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Aimless
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06 Jun 2010, 7:33 am

My mother tells me when I was very young, about 2 or 3, and she asked me my name to try and encourage me to talk, I would answer with my older sister's name. My older sister is just a year older. She also said when she was transitioning me from breast to bottle and my sister from bottle to cup, my sister would drink her milk and then steal my bottle and drink that too and I never made any protest. I know that there is a certain stage of emotional development when a child starts to have a sense of self and I don't think I ever did that completely. She said as an infant I never cried to be held, only if I was hungry or wet. I am still very passive and generally just wait around for life to happen. Not a great life plan I know :roll: . Why do you think this would be and what do you think it means?



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06 Jun 2010, 9:59 am

Ever feel like nobody notices you exist? :?



Kiley
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06 Jun 2010, 10:25 am

Aimless wrote:
My mother tells me when I was very young, about 2 or 3, and she asked me my name to try and encourage me to talk, I would answer with my older sister's name. My older sister is just a year older. She also said when she was transitioning me from breast to bottle and my sister from bottle to cup, my sister would drink her milk and then steal my bottle and drink that too and I never made any protest. I know that there is a certain stage of emotional development when a child starts to have a sense of self and I don't think I ever did that completely. She said as an infant I never cried to be held, only if I was hungry or wet. I am still very passive and generally just wait around for life to happen. Not a great life plan I know :roll: . Why do you think this would be and what do you think it means?


Yes, a baby develops a sense of self quite early on, usually. They are very dependant on others but it's more about needs and drives early on. They can't be selfish very early on, they are just surviving, sort of part of a human organism aware primarily of their most basic needs. Then they start to understand that there are others that aren't them and who care for them and that they are important enough to be cared for. Attachments begin to form and are very intense. Toddlers are developing a sense of their own boundaries and go through the NO stage as they learn exert their own personhood and are starting to develop a sense of separateness. They'll say NO to things they want, just to practice their new skill. From there they move on to relating to other people in more complex and reciprocal ways including the ability to see themselves as part of a group. A two year old is unlikely to understand that instructions given to a group apply to them individually, but by four most kids can do that. With developmental delays some things can happen later or even out of sequence, but many kids do get there and complete the whole sequence even if it's a bit late. If something is completely missing and never develops it's another issue entirely.

There are other neurological things that can affect the sense of self. Borderline Personality Disorder involves completely skipping some of that self/others stuff and can be very problematic for the person who has it, but there are all kinds of variations within that diagnosis. There are also some people who simply have a more selfless personality type, which isn't necessarily pathalogical but may require developing some skills to function effectively, just like anybody with any kind of personality would do.



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06 Jun 2010, 10:45 am

Thank you for replying. I was starting to feel really weird. I don't think I ever completed that developmental stage successfully and it's affected my whole life. I think every family has a particular set of circumstances and my were that I was # 4 out of 5 children, with # 4,3 and 2 being born very close together. My mother was overwhelmed. My oldest brother had a lot of aspie traits, had seizures and banged his head and got beat up at school for being "the little professor" and there were only 13 foods he could eat because of allergies, my next brother was just willfully obstinate and always pushing boundaries, my sister was also very demanding and had colic and screamed all day. So I come along and am a very quiet baby that doesn't ask to be noticed. That doesn't mean I didn't need to be though. My son who has AS never really went through the demanding terrible two's. I know some people in childhood can only see themselves as being real, but do you think on the opposite end of the spectrum that an AS child could not realize their self very well at all?



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06 Jun 2010, 11:57 am

Aimless wrote:
Thank you for replying. I was starting to feel really weird. I don't think I ever completed that developmental stage successfully and it's affected my whole life. I think every family has a particular set of circumstances and my were that I was # 4 out of 5 children, with # 4,3 and 2 being born very close together. My mother was overwhelmed. My oldest brother had a lot of aspie traits, had seizures and banged his head and got beat up at school for being "the little professor" and there were only 13 foods he could eat because of allergies, my next brother was just willfully obstinate and always pushing boundaries, my sister was also very demanding and had colic and screamed all day. So I come along and am a very quiet baby that doesn't ask to be noticed. That doesn't mean I didn't need to be though. My son who has AS never really went through the demanding terrible two's. I know some people in childhood can only see themselves as being real, but do you think on the opposite end of the spectrum that an AS child could not realize their self very well at all?


I don't think this is particularly related to AS, but difficulties with social perceptions and developmental delays may make it more complex and harder to see clearly. I can relate to your mom very well and am fighting to not loose my quiet unassuming Aspie son who deserves as much attention as his more demanding brothers. I thank you for your posts about this as they help me keep my focus and resolve to giving each child what they need, no matter what.

I don't see your situation from the same vantage point that you do and we are just chatting online, so I really can't give you any kind of profound advice. Let me try to explain how I see what you're talking about, maybe you'll find something in it that you can incorporate into your thinking and find helpful. One of my hobby horses is that there are a lot of people who have no idea how smart they are because the world tends to overlook certain kinds of learning styles.

Google: 9 Intelligences

Here is one link I like:
http://skyview.vansd.org/lschmidt/Proje ... igence.htm

There are other versions of this that are also very helpful. Some people only count seven or eight. If you find a version that clicks for you, then it's the best one.

These intelligences are about how people's minds work and learn. They go beyond ASDs and are a completely different matter. NTs, Aspies, Auties...everybody has a unique set of intelligences with abilities derived from it. Most people have certain intelligences they use very well and certain they don't. Factor in other things like introversion vs extroversion and you start to see how incredibly diverse people are. This is the kind of stuff that makes my soul sing.

You're looking at your Aspieness and your family background, but now think about your personality and how you learn and process information beyond Aspiness issues. You may have a personality that is not given to good self awareness. Add in growing up in a family surrounded by people who have such profound needs, and there you are, completely out of touch with yourself. This may be something you need to work on, but that might not be something pathalogical and broken.

Do you bend to other people's will easily? Are you compliant?
Do you have a genuine concern for the needs of others? Are you a caring loving person?
How far does your concern go? Does it extend to your loved ones, or does it go as far as all of humanity? (I'm an all of humanity girl).
What do you need to recharge your batteries? After a long day worrying about your family do you need time alone? Are you an introvert?
Are you exhilerated by helping others? Are you an extrovert?
(You can be an introvert who cares deeply about others, that's how I am).
Do you need to think things through or do you need to try things to see what works to figure it out?

I think you might need to take some time to get to know yourself by asking yourself those kinds of questions. As you get to know yourself you might change your mind about some answers. If you've got poor social perceptions you may not be able to see how others see you readily, but you can start with how you see yourself, and that may help you get more glimmers of how others see you. A sense of self may well arise if you give yourself a chance to know yourself.

This stuff would probably best be addressed by a councelor, but I hope it's enough to give you an idea of where you could start. Maybe you don't feel that sense of self because you've been so distracted by everybody else's issues you've not bothered to get to know yourself. I have that same tendancy, and I've been able to work on it without even having a councelor. It's something my mom noticed and has mentioned a few times. It was enough to get me thinking, and with my studies in education and other training I've done I've been able to get to know me better.

There are developmental things that can cause a more serious problem, but with your background I think this other option is quite plausible.



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06 Jun 2010, 12:12 pm

Aimless wrote:
Ever feel like nobody notices you exist? :?

Yea. Sometimes. Sorry. :wink:

I'm never sure whether I truly understand when other people talk about a sense of "self". I can't really imagine existing without a sense of self. But I kind of see my "self" as the object that experiences the five senses, my thoughts, my emotions, etc. This is the Cartesian "self", the "I think therefore I am" sense of self, if you will.

Yet when other people talk about "self" it seems like they're often talking about what I think of as "personality". They define themselves by how they believe they are projecting onto other people, their role in the world, where they fit in in the grand scheme of things etc... This also extends to physical appearance, how they dress, who they associate with, their career, political/religious views, etc...

I feel like I've always had a strong sense of self in the first instance and a weak sense of self in the second instance. In other words I don't always feel like the "me" that the world sees, in terms of looks, personality, etc., is necessarily the "real" me. The "me" on the inside might be totally different from the "me" on the outside.

Sorry if this doesn't exactly relate to what you're trying to express. I have a lot of trouble relating to other people's experiences sometimes. I just have to express things by what I know, which is often from a rather self-absorbed viewpoint. I hope I'm making sense here and there is something you can get out of my words. I hate feeling like I'm just rambling on about myself and it's all totally worthless information to someone who's trying hard to connect / feel heard. Sometimes it's all I really know how to do.



Last edited by marshall on 06 Jun 2010, 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kiley
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06 Jun 2010, 12:15 pm

One more thing:

My middle son has some of the traits you do. His terrible twos were lovely, he was so charming (still is, and has the most incredible eyes)! He has some similar family history in that he's sandwiched between two far more demanding brothers. When he was 3 I had a chance to consult with a psychologist about all three boys. Interestingly he is the child that she thought was most likely to have an ASD. I asked about him missing the developmental leap at that age she assured me that some kids go through that stage quite peacefully and it's perfectly healthy. He walks on his tippy toes and holds his arms like chicken wings, and she picked up on his AS, even though I was clueless at that point.

I spoke to his Psychiatrist who treats his ADHD about it too, and he said it wasn't anything to worry about. He knew he had AS a long time before I did, and never mentioned it as this boy does just fine. This doc has an adult son with AS, and when I asked himif he thought this kid would test as having AS at his upcoming eval he just grinned and said, "Well, YEAH." Just DUH, mom, where have you been. I just see how great this kid is, not the "problems", which really aren't problems just differences. He's just so darn competent.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Start squeaking. :)



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06 Jun 2010, 12:17 pm

Thanks for the insights. I'm not diagnosed but I think I'm on the spectrum somewhere. My son is diagnosed AS. I stopped counseling when my therapist retired because there were things that neither she or I could explain. This was before I discovered WP and read about other people's similar struggles to do things most people don't even think about. I may go back in. I'm lucky that I have access to a facility that will charge me on a sliding scale.



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06 Jun 2010, 12:51 pm

Kiley wrote:
I think you might need to take some time to get to know yourself by asking yourself those kinds of questions. As you get to know yourself you might change your mind about some answers. If you've got poor social perceptions you may not be able to see how others see you readily, but you can start with how you see yourself, and that may help you get more glimmers of how others see you. A sense of self may well arise if you give yourself a chance to know yourself.

This stuff would probably best be addressed by a councelor, but I hope it's enough to give you an idea of where you could start. Maybe you don't feel that sense of self because you've been so distracted by everybody else's issues you've not bothered to get to know yourself. I have that same tendancy, and I've been able to work on it without even having a councelor. It's something my mom noticed and has mentioned a few times. It was enough to get me thinking, and with my studies in education and other training I've done I've been able to get to know me better.

I think this is the problem with extreme introversion. I think someone can be an extremely sensitive caring person underneath that really wants to connect with people, but then this sense of not having a real personality to project gets in the way. You do have to kind of "discover yourself" before other people will take an interest in you. But the problem is self discovery can't really take place in a vacuum. I mean, I can try to introspect and intellectualize about who I am all day without getting any closer to an answer. In the end, doing this all the time just leads to more confusion. Really the only way to truly discover a sense of self and feel like you have a personality you're comfortable with is to interact with other people. The sense of self really comes from interacting with other people I think. THus it's impossible to do it on your own intellectually. Yet when you feel like you lack a personality it's really hard to connect with anyone in the first place so it's kind of a circular trap where you always feel like you're stuck on the outside.



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06 Jun 2010, 12:58 pm

Aimless wrote:
Thanks for the insights. I'm not diagnosed but I think I'm on the spectrum somewhere. My son is diagnosed AS. I stopped counseling when my therapist retired because there were things that neither she or I could explain. This was before I discovered WP and read about other people's similar struggles to do things most people don't even think about. I may go back in. I'm lucky that I have access to a facility that will charge me on a sliding scale.


You may not have known what to talk about because you just don't know enough about yourself. Maybe if you think through some of that stuff, take the Myers Briggs online for free, and get yourself alone with yourself a little you might come up with some things for the councelor.

For a job I had to go for a month or two weeks or something for this in depth analysys prior to beginning a high stress job. It was routine for all people doing this work. Lots of people ended up staying longer if they found something to work on which usually didn't keep them from the work in question. It was considered part of the preparation process. One couple that entered with me ended up staying for a year, another girl stayed for three months. I got sent home early because I just couldn't find anything to talk about. That experience did bring my mom's words about my poor self awareness to mind and led to me getting to know myself better over time.

Interestingly, the Myers Briggs I took at that time came out radically differently than the ones I've done more recently. I don't think it's that I've changed so much that I've gotten to know myself so can give more accurate answers. I think in the past I've answered how I want myself to be in the absense of knowing how I really am.



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06 Jun 2010, 1:26 pm

Aimless wrote:
...but do you think on the opposite end of the spectrum that an AS child could not realize their self very well at all?

I have wondered this, too, about myself. As a toddler/preschooler I referred to myself in the third person and by name, as if I were talking about someone else. I also didn't respond to questions but would instead just repeat the question, as well as repeat random things said by others. It's as if I was a human tape recorder recording/replaying what I heard but had no thoughts of my own. I've wondered if I didn't realize I existed. Good questions, Aimless.



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06 Jun 2010, 1:27 pm

marshall wrote:
Aimless wrote:
Ever feel like nobody notices you exist? :?

Yea. Sometimes. Sorry. :wink:

I'm never sure whether I truly understand when other people talk about a sense of "self". I can't really imagine existing without a sense of self. But I kind of see my "self" as the object that experiences the five senses, my thoughts, my emotions, etc. This is the Cartesian "self", the "I think therefore I am" sense of self, if you will.

Yet when other people talk about "self" it seems like they're often talking about what I think of as "personality". They define themselves by how they believe they are projecting onto other people, their role in the world, where they fit in in the grand scheme of things etc... This also extends to physical appearance, how they dress, who they associate with, their career, political/religious views, etc...

I feel like I've always had a strong sense of self in the first instance and a weak sense of self in the second instance. In other words I don't always feel like the "me" that the world sees, in terms of looks, personality, etc., is necessarily the "real" me. The "me" on the inside might be totally different from the "me" on the outside.



Sorry if this doesn't exactly relate to what you're trying to express. I have a lot of trouble relating to other people's experiences sometimes. I just have to express things by what I know, which is often from a rather self-absorbed viewpoint. I hope I'm making sense here and there is something you can get out of my words. I hate feeling like I'm just rambling on about myself and it's all totally worthless information to someone who's trying hard to connect / feel heard. Sometimes it's all I really know how to do.


That actually explains how I feel very well, marshall. I of course know I exist but I never felt like I was significant in anyway. There was always a disconnect between my "self" and my environment, like I'm a ghost in a machine or I'm trapped under glass. My concept of myself was as a bother or an afterthought from the very beginning. I have a hard time asking for attention and when I ask for it and don't get it I feel a deep seated anger and resentment. Knowing that doesn't make the feeling go away, but at least it keeps me from dumping on people unfairly. At least I try. Anyway, because of this sometimes I feel ephemeral and insubstantial. Maybe that's why I like to eat so much. :?



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06 Jun 2010, 1:35 pm

Kiley wrote:
One more thing:

My middle son has some of the traits you do. His terrible twos were lovely, he was so charming (still is, and has the most incredible eyes)! He has some similar family history in that he's sandwiched between two far more demanding brothers. When he was 3 I had a chance to consult with a psychologist about all three boys. Interestingly he is the child that she thought was most likely to have an ASD. I asked about him missing the developmental leap at that age she assured me that some kids go through that stage quite peacefully and it's perfectly healthy. He walks on his tippy toes and holds his arms like chicken wings, and she picked up on his AS, even though I was clueless at that point.

I spoke to his Psychiatrist who treats his ADHD about it too, and he said it wasn't anything to worry about. He knew he had AS a long time before I did, and never mentioned it as this boy does just fine. This doc has an adult son with AS, and when I asked himif he thought this kid would test as having AS at his upcoming eval he just grinned and said, "Well, YEAH." Just DUH, mom, where have you been. I just see how great this kid is, not the "problems", which really aren't problems just differences. He's just so darn competent.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Start squeaking. :)


That's interesting about your middle son, that the doctor saw it so clearly. They put me in therapy while in 3rd grade because I was withdrawn, had anxiety and wet the bed. This would have been in the mid 60's, far before Asperger's was diagnosable. I usually get dismissed if I ask for a professional opinion as an adult, but I think it's quite possible if I was a child today, I would be diagnosed as being on the spectrum. It's been discussed here before about how coping skills you learn mask the deficits that are inherent. Actually, this helps if I do decide to go back into therapy, as for something to work on. The problem with this sort of thing is this is hard wired in me now. My Myers-Briggs is INFP btw.



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06 Jun 2010, 1:41 pm

darby54 wrote:
Aimless wrote:
...but do you think on the opposite end of the spectrum that an AS child could not realize their self very well at all?

I have wondered this, too, about myself. As a toddler/preschooler I referred to myself in the third person and by name, as if I were talking about someone else. I also didn't respond to questions but would instead just repeat the question, as well as repeat random things said by others. It's as if I was a human tape recorder recording/replaying what I heard but had no thoughts of my own. I've wondered if I didn't realize I existed. Good questions, Aimless.


I don't think I was like that, but I see how that would indicate an incomplete sense of self. I think my problem might not be AS related but it is significant in that I got used and dumped on frequently. Rather, romantically I took myself off the market, because I think I have an invisible (only to me) sign that says "fool" on my forehead and I just can't try anymore.



eon
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06 Jun 2010, 1:58 pm

I agree with the idea of the self as the "object" that is experiencing sensory feedback. I sometimes abstract out so far as to view my body as "me".

I read in the complete guide to asperger's syndrome that due to Theory of Mind impairments it was quite common in Attwood's clinical experience to see that the diagnosed had developed a highly abstract & philosophical sense of self.