This is another big sign that someone is on the autistic spectrum, even if only mildly. I think there are several reasons that people with ASD will regularly argue with others.
Their lack of perception will prevent them from recognising when and where is not the right time and place to get into an argument.
They have an inability to gauge possible outcomes, or even think of any consequencies at all. AKA Foot-in-Mouth syndrome. Most people who argue a lot do not think first how the other person will react. If they did stop to think, they often would bite their tongue.
People with aspergers in particular can be exceptionally pedantic and will often argue over subjects that seem important to them, but to everyone else appear to be very petty things.
When a heated argument takes place, emotions are high and control is lost. We have all witnessed people who continue arguing about the same subject, repeating themselves and just shouting over the other person. They each have no interest in listening; only shouting. Prolonged arguments of this nature are likely to be between two people with aspergers and/or ADHD.
Both types of people need to be heard and get extremely frustrated and hurt when they are not heard or respected. They will both want to have the last word, and get even more angry when their last comment has not resulted in shutting the other person up. What happens next is embarrassing, as each party sinks further and further into petty anarchy.
Sometimes these arguments need not involve shouting, but you can still sense the aggression and anger through snide comments and petty slanging matches. One example of this where I believe both parties have Asperger Syndrome, was one of the many arguments that took place between actor Anthony Cotton and sportswoman Fatima Whitbread while on the TV show “I’m a Celebrity; Get Me Out of Here” in 2011.
Because they both wanted to take control and had different ideas of the best way to do things, they clashed with each other. Fatima seemed to lack perception more than Anthony, and was hopeless at gauging the mood in the camp, while Anthony got stressed out very easily and let Fatima get to him. Anthony was more insightful but could still not resist having the last word in an argument. As they were both guilty of this, it would seem like an argument was coming to an end, but then one would make a “final” quip; prompting the other to do the same. And on and on it went.
I’ll try and find a better video to demonstrate this. I can’t find a video containing an actual proper argument between Anthony and Fatima at the moment, but from 3:00 – 6:00 in the above video, you can get a sense of how they are both feeling.
I felt sorry for them both, as I knew how difficult it was to be in a situation where you cannot be understood. But being a viewer, it was easy to see how these arguments could have been avoided by not letting the other person get to them, and to let the other person have the last word and just agree with them, to end the confrontation. That, of course, is easier said than done though, and the condensing of 24 hours into 45 minutes cannot truly portray to the viewer how participants are really feeling.
Another thing ASD sufferers who are argumentative are often guilty of, is failing to recognise that their opinions are just that; opinions – and not fact. Culprits will typically talk down to the other person in a tone that suggests they themselves are right all the time, and they don’t appear to question that they could be wrong.
Sometimes they are not as arrogant as they appear. They might be fully aware that their opinions are not facts, but sadly the way they communicate will often still make them appear that way.
When a person with Aspergers argues with a neurotypical person, the aspie will almost always win the argument or at least have the last word, because their nature predicts they will get their own way, more often than not. The other person will back down out if sheer exasperation, for a bit of peace. But two aspies would probably fight to the death if they could.
People who are known for arguing most often fall into the category “Unable to Handle Stress” as well. While we all handle stress differently, those on the autistic spectrum get a lot more anxious than others. Even when they themselves think they are having a civilized discussion or debate, others will often see them as being confrontational and not letting go of a subject that could easily be dropped. It is linked to fragile egoes too, because the argumentative party will not be able to allow the other guy to win. The fact they see the conversation as a battleground in itself, is due to the fact that they are over-emotional but instead of being tearful, they get angry.
All the arguments, confrontations and outbursts I have found myself in (*Notice that? “found myself in”; not “started” – as if I was the innocent party!*) have always, without fail, been when I have been behind on my sleep. This is why I try to stick to a strict routine, because although everyone functions better when they are not tired, it is essential for people on the autistic spectrum to have a regular, healthy sleep pattern, simply to function as normally as possible. So many of us are unaware or forget how important this is.