Sometimes I get impatient 

I’ve said before (probably too many times) that as an Asperger’s/autistic person, I tend to think and process information differently.

I think I repeat this tidbit fairly often because a precious few members of the general public seem to understand (except of course, for the awesome people reading blogs like these!).  The world at large is still stuck in “Autism Is a Pathology” Land.

Yada, yada.

Not only do I process the world differently, but I tend to operate differently in pretty much every aspect of life.

There’s no harm in that.  Left to my devices, there’s not even much difficulty in that.

But I can’t live left to my own devices for prolonged periods of time, of course.  The way my life works, I do depend on other people.  I do crave their company (at least some of them, at least most of the time).

Chances are really high, though, that the people I tend to need to interact with in order to live my life are probably not on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.  This means, of course, that they’re not going to operate the same way I do, and vice versa.

Shit happens. 🙂

The difficulty arises, then, in the culture clash between the two Neuro-worlds.  “They” aren’t predisposed to understand me, and I’m not predisposed to understand them.

I’m at a disadvantage right out of the gate, simply because I’m severely outnumbered.  To top it off, I can have trouble expressing myself.  This is one of several deficits or weaknesses, relatively speaking, that become the focus of such a clash, fueling a discussion of which I bear the brunt of the blame for the breakdown in communication or any other aspect of the relationship.

But what is often overlooked (sometimes purposefully, and at other times merely conveniently forgotten or maybe even genuinely not understood), is the fact that wherever there’s a deficit/weakness, there is also, frequently, ironically, a gift/strength.

One such strength is my ability to think very logically, sometimes so much so that I can separate emotion from that logic, sometimes even factoring that emotion out of the equation altogether.

This doesn’t mean that I’m cold, unfeeling, or emotionless; it just means that I can usually accept facts for what they are and comfortably call a spade a spade, sometimes much to the chagrin of some of the non-autistic people around me.

When I process the information and arrive at my conclusions, which are typically quite fact-based and logic-rooted, it can be tough for me at times to wait for others (“everyone else”) to “catch up”, and depending on the situation, some people never quite do so.

Yet, I can see these facts and make the connections between them so clearly and efficiently; I guess that’s what people (in general) might call the “black and white” thinking.  During times like this, I sometimes fail to see how others could not (or could “fail” to) see these things so clearly.

Confession time: I get impatient.  My brain is racing a mile a minute, saying, “don’t you see?  Can’t you think this way?”

Patience is a virtue, they say.  I must not be very virtuous (?).  Peeps of the jury, I’m doing my best, I promise.

I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a character flaw on my part, or if it’s a simple brain-trait, brought to us by my different operating system.

I’m also aware of the flip-side of all of this: the times when I need some extra understanding, extra patience.  Sometimes I don’t have the words to explain what I need or how my brain works.  And it’s during times like this that non-spectrum people might get impatient with me.

I don’t exactly have any clear-cut answers or solutions to the issue.  It’s just something I’ve noticed over the years, especially during this last one, in which I’ve been aware of my neurodiversity.

The culture clash didn’t suddenly pop up out of nowhere; it’s always been there; I’ve always felt it.  I never had a name for it before I realized that I was (am) on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.

Now that I know, I’m now aware of the nature of the difference.  I have a name for it.  I even have a new vocabulary for it.  And there’s also a list of traits to explain it.

But that doesn’t erase or even soften the invisible divide or its impact on the lives of myself or anyone else around me.  It explains what it is and it gives it words, but it doesn’t solve anything or prevent every misunderstanding.

I still maintain the idea that knowledge is half the battle, though.  The awareness provides a potential starting point.  It explains the situation and helps by liberating me from the previously-held curse that every misunderstanding was my fault, that every conflict was because of my personality flaws, and that it was always I who needed to change or work on something.

I might not have answers, at least not yet, but I do have a springboard, a jumping off point from which to start.

And that in itself is pretty cool.

What’s cooler yet are those around me, the non-autistic people in my life who actually admire my alternative way of thinking, my alternative wiring, even if it means that sometimes one “side” or the other feels confused or less intelligent until an understanding can be reached.

And the good news is, an understanding of some kind can be–and often is–indeed reached.  Maybe it’s not perfect understanding–we’re running different operating systems, after all–but it’s something.  It’s not hopeless.  It takes effort and energy, more so than it would if we shared the same neurotype.  But it’s not the end of the world.

In fact, one could say it’s the beginning.

🙂

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26 Comments

  1. The key lies in the inner witness in you that can both observe your own and others behaviour and see when and where you judge. I think that is a big step. Patience and tolerance often have to be developed. I know I am a very impatient person at times but humility requires that I surrender my own viewpoint at times or at least give way or open up to the fact that others see things in a different way. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I don’t see evidence that you “have trouble expressing yourself,” Laina. Your posts are cogent and extremely well expressed. I inkle that the trouble comes when you are expected (or expect yourself) to “express” without sufficient time to process – which probably happens primarily in conversations.

    I often feel like I must come up with an opinion or (especially) an answer to a question immediately – so I feel that people are impatient while they are waiting for me to formulate a response. I tend to “stall” by thinking aloud before I finally come to some conclusion, which I can imagine might try anybody’s patience. 🙂

    I need to keep reminding myself to say, “I’ll have to think about that” and let them move on. Often, once the “performance pressure” is out of the way, my pre-frontal cortex “unfreezes,” my brain puts things together relatively rapidly, and I can be quite articulate. Actually, I’m relatively articulate most of the time – it’s just that what I say isn’t always well thought-out – i.e., processed.

    My own biggest challenge is when I must “agree to disagree.” Like you, I find it difficult to believe that something that seems so clear to me looks any other way to some of the people I admire and with whom I engage. Perspective isn’t always logic-friendly — mine, yours, or anyone else’s.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you for sharing your thoughts! 😊👍🏼👍🏼. I agree – I think it happens mostly in social settings. Having to think on the fly is really taxing sometimes 💜. Sometimes I’ll say something in a blog post that just doesn’t come out quite right; thank goodness for the edit button! Lol 😉. Usually I can catch my faux pas before the post has been up for very long, but sometimes something will slip past me lol 🙄😉😱😊💓

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I get impatient too D.D.😕 Mine is from (here’s my elitist snobbery) dealing with less knowledgeable people. That’s part of why I’m a bed dwelling hermit😜 I get impatient & frustrated. That wars with my desire to not be rude or unkind. I’m glad you’re no longer blaming yourself for every misunderstanding!👍💪💞 Why do we do that???😯😲 Both NT & ND benefit from shared thought processing! I treasure all my ND friends 😍🌸🌺🌼🌹💖🌻🌴😎

    Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re probably going to laugh–I had to look up the word! 😂 I mean, I had an idea of what it meant, but I wanted to be sure lol 😉. Thank you for introducing me to the word more formally 😁. Then when I confirmed it in my head, I was all, “oh wait! I’ve seen one of those in my emoji menu! Well then!” And I laughed because I’m part Cajun and it’s our Fleur de Lis symbol, so I know it well lol 😘💖😉💜

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Ben is 8. We watch Disney. We also watch Hello Kitty, Ghibli movies, Batman, zombie movies…lots of different movies. All on repeat😧😕 We’re an odd family😆. Now we just have an autistic oddie too.💝💘💖 Even our cat & our dog are weird.😹🐶🐾

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Lol awesome!! I love your family! 😘😘

            Same here 😊. We’re almost-40 and almost-47. We watch Disney movies. And lots of cult classics. On rotation lol. And our almost-15 and 4.5-year-old cats think they’re dogs lol. 🐱🐾🐱🐾🐉🐉💪🏼😍😎😜💚💙💗

            Liked by 1 person

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