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NCC1701
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29 Dec 2013, 2:01 pm

I'm not sure how to word this because I'm not really clear-headed at the moment.
I seem to have a real issue with misinterpreting what label a relationship falls under.

I want to make this as short as possible. I had a therapist who ended up breaking ethical code for me in different ways (taking me to lunch, taking me home after sessions, letting me spend the night at her house once, etc.) and who was very active in my life and in helping me (emailing with me almost everyday for months). There were numerous times throughout seeing her that she said she was my friend. Her company made changes and sent her to a new department, so that ended therapy with her. While preparing for that change, she told me that she'd still be my friend, that she'd come down to see me every once in a while, and that she could even take me to see a Dj since I would no longer be her client.

I interpreted all that very literally. I thought that "friend" could only mean one thing... that is being a friend. It turns out that I was wrong. She said that's not what she intended it to mean. She said that she could never see me as a friend because the relationship had to be strictly professional.
Whenever I told this to some friends (gee, I sure do hope they're friends and I'm not misinterpreting again), they said that she could very well have meant something besides what I thought. Apparently when you tell someone you'll be a friend, you're not really saying what I understood it to me. There's different versions of being a friend?

I'm not sure. But I have this issue a lot. Someone says something and I take them to mean just that. But it will turn out that I was the one who was wrong in what I thought. Apparently there's different meanings to things?

I'm not sure I understand any of this. Does anybody else have this sort of problem where you take what someone says and see only one correct way of understanding it? Is this typical of people with Aspergers or is it a NT thing as well?



Willard
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29 Dec 2013, 2:05 pm

NCC1701 wrote:
She said that she could never see me as a friend because the relationship had to be strictly professional.



Well, don't just stand there gawking, with your bare face hanging out - offer the lady some money. :wink:



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29 Dec 2013, 2:09 pm

Lol, sweetheart, you just described one of the core characteristics of aspergers syndrome. Just look it up on the internet.



NCC1701
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29 Dec 2013, 2:25 pm

Willard wrote:
NCC1701 wrote:
She said that she could never see me as a friend because the relationship had to be strictly professional.



Well, don't just stand there gawking, with your bare face hanging out - offer the lady some money. :wink:


I gave her things that costs money. I gave her a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, a $25 movie card, a Christmas present, a math clock, and artwork that she asked for (well, her fiancé [at the time] asked for it to frame and hang in their house... it was worthy of that). I spent probably $100 on her because I appreciated her and thought she was my friend.



NCC1701
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29 Dec 2013, 2:26 pm

Cafeaulait wrote:
Lol, sweetheart, you just described one of the core characteristics of aspergers syndrome. Just look it up on the internet.


I have a hard time differentiating between what is normal and what is related to Aspergers.



Sherry221B
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29 Dec 2013, 2:54 pm

What I got from this is: She claimed to be your friend, and that she still wanted to help you, but for some reason she changed her mind and said that it was just a professional thing...Maybe she doesn't know what she wants?



NCC1701
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29 Dec 2013, 2:57 pm

Sherry221B wrote:
What I got from this is: She claimed to be your friend, and that she still wanted to help you, but for some reason she changed her mind and said that it was just a professional thing...Maybe she doesn't know what she wants?


I can understand if she decided afterwards that it was a bad idea because it might risk her job if someone were to find out, but the fact that she said she never meant what I understood her to say just confuses me. I don't understand how her actions and her words could be interpreted differently. Though, some people I've shared this with have said that it can be interpreted differently to where what she said what she meant but I didn't understand correctly.



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29 Dec 2013, 3:35 pm

Because of the very thing you describe in your OP I have decided never to believe what people tell me about their intentions towards me. I have had similar experiences that you describe. I sometimes think people make up meanings for words on the spot and just assume I will know what their meaning is.

It sounds to me the woman was just saying positive things to you because she didn't want to say anything negative. I hate it when people say very positive things simply because they want to make a good impression or because they have this idea that you will feel good about what they say. I just wish people would be direct and straight with me. And also, if this woman knew you have AS then she should really not have been saying things that she must have known you would not get the meaning of.



Willard
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29 Dec 2013, 3:51 pm

NCC1701 wrote:
Cafeaulait wrote:
Lol, sweetheart, you just described one of the core characteristics of aspergers syndrome. Just look it up on the internet.


I have a hard time differentiating between what is normal and what is related to Aspergers.


Which is why you were invited to look it up and do some studying.

Your inability to comprehend what's being said to you is a common problem with autism, but at your age, you should have learned some of these skills by now, at least in a rudimentary form. My joke, indicating that she could be paid to be your friend, like a ("professional") prostitute, clearly went right over your head.

Our tendency to take people at their word and to take their meanings as literal is not just common with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism, it is one of the MAJOR SYMPTOMS, especially in childhood and adolescence. By your mid-twenties, however, you should have figured out by now that neurotypical people frequently say things they don't exactly mean, or use nuances of meaning that can make a word like "friend" mean several different things, under different circumstances.

All that said, this woman is highly unprofessional and should never have begun a relationship with you outside of the office, no matter what she chooses to call it, or how innocent she may think it is. It's frankly unethical, if not outright illegal and it's cruel and unfair to you, because she has led you to believe that the two of you have a personal bond, when to her, it's just an entertaining lark. She's got mental problems of her own and hopefully she'll get caught breaching professional ethics soon and be removed from the mental healthcare field. She has no business treating clients, when she ought to be in therapy herself.



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29 Dec 2013, 4:48 pm

NCC1701 wrote:
Sherry221B wrote:
What I got from this is: She claimed to be your friend, and that she still wanted to help you, but for some reason she changed her mind and said that it was just a professional thing...Maybe she doesn't know what she wants?


I can understand if she decided afterwards that it was a bad idea because it might risk her job if someone were to find out, but the fact that she said she never meant what I understood her to say just confuses me. I don't understand how her actions and her words could be interpreted differently. Though, some people I've shared this with have said that it can be interpreted differently to where what she said what she meant but I didn't understand correctly.


People often believe that they meant in the past, what they now feel in the present. They forget, easily, the nuances that you are remembering. Perhaps you were wrong, but don't torture yourself about this as having decided she means something different now, she can likely believe she means, and always meant, something quite different from what she said. Even if she meant it at the time. So maybe you misinterpreted, maybe not. To her, this does not matter, all that matters, to her, is what she wants now. If that sounds like lying, understand that you may have understood just fine, but your thinking is different from hers, and leave it at that. Trying to understand to deeply what does not come naturally can mess you up too much and is not worth it, just know that people don't always say what they mean and don't always tell the truth even when we want them to be.

And sometimes they do.

So interpret her words in the present and understand she is pulling away. People do that, it feels awful and like we've done something wrong to deserve it. Maybe so, but if you let yourself think that, you're stuck thinking about what she did wrong as well which will get you nowhere. Because it doesn't matter, you still wanted to be friends, and she has now said she doesn't.

And yes, plenty of people experience different and misunderstandings. Sometimes I'm unsure who is right. I'm still bothered by the image of a man being tortured yesterday while a man and a woman in the picture looked on placidly, it made no sense, and I was horrified by it, then realized that I was looking at a painting, in an art gallery, this was religious and art and I wasn't supposed to feel that way. Who is really right about that, though? Because I'm interpreting it incorrectly from one point of view, from another point of view, this is an awful image no one should be able to look at with equanimity. I don't know, I'm too literal, yes. But a world of people who see yet don't see, so do nothing, about horrific suffering is hardly anything good.

This person is likely confused and unsure, or changed her mind, try to take something of value from the experience if you can despite her pulling away in such a confusing fashion, as she has given you something good that you'd want to still be friends.



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30 Dec 2013, 11:08 am

Quote:


I can understand if she decided afterwards that it was a bad idea because it might risk her job if someone were to find out, but the fact that she said she never meant what I understood her to say just confuses me. I don't understand how her actions and her words could be interpreted differently. Though, some people I've shared this with have said that it can be interpreted differently to where what she said what she meant but I didn't understand correctly.


She could have thought about it before saying she wanted to be your friend, if she didn't want it after all.

Quote:
It's frankly unethical, if not outright illegal and it's cruel and unfair to you, because she has led you to believe that the two of you have a personal bond, when to her, it's just an entertaining lark She's got mental problems of her own and hopefully she'll get caught breaching professional ethics soon and be removed from the mental healthcare field. She has no business treating clients, when she ought to be in therapy herself.


Indeed.

People should think before making empty promises.



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30 Dec 2013, 1:31 pm

NCC1701 wrote:
I'm not sure how to word this because I'm not really clear-headed at the moment.
I seem to have a real issue with misinterpreting what label a relationship falls under.

I want to make this as short as possible. I had a therapist who ended up breaking ethical code for me in different ways (taking me to lunch, taking me home after sessions, letting me spend the night at her house once, etc.) and who was very active in my life and in helping me (emailing with me almost everyday for months). There were numerous times throughout seeing her that she said she was my friend. Her company made changes and sent her to a new department, so that ended therapy with her. While preparing for that change, she told me that she'd still be my friend, that she'd come down to see me every once in a while, and that she could even take me to see a Dj since I would no longer be her client.

I interpreted all that very literally. I thought that "friend" could only mean one thing... that is being a friend. It turns out that I was wrong. She said that's not what she intended it to mean. She said that she could never see me as a friend because the relationship had to be strictly professional.
Whenever I told this to some friends (gee, I sure do hope they're friends and I'm not misinterpreting again), they said that she could very well have meant something besides what I thought. Apparently when you tell someone you'll be a friend, you're not really saying what I understood it to me. There's different versions of being a friend?

I'm not sure. But I have this issue a lot. Someone says something and I take them to mean just that. But it will turn out that I was the one who was wrong in what I thought. Apparently there's different meanings to things?

I'm not sure I understand any of this. Does anybody else have this sort of problem where you take what someone says and see only one correct way of understanding it? Is this typical of people with Aspergers or is it a NT thing as well?


I think that there is a lot going on here. First off, I think your therapist was very misguided. It is a thousand percent against rules to take you into her public and private life. Your therapist was basically breaking the laws that exist around these things and that when she told you that she wasn't your friend, she was essentially working against you. I cannot imagine why someone would go to such a length and then recant unless they didn't have your best interest at heart.. She should not have done that, especially since it sounds like you have difficulty comprehending relationships to begin with. One thing to keep in mind is that different relationships have different meanings within them. A therapist cannot be your friend in the same way that perhaps a group of high school peers can. And yes, many people with autism struggle with this, it's called literal interpretation. It happens, and with a little bit of training it's completely workable. You have to keep in mind the person you are talking to, as well as every other social skills element(body language,context, etc). IDK. I don't know the whole situation but I hope that helps



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30 Dec 2013, 4:54 pm

Quote:
hese things and that when she told you that she wasn't your friend, she was essentially working against you. I cannot imagine why someone would go to such a length and then recant unless they didn't have your best interest at heart.


Because there are individuals who have high levels of cruelty.



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31 Dec 2013, 1:36 pm

I've come to believe that the word 'friend' is so ambiguous, I prefer not to use it at all. To think of someone as your 'friend' places certain expectations on them, and puts them in a position where they could disappoint you, and fail to behave in a way that you think a 'friend' ought to.

So I just don't place that sort of expectation on anyone. I expect people to be reasonably polite and decent to me, but beyond that, I don't need or expect anything more from them.

And I'm not saying this approach is right for everyone. I'm definitely on the extreme end of introversion, and I understand that other people truly do need friends, whereas I honestly don't. But I definitely can relate to the hurt and confusion caused by expecting others to behave in a certain way, and then they let you down. :?



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01 Jan 2014, 8:32 am

This is her fault, not yours. You even said it in your post. She violated the ethics codes by establishing a dual relationship with you (therapist and friend). She changed her story on you later on, which is why you are confused.



Last edited by em_tsuj on 01 Jan 2014, 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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01 Jan 2014, 11:34 am

From what you listed I'd interpret it as her wanting to be more than friends, but that happened to me where I met someone who was super nice like that and I just misinterpreted it. She did cross ethical professional boundaries though.