People with Asperger’s Syndrome lack empathy and feeling. So how can people who lack empathy, or other disabilities, also grow up via love?
With Asperger’s it’s what they call “high-functioning autism”, so it’s part of the autism spectrum, but it’s a part of the spectrum where the autism isn’t so severe that they have very strong symptoms, but typically, an Asperger’s personality has a real hard time connecting emotionally with other people and often because of that, they find careers in situations where they don’t connect with people.
Maybe they become computer programmers and they work by themselves or they become technical people, you know, they fix people’s camcorders and TV sets and they focus on the technical stuff or they become computer engineers and just focus on their engineering. They never really have a lot of relationships with people so typically they they find ways to avoid personal relationships on an emotional level.
But sometimes they get married and have kids and they’re right there in this middle of all of this personal relationship stuff and they just don’t deal with it very well. But generally, people realize that it doesn’t mean that they don’t care, it just means that they can’t express – they don’t have that empathetic connection. But that they do care and I know families like that where the father and both sons – there was a mother, father, two boys – the father and both boys all had Asperger’s; one pretty seriously – almost enough to be autistic; one very mildly, and one kind of somewhere in between. The wife and mother there did not have that. She just realized that that’s just the way they were and that they did care; they did care about her. They loved her but in their own way. She just didn’t expect them to do things that they weren’t able to do, so they all got along fine.
You just have to realize that they’re different and you need to treat them that way so things that might sound like they were being rude, when they weren’t rude at all, there was no rudeness intended, they just are very matter-of-fact. They’re like three-year-olds that way. They’ll tell you exactly what’s on their mind and they don’t have any sense of social niceties or politeness, so they sometimes seem rude and brusque and that sort of thing, and you just have to let that be okay. That’s the way they are. Doesn’t mean they don’t like you, and doesn’t mean that they are rude. It just means that that’s just the way they interact with people. So when it’s like that then you can interact with them just fine.
If you demand that they act like a normal person then you’ll always be upset with them because you’ll always think they’re rude and self-centered and and whatever, and you’ll always struggle with them. But there’s no point in that. You have to just let them be who they are and love them as they are. You’d only gonna get so much emotional stuff back from them. You’re not (going to), but it doesn’t mean they don’t care, it just means that they don’t express that caring the way other people express it.
So how can they grow up? Well, like anybody else. They have choices to make and they can make those choices in a better way or a poorer way. They can make them in a more loving and caring way or not. Well, for them, a more loving and caring way… maybe for them, to really struggle to try to see other people the way they are – not just have everybody else have to deal with them the way they are, but they can actually see. Alright, mom is a very emotional person. She really cares whether or not we like her food, so even though I don’t feel that way I’m gonna say ‘mom that was a great dinner’, you see? So you learn, they can learn to be kinder, gentler, nicer, less rude to people just because they’re aware of it and they care. Well, that’s somebody with Asperger’s making good positive choices. Even though they may never get up on the spectrum, to the point that they are a loving, cuddly, kind of person, they may never reach that, but at least they’re trying to make good positive choices from the choices that they’ve got.
So it’s not necessarily the end point of where you get to – it’s what you do with what you have. So, if you are born and you only have one leg and one arm, well, there’s a lot of things you can’t do with one leg and one arm you’re gonna be limited with what you do. But, whatever it is you do, you have choices, and you’ll have different choices than people that have two arms and two legs. You’ll have a different set of choices, and by those choices you’ll be able to evolve or de-evolve.
So it’s not like people born into situations like that are stuck; they may just have a smaller set of choices – their decision space may not be as big. So let’s say, take somebody that’s mentally retarded, and you say ‘well, what can they learn?’ Maybe they’re just very severely mentally retarded. There are still choices they have. They can be mentally retarded and angry, mentally retarded and upset, or they can be mentally retarded and friendly and smiley and lovey, you see? This is their choices. So they can they can learn things even if it’s small things. They can learn how to say please and thank you and appreciate other people, or not. It’s a struggle for them but you don’t expect them to end up not being mentally retarded. Let people be however they are.
But, however it is you are, again, poor or rich or in between, you have certain certain choices; you have certain challenges because of your situation, and you do the best you can with what you’ve got, with the choices that you’ve got. That’s what’s important. Not so much what you got that’s important, but making the best choices with what you’ve got. So if you happen to have Asperger’s or you’re mentally retarded or you get some other issue, or you’re a quadriplegic, it’s the choices you have that matter. That’s the thing.
Like that guy Steve Reeves (he is referring to Christopher Reeves – Ed.) – it was the Superman actor who fell off his horse, became paralyzed from the neck down… So here was this guy who was very athletic, a very Superman kind of guy and now suddenly he can’t move anything from the neck down. Well, he did not make the choice to go to self-pity: ‘oh woe is me, why did this happen to me, I was right in the peak of my career, I was just really playing good roles and now I’m a quadriplegic!’ Well, a typical person would have gone into depression and self-pity with that. He did not. Matter of fact, he did the best he could with it. He was very upbeat. He was very positive and he didn’t live a whole lot longer after that, but what he (did with) the time he had with it, he was an inspiration to people, you see?
So, no matter where you are, you have good choices and bad choices and what’s important is that you make the best choices you can. When you interact with people like that you have to just let them be who they are. You can’t get them to be anybody else. Accept them the way they are.
If you are one of those people you just do the best you can with whatever handicaps you’ve got. That’s the same, no matter. Sometimes the handicaps are psychological, sometimes you have somebody – they grow up in a horrible family and they get beaten all the time and their whole life is a disaster – well, it’s the same thing. You’ve got to do the best you can with whatever it is you’ve got. If that’s where you are, and you’ve now got abandonment issues and other kinds of issues to deal with, or physical people hurting you kind of issues – you have to deal with that and make the best choices you can. And other people that interact with you have to realize that that’s the way you are. They maybe have to be extra gentle with you or extra kind to you because they need to accept you the way you are, see?
So whether they’re psychological issues or birth defects or something like Asperger’s it’s just part of the variation in life. We have different races, we have different economic status, we have different health status, we have all kinds of things that are different – and that’s just diversity. Eventually you’ll play all of those roles. You’ll be man, you’ll be woman, you’ll be all different kinds of roles. You’ll be rich, you’ll be poor… you’ll play a lot of different roles because they’re just different perspectives and you have different things to learn and different challenges. If you always played the same role you would eventually be stultified. You wouldn’t grow much. Rather than complaining about the roles we’re in we need to accept them. Here I am this is what I am. Alright, what are my choices? What can I do here? – and make good choices. That’s what life’s all about – not whether you have Asperger’s or not, and what a sad thing that is, or whether you grow up in a family that beat you. All of those things are just “that’s the way it is”. So you accept it. How can you deal with it in a positive way?