Should an Aspergers Teen try to be “normal”?


I have said this many times in my other entries, and I’m going to say it again, high school can be a nightmare for many kids with Aspergers Syndrome. Social Isolation, bullying, and inability to deal with change is one of the many things teens with this disorder may face. Their limited interests and inability to socially interact with other people causes this isolation and lowliness. Typically developing girls are mainly into dating and fashion trends, while typically developing boys are into sports and girls. I can identify with that a lot. One of the sad realities in life is dealing with people that won’t accept you because you are not like they are. I don’t want to get into religion to much, but take the people from Westboro Baptist Church for an example. They have been known to protest at fallen soldiers funerals, simply because they are mad about people in our country supporting homosexuality. They hold up picket signs saying things like “God Hates F*gs”, and “Thank God For 9/11”. Simply put, these people protest political hate against people that are not like they are. One of the members of this “church” has about 11 kids, and she is raising them to be ignorant and hateful, just like everybody else in the church is. Religion talk over. Every “normal” teenager I know is into dating, but if you are an Aspergers teen, you most likely will dread having to talk about this.

Due to lack of social skills, and not fitting in with everybody else, Aspergers teens don’t understand the rules of dating. Because I don’t really have that many friends in school, I don’t really have the confidence to ask someone out. The sad truth about making friends is that not everybody in the world is going to be interested in being your friend. In my entry about making friends I mentioned that my opinion about this statement is that it is their problem if they don’t want to be your friend, not yours. I absolutely dread going to family gatherings for many reasons, one is the fact that some of the members in my family expect me to be “just like everybody else”. One of which was this summer when I was on vacation, my grandparents stayed with us. My grandfather and my mother were sitting on the couch, waiting for dinner to be finished. My grandfather asked me that same damn question “Derek, have you found a girlfriend yet”? I simply answered with a flat “no”, and just proceed with what I was doing. A few seconds later, my grandmother made the comment “you are way to good looking to not have a girlfriend”. After that, they had to rub in the fact that all of my cousins, which I don’t talk to very often have dated a few people, and that many people my age do that. I simply just ignored them after that, because that is the topic that I absolutely hate talking about more than anything. A few more seconds past, then I made the comment to my grandfather “you just asked the question that irritates me more than anything”. I could not have come up with a better way to say that, people always say “honesty is the best policy”, right? I simply said nothing else after that, because I wanted to avoid the whole conversation in the first place.

My first reason for why I don’t want to be involved in dating is because of how people act like the person is their number one priority. Imagine your best friend, who you have been friends with for a long time found a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and they spend every waking moment with them. They somehow forget that you exist, and when you try to talk to them, they avoid you. You try to chat with them online, and they sign out as soon as you greet them. Eventually, the only thing that they ever say to you is “hello” when you pass them in the school hallway. Let’s also pretend that this person the most ignorant person to have ever set foot on our planet. They are obsessed with sex, drugs and alcohol, and they have been in detention more times than anyone can count. They make fun of other people, and they only want to associate with people that are like them. I haven’t been through a situation like that before, because I never really had that many friends, but there are many people out there that have been. The next you would ask yourself is “should I tell them my feelings, or should I just move on”? I would personally just move on, but sometimes you should step outside of your comfort zone and express your feelings about it. I would be angry about the situation, and it would be difficult to express my feelings without being mean or threatening to hurt them. Not to go off topic, but that is a social skill to learn when you have a boss that you don’t like, you could end up being fired or even arrested if you do that. Back on topic, what if this person speaks to you rudely? Should you move on or try to express your feelings about it even more? The best thing to do about this is to just move on, it is their problem if they don’t want to be friends with you, not yours. One of the very sad things in life is that people change, sometimes it’s for better and sometimes its for worse.

My second reason for why I probably never will be interested in dating is because I don’t have that many friends in the first place. I have been bullied by girls in the past that have tried to convince me that they liked me, when they really just wanted to find another person to make fun of. During my freshman year in high school, there was a girl that would pick on me non stop. I mentioned in one of my other entries how Cody tried to convince me that he was trying to be my friend, when he really wasn’t. The same thing was true with this girl. I will not mention this person’s name. The situation started by her pretending to “flirt” with me, and I would just ignore her. She would pretend to like me by touching me and saying “Derek, I love you, I want you to be my boyfriend.” I would just push her off of me, and then she would snap at me and say something like “I’m only trying to be your friend, you obviously don’t have any because you are such a loser”. I didn’t do anything about the situation before then because standing up for myself usually didn’t work in situations like that. I then had enough with the situation, than I snapped at her and said “get the fuck out of here”. She was trying to get me angry so that I would get in trouble, not her. She then proceeded with her usual “I’m only trying to be your friend”. The final thing she did to me before I had enough with this whole situation was she touched me in a “place that she shouldn’t have”. The usual “I’m only trying to be your friend” came after that, then she started to spread “certain rumors” about me. The next day my mother talked to the office about the situation, and she got suspended for a week. Both this girl and Cody seemed to know that I don’t understand whether or not someone is trying to be my friend, or in this case, trying to hit on me. I understand that adults act this way towards each other too, and I am going to try my best to stay away from people like that in the future.

I have learned that there are people out there who don’t know what Autism and Aspergers Syndrome are, and that is why people try to convince me into doing things like dating. People don’t understand that I am different from other people my age, and I am not confident or interested enough to participate in “normal teenager” activities. In the future, when people try to talk to me about things like dating, I will just ignore them. When people tell me that I should date because everybody else is doing it, I am not afraid to tell them to shut up, regardless of who is talking to me. I don’t really care about what they will think about me after I say that. A word of advice to any teenager with Aspergers,¬† don’t listen to people that try to make you become a “normal” person. You are who you are, and you can’t change that. A positive thing about being single is that you are free. It looks like I answered the title question for my self here, Aspergers teens shouldn’t try to be “normal”. To me, there is no such thing as a “normal” person, everybody person on this whole planet has their quirks, and their strengths. Yes, maybe I’ll change my opinion about dating, but I highly doubt that will happen. I like myself the way I am, and I’m not changing that.

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4 thoughts on “Should an Aspergers Teen try to be “normal”?

  1. Derek,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I know that I’m probably one of the quilty ones trying to ask you about what you call “normal” teenager things. I want you to try to understand, though, that I don’t mean to make you feel any different from anyone, and I don’t think other adults do either. Feel free at any time to set me straight because the last thing I want to do is hurt your feelings. Please be kind to me though, because just as I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, I don’t like to have my feelings hurt when I try to make conversation with someone, either.

    I think maybe explaining to someone who is trying to talk to you about those types of things that upset you might be a good way to help others understand you. It’s OK to talk about feelings. It’s not really a good idea, though, socially, to jump down someone’s throat if they don’t know how you feel about a certain subject.

    Sometimes I just don’t know how to make small talk myself. Your cousins will tell you, I’ve always said “I hate teenagers” jokingly, but honestly, it’s very difficult to talk to any teenager, not just someone with Aspergers!!! And if you look around, the other teenagers aren’t cut out of cookie cutters, either. And I bet they are all very self-conscious about something about themselves, just as you are. There’s nothing “normal” about teenagers!

    Keep in mind that when people make “small talk” with you, they like being around you, even though they may not say the right things. Try not to be mad at them if you don’t like what they are saying. Just try changing the subject or just say, “I’d rather not talk about that.” I’m sure if you talk nicely back to them, they will be nice back. If someone persists, you may have to repeat yourself more forcefully, but still try to be polite. After all, people do love you and we don’t want to be miserable, either, trying to include you in “normal” conversation. We’ll have to come up with a “secret signal” that when something is upsetting you when the family is together, you can give me the “signal” and I’ll try to help change the subject before it gets too uncomfortable!

    Again, reading your blog is helping me to understand how you feel, and believe me, I’ve had many of the same feelings throughout my life. I don’t want to pretend that I completely understand everything, but I want you to know that I will always treat you with respect. And in return, I will expect the same thing from you!!!
    I like you the way you are, too. I may talk to you like a little kid sometimes, and that’s because being your aunt (who is getting older every day and not enjoying that much either!), I find it hard to believe you’re as grown up as you are. OK, I’ll save you the embarassment of starting on the cute little Baby Derek stories I love so much.
    Love YOU!!!
    Aunt Teresa

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  4. I had no luck with this.Teens my age seemed kind of boring and it was always the same shallow things.
    The artists were the only safe group for me.
    I made the mistake of trying to be normal to hide my Aspergers to protect myself from bullying which made a fake personality even I believed.
    No I think someone could just say it will always be hard for you and that’s the way it is.
    That’s not a bad thing.
    In my Aspergers comic on my website, I show about this also how she tries to do the social things and they blow up in her face because it feels like in the end it’s not her.
    I could never wear a mask like others did and be something I’m not.
    I only did it out of protecting myself from someone seeing my Aspergers to bully it.

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