Explaining yourself and being believed

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Jensen
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27 Sep 2016, 6:39 pm

This is very "me-me", I´m afraid.
I don´t know how to explain myself - or explain ABOUT myself to others.

Being very late dxéd (60) after having been given handfuls of personality disorders, that luckily didn´t seem to fit afterall, I still tend to be confused about myself.
I still need to find out, what to refer to aspergers and what not to.

People don´t like that and whenever I try to openly muster a little self-analysis, they frown and say: "Everybody knows this, feels that" "Don´t mold yourself after a diagnosis" and so on - and I get very insecure.
So, what am I? That "problematic" person, I was, before it appeared, that I´m just an aspie?
I don´t want to mold anything. I only to find out, what causes what.

I´m getting a bit of support at home for a while - but this support person does not want me to relate to and categorize what could be due to AS or not, which I need to become aware of- even though, she is seing many each day.
She makes me feel like a fraud. I can´t answer her questions really. It is loong pauses, Eh, Ah.... and so on.
I can´t actually think, when we sit there. The mutual confidence is hard to obtain.
She is nice enough, but it seems, that either she doesn´t believe me or she simply might not like me.
I can´t tell - but I´m a bit shaken, when she leaves.

My problem may be my facade. I´ve been a teacher, have gone to University, learned manners by copying my older brother. I have an "on top of it all" kind of professional facade.

Do anybody recognize this? Advice will be eagerly recieved.


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27 Sep 2016, 6:53 pm

"Never explain - your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway."
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27 Sep 2016, 6:54 pm

Jensen wrote:
...My problem may be my facade. I´ve been a teacher, have gone to University, learned manners by copying my older brother. I have an "on top of it all" kind of professional facade....

I learned from a very early age how to adapt and mask in public. Because of this, I have been asked by longtime acquaintances if my autism was real; some have doubted. It seemed I had masked too well for them, while others from childhood on called me out every time.

I also had several diagnoses that were close, but neither correct nor accurate. And, yes, the dismissive statements from others who either meant well or refused to believe me no matter what I said.

Now, I describe myself exactly how I choose to do so. Sometimes that means I tell them nothing about myself, and other times, I am happy to tell them more than they ever wanted to hear. I realize that most people haven't a clue about autism, so I forgive them their presumptions.


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Jensen
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28 Sep 2016, 1:21 am

Yeah, but this one is just questioning me and saying things like: "You´re a sloppy one, aren´t you" - because I left some things on the table, that shouldn´t be there - and rushed items away in a disorderly way to clear the table for us. I had to explain, that I can´t tidy, rush and talk at the same time.
She was wondering and then she asked: "Oh, letters, talk with jurists - things like that is ok, but you don´ t manage at home? Well, many with careers are the same".
I think, she assumes a lot, because we don´t exactly speak the same language. I´ve seen that a couple of times and it makes me a bit anxious.


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ArielsSong
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28 Sep 2016, 2:13 am

I have received similar comments. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much you can do but ignore it and quietly feel bothered inside.

Comments like that have come from family, for me. One response I got after disclosing my diagnosis was "Autism? I don't think you do. Everyone is like that. You seem normal to me."

My MiL has also a few times said 'Everyone's a little autistic. That's why spectrum is such a good name for it'. And I believe, again, this is implying that she can't see it in me and that I am no different to anyone else, and have probably received this label for the sake of it.

She has also said that she believes my husband is autistic because he didn't like loud/sudden noises as a child, so my husband has said the same a few times since. "I think I might be, you know".

The other day we watched a movie (Mozart and the Whale) in which one of the main (Asperger's) characters grounds himself by doing something clever with number plates. My husband piped up with "I do that too, you know. I sometimes take the numbers from number plates, and try and get one bit to fit the other with a calculation. And you think I'm not autistic!".

I do believe that anyone can find some similarities with autism, but that it is the combination, extent and impact that warrants the diagnosis.

Perhaps I shouldn't be offended by this. Perhaps people are trying to be nice. But it does feel like people are just suggesting that I am an attention seeker with an unnecessary label, or that "hey, you've got that so I want it as well", which really makes light of the situation in an uncomfortable way. It seems like they're saying "hey, that's a fun label to have and I want in", suggesting that they don't understand that I went for a diagnosis because I have spent my entire life struggling and I am worried about what my future holds.

Like you, OP, I get the sense that some people think that when I do talk about my diagnosis, which is rare and only when relevant - I'm not going around shouting about it - there is a sense that I'm trying to find any way to fit personality traits into the label I've received, or 'act up to it'. It isn't that, though. It's that, for the first time in my life, I'm understanding why I am the way I am. This includes things that I'm proud of and things that I don't like about myself. And I try and use those explanations with the people that I'm close to, in order to help them to understand me, but it does sometimes seem like I'm going 'Ah, it's an autistic thing' as a bit of an excuse, I imagine.

---- probably not necessary reading, but to reiterate my point, though I realise this post is long ----

As an example, years ago I used to have intense conversations with my husband from a different room, because I couldn't be in the same physical space. Often I would have to walk out mid-conversation, calm down and come back later. Sometimes, I would hide under a blanket to put a 'wall' between us. I felt terrible for it. This was pre-diagnosis, before even thinking about autism.

Over time, I did improve. I learned not to use my blanket but to continue using my laptop instead - something to direct my focus to, which put a screen between me and him - but I would be known to snap or shut down still. Usually, this would result in an intense conversation leading to me shouting or walking away.

Now, as I try to understand myself more, I recognise that what I was experiencing during these conversations were autistic shutdowns on occasion. But, more often than not I would shout and walk out, then come back more calmly later. I would consider my husband to be as irrational as I was. Arguments were rare, but when they happened I certainly wasn't 'blaming myself'. It felt very two-way. Now, I appreciate that my reactions can be extreme and a bit irrational - the way I respond to a slight change is not typical.

The other day we had a discussion about a plan that we couldn't make concrete at the time, and there were too many variables. I did snap, and this time my husband specifically responded telling me not to shout. My shouting isn't out of anger but a sense of panic, though I realise it doesn't come across that way. In the past I would have walked out, I imagine, but this time I thought 'autism' and realised that I was being irrational about the need to set this plan in stone, so I stayed in the room, held the 'fight or flight' response in, and as a result sent myself into a very bad shutdown.

Because I then couldn't speak beyond a few 'yeah' and 'hm' sounds, my husband got frustrated and accused me of 'refusing to have the conversation'. At that point I did leave the room and calm down, but when he later came to see me he did comment that 'you've never been that bad before'. I think this suggested that there is a thought that I may have been acting up to the diagnosis, but the reality is that I had never tried so hard before to resist my fight or flight response. I've never before realised that I'm the one not being 'typical' in the situation, so I'm the one that wanted to find a way to change this time. I've never been that bad before, because in the past I would already have walked away.

Interestingly, this is the same man that recognised a shut down a day earlier, without me even speaking (this was a particularly bad weekend - usually these are few and far between) because he realised that I was 'walking in slow motion' - something that I had not particularly realised I did. So I know he's trying to understand, but sometimes he's far off the mark. He apologised for accusing me of refusing to have the conversation, once I could explain how it felt in my head, but the accusation was still there.

I think, even if the person that knows me best and has always recognised my struggles even before 'autism' was on the radar, thinks that I'm over-exaggerating sometimes, then what hope really do I have with other people that I've always masked my natural behaviours in front of?



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28 Sep 2016, 2:47 am

Can empathize, so hugs (if you'd like them)

This person is there to support YOU right? What kind of support does she offer?

Unless she's a therapist, I wouldn't bother. It's MY house, thus my rules. I would use her as a way to train myself to be myself, whatever that may be in that moment. Awkward, silent, snappy, whatever... I used to have a very chatty housekeeper. I tried really hard to chit chat but I would be exhausted after she left. So after a while when she got a hang of the tasks that I needed and paid her to do, I would put my head phones on, hide behind my computer and say I have tons of work. Or just leave for a walk. Or just said: 'sorry I'm having a bad day and I don't want to take it out on you because I can get quite angry very sudden'.

Through trial and error I learned to wear an anti-social mask which is basically a sensory tool-kit: sunglasses, a hat, huge Bluetooth headphones, sometimes with extra ear plugs under them, gum or menthol candy, gloves if necessary and a scented scarf. And long live the smartphone, I would use it to pretend to be catching Pokemons when walking outside or talk like I was having a phone call.

Having the ability of the chameleon can be used as a strength, make it work for you, instead of against you.
hth



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28 Sep 2016, 2:49 am

There is a white elephant in the room and that white elephant is that normal human conversation is highly competitive.

For a neurotypicals to "understand" an autistic is to relinquish certain social advantages and neurotypicals are hard wired to jealously guard their social advantages.

Autistic people are stranded believing that social discourse is what it purports to be, but it's simply a flimsy ideal that does not exist.


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28 Sep 2016, 4:14 am

I am currently waiting for a diagnosis and am still unsure whats exactly wrong with me. It's scary the amount I have learned a lot about myself since joining this forum, it's like I've been in denial. What I find extremely difficult to understand is that I may have "learnt behaviour". I haven't got a clue what my "learnt behaviour" is. I feel like a child and find it difficult to answer even the simplest question to myself e.g Have I ever felt jealousy. I hope to god I have ASD because if I haven't all I've done is learnt how messed up I really am.


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28 Sep 2016, 6:03 am

Jensen wrote:
Yeah, but this one is just questioning me and saying things like: "You´re a sloppy one, aren´t you" - because I left some things on the table, that shouldn´t be there - and rushed items away in a disorderly way to clear the table for us. I had to explain, that I can´t tidy, rush and talk at the same time.
She was wondering and then she asked: "Oh, letters, talk with jurists - things like that is ok, but you don´ t manage at home? Well, many with careers are the same".
I think, she assumes a lot, because we don´t exactly speak the same language. I´ve seen that a couple of times and it makes me a bit anxious.


It's rather rude of her to comment so much on your personal problems. Why don't you simply stop talking to her about anything other than the job she is there to do? If she asks you why you are not talking, simply tell her to her face: " I feel that you misconstrue everything I say to you. I'd rather stay silent." Then she can do with that what she wants. Perhaps a bit confrontational, but what do you have to lose?


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28 Sep 2016, 6:20 am

Why is this woman in your life, she sounds like a pain in the ass?

Anyway, I was diagnosed at 39. I'm 46 now and am still trying to work it out. I never discuss my autism with anyone except my Mom and she doesn't even really get it. There's no point; no one has anything salient to offer anyway.

I am figuring it out myself. My revelation du jour is that I have to make my life the way I can cope with it; this includes not putting myself in a position where I will fail, something I have done repeatedly for my whole life. I think, because people kept saying there was nothing wrong with me, I kept trying and failing.



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28 Sep 2016, 9:39 am

That really terrifies me actually. I'm only starting to realise I'm not who I thought I was and I starting to know I've been using learned behaviour for years...even learned speech from other people..i.e. learning certain responses to different comments etc. Starting to realise that even talking and responding to people is part of the learned behaviour. I've used phrases from TV, films etc...it makes me appear like an idiot sometimes.



Last edited by davidmcg on 28 Sep 2016, 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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28 Sep 2016, 9:44 am

davidmcg -- I completely relate to that, as another late-diagnosed case.

davidmcg wrote:
That really terrifies me actually. I'm only starting to realise I'm not who I thought I was and I starting to know I've been using learned behaviour for years...even learned speech. Starting to realise that even talking and responding to people is part of the learned behaviour.


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On the other hand, friends will never need an explanation, and enemies bent on disliking me will never accept one.

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28 Sep 2016, 12:47 pm

androbot01 wrote:
Why is this woman in your life, she sounds like a pain in the ass?

Anyway, I was diagnosed at 39. I'm 46 now and am still trying to work it out. I never discuss my autism with anyone except my Mom and she doesn't even really get it. There's no point; no one has anything salient to offer anyway.

I am figuring it out myself. My revelation du jour is that I have to make my life the way I can cope with it; this includes not putting myself in a position where I will fail, something I have done repeatedly for my whole life. I think, because people kept saying there was nothing wrong with me, I kept trying and failing.


You´re probably right. Apart from my Mom having certain suspicions about some kind of autism - I know that story.
Well. It´s just me needing to sort things out and maybe see a reason for certain things other than incompetence and being low quality. I should probably keep quiet - but that´s hard, when you feel watched.

Underwater Hero. Yeah, it was somewhat rude of her, but I think, she is just as uncertain about me as I am about her.
She is not there to do anything, but talk and make plans. She has offered it though - to be practical as well, but it would take, that I knew what to do.....OMG.
She rushes away without looking at me. Perhaps it´s just her way.....perhaps she just needs to get hell out?
I don´t know. If it doesn´t change, we might try to find a substitute.


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28 Sep 2016, 2:31 pm

I avoid using medical labels because I am not sure if it has anything to do with it or not and because I don't want to come off as using it as an excuse and because I am not sure if it's just a human flaw I have. I try to explain my problems by saying what I have troubles with. At work my boss told me I was working too fast and I needed to slow down because I am being paid to work four hours, not three so I told him I have a hard time judging time because I don't want to fall behind. He just told me to just slow down and I will do fine. I wasn't sure how else to explain it.

At home I once explained how I tend to forget things because I get distracted, have other things going on in my mind so it's like I can't do two things at once. Instead she told me I was just in a rush.

I still try such as trying to remember things and being more organized. I honestly feel trying to explain yourself people are not going to understand but trying to blame it on any medical condition, people will just think you're using it as an excuse so I don't like talking about my problems.


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Jensen
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28 Sep 2016, 2:49 pm

Well. I don´t see Aspergers as a medical term (even though it is). A helper from a handicap center ought not to be biased....but I may be misunderstanding her.


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28 Sep 2016, 3:17 pm

Do you need to explain yourself to this person?
Perhaps it is better to not explain, if that doesn't interfere with getting the help you need.


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