It’s certainly true that everybody wants to fit in somewhere, somehow. This is especially true for people who suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome and other similar conditions. The problem is that many people who do suffer from such conditions lack the social skills that would enable them to interact efficiently with others. In many cases, it is turned the other way around and the person wanting to fit in but can’t becomes the victim of exclusion type bullying. I have mentioned this before in my post “Exclusion, More Painful Than Punches.”
I definitely know what this is like and have experienced it first hand. Growing up, I wanted to fit in but my lack of social understanding made this difficult. Many times I would approach a group or even just one or two persons with the hope of joining their group, only to be sent away, laughed at or worse. Sometimes, the cause of this was down to my lack of social understanding. I would say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time but in many cases, it was just down to intolerance or plain bullying by the others. What was worse, some of the ones who were deemed most popular would use my desire to fit in against me. They would get me to say or do anti-social things and I would comply believing that I would be accepted if I did. Of course, they would have their laugh at my expense and things would go back to the way they were.
My solution to the problem came even before I moved out of the town that caused me so much grief. I would rarely, if ever, approach anyone with the hand of friendship. Instead, I would wait for others to come to me. Worse, my past experiences led me to mistrust people thinking that everyone was out to make a fool out of me and I adopted a defensive posture towards people. This was especially true during my high school years. I remember one girl saying to me, “You’re not very friendly.” The problem was that I wanted to be but my past conditioned my mind where my actions gave that impression. As a result, I was a loner throughout my high school years. However, I didn’t realise it was down to social conditioning influenced by Asperger’s like mindset. I thought it was down to being a born again Christian and not being accepted because I wasn’t of the world.
Even when I came out of the service I changed little in this regard. Being the 80s, some would probably explain it away by quoting a line from the movie “Pretty in Pink:” “If you give signals you don’t want to belong then people will make sure you don’t.” In 80s Regan America, this was the philosophy at the time. People made sure I didn’t belong on account of my ‘awful’ crimes of having long hair and wearing moccasin boots. I wasn’t totally not to blame either. I perceived people at my college, who hadn’t experienced what I had were judging me out of ignorance. They were but I never took the time to put them right. Would they have listened, maybe not but I could have tried.
Already stated before, I have put many of my experiences at wanting to fit in and not being allowed to in my book “He Was Weird.” Many of Mark’s experiences in regards to this subject were my own. As I look at this and research school shootings further, I sense this rejection by others can lead the sufferer to feel isolated to where they eventually might snap. What is needed here is more tolerance and understanding. Too often, the victim of exclusion is blamed for not having the social skills to fit in. Often times it’s not the victim’s fault. They are simply doing what they think is right and harshly rejecting this effort is not the way to go about it.
Next post: It’s Not That I Can’t Hear You
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424698357&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird