When we see lists of autistic traits, they seem separate and unrelated to each other. Since analyzing being autistic is one of my favorite pastimes, I have found that to not be the case. They are all connected to each other and influence each other. Some are cause and effect while others are simply related or go together. For eg: sensory sensitivities for me cause alexithymia which causes missing social cues which causes anxiety which can cause meltdowns which impact my need for routine and predictability and on and on. I can pick any trait and link it back to affecting so many other ways I think and act as an autistic person. There is a string connecting them all. For example, to prove this theory of connectedness and relatedness, let’s look at alexithymia.
I have alexithymia which literally means “no words for feelings” but the experience is that I do have feelings all of the time, it’s just confusing to me what exactly I am feeling. This experience, to have alexithymia, doesn’t just stand on its own. It also affects how I make decisions because, since I don’t know how I feel a lot of the time, I have had to figure out a workaround to make the right decisions for myself. My workaround generally is to learn everything I can about something including other people’s opinions until I find one I resonate with that essentially mirrors back to me what I actually was feeling and then I am able to make a decision.
And how is this connected to other autistic traits? Well, because I am researching things all of the time to figure out how I feel about them, I have a bunch of random facts and knowledge that I tend to infodump (autistic trait) and become overwhelmed by. I also tend to only want to talk about topics I have already discovered my feelings about which can come off as rigid or that I am a know-it-all. I also tend to communicate about topics in a very loose and not committal way because I may not even know how I feel about it which can be off-putting to others because I seem aloof or holier-than-thou.