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scubasteve
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03 May 2012, 9:06 pm

Well, there's pretending, and then there's learning...

If you can begin to hide or reduce a behavior without thinking about it the whole time, I would say you're learning to control it. There is nothing "pretend" about that. It's a matter of understanding what is expected, finding a strategy, and then practicing that strategy. Just like learning anything else.

On the other hand, if you're in a new or unusual situation you couldn't practice for, you might be constantly thinking about what people expect you to do. That's what I call "pretending". And there's nothing really wrong with it. I just think that's where we have to use up more energy and the situations become more stressful.



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03 May 2012, 10:19 pm

I don't like the idea of pretending. It's basically lying to yourself.



MeshugenahMama
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03 May 2012, 11:30 pm

I think some clarification would help me here. From those of you who think that you are successful at pretending to be NT (even though it may be stressful), are you saying that you are successful as passing yourself off as being just a little quirky, or are you successful at portaying yourself as a "normal" NT, who people would never guess had issues?



scubasteve
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04 May 2012, 2:19 am

MeshugenahMama wrote:
I think some clarification would help me here. From those of you who think that you are successful at pretending to be NT (even though it may be stressful), are you saying that you are successful as passing yourself off as being just a little quirky, or are you successful at portaying yourself as a "normal" NT, who people would never guess had issues?


I don't see the difference. "A little quirky" is generally accepted as normal. For instance... ADHD symptoms? Normal. Depression? Normal problem. Normal people have it. Don't talk? You must be shy. Dress strangely? You must hang out with a different clique. Wear funny hats? You're funny! Talk about a special interest? You're boring. Stare? 8O OMG OMG NOT NORMAL! NOT NORMAL! BURN THE WITCH! :roll:

I'm exaggerating just a bit, but yeah... Point is, most of the things I'd do fall under the wide range of normalcy. Being perceived as NT comes down to identifying and controlling the ones that don't.



ediself
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04 May 2012, 3:28 am

There is for me a mix of what you describe and something else that I can only define as "acting", from what i've read this short-lived and hard to maintain attitude might be more predominantly female , but what might have helped me develop this is that i have a partner who does this constantly (still unsure whether he's Narcissistic or simply ASPD).
It is a sort of morphing .... I walk to the townshall my completely normal aspie self, bouncy walk and glazed out eyes, looking at the pavement and gathering my focus , push the entrance door and morph into a self-assured, responsible looking, friendly -smiled and slightly sexy stranger . If the social occurence is a meeting with school officials for example that will last over an hour and means fighting off meltdowns , pushing through selective mutism and finding compelling arguments on the spot, I spend the previous day locked in my house and avoiding stress at all costs, getting as much sleep as possible . I spend an hour before leaving the house building an NT look that fits the situation , from makeup to grown up shoes, I've worn tight buns and black suits when I wanted to make it clear I wouldn't accept being treated as a child for example , or tight clothes, lip gloss and curled up hair to deal with older men.
It helps me get in character . Then all I have to do is try my best to act the way I'm dressed.
And remember not to chew the inside of my cheeks in public .
Depending on how long it lasts, (I not sure I could keep that up more than a few hours , probably 3 maximum, I already feel exhausted after 1 hour ) I need from a night to a week to recover from this. Wrapped in a duvet watching stupid series and never answering my door, phone unplugged . I generally feel sick afterwards which makes me quite confident in saying that my partner's PD isn't THAT contagious after all, even though in all honesty I wish it were and I could do this as effortlessly as he does .



edgewaters
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04 May 2012, 5:16 am

scubasteve wrote:
I don't see the difference. "A little quirky" is generally accepted as normal. For instance... ADHD symptoms? Normal. Depression? Normal problem. Normal people have it. Don't talk? You must be shy. Dress strangely? You must hang out with a different clique. Wear funny hats? You're funny! Talk about a special interest? You're boring. Stare? 8O OMG OMG NOT NORMAL! NOT NORMAL! BURN THE WITCH! :roll:

I'm exaggerating just a bit, but yeah... Point is, most of the things I'd do fall under the wide range of normalcy. Being perceived as NT comes down to identifying and controlling the ones that don't.


What exactly is the staring thing? I don't think I do this because I don't get that reaction. But I'm really curious about it, in case I meet some people from here ever. I have serious eye contact problems. Someone staring right at me for any length of time I'd probably catch on fire or melt or something. So is it staring at the person you're talking to, or somewhere else?



Nikkt
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04 May 2012, 6:55 am

SpiritBlooms wrote:
To me pretending to be NT is like acting. Maybe it takes a certain talent. I think, and I've read, that girls usually have more motivation to be social, so many Aspie girls learn at some point how to act social, even though it's not natural for them.

That describes me pretty well, only I didn't feel as if I started to catch on until I was a young adult and was highly motivated to find a life partner. Society tells us we're supposed to have friends, and that was a motivator for me as well. I wanted to fit in somehow. I still don't feel that I've ever really had many friends, so it didn't do me that much good to pretend, but pretend I did. I also knew I had to make a living. My parents were big on independence and I suspect in denial that there was anything wrong with me, so I knew they weren't going to keep supporting me and I had to find a way to get and keep a job.

But I have to tell you, sometimes I hate the fact that I ever learned to pretend, because it was so important to me at the time that certain behaviors seem to have become embedded in my habitual way of dealing with people. I can't seem to turn it off when I want and need to. It's as if I have this program that runs under social circumstances, especially with strangers, and I don't know how to turn it off and be myself. It's exhausting, and it's sometimes detrimental in that it gets me the opposite of what I intended it to. I don't feel that people get to know me, even when I want them to. They know this persona, not me. I went to a therapist once, with a serious issue I was having at the time. I was quite distressed, but out came my "act normal" program with this therapist/stranger, and she wound up not believing that I had any problem at all.


Yeah, that's crap. I was really worried about not being believed by the psych who I went to for diagnosis, becasue I have the same thing - a NT persona who is like a protective shell and usually comes out in any social situation (even if 'social' is just one person). Even when I was getting the diagnosis the psych said 'ten/fifteen minutes with someone and they wouldn't pick up you're anything other than NT.'

In a way, this can be detrimental; if colleagues, for e.g., think you're typical, they start getting wierded out and make wrong assumptions when the inevitable social mistakes are made. If you come across as odd to begin with, different conclusions are reached when you say/do something strange.

On the plus side, it means my career prospects (within the field I'm studying in) are better. I've been told by the one academic staff member who know of my AS to not tell anyone about it or I'll never get a training position. Disgusting thing is, he's right.


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scubasteve
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04 May 2012, 7:10 am

edgewaters wrote:
scubasteve wrote:
I don't see the difference. "A little quirky" is generally accepted as normal. For instance... ADHD symptoms? Normal. Depression? Normal problem. Normal people have it. Don't talk? You must be shy. Dress strangely? You must hang out with a different clique. Wear funny hats? You're funny! Talk about a special interest? You're boring. Stare? 8O OMG OMG NOT NORMAL! NOT NORMAL! BURN THE WITCH! :roll:

I'm exaggerating just a bit, but yeah... Point is, most of the things I'd do fall under the wide range of normalcy. Being perceived as NT comes down to identifying and controlling the ones that don't.


What exactly is the staring thing? I don't think I do this because I don't get that reaction. But I'm really curious about it, in case I meet some people from here ever. I have serious eye contact problems. Someone staring right at me for any length of time I'd probably catch on fire or melt or something. So is it staring at the person you're talking to, or somewhere else?


Staring at a person. If it's just staring out into space, it'll probably come off as bored/disinterested/inattentive. Staring at a person, even by accident, can seem creepy or weird.

That's just one example though, and not the biggest one, I'm sure... If you'd like to start a new thread on this topic, I'll try to think of some other examples and post when I get home from work.



MeshugenahMama
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04 May 2012, 8:16 am

scubasteve wrote:
edgewaters wrote:
scubasteve wrote:
I don't see the difference. "A little quirky" is generally accepted as normal. For instance... ADHD symptoms? Normal. Depression? Normal problem. Normal people have it. Don't talk? You must be shy. Dress strangely? You must hang out with a different clique. Wear funny hats? You're funny! Talk about a special interest? You're boring. Stare? 8O OMG OMG NOT NORMAL! NOT NORMAL! BURN THE WITCH! :roll:

I'm exaggerating just a bit, but yeah... Point is, most of the things I'd do fall under the wide range of normalcy. Being perceived as NT comes down to identifying and controlling the ones that don't.


What exactly is the staring thing? I don't think I do this because I don't get that reaction. But I'm really curious about it, in case I meet some people from here ever. I have serious eye contact problems. Someone staring right at me for any length of time I'd probably catch on fire or melt or something. So is it staring at the person you're talking to, or somewhere else?


Staring at a person. If it's just staring out into space, it'll probably come off as bored/disinterested/inattentive. Staring at a person, even by accident, can seem creepy or weird.

That's just one example though, and not the biggest one, I'm sure... If you'd like to start a new thread on this topic, I'll try to think of some other examples and post when I get home from work.


I do this and people are definitely weirded out by it. I don't think that I really did this when I was younger, because I was very anti-social and my attitude was much more "don't look at me and I won't look at you". I stare off into space a lot and that for me is simply zoning out. I think sometimes the reason that I stare at people is because I am studying them to try and figure out what it is that I do that makes me so different from them. The part of this that has definitely gotten me in trouble with people is that I find that if a person has an interesting physical trait-I have an urge to stare, and have to make a conscious effort to stop-I really don't understand it. I call it interesting-but they are generally traits that society looks at negatively, and people don't want you to stare at it when you talk to them. When it happens, it's not that I'm even really thinking about it, but my eyes are drawn there.



MeshugenahMama
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04 May 2012, 8:38 am

ediself wrote:
There is for me a mix of what you describe and something else that I can only define as "acting", from what i've read this short-lived and hard to maintain attitude might be more predominantly female , but what might have helped me develop this is that i have a partner who does this constantly (still unsure whether he's Narcissistic or simply ASPD).
It is a sort of morphing .... I walk to the townshall my completely normal aspie self, bouncy walk and glazed out eyes, looking at the pavement and gathering my focus , push the entrance door and morph into a self-assured, responsible looking, friendly -smiled and slightly sexy stranger . If the social occurence is a meeting with school officials for example that will last over an hour and means fighting off meltdowns , pushing through selective mutism and finding compelling arguments on the spot, I spend the previous day locked in my house and avoiding stress at all costs, getting as much sleep as possible . I spend an hour before leaving the house building an NT look that fits the situation , from makeup to grown up shoes, I've worn tight buns and black suits when I wanted to make it clear I wouldn't accept being treated as a child for example , or tight clothes, lip gloss and curled up hair to deal with older men.
It helps me get in character . Then all I have to do is try my best to act the way I'm dressed.
And remember not to chew the inside of my cheeks in public .
Depending on how long it lasts, (I not sure I could keep that up more than a few hours , probably 3 maximum, I already feel exhausted after 1 hour ) I need from a night to a week to recover from this. Wrapped in a duvet watching stupid series and never answering my door, phone unplugged . I generally feel sick afterwards which makes me quite confident in saying that my partner's PD isn't THAT contagious after all, even though in all honesty I wish it were and I could do this as effortlessly as he does .


Maybe I just needed more specifics, because this I definitely do this. Something that I would do sometimes when I was young and single, is I would get dolled up, and I would pretend to be really ditzy (Marilyn Monroe with dark hair), because I found I could make a lot of mistakes, and people were very forgiving-but that obviously would not help me in the career and academia "adult" world that I am now in. I can relate to the morph thing, but primarily through my physical appearance. I don't have good enough communication skills to be able to pull it off on any deeper level.



SpiritBlooms
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04 May 2012, 9:41 am

scubasteve wrote:
edgewaters wrote:
scubasteve wrote:
I don't see the difference. "A little quirky" is generally accepted as normal. For instance... ADHD symptoms? Normal. Depression? Normal problem. Normal people have it. Don't talk? You must be shy. Dress strangely? You must hang out with a different clique. Wear funny hats? You're funny! Talk about a special interest? You're boring. Stare? 8O OMG OMG NOT NORMAL! NOT NORMAL! BURN THE WITCH! :roll:

I'm exaggerating just a bit, but yeah... Point is, most of the things I'd do fall under the wide range of normalcy. Being perceived as NT comes down to identifying and controlling the ones that don't.


What exactly is the staring thing? I don't think I do this because I don't get that reaction. But I'm really curious about it, in case I meet some people from here ever. I have serious eye contact problems. Someone staring right at me for any length of time I'd probably catch on fire or melt or something. So is it staring at the person you're talking to, or somewhere else?


Staring at a person. If it's just staring out into space, it'll probably come off as bored/disinterested/inattentive. Staring at a person, even by accident, can seem creepy or weird.

That's just one example though, and not the biggest one, I'm sure... If you'd like to start a new thread on this topic, I'll try to think of some other examples and post when I get home from work.
The times I found this to be a problem had to do with facial recognition. I remember one group I met with in which there was a woman who bore a close resemblance to some of my cousins. Now those cousins are Catholic and there are a lot of them as well as their offspring. I'm so worried about seeing someone I know and not recognizing them, I guess I started watching her just to figure out if she was related to me. I actually went through a list of cousins' names in my mind, asking myself for each one, is that her? I'm usually good at not staring, but she started to act really fidgety during that meeting, even changed seats once, at which point I realized I'd been staring and had probably freaked her out. Oops!

I've decided since then that if I don't recognize someone, too bad. They'll have to speak to me and let me know.