self-awareness

17 Dec

I just read this interesting article about self-awareness in autism. Researchers scanned the area of the brain that differentiates our own thoughts and feelings from those we attribute to other people. In people with AS, this part of the brain responds the same way when they are asked about their own thoughts, opinions, and preferences or asked about someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and preferences.

The atypical way the autistic brain treats self-relevant information as equivalent to information about others could derail a child’s social development, particularly in understanding how they relate to the social world around them.

I think this sort of explains the aspie naivete. I’ve been hurt, and hurt others, many times in my life because I’ve assumed that someone thinks the same way as I do. I don’t realize that certain things might offend other people, because those things don’t offend me.

After about 20 years I started to figure some of this out. But then, the naivete turned into paranoia. It seems like my choices are a) blundering through relationships with people, offending and confusing everyone along the way, or b) keeping my mouth shut because I’m second guessing everything I say/do and everything anyone else says/does.

So, what’s a person to do? I guess you just have to work with what you’ve got…like everyone else. I have actively worked on my self-awareness. In fact, it’s sort of a key part of Buddhism. And, when I meet new people, at work for example, I tell them I have Asperger’s. Some people don’t like to do this because it is personal information. It’s kind of irritating that I have to tell people about it instead of them just accepting my behavior for what it is. It’s not fair, but I think it does help. Then, I just have to throw out the paranoia. Now that I know what I have I’m more sure of who I am, and I’m not embarrassed about being autistic. But, I think I’m stuck with the naivete.

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