Guilt - I seem to be immune to it. Is this normal?

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spacephrawg
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14 Sep 2009, 7:42 pm

I've noticed for years that guilt is something I just never feel. If I do something wrong, i want to make it right but its not out of guilt so much as wanting to restore the emotional and political equilibrium. I read once that Aspies don't feel guilt. Is this true? Or am I just latently psycho or something? Please tell me I'm not alone in this! Thanks!



nara44
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14 Sep 2009, 9:04 pm

spacephrawg wrote:
I've noticed for years that guilt is something I just never feel. If I do something wrong, i want to make it right but its not out of guilt so much as wanting to restore the emotional and political equilibrium. I read once that Aspies don't feel guilt. Is this true? Or am I just latently psycho or something? Please tell me I'm not alone in this! Thanks!


i've been accused of not having guilt many times but i think that because AS have or lives by another set of values than the norm
after all many AS are honest to a fault
the the average doubled faced NT we might appear guiltless but if u look into actions and behaviors you will see that we are motivated by a much deeper sense of guilt and moral
people who perceived me as guiltless,probably because i don't take part in the shallow and meaningless rituals they take so seriously,has done terible things to me and others while i have never hurt or abuse anyone the way they do
i would rather kill myself than behave like the people who preach me moral
i'v given up large sums of money and great opportunities because unlike NT i am a man of my word
meaning ,i do right ,unlike most of the people who preaches right in an attempt to cover for their wrongs



LP0rc
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14 Sep 2009, 10:02 pm

I don't think it is so much that we lack guilt as we have perspective. Unlike ordinary people we are more focused on where we go from here, and understand mostly where here is and what happened that was wrong. Of course our understanding is often different than other folks.

Guilt seems to be how most people use emotion to reinforce memory and train themselves to act more correctly. We handle that same chore seeing patterns in behavior from a mental rather than emotional perspective. In some ways we pick up more quickly, and don't waste the time with the emotional self-flagellation in our zeal to repair the situation, while normal folks are still struggling with the "shock".

You could say we're tuned to dampen the emotion, while most folks are tuned to heighten it. They have an experience with more depth and personal profoundness than we do, we are more focused on the "real" effects rather than the self-inflicted effects. Our emotional ego is less involved and our responses more "matter-of-fact". We come across as uncaring cold fish, or impossibly emotionally more mature, which in turn is interpreted as arrogance or lacking empathy because we do not share the heightened emotional response.

Recognition of the differences is helpful, not so you can pretend to be other than who you are, but so you can play to your strengths and avoid the hassles. Sometimes all it takes is articulating your position: "Wow, this is a pretty heavy situation, I can't even begin to imagine how you are feeling. We can't change what happened to bring us here, whether we like it or not we've got to deal with it." Then, if you are at fault, apologize, if someone else is at fault, let them off the hook. Remember, unlike us, normal people have a problem with shame and admitting error. NT social lies are all about saving face or giving respect. You can do the same thing for logical reasons of getting through the immediate emotional hysterics and moving on to "Where do we go from here? How do we handle this?" "We can figure out the blaming and what went wrong later, and how to not end up here again, but now let's figure out how we're going to deal with where we are at now and how to move forward."

Viola, you are now emotionally mature for real. Yes, it sounds condescending to our ears as we are guiding someone through what we see as emotional hysterics, but it comes across much better because it acknowledges the other person's feelings, helps them through that emotional "shock" part, and helps focus them on the part you are better at.

Just be careful to not think out loud too much attacking the problem from all different angles, because the moment you intellectualize the "other" side of the problem, it comes across as dismissing or minimizing what is upsetting them, or making excuses for it.

Your normal friend/partner is in an emotionally heightened state, and has a huge bias to react defensively to anything that could lead to questioning/invalidating their feelings. Of course, you could handle that just fine if the situation was reversed, information changes the picture for you, and more often than not, you choose your feelings. Other people don't. You are more cognitive than they are, and are so used to self-invalidating your feelings it doesn't bother you as much.

Otherwise, they have the same triggers. Don't tell them what they feel, help them explore it and come to some resolution for themselves. Don't judge what they feel or invalidation it. You don't like it when people do that to you, either.

By recognizing the differences find the common ground, and use your strengths. You are not broken. You are not wrong. You are just different. They are not wrong. They are just different than you. They are pawns on the chess board, you are a king. You both move one square at a time marching down the board, except despite your greater flexibility, they've got that one move of two squares you'll never match. And if you are normal, you'd complain what a horrible analogy that is, you a pawn and me a king. How arrogant and condescending, how horribly self-centered and demeaning. If you're are somewhat out of the norm, you recognize that it is about how the pieces move, not their relative value. Because not matter how much the NTs say it, it ain't true: you view the abstract more easily than they do. They just get miffed because with other NTs they feel normal, when you are around they don't feel normal because they don't fit naturally with you and it makes them uncomfortable and annoyed, so they put it back on you :)



otto9otto
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14 Sep 2009, 10:52 pm

There is no such thing as free will, so guilt has no meaning/applicability. Go to youtube.com and do a search on the name Tony Parsons who explains this quite eloquently. His site is theopensecret.com.



LP0rc
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14 Sep 2009, 11:21 pm

otto9otto wrote:
There is no such thing as free will, so guilt has no meaning/applicability. Go to youtube.com and do a search on the name Tony Parsons who explains this quite eloquently. His site is theopensecret.com.


Wow, gave it a read. Very pretentious stuff, even more pretentious than me! I'll have to download and read it all, it will take some time to parse it.

Thanks for the link, I like head games!



carltcwc
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14 Sep 2009, 11:50 pm

I dont feel guilt either becuase if something would make me feel guilty, i dont do it.



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15 Sep 2009, 12:22 am

I tend to experience "guilt" in terms of fear of the consequences of my actions, rather than actually feeling bad about whatever it was I did. Like, I usually don't actually feel bad about things, but I'm just afraid that I'll get in trouble somehow, or that karma will come back to me or something.
Secretly I have a theory that all humans are like this and there's no such thing as guilt, since most people do seem to be selfish and only concerned with their own lives, but I don't think it's possible to find out since "normal" people wouldn't admit to not feeling guilt.



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15 Sep 2009, 7:54 am

I feel guilt, but often it is because somebody else gets defensive or upset about something. I don't always apologize though, because I refuse to apologize for things I did not cause (for instance, if someone gets themselves feeling bad or tries to use it to play a guilt trip on me-that is not my fault that they are choosing to do that and dwell on it).

That actually seems to be the most common problem that I run into.

Sometimes, though, I will apologize for speaking honestly if I realize I could have or should have used more tact, as people are taking it too much to heart, or seeing it as extremely harsh. Then I will apologize, but not always acknowledge that anything I said was wrong. I just apologize that they were hurt by it and that is it.

I tell people quite often that I'm not the person to ask a question to if they are looking for a bunch of sympathy, because I do tend to tell it how it is, and will nit pick until I get full details about things.


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gina-ghettoprincess
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15 Sep 2009, 8:02 am

I don't seem to have what most people describe as a "conscience", because this seems to be something emotional (and therefore is easy for other people to use to manipulate you). Instead, I have a strong and rational sense of right and wrong - if I see no logical reason why I am at fault for any particular incident, why in the hell should I lose sleep over it?

If I do see a logical reason why I am in the wrong, I feel bad for whatever I did to hurt someone else, and try my best to make amends for it. But I don't let myself be guilt-tripped by manipulative people.


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15 Sep 2009, 9:45 am

I have a lot of guilt issues, but then again, I made a erroneous conclusion as a child that I was to blame for what went wrong in my life, so I obviously deserved to be punished for the failings. This lead to my being obsessive about failures and how I was responsible for them.



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15 Sep 2009, 10:14 am

I can't relate to this in fact. I feel guilty when I've misbehaved or something.



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15 Sep 2009, 10:53 am

I feel the full spectrum of emotions, guilt, and regret/remorse are things that particularly bother me, and no, no one guilt trips me, I do it to myself, infact I've been told to just "let it go", or "stop thinking so much about it so much" and asked "what do you think you've done that's so wrong?", because it's damaging to my psyche.

spacephrawq wrote:
I've noticed for years that guilt is something I just never feel. If I do something wrong, i want to make it right but its not out of guilt so much as wanting to restore the emotional and political equilibrium.


That could be defined as a form of guilt, just because the abstract idea of guilt doesn't ring inside your head doesn't mean you neccisarily don't feel it.

spacephrawq wrote:
Or am I just latently psycho or something?


I doubt it, if you were a psychopath you wouldn't care one way or another if you did something wrong (apathy). You clearly feel something when you do something wrong.


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TouchVanDerBoom
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15 Sep 2009, 11:31 am

spacephrawg wrote:
If I do something wrong, i want to make it right but its not out of guilt so much as wanting to restore the emotional and political equilibrium.


Yes, I definitely relate to you on this. I don't know if people with Asperger's feel guilt or not, I don't think it's as simple one or the other. In my case at least, it's because I don't find it easy to empathise with others. I see the world based on how it impacts me and if I have wronged or hurt someone else it is almost always a misunderstanding or accident so I end up feeling that they're the ones who are in the wrong for taking what I've done as on purpose. I never apologise, I don't see the point. I've done it now, no point crying over spilled milk.



arielhawksquill
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15 Sep 2009, 12:21 pm

I don't suffer from guilt, either. I have a strong moral compass and simply don't do things that I consider to be wrong. If people try to guilt trip me, I resent their attempt at emotional manipulation.



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15 Sep 2009, 12:46 pm

guilt is that feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you go "Oh, s---", right?



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15 Sep 2009, 2:41 pm

I feel something, but I don't know what it it. I tend to apologise a lot, often when it's not needed. I honestly don't know how to explain it, but it's more for the other person. Well, it's for the other person to react in a certain way, which then makes me feel better. But usually, I want things to just be back to normal. I just want the world to be like it was before whatever I'm 'apologising' for became or happened.

It's all confusing but I try not to act like an ass at people because I think I want everybody to be happy (although I often profess quite heavilly to hate all people).

*shrug*