Aspies are lacking in emotional attachment? A few thoughts.

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bnky
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04 May 2012, 7:22 am

emotional attachment...
I still get upset thinking about my favourite t-shirt that was stolen around about the time my father died
:?



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04 May 2012, 7:45 am

UnLoser wrote:
It's generally accepted that Aspies have a more difficult time forming emotional bonds and attachments with people(I think). For me, personally, I know I'm capable of forming close bonds, but perhaps not to the extent that NT's do.


With regards myself, I would agree with this statement 100%. I look at others around me (whether it be at work or out and about with friends) and people seem to form friendship bonds a lot quicker on the whole than what I do. I would like to do it to the same extent but am worried about saying the wrong things or upsetting people. I also don't pick up on certain social cues very well (but hey don't the vast majority of us have problems with this?), hence I am quite happy to take things a little slower if it means people appreciate me for who I am instead of me, say, trying too hard and then coming across as shallow or something. I also wait a good while before letting anyone know that I have an autistic spectrum disorder so that certain stereotypical views can not be made before getting to know me as I found in the past.

UnLoser wrote:
Although I love them, I think I probably wouldn't cry if one my parents were to die. It's not like I can know exactly how I'll feel when the time eventually comes, but that's the feeling I have. Does that mean I'm less emotionally attached to them?


I don't think it means you are less attached to them, not everyone cries when people die. People express sadness and grief in many different ways. Personally though, I think I would cry if my parents died. My fiance's mother died in November and I cried then and I hadn't known her that long. Also, because she was Chinese (Cantonese) and could not speak English, I couldn't really get to know her that well. I think it may have been my fiance's reaction (he was obviously devastated and cried a lot) that was part of the reason why I cried because it upset me to see him so hurt. But as you point out, you don't know until it happens.

UnLoser wrote:
Also, I can't say that I've ever really had a crush. I certainly have been attracted to some girls, but I've never felt the attachment that goes with a "crush". The funny thing is, I've had a couple crushes on fictional characters. I wonder if this is simply the result of me being isolated and not really getting to know any real girls, or if this means that I have a reduced tendency for emotional attachment to people in general(but somehow don't have the same problem with fictional characters).


In this, I am the opposite in that I used to develop crushes (or should I say I used to become infatuated) on people (usually guys). I don't really get them anymore as I am a bit older now, but I used to get them a lot when I was a teenager.


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Walker545
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04 May 2012, 7:53 am

for me i have an extremely difficult time talking with others because i cant pick up social cues and my complete lack of emotion ive been called heartless even evil because of my thinking and inability to care about things that upset normal people



MiatheMutant
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04 May 2012, 10:46 am

Verdandi wrote:
I was only talking about family. One of my foster sisters was murdered when I was in high school, and I would say that she was one of my favorite people. My grandparents, all four of them, eventually. I didn't cry. I didn't really feel anything that I could identify, but I will say I didn't feel good about it. I am sure all of these affected me, but I can't explain how I did feel, because I didn't understand it.

Pets, though? Great big sobbing hysterics, that's me.


Yep, that's me too. One of my dogs is getting up there in age with a plethora of health problems so we're going to have to put her down soon. I've had her for more than half of my life and I don't remember life without her. I'm going to be an absolute mess for at least a month. :cry:


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brickmack
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04 May 2012, 7:18 pm

I don't often get attached to people (though when I do its VERY strong), but I do seem to get attached a lot to fictional characters and pets. Several people in my family have died in the last few years and I hardly cared aside from having to make an excuse why I couldn't attend the funerals (I don't care how much I like someone, I hate funerals). when my cat died, I didn't get out of bed for 3 days. Same when the 11th doctor "died" on Doctor Who.



falonsayswoah
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04 May 2012, 8:54 pm

Verdandi wrote:
I haven't cried when people died. I used to feel like there was something wrong with me about that, especially as losing a pet makes me completely fall apart.


When my cousin was pronounced brain dead (I was told she died, though), I didn't cry. She ended up miraculously coming back after hours of no brain activity, but this is just a recent example of my reaction to death... or lack of a reaction, I guess. My great grandma passed away in December and again I didn't cry. I didn't cry when my great grandpa died either. I don't cry at funerals. It's not that I'm not sad about it... I just don't cry. I'd like to think I'll cry when either of my parents die, or my grandparents, but I really don't know how I'll react.

I don't cry as a reaction to real life deaths (so far), yet I cry every time I watch My Girl, when one of my cats died, and I even cried over my grandma getting a new TV once. It's something I've always felt pretty weird about.


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04 May 2012, 9:41 pm

I didn't cry when my grandmothers died, either. The first time, when I was 11, I remember being told and not knowing how to react. I thought "I probably should be crying, but I don't feel like it. They're probably expecting me to cry. Should I try to cry?! Hmm, no, I'd better not. Oh, I know! I'll just go to my room without a word. I think that might be acceptable under the circumstances. And when I'm alone there I don't have to worry about what they expect me to do."

That didn't quite work, though: one of the adults then came by, presumably to "comfort" me and when I rejected that she went back and reported to the others "he's crying". I was not crying at any point, so I spent the rest of the day outraged that she would not only make such an assumption, but actually state it out loud to others! Well, alternating between that and trying to figure out what this means for me and why I'm not more upset than I am.

I've heard, though, that it's not uncommon in general for people to feel guilty about not feeling upset enough about someone dying. So it may not just be an Aspie thing.



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04 May 2012, 10:08 pm

When my sister was murdered, my father told me when I got home. I had no idea how to respond or even whether to believe him. I honestly thought for a moment that he was just saying it to see how I'd react. I just went up to my room to deal with it, because I felt like I should do something but didn't know what to do. I don't recall that the thought of crying crossed my mind.

Anyway, I was in my room sitting on my bed trying to process the information and make sense of it, and my mother came in, hugged me, and cried. I hated touch then even more than now, but I let her do it anyway because of the situation. I still didn't cry, though.

When my paternal grandmother died, I wanted to stay home from school because I didn't know how to react, and my father accused me of wanting to use it as an excuse to not go to school. I wonder if he thought that because I didn't show any emotional reaction - but I rarely showed much emotion.

When my maternal grandfather died, I went to the funeral. Also spent several days at the hospital. At the time I was living with my maternal grandparents, and so it was easier to be there. I didn't mind being around him or them. Before he got so sick he had to be hospitalized, I was helping him with things like his insulin injections (I learned how to give shots in high school biology, and was able to do pretty well with him). I didn't cry, but people seem to accept that I was sad. At that point, however, my father was out of my family's life.

When my maternal grandmother was dying, I helped care for her as well. It was after I moved in with my family several years ago, and she lived here as well. As she got worse, relatives started showing up unannounced, and while I didn't feel any emotions about this, I found it extremely difficult to cope with people showing up unannounced (something I've never been good at, but it was a lot worse), so I stayed in my room and played Mass Effect - which was my grandmother's last Christmas gift to me. I also had a lot of dreams about her while she was dying. This was also when I first seriously considered that I might be autistic.

I used to feel unpleasant things about my reaction to human death, but I don't anymore. I've learned and accepted that everyone deals with grief in their own way and there is no one single correct way to experience or express it.



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04 May 2012, 10:22 pm

I have strong emotional attachments with people, and I would be eggstremely sad and cry a lot if anything happened to any of my loved ones.



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05 May 2012, 1:44 am

I seem to form quick and obesessive attachments to people and go on an emotional rollercoaster of up and down moods depending on how well interactions go with them. I get the impression I don't have a stable sense of self so I attach to another person to give me one and then what they do affects me far more than it should. My identity boundaries seem to merge with those of the other person to an extent and I seem to try and control them almost as if they are partly me. Whatever it is it's messed up and I often feel my emotions are being dragged all over the place by the other person and I feel alot of emotional pain and anger as a result but they aren't able to relate to it as my attachment isn't the normal type so they just think I'm being over-dramatic/childish/nasty etc. ie their experience of our interaction differs greatly from my own. It's like they will do something and it will be as if emotionally they have hit me physically but to them they either don't think they've done anything wrong or that it's no big deal ie they think Im over-reacting but I feel what I feel. I'm over-sensitive in the extreme in other words.

I don't think I have Aspergers; more like some kind of histrionic thing or something. I can't work out if it's me not trying hard enough to be more self-controlled or if given my personality type/life experiences I'm fighting a losing battle against it all and should just accept this is how I am and try and explain it to people.

I think when a person dies there is a certain amount of people showing emotion 'because it's the done thing' ie they can show it even if they aren't that bothered the person has died ie they can 'cry to order'. I can't do this - so I will be sad a person has died but whether I cry or not will depend on my exact mood at the time - I can't summon up tears to order lke most people seem able to do as I don't have that much control over my emotions. What is strange is that on the way to my Nan's funeral some years ago I was crying and my Uncle asked me if I was alright as if me crying was disturbing him and I thought 'it's a
f-king funeral! we're on the way there in the funeral car - if ever there was an 'apropriate' time for crying it's right this moment! so why on earth is he acting like Im doing something out of the ordinary/weird/over-emotional??' Things like that puzzle and annoy me. Was it because the'appropriate' place for the tears was in the actual church serivice? This shows to be that most people CAN summon up tears to order as he seemed to see it as strange/out of place for me to cry like this on the way there.
To me the whole day is sad so a person could potentially cry at any time but I think for the majority there is a set time period for the crying then they switch it off and enjoy the buffet aferwards which to me seems exceedingly callous but seems to be the norm from what I have observed at funerals.



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05 May 2012, 3:15 am

I dont think I feel emotional attachment to people, I dont love anyone.


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05 May 2012, 5:20 am

I cried for a few minutes when my Dad died, but that was it. I even went to school the next day.

A few hours after my father's funeral I went to my high school's production of Hello Dolly!, which is now my favourite movie.



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05 May 2012, 7:49 am

Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts, it’s very helpful. I’m curious to understand.

For those who said they love their partner/family member but wouldn’t be sad if he/she died, when you wonder how it would affect your life, can you imagine a situation where you feel a longing to see or be with that person?

Do you imagine how you’d feel if that longing or desire to be with that person was never able to ever be fulfilled again? This is the main reason I’m totally distressed when someone close to me dies. I have fond images in my head of them alive and animated and seeing/being with them. When I think of someone I love, I can picture their mannerisms, smile, things they’ve said or done etc. When they die, I know I'll never experience that being with them again.


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nomadder
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05 May 2012, 7:57 am

I have another question about attachment to fictional characters but not real people.

Do you think you can get more attached to the fictional character because of the format where you learn about them. A book presents a character in depth, dramatizes traits, etc – you have such a clear picture or feel for that fictional character without any of the inconsistencies and interactional issues of real people.

So does that clarity perhaps allow you to feel more attached? Because you 'know' the fictional character and can understand the character better than a real person?


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05 May 2012, 8:10 am

nomadder wrote:
Do you imagine how you’d feel if that longing or desire to be with that person was never able to ever be fulfilled again? This is the main reason I’m totally distressed when someone close to me dies. I have fond images in my head of them alive and animated and seeing/being with them. When I think of someone I love, I can picture their mannerisms, smile, things they’ve said or done etc. When they die, I know I'll never experience that being with them again.


The idea of this with regards to some people completely freaks me out to think about.

I wouldn't say that I'm not sad when family members die. I just can't explain what I feel.