I have often wondered how the myth that people with autism lack empathy got started. I can see sadly why it gets perpetuated, but cannot understand how it got started.
I know some people might find it offensive when I say I can why it gets perpetuated, so I will explain what I mean by that. The reason I can see why it gets perpetuated is because we live in a neurotypical world. We live in a society where “normal” is practically worshipped. Anything outside of the norm, anything other than “average”, anything that is “abnormal”, “different”, “unusual”, “unique”, etc is nearly always condemned, not celebrated.
My experience both personally and professionally, is that us aspies and auties, are not just empathetic, but usually hyperempathetic – but we just simply don’t express our empathy in the average, “normal”, neurotypical way. And to neurotypical people, that can appear that we lack empathy.
Then of course, throw in things like difficulty reading facial expressions, difficulties under social “rules”, and for some of us, face blindness as well, it can be very hard to show the “normal” neurotypical world just how much those of us with ASD care about others.
I can only speak for myself, not for every person with ASD out there (as the saying goes, “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”), but others I have spoken to feel similar to what I’m going to share….
The reason for the title of my blog post tonight is I feel incredibly torn because I am starting to realise just how limited the numbers of hours in a day are. Now that I’m juggling a five day a week job, a teenager (I don’t think I need to even explain why that is time consuming!) who has issues that need extra support, a toddler who is very much displaying the early signs of ADHD, a husband who is also an aspie (who I adore but all relationships take time if they are to be good, and having a relationship between two aspies does seem to take extra time to work out good communication), plus a mountain of medical issues…. well anyway, I’ve come to realise, I cannot solve every problem in the world. I’m lucky if I can keep up with all the issues myself and my family face on a daily basis.
But I don’t want to give up speaking up about issues that are close to my heart and sharing the things I have gone through and currently going through and will go through in the future, in the hope that by sharing my experiences I can make a different to the lives of others. The problem I’ve realised is that I have more issues I’m passionate about than I have time to write about in as much detail as I would like. So that is why I’m torn.
When there are so many causes I want to fight for and make a difference to the world for those causes, how do I choose which ones to focus on? How do others who are passionate about making the world a better place choose which causes you put your time into, and which ones you let go to focus on the other causes you’re passionate about?
Anyway, so that’s what has been on my mind lately. I guess it’s not something that anyone else can work out my answer for me, but would love to hear other people’s thoughts on how they decide for themselves.
And that’s it for me today. Not a well written post, but something that was heavily on my mind.
Take care until next time….