As has been mentioned in my earlier articles, among the greatest issues being on the spectrum are vigilantes arising after being offended. After people are offended, they usually ghost and never return. This is perplexing, why? Whenever I’m in a friendship or some other type of relationship, I am aware that I am a single infraction away from having them block me from their life. After which they’ll use their cognitive biases to construct a skewed narrative about why they’re doing it, tell their friends, their friends will agree with them that the cognitive bias-influenced caricature is correct, that he’s toxic, and it’s good you left him. Their friend agreeing with them is a second opinion which confirms their version of the story.
I’ve written about in earlier articles how it is amazing that high school grudges will last for decades and death threats will come after uncouth social media posts. It stands to reason that in a climate where such things are common that humans will abscond from a friendship after a slight offense. This is a major problem for anyone on the spectrum not only keeping a friendship but even beginning to have a social life since when someone lacks much background in socializing, they’re prone to more mistakes and to offend more people. The fact that people will run from anyone who offends them makes launching someone into a social life and successfully having a network of peers to rely on much more difficult.
In our culture, there is a strong sense that everyone has a right to be comfortable and that making someone uncomfortable is tantamount to groping them. As I’ve written earlier, awkward teenagers and child molesters are both described as creepy. If one describes someone with a neurological condition with the same terminology as a child molester then that not only unfairly vilifies the person with the condition but also justifies any social boycott of that person. Such terms also lead to gossip and rumors and may bar the person with the neurological condition from an entire group. That is to say, if they offend a single person, an entire list of people with whom they may have tried to make a connection are unavailable to them.
Purging “toxic” people or even just people one doesn’t care about from one’s life is increasingly posited as a positive thing. I have heard that deleting contacts and foreswearing people is a way of renewing one’s life by chucking old baggage. Rather than attempting to maintain positive terms with people and keeping an amicable acquaintanceship after parting. Everyone is your sibling in the human family and your are morally required to love everybody so you shouldn’t regard anyone as baggage to leave behind but should try to make earnest efforts to keep amicable and friendly relations with everybody in your life, past, present, and otherwise, if, at all possible. No one is baggage, everyone is a human being.
And no one is fully immune to cognitive biases so one should accept that one possibly has skewed their view of whomever they have forsaken in order to justify abandoning them. That is very likely to happen to a person with a neurological condition. Like the vigilante bullies, this is an ethical pretext for what would otherwise be considered unbecoming and rude behavior. And being offended doesn’t make you a superior person, it just makes you more socially acceptable. The propensity to hold grudges over petty things is a vice, not a virtue, and doesn’t make you an upright citizen, it makes you an uptight puritan.
There need be an abandoning of the idea that people have a right to be comfortable, at least, to the degree that is held now and in the ways that is it held. We need a culture where our weakest members are not in fear of society’s judgments if they cross some asinine line society has drawn. We’re not going to have a safe place for lots of people, including lots of disabled people, unless our definitions of acute comfort and safety more align with what would be conducive to a more generally comfortable and safe society. It will result in the abandonment of some of our neediest siblings. It is often said by the members of society that if someone needs love, they can go to a therapist and not bother people whose job isn’t to help those people. No, you are a member of this family and will not be derelict of duty. You don’t have to serve every second and every person but if you’re not trying to serve a lot then that’s desertion.