Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Not About You. It's About ME!

One of the most frustrating things in trying to communicate with aspies is the inability to share your feelings and perspective without the aspie getting defensive.

If I attempt to share my internal struggles, instead of listening and acting like my pain matters to him, he focuses on what my pain says about him.  But there are times when emotional sharing is not about him.  It's about me.

So, aspie friends, if I share how difficult something is . . . accept that it has nothing to do with you for a moment.  It has to do with me.  It has to do with a personal, internal, emotional pain.  That I am trying to work out and deal with, both for my own happiness and yours, too.  That's what we NTs do, ya know.  We talk it out, we write it out, we work it out, out loud (sometimes).  Just listen.  And nod.  And hug.  And don't respond as if you've been attacked. 

Because for a little while, it's just about us, okay?

It's not about you. 

If you think it is about you and you think we're telling you how horrible you are . . . KILL YOUR PRIDE for a moment and just say "I'm SORRY." You don't have to mean that you're sorry for being at fault when you don't think you are at fault.  Just say the words "I'm sorry" and think to yourself that you are sorry that the person is unhappy.  That's all you have to mean when you say it.  Can you do that?  Forget about it being about you to any degree.  Think about the other person's obvious unhappiness at that moment and be sorry for them.

That's ALL you have to do.  That's all you should ever say in that scenario.  You have the power to make the NT feel better, be happier, and love you more, just by saying the words "I'm sorry" when they are unhappy or upset.  Try it!  They are the ultimate magic words.

And I think that is the absolute hardest thing in the world for an aspie.  To do.  Or to say.


  1. Oh boy, this is a tough one for us, but with a twist. I can TOTALLY relate to a person feeling like somebody sharing their struggles is a backhanded way of criticizing me. I used to be that person, although it was caused by growing up in an abusive family rather than a neurological abnormality. Through extensive therapy I've learned to reign it in and consider that normal, healthy people are not actually blaming me for their every internal struggle. :-)

    Now, my husband IS that way too but like I say, with a twist from what you are describing. About 2 out of 3 times that this happens, instead of becoming defensive, he starts apologizing and saying he will try to do/be better. Most of the time that he does this he actually manages to convince me that he was responsible for whatever I was dealing with! I go away and start thinking about and say, "hey, he had NOTHING to do with what was going on, how did we BOTH end up blaming him for it???" MY goal is to learn to catch this as soon as he starts blaming himself for my problems and say something like "honey this is not your fault, don't apologize...Its an external thing I just need to work through. Between the times that Im not as graceful as i should be and I actually DO blame him for everything and the times he takes on blame for things that have nothing to do with him, my poor spouse is really getting blamed for EVERYTHING.

    Ugg, I'm glad you wrote this 'cus I need to write all this out and realize this pattern!! So I can get more serious about braking it! Maybe Ill even talk to him about it...

  2. Oh yeah. I don't even dare think about giving any real feedback or constructive criticism to my Aspie wife. That would be like whacking a landmine with a baseball bat. I've been there too many times and regret it. Defensive? That is the understatement of the year. She is a "donkey on the edge" and I'm not pulling on that rope I assure you. Basically, my marriage has nothing to do with friendship and honest communication. But in the house of Autism I am the NT ambassador and yet still hope to return to my own country one day. ;)