The Emotion Calculation

It’s mostly common knowledge that people with Aspergers are devoid of emotions. It’s also a common misconception. Most Aspies do experience a range of emotions from sadness to joy. The misconception stems from two places:

1) Aspies have difficulty expressing their emotions in the “socially agreed upon” manner.

2) Aspies very often experience emotions in extremely polarized states with no middle ground.

Reason 1 pops up because, although Aspies are good mimics, people will often express their emotions in slightly different ways. Some people may cry at the death of a loved one, others may throw themselves into charity work, and others may react in a different way entirely. While each of these reactions share an underlying theme of grief, an Aspie may see these three reactions as random and unrelated – they don’t make sense. Therefore, it’s tough for an Aspie to figure out the “correct” way to express an emotion.

Reason 2 sounds like all Aspies are bipolar, but that’s not what I mean. The emotions don’t necessarily wildly fluctuate from one extreme to another. It just means that the “low intesity” emotions are too weak for an Aspie to register; the Aspie brain is usually too busy with other stuff. A strong enough emotion will break through. For example: I find it almost impossible to “like” things. Either it’s really bad and I hate it, or it’s really good and I love it. Anything else, and I don’t really have an opinion one way or another.

I think emotions are so difficult for a person with Asperger’s to deal with because emotions are not a tangible entity. My mind works sort of like a mini-computer; it deals it facts and figures. Computers don’t understand emotions because they can’t be calculated. I’m often asking how I “should be” feeling in a situation because I honestly don’t know. I have a theory on how I “should be” feeling based on past experiences and popular social customs, but I can never be sure.

So don’t think that us Aspies are all just soulless, disconnected people. We do have hearts. We do have emotions. They just confuse us immensely.

Posted on November 19, 2011, in Aspergers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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