Does anyone feel like they have two personalities?

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millymollymandy
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29 Feb 2012, 9:04 am

I would be interested to know if anyone feels like they have two personalities. By that I mean:

1 - their true self
2 - a personality they present to the world in order to fit in, appear normal, or just get by at work etc.

I appreciate that this isn't necessarily an ASD issue, as I know that people are sometimes expected to behave in specific ways to suit the circumstances. But I get the impression that the strain of having to 'act out' the 2nd personality can cause people with ASDs problems, and I would like to explore this idea.



ZX_SpectrumDisorder
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29 Feb 2012, 9:15 am

I feel there are two versions of me. There's Talk Show Me for the 'Normals' and just 'Me' for the people in my life with Asperger's and my family. I'm growing to dislike 'Talk Show Me' more and more. I don't think 'Talk Show Me' would exist if I'd been diagnosed early.

'Talk Show Me' is a cross between my two uncles and Eamonn Holmes and 'Me' is a bit like Niles Crane if I'm honest.



Ookla
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29 Feb 2012, 9:30 am

I don't feel like I have two personalities, exactly. When I go to work, it's more like...[thinks, thinks]...I'm a Jeep that has to shift into four-wheel-drive to handle rough terrain. That is, I have to use my brain in different ways and exert it more. Be more alert, pay attention to people, and choose something to think about that will help me block out background noise. I usually get to work early and stand outside the building for a few minutes, "shifting gears" in my head and readying myself before I walk inside.

I feel like it's still me. It's just me on full alert.



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29 Feb 2012, 10:03 am

Yes, and it happens more when you're someone like me, who doesn't tell anyone about my disorder, only my close family know about it (and my doctor and social worker etc). So when I go and see my friends, I come across as this shy, meek, laid-back, calm, happy person, and little do they know that at home I can be a right f****r; having nasty tempers where I hit myself, swear, scream, and throw myself on the floor throwing my legs and arms about. Oh, it can feel so embarrassing, even though my friends don't know about this erratic, insane behaviour that goes on behind closed doors. Even though my friends don't know I behave like that, I still feel ashamed in myself about it. Once when I was crying because it was snowing, and my mum was like, ''what would your boyfriend think if he heard you behaving like this over a bit of snow?''

And it makes me feel even more guilty when close relatives ask me, ''why are you so difficult at home yet you don't do this to your friends?'' It makes me feel like some sort of crazy sociopath. I knew a paedophile and also a control-freak and a conman who was so charming to his friends, making everyone think he's such a lovely person, but when he came home he beat his young girlfriend up, stopped her from seeing her family, lied like hell to the police and to other people in authority, and just got away with being so evil by acting all innocent. I'm not like that, but it still makes me feel like I'm someone along those lines, and it makes me feel ashamed of myself.

The trouble is, I can sit here now and say ''oh I won't have another outburst or panic attack again'', but these harsh reactions happen on the spur of the moment, and so at the very time I don't always realise I have started another outburst until afterwards, and then the guilt starts all over again. It's the main part of my disorder really: having difficulties dealing with unexpected situations.

It's funny really - how come I can deal with difficult situations in a normal way when I'm out or with my friends, but when I'm at home I can't seem to stop myself overreacting and having a fit? If I can control insane behaviour when I'm with my friends then there must be somewhere in my brain which knows how to behave normally, so why can't I control myself at home?


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monstermunch
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29 Feb 2012, 10:17 am

Quote:
It's funny really - how come I can deal with difficult situations in a normal way when I'm out or with my friends, but when I'm at home I can't seem to stop myself overreacting and having a fit? If I can control insane behaviour when I'm with my friends then there must be somewhere in my brain which knows how to behave normally, so why can't I control myself at home?


Thats easy - everyone is like that to a certain extent. Just like people dont behave the same way in a job interview as they do at a nightclub. It's a psychological thing, you are more relaxed at home because its your own environment, you dont have to impress anyone, you dont make a fool of yourself so much, and if you are living with your family they are used to how you are and so dont judge you in a way you might get judged in public or by your friends. If you move in with a partner, your ''home personality'' gradually builds up without eachother noticing until you grow so used to eachother that you hardly notice the difference. It's called ''getting set in your ways''. Sometimes ''home personalities'' happen too fast, which can cause a relationship to break up, which seems to be happening a lot around here nowadays.



millymollymandy
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29 Feb 2012, 10:26 am

Joe90 wrote:
Yes, and it happens more when you're someone like me, who doesn't tell anyone about my disorder, only my close family know about it (and my doctor and social worker etc). So when I go and see my friends, I come across as this shy, meek, laid-back, calm, happy person, and little do they know that at home I can be a right f****; having nasty tempers where I hit myself, swear, scream, and throw myself on the floor throwing my legs and arms about. Oh, it can feel so embarrassing, even though my friends don't know about this erratic, insane behaviour that goes on behind closed doors. Even though my friends don't know I behave like that, I still feel ashamed in myself about it. Once when I was crying because it was snowing, and my mum was like, ''what would your boyfriend think if he heard you behaving like this over a bit of snow?''



It's funny really - how come I can deal with difficult situations in a normal way when I'm out or with my friends, but when I'm at home I can't seem to stop myself overreacting and having a fit? If I can control insane behaviour when I'm with my friends then there must be somewhere in my brain which knows how to behave normally, so why can't I control myself at home?


I think I can understand how you get to feel so angry with yourself - it must be frustrating to be able to cope/control your feelings in one situation but not in another. I think you may have already found an answer to your question - it depends who you are with.

I sometimes think it makes things worse if you try to rationalise afterwards. Expressions of emotions aren't necessarily rational, after all, and aren't always controllable. That's where coping mechanisms come in, I guess.

My own problems relate to anxiety more than anything else - I have social anxiety and social phobia, and I just can't understand how I can be OK at times but not at others. I find it very draining to put myself in situations I know make me anxious - and I'm talking things like supermarket shopping, simple stuff really. It's so much worse when I have to pretend to be 'normal'.



millymollymandy
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29 Feb 2012, 10:28 am

Ookla wrote:
I don't feel like I have two personalities, exactly. When I go to work, it's more like...[thinks, thinks]...I'm a Jeep that has to shift into four-wheel-drive to handle rough terrain. That is, I have to use my brain in different ways and exert it more. Be more alert, pay attention to people, and choose something to think about that will help me block out background noise. I usually get to work early and stand outside the building for a few minutes, "shifting gears" in my head and readying myself before I walk inside.

I feel like it's still me. It's just me on full alert.


Good metaphor, Ookla. I also like the idea of 'me on full alert' - that makes sense.



Matt62
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29 Feb 2012, 11:34 am

Hmm, there are at least three "MEs" living in this body..
The Clown, the Angry Matthew, & The Scientist.
Actually, there are more, but these are the usual ones. I call them masks which is what they really are..

Sincerely,
Matthew



LongLostSelf
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29 Feb 2012, 12:03 pm

Matt62 wrote:
Hmm, there are at least three "MEs" living in this body..
The Clown, the Angry Matthew, & The Scientist.
Actually, there are more, but these are the usual ones. I call them masks which is what they really are..

Sincerely,
Matthew


Yes! I can totally relate to this! I have the serious, the mute, the clown and the scientist and which people have actually noticed about " my masks"

12 years ago when I was 25 I was working in Holland. I had to share a house with 4 other people. At first everything was fine but it didn't take long before the other lads in the house noticed my weirdness , quirks, Stims etc.
They started telling everyone at work I was wierd and retarded in some way. Of course nobody at worked believed them at first because work colleagues only ever saw the " serious" me. They then decided i had split personalities ie. Serious at work, mute at home in the house, then the scientist while atempting to socialise but then turning into a hyper active, immature Clown after a couple of drinks.

It then quickly escalated into bullying and extreme mental abuse which can only be described as the worst time in my life as there was no escape because I worked and lived with these people. I'm still haunted by this time and think I have some kind of Post traumatic stress from it ,but that's another topic



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29 Feb 2012, 12:49 pm

millymollymandy wrote:
I would be interested to know if anyone feels like they have two personalities. By that I mean:

1 - their true self
2 - a personality they present to the world in order to fit in, appear normal, or just get by at work etc.

I appreciate that this isn't necessarily an ASD issue, as I know that people are sometimes expected to behave in specific ways to suit the circumstances. But I get the impression that the strain of having to 'act out' the 2nd personality can cause people with ASDs problems, and I would like to explore this idea.


I wonder if you've heard of a book called Multiplicity, by Rita Carter. Her thesis in this book is that the expressions of self we present in various situations or social roles can be thought of as separate selves; her term for that is minor personalities. She would say that it's quite understanable and well inside the ballpark for a person to feel that the personality he/she uses to function in society may feel unnatural; thus the person who uses it can expect to see the personality used outside of these situations to feel like your real self. Where Carter may differ from you is in her idea that we contain more than two personalities, again depending on the situation and the role you are expected to perform in it. Another central idea is that to the extent that minor personalities in various situations and roles are compatible with each other, they may form one or two selves that she calls major personalities; major personalities are used across that greater range of situations.

Multiplicity is remarkably well-written for a book on personality and psychology, and I've only scratched the surface of Carter's ideas here. I found Carter's insights to be very powerful indeed, and that's why I'm presenting a little about them in this post.



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29 Feb 2012, 1:24 pm

This is a common human phenomenon, not an Aspie thing. The social mask NTs wear is sometimes called the "persona", if you'd like to read more about the topic. It is explored in many artistic works, like Maya Angelou's poem "The Mask" or Billy Joel's song "The Stranger".

I think it is more exhausting for people on the spectrum to enact their persona (especially since it involves physically supressing things like stims and consciously maintaining posture and eye contact, which NTs don't have to think about.) And that's if they are even socially aware enough to realize they need to have one at all, and if they can overcome their scrupulous honesty enough to dissemble about who they "really" are.



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29 Feb 2012, 1:56 pm

If you read some ASD autobiographies, you will find that EVERYONE of them did this to one degree or another. Donna Williams completely surpressed her real personality, almost to the point of dissasociation. And found many Asperger's and HF autistics did exactly the same. So this is a feature of ASDs for quite alot of us..
I also have a mute version, but it only comes out during or right after a shutdown. Or when I am working out/running..

Sincerely,
Matthew



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29 Feb 2012, 2:39 pm

I feel really odd in not having a persona. But I prefer it this way.



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29 Feb 2012, 2:49 pm

Yeah, NTs do this too. I adapt which masks I use depending on which circumstances Im in to the extent that I really need to work harder at showing more of myself. I dont think any two environments I am in see me the same. E.g. work sees me as serious, sports club sees me as quiet and lacking confidence, others see me as over confident, risk adverse, risk taker, unable to take a joke, constantly joking, argumentative, compliant, etc....



Hexagon
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29 Feb 2012, 2:49 pm

Yes, we talk sometimes. Mostly argue.



LongLostSelf
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29 Feb 2012, 3:59 pm

Hexagon wrote:
Yes, we talk sometimes. Mostly argue.



:lol: That cheered me up :lol: