I recently realized that my behaviors are similar to someone with Asperger’s syndrome. By the way, I have learnt that Asperger’s syndrome has been accepted in the autism spectrum and ranges between normal and disorder (1). A person with Asperger’s is not similar to others and has many traits of varying severity, such as lack of empathy, hypersensitivity in some senses, less in social relationship (2). A person with Asperger’s may have many problems in life, but they will generally not harm society and the environment at all.
The most important finding of Asperger’s syndrome is diminished empathy (3). I find my own personality close to symptoms of Asperger’s, nevertheless I can empathize even more than a normal person. Sometimes, I remember having empathy for my family relatives and friends in a notable way. When my parents unjustly made me sad, I always felt sorry for my parents, instead for myself on my way to school. Because I was thinking that my parents would understand that they were unfair to me and they would feel sorry for me. This led me to question the definition of empathy.
To clarify the thoughts above, Simon Baron Cohen who is the director of Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, said that there were two kinds of empathy: cognitive and affective empathy. Cognitive empathy is the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes, and to imagine their thoughts and feelings. Affective empathy is the drive to respond with an appropriate emotion to someone else’s thoughts and feelings (4). People with Asperger’s syndrome have less cognitive empathy but normal or higher affective empathy. The empathy as I mentioned before that I had in my childhood is a powerful example of affective empathy.
Furthermore, I remember that I had less cognitive empathy. A person with Asperger’s is known to be honest and a perfectionist. They think of events as black and white. They do not recognize the diverse grey areas of experience. If we think about this, a question comes to mind: How can a person with Asperger’s put himself or herself in somebody else’s shoes? He or she can succeed through one or two experiences. For this reason, a person with Asperger’s cannot succeed to have cognitive empathy.
Moreover, as a child, my body rejected the taste of meat. However, I could not understand how I rejected to eat meat, fish and chicken from birth, while my whole family was eating. I never ate meat, fish and chicken, drank milk without chocolate in my childhood and adolescence. After university, especially after I got married; I forced myself to eat these, but I did not succeed. Now, I can only eat spicy ground beef with vegetables. Though my studies, I have understood that I had and still have hypersensitivity to taste like those with Asperger’s syndrome. I wanted to eat meat like others, but I could not.
There is other interesting behavior: a person with Asperger’s is generally less social. They often have only one or two friends in their life. I was not a social person in my childhood or adolescence. In the same way, one person with Asperger’s wants to be a social person but they cannot succeed to socialize like eating or drinking some taste. Both of these aspects were very similar. In other words, I have been a social person especially after university thanks to my job. Because my job made me a social person.
In conclusion, Asperger’s syndrome is a personality type rather than disorder. Already science has accepted that it is not a disease. I believe it is not even a disorder: it is a form of neurodiversity.
My behaviors are similar to Asperger’s syndrome’s findings, but I have only realized these recently. Maybe I have Asperger’s syndrome. We can imagine that there have been plenty of people with Asperger’s in the world but most of them do not have the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. I had many problems because of these findings such as lack of cognitive empathy, hypersensitivity in taste and problems with social relationship. This personality type should be well known and should not be criticized. As humans, they (I) can be misunderstood but on the contrary we are beneficial to society with their honest and analytical thought structure.
- “Autism spectrum disorder- Symptoms and causes”. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
- C Montgomery, C Allison, M-C Lai, S Cassidy, P
Langdon, S Baron-Cohen (2016) Do Adults with High Functioning Autism or Asperger
Syndrome Differ in Empathy and Emotion Recognition?
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 46:1931-1940
- P. Rueda, P. Fernández-Berrocal, S. Baron-Cohen (2015)
Dissociation between cognitive and affective empathy in youth with Asperger Syndrome
European Journal of Developmental Psychology 12(1):85–98
- P. Rueda, P. Fernández-Berrocal & S. Baron-Cohen (2015) Dissociation between cognitive and affective empathy in youth with Asperger Syndrome, European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12:1, 85-98,
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