A lot of neurotypicals(normal people) think having autism means you don't have feelings. This is one of the most common stereotypes about autistic people and it's far from the truth. Someone on the spectrum does feel, but he/she expresses it in a different way than most people do. In this article, I'm going to clear things up about the relationship between autism and the ability to feel. Someone has to do it and because I'm autistic myself, I think I'm the perfect candidate for this job.
Empathy & Sympathy
There's a lot of information about this subject available on the internet, but most of it is difficult to understand. You don't have to worry about that though, because I'm going to explain how autistic people feel as simple as possible.
So let's begin. A lot of people think autistic people are unsympathetic and unempathetic, which isn't true. Someone with autism has the ability to feel empathy and sympathy, it's just that he/she lacks the social communication skills to express them. Don't get me wrong, not everyone on the spectrum is very bad at social interactions, but most of them are at some degree.
The term "social communication" is a bit wide, so let's get deeper into that. Social communication means, in this case, reading other people's faces and their body language. An Autistic person has problems with discovering if there's something wrong with, for example, their friend. Luckily, reading others is a skill which can be taught.
You can see me as the living proof of that. I used to have a hard time reading others, but after some years of life experience, I've gotten a lot better at it. I'm not saying I'm now some kind of social expert, but I've made a lot of progress.
Autism & Love
Some people think autistic people don't have the ability to love, which is not true at all. I admit that asexuality is more common among people with autism than neurotypicals. On the other side, those on the spectrum who aren't asexual, or something like that, usually love more intensely than normal people.
You're probably wondering "why is that?" and luckily for you, I got the answer. Autistic people think in black and white, which means they really love someone, or they don't. There are a few exceptions, like always, but this is usually how an autistic brain works.
This "it's one, or the other" way of thinking is also the reason why obsessive behavior is more common among those on the spectrum than among neurotypicals. On the bright side, it's also the reason why most autistic people are really good at things they love doing.
Autism & Anger
Autistic people do feel anger and I know all about it. I'm pretty good at controlling my anger, but sometimes I have a meltdown. Don't get me wrong, I don't start screaming randomly while attacking everything I can reach, but I do become angry, annoyed and stressed.
Some people on the spectrum have more extreme meltdowns than me and some don't even have meltdowns, so let's take me as the average. We react this way not because we want attention or something like that, our meltdown is just our body telling ourselves and the people around us it's being overwhelmed.
This overstimulation can have a few causes like being in a situation which requires a lot of social interaction. By doing those kinds of things, autistic people are getting so stressed they eventually have a meltdown, to get it all out.
It's a lot of information I gave you in this article and I thought it would be useful to summarize everything you've just read. So let's begin with that.
Autistic people do feel, they just express it in a different way than neurotypicals do. People on the spectrum also have the ability to be sympathetic and empathetic, factors like having problems with reading others are the reason why it sometimes looks like someone with autism lacks those two abilities. Therefore, it's important to always try to understand why an autistic person behaves as he/she does.
Just like every feeling, autistic people also have the ability to fall in love and to get angry. When someone on the spectrum falls in love, he/she usually loves very intensely. When someone on the spectrum gets angry, it usually results in a meltdown. How extreme the meltdown is, depends on how angry the autistic person is and how much he/she is able to control it.
So in short, autistic people do feel. It's just that their brain works in a different way, a unique one. I personally think this is a good thing, but I also acknowledge the cons of having "a different operating system". It's the job of everyone on the spectrum to use their autism to thrive, which is more than possible.