The psychologist told me, “You don’t seem to have a lack of empathy, but too much!” 

Why do people automatically think that anyone on the spectrum lacks empathy? What exactly is empathy, anyway? Apparently it’s the ability to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes (not literally in their shoes, btw, but basically in their position. Imagining wearing other people’s shoes is kind of funny though, as long as they aren’t high heels). Anyway… So how can people tell if someone is lacking in this empathy rather than just being unable to show it? What if this supposed lack is just the people on the spectrum unable to properly show, on the outside, what’s going on on the inside? There have been many, many times I’ve been unable to properly react to certain circumstances… such as when a good friend’s mom died and the friend just fell to the floor crying and I just kinda stood there, staring at her like she was an alien. I suppose to someone watching, I could appear to not have much empathy, whereas inside I was screaming and confused and in pain for my friend. 

Perusing the boards on wrongplanet.com, I’ve not seen this lack of empathy. On facebook groups there is plenty of caring going around. It seems a lot easier to show it online than in person. But to say that someone with an ASD has no empathy is equating them to sociopaths and narcissists. If someone with an ASD has no empathy, they would not feel bad about hurting someone, or an animal. They would not be the victims of bullying, but the bullies themselves. Telling someone the truth is an attribute of honesty, not a lack of empathy. Maybe a lack of tact… Of course there are those who lack empathy, but it shouldn’t be a prerequisite. It’s a spectrum disorder, so there will be people all over the board on this.

I took an empathy quotient test online and got a score of 10. Scores 0-32 are considered low and most people with an ASD score around 20. An online test isn’t always the best judge of these things, but it’s still an interesting thing, especially since the psychologist considers I have too much empathy. I am a very sensitive person. I once took a baseball bat to the shin for protecting a bunch of ants. I absolutely despise injustice. I HATE it when innocent people get picked on by bullies and there’s nothing anyone can do. Heaven help anyone who tries to hurt my family. But is that empathy? That’s what got the psychologist to think I’m too empathetic.

And now I’m a big ball of I don’t know what because my one of my favorite shows just ended horribly and I’m super confused because this woman in an online group just posted something random and then got upset when asked about it? Maybe? And then left?? I’m gonna go take a nice long hot shower while I can…


3 thoughts on “Empathy

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