“But I can’t help it!”

Shortly on the heels of my “just try harder” post I am, apparently, writing the inverse. A “please try at least a little” post.

I’m going to start with a little back story. Several years ago, not too long after I first got an inkling that I might, maybe, possibly could be an aspie, I noticed a trend online. People would be horrendously rude, and when called out on it would protest “but I have Aspergers! I can’t help being rude!” I found this completely unacceptable and as a result I resisted the aspie idea for years – because I didn’t want to be one of the people I saw online using it as an excuse for bad behavior.

Eventually the trend seemed to die down, but I recently saw that it isn’t gone. Though interestingly, this time the excuse wasn’t “but I have Aspergers!” Oh no. This time the excuse was “but I’m borderline Aspergers!” Apparently the “excuse for bad behavior” line has moved from “has Aspergers” to “almost but not quite has Aspergers.” I do not view this as a positive trend.

I also want to point out that the person I saw make this excuse has a pattern of barrelling into threads and posting rather like a ton of bricks. She tends to be rude and abrasive, and has a distinct pattern of Not Listening when people call her out on it, however gently or not-so-gently they do so. This is really not ok. Not even a little bit. Having Aspergers is NOT an excuse for being rude or explicitly bad behavior. Almost-but-not-quite having Aspergers is even less of an excuse. It really bothers me to see people making these kinds of excuses for appalling behavior, particularly when there is a distinct lack of ever bothering to apologize or make amends or attempt to correct their behavior in the future. My being an aspie may explain my mistakes, but it does not excuse them. It’s up to me to do my best to learn and grow and apologize when I mess up.

So seriously, this needs to stop. I, for one, want to distance myself from such people as loudly and as strongly as I reasonably can. Making excuses for one’s bad behavior does not help anyone. It doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help the people you may have hurt or offended, and it really doesn’t help everyone else on the autism spectrum who are trying to make it in a strange and unfamiliar world. So please, please show us that you’re trying, even if it’s just a little bit.

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1 Comment

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One response to ““But I can’t help it!”

  1. Tricia

    “My being an aspie may explain my mistakes, but it does not excuse them.”

    Yes, exactly! And stating that you’re aspie is to elicit understaning, not a blanket excuse for bad behavior.