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RosieLea
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24 Feb 2012, 12:10 pm

So I was home for a few days and making rounds w/ my family. I spent a few hours with my dad at his place and then went to visit my grandmother. My dad called me there about an hour after I left his house and said, "I have some really bad news." And he was using his sad voice. My first thought was that one of the dogs or the cat had gotten hit by a car since I left and I panicked, but then he said, "Tony was killed in a car accident last night."

Tony was a childhood friend of my brother's. He hung out at the house a lot when we were kids, but I hadn't even thought of him for ten years. My dad had to remind me who he was.

So I was relieved that the cat was okay, said an awkward "That's awful," to my dad, and hung up, happy that my life had not been altered and wondering why he even bothered to share this information with me. I relayed the news to my grandmother, who had never met Tony, and she was horrified and upset.

So a 25 year old kid was killed horribly and I was glad it wasn't the cat. Sometimes I start to think that maybe I'm not an aspie after all, and then something like this happens and I realize I'm not "normal."



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24 Feb 2012, 12:59 pm

I don't know if you're an Aspie or not but this is totally normal IMO.

I would react the same way.

If you had said you hung out with Tony often, I really would think something was wrong with you.

I had a similar experience and for me it wasn't like I didn't feel bad that it happened, I felt bad FOR the family and everything, and I understood how terrible it was but it wasn't like real sadness. Actually empathizing and feeling the pain in real time isn't something I can do after not seeing someone for 10 years.

I think many NTs are similar.


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ByattBrown
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24 Feb 2012, 1:05 pm

I know how you feel, my grandmother died a few months ago, she had been in a home with alzheimer's and I had not seen her is about 8 years.

My mother phoned me and told me, which I said "how horrible" too, but I was not sad as she was no longer part of my life anymore.

It does make me think "am I normal" when this happens, but all that goes through my head is that this was going to happen before long and now it has happened.

If it was unexpected I would have felt different, when my grandfather died of a stroke I was very upset as I saw him alot and it was sudden, but because I new it was comming I was not at all upset with my grandmother.



questor
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24 Feb 2012, 1:44 pm

There is nothing abnormal in your response to this incident. You haven't seen the guy in over 10 years, and even back then, he was your brother's friend, not yours, so you didn't really have much to do with him back then, either. There is no reason why you should have any real feelings for someone who was the next thing to a stranger. Your feelings for a family pet are a different matter. The pet is someone you spend time with every day, who is actually a member of the family. Of course you would feel something about the lose of a pet.

The prober thing to do is to say the right things, whether you have feelings to go with them or not. Just say you are sorry to hear that, and are sorry for what the family is going through. That's what I do when I don't have feelings to go with similar situations. Although I seldom have full feelings for other people's situations, I can usually understand what they are going through, and can have abstract empathy feelings for them. That is not the same as a full feeling of empathy, but it does help me relate to people.


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Merculangelo
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24 Feb 2012, 5:42 pm

yeah,

and sometimes i'm even kind of irritated and annoyed that the person is wasting time on something like that. for example, i was meeting with someone to study and she started telling me about some people that died in some other country, and I just felt irritated that she was wasting a good 10 minutes of time feeling bad and trying to get me to feel bad with her. I could have read and planned out my answer to a homework problem in that amount of time.

people die ***all the time.*** i'm pretty sure about every minute. its not new.

when my grandmother died (and i saw her pretty regularly) i think I told someone and they said, "awww, i'm sorry" very emotionally, and I was kind of surprised at how silly that sounded because they had nothing to do with her death, but they were apologizing for it. i don't remember crying or feeling much about it.

the death thing is weird. i don't think its a big deal except when I think about myself getting hit by a car or similar, and then I just get this weird shivery feeling in my chest or my brain just checks itself.



Sickpuppies124
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24 Feb 2012, 5:46 pm

Autistics experience grief differently from other people. When my 10 year old lab died in my arms, I felt a brief sense of shock and initial sadness but it didn't hit me hard.

When one of my good friends from highschool was killed in a car wreck, I almost ended up crying in class.

Idk dude.



Taybot97
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24 Feb 2012, 5:51 pm

I would say its normal. I've lost various pets and was unaffected. More recently I lost my grandfather. Actually he wasn't but I haven't seen either of my real ones in 10 years so he was all I had. I though that's sad. I kept wondering if I should cry but never did.



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24 Feb 2012, 5:55 pm

If you hardly know someone, why cry over them, what did they do to impact your life or bring you joy? Nothing. Now if someone I truly loved died. The floor would be wet with tears and maybe possibly my own blood.


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nouse
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24 Feb 2012, 6:46 pm

Is experiencing death always like this people with autism?
Neuropsychologist was convinced for few hours that I have AS but later turned it down. On the other hand I've been practicing sucking it up principle for decades. I'm probably too good at it. I've been reading writings about my childhood and found out that I was very empathetic early on but started to withdrew myself because that is not appropriate behavior for a boy.
When my mother died I was very upset and cried for days. Still brings tears into my eyes... dam I'm crying right now. It happened 15 years ago.
My dog from childhood died year ago. I couldn't speak about it over the phone. I was there when it happened. I withdrew myself from the situation and cried for hours. It was too much for me. I once thought about being a doctor or veterinarian but those professions comes with huge emotional package. Telling bad news to people... no way! I wouldn't ever put a dog for an eternal sleep and so on. Studying biology was also out of the question (lab rats) but chemistry was neutral enough for me. 8O
I'm the guy who absorbs all the emotionality in the funerals. I try to be tough but tears just keeps on coming.

Is there a name for that kind of disorder. :wink:



Hexagon
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24 Feb 2012, 6:49 pm

My grandfather died, and I didn't care. I've always assumed it was because of my autism. I think it has to do with interacting better with animals than people, as I too care more about my cat than my family. In fact, I'm extremely sad at being forced to leave my cat in spain, even though my mother has been left there...



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24 Feb 2012, 7:07 pm

Guess what? Thousands if not millions of people die every day, and no one gives a damn.


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ADoyle90815
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24 Feb 2012, 9:18 pm

People grieve in different ways, and for some of us, if the person was a friend or family member, we often show a lot of "normal" grieving behaviors. If the person wasn't close, we generally don't care. In fact, when a great uncle I had maybe met 3 times in my life died a few years ago, I skipped his funeral because I didn't feel close enough to his family to attend. Another issue was that in my family, people who show emotion are judged as "weak" so when I had a natural reaction to my grandpa's death, I left the area to cry. The drawback to being told that crying was seen as a weakness was that I've also been accused of not having empathy when I was trying to fit in by not letting my emotions show.



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25 Feb 2012, 1:56 am

That you are thinking about the lack of emotional content in your reaction is interesting to me. If it truly didn't matter to you, you probably would have just gone on without thinking much about it, instead of wondering why you didn't respond with grief. You weren't particularly close to this person, and your life won't change now that they're dead, but it does seem that you are doing some thinking about this person and your reaction to their death. Even when we aren't close to someone, hearing about their death can be a reminder of human mortality--that of ourselves, and everyone we're close to. It can be disconcerting, even when it doesn't trigger a grief response. The reality of death is something we all have to come to terms with for ourselves. Sometimes I wonder if it's a problem I'll ever manage to solve. But we can't grieve every death we hear about--if we did, we'd spend our whole lives overwhelmed with fear, anger, and sadness. It's probably a built-in protective mechanism that we are able to hear with such equanimity the news that someone has died, in all cases but when that person was close enough to us that our daily lives will be irreversibly changed by their absence.


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25 Feb 2012, 2:10 am

This happens to me with many deaths, and with bad things happening to others in general.



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25 Feb 2012, 1:31 pm

I certainly would have felt the exact same way. The death of someone I didn’t have a close relationship with, someone I hadn’t thought about in a decade, would not affect me.
Even if it had been a person I was closer with, I would first of all be very relieved that my number one fear, the pet/s and my mother, weren’t the one/s dead.


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25 Feb 2012, 3:05 pm

I never know what to say when I'm told that someone is dead.

I know that I'm supposed to put on an act like everyone else does, change my voice and get over-enthusiastic about expressing great sorrow, but it feels so obviously fake when watching others do it just to be social, that I don't feel comfortable doing it myself.

It actually feels kind of insulting to use someone's death as a way to make others think highly of you for your professional portrayal of so-called "empathy".