Why Are Those with Asperger’s Syndrome So Critical?

Since people with Aspergers Syndrome are sensitive to receiving criticism, yet they’re very good at giving it, you and your family need to learn how to copeHave you noticed that those with Asperger’s Syndrome are very sensitive to receiving criticism? Often they hear criticism where none is implied. AS men in particular interpret a difference of opinion or a different perspective as a criticism of whom they are as a person. And they hear criticism of a family member as a criticism of themselves, so they may respond by refusing to communicate or end up lashing out in a very hurtful manner.Doesn’t it boggle your mind that you’re accused of criticizing when all you do is ask one little question? Why does this happen? Questions and the criticism come from very different perspectives. While we ask questions to clarify and to open up discussions, the Aspie takes a different tack. Aspies rarely ask questions for clarification because that would require a Theory of Mind. Instead, their focus is to answer (or ignore) our questions as they attempt to close down the discussion and focus on a black and white solution. They rarely pick up that we’re trying to work toward collaboration. Thus our questions are confusing to them and bring the accusations that we’re criticizing them.

Ironically, while those with Asperger’s Syndrome are hypersensitive to receiving criticism, they are unaware that they often give criticism. This can be very exasperating and can even break your spirit if you’re constantly on the receiving end this abusive behavior.

Are you exasperated and with all of the criticism leveled at you by your Aspie? On Wednesday May 3rd we’re going to address this problem during our free teleconference entitled: What’s with all the criticism? It will help you finally understand this convoluted interchange and develop strategies to deal with it. You’ll learn how to keep your sanity despite this double talk. And more importantly you’ll discover how to avoid the blame associated with collaborative efforts.

If you’re not a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, be assured it’s a safe place for you – the neurotypical partner to someone with ASD. Why not join us today?

Also, if you haven’t read my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, you can get your first chapter free by clicking here. This book has become the go-to resource for many men and women who want to understand their Aspie partners better.

11 Replies to “Why Are Those with Asperger’s Syndrome So Critical?”

  1. In the last year, my husband has been diagnosed with ASD. I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that if he hurts my feelings and I tell him that he gets angry with me. And then won’t speak to me for days usually. I don’t know how to approach this issue with him without making him angry again. It’s like a vicious cycle and there is no way to end it. I know that he feels criticized when I say he’s hurt my feelings, but I also feel like I have the right to feel how I feel without fear of retribution.

    1. Feeling this exact thing right now and I don’t even know if he has aspergers or not . I just remembered sharing my gripe anonymously on an online forum and someone asking if he had Asperger’s. It pops back in my mind from time to time when I’m feeling confused about him . Not to mention I now suspect one of my children might have this . It just presents in a way where she can mask and no one will know it . Is it genetic ? I can’t recall if it is it not .

      1. Definitely genetic. dh is Aspie and at least two of my children are (suspect a third). It takes a lot of backbone to stand up to it, but that’s the only thing that works. “Wow. That really hurt,” is different to the Aspie than, “You hurt me.” The first statement, in their mind, shows you as oversensitive; the second as an attack on them. They’re willing to modify the behavior because you’re “oversensitive,” but won’t if it’s about them. Hope that makes sense. Stand your ground; otherwise life gets miserable and depressing. Repetitiveness helps. “You’re being oversensitive again; why can’t you just be happy?” gets met with, “Don’t tell me how to feel.” — every time. Takes awhile for it to sink in, but eventually does. Mine is a whiz with finances/computers and anything that keeps his interest — I have to pick up the slack where things don’t.

    2. Lew, I’m having the same problem with my aspie partner, I know exactly what you’re going through. I have learned to keep my mouth shut and stay happy and busy. When you spend too much time with an aspie, you will go crazy. If you give up caffeine and sugar, you will sleep better and feel less inclined to criticize or complain. Choose herbal tea to make you relax and unwind. Stop needing him in your life. He will be happier without the pressure. Let him find you if he needs you. Allow him to miss you and things will get better.

  2. Are there any more meet ups planned or a forum? I’ve only just found this page and think it could save my life!

    1. Look at this another way Luke. It may seem to you that most people don’t deserve compliments because they are a bundle of contradictions. We human beings are always learning and capable of change. Compliments encourage positive change. Even if someone offers an uncalled for judgement, you might say, “I never thought of that before. Thanks for that perspective.” They may not learn a thing, but at least you gave them a chance to consider whether their actions were true-and-necessary-and-kind.

  3. I’m always aware that I’m being critical of others; that because people deserve it, for a variety of reasons (mainly because most people are stupid).

    1. Lots to think about Luke. Critical thinking is different than criticizing others. While it is important to size up the opinions of others and determine if they have merit, it’s not always necessary to disagree openly. Neither is it true that someone is stupid just because they don’t agree with you, or because they do not provide strong evidence for their opinion. It is the nature of human discourse to toss out ideas and opinions and to see how they land with others. On the other hand, I quite agree that there are some people I find tedious. Rarely do I confront them but when I do, it usually ends badly. It’s not easy to accept criticism, especially when it may be true. And once you offer criticism you open yourself up to be criticized in return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have a loved one on the Spectrum, please check our private MeetUp group. We have members from around the world meeting online in intimate video conferences guided by Dr. Kathy Marshack.
Learn More >
Join my Meetup Group