Does being able to turn off emotions mean i have autism/AS?

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DW_a_mom
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05 Nov 2010, 12:50 pm

My personal observation is that certain AS individuals, like my son, seem to have much more control over their subconscious in certain ways (*) than NT individuals do, and the ability to control / shut off emotions quickly would be related to that. I wouldn't say that what you described is conclusive, but I would say that it most certainly is not something most NT's can do, or even consider, while someone like my AS son would not find it odd at all. NT's learn to manage emotions, yes, but nothing about that resembles flicking a switch.

(* not all ways, obviously, or AS would rid themselves of sensory issues)


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Jordan87
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07 Nov 2010, 4:13 am

Many NTs and Autistics would find it convenient (It's often the case that we're too emotional, as it's hard for some Autistic people to self-regulate their feelings. It's why even some adult aspies have meltdowns and tantrums.), including me, but I wouldn't say that being able to switch emotions on and off like a light switch is any sort of prerequisite or symptom of being autistic, more than I'd say it's just a handy ability.



Last edited by Jordan87 on 07 Nov 2010, 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Talis
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07 Nov 2010, 6:42 am

You should probably do more research on symptoms and see if you feel very close to AS. When I did the research so many things clicked with me it was like getting a pleasant kick in the face that let me finally understand what I truly have. I'd been falsely diagnosed in the past with many things that had maybe one or two symptoms doctors thought pertained to me but when I read about them it was obviously lazy work on their part. I was later given the time of day by my current therapist who after two years brought it to my attention that I have AS. I then looked it up and everything became clear.

Really I don't think any conclusion can be made with the lack of information you've given. Some things sound like they could be AS but at the same time sound like they can be other things depending on the reasons or feeling behind them. For example the obsessive checking of locks and whatnot in your family... sounds like OCD if it's out of them just checking the lock over and over even though they know it's locked. I check my locks maybe 3 times every night even though I don't necessarily leave my apartment every day. I don't do it out of Obsession, but that I just want to make sure I feel safe before I go to bed. Also the ability to turn off emotion doesn't sound AS personally. I mean I myself can force myself to go cold to a feeling but I'm only masking it and eventually it blows up inside me and everything just gets worse for me... which really doesn't sound like what you described. Also aspies can be very caring but empathy is usually next to non-existant... in fact it gets many of us in trouble in social situations... and usually aspies aren't looked toward for emotional support. I myself have emotions but have no idea what another person should feel... alot of times because I can't really fathom what it would mean to be someone else... I'd also feel like if I tried to figure out how they feel that I'd be doing it wrong. The thing about the girl... erm... that's complicated. Many aspies get very attached to people they are close to. For example I have a best friend that if I couldn't speak to her anymore... I'd be very very upset and hurt... but I have no emotional attachment to my born to family... so if my parents died my response would only be a logical one that my life would be harder without them, but I'd feel next to nothing emotionally. I guess what I'm getting at is if you felt that your ex-girlfriend was very important to you and you cared for her when you were together... than it sounds like possibly you should have felt upset by losing her and later finding out the dirt... maybe even more so than the average NT. If you simply felt she was someone to say "I've got a girlfriend" than it's quite possible that you could have felt nothing for all the crap that happened. Again... I just don't see enough of anything that can be seen as direct evidence to say "Oh yes that's definitely aspergers syndrome". Also it's kind of about possessing many AS traits more so than a few. So even if all of the things you brought up were AS traits or symptoms... there really still wouldn't be enough info to make a decision.



Transall
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21 Jul 2014, 10:17 am

I have a very similar problem. I can turn off my emotions like a switch and often it causes problems in my relationships. I hate dwelling and having to discuss the same things over and over. My emotional switch is so extreme that when I told my ex wife i wanted a divorce that was it. My mind was made up and I felt bad for her but i never once questioned my decision or dwelled on it or its repercussions on her, our families or anything. My decision never bothered me or confused me. I was never regretful or felt guilty for it in any way. That is just one example. I can do this with nearly every emotion, unless I get upset...when I get upset I get angry and frustrated and I seem to enjoy arguing when I get that way because I will keep an argument going as long as I can when this happens to me like I get a thrill from it and enjoy it. BUT don't get me wrong, its very hard to get me to that point, or rather I have a pretty long fuse. I am a passive person by nature, my dad and all his brothers are the same way. I am very realistic, systematic and logical as well. At times if I have to do something I enter what I have come to call "auto-pilot." I shut my brain off kind of and just do what needs to be done even though I hate doing things this way, it helped me through my years in the service. Due to this however, I feel as if it had dulled my senses or made whatever disorder(s) I have worse. I have always been kind of a loner and had difficulty making friends and I've always gotten anxiety when expected to socialize, especially with a group of people, but years of auto pilot has put walls up around me and has made me more withdrawn than ever. I find myself creating my own routines on a day to day basis, and my current job is mostly routines with varying factors on a day to day basis.

Other than being able to turn off my emotions, which at times can scare my family, I have this thing with my finger tips where certain textures make them feel like overloaded I guess...I've never been able to describe how it feels. Over load of the finger tips' sensors work I suppose. i.e. my Uncle is paralyzed and has been for the majority of his life. When I was little, and still to this day, whenever I'm asked to wash his hair I can't scrub his scalp the way he wants...I have been told this could be related to a type of sensory disorder related to autism. So this could all be connected but I am not sure.

When it comes to emotions, I have a soft spot for animals, I get nauseous just thinking bout running over a possum. I know I love my daughter because I'd do anything for her, but other than this love I have difficulty feeling an attachment to other people and communicating with them as well. I get more out of someone's physical presence than trying to have a conversation with any depth whatsoever...unless I am high which I find even more confusing. I have empathy although sometimes find it difficulty to feel what others are feeling because of my lack of emotions but I still find it easier to empathize than to sympathize...my sympathy is always forced and lacking all emotion...its like I am cursed.

I have a very high tolerance for pain and bruise very easily as well. Not sure if these have anything at all to do with anything about autism, but one can never be too sure. 7/10 times I ask "what?" when someone randomly says something to me and they hadn't already gotten my attention. I can't hear what people say if they don't speak loud enough or mumble. I hate mumbling it drives me crazy because I already have a hard time listening and following conversation. I also speak pretty loud most of the time, but not to an obnoxious point or anything but I am often asked to lower my voice by pretty much everyone even though I don't feel I am being very loud. I can't stay still either. I am always shaking my legs or tapping them on the floor, or tilting my head sideways, why? I don't know. I am always messing with my fingers and my fingernails. I will rip my nails off, or bite them, to the point they bleed and barely register that I am even doing it...its a horrible habit that I have had since before my first memory and I hate it but can't stop no matter how hard i try.

The only other thing I can think of to add is the fact that I'm obsessed with stories...good stories not crappy pointless and predictable stories...also mostly sci-fi, fantasy and adventure. But I become so immersed into stories they feel real to me and I find myself caring more about characters I read about, write about or even watch on tv or play in games than I do toward real people sometimes. I have become so immersed in my writing that its all I did for months and months...oh that is another thing I do. I get focused on one, sometimes a couple, of things that I enjoy or need to do and that is literally all I do. When I write I can't compartmentalize I guess is the word, or when I look for jobs online...I can't just do it for an hour or two and put it away to spend time with family or anything...I literally do it all day for hours upon hours unless for whatever reason i HAVE to stop. I hate this about me as well. Its like I can't spread something I enjoy thin over a period of time I have to get the whole thing in the shortest amount of time possible...sometimes I feel like that isn't normal either. I have a hard time making friends...I got out of the Navy after 6 years recently and for the past 8 months I have been living across the country from where I grew up and still have ZERO friends that I have ever hung out with on my off time. ZERO. it is depressing.

If anyone can plz help me understand a lot of this and help me realize whether these things are related to autism or not i would really appreciate it thank you for taking your time to read this.



PineComb
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08 Aug 2016, 1:36 pm

I'm not sure if this is more common with us, but I remember doing it as a small child when my puppy was killed and the adults around me expressing concern about my lack of response. When I was older it seemed to me that EVERYONE was turned off and incapable of empathy BUT me. I then determined not to let the world do that to me. I proceeded through a life that was an emotional gauntlet, an almost constant barrage of abuse, grief and torment. Now at 70 I have lost my only son and both my daughters have turned their backs. I am truly alone, and the pain has me exploring once again this old ability I had that I long avoided. Then I saw your question. So I really have no answer, except that maybe we sometimes might have more conscious control of this than neurotypical people do.



Joe90
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09 Aug 2016, 2:39 am

I wish I knew how to switch off emotions. :(


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GodsPuzzlePiece
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09 Aug 2016, 3:27 am

dreamwalker wrote:
There is something called "meltdown" which basically is when someone has an emotional/sensory overload and simply explodes. In this case getting back to normal is not all that easy. Aspies get angry just as well, the difference is more that they get angry in situations that for other people wouldn't be a reason - and sometimes vice versa.


Yes. Absolutely. Meltdowns were my life during middle school. Just talking about my "meltdowns" gave me a meltdown. Pre-teen angst plus Asperger's was rough stuff. Add in depression and anxiety and you got a giant emotional mess that turned into something resembling a tiny Hulk upon occasion. (I'm really short.)

dreamwalker wrote:
If you want to find out whether you have aspergers, do some research, which should lead you to questions like these:

Do you have obsessive interests?


Yes. I used to get severely offended when people would call me a weaboo instead of Otaku, even though originally the word "Otaku" is a derogatory term for an unemployed nerd in Japan. In our pop-culture it means hard-core anime fan.

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you tend to take expressions literally?


I used to but now I speak fluent sarcasm. My friends from my old town were sarcastic 80% of the time.

dreamwalker wrote:
Is it difficult for you to recognize facial expressions and body language?


My face has only, like, 3 facial expressions so sometimes that makes it hard for me to express things. Sometimes, I actually have to ask what facial expression I was making to check whether or not my physical response matched the response I thought I was giving. "Which face did I show you? Happy, neutral, or really ticked off? Oh, oops. Wrong face." I usually can read other people's expressions just fine, but I sometimes have a different reaction than how I intended so then I don't understand the reaction someone gives me in response.

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you rock or use other means of self-stimulation?


I always fidget with my clothes. Or run my hands over stuff. I also wear a set of matching thumb rings so I fidget with those.

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you have a daily routine that is hard to break?


Yes, but it's more of an evening routine. It bothers me if I can't do it.

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you have a formal language?


Haha, yes! I do. I use it all the time. My friends get confused because I'll speak very formally and say something very profound and meaningful but come back thirty minutes later and say something like, "Sup, Fam?" But with less punctuation/grammar.

dreamwalker wrote:
Are you picky with food?


I don't think I am.....

dreamwalker wrote:
Are you overly sensitive to pain or hardly feel it at all?


Yes! Someone actually just posted about this and I responded to it.

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you have a difficulty to multitask (e.g. listening to two conversations at once)?


Hmm? I'm sorry, what was that? I was typing (A.K.A. I suck at multi-tasking).

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you have a difficulty with making eye contact, or make too much eye contact?


I space out in the middle of conversations. Does that count?

dreamwalker wrote:
Do you need accurate instructions if you are supposed to do a certain task?


Yes, definitely. If I have to remember ANYTHING, I basically need you to write me a list because I won't remember it five seconds from now.


Yay!! !! Fun questionnaire!! !
And, yes, I realize it wasn't intended for me but it was fun to answer the questions anyway!! :D