I don't get understand this --"pretending"

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CheshireCat1
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05 Oct 2011, 5:40 pm

On youtube I have viewed a couple videos on Aspies talking about how they have to pretend to be "normal" neurotypical. What does this mean? Does EVERY aspie have to do this? I have NO idea what aspies are talking about when they say "I have to pretend to be normal." Does it mean they have to pretend to want to hug someone or kiss them-- since they DON'T want to? I have a boyfriend that has Asperger's syndrome and he is VERY loving and affectionate-- he kisses and hugs me ALL the time......... is this not "real"? Now, after seeing these videos, I have no idea if he is PRETENDING to be affectionate like all these Aspies are talking about or if is SINCERELY DESIRING to give me affection! This is so so confusing! What does "pretending to be normal" mean? Does it mean just pretending to be social or does it mean.....pretending to love someone....?



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05 Oct 2011, 5:44 pm

Don't believe the hype. Not all Aspies are the same. Some Aspies are very demonstrative and loving and it's genuine.



aspie48
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05 Oct 2011, 5:45 pm

aspies want to have romantic and friend relationships, but don't want to do things like say hi and stop stimming, thats what people mean by that. like acting not aspie in public.



CheshireCat1
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05 Oct 2011, 5:49 pm

aspie48 wrote:
aspies want to have romantic and friend relationships, but don't want to do things like say hi and stop stimming, thats what people mean by that. like acting not aspie in public.

Thank you for that! I REALLY needed to hear that. That meant so much to me... it gave me so much relief! I would be totally fine with the fact that "pretending to be normal" is just simply wanting to be themself by being naturally socially awkward. What devastated me is wondering if this "pretending to be normal" thing could also mean that my longtime Aspie boyfriend could have been "pretending to want to kiss, love, touch, and say I love you" to me this whole time.



Last edited by CheshireCat1 on 05 Oct 2011, 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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05 Oct 2011, 5:49 pm

Pretending to be normal or faking NT is not something that autistics do with cold calculated intents and motives in mind. It's really just trying to match yourself to the people around you to get by in NT society, e.g. not be automatically rejected for jobs and relationships because you appear too weird.

For example, I might fake NT by nodding during conversations to let someone know that I am paying attention to them. This is a behavior that I learned at some point, and it is pretty easy for me to do by now. But if I were to be my natural self, I would not even look at the person talking to me. I would sit next to the person, and we would talk to each other without seeing each other's faces. So I have no bizarre intents and motives when I am faking NT during a conversation. I am just trying to match what I am doing to what I would be doing if I were NT, so the NT whom I am talking to can continue talking to me without being distracted by behaviors that they are not comfortable with and rarely see and consider too weird for them to associate further with me in any way.

I am sure your boyfriend is not faking his affection for you.



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05 Oct 2011, 5:54 pm

If he initiates the hug and looks truly happy then he is probably not faking. I'm an awkward hugger, I will do it because it's expected of me.

I don't get the pretending part too. I've basically just picked up certain behaviours but they are a part of me. I suppose you could say when I take medication to be more social that is faking it, then so is all the writing and tasks I get done when I'm on them.
I just be myself. I stim because I need to. Heck, yesterday I was playing with a toy F-16 plane in a cafe while teenagers were watching me. If I was to pretend to be more NT I would just sit up right and pretend to listen to whatever the people about me were talking about. But I like playing with planes more.


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CheshireCat1
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05 Oct 2011, 5:55 pm

My Aspie boyfriend DEFINITELY initates the hugs, the kisses, everything and the "I love you"s



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05 Oct 2011, 6:11 pm

I agree with previous posters. The whole pretending/acting part of Aspergers doesn't really come into play in real interpersonal relationships. What you see is what you get so to speak. It is one area where Aspies are far more sincere than NTs, IMO, since we tend to be so damn honest. The pretending to be normal thing comes into play more in employment or big social situations. We are aware that we have diminished social abilities but don't want to draw a lot of attention to ourselves by acting odd ... so we mimic the kinds of behaviors that others expect of us. It is complex yet simple at the same time.



CheshireCat1
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05 Oct 2011, 6:33 pm

Catamount wrote:
I agree with previous posters. The whole pretending/acting part of Aspergers doesn't really come into play in real interpersonal relationships. What you see is what you get so to speak. It is one area where Aspies are far more sincere than NTs, IMO, since we tend to be so damn honest. The pretending to be normal thing comes into play more in employment or big social situations. We are aware that we have diminished social abilities but don't want to draw a lot of attention to ourselves by acting odd ... so we mimic the kinds of behaviors that others expect of us. It is complex yet simple at the same time.

Thank you for relieving my worries and concerns. Now I'll be able to get some sleep tonight heehee.



Australien
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05 Oct 2011, 6:33 pm

Some Aspies that are more naturally extroverted and have done extensive study into social interaction are capable of putting on a convincing "NT act" for manipulative purposes. This is not as common as and doesn't sound like what you are talking about here, though.

What I think you are talking about is more of a hypervigilant self-awareness that semi-consciously moderates social behaviour, for example, bursting at the seams to ask "the group" if any of them have seen a particular kind of locomotive in nearby railyards and if so, if they know what it is for, but being aware from past experience (often childhood teasing and/or bullying) that such a thing is "too weird" to ask, and suppressing it to appear more "normal". Participating in smalltalk (albeit, often with a scripted-sounding or robotic quality) even though it is detested may be another. Answering a yes/no question in a job interview (which I maintain is the interviewer's fault in the first place, but I don't get to make the rules :( ) with the obvious monosyllabic answer initially, then catching one's self and bursting out with a more extensive answer a second or two later is yet another.

If your boyfriend is truly comfortable with and trusting of you, you will get less of this "NT act" and more of his genuine Aspie personality, but it may take a long time. Or maybe not.

Anyway, that's my interpretation of what I've seen of others and my own experience.



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05 Oct 2011, 6:39 pm

Australien wrote:
Some Aspies that are more naturally extroverted and have done extensive study into social interaction are capable of putting on a convincing "NT act" for manipulative purposes. This is not as common as and doesn't sound like what you are talking about here, though.

What I think you are talking about is more of a hypervigilant self-awareness that semi-consciously moderates social behaviour, for example, bursting at the seams to ask "the group" if any of them have seen a particular kind of locomotive in nearby railyards and if so, if they know what it is for, but being aware from past experience (often childhood teasing and/or bullying) that such a thing is "too weird" to ask, and suppressing it to appear more "normal". Participating in smalltalk (albeit, often with a scripted-sounding or robotic quality) even though it is detested may be another. Answering a yes/no question in a job interview (which I maintain is the interviewer's fault in the first place, but I don't get to make the rules :( ) with the obvious monosyllabic answer initially, then catching one's self and bursting out with a more extensive answer a second or two later is yet another.

If your boyfriend is truly comfortable with and trusting of you, you will get less of this "NT act" and more of his genuine Aspie personality, but it may take a long time. Or maybe not.

Anyway, that's my interpretation of what I've seen of others and my own experience.


Ok now I am getting confused...... My Aspie boyfriend is VERY extroverted and talkative-- he will go on and on about his interests but I love that about him. He is also VERY affectionate, caring, and loving! My concern is that he really is "pretending his affection" for me this whole time. Are you saying that this all still could be a "NT act" and not be genuine??



LrdVapid
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05 Oct 2011, 6:46 pm

Also consider that most things NT do automatically don't normally occur to people with AS. Pretending to be normal could just mean learning to translate what they feel inside into an action that gets an appropriate response from NTs.



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05 Oct 2011, 6:47 pm

I don't think he's pretending. I think that if he's hugging you and saying he loves you, that's probably how he really feels. Otherwise, he would probably only do it if you made him do it. (This does not, however, mean that Aspies who only hug and love when others prompt them don't feel the love; they may still feel it, but not know how to show it. Your boyfriend just knows how to show it. That's all.)



Australien
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05 Oct 2011, 7:11 pm

CheshireCat1 wrote:
Australien wrote:
Some Aspies that are more naturally extroverted and have done extensive study into social interaction are capable of putting on a convincing "NT act" for manipulative purposes. This is not as common as and doesn't sound like what you are talking about here, though.

What I think you are talking about is more of a hypervigilant self-awareness that semi-consciously moderates social behaviour, for example, bursting at the seams to ask "the group" if any of them have seen a particular kind of locomotive in nearby railyards and if so, if they know what it is for, but being aware from past experience (often childhood teasing and/or bullying) that such a thing is "too weird" to ask, and suppressing it to appear more "normal". Participating in smalltalk (albeit, often with a scripted-sounding or robotic quality) even though it is detested may be another. Answering a yes/no question in a job interview (which I maintain is the interviewer's fault in the first place, but I don't get to make the rules :( ) with the obvious monosyllabic answer initially, then catching one's self and bursting out with a more extensive answer a second or two later is yet another.

If your boyfriend is truly comfortable with and trusting of you, you will get less of this "NT act" and more of his genuine Aspie personality, but it may take a long time. Or maybe not.

Anyway, that's my interpretation of what I've seen of others and my own experience.


Ok now I am getting confused...... My Aspie boyfriend is VERY extroverted and talkative-- he will go on and on about his interests but I love that about him. He is also VERY affectionate, caring, and loving! My concern is that he really is "pretending his affection" for me this whole time. Are you saying that this all still could be a "NT act" and not be genuine??


Such people exist, but they are a small subset. Nothing you say indicates to me that he is doing this. I was just addressing the academic possibility.



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05 Oct 2011, 8:17 pm

CheshireCat1 wrote:
Ok now I am getting confused...... My Aspie boyfriend is VERY extroverted and talkative-- he will go on and on about his interests but I love that about him. He is also VERY affectionate, caring, and loving! My concern is that he really is "pretending his affection" for me this whole time. Are you saying that this all still could be a "NT act" and not be genuine??


He may have learned how to be outwardly affectionate, caring, and loving, but that doesn't mean that he's not sincere.