Awareness of problems making it worse?

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Raz0rscythe
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20 May 2013, 4:27 am

I was thinking (because I do a stupid amount of thinking, and I haven't been having a great time), does being aware of your social problems make you feel worse?
If you had no idea how to socialise, but also no idea how bad your attempts were and what others thought, I guess you'd feel bad, but at least be shielded from others.
But what if you had an idea of empathy, and theory of mind, and could tell what others feel every now and them, enough to make friendships? Then you're all set, except when you make fatal mistakes, and you actually realise what has happened, and that you've slipped up again. Does that not feel even worse? And then if you try and fix it, and that goes wrong because actually your skills don't stretch that far, does it not get even worse? I have to ask, because obviously I can only speak from my point of view. If I could perfectly 'empathise' I guess I wouldn't be here. (Actually on the subject of empathy, I believe we empathise just fine, maybe even too strongly, but don't know what to do with it and shut it out)


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vanhalenkurtz
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20 May 2013, 4:39 am

The unexamined life isn't worth living, and the unlived life isn't worth examining.


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cberg
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20 May 2013, 4:44 am

Empathy is being unpacked lately as legitimate glimpses of the consciousness of others. What we believed was simple identification with another person could easily have an interconnected, physical basis. In my case, my 'theory of mind' was so intensely visual that it set my actions into the patterns it showed me - slowly but surely, abandoning those abstractions frees me from their consequences. I can't say it's totally worked yet, but stabilization is always a work in progress. I try not to shut out my empathy, and even enjoy following social convention such as hugs and (VERY occasionally) eye contact, however I know empirically that my actions based on it don't really do my social encounters justice.


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MjrMajorMajor
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20 May 2013, 7:28 am

vanhalenkurtz wrote:
The unexamined life isn't worth living, and the unlived life isn't worth examining.


+1 Who wants to spend life with your head in the sand? That rates much worse to me.



Bubbles137
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20 May 2013, 8:03 am

I think this is really interesting and I'm not sure. When I was at school, I had no idea about ASD and had a lot of problems socially- found it hard to make friends my age so all my friends were a lot younger or adults, and I used to over-attach to people and still do, although to a much lesser extent. I wasn't aware at school and I used to think there was something massively wrong with me but had no idea what it was, so in that sense awareness is a positive thing and now I can consciously make sure I'm not 'latching on' to people too much. But it can also be a negative as someone pointed out to me recently- she said she thought I was "almost too aware". Now I get paranoid about it and try to pre-empt everything that could go wrong, or focus too much on not annoying people which then annoys them. It also makes me a lot more anxious about it whereas before, I never really noticed until afterwards.



Raz0rscythe
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22 May 2013, 7:08 am

Bubbles, that's exactly how I feel :D That now I'm fully aware of my problems, I spend most of my time trying to not let them get in the way, which in itself becomes a problem. But then if I over think this I'll get down and depressed, obviously not a healthy thing to do...


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Zaechariah
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22 May 2013, 8:18 am

For my entire life up to this point I have slowly gained an understanding that I am socially stunted, and recently that understanding has accelerated to me reading as much as I can on Asperger's syndrome (since I suspect I have it, I'm seeking professional help).

I suppose it differs for everyone, but I think for me, knowing that my social prowess is inadequate compared to most people is the closest thing to an advantage I could have.
When before, I was told there was nothing keeping me from naturally interacting with other people, I felt anxiety and pressured to act in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. Now, with some knowledge about possible reasons for me being COMPLETELY uncomfortable in almost all social encounters, I can approach these situations with a bit more confidence, and in my own eccentric manner. It also gives me an understanding that if I say the wrong thing, or misinterpret something someone else says, I can better recognize it later on when looking back at the interaction, and try to avoid that same misunderstanding.



Joe90
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22 May 2013, 12:26 pm

I'm aware of my social deficits. I'm very aware. And I can feel empathy, show empathy, recognise body language and other non-verbal social signs of others, engage in small talk or other one-on-one conversations, and I can make eye contact quite comfortably. Having all this still doesn't make me a good socialiser, though. I lack confidence, rather a lot. I am too timid, and seem to be afraid to hear my own voice in a group, so I remain quiet. I am a quiet person anyway, and people know that. I also have social phobia and social anxiety, so I fear a social faux pas, which is why I don't talk a lot.

If I make a social faux pas, I know I have immediately afterwards by the body language of others. Like a few months ago I was walking to work one early morning, and a young woman was strapping her baby into her car, with the car door open. The car was parked up on the curb and the open door was blocking my way, so the girl saw me and closed the car door and walked round to the back of the car to let me pass. As I was walking past, I kind of went blank, and forgot to say thank you (it's quite unusual for me to forget to say thank you to people, maybe it was because it was a work morning and I was still half asleep). After I passed I heard the girl yell ''you're welcome!'', and I then felt bad, and also embarrassed because it's not normally like me to be rude, and it looked like I was being rude. Because of my social phobia, this small scenario haunted me for the rest of the day, but then I had to remind myself that I probably wouldn't see her again and that she will probably forget about it.

I sometimes wish I was less self-aware, and didn't get sensitive when others misunderstand or react harshly to my social faux pas. Luckily I don't make many social faux pas, and luckily I am not lacking the ''telling white lies to save someone's feelings'' social skill. The only social thing I get confused with sometimes is telling the difference between joining in and butting in. But this might be from bad experiences I've had in the past, where I have been lectured to join in with social activities, then humiliated for trying to join in.


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Skilpadde
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22 May 2013, 6:25 pm

For me, all ASD related problems I have learnt about, make the task in question all the more harder for me. I was better off not knowing.


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Matt62
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22 May 2013, 6:47 pm

Hmm, now that I am more aware of the problems, I just know when I am headed for the rocks.
I wish I had been more aware in my college days, but AS was not even recognized back then. I did drink too much back then, in order to help with the social diffculties. However, NOTHING is worth a hang-over!
Anyway, I am just aware, seems kind of neutral.

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lazyman114
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23 May 2013, 8:24 am

Joe90 wrote:
I'm aware of my social deficits. I'm very aware. And I can feel empathy, show empathy, recognise body language and other non-verbal social signs of others, engage in small talk or other one-on-one conversations, and I can make eye contact quite comfortably. Having all this still doesn't make me a good socialiser, though. I lack confidence, rather a lot. I am too timid, and seem to be afraid to hear my own voice in a group, so I remain quiet. I am a quiet person anyway, and people know that. I also have social phobia and social anxiety, so I fear a social faux pas, which is why I don't talk a lot.

If I make a social faux pas, I know I have immediately afterwards by the body language of others. Like a few months ago I was walking to work one early morning, and a young woman was strapping her baby into her car, with the car door open. The car was parked up on the curb and the open door was blocking my way, so the girl saw me and closed the car door and walked round to the back of the car to let me pass. As I was walking past, I kind of went blank, and forgot to say thank you (it's quite unusual for me to forget to say thank you to people, maybe it was because it was a work morning and I was still half asleep). After I passed I heard the girl yell ''you're welcome!'', and I then felt bad, and also embarrassed because it's not normally like me to be rude, and it looked like I was being rude. Because of my social phobia, this small scenario haunted me for the rest of the day, but then I had to remind myself that I probably wouldn't see her again and that she will probably forget about it.

I sometimes wish I was less self-aware, and didn't get sensitive when others misunderstand or react harshly to my social faux pas. Luckily I don't make many social faux pas, and luckily I am not lacking the ''telling white lies to save someone's feelings'' social skill. The only social thing I get confused with sometimes is telling the difference between joining in and butting in. But this might be from bad experiences I've had in the past, where I have been lectured to join in with social activities, then humiliated for trying to join in.


Don't worry. She was most likely in a bad mood. I learned that I should never underestimate my impact on people. Only recently have I realized that I overestimate it just as often. Even still, I still feel stupid long after they've forgotten me.