As Aspies, we tend to have a tough row to hoe.
If you're an Aspie, you've likely grown up being yelled at, bullied and generally made to feel like a failure. And having little idea why.
Not knowing from day to day if someone is going to scream at you, complain about you to the teacher or the boss or even maybe call the cops on you for doing or not doing something that no one ever told you about tends to put a damper on your confidence.
And when you say something like “Well, if she'd only told me such-and-such I'd have been glad to ...” and the response is like “BUT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO HURT YOUR FEELINGS, YOU STUPID JERK!” you might wonder if you'll ever understand people.
If we had a more visible disability, it would be one thing. People would not be on our case quite so much for doing things that annoy others.
But when we regale everyone, especially our elders and betters, with something like the history of horsemeat, then stare at someone for minutes on end and when confronted about it plead that we had no idea there was a problem, it doesn't go over quite as well. People respond “Don't play stupid—we know you've got brains!”
Understandably, it can feel like we don't know anything and everyone hates us and we shouldn't even bother trying. That goes beyond discouragement to something approaching learned helplessness.
And with other kinds of helplessness, we need to start by discovering the power we already have. And as the saying goes—if it were easy, we'd have already done it.
Thing is, we hold a great deal of power over our lives—we just need to learn to harness it and use it wisely.
If we don't notice all the unwritten rules and expectations that guide society, we can go through life assuming that most people are stupid, oversensitive, irrational overbearing jerks. If the only dimensions of life we can see are technical and intellectual, we figure all we need to do is read enough books and get through school with flying colors and we'll know everything. We can keep telling ourselves that every time we lose a friend, job, volunteer opportunity, date, etc.
Paradoxically, we need to discover our power—beginning by understanding all the things we don't know and all the ways we've been ticking off everyone else.
In other words, we need to buck ourselves up by putting ourselves down a little bit. Not with a blanket, hateful dismissal like all too many people do, but with a point by point road map of the ways in which other people actually tick—and of the ways in which we've been ticking them off. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!