Imagine for a moment that you have difficulties running – perhaps from a permanent disabling injury, perhaps from a birth defect — and your job and home life required you to run. Imagine that nobody can “see” your injury or disability, but it does not permit you to run, easily or at all.
Yea. That’s me to a T. I can’t look at a personal or social interaction like someone who doesn’t have AS (I’m going to refer to them as “you”, because it makes it easier for me to say me and you. You might have AS or a similar condition and therefore you might be me. :> ) You see nuances and the flow of social and personal interactions as something you’ve instinctively picked up and developed. I do not. In a very literal sense, I have a flowchart in my head from having learned/observed similar situations. I say “X” to given situation “ABC”. Does that provide the response that I’ve observed is appropriate for this situation? No? Then go do “Z”, otherwise, continue with “Y”. Wait, they are responding in some new and unknown way. “Abort, Retry, Fail”?
You probably don’t see interactions like that, but I have absolutely ZERO idea how you interpret life. Dating for me? A nightmare. Dealing with kids? Heh. That’s a mystery that I’m not good at. Just walking up to strangers in a bar or on the street and having a reasonably “normal” conversation that you might find effortless? I can do it, but each time it works, I have an internal celebration that “I did it!” because it is a major victory to me. More data for me to learn from.
It might seem odd that someone who is involved in a Master/slave relationship might also struggle with Aspergers, but there’s some basis in how such a relationship could actually work. From what I’ve researched, AS folks like structure, order and defined protocols. That’s because (normally) social and personal interactions are “messy.” In a Master/slave relationship, the protocol is (usually) well defined between the participants. This simplifies a great deal of the interpersonal nuances because they can be put into “safe” structures. Safe is good, because it means these are systems I can trust to work.
That isn’t always the case, especially with the nuances of communication with my slave. What is the #1 thing we struggle with? Not with communicating itself, but the exact words used. The “what” in the words and sentences, not the meaning. For me, the exact words and sentences ARE the meaning, where for you, you know the nuances and empathy of communicating and saying things.
That’s the weird thing about my AS – in S/m, I “see” the energy of the interactions, so apparently for me, strong sexual or strong psycho-sexual interactions I can understand very well. It’s the “normal” stuff – you know, normal conversation, normal interactions, normal relationships that I struggle with. So it’s not a lack of empathy across the entire relationship or interaction spectrum, but more in the interpersonal/interactions that deal with something outside of a sexual nature.
I’m going to close this for now, because I could probably write a whole metric-crap-ton on how AS and M/s work inside of me, but there’s a bigger message I want to say here…
… for those of you who might feel like I do about social interactions, who might struggle with AS and worry about if you can be a part of an M/s relationship – you can do it.
Every time I walk into the LRA, or into Touche, or to an event or to a social setting, there’s a part of me that gibbers in fear and another part of me recording EVERYTHING so I can try to figure out the best way to navigate what are always turbulent, uncharted waters. To many of you, you don’t see it, although you do see me as an odd duck or just “that’s just Michael”. That’s OK. The fact that I’ve learned about 75% of how to interact gets me through most days and the ones that I struggle with (especially with flirting and striking up “those” kinds of conversations)… well.. I just struggle. But I am of 9 years with a wonderful slave who has been patient and kind and able to work with my aspie very well.
You can do it. It’s hard, but then, trying to navigate what the non-aspies go through with seeming effortlessness is always going to be hard. You just have to learn to run when you can’t, or figure out the colors where you can’t see them. Not an easy task, but somewhere, if you’re attracted to the M/s dynamic, you’ll find it.