Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Not To Trust, part 2

In yesterday's post, we discussed an article that talks about developing your "Trust Meter" so that you learn who to put full trust in - and who NOT TO.

I think we need to watch out for the opposite side of the coin as well: If someone has shown us love and been kind when we didn't deserve it, we shouldn't let our Aspie tendency toward paranoia convince us that this person won't continue to do so.

Many of us have been so hurt by most people that we scarcely trust anyone and are genuinely shocked when someone truly does something nice for us out of the kindness of their heart.

It is certainly a valid form of protection not to trust people when 99% of people have always meant you harm, but we shouldn't cut off the 1% that loves us, cares about us, and only wants whats best for us.

But sometimes that 1% does something that upsets us or hurts us, and we instantly put them in the "mean people" category with the 99% who have hurt us in the past. But we shouldn't do that at first- we should let them know what they've done to offend us and find out their perspective. Usually they didn't mean to hurt us. Sometimes they thought we'd actually appreciate what they did. Sometimes they just weren't thinking. And, sometimes, they were just having a bad, selfish day. Everybody has a bad, selfish day at least once in their lives.

Sometimes they are telling us what we need to hear but don't WANT to hear, only it's really for our own good.

By working with them to resolve the issue, we can continue to trust them, and not cut them off from bringing future joy into our life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Get Eaten (Who to Trust & Not to Trust)

Came across an interesting article on that discussed knowing who to trust. The author provided several questions that can be used like a "TrustMeter" to determine whether or not someone deserves your trust.

What really caught me by suprise was toward the end when the author provided the following quote by Lao Tzu:

The Master…trusts people who are trustworthy...She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy. This is true trust.

Huh? As Aspies, one of the problems we tend to have is TRUSTING the WRONG PEOPLE. So what gives? The article gives a good epxlanation:

Lions and leopards can be trusted to eat animals about my size. Baboons can be trusted to steal food whenever possible. Because I know this, I adapt my behavior to avoid getting eaten or pilfered.

By the same token, if someone in your life pulls in a dismal score on the Trust Test, perpetually failing to keep promises, tell the truth, quit drinking, or show compassion, this is exactly what you can depend on them to keep doing. Addicts can be trusted to lie. Narcissists can be trusted to backstab. And people who reliably do their best, whose stories check out against your own observations, can be trusted to stay relatively honest and stable.

That's powerful! If we know someone is out for themselves and is just using people, then we need to trust them to do what they do. What they've always done. And if they've hurt us, taken advantage of us, made sport of us, or otherwise ridiculed or abused us, we should expect them to continue to do so until we enforce boundaries that keep them from doing so.

Here's the "Trust Test" from that article:

The "yes" questions:

1. Does Person X usually show up on time?
2. When Person X says something is going to happen, does it usually happen?
3. When you hear Person X describing an event and then get more information about that event, does the new information usually match Person X's description?

The "no" questions:

4. Have you ever witnessed Person X lying to someone or assuming you'll help deceive a third person?
5. Does Person X sometimes withhold information in order to make things go more smoothly or to avoid conflict?
6. Have you ever witnessed Person X doing something (lying, cheating, being unkind) that he or she would condemn if another person did it?

As the saying goes, "the way we do anything is the way we do everything." I'm not saying we have the ultimate power or right to judge others. But if you trust someone whose behavior doesn't pass the six screening questions above, your trust-o-meter may well be misaligned. If Person X rated more than one "no" on the first three questions, and more than one "yes" on the second three, they don't warrant total trust at present. If you trust someone who blew all six questions, you need some readjustments. You don't have to change Person X (you can't), but you do need to take a hard look at your own patterns of trust.

By the way, if you're now rationalizing Person X's behavior with arguments like "But he means well" or "It's not her fault; she had a terrible childhood," your trust-o-meter is definitely on the fritz. These are the small lies we use to tell ourselves we're comfortable when we aren't. It's not the end of the world if Person X lies to you. Lying to yourself, on the other hand, can make your life so miserable, the end of the world might be a relief.

You can read the article HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

ESPN Surfing Wrong About Asperger's and Empathy

This just in from Ari Ne'eman, President of ASAN, as an example of how to address negative Aspie press:

From: Ari Ne'eman
Date: Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 2:53 PM
Subject: ESPN Surfing Gets it wrong about Asperger's and Empathy
To: espnsurfing@...

Dear ESPN Surfing:

In a recent article on the ESPN Surfing Blog, contributor Jon Coen applauded surfer Clay Marzo's recent win in the Quiksilver Pro Puerto Escondido, adding the following:

"What may have been most interesting is that he was adamant about dedicating his victory to Honolua Bay artist/surfer Ron Cassidy who died at Puerto last year. It's striking because if there was one thing we learned about Marzo in "JAW" and the string of press he got following it, was that his mind doesn't work socially the way ours works. Sure, the win is remarkable, but does this point to some growth in his character as well? Is he developing a sense of empathy uncommon in Asperger's patients?"

While we join Mr. Coen in applauding Clay Marzo's win, we'd like to express concern about the characterization of empathy as uncommon amongst adults and youth diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Autistic people face difficulty perceiving and expressing neurotypical social communication. This communication gap is often misunderstood as a lack of empathy on the part of Autistic people. It is understandable why Mr. Coen repeated this common stereotype, reflecting an outdated understanding of the autism spectrum still frequently cited in media and the medical literature. It has been only relatively recently that the medical community has begun to catch up to what Autistic adults already know - that there is a world of difference between the lack of empathy ascribed to us and the difficulty in communication that we actually experience (Rogers, Dziobek, Hassenstab, Wolf & Convit). However, it is nonetheless important that the record be corrected. This stereotype and similar mischaracterizations of the nature of the autism spectrum is the basis for much of the fear, stigma and prejudice faced by Autistic adults in society today. We encourage ESPN Surfing to correct the record by posting this letter and an accurate explanation of social communication issues faced by Autistic adults on its website.

Ari Ne'eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Aspie Traits: Genetic or Aquired?

I've been seeing a new counselor for the last couple weeks (because I moved, not because there was something wrong with the other one), and she really blew my mind yesterday.

Basically, she said she didn't think my Aspie traits were due to neurological differences, but rather due to extreme abuse and neglect suffered when I was a kid (loooooong sob story I'll tell you in person sometime). She came to this conclusion because I have a great capacity to learn social cues when given the opportunity. Even though my social talk, eye contact, and other outward behaviors are all part of an intricate script honed over the years I've been working, she says the fact that I even have such a script shows I recognize the importance of relationship dynamics in a way others with AS can't comprehend. Since she's connected with my job, and it will be easier to keep if I don't have a "neurological condition" I'm not interested in pressing the issue, but I'm curious what you readers might think.

Are your AS traits a given, genetic part of you that cannot be changed no matter what?

Or, are they symptoms of withdrawal due to some early childhood trauma and, thus, something you're able to overcome once you a) learn "acceptable" behaviors and b) resolve and grieve for the existing trauma.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rex Reed's Review of "Adam,"

I received this notice from one of the facebook autism sites I subscribe to. I suppose the review of the movie itself is good (I haven't seen Adam yet) but I can't BELIEVE what he wrote about Aspies! Aspies get such a bad rap for being self absorbed, but NTs are just as much so! I just think they are better at playing the game and "appearing" to care about others. But really, most people are in it for #1. Hm, maybe I'm just ranting....let me stop ranting and just share with you the notice...

In Rex Reed's review of the movie "Adam," he gave an extremely derogatory description of Asperger's. Among his crimes:

--He referred to Aspies as "Sufferers" of Asperger's.

--He gave an extreme description of Asperger's, saying that it "turns outwardly normal-looking people into high-class idiot savants," and that we are "Challenged by social interactions and given to obsessive routines that revolve around a single subject of interest, they do not like to be touched, they feel incapable of explaining things and they cannot cope with people in general."

--Worst of all, he claimed that "It is lethal to get involved romantically with any person with Asperger’s syndrome, since they care nothing about other people’s feelings, needs or priorities."

(All quotations are from Rex Reed's review, available at

Please comment on how inaccurate his portrayal of Asperger's is.

Jacob Lawrence Crosby of; has initiated a campaign to contact the editors of the New York Observer, where the offensive article appeared. (Yes, I know it's mostly a curebie site, but Jake has enough self-respect to speak out against Rex Reed.)

To send a letter to the editor, write to

To contact New York Observer Staff and Executives, check out

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Am I a Glutton? Part 3

From today's lesson (Day 12) of The Lord's Table:

Overeating is a sin for the following reasons:

  • Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). God is not glorified when we evidence a lack of self control in our eating habits.
  • My body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:17, 6:19). The temple of God is not to be destroyed or defiled. Overeating or other sinful eating habits defiles the temple and if continued in can lead to its early destruction.
  • Sinning leads to slavery (John 8:34). Overeating, like any sin, becomes addictive and can be extremely hard to overcome.
  • Jesus told us to take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23) and Paul told us to crucify the desires of the flesh (Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5). To overeat is to gratify the cravings of the flesh, rather than to crucify them. This is sin. This is not to say that it's a sin to eat when hungry. The sin of gluttony is the habit of overeating. Food is not evil, and eating is not a sin.
  • There are many passages of Scripture which speak of the sin of gluttony; the Bible instructs us to avoid the path of the glutton (Proverbs 23:20-21) and to "put a knife to our throat" if we are given to gluttony (Proverbs 23:2). (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gluttony as "excess eating.")

I'm still not 100% sure I would classify my problem of eating as sin, but then again I can see that it's not pleasing to the Lord. Why? Because I comfort myself by eating rather than by running to Him. I use food to calm myself down rather than taking refuge in the shadow of His wings. And finally, when people see me, there's no hiding that I'm larger than average, and thus I am sending a clear signal that I have no self-control, no discipline, and in today's society, that is automatically NOT bringing God any glory. In fact, I don't know what the opposite of "glorifying God through our lives" would be, but when people see us and we're too heavy, our lives have the opposite effect. Rather than glorify God, we are, in effect, telling others that He is not enough so we have to placate ourselves with sin.

Wow, maybe it *is* sin after all.

And maybe I really am a glutton.

I will have to pray about that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Love is a Choice

This is the book I'm currently working through. It's actually making me feel better about the breakup of my marriage, because I'm seeing that I attracted a man who used me based on my own unhealthy state. I'm realizing that I went into the marriage uneven to begin with, and in a few years hope to be "sufficiently recovered" to attract better people into my life, whether those are potential marriage partners or just friends.. I'm working through many of the issues (I think) so I expect this whole experience will make me stronger than ever. You might like to check it out:

There's a newer version, but I'm using the old yellow one I bought off Thrift Books for one cent plus shipping.

Kissing My Baby's Face Off (Guilt and Envy)

In today's video blog, Dr Laura answers a question from a lady who was criticized for kissing her baby too much in public.

I'll be the first to admit I don't like the way Dr. Laura treats most of her radio-show callers, but I really liked this entry. She said in this case it was most likely that the criticism came because of guilt and envy.

I think that applies a lot to all situations, not just the baby kissing.

When people criticize us, why are they doing it?
Do they really have our best interest at heart and are trying to help us?
I think this is rare.

Or (more likely)

Are they guilty they didn't put as much effort into their lives?
Are they envious because we have something they don't?
Are they envious because we are providing something to others (but not them)?
Are they envious of some skill, intelligence, even the Aspie ability to not really "care" about social norms and fashions (and yes, this CAN be a gift)?

I still don't know why people go out of their way to criticize my weight, but 3 years ago someone sat me down and explained to me that most of the criticism I receive is REALLY is out of jealousy. It really helped me to feel better about myself and carry myself with confidence, knowing that I'm not "bad" but that the other person is just envious. I suspect NTs probably pick up on this, but if you have an Aspie relative who seems to be the brunt of outside criticism, you might want to share these questions and get them thinking.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Am I a Glutton? Part 2

While I'm still quite resistant to the idea that my stress-induced eating is Sin (described as such in The Lord's Table online course I'm taking), I certainly am more aware of it now. I see now that I'm eating out of stress, anxiety, rather than taking it before the Lord, and because my eyes have been opened, I am more often taking it before the Lord rather than soothing myself with something to eat.

It hinders our spiritual development, our relationship with God, to put anything before God and stress eating is certainly putting the comfort derived from food before the comfort of the Spirit.

When I think of the scriptures on gluttony, I don't feel it's describing me. But then, when I did some online research and my eyes were opened that gluttonly isn't just eating. It encompases a variety of excesses, including some that we, as Aspies, really struggle with:
White Stone Journal says there are at least three forms of Gluttony:

1) Wanting more pleasure from something than it was made for.
2) Wanting it exactly our way (delicacy).
3) Demanding too much from people (excessive desire for other people's time or presence).

Yikes and double yikes! I am definitely on that list:
1. I get angry when things/people don't provide the amount of pleasure I (usually unreasonably or illogically) expect it to
2. It has taken a looooooong time for me to realize that it's not all about me- that everything doesn't have to be my way, and that other people can have ideas that are just as good, even of those ideas are nothing like mine.
3. I have long since resigned myself to having an "intense" personality and try hard to realize that other people aren't as intense- so they aren't going to write as long an email, and they aren't going to spend as much time with me (or with my special interest). I've had to reign in myself, stop wanting too much of people. In the process of doing so, I've been able to form more "quality" friendships.

So when I take another look at the idea of gluttony (excess), I realize there are many, many areas of my life that have spiraled out of control.

I guess that's a tough thing about being an Aspie: You can pull it all together for awhile, but if you're not careful, one swoop of life can knock you off your feet and cause it all to unravel.

I'm going to rebuild my life, and in doing so, I hope to fortify myself so that the next circumstance that takes a punch at me knocks me down, but not out. Hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Am I a Glutton? Part 1

For those who don't know me, I'm going through a very stressful life change right now. Although things are looking up, I'm having to deal with the consequences of some of my coping mechanisms.

I've tried to:

I really think I've done a great job in handling all this. But there's one area that looms over me, one tell-tale sign that things are not ok, no matter how good a front I put up when I'm outside the security of my house:

My Weight. It's growing. And the visible expansion of my waistline in such a short period of time tells the world (or at least the people who see me every day) that I'm using food as a crutch, eating uncontrollably, and not taking good care of myself. That statement may not be true (I don't think I'm as bad as I look), but that's how they see me, and I have to acknowledge that.

I've gained 12 pounds in the last 3 months. I know my problem: Stress eating. I have been really, really, stressed trying to adapt to life as a single mom and taking care of all the details that must be wrapped up so I can proceed to make a future for me and my son.

I've always fought a weight problem, but this is just out of control. I started an online course called "The Lord's Table" which seeks to help us break free for the sin of gluttony. I had not considered my eating a sin, and I'm still not sure about that, but the premise of the course seems valid: Acknowledge that overeating is sinful/displeasing in the sight of God, that Jesus Christ died to set us free form the power of sin and that we,walking in newness of life upon salvation, can be free from all such bondage as gluttony, and then drawing nearer (prayer, Bible study) to the Lord when the urge to overeat arises.

We'll see how it goes. I'm going to be gentle with myself, though. I'm quite pleased with how well I've gotten through the last couple months, but I need to end this weight problem asap! I'm bursting out of my work clothes (even my BIG work clothes!!). Keep me in prayer :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Evy's Video (Autistic Boy)

Evy's video- video made as an introduction to an Autistic boy's new teachers so they would understand him. Really poignant how one of his biggest frustrations is that other kids won't play with him.

I wish more would acknowledge the power of God in our heart to fight the monsters within and help us regain control over our lives! This is the secret!