HAM: Referencing the “Happy Asperger Marriage” website in general.
*KARA FACTS*: Absolutely unproven theories I think make logical sense in my emotionally-driven mind and therefore plug as facts throughout my posts.
*TRACKING*: A military term used to convey acknowledgement and/or understanding. I am asking you this because I think what I just said is profoundly important!
KARA-STATS: My own non-scientific guesstimate statistics based off casual interactions or observations that should not be believed as legit.
NT-e: My coined term for the typical woman who ends up marrying an Asperger male. It stands for Neurotypical-extreme empath which I use because I believe that the NT women who marry Aspie men (and stick it out) are on the extremely high end of the empathy continuum, much more than their neurotypical counterparts.
THEORY OF MIND (ToM): Synonym = EMPATHY / Antonym = MIND-BLINDNESS
Simple definition: The ability to put yourself in one’s shoes, to grasp what another may be thinking or feeling without words being said.
“Theory of Mind is the branch of cognitive science that investigates how we ascribe mental states to other persons and how we use the states to explain and predict the actions of those other persons. More accurately, it is the branch that investigates mindreading or mentalizing or mentalistic abilities. These skills are shared by almost all human beings beyond early childhood. They are used to treat other agents as the bearers of unobservable psychological states and processes, and to anticipate and explain the agents’ behavior in terms of such states and processes. These mentalistic abilities are also called “folk psychology” by philosophers, and “naïve psychology” and “intuitive psychology” by cognitive scientists.”
I believe that most adult Aspies are incredibly deficient in ToM abilities. I do not believe this is the defining characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome, but rather, absent cognitive empathy is. ToM is something that develops in youth through social interactions and since cognitive empathy is the staple of learning how to interact appropriately with your social surroundings and Aspies fail at this, they have incredibly impaired ToM by the time they reach adulthood.
Cognitive Empathy: The ability to read facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and other nonverbal messages, as well as inferences that aren’t directly stated. All of these (alone or combined) enable a person to decipher what someone is thinking or feeling.
The absence of cognitive empathy is the defining characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome. <–*KARA FACTS*
It is the #1 thing ALL Aspies have in common and it is the cause for all of the other behavior and diminished cognitive processes that manifest as an individual with AS grows into an adult. Absent cognitive empathy causes severely impaired affective (emotional) empathy and Theory of Mind abilities and it creates coping mechanisms and traits that serve to protect the AS individual from the emotional agony of a social world that unknowingly alienates them throughout their life.
Affective (Emotional) Empathy: The automatic desire to respond appropriately to another human being’s emotions. This is the contagious part of empathy; when you know someone is sad and it makes you feel sad inside so you want to alleviate their sadness.
This part of empathy is what it is all about when we are talking about humans and love, and this is the part of empathy NT wives want the most from their husband’s but don’t seem to get (leaving them feeling unloved and unacknowledged).
This is the empathy that Aspies know damned well they possess and find themselves enraged or heartbroken over when someone suggests otherwise.
Absent cognitive empathy makes it near-impossible to display and develop an Aspie’s use of emotional empathy. When cognitive empathy is understood and dealt with in an NT-Aspie marriage, emotional empathy is utilized more effectively by the Aspie husband.