Why do I need to share so much about myself?

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Quixotic
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23 Dec 2011, 8:27 pm

For me friendship is very much an all or nothing affair. If I am someone’s friend then I can be devoted to that friendship to the point of obsession. I really where my heart on my sleeve and would do anything for someone I considered my friend. This can be little overwhelming for some people and comes across as slightly weird to others. I think perhaps the reason for this is that because I have so few real friendships I funnel all my emotions into these relationships and can as a result be very intense. This causes problems, as if you are the sort of person who is going to throw your heart and soul into a friendship you really do need to know who you can trust. You can’t go bearing all to someone who would take advantage; if you did they could totally destroy your life. But I think now through bitter experience I know who I can trust; and am lucky enough to have a couple of people and one person in particular in my life I know won’t take advantage. I’m not too bad at the gradual disclosure thing. I won’t tell people much about myself until I feel I can trust them; and these days I am VERY selective about who I choose to call friend. I don’t have a tendency to turn a friend into a therapist like the OP; in fact I have rather the opposite problem, as I have urge to become a friend’s therapist; to try or want to try, to sort out all their problems. It’s like a strange form of misplaced chivalry, where I need to help even if the person doesn’t want or need my help. This is strange because I myself am very bad at accepting help from others.



MindWithoutWalls
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23 Dec 2011, 8:48 pm

During my 20s, when I started to pursue friendship more actively, I got burned enough times with friendships I got into too quickly that, by the end of my 20s, I decided it was just best to have friendships "lightly" and not get to know anybody very well. It took a while of holding back, but it caused me to do better in forming friendships in the end. I developed some decent ones in my 30s. What also helped was, after a while, getting a girlfriend who's good at being a buffer and a guide, so that I was shielded a bit and had some assistance. Furthermore, I could get feedback from her enough to see how I was doing and also understanding if I felt hurt or otherwise bad about anything. That made the most difference of all, so that I could move more into having actual friendships, not just acquaintances, and even have more than one at a time. To this day, now that I'm in my 40s, she's still a big help. I'm also a help to her in her social difficulties as a shy person, so we really work as a team.

These days, I fret a lot less over social interactions after the fact. I used to spend a lot of time at night rehashing interactions I'd had earlier in the day, raking myself over the coals for any missteps I thought I'd taken. Now I mostly have nothing to worry about, and I'm able to know it better, too. My confidence is way better as a result, and I have a lot less stress, even if I still feel stressed a bit from socializing in the first place.


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Dots
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23 Dec 2011, 9:06 pm

dr01dguy, it's interesting that you should mention ADD. I always thought I didn't fit the criteria for ADD. I seem to remember it mentioned when I was a kid, and I translated it literally to mean I wasn't getting enough attention. I knew what the word "deficit" meant, and as the oldest of four kids and also a target of parental abuse, I was pretty sure my life was deficient in positive attention.

But when I got old enough to look it up on my own, I realized that wasn't what it meant. I don't know if I have it though. I certainly fit some of the criteria. I remember getting in trouble at school for my inability to "stay on task". But it was the 80's, and no one ever paired me up with a diagnosis of ADD. Or if they did, no one ever told me.

MindWithoutWalls, I've thought of pulling back from friendships and only having 'light' ones, and have even expressed this to my therapist, but something inside me is driven to seek out connections with people. It's strange, because as a child I was so seperate from other children that I would often completely ignore them, but at this stage in my life, I just want to feel accepted.


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seekingtruth
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23 Dec 2011, 9:52 pm

So much of this describes me as well. I'm now in my 40's and seem to have figured a lot more about this out.

I used to share way too much, way too early. Although sometimes my non-fear of sharing has been helpful as in talking about my rape has helped many other women, as well as sharing things about my young aspie son has helped enlighten other parents who just thought their kids were naughty and didn't realize there could be a medical reason for their actions. So it's not all bad to be so forthright. :wink:

I can't remember details to save my life, which I account to the reason I absolutely hate to cook, too many damn details involved!

But with the overwhelmed feeling I get when talking to others............. like all the details get mixed up in my head and everything starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher "blah, blah, blah". Then I feel a pressure to stop the confusion, as well as there may be one little thing I picked up on that I can relate to so I feel pressure to comment on that before I once again get lost in the "blah, blah, blah".

Does that make sense or did I get lost in "blah, blah, blah" to you? LOL

But anyway, I've been studying mindful meditation for the last 3 years steadily and 7 years all together starting with more casual attention. And it's amazing how much better I've gotten at not only filtering their "Blah, blah, blah." But also finding my own filter!

Miracle, life altering! Now I can actually start relationships on a slower, more stable footing and it's amazing the difference. So I think I've found a way to the natural filter that I didn't think I had, but it takes work, I meditate and study daily, but it's work well worth it trust me! And medication free I might add - bonus!

When I slack I feel the old confusion slip back, it's really about training the mind. I've also been working with my 6 year old Aspie son with this and his neurologist was in tears at the difference in him, so it's not just a fluke with me, it really works. When he was three I was told he'd have to be heavily medicated and so far he still hasn't had anything but Camomile for sleep aid.


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invisiblespectrum
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23 Dec 2011, 10:17 pm

I do tend to be very "all or nothing" when it comes to sharing things.

When I'm becoming friends with someone, or want to become friends with someone, I do tend to share a lot very early on. I know it's not a good idea and I try to avoid it, but it's very hard for me to do it gradually. Once I start it can be like Pandora's box. If I hide everything from someone we'll never be more than acquaintances, but if I start telling them things, inevitably I'll need to tell them other things otherwise the first things I told them won't make sense, and so on and so forth, and soon I've shared a massive amount of information about myself that is probably more than is appropriate to share with someone I haven't necessarily known for very long.



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23 Dec 2011, 11:12 pm

Quixotic wrote:
For me friendship is very much an all or nothing affair. If I am someone’s friend then I can be devoted to that friendship to the point of obsession. I really where my heart on my sleeve and would do anything for someone I considered my friend. This can be little overwhelming for some people and comes across as slightly weird to others. I think perhaps the reason for this is that because I have so few real friendships I funnel all my emotions into these relationships and can as a result be very intense. This causes problems, as if you are the sort of person who is going to throw your heart and soul into a friendship you really do need to know who you can trust.


This sounds like me. And I had to learn the hard way not to give all of myself unless I know the other person is equal to it. I don't have anyone in my life like that now and don't know if I will ever find it.



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24 Dec 2011, 4:38 am

Dots wrote:
MindWithoutWalls, I've thought of pulling back from friendships and only having 'light' ones, and have even expressed this to my therapist, but something inside me is driven to seek out connections with people. It's strange, because as a child I was so seperate from other children that I would often completely ignore them, but at this stage in my life, I just want to feel accepted.

Also, I can relate very strongly to this.

For most of my life I really never felt the need to be close to people. Maybe I had the need, but if I did, I never could actually identify it as a need that wasn't getting fulfilled. I'm not sure I even had a conception that it was possible to interact with a person on a more than superficial level.

When I was around 19 or 20 I began to realize that I was very seriously lonely. I sort of gradually realized that not being close to anyone really was bothering me, and that somehow I needed to make friends. It took me a couple of years before I actually made a real friend for the first time, and he's still my closest friend by far.

I think it's pretty much the same drive that's caused me to try to seek out a romantic relationship.

I'd be very unhappy and lonely if I only had superficial relationships with people. I might be able to handle it if I was close to my family, but I'm not. Without my friends, I am totally alone, and while that might have seemed OK once, it isn't any more.



anneurysm
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24 Dec 2011, 3:27 pm

Dots, it may be a good idea for you to invest in friendships you have with others on the spectrum, if you have any. I find that, in general, they are a lot more open to disclosing personal information and sharing things about themselves, and they might not mind your open commuication style as much as others would.

As well, have you thought about other creative avenues of expression, such as poetry? I write quite a lot, and it's really effective in helping me sort out my feelings so I won't have to spill them to other people. Art, dramatic performances, and other forms of expression can also be very good for letting these emotions out.


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My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


Quixotic
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24 Dec 2011, 9:15 pm

dianthus wrote:
Quixotic wrote:
For me friendship is very much an all or nothing affair. If I am someone’s friend then I can be devoted to that friendship to the point of obsession. I really where my heart on my sleeve and would do anything for someone I considered my friend. This can be little overwhelming for some people and comes across as slightly weird to others. I think perhaps the reason for this is that because I have so few real friendships I funnel all my emotions into these relationships and can as a result be very intense. This causes problems, as if you are the sort of person who is going to throw your heart and soul into a friendship you really do need to know who you can trust.


This sounds like me. And I had to learn the hard way not to give all of myself unless I know the other person is equal to it. I don't have anyone in my life like that now and don't know if I will ever find it.

I certainly wouldn’t give up the hope of finding someone equal to the task of being a proper friend to you. There are some really quite wonderful people out there; and you never know when you might bump into them. It could be at work, socially or even on an internet forum. There are people who will accept you for who you are; people who you will be able to trust. It’s fair to say, they can be hard to find; but it’s by no means impossible to find them.



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28 Dec 2011, 3:50 pm

From where I sit now, it may seem easy for me to say the things I do. I was lonely for a long time, though, so please remember that you must be patient with yourself and your life, not just with other people. They will do what they will do, but you'll handle it best if you remember that you don't need to be so angry with yourself over the struggles you're having. Now, that's easier said than done, I know. I got frustrated a lot. So, I'd say be forgiving whenever the frustration pauses rather than try to force yourself not to be frustrated in the first place. That goes a longer way than you might realize.


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28 Dec 2011, 6:04 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
I was told this as well, that socialization proceeds in small steps, back and forth. Unfortunately, this does not work for me at all, because I lack the whatever brain connections NT adults have to pick up those subtle social signals for this slow and gentle giving and taking.


I do too.

In the past I've just blurted it all out, completely overwhelming the person. And they often run away.

Too difficult to keep track of what they do or don't know about me, impossible to know when is the best time to share and at what level.

Now I just talk to my dogs, and you online folks. ;)


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09 Feb 2019, 7:55 pm

I do this too then I realise and get scared at how much I shared.

Same old stories so you can find them on this forum if you look. A few things I've only vaguely hinted at on here.

My struggle is that this year I'm trying to not tell people my political history. I'm bored of debating it.

I hate keeping secrets though and that's how it feels.

I hate fakeness and false nicety.

I find most NT conversations are about nothing. Some aspies think they're about sport or celebs. I wish NT conversations were like this in my life. They're literally about the most mundane bits of the individual and people they know. I find it so boring and want to get onto a concrete fact or at least onto something shocking/interesting about the person or someone they know.

I also hate awkward silences and the longer the other person's quiet for, the more shock I fill it with in order to get them to say something. It's an almost subconscious thing which I need to consciously step back and stop doing.

It can be a cultural thing though. Some cultures are very reserved and some aren't. Ones that aren't, I'm rarely out of place. And even subcultures. Artists especially writers share a lot.