When an autistic brings a conversation back to themselves, it isn’t because we’re self absorbed.

It’s usually because we’re trying to relate your experience to those of our own so that we can understand your perspective and empathize more fully and sincerely.
Because we autistics are typically more sincere and honest in conversation, we’re less likely to say “oh I know how you feel” because that would be a lie.

So instead we might verbalize our thought process as we connect our own experiences to yours. We’re doing the legwork.
For example: An acquaintance might say “my father just passed away”.

Me, an autistic, might inappropriately smile and talk about memories of my own mother who passed away, or talk about a childhood pet.

Or I will empathize too much. Either way, it’s off-putting.
If someone I care about on Twitter is going through some awful stuff, I will take up to a full hour working through my thoughts and memories before coming up with an appropriate response.

Usually the response is a short sentence that can’t fully convey how I feel.
In many cases, ‘showing empathy’ really means having the ability to perform a socially acceptable response.

Saying “oh sweetie I know what you’re going through” might seem empathetic to allistics, but to an autistic it looks like a performance or outright lie.
IMPORTANT: Empathy is not the same thing as compassion.

Compassionate autistics are often perceived as heartless and cold because we are unable or unwilling to pretend that we understand and feel the experience of another.
Sometimes we autistics really are too involved in our stimming or hobbies to make the commitment to performing mental empathy math.

Sometimes we have trauma and choose not to think about things. It’s self-preservation.

Sometimes actively empathizing is draining and triggering.
Because we autistics struggle with mental empathy math, maintaining relationships with multiple friends and family is hard.

Please respect that.

Figuring out the appropriate responses to social situations is harder than it looks, even when it s family.
Ps. Shoutout to any autistic who ever said “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me” upon learning of someone else’s misfortune.
Oh, and sometimes we autistic/adhd people bring the conversation back to ourselves because talking out loud is part of how we think, and it’s hard to know when we’re supposed to talk.

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