Do Aspies make better intuitives?
In the foreword of my book How to Become Intuitive, I talk about the main driving force behind my interest in becoming intuitive was feeling like a fish out of water my whole life. It was like everyone else in the world was privy to some big secret, except me. Every time I walked into a room, their secret (whatever that was), stared me down and I wanted more than anything to figure out this mystery that had not been given to me — and why it had been given to them. Why did they fit in so well? Why did they instinctively know what to do? How did they know what they all wanted to hear? Because I didn’t know the secret, I distanced myself and became a bystander, a quiet observer who noticed, questioned, and reflected upon it all.
From a young age, I didn’t understand people, I didn’t get why they did certain things (like lie), I didn’t understand their humor, I didn’t get why humans talk about “fluffy” insignificant things when they could be exploring the mysteries of the world, didn’t understand how or why people use passive aggression as a tool to get their way, didn’t perceive how they felt versus what they were communicating (and why those two often diverge), and I blindly trusted everyone I came into contact with — only to later be disappointed when they ended up hurting me. There was always a discrepancy between what I felt and observed and what others told me was true. It created a great deal of cognitive dissonance within me and I doubted myself, my value, and my version of events for well over thirty-two years.
When I became a health coach, I was scared. I wanted to help people, but also, I had to promote myself, I had to talk to people, I had to meet with them, and I had to come up with things to say — spontaneously. Every day since my graduation from nutrition school in 2011 has been a struggle to get better at this (and I have), but more curiously, I got to see behind the scenes of my clients lives and minds for the first time. I came to find they too felt different on a basic level and didn’t seem to understand the reality we had been born into. They had questions they had hidden from everyone, even their closest loved ones, that they just couldn’t seem to reconcile. I learned that my talent was not just identifying pattern after pattern within their diet and long list of symptoms and physical health complaints, but also, affirming their experiences. The things they felt were also things I had felt, but there had never been a safe place for them to express them. I enjoyed telling them they were right, and showing them the many ways they had been talked out of their truth. I only knew this because it had also happened to me. I liked watching them get stronger and stronger in their perceptions and be more easily able to recognize when someone was lying or when there was a facade in the way. As they got stronger, I got stronger.
I’m inching closer and closer to an official Asperger’s diagnosis for myself with the help of some great professionals. Being an empath explained a lot. Being a trauma survivor explained a lot. Dyscalculia and reading comprehension problems (the learning disabilities I mention in my book) explained a lot as well. But even after deconstructing these things about myself, there has remained something inside of me that is still too “different.” It’s like living in a world in which the operating system is 100% in opposition to yours, so every day is a fight for survival. Nothing around me makes sense and yet I have to continually adopt strategies to be able to function within a reality that makes no sense to me. I end up looking clumsy, disinterested, stupid, and quiet. It’s either because I’m working so hard to block out stress-producing sensory input, because I’m trying not to annoy people with my questions, because I don’t know where I fit in or who I will bother, or because I feel inadequate for not knowing the “secret.”
For those wondering, it is possible to be both an Aspie and an empath or intuitive. The two do not have to be at odds. I cannot generalize for all people on the spectrum, but the way I see it (and as I am now being told), I was born with the inability to understand things that come naturally to most others. This created a drive to explore, observe, and comprehend. I notice and question everything because nothing (or, very little) makes immediate sense to me. Because I can’t look at something from a standard angle, I have to use my empathic abilities to see why others feel the way they do about it — and how those opinions and perceptions vary. Then I contrast that with how I see something and try to discern whose opinion could be the most valid in a given situation with all of the data I have accumulated — or I try to perceive how much more data I need to acquire in order to see something clearly apart from my own bias. I never assume my own belief is correct because I had been told for so many years that I am always wrong. Only by collecting mounds of data and analyzing it via experience can I begin to see where my perception is correct or incorrect and therefore, what I need to do or learn to see the most clearly. Because Aspie’s are often bullied, as was true in my case, the fear of being wrong still lives deep within me, and so I never assume something — I always examine it.
The stereotype that most people with ASDs do not feel or are cold isn’t true. We can feel quite deeply, in fact, but often do not understand how to process these emotions. I saw this over and over in my work with kids with Autism over the years. For me, this meant not being able to integrate my mind and my soul until much later in life. I knew what I felt and I knew what I had observed cognitively, but I did not know how to get the two to get along. That, at least in my case, is what caused me to not be able to understand people, their words, emotions, or intentions, as is often said of those on the spectrum. My initiation into intuition, though, as I detail in my book, forced me to reconcile what I felt and what I saw. That huge divide suddenly inched closer together until they integrated into one confluent experience. I learned that the belief there was something wrong with me was incorrect — I learned that people lie!
It sounds ridiculous but I’ve heard friends and family of those with Autism explain it this way: you can tell someone on the spectrum the reasons why they should eat garbage and they might believe you. It’s not because they’re stupid; it’s because they’re so trusting. I was so naive to the fact that people lie to cover up their egos that I believed I was wrong about everything I felt and observed. Only when I began channeling information about the ego and subconscious mind did my awkwardness suddenly make sense. I didn’t understand people because what I felt emoting off of them was in opposition to what they were telling me, because that is what the ego does. That was the big secret I had been left out of. I wasn’t wrong; I was seeing too much truth and their egos didn’t like that. I suspect this is true for many on the spectrum. As I say in my book: it’s not that you’re wrong in your perception; it’s that you’re used to being told that you are wrong!
I have also observed that the deeper I went into my personal trauma, the fewer episodes of “I’m going to die” from sensory overload I experienced. Before I knew that I had trauma — or the extent of it — I felt like I was in a constant “fog” of being overstimulated — or trying to avoid becoming overstimulated by the noises, people, obligations, and chatter around me. I wanted to be around people but just couldn’t seem to make it work for longer than short stints. The raucous conversations, the steady stream of visual stimuli, and the unpredictable nature of others drove me into extreme anxiety because I didn’t know how to anticipate or process it. Once I started the lengthy process of deconstructing my trauma, that fog of confusion, disorientation, and fatigue lifted. I still get overstimulated easily and experience anxiety in circumstances others would consider easy, but now I know it won’t kill me and I can get through it so I avoid it less and less.
My point is, there are many layers to intuition. And there are many ways to be an intuitive. Some of us were driven into it because the world we were born into doesn’t make sense. Some were born without understanding the monkey brain (aka ego) and had to learn about it along the way. Some have always perceived the truth but were talked out of it. In any case, there is always more room to learn from this crazy world and become more solid in your trust of yourself, your higher self, and your higher power.