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Atta_Aspie
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14 Nov 2006, 7:29 pm

I'm 27 years old and I have only been diagnosed with Asperger's for a year. I always knew I was different, mainly in the fact that I still have only the vaguest idea of how to relate to NTS.

I know this is kinda heavy for my first post - I don't feel it, emotionally, but I know that NTs do. Anyway, my grandmother and my uncle have both just died. I was going to say "passed away", but I don't know what that really means - like, passed a football or a kidney stone passed?

It's not that I didn't love them, I just feel like I didn't know them. Actually, I don't feel like I truly know anyone. I feel the same, I don't know, feeling as if anyone else had passed, but I am not grief stricken and I hate all these damn okayses phone calls - "are you OK?" What the hell is OK? I'm alive a breathing; that's more than I can say for grandmother and uncle.

So, what is it that people are supposed to feel when a family member passes away? Regret, sadness, loss, and despair: what are the reasons for these emotions? What purpose do they serve? Am I a monster for not feeling them? Am I feeling them and I just don't know? Now I know what everyone means by feeling like an "anthropologist on Mars."

Can anyone else relate?



KBABZ
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14 Nov 2006, 10:00 pm

I know what you mean. I had a similar, if not quite as serious, incident two years ago when my mum broke her ankle. When she was in pain, I just quaintly stood there waiting for something 'interesting' to happen. I was 14 at the time. I don't have any grandfathers alive right now, and they all died during my lifetime. This was mostly because I didn't know them that well, as a result of them living in Holland, instead of NZ where I am.

The term 'passed away' is a metaphor for death. Basically, it is referring to the soul passing to heaven, hence the term 'passed away' (to heaven or 'a better place'). A more confusing example is pushing up daisies, or kicked the bucket, but these are more comical and not to be used for people in general.

You are not a monster for not feeling these feelings, because you know that you should feel them. As for the phone calls, you should kindly ask them not to ring you, because you are finding it irritable, and also state, with large emphasis, that you are okay. Please note that I am only sixteen, so I don't know if that's the best way to go.


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tortoise
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14 Nov 2006, 10:25 pm

I'm emotinally blunted also. That may be for other reasons that I don't want to go into right now. Anyways, when my father and brother died I didn't cry. It took a while, and with my father it all came out at once at the funeral which was a week after his death. That sort of response is not that abnormal. I'm not saying that Aspies should be like that. Any way that you react to death is okay. If you didn't really love someone, most people don't cry anyways, unless it was tragic circumstances. No one should judge the way someone else reacts to death. No worries when it comes to the death of others, be yourself.


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markaudette
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15 Nov 2006, 1:20 am

I certainly don't have the same reaction to death as everyone else. Or at least as NTs do.

All my Grandparents have died. And I've never cried over them.

My Aunt died and I never cried.

My newborn son died an I didn't cry until three years after his death. I was watching "She's Having a Baby." and at the end of the movie, the wife is in trouble with labor and is at risk of losing the baby. They play "This woman's Work" by Kate Bush and it just destroyed me for a few minutes. I cried but I pulled myself back together.

And I didn't have a real reaction to my mother's death until two years after she died. That woman put the whlole family through a damn great deal of trouble before she died. To say the very least, she caused a hell of a lot of disharmony in the family. She abused medication and died as a result. I was in such a state of shock that it wasn't until years later that I finally broke down one afternoon, far back on a trail at a local state park. It was only then when I knew NO ONE could see or hear me that finally it all came to a head and blew up. And I cried for a good 30 minutes. It felt really good to get it all out. But at her funeral I didn't shed a tear. No wince. No grimace. Not much of anything.

I mean, sure I'm very sad wen someone dies. But in my mind, death is just a natural function of life. It's life's ultimate conclusion.



Mitch8817
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15 Nov 2006, 1:24 am

Everybody has a natural reaction to things, so I say nothing is wrong (how can it be if it is what you feel is 'normal' to you?). Don't buy into the percieved 'correct' way of doing oor feeling things. Each to their own.



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15 Nov 2006, 4:19 am

When my mother died it kinda brought things to a boil over me because it became plainly apparent I wasnt "normal".

Years of therapy and psychologists all trying to figure out why it didnt bother me and why I never cried.

They could never understand that "mourning" as they call it is nothing more than self-pity in my eyes. I miss the person when they die if I enjoyed their company but why should I be sad? Why should I find death tragic? They could never understand my answer when I would do something dangerous and they would say "arent you afraid of dieing?" either. Why fear the inevitable?


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Callista
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15 Nov 2006, 7:50 am

Mourning is, for all practical purposes, more about the person who's alive than the one who's dead. NTs form very deep relationships; in fact, they define themselves partly in terms of those people they know. For an NT, when someone dies, they're losing a part of themselves.

I didn't cry when my stepfather died when I was nine; though that might have been because he was abusive. I didn't cry when my second stepfather disappeared when I was 18, nor when my grandfather died when I was four, or my father when I was two (though I might have been too young for those).

But I did cry--inconsolably--for both of my two pet cats. I would probably cry for my mother or my sisters, and for one or two of my closest friends. For others... I suppose I might feel a passing sadness; and sympathy for the people who miss them and are feeling pain as a result. But I don't think I'd truly grieve them. That's not callousness; it's just that I value the people I know--coworkers, relatives, acquaintances that NTs would call "friends"--only as much as I'd value any other human being--highly, enough to help them, sacrificially if necessary; but without emotional entanglements.

There has to be a relationship for someone to mourn another's death. Aspies simply do not form relationships very easily or in great numbers; and just because someone is a relative does not mean we must have a connection. Not having a relationship doesn't mean we don't care; we just don't know that person very well.

I didn't have a real relationship with either of my stepfathers, or my grandfather; and I was very young for my father's death. Unlike most NTs, who form relationships easily, I had simply not bonded with them. But with my cats, I was finally able to communicate in a non-threatening way; and was regarded as an equal (from cats, that is high praise); and when I lost my cats, I lost a relationship that did in fact define part of who I was--the "owner" of those cats. So when I mourned for those cats, I cried mostly for myself--the part of my life that involved those cats, that would now be gone forever.

Aspies are not emotionally blunted; we are just not as socially involved with other human beings. Someone whom an NT might consider a friend simply due to repeated contact, we would have trouble relating to and perhaps even (for face-blind people like me) recognizing on the street. That doesn't make us sociopaths--just socially isolated.


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Breakbot
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15 Nov 2006, 9:11 am

I didn't cry when my aunt, grandfather, or grandmother died. A friend of mine commited suicide this year, and I cried for 3 days. I could not handle the fact that such a drastic change to my life had happened... and in a way I still find it very hard to realize that this person is not there. =\



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15 Nov 2006, 9:18 am

Atta_Aspie wrote:
It's not that I didn't love them, I just feel like I didn't know them. Actually, I don't feel like I truly know anyone. I feel the same, I don't know, feeling as if anyone else had passed, but I am not grief stricken and I hate all these damn okayses phone calls - "are you OK?" What the hell is OK? I'm alive a breathing; that's more than I can say for grandmother and uncle.

So, what is it that people are supposed to feel when a family member passes away? Regret, sadness, loss, and despair: what are the reasons for these emotions? What purpose do they serve? Am I a monster for not feeling them? Am I feeling them and I just don't know? Now I know what everyone means by feeling like an "anthropologist on Mars."

Can anyone else relate?


No, you're not a monster.



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15 Nov 2006, 10:32 am

Yes, I can relate. There have been numerous times in the past when either people I know have died or had something unfortunate happen to them. In those situations, I do not cry or even ever really show any emotions whatsoever. It's not that I'm emotionally calloused, but rather that I'm not quite sure what I'm feeling; and, consequently, I'm not sure what to do because of these odd feelings.

Although I do have the ability to form relationships with people, for the most part, these relationships are not as deep as the ones that most NTs would form. If I formed a deep relationship with someone and they died, then I would probably get really emotional, but not if this person is an acquaintance. It is unfortunate, but it is also life.


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cman_yall
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15 Nov 2006, 10:54 am

I didn't cry when my grandmother died, but I did cry a couple of days before that, when visiting her in the intensive care unit. Basically she wanted them to pull the plug, and the whole family went to talk to the doctor about it, while I stayed with her cause we didn't want to leave her alone. They came back in, and explained that they weren't ready for her to go, and they wanted her to try to hang on for one more night, give the treatments a bit more time to work. She, in between struggling for breaths, said "don't wanna... wanna go... but I'll stay for you". I had to leave, and I broke down in the hallway.

So I wasn't particularly sad that she died... she was 82, she had had a fuller life than I will, most likely, and she'd been diagnosed with bowel cancer 3 years before so I'd had time to get used to the idea... what made me sad was the way in which she died, and the continuing maternal self sacrifice attitude she had.

You can't choose what to feel, I guess, but IMO you're a monster only if you a) never feel anything AND b) don't care enough to pretend to.


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SweXtal
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15 Nov 2006, 12:59 pm

I have a totaly different problem. So has my two sons. We're overfilled with empathy.

I can't stand funerals, never have, because a living and functional individual has seized to exist. It doesn't matter who the funeral has been about, I just can't stop crying, even before the act. I also have severe difficulties of visiting a graveyard because of this, since my mind simply switches into mourning mode. I've always been relieved from the ceremonies, since thank god my parents understood that I felt so hard for the loss of a life, that it would ruin a week for me.



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15 Nov 2006, 1:16 pm

This is interesting, SweXtal. I know I have intense emotions, when I have them; but I often do not have emotions when I am socially expected to have them... Your experiences certainly fit the "intense emotion" description.

Do you feel grief equally for all human beings?... If you knew the person, would you grieve more than if you had not known the person? Relative vs. non-relative? Or is it specific to those you knew?


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15 Nov 2006, 2:14 pm

I've always been emotionally blunted as well. Sometimes my dad would detect it and get extremely furious, grab me, shake me, call me "warped" and "demented." But I just wouldn't feel. I think my dad eventually learned to leave it be... as long as I go through the motions and have a grave, ashen look on my face and don't say anything unwittingly inappropriate, I guess he'll let me pass.

I would go to funerals and all the wailing and carrying on would grate on me, get on my nerves, make me grind my teeth. Mexican-American/Latino funerals are not nearly as subdued as Anglo-American funerals, you should know. I always liked going to white funerals better because the women don't scream and wail at the top of their lungs. Just muffled "boo hoo hoo *sniff*" type stuff. Anybody who's been to both kinds of funerals will know of what I speak.

Last funeral I went to was about two years ago. A close friend got shot dead at a party. (That crap happens a lot in certain parts of Los Angeles, where I'm originally from.) Hardest part for me was enduring the funeral.



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15 Nov 2006, 4:08 pm

I have grieved when a relationship has ended(not death)or a pet died.If I lost my boyfriend I think I would be suicidal from the lose.I would be sad if either of my parents died because they have "been there" for me when I have had problems,but we are not "close".I have only been to one funeral where I cried.It was a "client" I worked with for several years.My grief was because he wanted to be alive so much....he had a love of life that amazed me and I found it difficult to believe that strong life force was in a box infront of me.I just couldnt wrap my head around the concept,seemed surreal and scary.I have a strong feeling when I see someone on TV who is in pain...it hurts me and makes me angry at their situation(wars,genocide,floods,starvation).It's not their death I grieve it's their current suffering and the general cruelty of life.


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