self-centredness does not always equate selfishness... i wld say it is unfair to gerneralise... but some articles tell u yes, male AS tend to be more 'selfish' than female AS... i think it is more to do with understanding AS obsessions rather than pure selfishness the way NTs see it...
Well, from my side of the desk (the female side) I would say those are more characteristics of the males of the species in general, then especially those who have been indulged and not held responsible throughout their lives ... and then I suppose AS would exacerbate what was there for the other reasons.
i totally agree with u on this, lynne... my beloved father was aspie too, and we share many similarities... but he was far more self-centred AND selfish than i am... it is a socialisation thing i guess, male children are usually allowed to be more into themselves while female children are taught to be considerate and caring etc... a mixture of social conditioning, expectations and ASD... it can be rather shocking i guess...
I think selfishness can be common with any person, not just autism. That said it's common for autistic people to have a high degree of intensity when focusing on something to the point of shutting out all else. That can cause problems when wanting to complete a project seen important to the person's mind, but not as much to anyone else. Shifting focus is a pain.
Imagine it this way, focusing on something is like a train. It takes effort to get it started, but once it's started, you can't suddenly halt a train without gradually slowing it down first. The law of physics keeps the train's momentum going until it eventually slows to the point of stopping. When focused on something, to just stop, drop whatever the person is doing, is just as hard. This tends to get perceived as being selfish by anyone outside the person.
Having autism I can explain what it feels like when forced to stop doing something I am focused in and try to shift it to something else... It feels like leaving the house unlocked or the sink running...It feels awkward.
The other perception of selfishness:
People without autism seem to have a better instinct for noticing when someone needs help and the social norms for going about that.
For someone like me with autism, it feels like being expected to read someone's mind! If you want me to "get off my bum" and help, you have to tell me so and ideally not angry or upset. (When someone is angry or upset, it often gets too much for me to bear emotionally and I have to retreat...which also gets perceived as being selfish.)
Sometimes when I think about it, I may offer help or stand near the area (hoping to be told what the person wants me to do). If nothing is said then I tend to assume everything is fine and then go about my business... Same thing if I get a "No" as a direct answer to my question, "Do you need any help?" If I feel up to helping someone, it’s more often for me to stand in the area and wait to hear something than to ask questions.
You're welcome, though I don't think I was the one to make up the train anology. I think I heard it used before but don't remember who.
I let my mind wander on the subject and my thoughts after typing. It lead to a personal epiphany about core human needs and socialization. I used to visit different autism communities on the internet (and still do on occasion). A lot of topics come up with autistic people wanting "NT's" to understand them and change many of their behavoirs and adapt. On the other side NT's want autistic people to change their behaviors and adjust....
It's about even...and likely the same degree of difficulty for both "groups". I'm kind of drifting away from using stark NT/autie contrasts, because I don't believe there are any people who are 100% non autistic, rather it's a scale that affects everyone, and the cut-off point is where we tend to see it as a disability and dx it... But even in the "NT" range there are varying degrees of ability and disability. Anyways, enough said on that.
Regardless of autism or not, everyone has the need to feel that people care and they are valued. It doesn't mean just anyone either. People have the need to know certain people in their lives care for them and value their interests, desires, feelings, etc...
Not everyone can fully express this in a way that suits their need at the time. Heck, I doubt any person knows 100% how to suit another person's needs 100% of the time. Problems arise with this difference in need/what is being given.
The person with the need feels hurt/angry and the person who gets the anger feels just as hurt, not knowing what they need to do, (and also feeling they too are not being given their needs of being valued). People with autism/autistic people are no exception. Just that being able to express the right feelings, emotions and behaviors is more difficult to label at times... Likely it's stronger for people to be more aware of their own needs than it is to know how to suit the needs of other people. With autism, it may be more difficult, especially the part about knowing how to suit other people's needs.
I say people because I believe even if it were two autistic people in the situation, the feelings of hurt and thinking the other person is being "selfish" would likely be about the same as it would for an NT and an autistic person. Regardless both people have to be aware of eachother's needs as well as being able to explain thir needs in a way the other person can understand and feel respected.
This is a very interesting discussion. I often feel that our daughter now 28,
(diagnosed 2yrs ago with Aspegers) behaves selfish on many occassions.
She would keep an electric fan on any time whether during sleep or during
concentrating for her study work. No matter how many times she has been
told not to do this because of the soaring high electricity bills we are getting,
she simply ignores it. She would continue to use her mobile phone to call
us even though she's reminded that "no more miniutes left". Needless to
mention that we pay all her bills. Money issue doesn't matter !
When she's under stress ( most of the time) ) during her exams ( which
has been going on since her high school until her post grad masters now),
she expects mom and dad to be there with her. This is okay since I know
she needs our support, but even if we are away for a week long period, she can
be really grumpy. I wonder, isn't that a bit demanding?
I would appreciate if experienced people could also advise regarding finding
job for the Aspies? Our daughter is currently doing a post grad course in the
university but her practical job experience is nil. Not being a communicator and
not being articulate her chance of getting a job is slim. I just wonder what
her future would be like without us the parents??
Also, she seems too childish.... are all Aspies the same? We love her too
much and we know she loves us but is that because she depends on us?
Do Aspies ever mature? Sorry for too many questions but I'll appreciate if
you care to reply.
Thank you, Jena
I can't answer all of your questions, but I can offer a few suggestions that may help make it easier.
See if you can find out why your daughter uses the electric fan. She may have a valid reason for needing the fan on (or at least a valid in her own mind). Some thoughts could be that it blocks out distracting noise, or makes the room warmer/cooler.
When explaining things it helps to go from a logical approach.
Numbers and figures in my mind seem to be "fuzzy logic". If I actually have the cash in my hand, see the price of what I am buying, count my own money then it makes more sense. Forms in general overwhelm me, because I have to answer questions. When I have to answer questions, I feel like I'm put to the spot.
As far as your question about maturity, I think maturity comes, but it's at its own pace and different levels. Part of maturity for me is coming to terms and admitting my weaknesses. I have trouble answering written questions, feel put on the spot and will distract myself.
When I have had jobs, I tend to get pretty good reviews from my employers. It's just the starting the job process that I need lots of help with, and the getting to the place. I feel anxiety when it comes to new things and new processes. I need to actually experience the trip or do the task first before I feel secure to do it on my own. I suspect your daughter may be very similar in that aspect. She probably needs to experience something first before feeling secure, but to get that experience takes getting that experience without anxiety... the best way to do so (at least in my mind and probably our daughter's as well) is to experience it with someone she feels comfortable with. That way if any surprises come up, you both can handle it better than she can if she had to do it alone. At least that’s how I feel in a new situation.
But life requires handling some things solo. For me it's a process to go from needing help to doing things fully on my own. Sometimes the process is quick and sometimes slow. Usually the more confident I feel; the easier it is for me to handle a task on my own.
That said, I wish you and your daughter luck with the job search. I'm currently unemployed and have been trying to find a job for a while.
I would like to add to what my daughter shared coming from a "mom's" perspective.
$...was always a problem with MJIthewriter from early on. I could never get her to keep track of it. What I saw all the time was coins/bills lying all over the place in her room. I gave her $40 which she lost on the bus after High School when she was going to college. I was quite upset to say the least, and realized quickly that she didn't see it the way I did. This happened more than once.
I would get after her for running the computer all night and the plant lights/lights in bedroom. After she left to live with Grandma, our electricity bill dropped significantly. I know I was frustrated with not getting results.
Now after being without her for the last 2 years, I miss her and that is more important.
I am glad she can verbalize to share her perspective as to why $ wasn't carefully handled. After raising her and knowing what my Mother-in-law has been dealing with the last two years, I also realize that behavior may seem "selfish" because there isn't the consideration of opening doors for others, waiting for one's turn, sharing one's possessions and helping oneself to others without asking....... that what is going on inside is the focus on/from oneself. Thinking and knowing what to do in situations has to be learned in a different way. I keep returning to the social stories.
I am the other way whereas I would make myself invisible to step out of the picture. I look behind me when I go in through doors so as to "not shut" a door on someone. I am extremely sensitive. So parenting a child on the autism spectrum was a real learning experience.
As an aspie, I find your question to be highly insensitive. People on the spectrum can be very nice people, and we are not selfish by default. Having difficulty understanding others does not equate selfish. You apparently are having difficulty understanding your brother; are YOU selfish?
Also, most of us don't consider ourselves to be ill. Do you consider people who wear glasses to be ill?
I find this thread to be relatively degrading, but maybe I'm taking it the wrong way.
Thank you for your comment, Bug67. I will be among the first to rave about all I have learned in the past 26 yrs. with MJI. My life is enriched due to the person she is and what she taught me. I cannot say enough how I was stretched in ways never imagined and wouldn't trade the experience for anything else. At the time....I was living & feeling like I was ill-prepared. However, my own autie traits came under inspection & found I fit in with others who had fallen through the cracks years ago.
It is a learning process in connecting. Some of the characteristics are harder to deal with and I am honest about that. I see from the end of the spectrum to the other & there are no easy answers, but a will to find ways to cope better & love each other.
I was diagnosed with Aspergers in January. I was then and still am 26. I have two children with my girlfriend and our relationship is suffering. She believes I don't love her because I never show her my feelings or my love but I just say "I love you". She thinks I just say it to keep her sweet. But I do love her but find it hard being with her for long periods of times as my desire to do my own things buildsup. I like to be in my own room with my own things, such as my computer, my playing cards etc.
My girlfriend wants me to move in with her but the place is all cluttered and messy and when I am there it makes me feel really depressed and unrelaxed. I get up and try to make a start with cleaning it but give up after a minute as I don't know where to start and get stressed with it.
All I think about most of the time is whatever interest I have at the time. At the moment it's card counting at blackjack.
Another reason why I don't want to move in is because of my room. At my parents' house, I have my own room with my own things. The room is set to how I like and I can sit in my room on my own and do my thing without distractions.
I used to like havin the electric fan on at night, all night. Used to have it blowing in my face when I was sleeping. Relaxed me, I likd that. Is this stuff common with people with AS?
Wow, I have enjoyed reading this post, even though it's a few years old. My daughter, age 24 has very similar traits as some described here. I do realize that as with any human beings there is going to be a wide spectrum of characteristics, some similar some very different. As a special education teacher by trade I had ID students who couldn't tell the difference between quarters, nickles & dimes and other students who could make change for a $20.00.
My daughter needs constant reminders to turn off lights, turn off the fan, close doors and she seemingly has no care or concern about money. It reminds me of the scene in Rain Man when Tom Cruise says He's just inherited $3 million... and he doesn't understand the concept of money?
I watched a money recently on Net Flicks called My Name is Khan. The main character was described as having Aspergers.
We talk about stuff a lot and she is interested in the idea of living independently by has no motivation to make it happen for herself. She is also very content living at home.
She has a job at a wonderful facility that employs people with disabilities. She is paid piece work and doesn't make a lot of money but at least she has somewhere to go everyday. Unfortunately, we are moving soon with no similar facility and no job prospects. Like others have said it's not a problem with doing a specific job but rather the process of getting and starting the job. Many employers aren't willing or able to give the initial support that may be required to get started in a job.
My daughter also has Epilepsy. Her Asperger's seems to impede this because of the lack of a sleep schedule, remembering to take medicine etc... Her desire or need to stay up and play on the computer doesn't jive well with helping the seizure threshold.
A book I can recommend is called Raising Brandon, written by a parent. I am also looking into the College Learning Experience for my daughter. I also have found a neat travel group for adults with a high-functioning disability. It;s the Frontier Travel Group. They are based in Miami Florida. We are currently saving money so she can possibly take a trip with this group. Does anyone have other ideas for programs, groups, etc...???
Hope all is well with everyone. Thanks for the responses and for sharing.
Yes- you are ill, but not "sick".... but for you and other Aspies to totally discount a non_aspie's perspective is just as insensitive as your claim above. I get it- I observe behavior all the time, but that doesn't mean that I should be expected to overlook your shortcomings too.If you want to be on even par as a human, own up to your shortcomings as well.
You see- I try to look at Aspies as an equal who had no choice as far as genetics. But that doesn't mean I should be exposed to self-absorbed behavior simply because their caretakers had no clue as to the challenge. I am a very caring and patient man, but as a healthy individual trying to keep the perspective of Aspie behavior in the background and always being a factor when it comes to judgement, there are times when I sense a similar analogy when married to a person who expected to be coddled- to be waited on....a sense of entitlement.
I get it or at least I do my best to be PC with empathy and such. But I will not sacrifice my worth as a human being just as you have the right to do the same simply to make sure you feel "comfortable". That is what discourse is for....Breaking routine(s) to avail yourself to those who try to understand is a good start. Don't assume that everyone is out to get you.or is insensitive. If I thought that way, I would never get out of bed :)
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