Autism and empathy – too much of it actually!

This needs to be in capital letters all of the way through. You need to know that I am shouting this as I type. I have tons of empathy. In fact, I have so much empathy that it ways me down and affects everything I do. I am autistic and I have even more empathy than you do – who knew?

I was just trying to be funny in a sarcastic way in my above comment. I have no idea how much empathy you have and nor would I ever intend to judge it. It’s just that the stereotype really upsets me. Of course, if you struggle with empathy then I understand that too. My husband, who is a muggle, doesn’t have any and it is destroying us. But that will be my next blog!

Ten minutes ago I was sitting on the tube in London – first world problem I know. A man of around my age was clearly suffering from anxiety and a host of mental health issues. His loud dialogue with himself sounded exactly like my inner dialogue with myself. He was angry about his decisions, he didn’t understand so much, he wanted to do things differently, he wanted to see things differently. His pitch and pace and anguish increased and intensified. I felt every breath and word and my body began shaking with a desire to intervene and help. He had a large stick with him and all I could see was the scene where Mr Hyde bludgeons a man to death. Because of this, I was too scared to go to this man. I feel terrible about that. Maybe one kind word could have made a difference to him today? I am a fan and devotee of the JB Priestly message in An Inspector Calls. Just a small act of kindness or unkindness can make a massive difference. We need to know the story behind someone. There is always a story.

It sounds arrogant to say that I feel everything. Oh well, I have been accused of worse. I really do. Because of this, I have ended up becoming a ‘caretaker’ for many disfunctional and downright destructive personalities and people. I only just realised this and my new research and revelation about personality disorders/ narcissists and autism will feature next.

I am aware that autism can impare empathy and I understand that alexithymia and similar conditions are debilitating and add extra layers to what is already a ‘disability’ of sorts. I have no idea if I am allowed to say that? I think that I am great, but I have to conclude that being me feels like a ‘disability’ when trying to function and navigate the world that I am in.

But, in this blog about me, I am talking about me, and I have loads of empathy. I actually wish I had less. I didn’t think that before. I thought that I was helping and caring and saving everyone but now I realise that I was trying to help and care and save me. I had learned to be the ‘caretaker’ early on and just carried on. All of the books that I have read recently about personality disorder make complete sense. I don’t have the personality disorder! I realised that my husband does and needed to understand. All of the books make sense, but they never take account of or allow for a relationship where the recipient or vicitm, is autistic. I think that this needs to be explored because we can be far more trusting and far more vulnerable to manipulation and abuse. But as I said, next post.

If you read the threads – is that the right word? And the forums, on ASD groups you will see more caring and compassion and concern than I have encountered in over half of a hundred years wandering around this planet. I am not seeing and hearing and feeling a lack of empathy or a capacity to care. In fact, these women have experienced trauma and hurt and rejection for years. They are confused and scared. But yet they care without judgement about the words and feelings of everyone else.

Somehow, somewhere, the myth has been created about ASD and it suited the muggles to believe it. I think that it meant they could congratulate themselves on a lucky escape and could justify their own lack of care and compassion. Ironic? Is that irony? I’m only an English teacher, why would I know?

It isn’t enough to keep preaching to the converted. Somehow I really want everyone else to know that we are here and that we see and hear and feel and care. That’s ok isn’t it?

Published by Tracyclements

Having wandered aimlessly often in chaos and confusion for over 50 years, I finally know that I am actually autistic. I spent far too long trying to fit in, when I should have been proud of fitting out. Now dispelling myths, misconceptions and misunderstanding that shroud autism, and create unhelpful and unhealthy stereotypes and stigma.

3 thoughts on “Autism and empathy – too much of it actually!

  1. Thanks for writing this. I believe I am on the autism spectrum (but still awaiting proper diagnosis). Both my ‘best friend’ and my ex-partner I would describe as narcissists. Only, it took me many years to see this truth. I just thought they were ordinary people who were a little dramatic, at times. I did not even know what narcissism was, until recently. If you had asked me, I would have thought it was some rare condition that would be obvious to spot if I ever came across it! Also, I felt I was too smart to be taken advantage of, but now I see that I am actually quite naive and I’m a poor judge of character. Anyway, I think I can relate to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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