Sore Loser

Several parents of AS children mentioned that they had a hard time understanding why their kids were such "sore losers." I responded:

Reading your posts brought back memories that may have relevance to some other AS people.

When I was in first grade, a teacher had us all pretend to be owls. She told us that owls have huge eyes, so the way to pretend to be an owl was to open our eyes as wide as possible. The child with the biggest eyes would be most like an owl.

When I was not picked as the best owl, I felt totally betrayed. Why? The background is that the children in the class (in any class I was in until at least high school) were not completely real to me. This is a "mind blindness" issue, I assume. Because I was not able to imagine that each of them was a complete mental identity different from mine, they remained rather shadowy figures to me. I related most fully with those able to function according to my own "operating system," which was based on logic/intellect and therefore turned me away from age peers and towards adults.

More particularly, however, my surprise and sense of betrayal in the owl-eyes incident were due to the fact that I could feel that my eyes were incredibly huge! My interior reality over-rode anything and everything else. It was the only real reality, the dependable one, as far as I was concerned. When the teacher's choice violated what I knew to be true (in that interior reality, which I, being "mind blind," believed to be the only reality), I felt betrayed.

Similarly but much later, a new (just out of teaching school) teacher dared to give me a D on an exam in a high school history exam. Me! Who never got anything but As! I was becoming a "rebel" in political terms, but I was also a Quaker, a quiet, adult-oriented, intellectual kind of geek. So it was a huge surprise to everyone when I flipped out and shrieked and cried and raged right there in the classroom - and then all up and down the hall.

Again, my interior reality was the one that mattered (even then, when I had become more sophisticated in my relation to the social world than I had been in first grade), and a major contradiction to my expectations was experienced as a betrayal of that reality. It's not just that I was disappointed. I was sure I was right and the teacher was wrong. I was not someone who got a D. Period. Impossible. I always "aced" tests (because I was able to impress the teachers with my knowledge and my writing, even when I didn't know all the answers to the specific questions they asked), and if I didn't, it was the fault of the test.

In other words, I don't think it's just not wanting to lose. It's that when your inner world is where you live, the reality (what you experience) there is more "real" than the reality outside. I had made the best "owl eyes" and had "aced" that exam in my inner world. My experience of those events was that I had excelled. I could feel how well I'd done. But for some mean reason, the rest of the world would not accept the reality/validity of my experience of the events.

Learning to accept that other people write most of the script of life is a long-term challenge for those who are "mind blind."