Written by SAPL on July 15th, 2008 in Organization.
The Aspie is a lover of all rules. It is not enough to just follow them, in some cases, the Aspie feels he or she must create more rules and enforce rules on other people. Usually, the Aspie just feels he/she is doing the right thing because it’s what they learned and due to their impaired Theory of Mind and White Board issues (the way they learned it 1st is the way they will always see it), they can’t see any other way of doing it. Some may be driven because of anxiety of breaking a social norm and desperately wanting to do what is proper.
Still, others suffer from R.E.P.=Rule Enforcement Pissiness.
This phenomena can be explained by the following: Growing up and even as an adult, the Aspie learned that some of his/her behavior and mannerisms were not necessarily appropriate socially (staring hard at people that looked damn fine, telling them they are indeed “too fat,” and then saying, “You wanted to know.” People who cared for the Aspie’s social development (and wanted to protect them from getting their arse kicked) constantly reminded the Aspie of what social norms were and how to follow them. Eventually, most of them got this and were able to at least fake their way through.
However, it was quite unnatural and what was worse was observing other seemingly neurotypical people breaking all the rules the Aspie was so chastised for doing: Being rude, offensive, saying overtly sexual lines, grabbing…well you get the point. “Screw this,” the Aspie thought. “If I have to follow these weird social rules, then I’m going to make sure everyone does.” And off on a mission the Aspie went to help enforce them, being seriously afflicted with R.E.P.
Great careers in administration, auditing, and neighborhood association weirdo who is always seen carrying a yardstick to measure your grass blades and walks onto everyone’s lawn to push the garbage cans to their appropriate distance from curb were launched.
Before these careers, the Aspie had lots of practice in school-reminding the teachers there was still 3 minutes of class left and students should not be dismissed. Telling the college professor she shouldn’t cancel class because the are X number of classes on the syllabus and students are paying for X number of classes. Maybe even going to the dean to complain…
It’s important that the Aspie realize it is not about themselves changing. They should continue living their life according to their rules and it’s probably healthier that they do. This rule adherence is more than likely responsible for the Aspie achieving in areas where they excel such as science and other protocol following callings.
R.E.P. is not fatal, yet downright annoying, but can be alleviated once the Asperger learns or at least partially learns that everything is not black and white. This can be accomplished by having the Aspie exposed to different people and environments, giving explanations of why things can have more than one solution, etc. A 4 year stint at a nice liberal arts university might help in this process as the Aspie can observe many people who have different rules, and are either creating their own rules, changing rules, or even downright disregarding them.
This will result in the Aspie realizing that yes, there are shades or gray. Either that or they will run off to join a priesthood/nunnery as reactive therapy.