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Fern
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10 Sep 2015, 8:02 am

I started posting a bit about this in another thread and it got me thinking... there are a lot of times I feel like an NT-directed conversation has the objective of trapping the complacent agreeing listener in an impossible position of response. I've noticed NTs of all ages do this, from playground to academia, and it's very annoying. I will give examples:

example 1 (as a kid):
NT: I'm so tired of my sister always getting into trouble! She's messed up, you know? Mom told her to stay home last night but she climbed out of the window. When she came home she was drunk and had half a box of cigarettes in her shirt pocket. She shares a room with me, and I really hate her sometimes.
Me: Yeah, seems like she's pretty messed up.
NT: HEY THAT'S MY SISTER! SHUT UP OR I'LL PUNCH YOU!

example 2 (workplace):
NT: Having a baby is a LOT of work.
Me: ...
NT: The most work you could ever do in your life is caring for a newborn. [lots of eye contact]
Me: ...
NT: Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?
Me: I can't imagine. You must be exhausted.
NT: .... [even more eye contact]
Me: Um, You deserve a vacation?
NT: OH, NO YOU DIDN'T! YOU THINK MATERNITY LEAVE IS A VACATION DON'T YOU!?
Me: Uh, I didn't say that.
NT: MOTHERHOOD IS THE HARDEST WORK YOU'VE EVER DONE! YOU NEVER CLOCK-OUT!
ME: I -I didn't say that it wasn't.
NT: OH YES YOU DID!! ! YOU JUST HAVE NO FRAME OF REFERENCE AND-
ME: I WAS JUST TRYING TO SAY SOMETHING INNOCUOUS BECAUSE I LIKE YOU, BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THIS STUPID CONVERSATION!!

Have any of you had similar experiences? What kinds of conversations do you hate getting stuck in?


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kraftiekortie
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10 Sep 2015, 8:05 am

I don't think they're deliberately trying to "corner" you.

It's just that there is this truism: One could make fun of one's family member--but no one else outside the family can. One could make fun of one's own ethnic group--but no one outside the ethnic group can, etc., Ad Nauseum.

It's a cardinal rule of NTs, alas.



Fern
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10 Sep 2015, 8:13 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I don't think they're deliberately trying to "corner" you.

It's just that there is this truism: One could make fun of one's family member--but no one else outside the family can. One could make fun of one's own ethnic group--but no one outside the ethnic group can, etc., Ad Nauseum.

It's a cardinal rule of NTs, alas.


...and apparently new mothers can make fun of women with no children??? Is this another NT rule, or is it just a jerk rule?


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SocOfAutism
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10 Sep 2015, 8:16 am

I am NT. But I'm a little odd as a person and will occasionally get into conversations like that because my natural response is usually not what people want to hear.

My response to your first conversation would have been: "Your sister sounds like an a**hole."
To the second I would have said, "Yeah, I know. I don't even like kids. I only like my own kid."

Obviously, I would have received the same responses YOU did. You see, this is not always an aspie thing. If you give the "wrong" response, even if there are no right responses, people will get upset.

So in the first conversation my response would have been: "Yeah, she's your sister, and also an a**hole." I'd probably say one of my family members is the same way (even if they weren't). Then I'd change the subject.

In the second conversation, I'd say something like, "Well it sounds like you're doing a great job being a mom, so no wonder you're tired." Then I'd change the subject.

In both circumstances, I'd try to diffuse the other person, then distract her (it's usually a female saying things like this). The other reason for changing the subject is because I don't want to have this stupid conversation anymore. So I take control and change the conversation to something else.



kraftiekortie
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10 Sep 2015, 8:20 am

I agree with Soc of Autism.

I find the new mothers making fun of people with no children jerky.

I wish these NT rules didn't exist--but they do. There's a reason behind them, mostly having to do with culture and tradition.



Fern
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10 Sep 2015, 10:04 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I agree with Soc of Autism.

I find the new mothers making fun of people with no children jerky.

Agreed.

kraftiekortie wrote:
I wish these NT rules didn't exist--but they do. There's a reason behind them, mostly having to do with culture and tradition.

Here's the thing that has me confused about that first example I gave though: It's not just that I can't empathize with this NT, I can't sympathize with this behavior. I mean, my family drives me insane sometimes too. Don't get me wrong, and like any mortal, I complain to a third party sometimes when they do rub me the wrong way... but here is how a similar conversation went with me as a kid:

Me: I hate my mom! She's such a jerk! She forgot me at school again! I asked her why and she said she lost track of time playing solitaire! What the heck!? It's the second time this week.
Friend: Wow, your mom IS a jerk.
Me: >Sigh< ...No, she's not. She loves me, she's just forgetful. I shouldn't say that I hate her. I don't.

So basically... when someone repeats negative words I've just said back to me like that, my natural thought is "Wow, I've been really speaking poorly of this person I like without realizing it. I'd better mention some nice stuff too, or my friend will think terrible things." I think I'm right to throw the blame on myself. I don't think the NT is correct in this case.

I just don't understand this NT hostility when it comes to hearing words that come out of their own mouths said back to them.


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SocOfAutism
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10 Sep 2015, 10:11 am

Fern wrote:
So basically... when someone repeats negative words I've just said back to me like that, my natural thought is "Wow, I've been really speaking poorly of this person I like without realizing it. I'd better mention some nice stuff too, or my friend will think terrible things." I think I'm right to throw the blame on myself. I don't think the NT is correct in this case.

I just don't understand this NT hostility when it comes to hearing words that come out of their own mouths said back to them.


That's a good point.

I used to have a cat who would look at another cat he didn't like and then if you touched him while he was looking at that other cat (and presumably thinking about him) he would whirl around and attack you. Maybe it's something like this. The person's dander is up and they're looking to lash out because they can't reach the person they're actually mad at.



Fern
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10 Sep 2015, 12:55 pm

SocOfAutism wrote:
That's a good point.

I used to have a cat who would look at another cat he didn't like and then if you touched him while he was looking at that other cat (and presumably thinking about him) he would whirl around and attack you. Maybe it's something like this. The person's dander is up and they're looking to lash out because they can't reach the person they're actually mad at.


The cat situation makes sense to me. It is an upset cat, it doesn't want interaction. That's how I am when I'm upset, so I understand. I don't get bitten by cats for this reason. The NT I described is different though, NTs seem to want interaction when they feel bad. She wanted me to say something. I may not be a genius at social cues, but I know when someone looks you in the eye and has that "ya know?" expression.

This is the problem. I'd rather leave angry cats well enough alone, yet I get cornered into these conversations and I simply don't know what the right thing IS to say, because saying NOTHING seems like the best choice to me, but I get the impression it's not enough.


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VisInsita
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10 Sep 2015, 1:41 pm

Fern wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
I don't think they're deliberately trying to "corner" you.

It's just that there is this truism: One could make fun of one's family member--but no one else outside the family can. One could make fun of one's own ethnic group--but no one outside the ethnic group can, etc., Ad Nauseum.

It's a cardinal rule of NTs, alas.


...and apparently new mothers can make fun of women with no children??? Is this another NT rule, or is it just a jerk rule?


I do not have children, but some women often state in my presence that women who do not have children don't truly understand life, are egoistic, less compassionate and so on.

When this happens I try to remember what my sister once wisely said: when I had my baby, I truly didn't become any better. Thus for not having a child, you have not become any lesser.



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10 Sep 2015, 4:14 pm

Fern wrote:
Me: I hate my mom! She's such a jerk! She forgot me at school again! I asked her why and she said she lost track of time playing solitaire! What the heck!? It's the second time this week.
Friend: Wow, your mom IS a jerk.
Me: >Sigh< ...No, she's not. She loves me, she's just forgetful. I shouldn't say that I hate her. I don't.

So basically... when someone repeats negative words I've just said back to me like that, my natural thought is "Wow, I've been really speaking poorly of this person I like without realizing it. I'd better mention some nice stuff too, or my friend will think terrible things." I think I'm right to throw the blame on myself. I don't think the NT is correct in this case.

I just don't understand this NT hostility when it comes to hearing words that come out of their own mouths said back to them.

Sounds like you and the other little NT were essentially doing the same thing: just venting emotions without necessarily meaning what you said. Then when someone reflected back to you the ideas you expressed (which you didn't really mean as much as you meant the emotions), you both changed gears. The difference is that the NT kid expected you to participate in the NT mind-reading game/social expectations and know not to repeat "mean" things about family, and you did the opposite and tried to give a more accurate representation of your mom because you expected that the words you were saying (not social rules) dictated how your friend saw your mom.



pete1061
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10 Sep 2015, 7:13 pm

That doesn't sound normal for anyone, that sounds like a hormone imbalance on the part of the NT.
I did catch on to one NT "social rule" though..... just leave new mothers alone, you are poking a bear, a mother bear.


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Fern
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11 Sep 2015, 6:34 am

VisInsita wrote:
I do not have children, but some women often state in my presence that women who do not have children don't truly understand life, are egoistic, less compassionate and so on.

When this happens I try to remember what my sister once wisely said: when I had my baby, I truly didn't become any better. Thus for not having a child, you have not become any lesser.


I really like that quote. Thank you for sharing! :)

starkid wrote:
Sounds like you and the other little NT were essentially doing the same thing: just venting emotions without necessarily meaning what you said. Then when someone reflected back to you the ideas you expressed (which you didn't really mean as much as you meant the emotions), you both changed gears. The difference is that the NT kid expected you to participate in the NT mind-reading game/social expectations and know not to repeat "mean" things about family, and you did the opposite and tried to give a more accurate representation of your mom because you expected that the words you were saying (not social rules) dictated how your friend saw your mom.


I think you're right about that. I just wish I could understand where these "social expectations" are coming from ...although maybe in the end I don't want to know. It probably has something to do with drawing a line in the sand between me and them. Maybe it's part of the problem. I'm not open enough to justifying lashing out at your friends because you are a poor suffering, misunderstood NT :lol:

I want to be there for my friends, but I am not their punching bag. I have feelings too.

pete1061 wrote:
That doesn't sound normal for anyone, that sounds like a hormone imbalance on the part of the NT.
I did catch on to one NT "social rule" though..... just leave new mothers alone, you are poking a bear, a mother bear.


That's what I mean though! I thought the same thing as you! I didn't want to talk to (poke) her at all, but she came up to me and had this conversation about motherhood, and wasn't letting me get by without a response of some kind. I wanted to leave well enough alone, but she kept staring at me and asking my opinion on things that she really didn't want my opinion on! Then when I tried to say the most benign thing I could think of, she had to go and twist my words around rather than trying to see that I only mean to be nice and to acknowledge that I have no perspective on the matter.


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Adamantium
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11 Sep 2015, 8:36 am

It seems to me that most NTs, perhaps most people, are self-centered and self absorbed. You won't go far wrong if you assume that the real focus of most casual statements is the speaker, regardless of the subject.

For example, in the first statement about the troublesome sister, the subject seems to be the sister. But the appropriate response or desired response is probably about the emotions of the speaker, not the sister.

NT: My sister engages in all sorts of problematic behavior.
You: Sounds like your sister is messed up. [ERROR: assuming the dialog is about something other than the NT]
NT: HEY THAT'S MY SISTER! SHUT UP OR I'LL PUNCH YOU!

Alternative model:
NT: My sister engages in all sorts of problematic behavior.
You: That must be hard for YOU to deal with. [socially acceptable response acknowledges centrality of speaker at all times]
NT: You have no idea! And my parents just make it worse.. etc.

Alternative model for conversation #2:
NT: Having a baby is a LOT of work.
You: ...
NT: The most work you could ever do in your life is caring for a newborn. [lots of eye contact]
You: Oh, YOU must be exhausted. [correctly acknowledging centrality of speaker]
NT: You have no idea! I go through this. I go through that. Me. Me. Me.
You: YOU deserve a medal... [and so on, just remember to keep the NT speaker as the central subject]

I don't mean to sound too cynical, but I think that's pretty much how it works. Try it. You may find it increases your number of positive interactions with such (most) people.



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11 Sep 2015, 9:23 am

Adamantium's responses are good. I might have the sense to say something like that online. When I'm in person, and relaxed, I am sometimes accidentally too honest.

People used to always tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about because I didn't have kids, then I had a surprise, late in life son and guess what? My opinions were exactly the same. Except now I openly say what I think. Happily, people bother me less about their stupidity because they don't want to hear my response. When I say stupidity I mean people saying that they want to get away from their kids for a little while or that it makes your kid dumb or sick to do regular things like let them eat non organic food and watch TV. I like my kid so I don't want to get away from him and I don't have a problem with him doing things like a regular person.

I mean, the answer to being talked into a corner, unless you have the foresight to be polite like Adamantium, is to be brutally honest and stick by it. But you will definitely lose friends that way.



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11 Sep 2015, 9:32 am

Eureka!



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11 Sep 2015, 9:43 am

There's a one-word answer for situations like your example 1 or 2.

NT person complains...

You: "Bummer" - said in an agreeing tone of voice.

Then, like Soc said, change the subject.


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