The Need to be Right


We all like to be right. Fact. It’s just another thing I’m right about. However, I’m acutely aware that there are times when it would be massively inappropriate, and likely very unhelpful, to point it out. I take the satisfaction smugly inwards and ‘let it go’ knowing that truth will out eventually. And hey, I have been known to be proven wrong (once or twice, back in 1993).


Some of us are better  at the letting go part than others, but fundamentally, when we’re rolling with the punches of the social world we just get that pointing out we are right is not always the best course of action. Boo doesn’t get this. Na da, no way, has-to-make-a-point-of-it, won’t ever swallow the words, be magnanimous or gracious, no, if he’s right the world is sure to know about it.


This poses quite a problem. You see, inhabiting Boo’s sphere are two little 6 year olds. Totally, utterly, fib-worthy, haven’t see a lot of the world, 6 year olds. Who don’t, for obvious reasons, always get things right. In fact, dare I say it, often don’t. They are frequently known to bend the truth a little, or see things through the rainbow lens of fantasy, or simply just to not understand things in quite the same way as others. Or, let’s face it, because the world isn’t black and white but has massive great chunks of splinters-in-my-arse-on-a-fence, GREY.


But Boo doesn’t do shades of grey. Things are right. Or things are wrong. And there’s not an inch of middle ground. Result: hotbed for an older brother pointing out EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING his sisters don’t get 100% right. It’s like growing up alongside the world’s least-censored pedant. It’s a little exasperating. A million little bickers could be avoided every single day if Boo could just learn to bite his tongue.


But try as we might, we simply can’t seem to get Boo to understand this one: to know in his head he’s right, but not to always point it out. It’s like it’s impossible for him. Perhaps it is. Perhaps he has to work so hard to understand the ‘rules’ of life that if someone flouts the extra ones he puts in to get things to make some sense out of the shades of grey, then god help them. They are doomed to having it absolutely spelt out, with no shadow of doubt, exactly why they are wrong.


So come on, words of wisdom please… how do you get someone with Autism to sometimes bite their tongue, and not always be Mr Right?


4 thoughts on “The Need to be Right

  1. I don’t really have any words of wisdom, I’m an Autistic adult and only recently have found this information out! But I can see myself as a child in your description of your son. And the trouble it caused me! I also have very black/white thinking – theoretically I know there’s “grey” I can even usually point it out to others, but I find it very hard to apply to my own thinking. I couldn’t understand why people could happily be wrong so the logical thing to do was to correct them. I was a know-it-all, matter of fact in high school my friends dubbed me “knower” because of it. I guess when I started to realise it upset people I changed, but that was only if they called me on it then and there, if it was after the fact the chance for me to learn the lesson from it had passed. I’m emotionally underdeveloped, I think that’s a common Autistic trait, so emotional reasoning probably won’t be really effective unless you can somehow relate it to something he understands as being hurtful to him. Maybe? I don’t really know, I’m only learning now about my life 29 years later. I can say each time I found out I’d made someone upset, although I couldn’t understand why they were upset as it wasn’t my intention, I felt awful about it – I can imagine it’s not very nice to feel constantly criticised for seemingly irrelevant mistakes. I’ve always been very big on “truth” to the point I have distorted thinking (that no one can be trusted) and am now in therapy to try to correct this distortion. I’m reading Nick Dubin’s book on anxiety – it’s really very good and has helped me immensely. It might be worth a look, because he’ll be an Autistic adult one day and from experience, what we can get away with as kids isn’t something that is favourably looked upon as adults – matter of fact it comes across the complete opposite of what we are e.g. Makes us seem arrogant 😕
    I hope that helps somewhat? Sorry if it doesn’t!


    1. thank you for taking the time to write about it from the point of view of an adult who has been there, it’s always interesting to hear from your point of view. I think you are right that things are harder for adults with Autism because no one cuts you any slack, I guess why I am keen to help my son grow up to function in the NT world (rightly or wrongly). Appearing arrogant is the danger, although those with some understanding of Autism, know that it is so far removed from true arrogance. All the best with the therapy and your continuing journey, I can understand how Autism goes so closely with anxiety.

      Liked by 1 person

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