This is something I've always puzzled over... even back as a child. Yet, I've only recently begun to get curious as to whether it's an autistic thing, or just me. So, who better to ask than you wonderfully resourceful individuals?!
It concerns the idea of 'me'. Constantly looking out at NT's, it's always struck me as odd the complete, utter and rigid faith they have in their own sense of self. They say such things as:
"I'm a right character me!"
"I'm a good person."
"I deserve more... I deserve that promotion / marriage / expensive car etc"
"I want a baby"
"I'm confident / intelligent / switched on / funny etc"
For me, individuals are all things at some point in their ever-fluctuating lives. But for NT's they seem to feel whatever they're saying or self-identifying with as absolute, irrefutable concrete 'truth'. They seem to posses a sense of self and inner confidence that I both fear and envy.
A good example of this is their names. I of course have a name. But, whilst I use the name 'Evan' for forms and social interaction, it's never felt like 'me'. To me, it's an label used for convenience, but I don't feel attached to it. Yet discussing this with friends, the topic came up because of one transgendered person who changed their first name, so I asked if the cis-gendered NT's would ever consider the same. They seemed completely aghast and affronted by the idea of changing their first names. Several of them admitted to disliking their given name, but said "... but it's still me!" They disliked the name that was randomly assigned to them decades ago by a complete stranger (i.e. their parents they had only just met after being born), yet still saw that name as intrinsically 'them'. To me, that seemed strange. Personally, the name of 'Evan' is considered like a piece of clothing... a superficial layer. There's no significant attachment to my name. I honestly have no idea what my 'real' name is (maybe that's just the Buddhist in me talking).
Another thing that undermined this 'dissociation' of mine concerns being diagnosed as autistic. I really had no clue. Nearly four decades had passed on this sweet earth without my having the slightest inkling that I was autistic. So, receiving the diagnosis came as a devastating and utterly unexpected blow. Whilst I'm (slowly) coming to terms with that now, the longer-term negative effect is that it's completely undermined my sense of 'self' - of any assuredness or confidence in my own resources, traits or being. After all, who can be that stupid and naïve to have absolutely no idea they're autistic?! How can I claim any sense of self-ownership about any aspect of me when I didn't even know something so utterly profound? (and now, with hindsight and education, seems so blatantly obvious)
Ultimately, I don't know what my character is. I'm bemused by who I am. I don't trust my self identity. I question and double-guess everything I do. My real motivations make me suspicious of myself. I don't have any idea as to what my self worth is... what I inherently 'deserve'. I can't tell you (like others seem to) just what sort of person I'm attracted to. I have no ambitions or goals that I'm aware of (other than my habitual stress-evasion).
I am a complete mystery to myself.
So, I thought I'd check in with you fine guys n gals to see if anyone else experiences this 'schism'?
Do you know who you are?...
As I've mentioned before on other threads, whilst I have very strong views on many subjects, I don't really have a strong sense of myself as a coherent entity & most of the time feel more like an adaptive algorithm than a person. I have taught myself to blend in, even to the extend that it alters my disjointed sense of self, but am always conscious of doing so, i.e. I often catch my personality changing with different groups of people.
I agree with you entirely about names, they mean nothing really, just labels. Names are almost inconsequential when you will happily alter your identity, style of dress & appearance in order to better fit in with given scenarios. I have always felt like I am living my life one stage removed from most other people & frequently get that weird dissociation thing where it feels like you are watching yourself do things from a third person perspective, like a character in a video game.
My identity issues are probably why I like playing RPGs on my PS4 so much, i.e. I can adopt lots of different identities. Currently I play a lot of 'Elder Scrolls Online' where I have fifteen different characters, many of which arent even human.
Hopefully if it becomes available in my lifetime, I can become an early adopter for cyborg technology too. I find the whole subject of transhumanism both interesting & exciting. I've tried being human for 57 years with limited success, would love to have a go at something else now.
I know just what you mean... I don't feel any sort of strong, rigid, identifiable core 'self' that the NT's around me daily seem to express.
Rather, I feel like a vague, unidentifiable, gaseous cloud floating through a distant day-to-day life, wearing different masks from one moment to the next. Typically, this is in NT company, whereby my reward for adorning these different masks is that I pass through the quagmire of each social environment unseen.
I can definitely relate to that, the only difference is that each mask makes me feel noticeably different inside as well as out.
I much prefer the animation on this post as well, the original one with the 'White goo woman eating her own brain' was far too disturbing, I had to scroll it off the screen