navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Social Situations
  • used on you

    There is often a very easy explanation for the beliefs one uses to navigate this world of ours.  How beliefs are used.  People figure if someone is using a belief on them it must be good enough for them to use.  A few hypothetical examples:

    Susie is a 23 year old college graduate who is 30 pounds overweight.  She double majored in math and psychology.  Like many women her age she has body image issues and doesn’t have the metabolism needed to become slender.  She has seen therapists before who told her she was fine just the way she was but she called bullshit on them.  In conflict here is business to business (b2b) verses and business to consumer (b2c) psychology.  Susie absorbed the messages from advertisements vetted by b2b psychologists and felt their direct and indirect (mediated by male and female peers) effects of a thin-obsessed culture.  For Susie poor body image isn’t an anomaly, it’s something handed down deliberately with the aid of b2b psychologist by a culture obsessed with thinness.  A b2c psychologist would stick the pejorative “insecure” label on her.  This same therapist might tell her she has innate worth regardless of her weight but outside the psychologist’s office this belief is not being used on her.  So she doesn’t use it.

    Bill is an unemployed 26 year old who had to move back to a town with no jobs to take care of his dad who had a stroke.  His parents are religious and are always trying to get him to go to church.  Bill goes to a few services and the church talks about how there is hope for everybody, even the least of these.  However the people in the church treat Bill like he’s invisible.  They use conjecture to assess his future and come to the conclusion that he has none.  Bill assumes rightly that if conjecture is ultimately what’s going to be used on him, it’s worth him using.  Bill tunes out all the blathering about hope and stops going to church.

    Nathaniel is a 28 year old working at a small local animal rights nonprofit.  Every day he’s writing grants and soliciting donors.  He wanted to work in a nonprofit to get away from the dollar driven world but it just didn’t work out.  When he gets home he’s greeted with oodles of mail from places he’s donated to once asking for more money.  Eventually Nathaniel succumbs to the idea he was running away from so hard, that money is the most important thing.

  • non communicativeness


    I have been unfortunate in life in that the two closest friends I have had became uncommunicative in the end.  The first friend from junior high I had a falling out with and the second one from college I became too low status for.  These people aren’t stupid, they did what they knew would hurt the most, not necessarily to hurt me but as a show of force.  For the first one it was paying me back for our falling out.  For the second one it was to make a judgement on my failure lifestyle.  To communicate with me would be to condone the way I’ve lived my life, being a net drain on society rather than a net gain for it.

    You’ll find that adults use non communicativeness as a weapon against people (particularly people close to them) who live a kind of lifestyle they don’t agree with.  For example if a woman realizes she likes women and has a girlfriend, her fundamentalist Christian parents or relatives might simply stop speaking to her.

    For me as an aspie non communicativeness will always remain as something I don’t have the head to grasp (maybe that’s why when used on me it hurts more than it would when used on the average person).  I can understand not talking to someone for a limited amount of time while you’re steaming mad at them but not for an indefinite period of time.  Maybe I’m just too socially needy I don’t know.

    Jesus’ admonition to forgive falls hardest on the aggrieved party but with his admonition to reconcile, the aggrieved party often gains as much if not more depending on how much they cared about said relationship.  For example reconciling with my best friend from junior high would be a godsend for me.  I don’t think there is any hope for my friend from college because that judgement against me is based on who I have become, not some wrong I did.

    A bitter irony in the whole thing is non communicativeness is seen as a perfectly acceptable behavior for neurotypicals but when we do it we’re stigmatized as nonverbal and have our rights taken away.

  • Shaving and Socializing

    I don’t mind shaving.  I do not have facial hair, I have wires growing out of my face.  So when I shave most of the time I’m not actually shaving, I’m just playing a tug ‘u war with hair.  So I’m not really shaving most of the time, I’m just fighting and scraping, which I do not like.  Same goes for socializing.  Yes, socializing is often draining for me but usually worth it.  What isn’t worth it is when I’m in a group and the people treat me/us like we’re invisible.  I actually don’t consider this a social situation, I tend to call it nocializing.  Of course these kind of situations (which I experienced just last weekend at a volunteering fundraiser) eat away at my morale.

    A lot of people are not comfortable with my “in vivo” definitions (ie. a social situation being one where one has opportunity to socialize, and shaving being the actual act rather than scraping and getting nothing).  But I’m a big fan of Jean-Paul Sartre, existence precedes essence.  All this platonic bullshit we have to put up with in our supposedly “postmodern” world is just bewildering.

  • errors

    Maybe I’d get along in the world if programming were more like interacting with people. Some interpreter errors:

    ERROR: You missed a curly bracket somewhere but I don’t want to lower your self-esteem so I ran the code anyway.

    ERROR: I’m just going to give you a white screen and you figure out what you did wrong. (this actually happens)

    ERROR: You threw an error three years ago and I haven’t gotten over it so I’m throwing you another error.

    ERROR: You must believe in this code in order for it to work.

    ERROR: You don’t look good enough right now for me to let you run this code.

    ERROR: Try running this code on other computers. I do not want to see any of your code any more.

    ERROR: I’m not going to tell you what’s wrong with your code but am going to just run it and watch it brutalize your data.

  • if you have a visible disability it’s your responsibility to make others comfortable with it

    With a visible disability your every interaction with the world is an incursion.  Your disability makes others in the room uncomfortable and it is incumbent upon you to put them at ease.  My little brother actually brought this to my attention when he hurt his hand a couple of years ago.  The hand looked awkward while it was healing (he called it an alien baby hand though I couldn’t tell anything was wrong). Now my little brother has good social skills so has no problem scoping out the room and finding a fitting way to put the people in the room at ease with this hand.  Unfortunately as an aspie I do not have this skill.  When I was a child people were more direct about my disability (very thick glasses) so I could clear the air and then they were fine with it.  As an adult people are more obtuse, without the directness I’m lost—and I lose.

  • about myself

    The therapeutic-industrial complex expects me to believe that what I think about myself has a drastic impact on what others think of me.  The reasoning goes that when I looked better and the fact that I was broke mattered a lot less it was because of my self-confidence that people treated me better… instead of the obvious that I was treated better because I had more to offer.  This theory can be tested because I’ve been manic (and thus self-confident) since being broke and looking like a retard..  and people didn’t treat me any better.  Of course this didn’t fit with the dominant narrative so was dismissed.

    I think there is this whole culture of deception where if you think good things about yourself you can get others to believe you have more to offer than you really do.  Thing is, it only really works when you’re young because as you get older the thing that gives you value as a guy (money) becomes more important.  You can’t fake a W2.

  • Lesson: Bluntness Threshold


    You can’t ascertain the exact meaning of any statement without taking the person into account.  Some people will be blunt in most situations while others won’t until facing some grave situation.  So one person’s bluntness verses another’s is not an apples to apples comparison.  For example the president of a company might tell his employees that the business was financially sound despite its problems.  He didn’t necessarily lie about the problems, just played them down because that was what his shareholders and customers expected him to do.  One day he calls all his employees into a meeting and tells them how bad things really are.  And you know him well enough to know that him being blunt about this means that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

    This gets even messier when we add that everybody will interpret your bluntness in a different way depending on what level of it is tolerated in the subculture they belong to.  Being on the spectrum often makes us more blunt and less able to feel out others’ tolerance for it.  For example you’re in a room and you notice a woman with burns on her neck and you point that out.  She gets offended and hurt and others echo the sentiment that she was in the right.

    Many of us (or at least me) like it when people are blunt to us so we don’t understand “social grace”.  For example for most of my life I have had really thick glasses.  When I was a kid other kids would ask about it, I’d explain my eye problem, and they would be fine with it.  As an adult almost nobody asks but most people treat me differently.  I know this because for eight years of my life I wore contacts that made me look pretty normal and the treatment difference was very noticeable.