A secret is a special thing. It’s something that you are (or are not) trusted with. For the longest time, I couldn’t tell if something was a secret or not, so I ended up not being told much because I had a “big mouth.” It wasn’t really a case of being a gossip or having a big mouth. I just didn’t know that whatever it was I had told people should have been a secret.
I’ve learned that when people whisper things to you or take you aside to tell you something, it’s generally a secret, but I didn’t learn this just by observation. I had to be told. Sometimes, my parents still check to make sure I know some things I just shouldn’t talk about because it’s family business. I’m much better now at recognizing what’s a secret and what isn’t, but I still have a slip up here and there where I don’t recognize that I’ve told someone’s secret to another person.
In fact, there was a recent incident. At the gym that I work at, I have a boss, a co-worker, and a minor that we are giving work experience to. We get a new minor every few months, so I help in training them and making sure they work well. The last one had a habit of doing something that neither my boss, my co-worker, or the members at the gym liked. My boss talked to him about it, and I mentioned it a few times too. My co-worker talked to me one day about how this habit ticked her and my boss off. (Note that she told me in an open area with other people around and she did not lower her voice to tell me.) So I talked to the kid about it, and told him that they didn’t like the behavior, that it needed to stop.
I saw nothing wrong with talking to him about it. But when she found out that I had told him, she told me that she didn’t feel like she could trust me anymore because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. She said that she’d talked to our boss about it, and my boss knew that it was because of my Asperger Syndrome. Then comes the part that really hurt. She told me that I was using the “disease” as an excuse to act stupid and childish. She told me that I’m an adult and I keep making the same mistake over and over, and I’m using my AS as an excuse to not be responsible.
I had no clue what to say to her and she wouldn’t let me get a word in, so I just listened to what she had to say, and then walked away to clean something. All the time trying to remember every detail about how it had happened. I still didn’t see how I’d been in the wrong. She had told me at a normal volume, in an open area in the gym where other people could hear her too. How in the world was I supposed to know that what she was saying was a secret? If she’d told me that it was a secret, I wouldn’t have said anything (even if her method of telling me was not in a secretive way).
Does she really think that I want to distance people from myself because I don’t feel like being responsible? I try every day to abide by social rules. I work every day at not offending people because they take what I say the wrong way. I watch my words constantly so that I don’t say something the wrong way. I don’t use AS as an excuse ever. I may mess up from time to time, but I do my best to learn from my mistakes.
It really hurts that someone I’ve come to love could be so cruel to me. It makes me want to retreat to my little box and never come out. I just don’t understand why people don’t realize that AS is completely real and that it does present difficulties that “normal” people don’t have to overcome.