Mar 18, 2007

Is That Part of Asperger?

The Isabella character in Mozart and the Whale said that she said things as they came into her mind, and that she said things to shock people. She made it sound like that was part of Asperger.

I thought it was just my personality. I find that I have to constantly work at not saying the most shocking thing I can think. As I become more confident and comfortable I still work at it, but after a while I start loosening up.

For example, today I made some vanilla flavored coffee, and the delicious aroma wafted throughout our work area. My boss came over and said, what is that delicious smell that is filling our area. I looked at him and in all seriousness said, "Well, actually I have body odor today."

No one who wants to keep their job should ever say that, but it sure was funny. In a paper for Autism Independent, Digby Tantam wrote referred to something called 'pathological demand avoidance'. It speaks of a behavior that disrupts a social situation before that environment can
place expectations upon the individual. So, Donald told Isabella to be on her best behavior that evening because his boss was coming home with him for dinner. If pathological demand avoidance is a real thing, then without realising it Isabella feels compelled to disrupt dinner that evening rather than having to face the vague and troubling expectation of "best".

I understand. When I am in new and troubling situations numerous outrageous behaviors go through my head. Ever seen comedian Robin Williams when he is really in the groove? It's kinda like that. As long as you keep people off balance no one can ever look at you disapprovingly. At the same time I have this vague sensation that there is something hidden that I don't know about that will warrant the disapproval of the person with whom I dealing.

I work really hard, and am largely successful, at keep my mouth shut and just hanging in there until I chill out. For example when I spent the day with a Czech missionary on his layover in Newark, I was really worked up. Not just a new person, but a new place (not to mention that I was near New York). The next day I was better.

Does that mean anything for my career goals / desired life's work of missionary service? I don't believe that I should work in a large city as that would be one constant stream of new places. Also, I will work best in small groups/churches. I also need to remember to give myself buffer time to adjust to new places. It's not always possible to have a chill day in a new place, but it will certainly help me.

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