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Autism and Empathy: I’am not a robot! 

September 9, 2017


Autism and empathy 

I have Autism and no I’m NOT a robot…

I’am not a robot, I have blood coursing through my veins just like you, I feel happy, angry, sad, scared just like you, I feel pain just like you and believe it or not I feel other people’s emotions too just like YOU…. 

“But Peri people with autism don’t have empathy I know this is true because I have read it in a book”!! 

“Wait you read it in a book”? 

“Umm well many books so it must be true”!!!! 

Urgh I swear I have had that conversation a billion of times the whole myth of Autism people having no empathy has been going on for ages and it’s one that is actually pretty hurtful because when you say we have no empathy your actually calling us inhuman and funny enough that really hurts (another reason why I can clarify that we are not robots!) 

We struggle with empathy don’t get me wrong but just because we struggle with it does not mean we don’t have it at all, the main trouble is how we express it and often feeling too much. I remember when I was nonverbal one of the main catalysts of me not talking was that I felt too much meaning I had no idea where to even start, I didn’t know what to say first. My empathy also caused meltdowns, going into a crowded room would always end in a meltdown not just because of the physical stimulation but a room full of people means a room full of different emotions and feelings, emotions and feelings I was going to all be feeling all at once….AAAAARRREGHHHAAA it’s too much!! Mums angry because the washing isn’t done, dads sad because his car is broken, the baby is scared cos the dog barked, my sister is happy cos she got good grades whatever the feelings were for and why I will instantly feel them all at once, I just couldn’t cope so I would meltdown or react negativity which would cause trouble so I often try and distance myself away from other people’s feelings if I don’t react then I can’t be told off for my reaction….right?….

But now I get told off because my lack of interest must show I don’t care which must mean so don’t have empathy….urgh your so wrong when will you realise that the problem is not that I don’t feel anything at all but that I feel too much so I get overwhelmed which results in me not always reacting appropriately or reacting in a way that you approve …🙄

I have done some nice things in my lifetime like I organised and took part in a 15mile charity walk for my teacher who has cancer, I also did a PowerPoint for this teacher when he had to go for an operation etc I did those things out of choice I did those things because I felt bad because I felt what he was feeling because I wanted nothing more to make him feel a little better…

“So you see I wouldn’t of done that if I didn’t have empathy would I?” N

“No peri you did that out of respect for him not empathy” da hell?!? Are you really assuming MY actions and MY feelings?!?!? I don’t know if you understand but the word My means they are MINE meaning no one can undermine them, assume them or explain them apart from me! And this Person’s argument was that I didn’t show them empathy at a certain time they assume I don’t have any empathy at all….NO! 

I’m Just like YOU meaning I don’t “show” empathy all the time like maybe you had upset me that day or I was having a bad day so was unable to separate my feelings and yours etc there are many reasons why I acted the way I did but not having empathy is not one of them. I’m sure not everyone shows or acts on their empathy 24/7 so why I’m I made too in the fear of being labeled a non empathetic robot? Why do I have different rules to all of you? 

Just because I didn’t show it does not mean I didn’t feel every ounce of pain you were going through maybe that was the problem maybe I was too overwhelmed so reacted negatively or distance or I was just trying to process everything because unlike you I process everything differently and much slower. 

I often don’t always show my caring ways in the old traditional way like I won’t give a crying person a hug and I won’t sit there giving you a mushy pep talk because I’am unable to connect to you on that level but I will connect with you in other ways, I will sit with u in silence letting u know I will never leave u, other times I will leave u too it but then come back with a gift like a drawing for you or I will crack jokes and try to get you to laugh and smile so beautifully. 

Then other times I won’t connect I won’t make u feel better because your pain is too great for me to Handel, I’m feeling every drop of pain you have and I have no idea how to make it better so I blame myself…I feel like a failure that turns into self hatred which turns into depression and anxiety which can turn into outbursts of snide comments but those are not cos I have a lack of empathy those are because my empathy is too strong which means I get too much information all coming in at one time so I can’t cope. 

So I know it’s hard to believe like I’m going against all the “facts” you have read in those billion of books of yours but I’m not a robot, Autism people are not robots and you calling us that actually really hurts because you are really questioning are ability and subjecting us to inhumans. 

Autism can be misleading we do things which may make you think we have no empathy but really you got to dig deeper, you have to look in between the lines, you have to have belief in us that we are just like YOU but a little different we want to be loved but we also want to love and we take joy in making our peers happy and feel better. 😊

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One Comment
  1. So well written, so much feeling just in this piece of writing that it’s clear you have feelings. Not everyone experiences the same feelings at the time expected of them, but people shouldn’t be so quick to judge, no one is a mind reader.

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