Aspergers Syndrome and Socializing and Communicating

There are some few issues I want to clear up about me, about my life.  I understand that I’m a fairly quiet person, I don’t talk to people very much, and when I do find myself in a conversation I don’t do well with it.   There is a certain vibe, cadence, tonality, give and take, etc, that is required to maintain a good conversation, and I’m just not good at those things.

This is all due to having Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism that I was born with, and of which I have little to no control over.

This lack of ability in communication causes several problems.  Firstly, we all learn by talking to each other, and so all the things that people know and understand about life, through talking, well, I’ve missed out on that stuff.  I don’t know those things, many of which are crucial for maintaining good relationships with people.

Secondly, because I don’t talk very much, people have little opportunity to get to know me. The problem here is that people will gather information about me from other people, and most of those other people will have me wrong to one degree or another.  So, people usually have assumed me to be one way, when I’m actually another.   When I was a teen and not socializing, the thing many people focused on was that I never had a girl friend and so they assumed I was gay.   Of course these people were not bright enough to see that I wasn’t socializing with males or females.   My brother’s wife was one such person, and she really seemed to enjoy the gossipy salaciousness of that idea.   She also assumed (wrongly) that I did not like her, being that I never talked to her.  Again, her short-sightedness, like most everyone else’s, prevented her from seeing that I wasn’t talking to anyone, not just her.   Funny how people just assume something negative when they don’t really understand something

Still, in my ignorance, or perhaps better stated, my naiveté, I was always committing social faux pas, whenever I did try to socialize.   I’ve said and done more than my share of things that were dumb, or insulting, or mean, or just plain odd.  Even when people made an attempt to befriend me, it wasn’t long before I was motivating them to distance themselves.

Worse yet is that this revelation about Aspergers has come only recently, after most of my life has passed by.  There is little time left with which to create something better for myself, let alone repair all the damage done over the years.   Nearly every one thinks that my behavior, which seemed to be “anti-social” was done purposefully, and so they don’t want anything to do with me.   Even after explaining my issue with Aspergers, people are reluctant to work with me to overcome and heal the past.

People have labeled me as “anti-social” which really is the furthest thing from the truth.  There’s nothing I like more than socializing with people, on rare occasion I can actually make it happen.  And I understand the need for socializing.  Good healthy relationships depend on it.  And all humans need relationships with others to maintain their own health.   I am very much “pro-social”.  Sadly I am unable to communicate that to people.

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About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless

One comment

  1. i am in the same boat. i'm 49 and only started really figuring this out shortly before i became homeless for the first time last year. i'm in transitional housing right now but am getting ready to hit the road again, backpack ready. why? in no small part because my situation is set up for neurotypicals. the demands for social interaction, and sharing my physical space, among other things, i've been tolerating – barely – for months and i'm at a point where i can't stand it any more. between asperger's and the fairly severe PTSD that makes feeling trapped intolerable makes accepting “help” of this kind just not worth the pain anymore. and no, i'm not anti-social, although i get called that a lot. i just have a low threshold for social burnout. at least i have disability so i won't be completely broke. i plan on heading to the west coast in october, not for the services but for the weather – florida is just too damn hot for one thing. i don't like cities and plan to give places like san diego and san francisco a wide berth. anyway i just found your blog and really like it. i've learned a lot here. i'm sorry you've had to deal with these problems, but i appreciate the intelligent and accessible material you've written. in the next few months i should be able to catch up financially and i know now how to support others better as well as better take care of myself. and i will donate what i can here, when i can. you certainly have earned it.

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