It’s not you it’s me.

Behaviour.

It’s a bit like that saying ‘why worry about what other’s think of you, they’re too busy thinking about what everyone else thinks of themselves to even notice you’. When it comes to behaviour often people are too busy focusing on themselves. Most people’s behaviour is based on what they are thinking and feeling, it usually has little to do with anyone else. Even if someone else has set them off, said or done something that triggered a response in them, the person’s behaviour is usually self-centred.

A person could walk up to me and punch me for no apparent reason. The person who punched me would be being self-centred in that their action (punching me) had everything to do with how they were feeling and very little if anything to do with me. My reaction, although based on what some else did, would be self-centred. I’d feel confused, hurt, angry, a bit disorientated. My reaction to the punch would be based on how I felt. Any bystanders watching would react to the situation based on their self-centeredness. If they were angry they may react by shouting, attacking the person, swearing, calling the police. If they were shocked and afraid then they may move away or be frozen to the spot. If they got a secret thrill from the punch they may shout with glee, cheer and rude comments. However they act it would be based on how they feel.

It’s safe to say that all human’s are selfish. Sure people can (and do) regularly display acts of selflessness. But humans are inherently selfish, we have simply grown to become more than that. All animals have a basic drive to survive. They wouldn’t be able to survive if they were going around helping and protecting others. They do sometimes though, usually once their own basic needs have been met. Humans do this on a more frequent basis though and that’s because we have the intelligence to understand selflessness and how it is culturally pleasing to be selfless. When a child is born they are only aware of themselves, their own needs and wants. As they grow they become aware of the people around them and they become aware of their feelings. They feel pleasure at other people’s happiness, pleasure at helping others, satisfaction at doing good. These feelings are further validated by those around us. ‘It’s good to share’, ‘you should always help others’, ‘stop being selfish’, ‘what about George, does he want some too?’ etc.

For people with ASD and/or PDA, understanding other people’s emotions doesn’t come easily to them. They can struggle to understand and recognise their own feelings and so struggle to see similar emotions in others. They might not understand how someone feels in a particular situation if they’ve never experienced it themselves. This means that ASD/PDA people might seem more selfish that their peers when in fact, they simply don’t have the skills and awareness to be as selfless as people without ASD/PDA. Many people find that once they do understand that they are in fact just as selfless (if not more so) than their peers. Of course there are many ASD people who feel emotions more strongly than their peers and so they will hide their feelings as a way of coping and fitting in. This may make them appear uncaring but in actual fact they care so much it hurts to show it.

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