Too smart to be this stupid

I suspect most of you have been told something like this. It seems people assume that being intellectually or verbally intelligent automatically comes with a certain degree of competence in what I see as unrelated areas, like emotional intelligence for instance.

It doesn't work that way for me though, and I can act like a complete idiot sometimes in areas that people assume even a child can handle. What annoys me the most is how when faced with such discrepancies, most assume you're being lazy, difficult or disingenuous right off the bat. It's rather rare for people to give you the benefit of a doubt and try to explain and teach you instead.

Not all NTs are quite as well rounded either, I've met plenty of highly intelligent people with low emotional intelligence or terrible life skills that weren't on the spectrum; maybe it's more pronounced or obvious in us?

This is a small thing in the big picture, but it still ticks me off when people act as if we all come with the same default in-built features when there are actually so many factors besides autism that can cause this kind of discrepancies. And I'd rather be really good at some things and struggle with others than being mediocre at everything 
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Comments

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor
    The higher intelligence goes the more likely one is prone to obvious stupidity(not to imply your stupid)I'm just saying as a whole high intelligence is no bar to stupidity.

    I have a former friend who has an IQ of maybe 155 or so which Einstein territory but he never bothered to get more than a bachalors degree from a state college and his father was a world famous musician and have easily afforded Harvard or Yale and could then easily have gotten a grad degree.He spends all his time skyping with 25 year olds who act like there 16 and play video games.He said his dream lover is 1 day over 18,so in other words he wants 15 years old but doesn't like jail and his 20 year old skype friend are surrogates for his fantasies.He is a musical genius but has never tried to do anything with his music,which is sad because his music is good especially his voice work.But sex was part of our falling out,he put his hand somewhere it didn't belong.

    Not trying to bash geniuses but I'm only saying intelligence is subjective and as Einstein himself said; "Were all geniuses,if you judge a fish by it's tree climbing ability we'd all be stupid"

    Maybe what I'm trying to say is if you think about it the whole world are sort of idiot savants maybe.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    People that know me in real life often get frustrated because I know a lot about different subjects, which makes me seem smart, but after awhile they realize I have a bunch of limitations. Then they get angry at me because I can't learn most things that fast, complete tasks "too slow", and need help with a lot, especially due to my motor skills being crappy. They're baffled that I seem so "smart" but am actually dumb as hell, and it makes them think I'm just not trying enough.

    I don't really get upset anymore when people react like that though, because I've gotten that reaction my entire life and I just overall ignore anyone who's not in my immediate family now. lol
  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited February 18
    Very well put, Bender. 

    I'm a reasonably intelligent person, and I'm an academic.  It's frustrating that people frequently assume I "must" also have it all together emotionally, or in terms of interpersonal and life skills.   The discrepancy can very well make them judge me as "lazy, difficult, or disingenuous" when I don't meet their expectations.

    In truth my abilities fluctuate, but in general I find that I confuse people.   I'm frequently overestimated by people who don't realise the scope of my limitations, and yet I'm also underestimated by people who don't realise the breadth of my resilience.   Either way, I often feel judged or misunderstood.

    What frustrates me most is that I have now had two strokes. I don't think many people stop to consider the effect of acquired brain injury on my ability to communicate or handle complex emotions, or thoughts.   The first stroke in 2015 was much more severe, but even then doctors and family members alike assume that it only caused physical damage, or perhaps increased my depression.   It was easier to see my walker or my cane, than my emotional changes which are many.  Most people don't even stop to appreciate the fact that strokes do cause emotional and intellectual changes.  My second stroke in December didn't have any clinical lasting damage, thank goodness,  but I can feel the difference mentally.  I don't have the bandwidth or mental strength that I did before.   I can't involve myself in complex emotions / dialogue.  I need a slower, more peaceful pace.   Even online, threads about academic or rigorous subjects are exhausting for me since December.  I don't have the energy to participate in those the way I might have, in the past.  I actually like the change.  I feel like I'm much more relaxed, and I'm enjoying playing word games or other carefree threads. 

    In my ASD assessment I was only 5th percentile nonverbal.   I'm sure I'm even lower now with this recent stroke.  I have a very hard time navigating people and relationships, or judging situations.  My ability for linear thought and decision-making is severely affected.  ADHD also made / makes me reactive at times, so I've been working very hard to improve in that area.  

    Overall I feel much like you do.  I feel like I have a very spiky profile of highs and lows, and it's a constant learning curve for me to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, let alone explain them to others. 


  • Statest16 said:
    The higher intelligence goes the more likely one is prone to obvious stupidity(not to imply your stupid)I'm just saying as a whole high intelligence is no bar to stupidity.

    I have a former friend who has an IQ of maybe 155 or so which Einstein territory but he never bothered to get more than a bachalors degree from a state college and his father was a world famous musician and have easily afforded Harvard or Yale and could then easily have gotten a grad degree.He spends all his time skyping with 25 year olds who act like there 16 and play video games.He said his dream lover is 1 day over 18,so in other words he wants 15 years old but doesn't like jail and his 20 year old skype friend are surrogates for his fantasies.He is a musical genius but has never tried to do anything with his music,which is sad because his music is good especially his voice work.But sex was part of our falling out,he put his hand somewhere it didn't belong.

    Not trying to bash geniuses but I'm only saying intelligence is subjective and as Einstein himself said; "Were all geniuses,if you judge a fish by it's tree climbing ability we'd all be stupid"

    Maybe what I'm trying to say is if you think about it the whole world are sort of idiot savants maybe.
    LOL don't worry about it, I can be stupid in some situations.

    IQ tests are controversial for a reason, but it wasn't really geniuses I was thinking about. More like normal intelligence that's obvious to others.

    But the thing was more related to assuming competence in one area automatically means competence in another, related or not.

    For instance, people know I love cooking and I'm good at it. Then they get all surprised and sometimes riled up because I hate grocery shopping as if enjoying one must mean I also like the other.

    Similarly, in my home, I'm considered an excellent host by my and my children's friends who always rave about how good they feel in our house. But these are always people I know well and care about. If you take me in another environment with people I barely know or don't particularly like, I'm more or less tongue-tied, look bored and don't reciprocate or show interest in others in the ways I'm expected to. People get angry because they think I'm stuck up or passive-aggressive.

    You get where I'm going? 
  • Hylian said:
    People that know me in real life often get frustrated because I know a lot about different subjects, which makes me seem smart, but after awhile they realize I have a bunch of limitations. Then they get angry at me because I can't learn most things that fast, complete tasks "too slow", and need help with a lot, especially due to my motor skills being crappy. They're baffled that I seem so "smart" but am actually dumb as hell, and it makes them think I'm just not trying enough.

    Don't even get me started about learning style, I'm a borderline cretin in the beginning, even with things that later I become extremely good at. And yes, people have gotten frustrated or rude with me because of it.

    Standard methods of learning are like torture for me, I prefer learning by doing in areas where that's possible. 
  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor
    Bender said:


    For instance, people know I love cooking and I'm good at it. Then they get all surprised and sometimes riled up because I hate grocery shopping as if enjoying one must mean I also like the other.

    Similarly, in my home, I'm considered an excellent host by my and my children's friends who always rave about how good they feel in our house. But these are always people I know well and care about. If you take me in another environment with people I barely know or don't particularly like, I'm more or less tongue-tied, look bored and don't reciprocate or show interest in others in the ways I'm expected to. People get angry because they think I'm stuck up or passive-aggressive.

    You get where I'm going? 
    Cooking is a good talent to have and do well.The only thing I was ever good at was spaghetti and the sauce was wicked spicy.Today I cook mostly simple things.
  • Isabella said:

    I'm a reasonably intelligent person, and I'm an academic.  It's frustrating that people frequently assume I "must" also have it all together emotionally, or in terms of interpersonal and life skills.   The discrepancy can very well make them judge me as "lazy, difficult, or disingenuous" when I don't meet their expectations.

    Conflating intellect with emotions or social/inter-personal skills is the most annoying one of all, especially since they often don't go together in NTs either. I've heard countless times things along the lines "I can't believe someone as educated and articulated as you doesn't get this super obvious thing that even a 5-year-old knows" *bangs head on wall*.

    I believe it's actually about their expectations too.

    In truth my abilities fluctuate, but in general I find that I confuse people.   I'm frequently overestimated by people who don't realise the scope of my limitations, and yet I'm also underestimated by people who don't realise the breadth of my resilience.   

    Yeah, it's similar for me too. Those who accept me usually think I'm paradoxical.

    What frustrates me most is that I have now had two strokes. I don't think many people stop to consider the effect of acquired brain injury on my ability to communicate or handle complex emotions, or thoughts.   The first stroke in 2015 was much more severe, but even then doctors and family members alike assume that it only caused physical damage, or perhaps increased my depression.   It was easier to see my walker or my cane, than my emotional changes which are many.  Most people don't even stop to appreciate the fact that strokes do cause emotional and intellectual changes.  My second stroke in December didn't have any clinical lasting damage, thank goodness,  but I can feel the difference mentally.  I don't have the bandwidth or mental strength that I did before.   I can't involve myself in complex emotions / dialogue.  I need a slower, more peaceful pace.   Even online, threads about academic or rigorous subjects are exhausting for me since December.  I don't have the energy to participate in those the way I might have, in the past.  I actually like the change.  I feel like I'm much more relaxed, and I'm enjoying playing word games or other carefree threads. 

    This is plain ignorance with some selfishness thrown in - even a heart attack can lead to changes in someone's personality. But yeah, a lot of people pay attention to what they can see and ignore what they can't or try to convince you it doesn't exist, doesn't matter or it's "all in your head" 
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I'm the same way talking to people at home VS interacting at other houses. I go out of my way to make people feel welcome and am comfortable enough to be an okay host, but when I'm at other people's houses people think I'm bored and asocial because I don't know what to do and become exhausted very fast. I mainly sit there while other people interact.
  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited February 18
    Bender said:
    This is plain ignorance with some selfishness thrown in - even a heart attack can lead to changes in someone's personality. But yeah, a lot of people pay attention to what they can see and ignore what they can't or try to convince you it doesn't exist, doesn't matter or it's "all in your head" 


     Thanks.  

    Even prior to the strokes, I've noticed what you're saying.  I like the analogy you made about cooking vs shopping.   A lot of subconscious and avoidable generalisations are made about people based on one point of information.   

    I've achieved a lot in my life being independent, working full time, owning homes, surviving trauma, and being a single parent.  People assume that means I'm able and confident, or that I have solid life skills.  When I point out that I managed by necessity, that I had no choice, and I also have considerable challenges with life skills, self-regulation, interpersonal relationships, communication, and general coping, they seem incredulous.  It's like I must be capable or incapable.  Black or white thinking.  They don't appreciate or anticipate how hard it's been for me as an moderately autistic woman with communication deficits, mutism, anxiety, and poor executive function.  On the flip side if they do appreciate my challenges then I'm often pitied as if I'm helpless,  and I don't want that either.   

    I just want to be viewed for what and who I am, to the extent that we all try to respect others for having strengths, weaknesses, and interests which vary day to day. 


  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    edited February 18
    This is pretty much my life story.

    I don't feel comfortable when people call  me smart, because of the expectation that goes with it.

    It is not so much that they call me smart and dumb on the same day. It is more that their expectation of me is undermined., then you feel like you are fraud even though you never claimed to be smart.

    However this was more a problem when I wasn't working for myself. but it can happen in other social contexts. People expect me to good at certain things I'm not.
  • Working for yourself or on your own terms and having a partner who "gets you" will make a huge difference in your quality of life and will also reflect in your level of functioning.

  • Isabella said:
     A lot of subconscious and avoidable generalisations are made about people based on one point of information.   


    The way you put it just made me realise why I hate generalisations (and assumptions) so much: generalisation can be a useful tool, but many people don't know how to use it correctly or rely too heavily/solely on it, and they usually do it either without realising or for intellectually dishonest reasons. And now statistics are often used the same way.

    Assumptions, on the other hand, are just better avoided in almost all situations.


  •  I've been subjected to the 'You're good at x so doing badly at y is due  to laziness/passive aggressiveness etc' type treatment .

    I'm above these people on an IQ list, but struggle with practical tasks. Hence I get a moderate amount of support from my stepfamily. 

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  •  I've been subjected to the 'You're good at x so doing badly at y is due  to laziness/passive aggressiveness etc' type treatment .

    I'm above these people on an IQ list, but struggle with practical tasks. Hence I get a moderate amount of support from my stepfamily. 


    I was thinking you'll relate to this, based on your other posts.

    I'm really glad you have some support from your family, it makes a big difference.
  • I am new to this forum - and only recently diagnosed with ASD, in my late forties (which has been a great relief). This thread is interesting. My mother had me assessed aged 5 by an educational psychologist (which showed considerable insight, back in the 1970s!). She was prompted to do this by the fact that I was 'very frustrated at school and had no friends'. The psychologist administered several intelligence tests, identified me as having 'superior intelligence' and recommended that I be sent to a school that prized academic achievement. But my problems were social, not educational - and boarding school from the age of 7 did not solve them! 
  • Reading through old records in preparation for my ASD assessment was saddening - precisely because of the blame that Bender alludes to. E.g. 'Robin is old enough to know that without a degree of reciprocation and cooperation, life is going to be unpleasant and progress minimal' (headmaster's report when I was 13). Some of my performance appraisals 35 years later say very similar things! I accept that while I can't change my condition, I can adapt some of my behaviour. But the effect on self-esteem of decades of being told that one is at fault and must change is very damaging. Given the nature of autism, the adaptation must involve everyone. 
  • Welcome to the forum, Robin 

    Truman Capote was sent to have his IQ tested as a teenager by his family, who thought he was... ahem, feeble-minded, mostly due to his lack of interest in school. The psychiatrist pronounced him a genius 
  • Thank you for the welcome! And I love the story about Truman Capote. My ancient school reports are full of similar things. 'Robin has the intelligence to be a very capable historian. Unfortunately, his surly attitude prevents this.' Etc. I did have a few laughs going through it all! 'Often unwilling to listen to advice. Robin has a great future in art.'
  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited February 20
    Hello Robin, and welcome!

    I think you'll find lots of threads and posts that you can relate to here.  We've all had very similar experiences to yours at the hands of a less-than-informed society. 

    I have all my school reports and employment reports as well.  They're shocking because it's so obvious that I needed help in many areas of my development, but I'm doing the best I can to pick up the pieces of my oft-broken life, as an adult.   

    There's humour and compassion here as well as factual information about many different topics, so please make yourself right at home. 
  • firemonkeyfiremonkey Citizen
    edited February 20
    I was the typical underachiever  that went to school from the early 1960s to mid 1970s . From 8- 18 at prep then public school due to my father being a diplomat. The 1st three years at prep school I wet the bed nearly every day, but didn't at home. There was mild teasing . At public school it was much worse. Imagine a classroom of other boys directing monkey chants at you. There was no help if you very probably had a learning difficulty; no terms like 2e or 'gifted but learning disabled'(USA ) .
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Welcome to Neurovoice, Robin!

    Looking through some of my records from school was very interesting. I found notes from teachers about my social development and that detailed some issues that are common in autistic children. The fact I was blamed by teachers for a lot of my problems just baffles me even more now.
  • Robin said:
    Thank you for the welcome! And I love the story about Truman Capote. My ancient school reports are full of similar things. 'Robin has the intelligence to be a very capable historian. Unfortunately, his surly attitude prevents this.' Etc. I did have a few laughs going through it all! 'Often unwilling to listen to advice. Robin has a great future in art.'

    Welcome to Neurovoice  Robin!

  • RobinRobin Member
    edited February 20
    Thank you so much everyone for the warm, welcoming messages. 

    One thing that I've identified as a result of understanding my condition is that I have some difficulties with auditory comprehension. If I miss a word or phrase as someone is speaking to me, it is difficult for me to guess the likely meaning. Pre-diagnosis, I had put this down to other factors. But as a small boy, I thought I had a problem with my hearing and was taken to see the local doctor. He held his watch to my ear and asked if I could hear it ticking. I could. He told me that there was nothing wrong with my hearing (he was right) - and that I didn't listen (he was wrong).

    I found many letters that I had written home from school. Some of them comment on the noise in class. 'There's much less rioting in this class, so I can hear more easily and certainly understand better,' and so on. This I do find poignant, because I think ambient noise was a far greater problem than anyone realised.

    Once I had moved schools and was in smaller classes with more motivated pupils, my performance transformed. I went on to Oxford University and gained a First Class degree in Arabic, a scholarship and two university prizes. And I've been employed ever since. But these days, I wear earplugs in the office when I really need to concentrate!
  • Hylian said:
    Welcome to Neurovoice, Robin!

    Looking through some of my records from school was very interesting. I found notes from teachers about my social development and that detailed some issues that are common in autistic children. The fact I was blamed by teachers for a lot of my problems just baffles me even more now.
    That is interesting (and rather sad). What sort of social development issues did they refer to? I'm afraid to say that I had a very sharp tongue and was often in trouble for this. Although my victims didn't always deserve the lashings they got, I think my prickliness had a lot to do with my awareness of my difficulty in interacting with other children. (I am not a prickly adult! Unless someone has really asked for it!)
  • Getting a 1st class degree is a great achievement Robin.The stress from unrecognised ASD and   poor non academic/independent living skills  completely scuppered any chance of my going to university.

  • That is kind of you to say. I was very fortunate in that my college environment was quite a sheltered one: I had a room of my own, and didn't have to share a house with other students, for example. (Except for a year abroad, when I shared a flat with a student who was not autistic, but lived a regimented life as I did, so we were suited to one another.) But I immersed myself in my studies because socialising was so difficult: my room was actually above the student bar, but I hardly ever went in because it was too daunting and I wouldn't have known what to say to anyone. After four years, I had very good Arabic, but I was burnt out and very lonely.

    What would you have liked to study if university had been possible?
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    Hi @Robin and welcome

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    The discrepancies are noticable for me also @bender.
    On paper I'm capable (what that doesn't represent is the cost of the educational square peg round hole approach), in person though I can come across as a ditz.

    Im sure its a contributing factor in why I'm not in stable employment.
  • Robin said:


    What would you have liked to study if university had been possible?
    Politics most probably.  It's such a long time ago. Both never having worked due to severe mental illness ; and not going to university, are things I'm more than a little prone  to self stigmatising and feeling worthless over. 

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Robin said:
    That is interesting (and rather sad). What sort of social development issues did they refer to? I'm afraid to say that I had a very sharp tongue and was often in trouble for this. Although my victims didn't always deserve the lashings they got, I think my prickliness had a lot to do with my awareness of my difficulty in interacting with other children. (I am not a prickly adult! Unless someone has really asked for it!)
    From looking over my elementary school notes my teachers mention some communication difficulties, like me not "getting" that I need to tell people when I'm upset about something, or never seeking help with work even when I actively want it (I didn't really communicate my needs/wants that often, even to teachers or my parents).

    Also, that I didn't bother interacting with my classmates "enough", and that when I did I got frustrated really easily and "let it discourage me". (I was being bullied and excluded then, because I didn't understand how to interact with other kids, so it's hard to not let that discourage me... lol)

    There's more, but I woke up a bit ago so I'm bad at thinking of proper examples.
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