Aspergers And Extremes/Polar Opposites

The idea for this post came from a meeting I had at work recently. I have been having regular meetings with someone from the Training department to help me improve the way that I manage my colleagues when I am the most senior person on shift (I struggle with being assertive). The last time we met, it was to go through the results of a Myers Briggs personality screening questionnaire that I had taken in order to gain a better insight into which management style is best for me.

When this person showed me my results, they actually said that my scores in 3 out of the 4 categories tested were some of the highest they had ever seen with me scoring 49 out of 60 on the Introversion Section, 47 on the Sensing Section and a massive 55 out of 60 on the Judging Section. For anyone who is interested in the test and which attributes it measures, you can Google it. I did find it very interesting. The only area in which my dominance was a lot lower was in the Thinking versus Feeling section and, between us, we ended up working out that I am actually an INFJ rather than an INTJ. I had to resort to writing out the key personality traits of both and counting which one I scored higher in which my assessor found very amusing and proof of how logical I am.

In some respects, my high scores weren’t exactly a surprise to me, particularly the Judging one as the questions on there were all about how you cope with change and whether you like to plan ahead or leave things to chance. Basically it seemed pretty much like a lot of the screening questions you find on Aspergers tests so it wasn’t a surprise for me that I came out as scoring so highly on that one. The Introversion score did surprise me but I guess that was probably down to my own pre judgement of how a typical introvert behaves. I don’t see myself as highly introverted because I do like chatting and spending time with friends and family. However, my assessor explained that a lot of what makes someone introverted is whether they re energise by being alone or by being around other people. This made more sense to me. I like spending time with people who are close to me but, after a while, it does become draining and I need a few hours rest to re energise. I have always been happy in my own company, reading my Kindle, going on the Internet or just thinking. I have never understood why some people feel the need to be around other people all the time.Perhaps these are the people who score just as highly on the opposite end of the scale.

Following this meeting, I began thinking about my high scores. It occurred to me that actually, in my opinion, Aspergers lends itself to extremes. This is based from my own experiences and discussions I have read and participated in on Aspergers forums. The Aspergers stereotype that a lot of people still believe in as the only type of person with AS there is is someone who is highly introverted and does not seek out interaction with anybody. This is an extreme personality type (and actually there are very, very few people in this world, autistic or not, who have no desire for company or friendship). On the other end of the Introversion/Extroversion spectrum, there are people with Aspergers who are extremely extroverted and sociable but struggle to make and keep friends because of their weak social skills. There are, of course, people in the middle but my opinion is that, generally, people with Aspergers tend to be drawn to either end of the personality type spectrum. Perhaps this is why so many of us are so strong willed and determined and why so many of us are so passionate about injustice. A lot of people with Aspergers tend to be strong (sometimes overbearing) personalities and maybe the fact that most of us would score extremely highly in whatever personality type we end up being explains why we can find it hard to tolerate our polar opposites. I struggle to deal with people who are extreme extroverts-if I am in close contact with them for a period of more than around an hour, it gets to the stage where the sound of their voice makes my stomach churn. I feel bad because I know it’s just the way they are but I just cannot tolerate them. Similarly, I cannot tolerate working or living with people who are disorganised and want to just take life as it comes without making plans (although I can cope with these people more than I can with extroverts). I like everything to be in the correct order and position and I like everything to be planned in advance. I am extremely logical in the way I do things and like to see things written down rather than trying to work through them in my head.

What really fascinated me was that a highly observed personality trait in those who are INFJ is a tendency to “catastrophise” minor mistakes and problems. This is something I do a lot and I always considered it to be a distressing aspect of my Aspergers. I was amazed to find out that there are potentially lots of people out there having the same issue, whether they are on the spectrum or not. Or maybe the INTJ and the INFJ personality types are primarily formed of people with Aspergers. I guess it lends a certain amount of credence to the theory that Aspergers is just an extreme personality type. However, I guess what makes us different from the other people who share these personality types and aren’t on the spectrum is the frequency and high scoring of the traits along with the other areas that are involved in Aspergers such as the sensory issues and the communication issues.

Overall, my result was fascinating and incredibly insightful. It made me realise why I work the way I do and why I seem to have such a low tolerance for people who are the polar opposite of me, even though they may be fantastic people. I know a lot of people have issues with personality screenings for various reasons but it really helped me and perhaps this post may help other people understand why a lot of people with Aspergers tend to be extreme personality types.

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One Response to Aspergers And Extremes/Polar Opposites

  1. vontoast says:

    I just did the test and I am INFJ too. I also find it hard to be around loud extroverted people. It feels like they are draining my energy. I do admire their energy levels though but wouldn’t choose to be like them or near them for too long.
    I will read up more about me. Thanks for the direction to look. 🙂

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