it does go both ways – as said – the neurotypicals have very little empathy. they seem to have so little empathy, that i have come to the conclusion that they are the ones who lack theory of mind.
something rather amazing happened this morning. you all know how the ‘experts’ claim that autists do not have *theory of mind*. you also know that i think it is pure horse manure. here is an example of why:
me: i am not going to finland – my brother-in-law says he cant take having me there. i wish he would have said this while there was still time to get a refund.
xy: what is wrong with him?
me: considering that, 1. he’s an aspie, 2. his daughter was almost raped by his (then) best friend of 30 years, and he is still working that out, 3. his father just died and 4. he’s only met me twice, i can find a few mitigating circumstances.
when i first found out i wasn’t going to finland to be with my wife for a few days, i felt disappointed and angry, and almost immediately i started thinking that the reason must be that my bil doesn’t like me. then i went to the store, bought some milk and when i came back home i found that people had responded to my post about not going.
when i had to ‘defend’ my brother-in-law i ‘was forced’ think out-side my own reaction – to respond to what my emotions stood for: the question “why does he do this?”. i realized after i had responded, that his unwillingness to let me come to finland didn’t have to have anything to do with me. that he might actually have completely unrelated reasons for not wanting me there.
this was a light-bulb moment for me. not that he might have his reasons all his own, but that i found a way out of my ‘automatic thinking’ that it must be because of me.
i am still disappointed, but i am not angry and i don’t feel bad about me.
“____, do you take ____ to be your wedded (wife/husband), and in the presence of these witnesses do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for (her/him) a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day and week to week with your best resources? Will you stand by (her/him) in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, and will you shun all others and keep yourself to (her/him) alone as long as you both shall live?”
i do… i did. 13 years ago. and i have not regretted it for even a moment. my wife has as. and the longer i live with her i realize that it is exactly because she does have aspergers, that i love her.
i must be weird, because i think LOVE is easy, LOVING is simple. it is all about DOING. read that italicized paragraph again – there is not one single emotion mentioned – only verbs, ACTION words. do you get it?
Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.[…}Many individuals classified as having autism have severe difficulty assigning mental states to others, and they seem to lack theory of mind capabilities. Researchers who study the relationship between autism and theory of mind attempt to explain the connection in a variety of ways. One account assumes that theory of mind plays a role in the attribution of mental states to others and in childhood pretend play. […] It has been speculated that ToM exists on a continuum as opposed to the traditional view of a concrete presence or absence. While some research has suggested that some autistic populations are unable to attribute mental states to others, recent evidence points to the possibility of coping mechanisms that facilitate a spectrum of mindful behavior. Wikipedia
it is inaccurate to say that people with AS or AS/ADHD have no theory of mind and lack empathic ability. it is not a lack of theory of mind or empathic ability, it is an overwhelming quantity and quality of the same.
in order to "attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others…" one needs information about the subject. without such information the number of permutations become almost infinite, thus virtually meaningless. NTs do not have information, they have assumptions, all based on themselves. NDs KNOW that the calculation is meaningless, and therefore do not bother even trying. but that is not the same as not having theory of mind or empathy. in fact it is healthy and respectful to take no action until one is asked for a specific action.