I recently read an entry into the Encyclopedia Dramatica about Asperger’s Syndrome – and like all posts on that site, it pulled no punches.
Simply put, most of the world sees us as nothing more than lazy, whiny people who try to impose ever-changing rules on the rest of humanity, as an impotent attempt on our parts to feel safe and secure, when we should really just suck it up and deal with life.
It’s true, that is how everybody else does things. It’s hard to imagine to there’s a person in this world who hasn’t felt like just “laying down the law” on half a dozen occasions, when other people are being unreasonable but can’t be avoided.
So here’s a quick primer on rules, and how you need to apply them in your own life (but not everybody else’s):
1. Your rules apply to you. They are how you guide your life without being taken advantage of, and also how you keep some semblance of internal security in place. Generally, your rules need to be introverted, which means you don’t share them with others (unless they break one and harm you), and you keep them focused on your life.
2. You may not impose rules on other people, in such a way as it causes them harm or does not directly spare you from harm. If the jars go on the top shelf, and someone else puts them on the middle shelf, unless you own the house and they are subordinate to you in the family hierarchy (ie, your child), do not make a big deal out of this. Simply put it “where it belongs,” and get on with your life.
After all, minor “rule breaking” doesn’t hurt you that badly, does it? Besides, doesn’t it feel good to take the proverbial bull by the horns, and exercise control over your own environment? Nobody will complain if you reorganize a closet, or put a sparkling shine on the bathroom. And in time, others will respect how well you care for your environment (just like with a manicured lawn).
If a rule actually hurts you (such as “don’t call me retarded”), THEN you may interject and defend yourself. Don’t sit there and be harmed, physically or emotionally. Just keep it civil and polite, unless the other person escalates it.
If another person is somehow harmed by your rule, DELETE IT. You DO NOT have the right to harm other people without due provocation. Just as they do not the right to harm you.
3. You must accept that your rules are very small and only significant to you. This is part of the reason why you shouldn’t share your rules with other people, unless they specifically ask about such things.
We Aspies have a bad habit (and a worse reputation) of going on and on about things that concern absolutely nobody around us. Now, I have to admit, it can be fun to “bug” somebody. But it’s a great way to find yourself alienating people who could be great friends (or more).
Just relax, and use your rules for their intended purpose – to protect and guide YOU.