[T]HIS WEEK’s ASPIE POST
Aspies tend to love everyone. The difficulty in empathizing, common rejection, and desire for connection with others makes all successful connections more enjoyable. The hard part to manage comes in three:
1) It’s hard to find relations since listening to others most of their language consists of signals we consider either meaningless, tedious or confusing. So you must learn patience to listen and try to ask about how and why people feel the way they do. Most of us understand spoken emotions. Meanwhile the autistic impulse tries to control you into avoiding exactly what you are trying to accomplish. This is why ssri’s are so effective: they dull the impulse and allow you to practice building the strength of will over the autistic impulse. Social anxiety disorder is controlled by the same means. We must see the autism spectrum as excess in-uterine suppression of the growth of the self. And that we must assist the growth of the self to compensate. We tend to think as engineers today rather than gardeners and foresters. The mind is constructed more like a tree and some artful bonsai may be needed.
2) It is easy to alienate relations via over sharing minutia fascinating to the autistic mind because system-thought provides constant touch stones amidst sensory chaos in socially and emotionally dense environments. So developing self monitoring is necessary and it’s very hard work. Again the problem is severity: some of us are weakly affected and can rely on will. Others more so and require help in training. Others need chemical assistance to suppress the autistic impulse. And some of us lack sufficient self to imagine the very idea of self monitoring – and it is those people that are non functional.
3) Once you mature having not experienced all the “silly” distractions of normal minds, you can gain this sense of superiority that comes with expertise in anything, and you can lose your desire to engage with (boring, dull, stupid) normals. This requires acceptance that only comes with age: normals have different feelings and needs and they usually fail to mature intellectually as far as we do – or rather they stop maturing at much earlier ages. So the only technique I have developed is love. I keep working a problem in my head in order to keep the big black scary machine busy, and I merely enjoy the company of people like a warm bath or sunny day. But what has surprised me is that simple and good people do not engage in as much signaling with false intellectualism. So I prefer the company of common people for my emotional health, and the company of competitive and intellectual people for my mental health.
So how do we socialize? The trick for us is to develop something we can share with others that is interesting. So that we are valuable to the conversation.
My strategy is to seek to help everyone I encounter in some small way. This usually involves getting to know them while looking for some opportunity to assist.
And in that act of inquiry I show interest in others: seeking to understand, not to agree.
That’s my lesson for this week to aspies.