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Self Defense/Why are people who act the same way as those with mental disabilities never called "insane" (in particular by psychiatrist)? Especially with regards to violent people?


First the header question.

"Why are people who act the same way as those with mental disabilities never called "insane" (in particular by psychiatrist)? Especially with regards to violent people?"

First let me clarify I have asperger syndrome so you're chatting with someone who has a disability.

But there is one thing bothering me.

I'll use Asperger Syndrome as a basic reference point. One of the basic defining trait  of Asperger is the inability to read body movements to understand the emotions of others and the lack of empathy for other's feelings.

Indeed when Asperger Syndrome is portrayed in movies and TV, one of the cliches is because of the ASpies intellectual personality and his lack of social skills he unintentionally gets into fights with Neurotypes (who are offended by his emotional logical personality). THe show or film often ends the scene with the Aspies alone by himself looking at a mirror or looking down on the ground going like "what did I do wrong?" or "that stupid self-righteous prick", failing to understand how he violated the rules of boundaries and respect.

However you mentioned repeatedly that 90% of conflicts-especially those involving Middle Class people- are started because of poor social skills by both sides (especially the victims).

This repeated statement about how normal people because they fail to see the warning signs and because they insist on arguing with violent people. As a result they get traumatized and in addition they're left after the incident in the same manner as Aspies are shown in pop media (in the "OMG I can't believe he hit me!" sense).

You even stated in a few Facebook page warning people not to let their poor social skills get the better of them when dealing with violent people and quoted a few books on emotional intelligence to a few askers on this site.

Now this question is significant/ AS someone with Asperger's, I won't deny that taken as a whole we have terrible social skills (at least within the standards of Middle Class America). But the problem I got with the statements of psychiatrist and even Neurotypicals is that they turn a blind eye with normal people DOING the exact same thing in violating social norms (actually intentionally) and even unwittingly unable to read emotional subtleties and bodily movement.

An incident example that took place years ago. At a cafe I was talking about Osama Bin Laden with my mom's acquaintance. This acquaintance was getting pissed but my mom told him I have ASpergers and he restrain himself. However my sister (who doesn't have aspergers but has a degree in history) actually came in to support my argument. The thing escalated and this acquaintance than punched my sister.

Now I always remember this incident. Because my sister (who is neurotypical) was not only SUPPORTING the same arguments I had, but she was being just as vocal and nonstop chitchat as I was. In fact I actually restraint myself from talking further because I was pissed my Mom brought up the ASperger syndrome thing.

But my sister was actually acting completely in a manner similar to ASperger syndrome in this discussion. She's passionate about things Middle Eastern so she was going louder and nonstop-at a far more aggressive and Aspie style  than even Autistic people do. However no one ever bothered to get her diagnose despite ACTING int he same exact manners as I do (and not just in chatting manner and inability to notie people are getting angry at what she says).

Its as though simply because I'm labeled as Asperger according to a test and she's not, that people are making prejudice on my acts (even if I'm actually using rational such as quoting various sources about Bin Laden from various experts and scholars).

I don't want this to got as a rant because I can point so many example where neurotypical are acting just as irrational as autistic people but I'll list one more.

One of the traits of various people of the Autistic scale is the tendency to brood over a wrong act to the point of obsession and indeed retaliate beyond whats justified for a past wrong (such as I kill you because you stole my donuts 10 months ago). However to bring a quote.

"That's because you're dealing with someone who 'lives by the feud.' And that translates into this chaos, strain, destruction, hatred, trouble and grief is to the feuder ... among other things ... entertainment.

If you have a hard time getting your head around this attitude. If the idea of casually accepting a never ending animosity, conflict, revenge, vendetta and even generational hatred that might kill you is unimaginable to you -- then you are a very modern person.

You're also out of touch with how things have run for most of human history. And how these patterns still are deeply embedded in the paradigms of many cultures and socio-economic classes. The truth is, although we say 'think of them as aliens,' this is a VERY human behavior. The alien way of thinking is your modern thought and social ideals."

Along with your frequent statements of criminals do not like to lose and their willingness to go through insane extents to avenge a minor wrong such as a stolen ten dollar bill, it makes me question a lot of claims in the psychiatry and psychiatry world in regards to autism and feuds. By their logic why aren't criminals-who are acting insane because they are trying to kill you simply because you stole their sister's teddy bear doll- ever diagnosed with autism (or at least having elements of specific mental disorders)?

I understand this is a super complex topic but I am really getting flabbergasted with how ridiculous diagnosis is getting and how people turn a  blind eye to neurotype's poor social skills  and such.


First off 'insane' is NOT a medical term. It's a legal standard.

A person is insane, and is not responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of such conduct, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts. This is because willfull intent is an essential part of most offenses; and a person who is insane is not capable of forming such intent. Mental disease or defect does not otherwise constitute a defense; the person has the burden of proving the defense of insanity by clear and convincing evidence.

Knew of a guy who was killed when he was hit by a woman who was driving a car to escape the busload of angels who were 'chasing her.' She had a LONG history of psychosis. She was not charged with manslaughter.

Psychology has a wide spectrum of specific mental issues (I have both the DSM IV and V on the bookshelf behind me). Specific diagnosis have specific treatments. The umbrella term is 'mental health issues' THEN it works towards specifics.

That is not however, how the general public uses the term. Their use of the term insane is in fact, less about actual mental issues than it is about someone doing something they don't understand or disagree with. (Is he insane?) And that is still better than the alternative.

I know a psychiatrist who has a saying "There's an assumption of sanity in this culture." By that she means that upon meeting people grant the other person the courtesy of assuming that person does not have a mental illness.  Which unless you're in a psych ward is a pretty good rule of thumb. But remember, when your thumb isn't being used as a ruler, it's often stuck up one's ass. But for the average person in non-specialized circumstances, this assumption -- and the following expectations --work because it allows us to get through the day with dealing with other people. If everyone is 'sane' then we all know the scripts and how to behave.

Where this becomes a problem is when these expectations AREN'T met. It's extremely easy to ascribe malice.

This is important. This is VERY important. If one doesn't recognize it's their assumptions/ expectations and their failure to 'Did you check to make sure that's the case?" the only 'plausible' explanation for that 'sane' person's behavior is he/she is operating out of malice, selfishness, or ego.

Once that tick is dug in, it's hard to get it out. A big part of it is that to admit that you were wrong with your assessment calls into question one's own abilities. (Take your sister getting punched for example. Once his ego got involved [we call it the monkey]it wasn't about the facts, it was about his pride and not being wrong -- and that your entire family was against him ... )

I'll give you another useful guide (this one you can get used for much cheaper)

So the short answer to you question is assumptions/expectations and the assumption of malice.

Having said that, realize that in MOST cases, breaking these 'unspoken rules' really is malice and/or deliberate. While people will cut you slack if they understand, be careful not to hide anger/frustration/malice behind the excuse of mental health issues. That is also way too common of a problem.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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