Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Morality Police: Honor Codes and the Tattle-Tale Aspie

Amy M. Murphy

By Beijing Patrol from US
 via Wikimedia Commons
I'm not going to beat around the bush -- Aspies love to tattle and point fingers at evildoers. Driving with an Aspie one can be sure if the stated speed limit is exceeded there will be words.

Both my son and I consider ourselves to have a code of honor which is probably higher than most. We believe in rules, laws and a certain high standard of everyday conduct. He has remarked, more than once, that his aberrant behavior of a year and a half ago was more damaging to his psyche and personal pride as he broke his own moral code, than the whole jail/ prison sentence thingy.

We like to attempt to hold others to our over-zealous standards. I made an excellent safety in grade school. I loved "patrolling" and reporting the tiniest malfeasance. If anyone was cheating on a test, the teacher could count on me to report this.

Looking back to my teens and early twenties,  my own tattling behavior was was completely out-of-control, overboard, and highly unnecessary. Grade-school tattling is pretty much accepted, based on age and level of maturity, but when you hit twenty, it's time to sit down and have a very long talk with yourself. I am not the world's morality police. My moral standards can be as high as I want, but I am no judge or jury. Yes, if I see an innocent being harmed, I will do something about it and report it, but overall, I definitely have an overly-zealous streak that needs containing.

I have learned what are little infractions and what are big ones ... who am I kidding? ... somewhat. I try and let the little things go and allow the driver of the car to decide her fate. As well as understanding it is up to the teacher to ensure no cheating is done, not I.

I must say that I endured quite a bit of ridicule, rightly so, at more than one place of employment for my petty-infraction reporting. Tattletales are not held in high esteem and this whole wanting to get everyone to do the right thing, at my intense level, is nothing but detrimental and should be analyzed, dealt with, talked about, and abolished.

When Eldest was in school, he was also so thrilled to share his "report" on evildoers at least once a week. Now that he is 19, I sincerely hope he has gotten over that.

If I have questions, or am stymied as to if such-and-such is a serious, reportable action, I have learned to ask at least one other trusted friend for their opinion. That seems to work for me these days.

Why do we with Asperger's feel so very compelled to tattle? Because it screws up our sense of order and balance. Rules are to be taken seriously and protocol should be followed to the letter. One lawless individual causes us chaos. One person who gets away with something means all people can do as they please. Maybe, amongst this issue alone, we would dearly love all to adhere to our principles because it makes the outside world a safer, more predictable place. Really, we just want safety and security.

Aspie kids ... yeah, they really can't help it, but definitely address the issue.

And for goodness sake, drive the speed limit, use your turn signal at fifty feet and make complete stops at stop signs! Geez.

This essay was previously published at