05 February 2009

Straight talk

You might be reading this now because of a post of mine that I foolishly posted on a certain autism-related message board. Please accept my profound apologies for this offense. To be honest, it was a confrontational stunt performed deliberately while in a delusional and agitated state of mind, intended to produce a reaction and a backlash. I will say, if it makes you feel any better, that I am not generally prone to doing such things. I try to be kind and considerate to others, except maybe here on these pages where there is no one else to answer to save conscience and Mother Truth. But we all have our off days, I suppose.

I am not naive, nor was I born yesterday; I knew precisely how that article would be perceived in that forum. You see, I was talking mainly about myself there. It was a pithy, childlike cry for attention, the action of a narcissist crybaby. I am the "loser narcissist" which was the subject of that rant. From what I have read, most people diagnosed with AS are productive individuals who readily give their talents and intellect to the world. Please accept my deepest apologies for my implication that those of you who are 'autism spectrum' and make meaningful contributions to the world are anything besides good, worthy citizens. There is no crime, mind you, in lacking social skills. Like smoking a doobie, it harms no one, save maybe the self.

I do not claim to have all the answers in the world. Far from it. The opinions presented on these pages are merely feeble, barely coherent rantings of a semi-intelligent, poorly formed, infantilized mind. I may be hard on the world, but if anything else I can be hardest and most demanding on myself.

I will be frank with you now regarding my opinions on autism and Asperger's syndrome, and by extension life in general. As Juan McCain likes to say, here is some straight talk. This blog is all about exposing the truth about life matters in any case, even if I haven't been so forthright in this regard in the past.

If you wish to take this justification as a pithy, pathetic excuse for why a loser like me does what he does, so be it. You would probably be right, too.

As I have previously noted, I was diagnosed with Asperger's as an adolescent, by several different psychologists referred to my family by my high school, who observed my behavior at the time and drew conclusions therein. Since then I have attempted as much as possible to deny this. I have struggled with much self-doubt since that time.

It goes back to parental respect, and what I was taught as a child.

My father is a rather conservative person. I respect him greatly, though I can't say that I truly love him. (Being a narcissist, I can only really ever be in love with myself.)

When I was initially diagnosed (around age 16 or so), I was willing to accept this, as it seemed as good an explanation as any for my social impairments and occasional bizarre, self-destructive behavior. But my father did not agree. Like most of my elders, he is big on taking responsibility for one's actions. His opinion was (and presumably remains) that AS as a disorder is a fiction, that it is an excuse for not trying; that my behavior was driven by moral and personal failings that could be eliminated by changing my personality and having the willpower to carry through with such a change.

Needless to say, as I aged I adopted this philosophy gradually, at first only outwardly to make peace with him (I still lived at home at the time) but later internally.

Why? Because I thought it was the mature thing to do. My father is at a mature age. He has three decades more life experience than I do, as he likes to make clear to me at every opportunity. Who am I to question his wisdom and conclusions on life, especially when you're an impressionable, ignorant person such as myself who has failed at practically everything tried in life?

And it was convenient. I am inclined to blame myself when something goes wrong; that has been an enduring trait of mine throughout life. (My counselor tells me this is an Asperger's trait, so what do I know.) The primary thing about Asperger's syndrome is that it causes severe social impairment. To me, "severe social impairment" always brings to mind the perpetual adolescent loafer that lived next door to my parents' house, who lived with his parents until he was thirty, quit college before graduating, never held a job for more than six months at a time, and spent practically all his free time in his room playing video games.

Later libertarian philosophy influenced me, as practiced by the good folks over at LewRockwell.com. They are big on taking responsibility for one's actions and eschewing lame excuses for behavior.

So Asperger's became to me a label, a crutch, an excuse for behavior which was only mine to change.

And over time, I became independent and self supporting. I graduated from college, then graduate school, then I found a job and have been working here for a number of years. This despite my social anxieties. I found that over time, I was able to better control my outbursts, more obvious social abnormalities, and emotional comportment. In short, I matured. I attributed it to better self discipline and the greater maturity that comes with age.

I figured, if I can do that, am I really "impaired"? If I can barely function throughout high school and college, and then "man up" once I enter the working world where the consequences for risky behavior become dire, is Asperger's then real?

Of course, this may be typical of folks with Asperger's who transition into adulthood. But I have no outside perspective on this. Perhaps some of you could enlighten me.

It is true that I still lack a great deal of social contact, much less any romantic prospects. I can say with almost certainty that I have no friends in the fullest, most meaningful sense of the word. I will openly admit, right here, that I remain a virgin to this day.

This is only fair, really. I would attribute this to:

1) little contact with other people outside work;
2) deliberate maintenance of a regimen of minimal social interaction (I like my solitude also);
3) needy, clinging, negative personality, which contributes directly to 1) and 2).

Such is the outcome of the lifetime pursuit of failure. In the end it is only myself who has ended up in a dark, lonely, cold place by not practicing what I preach. Such are the wages of a nihilistic philosophy of Me.

I guess it would be wrong to simply state that Asperger's is a fraud based on my experience. I am the true fraud. It is true that I probably don't have Asperger's, notwithstanding any diagnoses in my past. Instead, I am a narcissistic attention seeker who has desired ego stroking throughout life to feed a self destructive binge. No matter how much praise I receive, I only want to loathe myself all the more in spite of all that.

When I am calm and coherent, I am not usually inclined to spout obscenties about myself. But that is rare. Most of the time (or at least when I am emotionally agitated, which is not obvious from mere observation) I experience a major degree of self loathing. When this happens, I need to speak to someone and hear them say good things about me. Narcissistic supply, I dare say. But then I proceed to deny the veracity of everything they say, all probably true, in the name of the "truth." Because I need to feel bad about myself, almost like a drug. I don't understand why, other than that I despise my personality, I feel like I can't perform my job properly, and that I feel that other people dislike me. Of course, the reality likely is (see, I can't even simply admit that I'm deluded) is that my personality is pleasant enough, I perform my job well, and other people have no problem with me (though I provide them little opportunity to forge close and lasting social relationships with me). This has been told to me many, many times, while no one has ever agreed with my own line of thinking. Yet I simply can't accept this as truth. This pathological self-loathing is the root cause of all my problems - social, professional, domestic. I presume this is not due to Asperger's syndrome, but is behavior of a more pathological sort.

Really it is fascinating. Praise usually has a positive effect on people; but for me, the opposite is true. The depths of my narcissistic self hatred is so intense, it can only be explained as the warped demonstration of a deep pathological narcissism and sense of grandiose superiority that in the end can only serve to destroy me utterly. If I cannot be unconditionally worshipped as the flawless god which I am, then it would appear that I am not worthy of praise or acceptance otherwise.

It is how I have acted throughout my life. It is morally repulsive and reprehensible, and should rightfully be condemned.

As one of the respondents to my odious post noted, I gamed the system. That's right, that's exactly what I did. I am a spoiled, disgusting crybaby, plain and simple, probably not very deserving of the life that nature gave me.

This is why I have always stated that Asperger's is a fraud in the past: because I played it for a fraud. This is not truth seeking, but more trolling for narcissistic supply. To conflate it with truth is, too, fraud.

As to whether Asperger's is a fiction or not in reality, I'll leave that up to those who have the credentials and credibility to vouch (or not vouch) for its existence. Certainly I have no experience there.

To that respondent who stated that this was a horrible blog: Well, besides the poorly written, pompous, self-righteous deprecation of outside interests as my childish means of psychological projection, I think this is a very good blog. You and I may not see eye to eye politically, but libertarianism is not all that bad a philosophy. Try it sometime. And tell me what's wrong with viatology (i.e. highway studies), daytime television, or urban studies? Other people have these diverse interests, too, as my links attest.

From this point onward, I will refrain from posting critical observations about life phenomena outside of my areas of research interest: politics, economics, urban affairs, popular entertainment, and viatology.

Because as Jesus said, he who casts the first stone should be without sin - and believe it, that ain't me.


Earl Robbins said...

I like this blog a lot, and I really respect you for being unafraid to take an honest look at yourself and the world around you.

I found this post in a blog search for "viatology" and found something a lot more informed and thoughtful than I had been expecting. Keep up the good work.

- Earl

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I found a link to your blog on Wrongplanet.com (I'm sure you recall the post you made there.) to a certain extent I agree with you - Asperger's should never, ever be a crutch.
Nothing makes me more angry than when someone says to me "Oh, it's ok because you're an aspie." It's true that some aspects of being an aspie are unavoidable, such as sensory overload and social difficulties, but many of these can be, if not totally removed, at least lessened by practice and work.

However, I do find your assertion that all aspies are lazy, narssistic, and otherwise repulsive deeply offensive. I've worked hard my entire seventeen years to be socially acceptable to my peers and I would like to believe that I have done a decent job at doing so.

I also believe that neurodiversity is something we should strive towards, not because I wish to the carried on the backs of my peers, (God protect me from such a fate!) but because I truely believe that Aspergers and Autism - when seperated from their respective drawbacks - have their own unique gifts to offer.

I've promised myself that I will contribute to my society the best I can, and hope that you continue to do the same.

Best of wishes,

Noah Adams said...

I'm sorry that you feel this way. Does it occur to you that your self-loathing may have more to do with issues of your own self-worth than narcissism?

It sounds like you have a difficult and exacting father. Perhaps trying to live up to unreasonable standards is part of the problem; and they do sound unreasonable.

It does occur to me that such deep self-loathing and willingness to point out one's personal faults is not exactly characteristic of narcissism. Were you narcissistic, I would expect you to stick with the point you made on the original wrongplanet forum, not tear it (and yourself) apart.

Be kinder to yourself. Listen to your therapist. When you make a mistake, pick yourself up and carry on, but without agonizing over your fault for making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, perhaps posting this comment to what may be a void is a mistake on my part, but we learn from them and move on.