Very Grand Emotions: How Autistics and Neurotypicals Experience Emotions Differently

Characterizations of Autistic people often reflect a profile of a stoic, unfeeling, emotionless automaton. Many times, the only emotion ascribed to autistics, especially by the lay writers who populate the dustbin of Amazon Kindle’s self-published section, is explosive anger.

This is an accusation which has often been leveled against me, usually much to my confusion. One notable example was a social media post I was tagged into about infant circumcision. The journal article in the post was absolute quack science. It was emotionally manipulative, purposefully misleading, and rife with untruths and ethical violations.

So, instead of responding to the topic, I talked about the lack of veracity and the void of research ethics from the authors of the journal article. If a debate were happening, my friends deserved to have accurate, factual information to make such an important decision.

Immediately, everyone in the discussion assumed I had coldly taken a position in favor of routine infant circumcision. It was intense. I was accused of intellectualizing to preserve a personal preference (I hadn’t stated or even considered a personal preference), of not having a conscience, of “supporting genital mutilation,” and other atrocious attributes and thoughts.

The more I attempted to reason, the worse the situation became and the more convinced people were about my terrible personality and empty heart. Explaining was regarded as manipulation, being combative, and again… having no feelings. I lost friends over that conversation. I didn’t realize I was speaking a different language. I didn’t realize that my emotional experience was different from theirs. None of us did.

This was one of many similar instances in my life. I have historically walked away from such situations feeling devastated, angry, confused, and frankly, like everyone else was delusional. They felt the same way about me.

My “massive ego” is almost always a part of the charges in these discussions, parallel to the narrative that I am emotionless. What most bothered me was that no one was understanding how deeply I did feel.

It’s only been recently that I’ve reached an understanding about what is really happening in these situations. I haven’t had the right language to define and label my emotions, because my emotions are different and are experienced differently from other people’s.

An Epiphany Courtesy of RBG

Another reason I’ve been accused of being emotionless is my lack of tears during films. Other times, I’ve been accused of emotional instability due to my intense reactions during documentaries, news segments, and even advertisements others have been able to easily move beyond.

I can’t handle television, and must digest my news with a curated and metered approach. If I’m in a restaurant, at someone’s home, or even in the waiting room of a doctor’s office and the news is playing on the television, I can’t understand how others can see a bloodied white sheet covering a casualty of war after a bombing, or an advertisement for a non-profit featuring a scarred and mangled animal that has been the victim of abuse, and can simply continue eating or carry on with their casual conversation unfazed. I don’t understand how they can laugh at a joke seconds later.

But, so many times, my focus on something is coming from a different emotional angle, and it doesn’t read to neurotypical people that my response is deeply felt and from a place of passionate emotional depth.

Then, there was clarity. While watching the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RBG, I had an epiphany. She said, “Justice and mercy. [ . . . ] They’re very grand emotions.”

And it hit me, that to me, those are two of my deepest-felt emotions. Justice, equality, fairness, mercy, longsuffering, Work, Passion, knowledge, and above all else, Truth. Those are my primary emotions.

I didn’t have the language before to be able to explain how profoundly these emotions affected me, conceiving them more as ideas than feelings. At least, that’s what I was told they were.

In the pursuit of those emotions, other feelings are secondary, superficial, misleading, and trite. Sadness, grief, jealousy, fear, joy, shame, sympathy… those are emotions which serve only me; but Truth and Work, Passion and Justice, longsuffering and Equality… those are emotions which serve the Greater Good. Those emotions are the mobilization of Love.

Practical Application & Conflict

As long as the characterization of what autism means is pathologized and wildly misunderstood, the majority of autistics will not find their way to a diagnosis. Characterizing us as being without empathy is not only categorically untrue, but it also guarantees that we aren’t going to find our way to diagnosis and self-knowledge. It’s dehumanizing and unethical. There’s no way we can see ourselves as not having empathy because we feel a profusion of it.

I have a close friend, a neurodivergent woman I trust more than family, and we have only recently met. We don’t observe neurotypical boundaries. She, too, is a writer and a prominent figure in the Neurodiversity Movement. She will show me something she has been working on, and my immediate response will be to correct the language which might not be as accurate or as thoughtful as it could be. I do this before telling her how proud I am for the Work she’s doing, before I tell her it’s well-written, and before I affirm for her that she is a good person doing a good thing. She does the same for me.

The reason I skip the validation or praise is because if someone complimented me on Work I was doing, then I would feel they were implying that I was Laboring in the interest of self-promotion or validation-seeking.

These aren’t spoken values, but something we feel innately. This is how I Labor with other autistics. We correct each other. We offer what expertise and insight we can to sharpen the other’s Work, to add volume and clarity to the other’s Love song.

My new friend and I have already joked that we won’t be sending each other birthday cards or holiday gifts. We don’t ever talk about clothes, or the weather, or even ask each other, “How was your day?” To us, these details are things we will offer up if it’s relevant.

If the other doesn’t address something adequately enough, we tell them directly, “I still want to talk about that thing you didn’t respond to with enough focus.” We do sometimes talk about family, health, and our personal emotions, those secondary feelings most people experience as primary emotions.

These emotional differences do cause profound conflict with our neurotypical peers. When we follow the, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” maxim, it fails us with our non-autistic loved ones. They feel that we are invalidating, selfish, thoughtless, and socially tone deaf. We feel that way about them, too; however, being the vast minority, we are the ones who are pathologized.

Are We in the Wrong?

Reason would be another “very grand emotion” for me, so I would like to invite readers to “feel” through my lens as I Reason through this question. Is it wrong for autistics to feel the way we do and interact the way we do? Do we need social skills training to learn to listen to people’s personal emotions and respond to those instead of the “very grand emotions” which take precedence for us?

If so, do others not need social skills training to respond to us in ways that feel unnatural for them? Are we tone deaf for not responding with, “That must be so scary/difficult/painful for you,” as opposed to, “How can I help?,” or “Here is how to fix this problem”?

Because we do have our own intuited, innate empathy. We do have a social “code” that is written in our neurology, and we do respond in a way that gels with and validates other autistics. We do form deep, impenetrable connections with each other, and these connections are not chores to maintain.

We tend to not interact outside of those things which involve the “very grand emotions,” but we pick back up immediately when we need each other, be it a month later or in three years. Sometimes, our interactions are based on personal emotions, but that’s in the spirit of another grand emotion: Solidarity.

Solidarity is why when you tell an autistic something, we share with you our closest relative experience. We aren’t one-upping or implying we know how you feel… because we truly can’t. It would go against what we can know is empirical Truth to claim to understand your emotions through your perspective and in light of your experiences and history. It would be disrespectful to you, a platitude or a lie.

We are saying, “This is how I share your path.” There is a question implied, too. “Have I come close to your experience?” To neurotypicals, this reads as egotistical in the same way that neurotypicals, estimating our feelings in response reads as egotistical to us.

We want to hear if something was Fair or Just, if our secondary emotions are in-line with the “very grand emotions.” Or, at least we want you to troubleshoot with us and help us explore the angles beyond our limited perspectives.

To know about these differences, though, is empowering. It’s why Knowledge is valuable as a “very grand emotion.”

A neurotypical person is not wired to be rewarded by our brand of interaction and emotional Solidarity. Our method of relatedness doesn’t translate our heart accurately with neurotypicals. Our direct, blunt, and sometimes-brutal honesty is offensive to neurotypicals; and in turn, their roundabout, indirect, suggestive language reads as confusing, manipulative, and patronizing to us.

Our neurotypical therapists don’t even have the language to understand us because they’ve not learned how we experience emotions differently. That’s okay, because we don’t have the language yet, either. This failure to be understood is infinitely isolating, especially when it is perceived that we are unfeeling.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always been a shero to me. In watching the documentary with my husband, the only film I’ve watched in the last two years, he and I felt a lot of those “very grand emotions” in Solidarity. The relationship between Ruth and her husband Marty was very similar to our own marriage.

Marty had to remind Ruth to sleep, eat, and do whatever else that wasn’t Work. Professionally, his career took the back seat to her Work, because her Work contributed more to the Greater Good.

He did the brunt of the domestic load and the cooking at home, and he moved so that she could advance her career, not for any monetary reason, but for Justice and Mercy. He was also the primary source of humor and nurture in the house. He was laid back where she was rigid. This is all familiar to me and my husband, and we find this tale to be profoundly romantic.

There were so many times during that film that I brimmed with “very grand emotions” and my eyes welled with tears. My husband, who is also autistic, was on the same page with me the whole time, squeezing my hand in Solidarity at just those right moments to say, “That’s you right there,” or “That’s how I feel about you.”

To me, this was deeply romantic and validating. He was loving me with our primary emotions by loving my Work and being proud of what most partners would see as neglectful.

I felt extreme gratitude to him for that validation. We use our strengths to supplement each other. As a team, we can accomplish more for the Greater Good by dividing the Labor. Our accomplishments belong to neither of us, because we don’t believe in ownership. We don’t really congratulate each other, because that would be an invalidation of the Purpose.

We didn’t remember our anniversary this year. Or last year. We forgot together, even though it’s on a holiday. We have grander emotional connections, and that is okay. It works for us, but neither of us would be great partners for a neurotypical spouse.

I realized, too, that the emotion which has always moved me most profoundly, that brings me to tears every time, is Dissent. To see RBG, her tiny form and her enormous heart, utter the words, “I Dissent,” moved me to sobbing. It was Righteous Indignation and Solidarity. Pride. Movement. All “very grand emotions.”

To this day, I can’t look at the image of the man standing before the tanks at Tiananmen Square without crying and experiencing full-body chills. I’m crying now, as I type this. The Courage and Selflessness it took to be one small person against a literal army, against what had to feel like the weight of the universe, is the most inspiring gesture fathomable.

I cry with inspiration and reverence, too, every time I think of the Dandi Salt March led by Gandhi or the Bloody Sunday Selma-to-Montgomery March held in the US during the Civil Rights Movement. Dissent is the mightiest, boldest, bravest of “very grand emotions.”

There were so many instances during the film that comments were made about Ruth as a synesthetic consumer of classical music and opera, as a hater of small talk, and as singularly-focused workaholic that one would wonder what the producers were trying to communicate.

I am by no means suggesting or implying anything about RBG’s neurotype. I definitely am not comparing my or my husband’s accomplishments to her’s and Marty’s. Most autistic people’s Movements are smaller in scale, and some never are realized because of antagonism, self-defeat, lack of motivation, lack of understanding, and lack of privilege.

But, I am sure that, if RBG didn’t have the celebrity she has, a therapist would decry that her Work habits are unhealthy and that she needs to find a balance between her job, family, and self-care. Her path to get where she is would be pathologized. Her role as a wife and mother might be considered as lacking in nurture or being absent, though I doubt her husband would ever have felt that way about her.

I mention her not to conjecture about her neurology, and especially not to compare myself to her. I only wish to credit her as being the source of inspiration for giving me the language to understand, study, communicate, compare, and contrast my emotions with those of the neural majority.

A Request for Feedback

Since the epiphany, I’ve had many conversations with other autistic friends and with some neurotypicals, too. Overwhelmingly, my experience is not unique to me, and other autistics relate profoundly while neurotypicals do not. Of course, no two people’s experiences are identical, but there is enough assent among autistics to verify that this is an idea with legs. It’s worth pursuing.

A notion like this is a big one, a theory that if validated could provide much value to the world, in industrial and organizational psychology, in education, in professional settings, in therapeutic interventions, in sociology, in behavior economics, in social justice, and in understanding empathy in a way that is universal and not contingent on cultural norms.

It has potential to inform Progress, to humanize and de-pathologize neurodivergent existence, to tailor treatments and diagnostic indicators for them, to help inter-neurotype couples and loved ones understand each other better and have more rewarding interactions, and to re-frame the conceptualization of neurodivergent people with more of those very grand emotions, like Fairness and Truth.

So, if you have access to influence research, please consider this as a topic to explore that would benefit the autistic condition and define autistic identity. Use your fundraising and efforts to explore this idea. Love us in our language with our “very grand emotions.”

I give permission to the world to take this theory, develop it, use it, improve it, research it, publish it, respond to it, and mobilize it for the Greater Good. I don’t believe in ownership.

And I ask that, if you have the time, you share with me your thoughts and your feelings, be they personal or “very grand emotions.” It would be helpful to know if you are neurotypical or neurodivergent.

Information-sharing is a love language of autistics, as Knowledge is a “very grand emotion,” indeed.

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105 Responses

  1. OMG, Thank you sooo much for being vulnerable enough to make this connection. This has me bawling with relief and understanding. So many years of study trying to figure this out, and you just cracked it. I’ve studied neurotypical emotions for years now, become proficient with them even. But they always felt small compared to what I was feeling. The concept of very grand emotions is the key to the lock for me, and I suspect many others as well. Huge amounts of appreciation for the work you’ve done, it literally gives me chills….

    1. I relate to much of this! I am diagnosed adhd, I was diagnosed as an adult. I love this description of emotions, it fits much better than what I’m used to trying to apply to myself. And I see something that feels like coming home in the way you worded the ending of the article, the thoughtfulness and openness and “I don’t believe in ownership”, sounds like what I often write then reword and pare down because I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t include those sentiments. This article has given me much to think about. Thank you!

  2. I’m exhausted after reading all of this yet I am deeply grateful to you. For the first time in my life I might have finally found myself. Or, at least, found the path that’ll lead me to… myself. Thank you. You are a wonderful being. <3

    1. Just so you know, the man was edited into the Tiannaman square photo. The photo is of a military parade and the protests never happened

      1. So sad that you believe that. I suppose you also don’t think that hundreds of young people were killed in Tiananmen Square. I wish that were true.

      2. So sad you believe that. I suppose you also don’t think that hundreds of young people were killed in Tiananmen Square. I wish that were true, but I have talked with someone (a Canadian journalist) who was there and saw it all.

  3. I was diagnosed with asd and I can’t say I really agree with this article. I’m know I’m both egocentric and selfish. Things like news broadcasts don’t bother me, I just laugh at how dysfunctional people are. This article feels kind of self-aggrandizing. “Neurotypicals” are just as capable of feeling self-righteous indignation, especially if they like to think of themselves as uber-empathic. These “grand emotions” are also still self-serving in a roundabout way, even if you’re not self-aware about that.

  4. This article is absolutely killer. I do not have a diagnosis for autism but I do for ADHD. I am also working towards getting my daughter assessed too for these two conditions. I have to say it certainly explains why I find it difficult to relate to a lot of lyrics in songs, even though I am working towards being a songwriter. Why I find the minimal stripped down thing in song writing just does not quite cut it for me, why I am wanting to create something grand. Why at the moment at the passing of my mother I, am not necessarily experiencing grief in the usual ways, and why I get a bit annoyed at some of the general statements that have been made about her, but to my mind are not completely accurate, why I am wanting a much more visceral response than just a basic empathic listening technique.

    1. Rupert, thank you for your comments. Please check back in later today or tomorrow. I’m working on something that is like the sequel to this article. It might further illuminate your path. Warmest regards.

  5. Sharing this with my family and friends. I’m autistic. Some of them we think are too, some are definitely not. It explains a lot

  6. I have been wondering for a few years if I am autistic. I am a clinical social worker four years out from grad school. This article has me convinced. I didn’t think I could claim that term because I haven’t “presented” as the typical male oriented signs of autism, but as I learn about autism in women, I have learned to mask my whole life, in order to survive. Literally for surviving in this world. In your articles, I have never felt so seen, so pin pointed. I tell colleagues I think I am autistic and they’re like “noooo, I don’t think so, you’re so expressive and in tune with your feelings,” and I just want to scream because it has taken years of consciously learning how to fit in, how to read people, how to censor myself so I have a semblance of belonging. It makes me feel so alone and unseen. I cannot tell you how many times I have been called “too sensitive” my entire life… and I resonate with you in the primary emotions of Justice, Fairness, and Truth, amongst so many others that hit my heart like an arrow.

    But I digress…I had a thought I wanted to share, as I’m reading this article and your article on autism as identity… the idea of autism as pathologizing Sensitivity. And diagnosis / some treatment methods (ABA for example) as ways of trying to silence or change us. Disempower us, really. And of course that doesn’t work. We are naturally sensitive, and if we learn how to use that Super Power, while understanding it’s limitations or shadow qualities, we can be extremely powerful in many areas of work. Like, perhaps we are just sensitive to things that others don’t want pointed out, but they Need to Be Changed. Maybe we are the Harbingers of Sensitivity, and it’s usefulness. Or of where humanity needs to heal itself. So so many thoughts from your articles. Thank you for the work you are doing.

  7. This. You have nailed the difference between us and them. I have just recently become aware that I am Autistic but have been hyper aware of my emotional difference for nearly all of my 67 years. I was involved in the labour movement and we used to discuss and question why only about 5% of workers understood and appretiated the value of collective action or solidarity. It was so frustrating. Now I think that many of us activists were/are undiagnosed Autists. A particular annoyance was when we trusted and invested time and resources in someone only to see them go over to the management side. We joked about “if only there was a blood test” to screen for opportunists. Seems there may be a way now to test the conviction and core values of someone before we give them our vote of confidence. Imagine a world with Autistic leaders! Imagine all the people…

    1. > have been hyper aware of my emotional difference for nearly all of my 67 years

      If there’s one thing most people, including those diagnosed with ASD (or a related condition), become aware of naturally, this seems like a good candidate. By the time a person is legally considered an adult, I would venture that most of us know whether our emotions and the experience thereof are typical of the majority or unusual.

      > I was involved in the labour movement and we used to discuss and question why only about 5% of workers understood and appretiated the value of collective action or solidarity. It was so frustrating. Now I think that many of us activists were/are undiagnosed Autists. . A particular annoyance was when we trusted and invested time and resources in someone only to see them go over to the management side.

      I think perhaps you have something there about the degree of understanding of a concept which is more abstract and less concrete, especially in a heavily -individualized- society. Whether one feels a sense of belonging or obligation to others as opposed to a sense of isolation and a large degree of self-interest may matter as well.

      At the same time, there is the matter of how each person’s valuation of different things is relative. The annoyance that you describe may well reflect an increased valuation of the benefits to self of being on “the management side” in that person’s own min and possibly the view that the collective isn’t interested in the personal benefits/harms to them of the actions taken.

      > Seems there may be a way now to test the conviction and core values of someone before we give them our vote of confidence. Imagine a world with Autistic leaders! Imagine all the people…

      That seems like a risky sort of judgement to be making on the basis of NT vs ND (seems to be your implied suggestion), particularly since you’ve acknowledged that you probably understand other autists/neuro-divergent types much better than the average neurotypical person. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to work on understanding the NT person from the vantage of knowing that they do not think/feel about things the same way?

      I personally am not certain that a world with Autistic leaders would be a good thing. Yes, there would likely be some benefits, but I think it would be easy for them (us?) to pursue some “greater good” without regard to the individual. In other words, they might strongly pursue things which are good overall, but from the viewpoint of “the ends justify the means” rather than balancing things with regard to other more human factors. Most any rational person can see that no matter how valuable the -ends- may be, that the means of getting there is still a matter for serious evaluation. No matter how poor or burdened your nation and it’s people may be or how closely aligned sub-groups of other nations’ people are with yours, it does not justify targeting an internal group for scapegoating or the invasion+conquest of another nation-state as a means of securing more natural resources.

      To go on a tangent: Theoretically we could deprive the rich of their wealth with the aim of raising everyone’s boat, but to do so by fiat/dictatorially without regard to the persons thusly deprived, would risk alienating the -haves- and also anyone who believes in working hard to earn something. Many people would likely enjoy the improvement in their living conditions and quality of life, but might praise the state or start believing they were owed a particular life rather than appreciating that the change came at the expense of others willingly or not. A fairer, more equitable system overall that involves all parties would be better in the long-term than state-facilitated rebalancing.

    2. Debra, I am almost certainly on the spectrum and my ideological passions are similar to yours or Terra’s. I also assume that you and Terra live in the USA. I think that the paucity of people who share our passions has nothing to do with being neurotypical but more an aspect of the deeply indoctrinated values of extreme individualism in the USA. The only possible contribution that being on the spectrum is that we are far less likely to fall for the national narratives, and strike out independently. But there are countries – starting with Canada and even more so in Scandinavia or especially East Asian countries where solidarity is in their national narrative and universally valued by the greater population. And there, I bet that people on the spectrum tend to instead be fans of Ayn Rand.

  8. SD. I related completely to this post. I’ve always related to the character May in The Secret Life of Bees – she has unspecified mental disabilities. She watches the news, or hears of bad events, and is just so emotionally devastated by them. She makes a “wailing wall” where she writes the sad thing that happened, tucks it in the wall, and cries and cries. Unfortunately, the author gave her a tragic ending. I don’t relate to that bit. But, for example, one morning I woke up and learned that a little hedgehog that I followed on Instagram got a condition that rendered her paralyzed – it emotionally wrecked me for a whole day. I remember as a little kid trying to search for “What is the opposite of autism?” because I knew I was Different, but I didn’t relate to the cold, unempathetic stereotype – I wanted to know what it was called when you felt *too much*. (Little did I know – that was an autistic trait too…)

  9. I don’t relate to this a lot, but that makes me wonder… how, if at all, do other autistics with alexithymia experience this?

    I relate to the urge to explain the flaws in arguments, only to be accused of arguing against it.
    I react emotionally to scenes that are made to be emotional in some way, whether fictional or not.

  10. Wow! This was eye opening for me. I am neurodivergent but have the unique ability to connect with both nueurotypical and neurodivergents. Except my daughter. This made me realize I was speaking the wrong language to her. I hope this will help me communicate with her better and help her feel heard. Thank you!

  11. Wow! If I ever had any doubt about my neural divergence you’ve put it to rest. This describes me to a t. Fairness and equality! Very grand motions indeed. I don’t remember what movie We were watching in second grade but it was very unfair and I had to leave the room and use the bathroom because I just couldn’t stand watching it. And then there are books. How many years did it take me to read Jane Eyre? Maybe 10. When they goto cut off her friend’s hair play by a very young Elizabeth Taylor in the original movie I start bawling. Then there’s that entire Red room thing. Television? Movies in movie ttheaters? How would I escape? I remember being forced to watch television as a child and my father teasing me when I cried so I learned not to cry. I always try to be cold so I could have appointed to cover someone to see me crying. because I cried really easily. I’ve been accused of not feeling and being prideful. It always confused me. Because I always felt deeper lose things that people were accused me of not feeling or having empathy over. They caused me physical pain. Didn’t seem like that did it to anybody else. I think you’re definitely on to something

  12. This has been one of the most enlightening posts/articles I have ever read. I am always so amazed at what more I can learn about myself and other ND’s. To say that you have spoken my language is a grand understatement. I literally FELT everything you said and was nearly moved to tears by your experiences. I am a 51 year old female that was just diagnosed with Autism this year. I am also ADHD and lots of other fun diagnosis. When I come to sites like this I never feel “less autistic”, I am validated to my very core. I am overjoyed to have language that finally explains who I am and how I see the world. I don’t always feel secondary emotions right away, instead I process a situation with my primary emotions and then look back at the situation and can identify the secondary emotions. So, I’ve been called a robot more times than I can remember but still felt those other emotions very deeply, even if delayed a bit. I am studying behavioral neuroscience and plan to focus on research. You have given me so many amazing ideas and I truly hope I have the chance to realize some of your proposed research ideas. The fastest route to my heart is to always tell me the truth. To support justice and fairness and to understand that these are more than ideals they are who I am. Peace and love. Oh…also, we are best friends now.

  13. I’ve worked with autistic kids and hypersensitive adults, and I just want to give my perspective re ‘neurotypical vs neurodivergent’, which is this: Is there a typical person? Do you know one? Because I don’t. Everyone’s different. There is no ‘neurotypical’. There are only many, many people with very low Emotional Intelligence who suppress their feelings and emotions on a daily basis because that’s the only way they’ve learned to survive.

    I don’t like to think that here’s yet another divide coming between us – either you’re neurotypical or neurodivergent. Us or Them. Like most things, there is a spectrum, a bell curve, if you will. With mental and emotional health at an all-time low (multi-factorial, but obviously there have been intense aggravating factors lately), there are now more and more outliers to the ‘regular’ bell curve.

    I hate small talk. I feel Grand Emotions. I do not consider myself neurotypical or neurodivergent. I’m just me, avoiding the news and crying at sad songs and sad movies. I cringe at small talk and prefer to line-edit your writing before I even decide whether I like it enough to give you a word of praise.

    My husband does all the cooking and cleaning and calls me to the dinner table every night. (For the record, I do the laundry and washing-up after meals.) I think there’s nothing to pathologize except the lack of awareness, both self-awareness and societal awareness of the dangers of suppressing our emotions long-term (which is what most people have been brought up to do).

    From a holistic standpoint, until we as a society understand the Mind-Body connection, the real causes of disease, mental and emotional health will continue to worsen and physical disease will become even more rampant.

    1. Yes. There is a neurological typical and autistic brains have structural differences that make them dramatically different. This whole “i don’t like division thing” is the worst because being different doesn’t need to be divided. We just needs to stop being gaslighted as if we are the same and expected to behave that way

      1. Exactly there’s an observable neuroscientific difference. Telling ausitics they’re the same as NTs is just erasing their existence. Also, given that we live in a heavily differentiated society – with huge inequalities – the idea that we are “all the same” when we’re not, is very damaging – and like you say, gaslighting. Embracing that fact is essential. There is no undifferentiated abstract “society” – it’s constituted of all sorts of different dynamics, some that align and some that oppose and some a mix of the two.

  14. Terra, thank you for putting this into words. It’s like a nebulous cloud of unidentified feelings I’ve always had has crystallized.

    I plan on sharing this with my teacher colleagues so they can be more informed on how to understand their autistic students, how to motivate them, and how to help them navigate their NT peers. I haven’t had words for it before, to share in a way they would understand. Now I do.

    I’m gonna admit I cried. I cried harder at the part about news articles and the Tiamen Square photo.
    I can watch action movies with great enthusiasm, riveted to the screen, sometimes horror too.
    But even an inkling that this is representing real events that happened to real people, I cannot watch without feeling intense horror and grief.

    I can’t separate it.
    I walked out of the cinema while watching Pearl Harbour. It was real. I can’t sit and be entertained by representations of real death and suffering. That concept is horrifying and sadism to me.
    But I can watch Avengers End Game no problem. I did cry, it was sad, but it wasn’t REAL so I could sit and be entertained by the story as it unfolded.

    I’ve been berated as thoughtless and cold because of what I saw as trivial things like birthday cards. It’s a piece of cardboard with your name on it. I can say the exact same things to you in person, surely that’s more meaningful, without the waste? These fundamental differences in which enjoying are prioritised explained so much.

    Thank you. Thank you for the time and effort and thought you put into crafting this so clearly. Thank you for the positive contribution this will have to autistics and NTs who read it.

  15. So very accurate and affirming, even down to the ‘missed’ anniversary. In the end I think we need to make a conscious effort to channel our Very Grand Emotions as there is soooo much in today’s world to feel grieved, outraged and passionate about. 24 hour news cycles can leave us in a dangerous state of constant, fear, guilt and frustration which impairs our ability to function and leaves us drowning in helplessness and despair. We are monotropic creatures and so deciding to prioritise one or two strong causes or campaigns ensures that we can do our bit without breaking ourselves. there are also key areas such as the rise of unregulated capitalism which actually encompass many other seemingly unrelated issues such as environmental degradation, war, inequality and, yes, discrimination and ableism. We have and always have had a key role in dissent. We just have to figure out the degree and nature of engagement which will be most effective and safe for our own wellbeing.

  16. I’ve found my people. I’ve been hypothesizeing about this as well. I can’t explain the degree of relief and gratitude I feel that there are people like me that exist. I’d love to form a think tank with a team and come up with creative ways to eradicate the shame people feel from being “different “… because it’s all of us. To each other we’re all “different”.

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