In the past I’ve been criticized for avoiding confrontation at any cost, and which to be fair isn’t far from the truth, as I take to confrontation like a snowman to a blast furnace. Today’s topic is something that has concerned me for quite some time, and one I’ve put off repeatedly for fear it might open a can of worms. Then again, maybe it’s not even remotely controversial and I’ve built it up in my head too much. I tend to do that. So here goes.
As a writer and an advocate on the autism spectrum, I follow a lot of pages and forums made for people on the spectrum. And something I see an awful lot is comments along the lines of “oh I hate NTs (Neurotypicals, a term for people who are not on the spectrum) they’re so ignorant/stupid” or “NTs hate us autistics because they know that we are better/smarter than they are”.
First of all, I know that the people saying these kind of things are a minority among those of us on the spectrum. I know that many of these posts are simply venting. Still, as someone on the spectrum myself, it makes me sad to see these kind of comments.
Life on the spectrum can be difficult, I get that. It can be frustrating to interact with people whose experience of the world is so different than your own. It can be lonely to feel like the odd one out. And yes, being bullied sucks. But if you adopt an “Us vs Them” mentality, the person you’re ultimately hurting is yourself.
If you convince yourself you’re outnumbered a hundred to one by a malignant Other that is determined to screw you over and make your life hell, then right off the bat you’re setting yourself for a whole lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
But worse, you’re sowing the seeds of resentment. Sooner or later, you’ll have to interact with people who aren’t autistic, and if you go into these interactions with a hostile mindset, you’re not only creating more the same negative situations that may have fuelled your hostility in the first place, but you are robbing yourself of all the positive interactions you might otherwise have had.
The end result is a feedback loop of anger that will continue to amplify itself until it dominates your life and makes you a deeply unhappy person.
By viewing the world as a war of “Autistics vs NTs”, you’re placing a terrible burden on yourself. You’re shackling yourself to a mass of negativity that will weigh you down day after day. Don’t do that to yourself.
A warning for the lactose intolerant, I’m about to get seriously cheesy; we’re all on this planet together, and we have to learn to coexist. Divisive statements hurt everyone and help no one.