A Modern Day Example Of Rigidity Of Thought And Why Facebook Should Have An Acknowledge Button

The idea for this post came from a discussion I took part in on one of the Aspergers groups on Facebook yesterday but it is something I think about a lot generally too. I mean no offence in this post so, as always, I apologise if anything in this post inadvertently offends.

The debate in question was about whether people felt guilty for using the Like button on statuses that were tragic in nature such as those announcing illnesses or bereavement. This is something I personally will never do. I will click Like on statuses that celebrate a person’s memory on the anniversary of their death or other important events such as Christmas or their birthday because celebrating someone’s memory is positive. However, to me, bereavement statuses are not to be liked. How can you use the same button to celebrate someone’s new job, engagement, marriage or pregnancy, the happiest events in someone’s life, and then also to acknowledge the death of someone’s relative or friend or the diagnosis of a terminal illness? I know that a lot of people use the Like button as an acknowledgement of the status and I am not saying they are wrong for doing so but it doesn’t fit with the way my mind works. I think I am too literal minded-like should mean like, not acknowledge. I do admit that, on occasions when a status is both negative and positive, I sometimes will click Like because I like the positive element of the status but I will always comment that this is what I meant. On tragic statuses, I always leave a comment rather than click Like.

I know that this debate is not solely an Aspergers issue as I have heard lots of people debate this and I genuinely do think a lot of upset would be solved if Facebook included an Acknowledge option so that you can let someone know you are thinking of them without risking misinterpretation. I remember reading a post a couple of years ago on Facebook from someone with Aspergers about how their friends liking their negative statuses had led to many meltdowns because they thought it meant that those friends were revelling in their misfortune. Of course this is not how it was meant at all-I do believe that the majority of people in this world are compassionate and do not take any pleasure in the sharing of bad news but, looking at it from the perspective of a so called “black and white” thinker, I can see why this person became so distressed. It’s to do with the meanings behind the word “like” and how these are wholly incompatible with tragic news. “Acknowledge” would be a much better option but, for the moment, I find a thoughtful comment is the way forward for me personally.

In conclusion, I wish to clarify that I do not mean any offence by this article. I know that my rigidity of thought around this issue puts me in the minority but it is, in my opinion, an interesting debate and I would be interested to know how others feel.

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A Good Old Fashioned Rant About Professional Ignorance

Recently I came across an article that was the subject of much debate on an Aspergers forum I frequent on Facebook. The article was discussing whether Narcissistic Personality Disorder should be considered as an autistic spectrum disorder. The full article can be found here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201406/do-you-think-narcissism-autistic-spectrum-disorder

This article is, in my opinion, so wrong on so many levels about Aspergers and the autistic spectrum as a whole. Firstly, on a factual level, Aspergers was always regarded as part of the autistic spectrum from when it was first included in the DSM and ICD-it’s the reclassification from Aspergers to Autistic Spectrum Disorder Level 1 that is a new change.

Secondly, it should be pretty well known by now from the amount of autistic bloggers and advocates who have written about how they experience empathy that we don’t lack empathy in the way that it is often assumed we do-we struggle to show and communicate our emotions but we do have them and a lot of us are highly compassionate people who care a lot for others and like to help others, usually above ourselves-that’s not what narcissism is about .

Thirdly, the writer completely ignores the fact that a lot of people with Aspergers have the opposite problem to narcissists in that they often feel inferior to others rather than superior to them.

Fourthly, it is acknowledged in the article that people with narcissistic traits or a diagnosis of NPD have very good social skills and can put on an act to impress. If they were genuinely on the spectrum, they wouldn’t come across as having such brilliant social skills. I have learned social skills over many years but they still don’t come naturally to me. People with NPD tend to be very skilled manipulators-most of the people on the spectrum that I know couldn’t manipulate someone if their life depended on it.

Fifthly, the criteria mentioned in the article are very negatively phrased. The people on the spectrum I know, no matter where they fall on the spectrum, have the ability to see people as people and form relationships with people even if this is not in the way most people think.

Overall I don’t agree with the article at all. There might be a few people who present with both NPD and Aspergers but that doesn’t mean it’s on the spectrum and I think to say it is does a great disservice to both people on the spectrum and people with NPD. There have been lots of debates in the past about whether Aspergers is a personality disorder and similar with other conditions on the spectrum. I don’t believe it is personally. I am aware that this post may show me as prejudiced against people with NPD-I don’t believe I am but I think it is insulting to lump the two conditions together when they are so different and one has the potential to harm people far more than the other. What does everyone else think of this article? I would be interested to see if anyone else sees it as having multiple flaws like I do.