I have printed out the end of Musings of an Aspie’s post to put in my Christmas card to my brother. This blog articulates exactly what I feel.
“Empathy has many definitions, but they all have at their core understanding the emotional state of another person.
When I say I lack empathy, what I mean is I have a deficit in understanding the emotional states of others. Hell, I have a deficit in understanding my own emotional state at times.
[It means] that I may need more information than a typical person to understand a social situation. That my reactions to your emotions may be unconventional. That I have to work harder to grasp what comes naturally to most people.”
This post strikes a chord with me because it explains why I am told that I appear ‘cold’ when inside I am feeling too much.
Let’s get the hard part out there first: I lack empathy.
By lack, I don’t mean a complete absence of empathy; I have an empathy deficiency. If most adults are “doing empathy” at the calculus level, I’m still in Algebra II and solving for X in ways that would make your head spin.
Before I discovered the online autism community, I assumed that my impaired empathy was typical for someone with Asperger’s. Much of the published literature includes impaired empathy as a common AS trait. “Lack of social or emotional reciprocity” is one of the diagnostic criteria. My own experience didn’t disprove that.
Then I discovered the online ASD community and suddenly felt like I needed to hide my struggles with empathy. Everywhere I looked people were refuting the notion that autistics lack empathy.
Again and again I’ve encountered discussions about empathy online and quietly slunk away, feeling like there…
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