#30DaysofAutismAcceptance – Day 17

Day 17.  Talk about empathy.  Many people think autistics do not have empathy.  What’s your experience with empathy?  Are you hyper empathic or not empathic at all?

Empathy, empathy is always a difficult one.

“The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.

There is the old myth that autistics cannot empathise, I don’t believe this is true. I believe that we find it hard to empathise when we don’t understand the feelings and situation that the other person is going through.

My experience with empathy is a complex one. I have enough of a hard time understanding and sharing my own feelings. Trying to share and understand the feelings of others is extremely difficult for me.

This is usually the biggest cause of arguments between me and other people.

If I have been in the same situation as you, or feel the same way as you do about something, I can empathise with you.

I find it very difficult to put myself in somebody else’s shoes if I haven’t worn those shoes before.

But if I have experienced something, I do empathise, I empathise a lot.

If I begin sharing people’s emotions I find it hard to then turn my empathy off. I get upset when they are upset, I find it hard to stop feeling their emotions.

Nobody likes being near me at funerals because I get overwhelmed by the emotion and it doesn’t matter how close I was to the deceased I literally feel the grief of every person in that room. This results in me breaking down. I’m not the same for a few days after.

But it works in other ways too. Like last weekend when I was involved in a wrestling show. I felt every bit of excitement from the crowd. It was an awesome feeling and that excitement and joy stayed with me for days afterwards.

So I either empathise too much or not enough. No middle ground …

Now let’s try something, autistics find it hard to empathise with non-autistics so I ask you…

Do you understand how I feel?

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