A tired wife having worked a full day at the office, goes to the nearest but most crowded supermarket to buy grocery for dinner. Jostles with the crowd and then comes home to a wailing child who just arrived back from daycare after being picked up by the husband. The wife tries to pacify the child while the husband returns to his computer trying to finish his ‘work’ (which turns out to be a very time consuming and non-income generating hobby).Wife then becomes short fused due to her tiredness, a wailing child and a non-supportive husband, but manages to cook dinner somehow.
After dinner, it is time for the child’s warm bath and bed. Eventually the child is asleep, the wife takes a hot shower and looks forward to going to bed. The husband comes into the bedroom and demands sex. When she says that she is too tired, the husband unsympathetically accuses her of being selfish as they haven’t made love in 2 weeks.
Selfish? Me selfish? The wife questions incredulously. This is when she starts her tirade of calling him a self centred animal, who only knows his own needs while she tolls at the office all day. And all he does is day dream all afternoon and waits for dinner to be cooked for him. To add to that, he does not even know how much it costs to run a household that he spends most of his time in!
This is one of the most common scenarios I have been hearing from wives married to aspergers spouses. Only after having been married for a period of time, they realise that their husbands actually have aspergers syndrome. Which explains a lot of the marital problems they have been experiencing.
I know, I know, some of you ladies out there may complain that your man does the same thing and he doesn’t even have aspergers syndrome. (Sorry guys!) But there is a difference which I will not go into details now, I will leave that to future postings. But for now I would like to show you and help you to understand this phenomena called Mind Blindness.
If you were to google the definition of Mind Blindness, you would find that this term is often associated with autism or asperger’s syndrome. According to an article in Psychology Today, Simon Baron-Cohen in a 2001 research paper describes Theory of Mind as “…being able to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that cause action. In brief, having a theory of mind is to be able to reflect on the contents of one’s own and other’s minds. For many of those with autism or Asperger’s, mindblindness, or lack of Theory of Mind creates major barriers to communication and closeness. These barriers often lead to those nearest to the individual feel, whether real or perceived, a lack of empathy from the individual.”
For the many parents and spouses I have interacted with whose children or partners have aspergers syndrome or autism, this can be a very painful experience. When someone you love such as your spouse has Mind Blindness, you can feel very alone. Because the spouse seems to live on another planet, especially in their private time together. The aspergers spouse can seem normal to the outside world, but the reality of their lives together is so different that one may be tempted to think that the spouse has the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde syndrome.
One child whose father has undiagnosed aspergers syndrome said that her father behaves himself very well in front of other people and her grandparents, but he is far from that when at home.
However, more and more people married to partners with aspergers syndrome have with the help of the internet found the answers to some of the difficulties they are facing. Though there is no cure, it can be managed more effectively if the spouse with aspergers is willing to acknowledge the condition and seek guidance and help to make family life much more pleasant for everyone. Undoubtedly more work from the spouse without aspergers is inevitable as she/he has to make the biggest adjustments because of the the spouse’s condition.
While there is a name to aspergers syndrome or autism, and there are many great reference books and online help available for everyone who need it, (See end of article for some useful resource) there seems to be a growing ‘epidemic’ of mind blindness displayed through the social media arena.
By this I mean, just too many people hide behind their social media facade to discuss, make a stand, criticize. They literally lead double lives, they have one face in the flesh and they become quite something else through social media. They can be selfish, self centred, hurtful, unsympathetic, critical towards others. The problem is they do these by choice, because they feel safe to hide behind their devices and computers. They do not realise how their words can wound others, and they do not realise how much they are contributing to a world that is smaller and smaller but less and less reachable, to the heart.
Those with real mind blindness do not do this by choice, it is a neurological condition, and they cannot help it.
But for those who willingly allow mind blindness to guide their mind can develop this disease for real. I personally call this social media mind blindness. The behaviour is almost identical to those with real mind blindness, some traits include:
- only seeing from one’s own perspective and not seeing the world through another’s
- not being able to empathize or have compassion for another’s suffering
- being self focused in the sense of gathering information or having conversations for self gain and self benefit and neglecting to understand the other
- mind blindness can also lead to obsessional pre-occupation with people, things, school of thought and so on
Social media mind blindness creates divide and hate. And it extends itself further out into society, countries, religion, races and so on. While social media can be used for great causes, it is just a tool which can also be used to create social and mental and emotional disorders.
There are far too many people in the world now suffering from the effects of their loved one’s real mind blindness, why add on to the burden of the world with social media mind blindness?
Questions for you: Would you choose to operate from mind blindness when you have a choice not to? And what steps would you take to see the world with real sight through your heart, mind and spirit?
The world is becoming smaller, make it easier to reach out to touch each other’s heart……Reference for those looking for resources on aspergers syndrome and autism:
- Action For Aspergers
- Books: The Complete Guide To Aspergers Syndrome by Tony Attwood, 22 Things A Woman Must Know If She Loves A Man With Aspergers Syndrome by Rudy Simone
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