Why I'm easily triggered by this lack of empathy BS

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Joe90
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01 May 2021, 1:51 pm

The reason why the empathy thing is such a sore subject for me is because when autism and empathy get discussed on (autistic or NT) internet forums it makes me feel marginalized. It's like NTs have a smug attitude about empathy and come up with all these examples trying to prove that Aspies are s**t at empathy and make us look so bad. It's the double empathy effect - autistics are supposed to understand everything about an NT's needs, wants, emotions, opinions, desires, etc, but it's OK for NTs not to understand the autistic person.
But the double empathy thing isn't just an NT Vs Aspies situation, it's everything. A lot of people with depression feel misunderstood by those without depression, for example. Some people with depression are told to get over it or cheer up or even grow up, not understanding how insensitive or hurtful that can be to the person experiencing depression.
But people forget this when discussing empathy between autistics and NTs. The stigma and the blame just gets pinned on autistics, which is why I get so wound up about it and want to get it into people's heads that anyone can lack empathy and anyone can have empathy, regardless of whether you're NT or autistic or something else.

Usually an Aspie has a spiteful definition of empathy, believing that empathy only means being an insensitive jerk or bully or used as emotional manipulation, where as NTs have a fairytale definition of empathy, believing that empathy means kindness, understanding, feeling the same way as others and putting oneself in other people's shoes. Except when an autistic person has all those traits, then suddenly the definition of empathy changes to a more complicated and senseless theory.

The dictionary definition of empathy steers more towards the NT definition, but not entirely.

On internet forums such as WP, the definition of empathy varies between person to person. Some claim that being understanding doesn't mean empathy, but if someone does not understand another's view or emotions here then they chalk it up to lacking empathy.

I can't find it now but I once read this article on Google that implied that people who take things personally lack empathy, but in my experience it seems that taking things personally is a common human trait. It spewed out an example that went something like "an Aspie says good morning to her neighbour but he blatantly ignores her. The Aspie feels hurt and thinks the neighbour doesn't like her, but the Aspie is not seeing the reasons that could have caused the neighbour to not be friendly, like he could have just had an argument with his wife about taking the trash out and he feels pissed off about it and doesn't feel like speaking." This contradicts another article I read somewhere else (I think it might have been on WP but I can't remember) about NTs typically taking it personally if an Aspie appears unfriendly because the Aspie may have things on her mind (may be heading towards a meltdown or may be having a bad day), but the NT isn't expected to see the reasons that could have caused the Aspie to be unfriendly.



TL;DR.. So basically if an NT is unfriendly the empathetic thing for the Aspie to do is to imagine the reasons why instead of taking it personally -
But if an Aspie is unfriendly the empathetic thing for the Aspie to do is to not expect the NT to imagine the reasons why and to expect them to take it personally.

I'm good at seeing patterns among human behaviours and emotions, and this is the pattern I see all the time, on or offline. Unfortunately I can't find big words to get my point across, so this post had to be long. Sorry.


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Fenn
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01 May 2021, 2:21 pm

My take - empathy has to do with emotions. The root word for emotions is the same as the root word for motion or automotive - an emotion is something that moves someone. Sometimes the things that move me are thoughts I can clearly state in words. At other times things that move me are hard put into words.

Your post title says "I'm easily Triggered" suggesting that the disconnect with your understanding of emotions and empathy moves you.

Have you ever heard or MBTI (The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)?


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Edna3362
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01 May 2021, 2:25 pm

It's like fractals, really, to look at the human patterns. :o

Though, in my case, I see more of it's zoomed out version of it.

The pattern is a common human dynamic -- not just simply in behaviors and emotions.
It's nothing to be shocked about if one knows history, sociology and maybe psychology.

The real shock factor lies with one whether or not being the receiving end of it. :lol:


But I don't need to be autistic or have autism to even be in a receiving end of such dynamic;

Where 'us' doing good means naive and 'them' doing it means good.
In which 'us' doing bad means evil, and 'them' doing it means tactical/practical whatever sociopathic justifications in marginalization.

It can be egocentric, ethnocentric... It is 'everything' as you say. :P


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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01 May 2021, 2:31 pm

This looks like it connects to the theme here,

The ASHA Leader Feature 1 Apr 2020

Revealing the Double Empathy Problem

It’s not that autistic* people lack empathy. Rather, their different neurotypes and experiences may make it harder for nonautisic people to understand them—and vice versa.


Laura S. DeThorne, PhD, CCC-SLP
https://doi.org/10.1044/leader.FTR2.25042020.58

https://leader.pubs.asha.org/doi/10.104 ... 5042020.58

Quote:
However, all forms of empathy are likely impacted by what autistic researcher Damian Milton has termed the double empathy problem. Specifically, Milton, of the University of Kent, highlights empathy as a bidirectional phenomenon and notes that both autistic and nonautistic individuals may have difficulty understanding and feeling for one another because of their differing outlooks and experiences with the world.

Although the misunderstanding may be bidirectional, it disproportionately stigmatizes autistic people when their perspectives are not adequately represented within institutional power structures, like education, research, and medical systems. When autistic perspectives are not heard, it becomes easy for autistic behavior to be misunderstood and pathologized. Note, for example, much of the autism literature focuses on helping autistic individuals understand nonautistic perspectives, rather than the other way around.


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KT67
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01 May 2021, 2:45 pm

Yep double standards.

Also I find I have an unhealthy amount of empathy.

For eg... something that NT adults wouldn't mind ... I can't eat chocolate if it has a face.

I feel bad for the poor chocolate Santa/bunny/reindeer.

I also feel bad if I see broken objects. I feel sorry for them. Esp dolls.

My dad isn't aspie or NT, he's schizophrenic. When I was a kid, he rescued a burnt up soft toy reindeer out of a skip and gave me it because he felt sorry for it.

My NT mother got cross at him :lol: I was determined to rescue it :lol:


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CockneyRebel
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01 May 2021, 10:39 pm

The empathy thing also bothers me. It makes me feel marginalized as well. I have a great deal of empathy for people and other living things.


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Jiheisho
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01 May 2021, 10:48 pm

Empathy is the ability to understand another's feelings. There are different types of empathy like cognitive empathy, what many with autism have difficulty with, and effective empathy, which we don't. But this is the ting about empathy: it does not mean you are a nice person or more caring. If you have a strong ability in empathy, you can use that to deceive and manipulate people. Actually, to be successful at deception and manipulation, having strong empathy is key.

Personally, I don't mind that NTs claim better empathy than me. I am actually kinder, which has nothing to do with empathy.



Technic1
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02 May 2021, 6:14 am

Autistics are some of the nicest people you will meet...NTs are a wide spectrum.



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02 May 2021, 9:06 am

Yeah, I recognize this problem as well. One example that comes to mind is the time when my former roommate and I went to buy curtains for the living room, which I had promised to pay if we found something suitable. Well, nothing we found from that store was suitable, the reason for this being my sensory issues. She, despite being a former nurse and knowing about my diagnosis, called me childish and selfish, but when I told about the incident on an autism support forum, the people there called my roommate selfish and inconsiderate. In other words, the people on the spectrum were able to empathize in that situation, but my NT roommate was not. And despite all this, I had to clean the place as often as she wanted because she had asthma, and I had to be considerate about her condition. She liked to refer to Asperger as an illness, so why couldn't she be mindful about my condition when I had to be so about hers?

KT67 wrote:
For eg... something that NT adults wouldn't mind ... I can't eat chocolate if it has a face.

I feel bad for the poor chocolate Santa/bunny/reindeer.


Genuinely curious: if I had a chocolate Santa and snapped the head off before giving the rest of it to you, would you be able to eat the rest of it despite knowing that it used to have a face?



Earthbound_Alien
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02 May 2021, 9:21 am

NTs do not have empathy, it is in their head.



Earthbound_Alien
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02 May 2021, 9:21 am

What they have is a shared belief system



Earthbound_Alien
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02 May 2021, 9:23 am

Technic1 wrote:
Autistics are some of the nicest people you will meet...NTs are a wide spectrum.


Classically autistic, higher functioning can be snotty

But sort of agreed anyway :X



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02 May 2021, 9:24 am

I am aspergers due to diagnositic criteria...but am more like classic autism in many ways.



Joe90
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02 May 2021, 3:57 pm

Empathy isn't an all or nothing thing. Some NTs claim that Aspies have zero empathy, which really isn't true at all. I remember reading an article in a magazine about a woman with 2 daughters; one had low-functioning non-verbal autism, and the other was NT but had a life-threatening illness. It seemed to everyone that the autistic daughter was unaware of her sister's disease or how serious it was. The ill daughter loved hedgehogs, and as her short little life was coming to an end, the autistic daughter really wanted her ill sister to die happy, so she spent hours outside in the garden each day, much to her parent's confusion, until she found a live hedgehog and she brought it up to her dying sister's room. The ill sister was really happy that she actually got to touch a real hedgehog in her own bedroom. Sadly she passed away that same day but the autistic girl was so glad her sister got to see a hedgehog before she died. I'd say there's a lot of empathy (theory of mind) there, because nobody instructed the autistic girl to do this, and that's pretty impressive and beautiful for a child with severe autism. She may have been unable to express her emotions but she still thought about her sister and her feelings.
And if reading that has made you cry then you have empathy (but if you didn't cry doesn't mean you lack empathy, not everyone cries at everything, particularly guys).


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Fenn
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02 May 2021, 4:46 pm

Joe90 -
I say you have empathy.


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Caz72
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02 May 2021, 5:24 pm

I literally lack empathy but im ok with that and i dont generalise all autistic people as lacking empathy
I cant connect to other people at all and i really dont understand emotions i find it difficult to understand my own emotions so im not going to understand others emotions

I bet most autistic people arent as lacking in empathy as me


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