Bad News is Bad

 

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Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than hearing about someone else’s bad news. Most normal people have trouble with this also, but my reasons are particularly aspie-ish. It’s not the bad news itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I have no idea how I’m supposed to react.

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Probably not the best reaction.

I really don’t know what to say. I don’t want to brush the bombshell off like it’s nothing, but I also don’t want to dwell on the negatives and reinforce just how bad everything sucks for this person. So most of the time I just get socially paralyzed and try not to react at all, which makes me look wooden and heartless. The best case scenario is when someone else besides me is involved in the conversation, because then I can pretend I wasn’t listening and didn’t hear what’s going on.

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Being oblivious comes off better than being rude.

Then, sometimes my Aspergers kicks in and I just don’t seem to care. It’s horrible to say, but it’s true – often, my first reaction is to figure out if and how the news will affect me. I may be self centered, but that comes with the Aspie territory.

A coworker of mine is currently going through some health problems. As he was explaining the situation to the rest of the staff on the shift, I found myself desperately trying to avoid eye contact, pretending to be heavily involved in my work. What am I supposed to say? I can’t console anybody. I’ll do more harm than good. The situation may involve him missing some time. My thoughts? “Man, this is going to make us short handed. We are going to have to bust some ass to get the work done.” I’m not joking; this guy is gravely ill, and I’m worried about how my work flow is going to change.

What the hell? What is wrong with me?

It gets worse – when he actually started to miss time, I started to get a little pissed off because work was so busy. I was resenting the guy because he had the nerve to get cancer and require chemotherapy sessions.

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“My bad. I’ll be back to work on Monday.”

At least I’m self-aware enough to realize how disturbed and callous this is. That’s why I figure it’s better to keep my mouth shut than to tell him what’s on my mind. Still, I can’t deny that my first thoughts are how the situation affects me, as if that is the most important thing. But that’s the reality of having Aspergers – the whole world revolves around you, even when it doesn’t.

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Posted on October 5, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Trinity Parker

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and probably should have said this a long time ago… Thank you! My teenage son has aspergers and he seems to think very much like you do, but he can’t express himself the same way you do. Your posts help me get inside his head a little and understand why he does some of the things he does. My sister was recently diagnosed with cancer, and the reactions you described here are exactly how he reacted to the news. It helps me so much that there is someone similar to him out there that can put their thoughts into words and let me get that insight into aspergers that allows me to help my son so much. You might struggle in some areas of your life, but I wanted to let you know that you are helping others with theirs.

  2. pamelaguedessilva

    I feel exactly the same. The fact of being a woman makes it worse because people always expect me to be lovely and caring. Sometimes people look at me like “you have to say something!” and I just stare at them and think “So what? Nothing I say will make it better. I can’t change what happened”. I simply don’t know how to react.
    I like your blog, keep writing!

    Pâmela,
    from Brazil.

  3. I had to laugh when I read this. it was just very amusing to me. My son has recently been diagnosed with high functioning autism spectrum disorder,and maybe he gets that from me. I can relate to this as well. But I can really appreciate the humour in this.

  1. Pingback: Are Aspies Self-Centered? | aspermama

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