I am a female with Aspergers. I think my mom and my sister have Aspergers, too. And we all have the same problem: we can greatly offend people by the things we say and how we say them. In talking with each of them, they have no idea that they are doing it and they say they don’t mean to offend. I physically cringe when I hear how they talk to people – even though I know I accidentally do it, too.
I don’t tell colleagues and friend groups that I have Aspergers. I know to look people in the eye when in conversations. I am pretty decent in one-on-one conversations when I pay close attention to personality type and what the other person needs from me and the relationship. I am very bad at reading people’s intentions.
In my adult life, I have jumped from friend group to friend group. My mom used to tell me that I wore people out. I’ve gotten fired from every job – which I think is a combo of me being an ENTP and having Aspergers. I feel like I leave a wake of destruction in my path from saying exactly what I am thinking. I’m generally a friendly and enthusiastic person, so my harsh comments tend to really catch people off guard. So, people who liked me at first will distance themselves in a hurry. Or, I’ll be so embarrassed that I hurt someone’s feelings, that I’ll distance myself.
I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut by understanding personality type and group dynamics, but I know I will always make this type of mistake. Sometimes I will know immediately that I was a jerk by the look on someone’s face or shift in body language. Other times, I think I was just stating the obvious and everyone sees the same thing I do, but later it will become clear that I’m out of step with the rest of the group. So, I need to learn how to mea culpa gracefully to someone in the moment or later when I’ve realized I’ve deeply offended someone.
Do you have suggestions?