Being Argumentative – ASD Symptom


Being regularly argumentative is a big sign that a person could have high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and Aspergers in particular.

I think it comes from a need to be heard and taken seriously, as well as often having to have the last word. The latter being of course to do with ego and insecurity.

Also as pragmatic pedants, we often cannot let slide a remark that someone makes that we disagree on, or think unfair. Sadly, many people with aspergers fail to foresee the probable consequencies of tackling an argument and causing a confrontation. As most people with ASD are unable to handle stress very well, confrontations are usually the last thing they want, and yet they continually forget this fact and end up right in the middle of an argument far too frequently.

We all know someone who is excessively argumentative. Every school classroom has someone – or several. Every workplace has at least one. And as full-blown (low functioning) autism is on the increase, so too is high-functioning autism and ASD. And the only way to prevent it would be for humans to stop reproducing!

If you are an argumentative person, there are certainly ways you can manage these tendencies, and keep them to a minimum. I plan to cover some of these techniques later on in this blog. You cannot totally get rid of the thing in your brain that makes you argumentative (what I believe to be ASD + all the difficulty that ASD brings over many years growing up), but rest assured, it can be managed and even mostly eliminated by recognising your triggers and changing your overall outlook on life for the better. This of course benefits every area of your life and will make you much happier.

Nowadays I practice on the people around me to curb my tendancy to end up in an argument. I have trained myself to smile and nod in aggreement or to make a joke as way of bringing the conversation to a close, if engaging in small-talk, rather than dig myself into a hole.

If I’m with friends, I try to keep the thought “Will they be glad they invited me?” always in the back of my mind, and this is usually enough to make me behave myself! When I look back on my behavior over the years, it is clear that I never used to ask myself this question and thought I could say anything I liked without repercussions. Then I’d get upset and confused when it all backfired. But then again, my inherent depression and resentment towards the world governed most of my behavior. That and lack of sleep. Sometimes it’s ok to get into a healthy debate with friends, as long as you’re not too insecure, paranoid and able to keep a lighthearted tone.

The irony I find is that many arguments I have found myself in, have come about by myself not being able to communicate effectively in the first place, and subsequently being misunderstood. I cannot tell you the number of times I have agreed with the other person, but I have over-complicated the conversation, and they end up thinking I was disagreeing with them.

This happened on New Years Eve 1997 in a discussion about the late Princess Diana. I was so upset by how the argument ruined the evening, I vowed never again to talk about politics, religion or “Diana”!

3 comments on Being Argumentative – ASD Symptom

  1. That is my general complaint so to speak. Neurotypicals can express their views and have opinions but we as Aspie’s cannot. I know I am never intentionally offensive or argumentative and am in fact meek but I always end up in some conflict with someone who has a strong personality and opinion. I don’t say much and find it quite unbelievable that I end up in these conflicts. I truly do not know what I am doing and wish I could see myself may be on camera after the fact to evaluate it.

    It all makes sense to me at the time. Just trying to explain what happened and why this cause and effect situation arose and how it got worked out and it is always a long, rambling story but in my head it is necessary and makes sense. I know the truth and perhaps being overdirect may be upsetting to someone but in most cases they have caused the conflict and do not want to admit to it. I am not saying I am always right because that couldn’t be possible. But, at the time when the conflict has arisen it is crystal clear to me why it is happening and the other person seems to take little responsibility. I think Aspies operate in the truth in the moment and nothing else matters. We cannot blow something off and take the bullet for them because in our mind they have behaved out of order.

    I need that missing piece of information. Why didn’t they come at 12:00 as agreed to meet with me? We had discussed it. It is now 2:00 pm and no mention of it. Inside I cannot stand it. All rights have been violated. How can they forget? We just talked about it? Doesn’t this mean what I believed all along that I am not as important as everyone else? Everybody else gets their meeting about Topic X but once again I do not. If there was an emergency why didn’t they tell me? All this questioning is going on in my brain and they are oblivious to it. Eventually, I may inquire in a very nice way but somehow it gets distorted, conflict arises which they want to avert but in my mind I believe I am right. I end up getting blamed for it. Yes, it is quite ridiculous to me because I cannot in my mind figure out how I could be at fault because they failed to show up for the meeting or even come to me and explain why?

    I have a meltdown in my mind. A lot of it is not communicated to the other party unless they set me up. If they come off to me very aggressive then the dam breaks lose. I just cannot let it go. I may at this point come across angry, but I am intense in my explanations of it and why it got to this point and I am frustrated and I hold to the truth and it is hard for me to lie and blow it off. I really need help because I am really stressed and suffering. I feel if I could control myself then I wouldn’t have Asperger’s but may be an anger management problem. But, I wouldn’t be upset if they had come to me with the missing information. Person X will give you your meeting at 12:00 because I cannot. Isn’t this how the world should function? Surely, it is not that difficult.

    Of course, this is what I would do if I was in their shoes. If I couldn’t make it I would let them know. If I didn’t I would surely hear from them. I believe there are double standards out there. I don’t get away with anything, not that I am trying to. Does anyone relate to this? Does this sound like Aspergers. I have taken neuropsychological tests that reflect I have Aspergers and on-line tests always come back with very high scores (off the charts). I cannot stand disorganization and people not taking responsibility. Is this a sign of it? I am very obsessive in some ways and not in others. Very rigid. But, this side of me wouldn’t come out if they just showed up for the meeting which we agreed upon.

    I am in no way violent. I have never hurt anyone physically. I don’t even like to hurt bugs and only do it in an emergency. I am gentle, timid and come off as very non-aggressive but somehow I feel I am being set up and punished and always seem to take the bullet for someone else. I don’t just go out and pick an argument. These people always seem to find me.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    It could well be that they have not prioritized you or made time for you, and yes they should have had the courtesy to let you know they are running late. People I find behave according to how much they respect others. So it does seem that they are disrespecting you. This is unfair, but in their mind they believe you have not earned that respect.

    Even when they know you have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, they do not make allowances for it. They just respond to our behaviour like they do anyone else’s beahviour. I know you say you are not violent, but if you are intolerant of certain things, it will be hard for you to hide that. If so, they will respond by having less respect for you.

    It took me decades to work this out!

    This is the great injustice of our condition. Yes, you do sound as though you have Aspergers. But one thing I’ve learned as I got older is that we have to forgive people even when we think they have treated us unfairly. That in turn makes us more approachable, and then the negative stuff just falls away. Honestly!

    I know it’s not easy, but once you witness it, it motivates you to continue being more aware and understanding. And then more tolerant.

    Negative things will happen, but it’s how we think about them and how we respond to them that determines how much we suffer. We don’t have to suffer!

    I recommend watching Xandria Ooi videos on YouTube. I watch one of her 2 minute videos each day, to remind me how to improve my mindset and behaviour.

    I hope things improve for you
    Good luck!

  3. Nisey, your post really resonated with me as I have exactly the same problems! I’m losing about a friend a week at the moment because I’m super confrontational and have trouble managing my emotions but in my mind, I’m always absolutely in the right in the moment and on the occasion that with hindsight I realise I’m not, I’m the first to thrown my hands up and try to explain (often by bombarding people) and apologise. By this point, it’s often too late and both reactions are extremely intense and push people away as most are completely baffled by me. I’m 25 and managed to slip the diagnosis net until a few months ago – makes so much sense to me now that I have am a high-functioning aspie! I don’t want to say it’s validated my life as such but the knowledge has been very empowering for me. Sounds like you share a lot of my traits, I do get violent sometimes though because I just see red in the moment and feel everything so passionately. I also have a really strong moral compass, I just can’t cope with injustice. So, as said above, I’ve been using the “would your friends be happy they invited you?” thought and I try not to limit alcohol consumption too as I have general anxiety disorder and depression alongside the aspie-ness so it can all get a bit messy! Hang in there, I completely empathise with your situation.

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