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monty
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13 May 2009, 9:15 am

Danielismyname wrote:
It doesn't "jive" with the "intense world theory", as that's to do with sensory sensitivities that are there in Autistic Disorder, and to a lesser extent, AS.


Every theory is an oversimplification - I think this theory explains some things, but does not fully describe the complexity of ASDs ... and no other theory does, either.



samtoo
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13 May 2009, 9:25 am

Aspies and Auties certainly don't lack feeling - many are hypersensitive that's for darned sure.
As for whether or not Aspies and Auties feel empathy well... I'm not sure. What exactly is empathy, other than the obvious placing yourself in someone else's position? Is there more to it than that?

Questions questions questions...

I know one thing for sure - I have a guilty conscience, and I care about those whom have earnt my trust.


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fiddlerpianist
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13 May 2009, 9:32 am

samtoo wrote:
Aspies and Auties certainly don't lack feeling - many are hypersensitive that's for darned sure.
As for whether or not Aspies and Auties feel empathy well... I'm not sure. What exactly is empathy, other than the obvious placing yourself in someone else's position? Is there more to it than that?


I think that's mostly it. It's not sympathy, which I think most of us feel as strongly (if not stronger) as the next person. I think we often have trouble expressing sympathy, but we definitely feel it. Empathy we are less likely to feel, I think partially as a result that we have trouble relating to other's people emotions. We certainly can feel them, though.

I think we certainly can be empathetic, but again it's more of a learned thing than an intuitive one. And yes, maybe I am reversing my original position on this. It's hard for all of us to keep sympathy and empathy separate.



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13 May 2009, 9:50 am

I just don't think the article is particularly correct.


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13 May 2009, 12:48 pm

Well, we have also discussed that subject not so long ago here on WP. What we learned from that thread (cant remember its name or forum) were - again - that symptoms of Autism/AS is individual. Some can feel empathy, some cannot.

I am one of those who can, but have to "turn it off" because of bad-news-overload which leads to depression.



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13 May 2009, 3:45 pm

I have alot of empathy, alot. I feel other people's emotions strongly and I am emotionally over sensitive and care for others deeply. BUT I often don't know what to do with that strong empathy, I just get lost because I don't quite have the sociability to act on it, and I feel uncomfortable with hugging people. So if I see a friend crying I feel very uncomfortable because I don't know what to do, even though I feel loads of empathy and want to beat that bastard who upset them, I still can't seem to comfort them. Maybe that's what makes us seem cold, even though we feel emotions and empathy too deeply it doesn't always let itself show on the outside.


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Last edited by MONKEY on 13 May 2009, 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MONKEY
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13 May 2009, 3:45 pm

Ichinin wrote:

I am one of those who can, but have to "turn it off" because of bad-news-overload which leads to depression.


and this


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marshall
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15 May 2009, 3:27 am

If empathy simply means sensing and mentally mirroring the emotions of others then I am overly empathetic. I've always picked up "vibes" from people. If I see someone fidgeting or there's some kind of tension going on in them I get anxious myself. If I'm in a situation where something embarrassing happens to someone else I get uncomfortable myself.

I've always tended to be more reactive than NTs when dealing with people's emotions though. My immediate intuitive response isn't to try see things from the other person's perspective but rather just mirror the emotion which isn't very helpful most of the time. If someone displays hostility towards me I have a tendency to dish it right back to them double. I react to people rather than trying to smooth things over. I also don't ingratiate or schmooze with people at all. It's something that feels so unnatural that it's grotesque/revolting to me. This where the empathy deficit comes in for me if you even want to call it that.



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15 May 2009, 3:43 am

Ichinin wrote:
Some can feel empathy, some cannot.


I think that's the most correct assessment we can tell by the given date!


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15 May 2009, 3:46 am

I think it's interesting, but I don't think either it or the no empathy theory are completely correct. I think they both bring up ideas worth pursuing though - and I know that I think I feel emotions more intensely than most people, but these emotions are my own and not other peoples. However, I do care about others and deeply want others to be happy.


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15 May 2009, 11:31 am

Someone once described my scientific diagrams and annotations as "intense".

I thought I was just trying my best though.

If I do experience things in an intense way, it would certainly explain a lot.



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15 May 2009, 11:35 am

I guess I'm weird. While I can in fact pick up "vibes" and read people decently, I feel almost no empathy at all. I feel like I reached into the back of my mind at some point in life and flicked the off switch, maybe cause I couldn't deal with it all. But, on the other hand, my girlfriend fits the article's description perfectly. So, basically, we're composed of many extremes.


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15 May 2009, 4:24 pm

MONKEY wrote:
I have alot of empathy, alot. I feel other people's emotions strongly and I am emotionally over sensitive and care for others deeply. BUT I often don't know what to do with that strong empathy, I just get lost because I don't quite have the sociability to act on it, and I feel uncomfortable with hugging people.


Oh, gosh, yes, me too. I don't always feel uncomfortable hugging people, but it very much depends on the situation. But yes, often I've sat there while someone's crying their eyes out and I want to reach out to them somehow, I'm just so scared of goofing it up and getting it wrong. (And conversely, there are times when I'm expected to reach out and touch purely for social reasons, but I can't do it because the feelings aren't there, and you try explaining that to people. Doesn't help that my family is one of those where you're only touchy-feely at socially sanctioned times, like funerals - or when drunk. This is kind of confusing.)

It does maybe explain how, while I'm actually OK with, say, loud noise (like music), I get 'people overload' very, very easily. When I'm in a 'leave me alone' mood, I am totally hypersensitive to anyone being even in the next room. OK, that's just their presence, not their feelings as such, but I pick up on that too. If there's anxiety around, I soak it up like a sponge (I was absolutely terrible when one of my work colleagues was pregnant...and she was pregnant twice in the space of a couple of years! :roll: ) Kaysea, eye contact as well - looking someone in the eye is, for me, a lot of the time, just too much.

The truth is probably more complicated than any one of these theories, of course, but I personally find the idea of 'more empathy than we know what to do with' rings truer than 'no empathy at all'.


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15 May 2009, 4:45 pm

ThatRedHairedGrrl wrote:
MONKEY wrote:
I have alot of empathy, alot. I feel other people's emotions strongly and I am emotionally over sensitive and care for others deeply. BUT I often don't know what to do with that strong empathy, I just get lost because I don't quite have the sociability to act on it, and I feel uncomfortable with hugging people.


Oh, gosh, yes, me too. I don't always feel uncomfortable hugging people, but it very much depends on the situation. But yes, often I've sat there while someone's crying their eyes out and I want to reach out to them somehow, I'm just so scared of goofing it up and getting it wrong.


That is sympathy, not empathy. And care for someone doesn't need empathy on your part; it can involve identifying situations you know set the person off and trying to diffuse, divert, or otherwise dilute the potential negative impact of the situation.

I think many of us have more trouble with empathy simply because we are not upset by the same things that others are, due in part to the fact that we perceive the world differently. It also has to do with us having different life experiences. We can naturally be much more empathetic to a situation we've found ourselves in at one point than something that is very foreign to us.

I also think it's a misnomer to think that people not on the spectrum feel empathy for absolutely every situation. Chances are, they won't feel much empathy for experiences to which they cannot relate.