I recently wrote a post about how good people with Asperger’s can be at shutting down emotions. It’s a skill I’ve come to value and appreciate, but there are times when my natural aversion to strong emotional displays and experiences is actually a big problem.
Being able to block emotions is usually helpful for dealing with our own lives, but when our friends or relatives get upset it’s a whole other kettle of fish. Time and again I’ve seen that someone I care about is suffering and I’ve wanted to help. But the help I’m capable of giving is far below the standard that can be offered by someone without Asperger’s.
Our instinct is to walk away
Over the years, I’ve been able to improve. I’m not quite as useless as I used to be when somebody starts crying or looks upset. But I’m still missing something – a natural warmth, I think – when it comes to helping people in distress and giving comfort. My instinct is always to walk away and get somebody else.
At school, this meant fetching a teacher. Now, I rely on a few socially adept friends to help out where I can’t, and to help support me as I try to do my bit. Thank goodness there are people out there with different social skills.
I don’t know if non-Aspies need Aspies the way we need them. I don’t care as long as we can figure out how to work together.