So…Why Can’t I Use Autism As An Excuse?

No Excuses sign

Image Credit: ShutterStock

Ok, ok, I get it! Really, I do. I cannot — probably must not — use autism as some sort of an excuse.

And I do admit that I have tried to do exactly that, at least a few times in the past year since being diagnosed. One of the more consequential of these took place early last Summer when I tried to explain to a family member why I had recently been fired from my previous job. I’ve lost count of how many times in my life I’ve either gotten fired or quit a job because I knew if I didn’t it was only a matter of time until I got fired. And among the people who know me well enough to know that story, I’m really something of a record holder in that regard. When I started explaining to this individual that I have a hard time controlling my “thought furnace“, and that this has always made it hard for me to do pretty much everything from working to loving, this person cut me off —

“So you blame your diagnosis then?”

The question surprised me –in fact, felt like an ambush of some sort — and I got all jammed up in the head about how to answer. The conversation rapidly veered off into one of the uglier rows I’ve had in a long time, complete with F-bombs from all involved and a subsequent refusal to speak to one another that continues to this day, and which threatens to continue indefinitely.

Because of this experience and a handful of others more or less like it, I have come to understand that “playing the autism card” is probably a bad idea. It probably won’t solve whatever problem I’m hoping it will solve, and this in pretty much any otherwise-apparently relevant situation.

I also admit that I find this quite disappointing. One thing I really enjoy about this diagnosis is that it explains so much about me, my behavior, my personal history. It makes so much sense out of my “thought furnace”, my various learning obsessions, my stalwart commitment to routines, my anxiety problems, etc.. But one thing that I especially love about this diagnosis is that it explains my chronic, lifelong tendency toward all manner of social misfittery — everything from merely boring folks (which happens a lot, apparently), to pestering them, annoying them, frustrating them, and every so often shocking and/or infuriating them (in my defense that happens relatively rarely, but nonetheless far too often for even my own tastes). Especially those latter cases, in which I have to assume that the word most likely used by my adversaries to describe me to others simply must be asshole, I especially like the sense of relief that comes with knowing that I’m not an asshole (gosh darnit); I’m autistic (-ish).

Yeah, sure, wouldn’t that be nice? But apparently it doesn’t work that way. For some reason “playing the autistic card” is a serious no-no, especially in that kind of situation. Yep, I get that now. Really, I do.

But I want to clarify something about that. See, I really do understand that it’s not okay to use autism as an excuse. I really do understand that whenever I try to use autism as an excuse, I’m really just asking for trouble. See, that part is very clear to me. I understand fairly clearly that we have this as a rule, and that if I break this rule I will likely be punished in some way. But, see, what I don’t understand is why this is true. Why do we have this rule?

Why can’t I use autism as an excuse?

11 Comments

  1. Well, I say it’s not okay for anyone else to accuse you of using autism as an excuse. They don’t get to decide how you are or are not legitimately affected by autism. How the hell would they know?

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Thanks, Kira. And I agree. How would they know unless I told them? And what can I do if they just decide for some reason to disbelieve me? If I had a broken foot I could show them an X-ray, but with autism where’s the X-ray equivalent? Someone should invent the “A-ray”. 😂😂😂Thanks for weighing in! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Firstly, I can’t believe someone would have the audacity to speak to you in a manner of being hurtful towards you, knowing fully you, in fact, have a diagnosis of autism. Excuse me, but that person ( persons) should take a full inventory of their existence.
    Secondly, I don’t think you are using your diagnosis as an “Excuse”, You obviously had health issues it was determined that you actually have an existing problem.
    I am so angry that people would do that to you. You are not using “The Autism Card” – Tell people to F’ off the next time they ever dare suggest that to you.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Thanks for great pep talk. I agree that the individual in question could benefit from an existence inventory. It seems they have a long journey ahead on the road to Wisdom. As for playing the F card — ha! That’s basically what happened. We each ended up tossing quite a few F cards at each other. It was quite a mess, really. I hope we will do better in the future. Thanks hugely for your support. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. “…….lifelong tendency toward all manner of social misfittery” : I found this exhilarating.

    Anyways, I think the problem is in your explanations.

    You don’t need to explain yourself to anybody for any reason: I am presuming your loved ones or those in your inner circle already know your health condition, as it were.

    But even if they dont, in all cases, all we need is love and you don’t need an explanation to be loved i.e accepted as you are.

    An African proverb says it beautifully ; “One who loves you, loves you with your dirt.
    This is the nature of love and this is what you and everyone else deserves.

    It’s all good. Just take care of you.

    Liked by 4 people

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  4. There’s always people who will minimize the experience of others if they don’t understand it. Happens a lot with “invisible” illness conditions as well. People can be dicks sometimes. Be yourself wildly and unapologetically and leave people with their own unnecessary judgement!

    Liked by 2 people

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