need to stop listening to doctors and people who don’t have what u got, and figure out how to deal with people like everybody else! Read a book, I think even a psychopath can learn right from wrong and how to operate in life, without feeling empathy, but maybe understanding the importance of it in society. There’s more than one equation and therefore answer to every single question in the universe! Maybe you should stop worrying about what other people think and be selfish and worry about Your needs like everybody else does! And watch the bridge and bones, etc, figure out how you not you and your kid, just you! Figure out how you learn, what techniques help you remember things. Then it would not really matter what disorder you had right!

  17. Y
    Y says:

    Why would you advertise on this blog? Your experience with your “husband” leaving you and then returning through a so called spell, had absolutely no relevance in this forum. Moreover, I don’t comprehend why anyone would want another person to be with him/her against their free will. You must not love yourself at all….

  18. gina rex
    gina rex says:

    I want to add a post from my blog because it’s something important for women to think about re: Emotion. It starts with a quote from “The Simpsons.”

    Homer to Marge: “You don’t appear to be in any kind of physical pain, the only type of pain a man understands”.

    I am female, but I am unable to tell the difference between physical and emotional pain. There are times I’ve gone to a medical doctor, because I really can’t figure out if I’m sick or upset. This led me to read about how the brain processes pain and “feels” emotions. Guess what? There is only one circuit for both – emotional pain is physical. How could it be otherwise unless you believe that emotions are supernatural, which I’m sure many social people believe.
    Only three or four emotions exist: the flight or fight response of aggression and fear; disgust, and pleasure. From my own experience, I suspect that Asberger individuals experience a default “neutral” state. Social children learn to diffuse and differentiate their basic pain responses and to give those new states names – it’s a fundamental task of social training. This is especially true for females. Inflating and dispersing pain via hundreds of descriptive words serves to keep females confused, distracted from anger and fear, and obsessed with subtle differences and changes in social emotions. This socialization of pain keeps women powerless. Society teaches females to imagine that real physical responses are thousands of subtle and entangled emotions that don’t really exist!
    What I am suggesting is that Aspies experience basic physiological pain, not the “emotions” social children learn. Also that we have a neutral setting, which is our default setting. This benign state produces our familiar “blank reaction” when people say something unimportant or baffling. We just don’t feel emotion/pain unless something in the environment triggers the fight or flight response or pleasure or disgust. Social people interpret our neutral setting as offensive; after all, to them, everything they say or do, and the reaction they get from people, is vital to the continuing existence of the universe. Social people assume that we don’t care about human beings because we’re not in their frantic (to us) emotional mode 24/7. Emotion for us isn’t this fantastical overwhelming supernatural state that colors and controls the fate of mankind. For us it is pain or the absence of pain – and our response is most often flight.
    I think this also may explain why Asperger individuals commonly suffer from anxiety. From the time we are young, social situations are fight or flight for us because we are rejected and treated badly. We are different, and social people react very negatively to that fact. Diversity is not really a social value.
    If you whack a dog on the nose every time it gets up on the couch, and then force it to get up on the couch and whack it again for doing so, and repeat this cycle again and again, will that dog not soon be in a state of perpetual fear?

    • Ingrid
      Ingrid says:

      You tone is a tad negative, but I get what you are saying and it rings true somewhat. I am most often in neutral state and my emotion are seldom subtle. At school I am in a defensive fight or flight modus, never letting my guard down. It’s exausting actually. It used to be worse, but I am slowly learning to relax, that nobody is out to get me. Anyway, I tend to fell emotions in the extreme. Either pure joy, blind anger (here I remove myself from the situation) or crippling frustration/fear/anxiety. It is also annoying when people assume I am grumpy or angry at them when they try to talk to me while I am in my “I am alone, I am conentrating, this is facinating, I dont want to engage socially” mode. To be specific: my sister and I are roommates. Sometimes she stays with her boyfriend during weekends. I spend that time enjoying my solitude. At the end of the weekend they return. They come barging in without any warning. They carry stuff. They talk. They bump into my chair. They poke me in the back. They expect me to welcome them back. They expect me to be able to talk to them right away. I am expected to now how to not accidentaly offend or hurt her super sensitive boyfriend (he used to be bullied, not his fault. But still! Its hard knowing what not to say!). I wish I had my own room, with a bed that is not a bunkbed. I’m 20 for crying out loud! Sorry for making unusefull comments…

  19. bomoore
    bomoore says:

    Wow! This is one blog I will not return to: the comments run from ridiculous to uneducated to mean. It’s like a middle school lunchroom food fight. That’s the U.S. ! Infantile.

  20. Unnamed
    Unnamed says:

    Actually, none of this is true, i have aspergers and i find this offensive, especially #2 where you said people with aspergers dont have friends, that is just alienating autistic people

  21. DD
    DD says:

    I am a woman with aspergers. I would like to state that I disagree on a few things mentioned here.

    Firstly, feelings are individual, where someone might like to have friendships another might not. I personally long for close friendships but have trouble to establish them.

    Secondly, just because a person has aspergers it does not exactly mean they have a higher I.Q. many of us have learning disabilities and have never had the proper help in school, many of us have been diagnosed very late in life and never had the support they needed to get a good education so generalizing all aspergers as having higher I.Q.’s is discriminatory.

    The spectrum is very diverse, because people themselves are diverse. to make generalized statements of people as a whole is excluding those who have their own individual story.

  22. Ian McLaughlin
    Ian McLaughlin says:

    I went my entire childhood undiagnosed because it was the 80s and 90s and people were so self absorbed with normalcy at that time that I slipped through the cracks. Nowadays it seems that people are overly concscious of eccentricities, which is good because I was finally diagnosed at 31 years old. Aspergers is a sneaky and pervasive syndrome. I am the son of a philosopher who spent most afternoons sleeping and complaining, and I couldn’t understand either as a child. He used to yell at me for no reason or fault of my own. As I grew older and went to college, I also got into fits of rage with NT people because they have it so freaking easy. Having aspergers is like being a professional sports player that never gets to play. You’re on the team and you have to practice, but you don’t understand enough to really play well with your other team mates and it leaves you with a hole in your heart the size of the earth. You want to connect, but on your own time and your own terms. I am highly intelligent at spatial analysis and imagery, but I lack organizational skills, life skills, and I suck at math. Zoloft pretty much saved my adult life from fits of bitter rage and thoughts of suicide due to depression and anger. It sucks I have to go the rest of my entire life like an alien from mars forced to live with a bunch of chatty, boring, self indulgent, lying, backstabbing, complicated and normal NT people. At first I was pissed to be on the autism spectrum because it felt like a bombshell being dropped because autism is way more serious than “just qwerky.” After I was angry I realized the diagnosis finally gave me the tools and connection to a greater community that I strived for, and I am now a semi-successful naturalist at a nature center and I’m proud to be different, and I encourage people that feel different to try medication before they try anything else, that could be potentially fatal. I’m single, I hate dating, I’m not thrilled about human contact in general, and I’d rather spend my adult life doing more important things than driving a bunch of brats to soccer practice and supporting their every waking breath with my comments and thoughts about how they should be. Personally I don’t think people with aspergers should procreate because we can barely run our own lives. Just my two cents. Some days I wish I could just retire early and do what I want to do. Actually that’s most days. High functioning…more like low functioning based on societal norms on what is important to be successful. I gotta stop writing this is starting to piss me off.

  23. deb
    deb says:

    Thank you. I now understand my daughter. I have been so confused over what is what with her… it all makes sense. She is highly intelligent married mother of three, and totally having “anxiety attacks”. I felt it was more, knew it was more. Now I can help. Thank you

  24. Quote "alias" Tations
    Quote "alias" Tations says:

    interesting, this gives a lot of justification to the things i do. The type of things that i wouldn’t have known if google wasn’t fairly bad at figuring out what i ask it. For any interested in what i searched, word for word “are there any ways to get personal information to fill in to polls so that i never receive junk mail”. i am fairly certain i found what i wanted, but not what i was searching for.
    Lastly, for anyone wondering what i had validated, even since i was slightly younger then i currently am, i have been fairly into card games, yugioh and magic the gathering specifically. as it turns out, i know nearly every card in both games, as well as the rulings of all of them as well. i also am near undefeated in what i do. This near directly justifies that. thank you for the information.

  25. Biff Baxter
    Biff Baxter says:

    Aspergers was never anything more than Neanderthal gene expression. Most importantly, this was strongly suggested by Hans Asperger when he studied “the little professors.”

    Aspergers has nothing to do with autism although certain types of epigenetic triggers can occur in both situations. The whole point of Hans’ research was his conclusion that this condition had nothing to do with autism.

    As creatures who are now documented as having dominated the planet effortlessly for over a million years it would be hardly accurate to describe any aspect of Neanderthal genes as “inferior.” They are no such thing.

    It is just that they were perfectly tailored for small tribes of super intelligent, superhumanly strong and agile super humans who were extremely honest, plain spoken, loyal and virtuous creatures. They survived not only the Ice Age but “snowball earth” where formerly it was believed nothing could have survived.

    The pathology comes 38,000 years later when their descendants attempt to coexist with people who believe professional wrestling is a real sport. Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals don’t mix, they never did and they never will. Sapiens is a genetically damaged subpar spear-chucking part rhesus monkey who will never amount to a hill of beans. When the current Holocene ends, you can be assured the Neanderthal will resume his march through history and all of these Walmart shoppers will follow their grasshopper relatives back to wherever it is they dripped out of. At that time, there will be nothing odd about “Aspergers” people at all because they will be the only type of human beings who can live in the natural climate of the planet.

  26. David McKay
    David McKay says:

    I don’t believe in this sickness. There is just people, and that’s it. All kinds of people. This kind of people is no different, or special from the rest. They are not smarter, or funnier, or stupider. They’re normal. But I think that is the last thing a person with this disease wants to be, is normal. So good luck with all the scientific names and such.

    • David Beck
      David Beck says:

      Well Aspergers is not a disease, for me it’s a word that characterises people with certain personality traits, namly a high IQ and low social skills. There are just people, but there are of course differences between people. Aspergers describes some of them.

  27. David Beck
    David Beck says:


    What a large body of text in the comments which I’m going to add to.

    For a start not everybody with Aspergers has the same qualities, nor are they all as bad as one another. I’m lucky that I don’t have depression nor suicidal tendencies.

    I have found relationships to be difficult. Oddly enough at least 80% of the people I have fallen in love with (who have loved me too) have also had aspergers – it’s not deliberate though, it just seems to have happened that way.

    The difficult part seems to be maintaining that relationship after a few month’s. we seem to mutually loose interest, People are such fickle things. I’m obviously aware the difference between love and lust having experienced both. Forming meaningful lasting relationships seems to be especially difficult, perhaps because of the increasingly fragmented and decontextualised world is resulting in people having the attention span of kittens.

    I recently watched an episode of Star Trek the next Generation called “In Theory” where a young Ensign falls in love with Data, a being incapable of emotion. Data responds by studying a body of work to try to approximate a normal relationship, but fails miserably. Whilst people with Aspergers have emotions, and feel things just as strongly as everyone else, it can be difficult to know appropriate behavior in relationships. Whilst I can’t speak for everyone, for me a relationship is about affection, friendship, having someone to talk and listen to, someone you love spending time with, touching, loyalty, protection and someone who wants whats best for you and someone to debate with.

    I know I’m cynical but it seems the most attractive qualities “normal” women go for are deviance, excitement, aggression; bad boys. Again I’m generalising 52% of the human race and I apologise. It does seem though that asperger’s style characteristics aren’t that usually that attractive. I’ve known so many people who are just outstanding in so many ways that have been totally 100% ignored by the opposite sex.

  28. bo moore
    bo moore says:

    Wow! As a female Asperger who is old enough to have gained some wisdom, I think the Internet has outlived its usefulness as a medium of communication. It’s become a place to yell, to be rude, to be angry and stupid, just like American society has become over the previous 40-50 years. I’m all for free speech, but why waste it on infantile mud-slinging. I wish the people who post here would go back and read what they have said, and understand that they have wasted good words.

  29. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    So, seeing as you say having a spouse is important when you have Asperger’s, how does one go about this when they are an aromantic asexual (meaning they experience no romantic or sexual attraction to anyone) and are physically repulsed by the mere idea of having to do anything of that variety (kissing, saying “I love you” and not meaning it platonically, etc.) with a fellow human being?
    …Society thoroughly sucks.

  30. Roshallock
    Roshallock says:

    I found this to be an interesting article, however I took issue with almost every point you raised at one level or another. I myself have AS and generally feel that the points illustrated were an over simplification as well as a play on stereotypical behaviors that are not always the case for individuals with AS. Perhaps I am being picky with the details of your discussion, but hey, it comes with the territory.

    I do agree that it can be difficult to found and maintain relationships with others, however I feel it is a total farce to say “People with Asperger’s Don’t Have Friends”. To be frank, the salt and pepper dashes of narcissistic commentary on superior intellect and reduced social requirements for life are a bit tiresome. I can tell you, and I’m sure you’re well aware, that people with AS aspire to more than just having a life partner and a job. To imply that this is all I, or anyone else with AS needs to live life, is insulting and degrading to those who live with this condition. That this article is published and released to the public as anything other than an opinion column somewhat escapes me.

  31. Rebecca greenbank
    Rebecca greenbank says:

    Thank you so much, you have described me down to a tea. I have tears down my cheeks. Especially no 2, hit me the most. My husband and I clash so often, any I do strive to have a friend, but he is my only friend, wish I had someone else as well. But I do struggle with that connection.

  32. Audrey
    Audrey says:

    I believe my sister who is in her 50’s has undiagnosed aspergers. When young psycologist blamed my mom for not socializing her, concequently never took her back to be evaluated. Now my mom has passed and my sister is alone and not dealing with it well. She lives in anouther state than me and everytime I mention moving down with me she gets angry with me. She also is not working right now jobs seem to be harder on her to find. any sugjestions on how to get though to her?

  33. Symone
    Symone says:

    As someone who has Asperger’s, none of this is true. I’m so offended. Really? We don’t have friends? Maybe some, but not all.

  34. freiheitistunteilbar
    freiheitistunteilbar says:

    Who thinks that marriage and relationships are synonymous and marriage in adulthood is mandatory is an idiot – or a woman who benefit from this myth – and should rather embrace reality.

  35. Ozy
    Ozy says:

    Your number 2 point is an epic fail. While this may be true for some with AS, others like my son are very sociable. Making friendships is a strength, maintaining friendships is another story. As parents, we were able to see the latter dynamic early on and helped our son to build on his maintaining friendships. I’m sure other kids with AS are very sociable too. Point 1 by the way is right on with our son.

  36. Kris
    Kris says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!
    My partner, daughter, and stepson are all Aspies. I have started to realize how they think, and my life is so enriched because of that unique perspective. My partner and I are really struggling on the issue of “friends”. She doesn’t seem to need them, and doesn’t understand why I do. This blog really provides some beautiful analogies about that and other issues.
    Nice work!!

  37. Chris
    Chris says:

    My neighbor has Aspbergers and he gets on my freaking nerves. lol This article helped a lot. Thanks for writing and publishing it.

  38. John
    John says:

    I really want to thank you for this article. I am 40 years old and have only known about Aspergers for a couple years. I was ‘thrilled’ to discover that not only does the dragon have a name, but others are fighting it too!!! Something that I find kind of peculiar about the ‘neuro-typical’, in general they lack sympathy for those that lack sympathy(you could also say this about empathy as well). I admire you putting our version of things out there. We didnt choose to be broken, and we cant fix ourselves without at least one other person getting involved!!

  39. gina rex
    gina rex says:

    As a scientist-Aspie I have been looking into the claims and myths about “our” peculiar condition. I have included actual science in informal language – there is a lot of real info out there, but much of it is being done in zoology, evolutionary neuroscience, and in medical fields by researchers who are NOT mesmerized by outdated psychological explanations of human behavior. One of my main assertions is that the ‘symptoms’ we have are not brain defects, but REACTIONS to bad social environments. Did you know that many wild animals that are caught and imprisoned in zoos develop the same behaviors that as ‘mentally ill’ humans? In reading many of these comments I am distressed to hear Apies blaming themselves, when ‘society’ is a two-way street! It’s not like every NT is angelic, reasonable or fascinating.

  40. gina rex
    gina rex says:

    In order to understand the mess surrounding Asperger’s diagnosis and treatment, we need to look at the philosophical underpinnings of different schools of psychology; importantly between Piaget and Vygotsky. Their basic assumptions have a huge bearing on how Asperger’s children are defined, viewed and treated.

    Piaget’s demands are highly unrealistic (indeed wacky) and are more like prescriptions than established science. For instance, according to Piaget, “When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself,” which begs the question, why do we build schools and hire teachers? How bizarre! The advantage of the long and open window of learning in humans is that it’s efficient! The individual doesn’t have to re-discover existing knowledge, which no individual could possibly do, but has the tremendous advantage of learning from other humans, even those who died long ago. He also claims that every child must conform to HIS (not Nature’s) 4 Stages of Development regardless of the child’s environment, culture, or social reality. Differences in individual children don’t count. Whether or not a child is born in Madagascar, Siberia, or California, this scheme for learning and development is The Scheme, as if handed down from God. In case you don’t think these distinctions are important, Piaget’s POV actually justifies immoral activities such as the Western European tradition of Corporate / Religious take-over (extermination) of cultures around the world. His 4 stages of development prescribe rigid conformity, as if children are trains which must show up at specified stations on time; any deviation (like Asperger’s) is a sign of a defective child.

    Vygotsky is thoroughly disparaged by some ‘assembly line’ advocates. It could be that because Vygotsky was Russian, this irrational state of mind is a legacy of the Cold War. The basic differences are IMPORTANT: 1. Vygotsky maintained that the cultural and historical context in which the child is born is vital in child learning and development. 2. There are no stages of prescribed development. Children develop along a curve, at their own rate, not in steps. 3. Children learn, not in isolation, but from the adults around them, who provide knowledge and demonstrate skills that help the child to think in increasingly advanced ways until they can function as adults – on their own. Wow! Sounds like a Commie Plot to me!

    The tragedy of Psychology Wars is that American public schools and America’s children have become the laboratories / battlefields on which competing theories are being tested. Theories are weaponized, politicized and bastardized in the hands of educators, school boards, parents, teachers, consultants, so-called experts, lawyers and publishers – armies of contestants in the dash for funding, contracts, grants and salaries in the “fix your broken child” industry. Meanwhile, classroom applications of competing psychologies work at cross-purposes in the classroom, and have all but destroyed learning.

  41. Micheal
    Micheal says:

    I have Aspergers myself. I stay at home in my unit and keep to myself yet everyone around me feels the need to invade my space and categorize what i am feeling. Many of the things you mentioned i do feel myself.

    The problem is any job i go for i never get along with staff nor do i get along with my boss. Every time i meet someone nice whether that be through tafe or other means any friendship that is formed is usually temporary.

    I get told i am boring, weird and even annoying by anyone that ever gets close to me so now i have reserved myself to think “well hey why bother anymore”. Human beings over analyze every situation and since i have no “social skills” i never do well.

    I think about suicide on a regular basis but we now live in a society where every man women and child think they have the right to dictate how others live. (Don’t fool yourself we don’t live in a free society) Any descent, dignified and painless way to go is stopped at every turn.

    Sure at one time in my life i wanted to have a girlfriend. I even put myself out there on several occasions but it has always ended the way you would expect. You would be surprised how many girls react nastily to a man that seems boring or uninteresting. (like many of us with Aspergers do)

    At this point in my life i have lost my mother to cancer and now have no family or anyone that cares about me. I retreated from the rest of the world and filled the void in my life with games, books and my love of history.

    I am truly glad to hear things have worked out so well for you Penelope. I personally don’t understand how you have integrated so well with society because i lost faith in it a long time ago.

  42. gina rex
    gina rex says:

    I’m surprised that few responding on this site mention living in a natural setting. “I’m stuck in an apartment,” seems a common complaint. I have found Nature is a fabulous ‘partner,’ and years ago retreated to a remote town in which people are benign; not pushy, social, interfering, or class conscious. Every family seems to have an ‘odd duck’ or two, and human frailty is accepted as ‘normal.’ How refreshing. I stick out, not so much as Asperger, but as an intellectually-oriented person. I spend time each day in a wilderness close to home, which has become my best friend. You think that’s an odd thing to say? I don’t care. I’m proof that for an Asperger (and many non-A’s I’m sure), LOVE is where you find it, and I find it in nature. This idiotic romantic notion that LOVE is a greeting card sentiment is so narrow, confining and ridiculous. Marriage as an institution has failed, because it belongs to a bygone era, when women were objects / slaves to male “needs” – domestic workers and child-bearers. Marriage (the institution) is about property, inheritance, control: utterly unromantic things. I married in my 20’s but chose to leave because it wasn’t for me. End of story. It took awhile, but I discovered that I was already deeply in love with nature, and how could I limit that feeling to just one person? I had the good fortune to accept this state of affairs as valid –

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