[quote=undefinable]This is not typcial of mild autism / asperger's syndrome. Autism 'cuts across' a range of personality types, and different styles and temperaments will be affected in different ways by the addition of autism (i.e. the subtraction of normal context-processing). I'm sure you'll agree that even this is a gross oversimplification, but we have to try and understand the world somehow, eh?[/quote]
Yeah, this tends to be one problem with autism. There's no one or few things that define it; it spans a range of symptoms that may or may not be shared by all people with autism.
What is typical, perhaps, is for an 'aspie' to go through a social situation in which the other person is showing typical signs of mental pain, but to perceive these as random sensations of indeterminate meaning - Only later, when someone verbally explains what was going on, or (if among the 15+% of "aspies" who aren't "alexythymic") when reflecting on how the situation made them feel, do a large proportion (though by no means all) of aspies feel empathy on intellectually-processed verbal cues rather than intuitively-processed sensory ones. Many cognitive scientists label this 'sympathy' rather than 'empathy' because of its contrasting presentation - both to the mind of the subject and through outward expression.
This may be where the confusion comes in. Of course, like you mentioned earlier, there's no one real definition of empathy, especially in this context.
If there's kids involved with this kind of problem, autistic or not, you should get help from a recognised professional as soon as possible, and maybe (in the meantime) reflect on how your actions could be harming those who you love.
I've seen several therapists, and have gotten a slight handle on my temper and anger. It's not as bad as it used to be, in that, especially with the kids, all I tend to do is yell. I'm not attempting to condone my actions, because I know of the damage it can do, but it is a sign that it's gotten better.
For my two cents, expressions of anger usually follow on the back of a claustrophobic feeling that there's no space left for anything else in my mind, though I'm not sure I get how your lack of social skills is making you 'cynical'; shamatha meditation might help you make use of the vast space that's already 'there' in your mind,
Good advice. I never thought about it being like a claustrophobic feeling. I don't think there's a direct link between being cynical and lack of social skills; I think my lack of social skills has led me to distrust people because it's hard for others, "neurotypical", to know about the how's and why's of why I do what I do, my idiocyncracies, and why I think differently.
but like 'justsit' I'd suggest moving across to the 'Autism' thread. I've tried to keep this thread burning, and have written a lot there lately on the ontological status of autism despite coming to terms with my own autism years ago, so I could do with a breather; others, I expect, are likely to offer other takes on your situation.
Thanks. I'll have to check it out.
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen