This post might make me come across as a cold, detached person at first, but those of you who know me (or are in the process of getting to know me) have discovered (or will soon discover) that I’m actually have a spongy heart inside.
This post is about emotions…or rather, the excessive display of emotions by other people and how it can be either overwhelming or annoying to me.
I’ll probably get a few jeers from those of us who are trying to live down that “lack of empathy” stereotype (which really does just need to fade away already), but sometimes I find excessive emotional outbursts annoying. This only happens, though, when I don’t know the person very well (or at all).
For example: one of my guilty pleasures is watching reruns of the “Dr Phil” show (yes, he has his arsehole moments and no, I don’t agree with absolutely everything he says, but I do find myself nodding and saying, “preach it!” most of the time. Now if we can just get him caught up to date on the subject of the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, that would be great).
Many of the guests on his show are these people (male or female, but mostly female) who are way too emotional and “way less” logical. As in, it’s all about them, they had never put any thought into their life decisions, and just aren’t thinking straight.
(To be clear, I’m not taking a misogynistic or ableist bent here–not at all. I’m not talking about people with a genuine mental illness, or any other chronic illness in which they would lack the energy to think clearly. Nor am I referring to people who have been traumatized, such as abusive situations or anything like that. I’m so not into playing any kind of Blame the Victim game. And believe me, I realize that males have their loud, overly emotional moments, too – just visit any sports bar on a Sunday afternoon when the local team is playing a rival…)
But anyway, you probably know the type–“regular” people who don’t have any extenuating circumstances, who simply make unwise decisions or statements with a deficit of common sense.
These people are easily–and commonly–spotted in real life (not on TV), too. They talk loudly, flaunt themselves and their material possessions, and they’re surrounded by drama, much of their own making.
Shrill, rapid voices–voices that are both high-pitched and loud (as in yelling) unnerve me, and when my logical side kicks in (which is fairly quickly) and it sees that the volume is unnecessary, that what is being said shrilly could indeed be said more calmly, the irritation engages.
I want to say, “dude–chill out already. Just stop.”
Because what this type of person is hollering about probably doesn’t warrant that kind of intensity. We’re talking here about those who make big productions out of trivial matters.
I don’t speak up, of course (except when responding to the events unfolding on television). It’s not my business, even when they’re making it so.
But I do want to get away as quickly as possible, and I do take active steps to accomplish that goal.
If the conversation is taking place on a TV show, then at the very least, I’ll shake my head. I might even reach for the remote control, which contains both the volume and mute buttons. Chances are good that I’ll utilize them.
If the situation is occurring within the realm of in-person life, you’ll see me with a particular expression of disgust, the unique version of which I can’t help but to wear in times of sensory overload, especially when that overload is not necessary, if the person would only control themselves.
Broadly speaking, the NT world, in general and by comparison, comes across to me as too herd-like, too easily spooked, too reflexively defensive (or offensive) for me. There seems to be an all-gut-instinct, no-rational-thought sort of vibe. At times, this gets very monotonous, and equally tiring.
So do we, the people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, have too little emotion, or do they have too little logic? Which, if either, is more pathological?
We know which is more common, but does that make it “better” just because it’s exhibited by more people? Or, during times in which we’re accused of having “too little emotion”, are we simply exercising greater control of ours?
I dare say yes–we may appear to have an emotional “deficit”, but surface appearances have a mischievous and misleading way about them. We have emotion, all right. Sometimes it runs deep and sometimes frighteningly intense. But we’re usually pretty adept at keeping a lid on things. The majority of us prefer not to draw attention to ourselves; the more overly-emotional members of the NT world don’t seem to be fazed by that idea, as they go about wearing their emotions on their sleeves.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I guess I just wish that I wasn’t inadvertently inundated by their relative over-display of emotion, especially if I’m also getting criticized somewhere (by the same people) of being too stoic.
Stoicism gets a bad rap, but it can come in handy. It’s not that I want to play the mind-game of not giving up my “hand” or making people play guessing games about what’s going on in my head. I simply fail to see the need to broadcast everything to the entire world around me. I find excess emotion to be juvenile and irritating, especially when done loudly.
So does that mean that people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum are more mature? Do we exercise more self-control? Is our disposition only perceived as a “social deficit” because we’re outnumbered by those who think nothing of too-openly displaying those emotions?
I don’t have all the answers, but I think I may be scratching a surface 🙂
“Asperger’s / Autistic People Feel, Too” ~ July 3, 2016
“When Asperger’s / Autistic People Appear Soulless…” ~ October 28, 2016
“Distant, Aloof, … And Embarrassed” ~ November 9, 2016
“The Sensitivity Yin-Yang ~ One Aspie / Autistic Perspective” ~ December 4, 2016
“Autistic, Staring, and Silent” ~ January 19, 2017