The world is my family, because I know nothing else

Treat others as you want to be treated, remember? Haven't we all had this explained to us at some stage, by well-meaning souls or angry best beloveds when they found out we told work they'd had a duvet day. But what about treating others as they expect to be treated?

In the aspie world, we learn by example, often because our own experience and knowledge seems at odds with what other people know. If we see our powerful parents doing something a certain way, then that becomes the right way to do it. This is true of all children, but let me explain why it becomes more true of the aspie.

Over time, other children learn by their own experiences. Aspies aren't immune to this. We also learn some of the many and complex methods of living in the modern world. Then we come up against a barrier. It's an invisible one, created gently by our younger years when so many 'rules' were set in place.

Over time, other children grow and understand that life isn't always what you expect or were even led to believe. The nursery teacher who said we should all be friends was right, but she was wrong when she said we could all be friends.

The parent who says we should be considerate at the dinner table was right, but when they said this is how all people behaved, they were wrong. Growing up, a parent who says this is what all people do, so you must do it, is instilling a lesson they think will help their little one. They don't often do it for spite, you know? Yet later, when we realise some people trough like pigs at the dinner table, the aspie knows this is wrong, knows it is at odds with what they were taught but fails to understand that other people, the piggy-troughers, will see it as wholly acceptable.

It is this ability to see the other point of view where we fall down. While we were young and spongey, our parents helped us to see life their way and learn from them. What we learned above all else was that our parents knew everything. Fast forward to an aspie adult and there is still a child in there, believing the parental world view.

If this world view stops you from jumping queues or eating off the floor, it's a good thing. The problem comes when you don't know why other people do these things and why, when you put them straight, they don't appreciate your help.

I believe that aspies expect the whole world to be like their family. The way they learned to live from an early age is how the world should be. We do understand that other people get it wrong, but we don't quite figure out why they don't want to have it put right.

This blinkered view is over and above any personality traits of the aspie themselves. They may be the most laid back, non-OCD aspie there is, willing to love the world and greet them as friends, but within lies the child who feels, even if they don't believe, that the way their parents did it is the proper way to live.

And there is the crux of the matter, where logic cannot shine. Aspies are good at feeling things, but often pretty bad at explaining or dissecting those feelings. If we feel a certain way, we know it's a truth because it's right there, in the middle of the chest, making you fill with emotion that doesn't leave room for any argument. A good person might come to you and explain why you feel this way and why it isn't necessarily the truth, but will you listen? Even if you try?

Our upbringing, with the all-knowing family members, never stops affecting the way we see the world. Even if you know your family was wrong or what they did was mad, it still feels right to do the same, because it's what you know.

Even if there is a moment, every day, where you have to stand and give yourself a talking to so you can behave how you want and not how you were taught, you will always be followed around by what you once knew to be the ultimate truth.

The world is my family, because I know nothing else. My family showed me how to live when I knew nothing. It made me understand what seemed incomprehensible. It loved me when no one else cared. And now, as an aspie adult, I'm supposed to shuck off that knowledge and teaching and take on a new one, so that I can work better in the world and feel better too?

Yes, that is what we have to do. Every adult aspie has a responsibility to their inner child to keep on growing and learn new truths, even if those truths have to squeeze in next to the old ones. Sometimes, inner compromise and balance is the greatest gift we can give ourselves as adults.


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