Have you ever noticed that your ASD friend or family member sounds like Mr. Spock when they’re sharing their feelings? So unattached and impersonal. Why is that? It’s because people with “Asperger’s Syndrome” have a disconnect between cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Many also have Alexithymia, which contributes to a disconnect between understanding their own feelings and finding words to tell us what they’re feeling. In addition to that, “Aspies” also have developed a belief system as a result of living in a world where others make no sense. For example, have you noticed how they draw a conclusion based on one experience and hold to it forever, no matter how much you plead with them that it’s no longer true?
Another confusing element is when they’re trying to chit-chat but can’t remember any important information about the person they’re talking to…as if this is their first encounter? They could be talking to your aunt or the next-door neighbor and be totally clueless.
It’s like a primary school child who is learning to read and only sounds at the words. By third and fourth grade most children are starting to gather information from their reading, not just dutifully reading words on the page. Our loved ones on the Spectrum seem stuck in first grade when it comes to social interaction. They have a few basic rules of engagement but haven’t mastered the depth of connecting with others.
Some of you may not care why they say the strangest things, or you may have given up trying to translate. However, some of you are still trying to understand the unfathomable logic and language of our “Aspies.” I actually think the key to our mental health comes from understanding them just a little bit better. This enables us to detach and not take so seriously the odd, hurtful, and sometimes mean things they say.
If you’re a member of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, be sure to register for our Video Conferences. There are still openings for low-cost, hour-long sessions on this topic. Please bring your questions about this phenomenon. I bet you have insights too.
Would you rather have a one-on-one session with me? Please reach out to book an appointment with me and check my Contact page.