Living With Asperger’s : Cognitive Empathy



Lack of empathy is attributed to those with Asperger’s, but that’s an incomplete statement.  What kind of empathy are we talking about?

“Empathy is made up of two important parts: the first is the ability to see the world from the perspective of another. This is the thinking or cognitive part of empathy. It is about identifying what is going on in another person’s mind.

The second part of empathy is more emotional—the ability to imagine what another person is feeling and then to care about it.

These two aspects of empathy require different skills. In a nutshell, people with Asperger’s Syndrome have more difficulty than the average person with the first part of empathy—seeing the world from someone else’s perspective. The second part, caring about what someone else feels is as developed and present as anyone else.”  Kenneth Roberson, Ph.D.

As stated above,  I struggle to understand why people do and feel the way that they do, or how they are going to react to a particular thing I might say or do.

I say a lot of blunt and social inappropriate things in the course of a day.  I hurt a lot of people feelings unintentionally because at the time I see nothing wrong.  When I learn about how I made someone upset I feel horrible and apologetic.  When is called “effective empathy” which is, if I’m being honest, sets people with Asperger’s apart from Psychopaths.

I have had to practice, even deep into adulthood, to think about my what I say and how it will be received.   Do I still slip up?  Of course, more than I like to admit.

My advice to those who leave a conversation with me thinking that I am callous and cold :  Tell me how I made you feel.



Author: billshappinessproject

I was near the end of 2016 when I realized that my life was totally out of balance. I was 30 and I was working my life away. I did not have strong relationships with my wife, family, or friends. It was around this time that I came across THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. It was then that I decided to launch my own year long project towards personal happiness for the entire year of 2017.

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