Here’s a simple diagram that is inoffensive, and perhaps a good place to start when discussing how an Asperger human thinks about control.
“Outside of my control” causes distress in all humans; just think of the ways that people try to control what is outside of their control. This task falls into two arenas: other humans and Nature. That is, EVERYTHING, including the Laws of Nature. The inability to let go of the illusion that we are able to control that which one cannot control, might simply be identified as The Human Condition.
This is where “The Gods” come in handy: consolidate one’s fears, anxieties and obligations into one or more all-powerful beings who do control the “out of control” domain; let them take care of it all; please them and maybe they will postpone the inevitable disaster or send “the plagues and ruin” somewhere else.
But then, other humans become the focus of control; The Social Pyramid consumes all of reality.
In this, humans are peculiar: animal behavior is more Zen-like. Reactive, instinctive, opportunistic, habitual. “Stream of being” one might call it. Simple algorithms tested and proven by evolution. For humans this understanding of “flow” is incredibly difficult to achieve. Myriad spiritual practices attempt to teach people to learn some measure of letting go. Results? Pretty sketchy.
Let’s jump to “What you can control”. My cognition-heavy Asperger brain sees this as simple: Not Much – not that I’m a whiz at accepting this “low-ball” estimate. In everyday life it’s not practical; one must believe at times that one is in control or we’d never get out of bed in the morning. Asperger types are an extreme minority; a neurocomplex creature in an alien world. We must function in an alternative mind-space composed by and for social typical humans over which we have no control. This shifts the entire social complex into the “Outside my control” category, a situation that is terrifying, exhausting, and the generator of anxiety, depression and meltdowns. Unlike social typicals we have no consolidation of faith in “big imaginary person(s)” who look out for us in a treacherous social scheme; there are no Asperger gods. Aspergers may compensate by trying to “over” control the immediate environment; a place to make a stand against the onslaught of standards of behavior that simply make no sense to us, and which contradict in principle a natural guide to human happiness that is part of our “being” – the proper expression of the human animal within the context of Nature; if we claim to be reasonable creatures, then we ought to apply reason to our choices and decisions.
What I have learned is that what one does about one’s reactions to the environment (mind) can be moderated; emotions are not meant to be mistaken for identity or reality. Emotions are slivers of information that come and go: to define “who we are” by these ephemeral signals is a loss of control.
“What we can influence” is a tricky matter. Influence is an odd proposition fraught with unintended consequences – and we waste so much time and energy in a struggle to negotiate with the social world around us, a world that goes its way regardless of our perceptions.
Try to be authentic: then you can be satisfied that whatever influence you may have will come from honest intent.
Can as Asperger “mess up” by “over-thinking”? YES, but it’s not thinking per se; it’s overreliance on “verbal” thinking and not using “intuitive” thinking as the “end game”. Conscious analysis can lead to the “cliff” but novel patterns may require “jumping off” the cliff – intuition can be so powerful; learn to rely on this asset.
This is what most Asperger type children and adults hear (ad nauseum) from neurotypicals:
This is absurd: Problems aren’t created by thinking; problems are created by “not thinking”. This is another manifestation of the “magic word syndrome” If you say it, it will come true. Conversely, if you deny it, it doesn’t exist. A related bit of nonsense is that if you write down a “neurotypical solution” such as: We need to address racism, climate change and poverty, these “problems” will magically disappear. Abracadabra! NO THINKING OR FURTHER ACTION IS NECESSARY!
Neurotypical thinking is governed by social rules that are actually taught in schools to American children.
#1. Just don’t do it! We’ve thought about everything already; just do what we tell you to do. “Shut up; sit down; and repeat after me…”
#2. Avoid thinking at all cost; it’s hard and makes life too complicated. Life is simple. “What would Jesus, (or any authority figure) WANT ME to do?”
#3. People who “think” exist on some other plane of reality: they are abnormal, weird, strange, unpopular (unless they make a lot of money) and “geeky” – you can admire their accomplishments, but not their actual weird and possibly dangerous brains.
#4. Shut up, sit down and do as you are told: Obedience is better than thinking. Thinking is hard; it gives you a headache and makes you unhappy.
#5. You stupid idiot! Why don’t you think before doing something so dumb? Gotcha!