However much it feels like it, I do not live in isolation. The things I do or don’t do effect the environment, effect the people around me. On grander scales my actions effect the planet whether it is my energy usage having an impact on global warming or the plants I put in the garden to help support bees and therefore food production. Whilst on a minor scale, it might be making the bed in the morning leading to a sense of achievement (though easily forgotten) and a happy wife when she walks into the bedroom. What I maintain though is that I am not responsible for how other people react to that action. I don’t think I am responsible for whether my wife is happy at seeing a made bed or fed up because my bed side table is overflowing with stuff I haven’t found the energy to deal with.
I don’t know if this lack of responsibility is an acceptable point of view to the general population but I do know that it is an important rule for my sanity. I don’t seem to have the ability to understand other people’s points of view, thinking about how somebody else can see a situation generates too many possibilities and I quickly become overwhelmed. I suspect this is where intuition comes in and imagination I suppose. The difficult thing for me is that I think I used to be better at this. I used to be more understanding. I used to try more, but since writing my thoughts down more publicly I seemed to have become more militant, more self-protectionist. Currently taking into account other people feelings is overwhelming whereas before I presume I just tried (and succeeded?) because that is what typically people do.
Recently we did some personality profiling at work and last week we looked at our personal results in the context of the work group. The idea is to get a better understanding of each other so that we can adjust our communication styles and understand better what the other people need, but also see where as a group what biases we have when working together. The method is based on Jung’s theory of psychological types but transforms the normal types into colour energy types. I have done Briggs-Myers testing in the past (in fact I just did another one online) and have been an INFJ, XXFX, and just now an INTJ. I think the first and third represent normal lives when I have been working whilst the triple balanced one was just after my transplant when I have all the time in the world to myself and no pressures. Interesting the shift from “F”, feeling to “T”, thinking fits in with what I was writing about in the previous paragraph.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the colour profiling is that it generated a conscious and unconscious profile though I think those terms are a bit misleading. My understanding is that we have a choice in how we behave so my conscious profile is/are the area(s) which I am choosing to use in the workplace, a different environment may have a different emphasis. I guess the underlying potential is characterised by the unconscious profile. I find it interesting to see that three out of the four colours were nearly equally prominent in my unconscious profile and I wonder if this is analogous to the triple X I got post transplant. My conscious profile has a very strong blue Observer focus which seems to tie in with the INTJ profile I just generated.
As a side note I found the colour profiling transformation completely unhelpful to start with and I nearly had a meltdown when asks what a pie chart said to me because it “said” nothing but the obvious. I feel better now that I can associated words with the colours. Red is fiery purposeful and leading, blue is logical and cold, green is grounded and supportive, whilst yellow is lively and full of ideas.
Where does this leave me though (apart from getting tied up in words and a headache)? I think the first point to note is that these profiling tools are used to be helpful and not define who I am. I think they give insights but don’t tell the whole story. Every person on this planet is individual and therefore our thinking and behaviour is unique. However Jung was able to spot a limited number of understandable concepts and apply them successfully to group together people. The profiles produced are freakily accurate in the sense that I did recognise the person I was reading about as me, and everybody else in the group found the majority of their profiles applied to themselves too.
The question for me was whether I am deliberately emphasising my blue observer self or was there another reason for suppressing my green supporter or red director traits? Or to put it another way, am I emphasising my autistic traits deliberately? And if so, to what purpose?
There are no real answers here. It would seem that I am emphasising my logical, unbending side at home and at work but I think that is a side effect of bottling it up for so long. My ASD diagnosis gave me permission to let my disruptive tendencies have free rein. The diagnosis gave me permission to reclaim my energy from trying to be someone I am not. But I also think the diagnosis opened up a vulnerability that others might exploit and I think that plays a part in what I show the world. Having ASD marks me as different, open to persecution and if somebody reads my blog and knows who the author is, there is potential to turn my thoughts against me to do me harm. The thought of somebody prodding me, shouting questions at me, and generally pushing my buttons is rather unpleasant. Perhaps I am more self-protectionist nowadays because I am still adjusting to my new self which is ironically the same as my old self but with added awareness, but since awareness triggers change, I am not sure that sentence really makes sense.
In time then maybe I will adjust to the new me, and perhaps unveil a bit more of the old supportive, directive me who is more willing to compromise to live in harmony. Perhaps I will once again feel able to take others feelings into account or at least try to interpret them. Is a perhaps enough to give hope?