One topic I would like to explore more of in the near future is the intersection of Asperger’s and Introversion. While I do acknowledge that Neurotypical (NT) Introverts do seem to exist (my mom claims to be one, as did one of my previous bad/bully bosses), my sense is that while not all Introverts are Aspies, nearly all Aspies are Introverted, and quite intensely so. I think we feel everything that NT Introverts feel, only dialed WAY WAY up, with much greater intensity.
More than once I’ve read some self-declared “introvert’s manifesto” either online or in print and find I can’t help thinking to myself “undiagnosed Aspie” as I read it. This is probably not true in every case, but in the examples I have read, the thought does cross and re-cross my mind. There is a definite affinity between Asperger’s syndrome and Introversion at the very least, though exactly what the nature of that affinity is remains to be explored and investigated.
Introversion used to be my “go-to” label in my per-diagnosis phase, before I knew I had Asperger’s syndrome. And while it’s not wrong, it is incomplete. It lacks the explanatory power (not to mention ADA protections) that the Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis carries with it. It was the NT/Aspie gulf between my ex-boss and me in North Texas that led to the failure of our working relationship, and not some extrovert/introvert divide as I initially hypothesized but which my ex-boss dis-confirmed during a hearing on my appeals case for unemployment benefits that I ultimately lost.
Brief aside, for those that want to avoid learning the hard way, always make sure to make an employer fire you; DO NOT make my mistake and resign under pressure. You will have a much better chance of winning unemployment benefits if you are terminated against your will. It is very difficult to prove satisfactorily that you have been bullied into resigning like I was. If I had had my diagnosis at that time, I not only would not have resigned, I probably could have pushed back against my boss and demanded reasonable workplace accommodations under ADA, as I was later able to do with my current employer.
It would behoove newly diagnosed Aspies to read books on Introversion that are outside the normal “canon” of ASD literature as there is a lot of cross-over appeal and information that is still resonant and relative to our experience in the NT world. There are some real parallels between the general Introvert challenges navigating a world dominated by Extroverts and the challenges of ASD people facing off with the majority NT world around us. A lot of the Introvert narratives out there will have a familiar ring to many, many Aspies. It is definitely an intersection worth studying in more detail by the experts.