One thing NTs sometimes do that I find mysterious

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zen_mistress
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20 Mar 2008, 4:54 am

I find that one thing I have problems with, when talking to non-ASD people, is that they often attribute an emotional context to something I am saying, when there is no emotional context.

Like this morning, I was running off a list of managers who were on leave to a woman who I wanted to sign my timesheet, and she told me to stop panicking.

I wasnt panicking, I was listing all the names to her.

I find this happens often to me.. people think Im panicky, or nervous, or attention seeking, or dominant, when really I just have many words in my head and there is no relevant emotion related to just saying stuff.

The thing I find most confusing is I never know what emotional state they will attribute to what I say. I find it very unpredictable.

Thoughts, anyone?


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Last edited by zen_mistress on 20 Mar 2008, 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tempy
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20 Mar 2008, 5:03 am

that happens to me too, i gave up trying to explain that im not, cause they claim you are arguing, so I jus say sorry .



ford_prefects_kid
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20 Mar 2008, 5:17 am

I imagine it's that tendency all humans have of assuming everyone else operates the way same way we do- many people can't imagine engaging in certain actions or saying certain things without an emotional state as a motive, so they assume that you must also have some emotional motivation.

I find their assumptions about the emotions I must be entertaining to reveal more about them than about me.

For example, I often have a certain detached look and tone of voice when I am simply observing something or relating my observations to others. My father used to think this indicated self-pity, my mom thought the same look meant I was panicking, an ex of mine thought it meant I was looking down on him and my current boyfriend thinks I'm always amused or smiling about something.

I really am emotionally void at these times, but people can't seem to comprehend that. I think they are making their best guess about our emotional state in the same way we often have to take a shot in the dark when we try to comprehend non-aspies.

The difference is, they are not as used to having difficulty reading people as we are- so they are more likely to take their assumptions about how we feel as fact.



tybald
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20 Mar 2008, 6:00 am

Yeah people always seem to think I look miserable when in fact I'm just thinking quietly to myself. I've given up explaining myself now. People who know me know I'm not and others shouldn't be so presumptuous.



SteelMaiden
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20 Mar 2008, 6:41 am

Agh that is annoying. My Mum told me to stop being angry, when I was completely calm.


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20 Mar 2008, 6:51 am

tybald wrote:
Yeah people always seem to think I look miserable when in fact I'm just thinking quietly to myself. I've given up explaining myself now. People who know me know I'm not and others shouldn't be so presumptuous.


People say the same to me when I am thinking. I think that maybe not socializing is the equivilent to sadness to some.

People also sometimes mistake me being anxious for there being something seriously wrong with me.


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darkstone100
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20 Mar 2008, 7:13 am

people always think I'm depressed or angry when I'm just standing there minding my own business, and people I don't know will come by and tell me to cheer up.



zen_mistress
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20 Mar 2008, 7:32 am

Yeah, I have had most of those happen to me too, lol.

I kind of wonder how to handle it. My approach has been to

a) figure out what obviously offends them and then try not to do those things
and then
b) ignore any odd conclusions they are coming to about me as I have tried to act in a way that would bring a predicted response from them, only to find they again perceive me differently...

c) Perhaps the only way to feel often misinterpreted and process the experience is by having a laugh about it later with other aspies :) .

I believe that non ASD people are fundamentally nice though, and the problem is that we just speak a different language from them :) .


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Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
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20 Mar 2008, 7:40 am

Yes, that's very annoying. I'll just be sitting around minding my own business, maybe listening to my iPod, and my dad will come up and ask "what's wrong?". Well, nothing's wrong, but for some reason I seem to give off an aura of "depressed."

I have the problem with the "calm down" thing, too. Especially since I'm (apparently) a fast talker.



Odin
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20 Mar 2008, 8:00 am

Tempy wrote:
that happens to me too, i gave up trying to explain that im not, cause they claim you are arguing, so I jus say sorry .


Same here. Often when I'm trying to explain something or making a suggestion people accuse me of being an argumentative know-it-all that things everybody else is wrong. :roll:


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Riddick124
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20 Mar 2008, 8:03 am

People are always telling me to cheer up, laugh, lighten up, ect. They think I am sad and depressed, when I am merely neutral. I am assuming I look said when I relax my facial muscles, becuase everyone seems to think I am. It gets rather annoying, actaully, people always making stupid jokes to try to make me smile, then getting mad when I don't or even more mad when I fake it (I am bad at faking facial expressions).



Semi_Lost_Serenity
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20 Mar 2008, 8:09 am

Yup, get it ALL the time.

So, now I've learned to work including emotions into the subtext of my conversation. For example, if I was listing people, I would say "I don't mean to sound nervous or anxious, but I would like to tell you that X, Y, and Z will be out of the office today".

Those close to me know not to just assume things. However, most other NT's just have to be told "No, I'm not feeling depressed, this is just my natural expression when I'm relaxed. I'm a Higher Functioning Autistic and I have trouble expressing the correct facial expressions. So, I tend to look one way when I mean another".

Lengthy? Hell yeah. But, it gets my point across.

I still have to come up with a good come back when someone is accusing me of being argumentative or a "know-it-all". Sometimes, my mouth gets me into trouble. I like the truth. So, if someone is saying something about me that I know not to be true, I have a bad habit of correcting them. I just have to learn to ignore and get on with it (as my brother says). That's a rather hard lesson to learn.


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20 Mar 2008, 9:09 am

Sometimes the impression of anxiety or depression comes from a combination of:

the volume used to deliver the information

the speed at which the information is spoken

the lack or presence of facial expression

any other "body language" present, intentional or not

Of course, the influence of all four aspects, not to mention any others like setting, creates a multitude of possibilities. I just can't take time to do the math right now.

Essentially, it all gives plenty of opportunity for someone to assign an emotional side to the interaction...whether or not there is one.

Yes, we all make our assumptions....



Jeyradan
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20 Mar 2008, 9:58 am

Yep, that's familiar. "Why are you so upset?" or "What's wrong?" Erm... pardon me?
But on the other hand, I suppose I do tend not to get the emotional message others are sending, so really I am imposing what I know and see on them as much as they are imposing their knowledge and assumptions on me.



Ithaca
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20 Mar 2008, 10:02 am

I have this happen to me all the time, people will also think that I am angry, upset, moody or anxious when I feel the opposite. Sometimes, when I'm nervous, I actually smile innappropriately! My facial expressions are all mixed up and it's so frustrating to not be aware of it most of the time...the smiling issue I only know about because a therapist told me and now, I am aware of it. It is frustrating...it also bothers me when NT's point it out, because it's like, I'm feeling fine, just minding my own business, having a good day or time, and then, suddenly, out of the blue, someone is pointing out my facial expressions or asking how I'm feeling. It doesn't make any sense to me really. Sometimes, if I see an NT looking tired, I assume he/she is sad, so I ask "are you ok?" then, the person gets upset...so why is it that NT's can make assumptions about me - and tell me about it or ask - but I can't do the same? Makes no sense to me. Also, my lack of knowledge about my facial expressions (I just discovered recently that I do in fact have AS), has caused me to lose a few friends recently...one telling me that she felt nervous around me. I just don't understand.