When did you learn communicate consistently your inner life?

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What age did you learn to CONSISTENTLY COMMUNICATE your internal thoughts/feelings/etc. (SEE FIRST MESSAGE)
0-3 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
4-7 10%  10%  [ 3 ]
8-11 10%  10%  [ 3 ]
12-15 7%  7%  [ 2 ]
16-18 14%  14%  [ 4 ]
19-22 24%  24%  [ 7 ]
23-29 7%  7%  [ 2 ]
30-39 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
40-49 7%  7%  [ 2 ]
50-59 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
60-69 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
70-79 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
80-89 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
90+ 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Other (explain) 14%  14%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 29

anbuend
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06 Dec 2010, 3:17 am

What age did you learn to consistently communicate your inner thoughts and feelings? I don't mean when you learned to speak/type/sign/etc. unless you learned both that and consistent communication of thoughts/feelings/experiences at once. Many if not most people seem to learn them roughly the same time so if that was you, this question may not make sense to you. But for people like me...

I learned the mechanics of speech sometime later than usual (after losing them) but not extremely late. I learned the mechanics of typing age nine in school. But I had a receptive language delay and other delays and missing instincts. So I could physically speak before I understood a word of language or even the purpose of it. Meaning sank in over time. I learned to use sensory patterns to simulate appropriate language without it necessarily communicating my thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Slowly I got at least some ability to do so but it would come and go and wasn't deliberate. It took meeting other autistic people who used language to say things like I might want to say, before I consistently worked out how to communicate my inner life -- thoughts, emotions, experience if the world.

For years I had known something major was missing but didn't know what or how to fix it until then. I was around 20 years old. I still am always learning new realms of communication and my abilities fluctuate but there was a definite turning point where the ability really started (and where I stopped the non-communicative language as much as possible) and took off. And that point is what I'm looking for. If you can communicate thoughts or experiences but not feelings that still counts. I went about 20 years barely able to say what I was thinking and never really on purpose and there was a time when that really changed in a major way.

That's only one way it can happen after learning to speak/type/sign/etc. I'm just curious what age this ability clicked for people. I know someone who could communicate perfectly about external events but just didn't know how to put words to thoughts, then much later learned the same for feelings. So there are many ways it can play out.


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Ai_Ling
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06 Dec 2010, 3:35 am

hmm...Id say this question is pretty complicated. I really dont know the age where my thoughts and feelings had meaning. I guess I was pretty emotionless(for the most part) until I was 9-10. Around then, I started to feel I guess. I didnt really learn to communicate with much body language until fairly recently: around 20. I was diagnosed with AS when i was 18, before then I didnt realize that my communication was missing so much. I just knew their was a problem because I couldnt make friends. Then I was practically told that what was missing due to my AS. So I worked hard to gain these skills. I was eventually able to read non-verbal communication when I was 20. As for projecting non-verbals, that was always much harder, it seems like thats started to click this past year. I dont understand your question: I dont know if I answered it.



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06 Dec 2010, 3:48 am

my son has started communicating his feelings round age 7-8, before that he was just giving me the answers he thought were "correct". He's still not very good at it , i'm missing a lot of information about the "why"and the "what for", so he's not done with communication at all.But he has started trying and understanding what i mean by " how did you feel" , and that's huge.
As for me, i don't remember speaking about my feelings until i turned maybe 20. i know i want to say 8 or 9 because that's the time when i started getting it, i got that people where asking about THAT, it just felt extremely taboo to me. i did speak about feelings at the time, but they were not mine. I carefully drew a line around what i truly felt, and spoke of something just a bit outside the circle. If i had been pained by something, i would say "it was not very nice", if i had feel ashamed, i would say "i don't really mind, it's ok" in a way i was tip toeing around to avoid being laughed at, i guess, because i was really emotionnal. i hated talking about myself. It's really curious to see how it all changed brutally. round age 20 i fell in love with a guy ( more like a major special interest in him driven by hormones i suppose) and he didn't love me back. I didn't care, i thought it was even more beautiful that way, because i could feel the adrenaline rush of the beginnings everytime i saw him for 3 years ( yes, 3...pathetic :P ) and i told him everything i felt. He was never going to reciprocate my feelings, but we talked about them. it helped me a lot, shedding my shame , i know now that it was not right and probably inappropriate but i wanted to shed it. i saw other people talking about their feelings and i wanted to be able to. one of the things i said to a friend one day who was telling me i shouldn't do that ( the guys was there with us), was that love is a beautiful thing that nobody should be ashamed of feeling, no matter how it is recieved, the feeling itself is not a shameful feeling and should be respected and appreciated.
since that time i have learnt to balance a bit better the "shame/no shame"ratio in me, but at least i know i am allowed to feel the things i feel and tell people if i need them to know. i can answer questions without shaking my head in shame just at the thought of the horrid question they just asked.



DandelionFireworks
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06 Dec 2010, 4:15 am

I ought to point out that I answered for meaningful, useful, consistent communication on all aspects of my inner life. For that, I chose an answer in the late teens.

But for happy/sad/hungry/scared/angry, far, far earlier. In early childhood. But with significant gaps wherever my experience is not simple/common.

So, since I was just a little kid I've been able to communicate what I understood of my basic feelings, but only recently have I been able or willing to communicate more complicated or uncommon things. I tried a stab at it a while before it actually clicked for me, but I was already in my teens at the time.

Since I've been working on this ability, I feel less isolated (but not connected). I am objectively less shut off. I've learned more about myself. The day I finally figured out how to say "one of the reasons I shut up and won't tell you things is because I don't know how to say them" was the day when I finally realized that despite a huge vocabulary, speaking early, communicating fluently and losing speech only under such severe stress that it's only happened twice and then I broke through it with willpower... I finally figured out that I still kind of suck at talking. And I never would have figured that out myself.

Which is odd, now that I think about it.

I think these things, being able to actually talk to people about meaningful things, this is really important. Before that, all the important things to me were known only to me and me alone, or understood on a basic level-- that I would rather not cut my fingernails or wear socks, but not why. That I hate lotion and ointment, but not why. That I get annoyed sometimes when people suddenly start singing along with me when I'm singing to myself, but not why.

I worry that I seem more autistic now. Partly, this is because this has been in part facilitated by learning words related to autism. I didn't used to talk about stimming. It's also partly just being honest about what was always there. I didn't used to talk about how people sometimes hurt me by being in the same room, or how difficult it is to think anything in their presence and why that is (oddly, now that I can talk about it, it's lessening; under stress I'm as upset as ever by other people's presence, but when I'm calm I tolerate it painlessly almost always now as long as it's not someone I still feel repressed or scared around, and even that's getting easier).

I'm pretty sure, from the nature of the stories about my use of language, I probably knew what I was saying when I was two (as is common for autistics, though, I thought my name was You for a while...), and I know that for the most part I use language for meaning. Not always. Sometimes in writing, I used to catch myself not knowing how to describe something simple and substituting a phrase I'd read often that meant something different but could be used in the situation. Only in fiction writing, though. Generally, IIRC, it would be about body language. Now I just ask an NT (for NT characters).

However, I do know that I was communicating needs/wants by the time I was two, and I remember being able to speak fluently and using the meanings of the words to guide my choice when I was three. (But I don't remember precisely. I could be wrong. It was a long time ago.)


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zen_mistress
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06 Dec 2010, 4:29 am

I could communicate opinions, some feelings, and lots of facts from before the age of 2, along with a lot of memorised text and verses...

But I know I had a lot of trouble verbalising certain things. I could communicate my feelings quite well, but I couldnt communicate to people about social situations I was in because I had poor understanding of situations.

Ie I was being bullied badly at school but I never told my parents because I somehow couldnt talk about it because I couldnt make any sense about why it was happening, and I couldnt understand why school was such a bad, confusing place.

Or I couldnt talk about a friendship because I didnt really understand what was happening in it a lot of the time,

and I also didnt understand that I didnt understand, I just remember being really confused, but unable to ask people about it because they seemed to speak a language I didnt understand.

and because I couldnt understand what was going on around me, i couldnt put any of it into words.

however my facts and opinions I was always pretty clear about ;).


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06 Dec 2010, 7:20 am

The key word here is consistently. I still, at age 52, have a great deal of difficulty expressing my inner self. Facts are easy. Stock responses in social situations aren't that hard even if not all that effective. But Until I discovered Wrong Planet and heard from others on the spectrum, I had great difficulty expressing my state of mind. It's been quite a revelation having others say things that mirror my internal make up. It's given a voice to something and also given me tools to express it. A light went on, as it were.


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CockneyRebel
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06 Dec 2010, 7:35 am

I learned to communicate with my feelings when I was 3. I knew what sad and happy were and I was able to tell the difference. I also had an idea of what unconditional love was, and if I didn't feel that I was getting it from my parents, I would start crying and if my mum threatened to spank me and give me something to cry about, I would cry even louder, because than I wouldn't feel loved at all. It all started at a young age for me, and it hasn't stopped. The only thing is that most of the time, I must keep a handle on my emotions, because I'm usually in the public eye at work and at my clubhouse. Maybe once or twice a week, I might have a good cry when I'm alone. That's just the way that I am, and due to the fact that the world has changed a lot, for the worse, I have to do that, or else I'll erupt like a volcano. I hope that this is a satisfactory response. If it's not, I apologize.


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Valoyossa
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06 Dec 2010, 7:52 am

I'm not sure.
My emotions are disconnected from my mind. It looks like two vessels with a little connection in upper part. When my feelings level is high, it may influence my mind. When I was a child, I didn't realise that and sometimes I had meltdowns, crying attack or something like this. I didn't know it was something with my emotions, I felt "broken", I mean that something was wrong with me.
I learned feelings from books, because I read a lot. I realized I have emotions too, somewhere deep inside me, I'm not completely mechanical. So I can control them. My feelings are positive or negative, I have to think more if I want to describe what exactly I feel.
I don't like high level of emotions, so when I feel it increases, my mind makes "emo alert" and I stop it. Sometimes it's too strong, so I cry of laugh, but generally I can stay cold and poker-faced.

When I realized it all? When I was in primary school, about age 10.


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wavefreak58
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06 Dec 2010, 9:00 am

Valoyossa wrote:
I'm not sure.
My emotions are disconnected from my mind. It looks like two vessels with a little connection in upper part. When my feelings level is high, it may influence my mind.


This is a good description. Unless the intensity of an emotion rises to a sufficient level for me, it lacks clarity. Feelings are too complex, there is rarely just one emotion present. Sometimes I think that NTs are better at ignoring all the other emotions present and focusing on the one most relevant to to situation.


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pgd
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06 Dec 2010, 10:21 am

anbuend wrote (in part): What age did you learn to consistently communicate your inner thoughts and feelings? I don't mean when you learned to speak/type/sign/etc. unless you learned both that and consistent communication of thoughts/feelings/experiences at once. Many if not most people seem to learn them roughly the same time so if that was you, this question may not make sense to you. But for people like me...
---
There are some neurological challenges which can affect the natural process of communicating consistently with one's inner life, for example, some of the very subtle epilepsies (petit/absence/TLE/complex partial, and so on), ADHD Inattentive, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), brain injuries / sports concussions, etc. I am ADHD Inattentive with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) and, for me, it was finding the right medicine (aka an effective medicine) for ADHD (a central nervous system stimulant - alerting agent) which temporarily plugged in this system (not a cure). I was 27 when this happened (finding a highly effective medicine). Words: internal dialogue, internal monologue, automatic pilot, bicameral mind, temporary integration of both hemispheres of the brain, and so on.



Callista
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06 Dec 2010, 11:17 am

I said 8-11, but I had some ability before that, and still some lacking after that. Before I was eight, I could communicate pretty simple stuff and make requests; like, if I was hungry, I could ask for food--learned that by the time I was three or four, at the oldest. But more complicated things waited until the mid-teens. It wasn't really so much that I had problems communicating them; in fact, I think I was expressing myself very eloquently on paper by the age of ten. It was more that I didn't really realize that you were supposed to communicate how you felt; I didn't really realize other people were supposed to know how you felt or what you thought. Not sure if that makes any sense... I still don't really go to other people for help with feelings.


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Mindslave
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06 Dec 2010, 11:30 am

When I was 21. I'm interpreting this question as "Can you tell someone exactly why you are angry?" instead of "I'm mad because...my parents are telling me what to do"

I could always speak well, and type and write and tell time well, but to really communicate the inner part of me, it took until I was 21. Then again, the vast majority of NTs can't do this.



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06 Dec 2010, 12:57 pm

The question is really complicated.

As far as communicating wants, needs, basic opinions (like that, don't like this), I've been able to do these things as long as I can remember, so I'm assuming they started at a 'normal' age. However, I still have difficulty expressing more complicated things, such as emotions and reasoning.

For one, it often takes me a day or more to process what a specific emotion is beyond merely positive or negative. For example, I may have an immediate sense of tension if an emotional response is negative, but I'm unable to identify what precise emotion it is or why I felt it until I've had time to analyze it. Until then, my communication will be neutral or, at worst, mildly defiant. If pressed for expression before that, I'm likely to name the emotion incorrectly. I'm inclined to concur with others here that there's a disconnection between my emotions and my 'thinking mind' unless the emotion is exceptionally strong, and then it interferes with my thinking.

Also, my thoughts are primarily visual rather than linguistic, so I'm more inclined to think in an "impressionistic" manner with little cohesion. I have to externalize through speech/writing/typing/gesture just to give order to the thoughts themselves. Even then, I often get it wrong initially, and need to revise/reword. Some people probably think I'm a liar because of it, but it's actually confusion about how to express those internal impressions. Hence, I'm really grateful for the written word, which can be edited. :)

So, to answer your question (if I'm understanding it correctly), I'm still not consistent, and probably never will be. I'd have to be able to identify/organize my inner thoughts and feelings more intuitively to accomplish that kind of communication on command.


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anbuend
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06 Dec 2010, 1:12 pm

In my case it was like...

Prior to certain point in my life if someone asked me a simple question like "Why did you do that?" or "What are you thinking about?" I would pick a random answer, usually one I'd heard others give in similar situations. When I brought up "what I was thinking" it too was a composite of what I had heard others say. It was incredibly rare that my words matched my real thoughts or experiences. This meant among other things that even when information about my thoughts was crucial, even life or death, I was generally as able to voice them as someone who could not speak.

After I was around twenty, though, this changed in a major way. Even when I was unable to put my thoughts into words (which often took and can still take years for a new thought) I was more able and aware of how to fight the automatic phrase generator in my brain. Previously if I managed to communicate thoughts it was an accident and would go away again. After if I managed to communicate them, even if I couldn't always say them I at least had some clue what I was and was not supposed to be doing.

I only really began fully to kill the impulse to generate phrases a few years ago. But the point at which I started consistently trying was around age twenty.

So I don't mean that I can consistently communicate now. I mean, most of the time I can't. But when I can't, the reason is different now than it used to be. I lose language but I don't revert to saying whatever is plausible and when I do try to communicate I know I shouldn't rattle off just anything. So maybe I didn't explain it enough. If a person is able to describe their inner workings accurately they've probably hit that point. Usually.


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DandelionFireworks
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06 Dec 2010, 10:56 pm

So then I guess I should've answered 0-3...?


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