Is it an autistic trait to block out people?

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Johnq
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22 Aug 2012, 7:34 am

For some reason I seem to have this defense mechanism or extreme fear of commitment. But it seems to go deeper than that, it's not something I have control over and not something I desire; it's something I fight against.

Like with my sister, things all the sudden became awkward (with me I'm sure) and we didn't talk for 15 years. Now we might exchange an email once every few months. Same with my dad. My mom is the only person I talk to.

It's like even if I meet a new friend soon I distance myself and then all the sudden there is a wall of ice around them and I disappear from them completely. It seems to be AS related to some degree because the inability to make eye contact especially with family members and people I've known from the past is there. With my doctor for example I can hold eye contact for a second, then look away for a few seconds then struggle to hold it for another second just to try and show I'm listening and not being rude.

I really hate blocking people out. Does this make me a self-centered person? If so, how do I change it? If it's AS related can therapy help?

Also I can't say the word "love" outloud. And saying "thank you" and "sorry" are so hard to get out I almost studder. It's like any word that has to do with deep emotion my brain doesn't want me to say. And with relationships when anything get's beyond a casual friend I block them out. Part of it might be because sometimes I need to be alone and old friends never understood that. I remember friends complaining I wouldn't answer my phone when they called (now I realize it's the AS that keeps me off the phone). So it's like any relationship is going to be eventually made awkward by my quirks so I distance myself. And now I'm to the point where I stay in an apartment all day and have to take meds and build up courage just to go to the grocery store.

This is something I have pondered over for many years and never fully figured out. I want to love others, but it's hard to know how to turn on that light switch and turn off these defense mechanisms or whatever they are.

Sometimes I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle of Aspergers and classical autism. It feels like I have more intense symptoms/traits that keep me from living than people with Aspergers I've talked to. I mean I can't talk on the phone and can't talk in public. I can't be in a room that has a person to square foot ratio beyond a certain point. I have a hard time focusing on things, my mind is always racing (I'm also bi-polar, so it's all a big mess).

I just wish I could get some good news or hope that things will get better and not worse.

In a few hours I go to the neurologist to see if I have a genetic nerve disorder that causes my forearms and fingers to stop working at random times. Doctor said it's 99% that I have it from what he's seen the past 8 months (for 4 months I had no use of my hands, bi-lateral neuropathy). And now my right arm is going bad again.

I'm just really upset about everything. And I have no one to talk to about this stuff. And I feel like I must be a bad person to block people out like that.



NateRiver
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22 Aug 2012, 8:00 am

Johnq wrote:
For some reason I seem to have this defense mechanism or extreme fear of commitment. But it seems to go deeper than that, it's not something I have control over and not something I desire; it's something I fight against.

Like with my sister, things all the sudden became awkward (with me I'm sure) and we didn't talk for 15 years. Now we might exchange an email once every few months. Same with my dad. My mom is the only person I talk to.

It's like even if I meet a new friend soon I distance myself and then all the sudden there is a wall of ice around them and I disappear from them completely. It seems to be AS related to some degree because the inability to make eye contact especially with family members and people I've known from the past is there. With my doctor for example I can hold eye contact for a second, then look away for a few seconds then struggle to hold it for another second just to try and show I'm listening and not being rude.

I really hate blocking people out. Does this make me a self-centered person? If so, how do I change it? If it's AS related can therapy help?

Also I can't say the word "love" outloud. And saying "thank you" and "sorry" are so hard to get out I almost studder. It's like any word that has to do with deep emotion my brain doesn't want me to say. And with relationships when anything get's beyond a casual friend I block them out. Part of it might be because sometimes I need to be alone and old friends never understood that. I remember friends complaining I wouldn't answer my phone when they called (now I realize it's the AS that keeps me off the phone). So it's like any relationship is going to be eventually made awkward by my quirks so I distance myself. And now I'm to the point where I stay in an apartment all day and have to take meds and build up courage just to go to the grocery store.

This is something I have pondered over for many years and never fully figured out. I want to love others, but it's hard to know how to turn on that light switch and turn off these defense mechanisms or whatever they are.

Sometimes I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle of Aspergers and classical autism. It feels like I have more intense symptoms/traits that keep me from living than people with Aspergers I've talked to. I mean I can't talk on the phone and can't talk in public. I can't be in a room that has a person to square foot ratio beyond a certain point. I have a hard time focusing on things, my mind is always racing (I'm also bi-polar, so it's all a big mess).

I just wish I could get some good news or hope that things will get better and not worse.

In a few hours I go to the neurologist to see if I have a genetic nerve disorder that causes my forearms and fingers to stop working at random times. Doctor said it's 99% that I have it from what he's seen the past 8 months (for 4 months I had no use of my hands, bi-lateral neuropathy). And now my right arm is going bad again.

I'm just really upset about everything. And I have no one to talk to about this stuff. And I feel like I must be a bad person to block people out like that.



Anxiety?



Somberlain
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22 Aug 2012, 8:25 am

Johnq wrote:
It's like even if I meet a new friend soon I distance myself and then all the sudden there is a wall of ice around them and I disappear from them completely. It seems to be AS related to some degree because the inability to make eye contact especially with family members and people I've known from the past is there. With my doctor for example I can hold eye contact for a second, then look away for a few seconds then struggle to hold it for another second just to try and show I'm listening and not being rude.

I really hate blocking people out. Does this make me a self-centered person? If so, how do I change it? If it's AS related can therapy help?

Also I can't say the word "love" outloud. And saying "thank you" and "sorry" are so hard to get out I almost studder. It's like any word that has to do with deep emotion my brain doesn't want me to say. And with relationships when anything get's beyond a casual friend I block them out. Part of it might be because sometimes I need to be alone and old friends never understood that. I remember friends complaining I wouldn't answer my phone when they called (now I realize it's the AS that keeps me off the phone). So it's like any relationship is going to be eventually made awkward by my quirks so I distance myself. And now I'm to the point where I stay in an apartment all day and have to take meds and build up courage just to go to the grocery store.

This is something I have pondered over for many years and never fully figured out. I want to love others, but it's hard to know how to turn on that light switch and turn off these defense mechanisms or whatever they are.


Omg. I was about to post something very similar to this. I feel so... *unnatural* while saying ''love'', ''thank you'' etc. I even hate songs using the word ''love'', I find them... disgraceful. I also have invisible walls. I feel very uncomfortable around people and feel confused about what to say or how to behave.

Maybe this has some neurological basis. I have a different problem in my hand. I have tremors in my left hands fingers (especially my pinky finger).

So, I also wonder the source of these problems. Can these be AS related, or is it about anxiety? Or alexithymia? I am really confused.


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You scored 124 aloof, 121 rigid and 95 pragmatic.

English is not my native language. 1000th edit, here I come.


Last edited by Somberlain on 22 Aug 2012, 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Johnq
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22 Aug 2012, 8:50 am

That is interesting. I've never heard of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia before but I sure seem to have it.

Man, it's like peeling an onion with all these symptoms and odd traits.

I do feel like anxiety is a part of it, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and general anxiety years before finding out it was all connected to the autism spectrum. It is confusing putting a label on each thing because there are so many things.

Well that's 2 of us on this forum that have the issue of those words. I can't stand it either when "love" is said on TV. And it does bother me that I seem to have much more emotion towards my dog than any person. It's just like I don't connect with people and there is never any bond formed that leads to emotions.

I think I'm capable of emotions though, but for sure I'm emotionally deficit to some degree.



Johnq
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22 Aug 2012, 8:57 am

I'm glad you mentioned that word, reading about it is helping me understand why I do block people out. 85% of people on the spectrum have it!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia - a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions.

Alexithymia frequently co-occurs with other disorders, with a representative prevalence of 85% in autism spectrum disorders,[5][28] 40% in posttraumatic stress disorder,[29] 63% in anorexia nervosa, 56% in bulimia,[30] 45% in major depressive disorder,[13] 34% in panic disorder,[31] and 50% in substance abusers.

Alexithymia is defined by:
difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal
difficulty describing feelings to other people
constricted imaginal processes, as evidenced by a scarcity of fantasies
a stimulus-bound, externally oriented cognitive style.

Ok, so now how to address this?

http://www.angelfire.com/al4/alexithymia/

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Treating ... 3793.shtml

Are there any self-help techniques?
The following is a provisional list of self help guidelines (proposed by Triton).

"Recognise Alex. Don't ignore it.
Don't try to correct failures by punishment or contempt.
Negotiate a 'co-supportive' relationship with a 'non-alex' person (e.g. therapist, friend, partner).
Cultivate a keener sense of other people's emotional needs judging by their verbal and physical cues.
Learn the BIGGEST repertoire of "appropriate" feeling responses you can, based on cues from others, and use them, even if they feel automated or phoney. This will get you through to your old age with the least amount of damage to yourself from mistakes.
Take time and patience to learn how to recognize and name your own emotional/feeling states.
Be wary of friends bearing common-sense advice: such suggestions are usually intended for people with a normal range of feelings and emotions, and may not be relevant to alexithymia."



whirlingmind
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22 Aug 2012, 12:20 pm

Johnq wrote:
For some reason I seem to have this defense mechanism or extreme fear of commitment. But it seems to go deeper than that, it's not something I have control over and not something I desire; it's something I fight against.

Like with my sister, things all the sudden became awkward (with me I'm sure) and we didn't talk for 15 years. Now we might exchange an email once every few months. Same with my dad. My mom is the only person I talk to.

It's like even if I meet a new friend soon I distance myself and then all the sudden there is a wall of ice around them and I disappear from them completely. It seems to be AS related to some degree because the inability to make eye contact especially with family members and people I've known from the past is there. With my doctor for example I can hold eye contact for a second, then look away for a few seconds then struggle to hold it for another second just to try and show I'm listening and not being rude.

I really hate blocking people out. Does this make me a self-centered person? If so, how do I change it? If it's AS related can therapy help?

Also I can't say the word "love" outloud. And saying "thank you" and "sorry" are so hard to get out I almost studder. It's like any word that has to do with deep emotion my brain doesn't want me to say. And with relationships when anything get's beyond a casual friend I block them out. Part of it might be because sometimes I need to be alone and old friends never understood that. I remember friends complaining I wouldn't answer my phone when they called (now I realize it's the AS that keeps me off the phone). So it's like any relationship is going to be eventually made awkward by my quirks so I distance myself. And now I'm to the point where I stay in an apartment all day and have to take meds and build up courage just to go to the grocery store.

This is something I have pondered over for many years and never fully figured out. I want to love others, but it's hard to know how to turn on that light switch and turn off these defense mechanisms or whatever they are.

Sometimes I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle of Aspergers and classical autism. It feels like I have more intense symptoms/traits that keep me from living than people with Aspergers I've talked to. I mean I can't talk on the phone and can't talk in public. I can't be in a room that has a person to square foot ratio beyond a certain point. I have a hard time focusing on things, my mind is always racing (I'm also bi-polar, so it's all a big mess).

I just wish I could get some good news or hope that things will get better and not worse.

In a few hours I go to the neurologist to see if I have a genetic nerve disorder that causes my forearms and fingers to stop working at random times. Doctor said it's 99% that I have it from what he's seen the past 8 months (for 4 months I had no use of my hands, bi-lateral neuropathy). And now my right arm is going bad again.

I'm just really upset about everything. And I have no one to talk to about this stuff. And I feel like I must be a bad person to block people out like that.


I don't think it makes you a self centred person, I'm the same anyway. I don't think you can change how you feel. I always feel people are so fake when they are constantly kissing and hugging and saying that they love each other and the worst is putting little kisses (xx) at the end of emails and texts, when sometimes you barely know them and even never met them. I think it's down to the literal way people with AS are, pretence doesn't come easily. For instance, I just sent my brother a text, it was factual, not at all 'luvvy dovey' and he replied with little kisses and smiley faces on his. Obviously when you really love people it's not hard to say it, like I say it easily to my children. Remembering to say please and thank you is certainly something children on the spectrum need to be taught because the reciprocity is lacking in the condition, so it could easily carry on to adulthood.

It might be that not letting yourself get too close to people, is to avoid the situation where once you become really friendly you have to get involved in that whole invitations to socialise thing, talking on the phone, and remembering to send birthday cards and other such stuff. I think there is definitely an element of that with me.

I don't think it necessarily means that you are more severely autistic, just that many people with AS develop social phobias due to the problems inherent in friendships and the expections socially generally, and it causes anxiety (which is hence co-morbid).

I hate talking on the phone to anyone. Even my friend that I've known since the age of 8, we always stick to the same two topics 99% of the time. I find phoning the doctor unbearable.

It's really hard, but don't convince yourself that you have something worse than you have because that will just feed your anxiety. You are not alone in all these feelings.


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