Monday, October 21, 2013

When Empathy Breaks Down, Shut Your Mouth



Hello friends, neighbors and poor, poor individuals who stumbled their way here. It’s good to see you again, if it has been awhile. It is good to meet you, if it is your first time here. Either way, I’m going to fume for a bit. Sorry about that.

Here’s the skinny: I recently found out that someone I once considered a friend took it upon himself to berate my wife. Now, she’s a human being and, as such, occasionally fucks up, which may well merit a berating. Possibly even a scolding or rare what-for. I would never stand in the way of such a thing.

I don’t consider basic biological and genetic concerns to be among those things, however.

You see, she has social anxiety disorder. Even in small crowds of ten or so strangers, she gets anxious and continually checks the exits until she can get away. Remember that time you got called into the boss’s office and the head of every department in the company was there and they were all staring at you like you punched their favorite cat in the face, then spent all day playing Candy Crush instead of working? To the best of my understanding, that is what most social situations feel like to her.

It bears mentioning that this person was not only aware of this, but that this had been a matter of discussion on several occasions.

So, he decided to invite her to the local goth/industrial club’s foam party, in a manner that seemed awfully like a demand. Even ignoring the fact that she has never, in any way, shown interest in either night clubs or goth/industrial music, this seems like a profoundly stupid invite. Please look up two paragraphs if you are confused.

However, she contacted him to let him know that she would not be attending what would be an evening of abject horror for her. She cited the previously mentioned reason. This is when the berating started. It ended with him stating that she doesn’t have any friends. Because that’s an effective thing to say to someone who views social situations with wild-eyed terror. And this is someone who likes to talk about how much more accepting and open he is towards people whose square pegs do not fit in most of society’s round holes.

I want to make something clear to you. Yes, I am definitely talking to you, individually, now. Not those other people. You. Even mom (Hi, mommy. I love you.).

Clinical Depression, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Phobias, Bipolar, OCD, Autism, Asperger and a host of other issues related to the vagaries of cranial chemistry are incredibly hard to comprehend for anyone who has not experienced them personally. Feeling sad is not the same as Depression. Getting bored is not the same as ADHD. Being nervous is not the same as suffering under an Anxiety disorder. Being afraid is not a Phobia. Being concerned or even worried about details is not the same as OCD. Asberger’s is not just assholes saying whatever they want and not caring. Hell, the experience tends to differ pretty heavily from person to person.

Unless you are there, you don’t get it. That means you don’t get to comment on it. Period. Shut your mouth. Try to help, if you can. Or walk away. Those are the only choices you get.

Also, fuck that guy.

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