Paranoia or Asberger'ish - does it really matter?

My wife and I have bad this debate for ever, and it will probably continue forever.

When my wife asks if I need help, I automatically kick into paranoia, “why, does it look like I need help?”. My thought is that you ask somebody if they need help if they are stranded on the side of the highway (for example). So therefore, if someone asks me if I need help, I interpret that they feel I look like I need help. Therefore, I get insulted.

In actuality, she is asking if I need help because she’s done with her activity and innocently wants to help out with my activity. I understand that my way of thinking is not common.

So, am I paranoid? Symptom of Asberger’s (therapist said that was possibility)?. Or is it just being raised by some oddball parents? Can I get over it, or do I just need to keep apologizing for misinterpreting human behavior (yet again).

If someone were to ask me if I need help, I would assume they were just trying to be helpful AND that I look like I need help. Because of the first, I wouldn’t feel insulted. But because of the second, I’d probably feel embarrassed.

I am perfectly aware, though, that this is my hang-up. I’ve always had a thing about not being able to hide my physical ineptness .

Rather than being “paranoid” or “Aspergerish”, it sounds like you just don’t like the question. Your wife could maybe be more mindful about avoiding the question, and you could perhaps lighten up some when she forgets.

I’ve also been told (by a professional) I have some Aspergerish tendencies, and like with you they lead me to arguments and misunderstandings with my wife, whose mind works differently than mine. But, it seems to me that in this case the issue is more your insecurities – your desire to be taken seriously as a competent adult who rarely needs help, and who will initiate any communication during those rare moments when he does. I share these issues with you, but I think it’s in addition to our borderline Aspy tendencies, not because of them.

I wouldn’t self diagnose with Asperger’s if I was you. Autism spectrum is a lot more complicated than an adult deciding to self diagnose. BTW, you need a lot more than sensitivity to your wife’s question to be on the spectrum.

The fact that you’re married is a big indicator that you’re ***not ***on the spectrum. And if you have to ask *why *then that is a second indicator that you’re ***not ***on the spectrum. :wink:

I hope this isn’t too much of a hijack, but it seems to me a lot of folks with Asperger’s are married with children. I have to admit to not understanding this 100%. To me, it’s like being diagnosed with paraplegia after running the Boston marathon.

Where do you get that idea from? Have you actually been formally diagnosed? People with Asperger’s are highly impaired and very odd.

It’s not an idea. It’s an observation. It certainly seems that a lot of internet denizens who have the diagnosis are also married with children. “People on the spectrum don’t get married because they are too impaired!” is not a statement that seems to be borne out by reality. Perhaps the majority are unattached. But it sure seems like a lot–however you want to define “a lot”–are.

Does it give my post more or less credence if I told you that I have been diagnosed, but I don’t accept it because I don’t think I’m “highly impaired and very odd” enough to warrant such a label?

Very bad reasoning. If you look like you need help, and actually do need help, then accept it with humility. “Ah, yeah, I’m kinda stuck…could you lift this end? Great! Thanks!”

If you look like you need help, but don’t actually need help, then smile and say, “No, I’ve got it,” and be thankful to be married to someone who cares enough to offer.

There should be nothing insulting about appearing to be in need of help. That’s just foolish pride.

I don’t know what it’s a symptom of, but I once was dinged in an employee review because my supervisor thought I didn’t volunteer to help other staffers.

I explained that I thought to offer help when it wasn’t asked for was to imply I thought a co-worker couldn’t handle their job, so the proper thing to do was to wait until I was asked.

My supervisor was confused by my logic, but offered to accept it, as long as I was more forthcoming with offers to help in the future.

Diggerwam, you and I might have been great teammates.

Why not want help even if it’s unneeded? You’ll be done faster and you’ll have done it with someone’s company.

That is, if it’s just something that needs to get done. If it’s something whose pleasure is in the doing, that’s different. I wouldn’t want anyone’s help in reading a book, for example.

If I were you I’d really stop trying to blame it on some sort of psychological dysfunction. It’s just a basic manners issue. Offering help can either come as a loving offer to assist your SO or it can be seen as a critique of your ability to get the job done. Always jumping to the negative interpretation is eventually going to poison your interaction with her and cause her to regard you with some degree of disdain.

You need to work on generating an automatic polite response as the first words out of your mouth if you don’t need any help rather than a childish explosion. This doesn’t require a psychiatrist for therapy it simply requires some common sense self-control and moderation of your response regardless of your emotional feeling at the time. It’s what adults do, especially adults in relationships.

You really do need to fix it this this kind of thing can be extremely poisonous over time.

There is a male-female aspect to this.

Women, after a dinner party: “Oh, let me help you clean up.”

Men, in the garage: “You’re using the wrong tool for that.”

Women cooperate, men compete.

In the realm of intimate relations (or lack thereof), the autistic spectral region formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome (ASRFKAAS) is known, in general, to affect females very differently from males. (The diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome was re-defined into the cornfield in DSM-V.)

According to the usual stereotype (which is apparently largely true), males having Asperger’s Syndrome have great difficulty, and very limited success (if any) at establishing and conducting intimate relations with female persons.

Females, however, tend to get into relationships, often over and over again, which are often abusive or otherwise very bad. They are able to get into relationships due to the fact that it’s the males, mostly, who must and do initiate relationships and work to move them forward at each stage. Females can be very passive and still get into relationships. That doesn’t work for males. It was thus a long-held notion that ASRFKAAS is much more common in males than females, with much head-scratching over why that should be.

HOWEVER, people with ASRFKAAS also tend to have very poor instincts and judgement skills about other people. This affects females particularly badly in this way: They tend to get into bad relationships, and not to learn anything from them ; thus they get into bad relationships over and over again.

The above theory isn’t just my own hypothesis. From what I’ve read about ASRFKAAS (back in the days when it was still simply AS), this was a well-known observation about ASRFKAAS, and how it appears to differently affect males’ and females’ experiences (or lack of) in relationships.

ETA: But yes, I’m always surprised to read of male alleged ASRFKAAS people who have girlfriends or wives. It seems almost oxymoronic. I really wonder if coupled or married male ASRFKAAS people actually are ASRFKAAS.

Asperger’s does not have a fixed set of symptoms. There are many characteristics that are typicall, and few, if any, patients have them all. I am surprised that you would question the diagnosis simply on the absence of one indicator and ignore all the rest.

You can refute any diagnosis you like, given the absence of an empirical test for ASRFKAASPKAGK (autistic spectral region formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome previously known as goofy kid), but I’d question the validity of your criteria…

What kind of help are we talking about? “Do you need help opening that jar?” does sorta imply that you think you have stronger hands or a better technique than the other person. But “Do you need help carrying in the groceries?” doesn’t: anyone can carry in groceries, it’s just about sharing the burden. Do both types of offers to help offend you, or just the former?

I am very confused why you would interpret someone offering to help as an insult at all?

Specifically the offers of help that infer that I am struggling or could be doing it differently or better or more efficiently. I’ve always thought that if I need help I’ll ask for it and I assume (wrongly at times) that if someone else wants help, they will ask. I assume you can handle whatever it is you are doing, unless you state otherwise. If you need help, verbalize it and I will be happy to pitch in.

I took 6 weeks of therapy after my parents passed away and during that therapy, which was very broad topic, the therapist mentioned that I may be Asberger’ish. I looked up the characteristics, and it kinda made sense. I’m not claiming I have had a formal diagnosis.

Your issue. If an offer of help causes you to become defensive YOU have an issue YOU need to work on.

When someone is offering you help it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the one offering. They are offering to share the load. Not trying to save an incompetent. The difference is entirely in your attitude.

If you choose to not see it one way, that’s on you. You need to recognise attitude a choice, as with anything. If you’d like to inhabit a paranoid world where every offer of assistance is but a thinly disguised personal slight, you can indeed choose to, nothing is stopping you.

How you choose, will of course, colour your world rather dramatically do choose wisely. Good Luck!

I used to think that until I was in the Army. Men will work with men they don’t like toward the end of getting a job done that need many hands to get done. Women will either stand around, or else do a crap-ass job because not enough people are working at something, because they’ve cut out whoever they’re being catty about at the moment. But women will resist to the bitter end working with women they don’t like, even it the dislike is for some silly, arbitrary reason, like, “She takes to much time in the bathroom in the morning.”

Now, back to the OP: I worked with people with both Asperger’s and paranoia for years, and people with paranoia don’t think “She’s offering to help: she must think I can’t do it by myself because I’m a loser,” they think “She’s offering to help: she must be planning to…” followed by some genuine delusion, like, “she wants to carry my groceries in so she can poison my food; she wants to give me directions so she can send me to the secret government lab; she wants to change my tire so she can steel the VIN plate from my car.”

High-functioning ASD, or, The Condition Formerly Known as Asperger’s Syndrome (which people are going to persist in using longer than they will call DVRing a show “taping” it) doesn’t involve misinterpreting things so much as misunderstanding them. If you had HFASD, you’d be more likely to either expect you wife the entirely finish whatever she’d offered to help you with, or you’d think it was some blanket offer to follow you around all day and assist in everything you do. How many possible ways are there to misunderstand "Do you need help?
or “Can I help you?” pick one.

Cracked: “4 Evolutionary Explanations for Modern Annoyances”