Asperger’s and Introversion.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Asperger’s and Introversion.

  1. Regarding introversion and its possible interaction with Aspberger’s, I was intrigued with the discussion at last night’s Aspie Discussion group about the connection that may be there. The reason is that twice during my life, I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI)and it divides the personality into four categories, one of which has to do with Introversion/extraversion aspects. The two times I took the test were several years apart and there were some differences in my results in the introversion/extraversion area, which probably means I’m right on the borderline between being one or the other. This really made me interested in whether the introversion part of my personality connects me in some way with Aspies.

    In addition to the standard, written version of the MBTI, there is also an on-line version of it at http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html and if you haven’t taken it, you may find it interesting to see where you stand in the intro/extra category. If you have already taken the MBTI, it would be interesting to hear your results and to know the possible connection with introversion. If you haven’t, you might want to do it just ot extend your understanding of things affecting personality and the interaction between Asperger’s and introspection.

  2. I’ve taken the (abbreviated) Myers-Briggs twice, and each time I came out the same: INTJ

    per Wikipedia:
    INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of the sixteen personality types.[1]

    INTJs are one of the rarest of the sixteen personality types, and account for about 1–4% of the population.[2][3]

    I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INTJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).[8]
    N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.[9]
    T – Thinking preferred to feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.[10]
    J – Judgment preferred to perception: INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.[11]

    rest here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INTJ

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