Aspies have low empathy - true or false?

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CantExplain
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29 Dec 2011, 11:38 pm

My wife says it is a myth that Aspies have low empathy.

When an Aspie knows someone well enough to read them, he or she can be very empathetic. The difficulty is is reading the feeings of strangers, not in relating to those feelings.


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Asterisp
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30 Dec 2011, 12:21 am

For some people I have empathy. But in a lot of cases I know when I am expected to show certain reactions or how someone is supposed to feel. So I learned to compensate some of it.



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30 Dec 2011, 12:22 am

I have trouble with both reading and relating.


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30 Dec 2011, 12:25 am

Define empathy.

Generally, Autists tend to have low cognitive empathy, but high affective empathy.

The issue of empathy and autism is farther complicated by alexthymia and difficulty in reading social cues.


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30 Dec 2011, 2:36 am

CantExplain wrote:
My wife says it is a myth that Aspies have low empathy.

When an Aspie knows someone well enough to read them, he or she can be very empathetic. The difficulty is is reading the feeings of strangers, not in relating to those feelings.


It's contingent on other variables. Something tells me, this topic will definitely be explored in the future.



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30 Dec 2011, 3:00 am

Empathy = feeling emotions from/for another entity when you have no frame of reference. Ask yourself, do you care at all for that single person on the other side of the world that's dying in pain right now, and you feel like it's happening next to you when you read this? If you have empathy, yes, you will feel this. It's why people cry at movies when they've never been through what the characters have been through.

Empathy is in fact a social and emotional "lie". It's but a social construct to rile up the group to move against some threat, usually.

A person who doesn't care about things that have no importance to him/her, doesn't do well in regards to social stuff. It doesn't mean you lack care, it's just that you don't feel for everything, just what's close to your heart and mind.



whiteofmouth
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30 Dec 2011, 3:04 am

I feel empathy comes relatively easy to me--I don't have a problem putting myself into another's "shoes" or pondering how an event would hypothetically impact me emotionally. It is, however, exorbitantly exhausting to show an individual that I'm empathizing with them. And possibly this is because I'm not truly feeling them, but logically deducing how they would feel and to what degree in my head? I'm unsure on that. But I have also always wanted and felt like I should empathize with others--but this has generally been out of the desire for others to do the same with me.



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30 Dec 2011, 3:33 am

Theory of mind is what autistics generally lack

Also a delay in emotional response as it can trigger later once it sets in what was really going on in a scenario.

The whole lack of empathy since most people associate it with caring about how others feels needs to be scrapped in regards to autism.

The lack of empathy claim gives people the wrong idea and problems with theory of mind is not the same as no conscience or care for others.



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30 Dec 2011, 4:32 am

Some aspies have low empathy. Some do not.

EDIT: And that goes for both cognitive and affective empathy.



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30 Dec 2011, 6:49 am

Lack of empathy is perhaps the most damaging myth about autism, because the implication is that people on the spectrum don’t care. Somewhere along the line it has been assumed by someone that social skills and empathy are the same thing, but this is simply not the case. The ability to read social cues has absolutely no bearing on the degree of empathy a person has. It is perfectly possible for an individual to easily recognise the signs of another person’s distress but still not care one jot. Conversely, a person can have poor social skills, take longer to pick up another person’s distress, but once that distress is recognised and understood, show great empathy and consideration for that person. It is important therefore to separate empathy from what are the acknowledged social deficits experienced by those on the spectrum.



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30 Dec 2011, 6:50 am

Dillogic wrote:
Ask yourself, do you care at all for that single person on the other side of the world that's dying in pain right now, and you feel like it's happening next to you when you read this?

All the time. But I wonder if anyone else does. Whenever I see anyone spending money on luxuries or entertainment or spending time on their career I want to scream at them "how can you care about that when people are dying?" I spend most waking moments screaming that in my head. The rest of my time is spent working out how to fix it.



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30 Dec 2011, 7:24 am

I see more Aspies suffering from an excess of empathy than a shortage, to be completely honest. I second the notion that it's one of the more damaging myths about the spectrum, that we lack empathy, as we not only tend to have it but are in fact frustrated with how to properly express it and relieve the emotional tension it causes us. I know I'm not the only Aspie to have to go into information quarantine mode because of distress caused by excessively empathetic reactions to awful stories and the people they happen to, and to have the scarred hands to prove it.


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byakuugan
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30 Dec 2011, 7:54 am

I mostly only feel empathy for those who did not choose to put themselves in a certain scenario. Is this common for Aspies?
For example: I would feel empathy for a stray cat who didn't understand why it felt cold, but not for a crying person who just broke up with their gf/bf since they were well aware of the risks when they entered the relationship.



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30 Dec 2011, 7:54 am

What type of empathy are you talking about? Most Aspies seem to have bad cognitive empathy - so they don't know what other people are thinking - but they often have good emotional empathy - so they feel their emotions and want to help people, though they'll have no idea how and will often have a hard time showing it. See here.

I personally am the other way around; I know what people are thinking, and can usually tell what they're feeling on a logical level, but I don't feel their emotions. But then, I very rarely feel my own emotions either. I seem to be in the minority, though.



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30 Dec 2011, 8:04 am

byakuugan wrote:
I mostly only feel empathy for those who did not choose to put themselves in a certain scenario. Is this common for Aspies?
For example: I would feel empathy for a stray cat who didn't understand why it felt cold, but not for a crying person who just broke up with their gf/bf since they were well aware of the risks when they entered the relationship.


Definitely. I often hear people complain because they lost a good job or lost their lover. My mental world is populated by billions of people and animals who never had those comforts at all.

Our time and emotional capital is limited. If we spend time and money on the luckier people (those who at least had it once) then we neglect those who are more needy. To be sensitive to real suffering we need to block out those who shout loudest and listen to those who cannot shout at all.



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30 Dec 2011, 8:07 am

CantExplain wrote:
My wife says it is a myth that Aspies have low empathy.

When an Aspie knows someone well enough to read them, he or she can be very empathetic. The difficulty is is reading the feeings of strangers, not in relating to those feelings.


WHAT????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

WHY THE f**k DO ASPIES ON THIS STUPID SITE BELIEVE THAT NTS HAVE EMPATHY FOR STRANGERS?????????????

If that BS was true then how come I get stared at funny by other women and giggled at by girls in their 20s and teens and glared at severely and looked at up and down like I'm sort of freak with 2 heads?????? If NTs had any empathy at all for strangers they would just look at me and think, ''maybe that girl is looking a bit miserable because she might be having a bad day or something. I don't know what's going on in her life, she could be going to a relative's funeral later on, or she could have lost her job this morning or something. I'm not going to glare and stare at her and make her feel even more uncomfortable.''

Don't anyone get it???????????????????????????????????????????????

Do you know what, I sometimes feel like an alien to WP. I really do not get how people can say that ''NTs'' have empathy for strangers. Blimey, never heard of such BS in all my life.


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