The concept of empathy is a much discussed topic in Asperger's circles but I'm starting to wonder what all the fuss is about. You see, I feel that empathy has little to do with Asperger's syndrome. So why continue to write about it? I guess I just want the myths understood and "busted".
Our family has just been through twenty-one days of hell and while the worst is clearly over, there's still a quite bit to come. It has been a tense emotional and very very painful situation in which we needed all of the help and empathy we could find.
It's hard For me to take a step back from the situation and look at things objectively but the situation revealed some surprising insights into empathy and asperger's syndrome which I feel need to be shared.
Particular insights include;
- There is a huge learned component to empathy. In order to receive empathy, we must first teach it.
- Neurotypcials can be far less empathetic than people with aspergers syndrome.
- While emotions and empathy go hand in hand, they can also be mutally exclusive
- Problems arise when our emotions are interpreted by others in visible terms - and this happens often
- Lack of understanding of non-verbal language often poses a bigger barrier than lack of empathy
Each of these topic areas deserves to be examined in detail in an article of its own so that's where I will go from here. Please bear in mind that this situation is still quite raw for our family and I'll be writing in a way which protects them as best I can. As a result, some things may come out more abstract than intended.