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LucyV
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01 Jun 2014, 2:42 pm

How do people here interact with other people? Do you have to make people be direct with you or do you have coping strategies to help you figure things out?

I have a million questions I want to ask here but I am just trying to figure them out in my head. Background: I am 32 and recently it has been suggested to me by a professional that I am on the autistic spectrum. So no official diagnosis but a casual one of aspergers if it still existed as a diagnosis.

One of the areas I struggle most with is socially. I get very tired if I am around people too long and because I am in therapy I have been paying close attention to my thoughts to try and figure things out. Basically I think I am constantly trying to figure out what people actually mean, like people are not being direct with me. Sometimes I have asked people what to say or do in a certain situation and they say things like 'you think too much' or 'don't worry about it'. I always just thought people didn't like me and that they thought I was a hassle but now I am thinking that maybe they were genuinely confused by my questions. I read somewhere that NT's respond socially emotionally and intuitively whereas aspies/autistic people do it intellectually. Is this true and if so how do you make it so you can do it easier. I am so exhausted every time I find things hard socially. Work is difficult at the moment and I have relationship problems and family problems too. I don't know what people want from me.

Another thing my therapist suggested is that being on the spectrum makes you slightly less immune to other people's BS, like I can tell more when people are being dishonest or manipulative. Do other people find this too? I don't know if in part that I am just confused when people say something to fob me off rather than be direct, like they are trying to be nice but it actually just makes me more distressed. Like I would rather someone say 'I don't want to talk to you right now' than make up some excuse as to why they have to go. Am I just being paranoid and over sensitive? Is this other people get too? I feel like in part I should be asking some NTs this too, but then I have never had much look getting help in that regard ;)

Any insight would be greatly appreciated x



MrGrumpy
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01 Jun 2014, 3:20 pm

Lucy - I can empathise with nearly all the things you are struggling with (wow - I didn't think empathy was allowed... only joking!).

But the horrible truth is that many of us simply give up on the struggle.to conform. That can lead to different results for different people - some people are able to ignore the negative reactions, and eventually everybody accepts the eccentricities. Other people withdraw into their shell, never to be seen again.

I have recently discovered the benefits of having a small number of close family members with whom I can exchange 'jokes' about my issues. They are not embarrassed to draw my attention to the fact that I am behaving strangely, and I have no problem bringing my issues into the normal flow of conversation.

We can all learn some of the necessary tricks of social interaction, but we cannot change the way we are, and there is no point in even trying.



League_Girl
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01 Jun 2014, 3:33 pm

No I can't tell if people are being dishonest or manipulative and I don't know if people are doing double meanings or not so it wouldn't occur to me to over think things. What people would say, I would always assume they mean that. I actually learned online people will say certain things when really they mean the other. I think over thinking it is a sign of being aware you know people don't mean what they say so you try hard to read between the lines and you never know if they mean what they say or if they mean the other. As for telling when people are being dishonest or manipulative, I think that would be a sign of reading people which ASD people lack so I find it contradicting we would be less immune to this.


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LucyV
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01 Jun 2014, 3:50 pm

Do you think that means that I am not on the spectrum then League girl? I would be interested to hear other people's opinions. There are a lot of stereotypical autistic traits which I feel don't apply to me. I refused to talk to my counsellor about it initially as I felt it was another box I didn't fit into but having spent more time talking to aspies I have seen more how it can apply to me.

Thank you MrGrumpy. I think I am turning into the latter in that I just want to retreat into my shell. I find it all so exhausting. I would love to have family I can talk to and be honest with but unfortunately they always treat me as a problem and would rather I was just okay. Any acceptance of a difference on my part isn't gonna happen anytime soon...



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01 Jun 2014, 4:42 pm

LucyV wrote:
Do you think that means that I am not on the spectrum then League girl? I would be interested to hear other people's opinions. There are a lot of stereotypical autistic traits which I feel don't apply to me. I refused to talk to my counsellor about it initially as I felt it was another box I didn't fit into but having spent more time talking to aspies I have seen more how it can apply to me.

It doesn't mean yes or no. I would try not to focus on the label or lack thereof since you don't want to be in a box.

For me I can sometimes tell when people are lying, or occasionally even being manipulative. Lies feel painful to be around. The inconsistencies tend to be almost palpable and I get stuck on wondering why the person is lying. Mostly though I miss when others are playing with me. Lies are different as the inconsistencies and odd behavior that may accompany lies interfere with strategies I use for understanding and coping with the world.



snufkin
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01 Jun 2014, 5:16 pm

About autistics being more able to read dishonesty and such:

I can almost always tell when someone is lying or being manipulative, but I don't instinctly know what they're trying to get at. Sometimes I figure it out logically, but often not.

In other words, I register their words and the fact that they're being dishonest (which they are trying to hide), but I can't read what they're trying to tell me or why they are being dishonest (unless i can figure it out with logic/experience).

I think most NT's would just register the social aspect, i.e. the thing they want to communicate, and most would miss that they're being manipulated. Also to them it's more about social hierarchies. The one with highest social rank should not (and most of the time will not) be questioned. It's not even a question of honesty, intention etc. On the other hand, if a person with lower rank says something that doesn't conform with the group mentality, they will probably be questioned (and expected to change their mind) regardless of their intention/truthworthiness.



Buttercup
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01 Jun 2014, 7:13 pm

Then there is the Aspie label on the very introverted NT.
When I started questioning my diagnosis I decided to start asking my parents questions about what I was like while i was a toddler. I get mixed info there, but enough was consistent to tell me my first diagnosis (early) was correct...and an independent diagnosis afterwards, and three more since then, one from an expert. Ok, ok, I am on the spectrum. I get it now! (Lol)

I recently met a woman who eventually revealed a pending diagnosis. We were as different as night and day! Personally, I simply did not see it except in her sensory processing and reaction. Socially? In communication? (No way, i say) Her docs will sort it out. It can be more difficult to ID females on the spectrum.

I am not just an introverted gal. I definitely have communication & sensory issues. For example, I may answer a figurative question with a literal (factual) answer, only to have the NT deny reality (not what they wanted to hear!). Well, my answer IS an option among possible answers. Don't like it? Tough! It's MY answer! They meant for me to answer with answers limited in some totally illogical way! Oh, and I am supposed to realize this without being told, and it happens a lot.

Even with lessons on "tells" I have a difficult time reading liars. I find so many people tell stupid lies just to see if they can get away with something. This is different around people I have known a long time. Like my husband would get a certain look on his face right after a lie.
I do have my own tell for big lies. If important I systemize around the lie to confirm or deny it's truth. That's a different way of "doing the math".
I suspect there are some very specialized aspies out there who made individual "tells of lying" a special interest, but I am not one who can use what I learned except as an observer only.



League_Girl
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01 Jun 2014, 8:28 pm

LucyV wrote:
Do you think that means that I am not on the spectrum then League girl? I would be interested to hear other people's opinions. There are a lot of stereotypical autistic traits which I feel don't apply to me. I refused to talk to my counsellor about it initially as I felt it was another box I didn't fit into but having spent more time talking to aspies I have seen more how it can apply to me.

Thank you MrGrumpy. I think I am turning into the latter in that I just want to retreat into my shell. I find it all so exhausting. I would love to have family I can talk to and be honest with but unfortunately they always treat me as a problem and would rather I was just okay. Any acceptance of a difference on my part isn't gonna happen anytime soon...



Every person on it comes with their own package. Not everyone will share the same symptoms and each one with it is affected differently by it and you don't need to have all symptoms to have it.


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MrGrumpy
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01 Jun 2014, 8:38 pm

League_Girl wrote:
Every person on it comes with their own package. Not everyone will share the same symptoms and each one with it is affected differently by it and you don't need to have all symptoms to have it.


In other words, Autism etc can mean anything you want it to mean. There is no agreed definition. If you wish to regard yourself as being 'on the spectrum', then go ahead - nobody can prove you wrong. And if your self-diagnosis provides you with an acceptable explanation of your personality, then accept it. It is the best chance you have.



Dr_Cheeba
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01 Jun 2014, 8:53 pm

LucyV wrote:
I get very tired if I am around people too long and because I am in therapy I have been paying close attention to my thoughts to try and figure things out. Basically I think I am constantly trying to figure out what people actually mean, like people are not being direct with me. Sometimes I have asked people what to say or do in a certain situation and they say things like 'you think too much' or 'don't worry about it'. I always just thought people didn't like me and that they thought I was a hassle but now I am thinking that maybe they were genuinely confused by my questions. I read somewhere that NT's respond socially emotionally and intuitively whereas aspies/autistic people do it intellectually. Is this true and if so how do you make it so you can do it easier. I am so exhausted every time I find things hard socially.


I feel like, as many of us probably do, I could have written that paragraph myself.

I am constantly tired if I am in a social situation for long periods of time. What I do is make excuses to get a quick break in when I get overwhelmed. If I'm at work, I'll pretend I need to go to the bathroom and recoup in there for 15 minutes (I spend a lot of time in the bathroom) or go outside for fresh air. If I'm with friends I'll do the bathroom excuse or pretend I need to run home and get something and take a 30 minute break.

I have also been told I think too much as well. And have learned to just be how I want to be. If I have nothing to say, I'm a mute and they accept. Often times I'll get "Oh "Cheeba" must be thinking this right now" Or "Cheeba doesn't give a f*ck, he's in his own world. Man what do you think about this?" This is very common for me, people eventually speaking for me if I haven' talked in awhile. Which is kinda great. But then if I am interested in what were talking about/doing, then I won't shut up.

"I read somewhere that NT's respond socially emotionally and intuitively whereas aspies/autistic people do it intellectually."

This is true, and is partly to blame for our extreme exhaustion trying to figure out and maneuver social situations.

I say this a lot, one of my favourite inspirations for social interactions is Jimmy Fallon from The Tonight Show. Ask questions, smile, laugh. People just wanted to talk about themselves. When you've got something to say, say it. When you don't, who gives a sh*t. Don't let all the stress rest on you, people are forgiving.


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Shadi2
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01 Jun 2014, 8:53 pm

I wouldn't know whether you are on the spectrum or not, but you can have both difficulty to "read" others, and social anxiety. In fact one can lead to the other, especially after you learn that people sometimes say one thing and mean another. Then you might spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure it out.


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