A point that Richard Reeves makes a couple of times in President Nixon: Alone in the White House is that Richard Nixon did not like people because he assumed that they were like him, with his deviousness and flaws. That made me wonder: Do I assume that other people are like me, and, if so, would that explain my dislike for a number of them?
At first, I doubted that I have enough empathy to think about what other people are feeling, and thus I would not really be contemplating whether or not they are like me. I think that it would be a gross mistake to maintain that I, or anyone with Asperger’s syndrome, lacks empathy altogether, for I can sympathize with people when they are going through good or bad times, since I remember how I felt when I was going through similar occasions. But I was wondering to what extent I sit around wondering what makes other people tick. There are many occasions when I see myself as a victim of other people, whom I believe are rejecting me, rather than trying to put myself in their shoes.
And yet, as I thought some more, I realized that there is a sense in which I do project my own flaws onto other people. I’m not the most accepting person in the world, and I tend to project that onto others. In a sense, I may be right, for many people are rather sparing in terms of their acceptance of others. But my hunch is that I tend to exaggerate the degree to which that exists in other people.