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Old Mar 16, '12, 9:33 am
Neil_Anthony Neil_Anthony is offline
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Default Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

Hi,
I'm watching this video series about how the most important thing in a Christian's life is relationships. But I find that aspergers makes it really hard to have relationships. In fact the list of "good relationship skills" listed in the video series seem to be almost my exact opposite. Except the one about honesty. For example the video says empathy isn't enough, we need sympathy. But aspergers means you don't even have the normal amount of empathy, so how can you have sympathy without even empathy? It makes me feel like Christianity isn't for aspies
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Old Mar 16, '12, 10:47 am
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Jennet Jennet is offline
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

Hi,

I have moderate-functioning classic autism with high IQ rather that Asperger's, but I wanted to post a reply to this.

The most important relationship for any Christian is their relationship with God. All the others are secondary to this. Think of the hermits and Desert Fathers of centuries ago. Some of them went weeks, months and years without ever seeing or speaking to another human being, yet there is no doubt that they had exemplary relationships with God. Many are now Saints.

Our interactions with people may be impaired, but so long as we earnestly seek God and try to do His will, He will love us, bless us and teach us... just like everyone else.
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Old Mar 16, '12, 11:06 am
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prodigalson2011 prodigalson2011 is offline
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

I have been dwelling on this subject for the past few weeks, and consider it a blessing to find someone here voicing my same feelings. Like the poster above me, whose name escapes me at the moment, I often think of our saintly ascetics when feeling discouraged. It is reassuring, but it doesn't quell the desire to connect and be more a part of the community.

But, it's the cross we bear. I'll keep you in my prayers.

P.s. I haven't been professionally diagnosed, but if I'm not an aspie, the distinction must be negligible.
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Old Mar 4, '14, 12:35 pm
Cathryn Cathryn is offline
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil_Anthony View Post
Hi,
I'm watching this video series about how the most important thing in a Christian's life is relationships. But I find that aspergers makes it really hard to have relationships. In fact the list of "good relationship skills" listed in the video series seem to be almost my exact opposite. Except the one about honesty. For example the video says empathy isn't enough, we need sympathy. But aspergers means you don't even have the normal amount of empathy, so how can you have sympathy without even empathy? It makes me feel like Christianity isn't for aspies
I have aspergers and a disconnect with my feelings, and can appear heartless. My focus in life is my Catholic faith. I know the Church teaches the theological gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity are infused in our soul at Baptism. The greatest of these is Charity. You can't be a true Christian without these. We even with Aspergers can have Charity. Charity isn't about emotions and sentiments. A deep Catholic understanding of charity is love in action. We as Christians must decide to do the Will of God. The Will of God is for all men to come to Him. We can decide this to be our will too. We need to pray for all mankind to come to God. We need to help the poor and be charitable as the parable of the good samaritan teaches. This isn't about feelings. Feelings and emotions mean nothing. Our Catholic faith is about joining our will to God's. It is a decision. Our will becoming God's will is what is important, and this is done only through God's grace. Emotions and sentiments mean nothing. Grace and Will are all. If we understand this, we can have a clear conscience and grow in our faith, and be close to God.

God's grace is sufficient for us, as 2 Cor 12 says. He gives us everything we need. The Catholic Church is the perfect place for an aspergers person. Here we have the fullness of the truth. The Catholic Church strongly defends Faith and Reason together. This is where I find my peace. (This is also where I find some people who misunderstand me, but that is OK, it goes along with our aspergers cross. Some Catholics do not understand what the Catholic faith really teaches, and they judge us unfairly.)

I hope for other peoples inputs.

Cathy
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Old Mar 29, '14, 5:41 pm
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SecretaryMonday SecretaryMonday is offline
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

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Originally Posted by Cathryn View Post
We even with Aspergers can have Charity. Charity isn't about emotions and sentiments. A deep Catholic understanding of charity is love in action. ...
The Catholic Church is the perfect place for an aspergers person. Here we have the fullness of the truth. The Catholic Church strongly defends Faith and Reason together. This is where I find my peace.
Agreed 100%...I'm sorry I can't find the paragraph right away, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that love is to will the good of the other. Nothing there about feelings. Emotions are not really under our control; we can encourage them, but they come or go more or less on their own. They aren't us. We CAN control our wills, our intentions, and then, regardless of our feelings, we can sincerely love others.

I was recently diagnosed with Asperger's, and this whole stink about whether or not I was capable of love drove me almost to despair; in my late teens/early twenties, I believed that I was Predestined to Hell. If God had made me capable of being a true Christian, wouldn't I have loving feelings? Wouldn't my heart flow naturally and easy to other people? But that just isn't how my brain is wired, and actually, I sometimes think (not always!) that my love is even purer and more beautiful just because it is so often an act of my will and not my emotions.
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Old Mar 30, '14, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

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I sometimes think (not always!) that my love is even purer and more beautiful just because it is so often an act of my will and not my emotions.
Oops...later, I thought "I'd probably better elaborate on that." I was NOT trying to suggest that someone with Asperger's was somehow better than someone without. I was just trying to say that love as an act of the will was worth more, not less, than a love that was only based on emotion. Both emotion and will would be nice, but if you can only have one...
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“...one cannot arrive at Bethlehem by skipping over Jerusalem, or rather, without taking into account what the Scriptures say. The star–in the heavens and in one’s heart–confirms that the Messiah is born, but where and why are revealed by the prophets.”
Sr. Elena Bosetti, SJBP
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Old Jun 19, '14, 12:44 pm
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henrikhank henrikhank is offline
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Default Re: Relationships, Christianity and Aspergers

Friendship is the topic. I just read a book about social life and AS. The author made a distinction between acquaintances and friends. Do we even know what kind of relationship we should have...how many people have what Aristotle called true friendship?

A very consoling thought is this: if your humble and honest with people then you can have friends. You may have to be really humble. It won't be easy. Egied van Broeckhoven wrote that his vocation had to do with friendship and intimacy. Read his book.
Another great thing would be if you could find a friendly Priest. It's hard to be/become a Catholic without friendship with a Priest.
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Scripture also tells us how Moses, Elijah and Elisha esteemed solitude, and how conducive they found it to an ever deeper penetration of the divine secrets; and note, too, what perils constantly surrounded them when among men, and how God visited them when alone. (Statutes of Carthusian Order)
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