Aspies have a blunt style of speech, because they mean well. If you’re nearly incapable of malice, it’s hard to imagine others may read malice into your remarks. It’s introspection which fails Aspies. Aspies excel at separating the idea and the person. Neurotypicals conflate ideological disagreement with personal conflict. So they find it exhausting when Aspies go too far in arguing their case. It is, again, lack of introspection that fails neurotypicals. The failure to understand each other is mutual. It’s more exhausting for Aspies to interpret indirect demands and defend ourselves against implicit accusations. Neurotypicals are unable to put themselves in our shoes and understand that disagreement isn’t personal. Does this mean neurotypicals have low cognitive empathy? They’re generally unable to be nice despite disagreements. Does this mean they have low affective empathy? Is it we who lack empathy?I once said to a woman I had just met, "I love those shoes, it's such a shame they went out of style." One of my friends had to point out to me later that this might have been construed as an insult. But I meant every word!
Neurotypicals always think it’s about them. Tell them social media is not good for children, and they will say, “Don’t tell me how to raise my child.” Tell them intelligence is heritable, and they assume you just called them stupid. Tell them you disagree, and they think you just don’t like them. Tell them the gender salary gap is not because of patriarchy, and they will remove you from their Facebook friend list. Why do neurotypicals make a torture rack for themselves, and us, with their poor self-esteem? And they still think we don’t have empathy. . . .
It’s not rude to assume others can handle the truth. It’s not necessarily polite to modulate your tone, or give a compliment to soften the blow of what is to come after. Quite the contrary, it’s disrespectful to assume all people are so lacking in strength.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Asperger's and Empathy
Shanu Athiparambath takes issue with the assertion that people on the autism spectrum seem strange and rude because they lack empathy: