Second meeting of adult autism support group

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BeaArthur
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21 Sep 2018, 9:53 am

I should specify, the group itself has been going on for a while; it was the second time attended by me.

The first month, I was impressed by the intellect of people in the group, but also turned off by the guy picking his nose, seated directly across from me.

The second month, my primary discomfort was a different guy who was wildly large-motor stimming - twirling in his swivel chair, pacing, lots of movement, and sitting right by me. So when the group had a chance to break into two rooms, I jumped at it. The founder of the group wanted some ideas about relationships, sex and love for adult autistics. I was on board with that, but would have gone to the second room for a discussion of quadratic equations, if it meant getting away from Mr. Movement.

The smaller group led to much more meaningful conversations. My daughter and I both had considerable relationship experience and are currently in a relationship. The two men in the breakout group both had a history of very few relationships and much frustration. Apparently the group founder knows about a dating skills class that may occur at some point in the future. That sounds great! I had a lot of empathy for the two men who had so little success. I made the observation that for adults wanting a relationship, the big issues are (a) low self-esteem, much of it relating to being unpopular in school, and (b) lack of skills, that NT people slowly develop through early dating, moving into more committed relationships, and learning how to negotiate conflicts, etc., when you live together.

I hope the support group continues to break into smaller groups. The full group was maybe 20 or so people, with only a few saying much and dominating the conversation.


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Last edited by BeaArthur on 21 Sep 2018, 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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21 Sep 2018, 9:57 am

BeaArthur wrote:
... We talked about the issues autistic people have, such as low self-esteem and lack of skills. Apparently the group founder knows about a dating skills class that may occur at some point in the future. That sounds great! I had a lot of empathy for the two men who had so little success. I made the observation that for adults wanting a relationship, the big issues are (a) low self-esteem, much of it relating to being unpopular in school, and (b) lack of skills, that NT people slowly develop through early dating, moving into more committed relationships, and learning how to negotiate conflicts, etc., when you live together...
Would this meeting be taking place anywhere near Austin, Texas?

;)


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21 Sep 2018, 10:27 am

Thank you for sharing, Bea. I would hope that the breaking into smaller groups approach would continue for you. 20 people for NT or ND sharing of anything is too large IMO for the reason you mention (a smaller number invariably dominating the group resulting in others not participating).

I too would have been put off by the nose picker. My stomach does "flip flops" with that kind of thing. Not to get gross, but if he would have pulled anything out, I would have had to have left the room. And I would have been extremely distracted by the chair spinner as well.

I think I got your humor about the quadratic equations. That was funny.

Please keep us updated.


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21 Sep 2018, 12:11 pm

It seems like a very useful group.


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BeaArthur
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21 Sep 2018, 2:39 pm

Fnord wrote:
BeaArthur wrote:
... We talked about the issues autistic people have, such as low self-esteem and lack of skills. Apparently the group founder knows about a dating skills class that may occur at some point in the future. That sounds great! I had a lot of empathy for the two men who had so little success. I made the observation that for adults wanting a relationship, the big issues are (a) low self-esteem, much of it relating to being unpopular in school, and (b) lack of skills, that NT people slowly develop through early dating, moving into more committed relationships, and learning how to negotiate conflicts, etc., when you live together...
Would this meeting be taking place anywhere near Austin, Texas?

;)

It would not. But Austin is a sizable city - perhaps there is something similar there?

http://www.texasautismsociety.org/support/


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Fnord
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21 Sep 2018, 2:47 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
Fnord wrote:
BeaArthur wrote:
... We talked about the issues autistic people have, such as low self-esteem and lack of skills. Apparently the group founder knows about a dating skills class that may occur at some point in the future. That sounds great! I had a lot of empathy for the two men who had so little success. I made the observation that for adults wanting a relationship, the big issues are (a) low self-esteem, much of it relating to being unpopular in school, and (b) lack of skills, that NT people slowly develop through early dating, moving into more committed relationships, and learning how to negotiate conflicts, etc., when you live together...
Would this meeting be taking place anywhere near Austin, Texas? ;)
It would not. But Austin is a sizable city - perhaps there is something similar there?http://www.texasautismsociety.org/support/
Does Marknis know?


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21 Sep 2018, 6:06 pm

The difficulty you describe dealing with other group members is something I've experienced on meet-ups too. The idea of gathering autistic people together for support or socialising is an appealing one, but it's easy to underestimate how easily our incredibly diverse behaviours and sensitivities can cause incompatibilities between members. A friend who worked with autistic children once described seeing "melt-down cascades" whereby the disruptive behaviour of one child's melt-down would trigger melt-downs in other children who were sensitive to noise or hyper-vigilant to potential threats. That's a particularly extreme example; but one autistic person's stimming may be another autistic person's sensory distraction in many less dramatic ways. Even if keeping everyone comfortable is possible, the compromises involved may seriously limit the potential benefits.

Your comments about the men with poor relationship skills ring very true to me. There's a certain allowance for mistakes when we're in our youth; everyone else is learning by their own mistakes too. Later in adulthood, you're expected to have learned all those things and they're taken for granted, so it's easier to behave in a way which is inappropriate or is misinterpreted, and slip-ups are less easily forgiven. I have heard the likes of an exasperated "well, if you can't work that out for yourself..." many times in my spectacularly unsuccessful romantic life!


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BeaArthur
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21 Sep 2018, 6:10 pm

Fnord wrote:
Does Marknis know?

Dunno. Maybe he follows me, and maybe he doesn't. I know he does have one "meet up" type group he sometimes participates in, but I do not know if he has explored the area's options for support groups.

Why don't you tell him?


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BeaArthur
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21 Sep 2018, 6:16 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
Your comments about the men with poor relationship skills ring very true to me. There's a certain allowance for mistakes when we're in our youth; everyone else is learning by their own mistakes too. Later in adulthood, you're expected to have learned all those things and they're taken for granted, so it's easier to behave in a way which is inappropriate or is misinterpreted, and slip-ups are less easily forgiven. I have heard the likes of an exasperated "well, if you can't work that out for yourself..." many times in my spectacularly unsuccessful romantic life!

I think a support group or training group for relationship skills would be a big plus for men like that. For instance, I brought up the fact that when a woman says "fine!" it means "not-fine, not fine at all." This is code. It may be that the woman is angry at the man but denying it - it might even be that she isn't aware of her own feelings, so she can't accurately name them. Someone else added, that an experienced man in that situation could gently probe "you say you're fine, but your face looks angry. Can we talk about this?"

One man said he doesn't care for "playing that game" but I said it isn't necessarily a game. It's just a typical way women may communicate, and understanding it can lead to more success.


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21 Sep 2018, 6:48 pm

I agree, Bea; such support would be a very good idea. I've always felt that clinicians and support organisations are rather too squeamish about romantic relationships and sex. From people that I've known with other disabilities or who work with them, this seems to be the case for most disabilities and long-term illnessess. Those aspects of life have a big impact on a person's well-being and motivation to succeed at other things, and the lack of them can lead to serious mental health problems; as I know only too well. Support for self-care, home-keeping, employment, and group social events understandably take priority, but may be little consolation to someone who is abjectly lonely and feels that they always will be.

BeaArthur wrote:
One man said he doesn't care for "playing that game" but I said it isn't necessarily a game. It's just a typical way women may communicate, and understanding it can lead to more success.

I wish someone had told me that about thirty years ago! :D


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quite an extreme
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22 Sep 2018, 7:18 am

BeaArthur wrote:
This is code.


It's the typical problem that men have with women. Women are not honest about what they want. Even if they think they are in the way - 'I have shown it and he should know' - they are not and even most NT men don't really get it, but this is not the main problem. The real problem begins if it comes to the feelings once a woman feels attracted to a man: 'He should know how I feel ... ' women not even get it that AS men doesn't even knows this feeling of attraction that the women feels. For this he also can't handle it and the woman feels deeply disappointed and gets sad or even really angry on him. Even if he tries to react he can't do it right because she wants him not only to recognise her feelings but also to touch and lead her in a way that makes her feelings stronger. This is impossible for guys like me but doing it not may even lead to bigger problems.

Here a real life sample. A nice girl at the bar in a small disco in our town never even looked back once I was looking at her exept if I ordered something. One day as she passed me she hit me consciously with her breast and a week later with her back while she was talking to a friend of her. I liked her but how to deal with that and this way of indirectness? Because I didn't know what she wanted I didn't react at all. She was also a bit to young may be twenty. (This was also the reason for my question in the forum a couple of days before) A week later it got even worse. Another a little bit strange girl I once flirted a little bit with came in with some friends saw me and hugged me just for greeting. I shortly hugged her back - no problem. No problem except that it was infront of the bar. After greeting the the boy friend of her - because I knew him - I went to the bar for a new beer. I saw the bar girl at the other end of the bar. She didn't look at me but seemed badly annoyed by something. A very dark feeling made her body vibrating. I have never seen somthing like that before. I looked at her body because of that and mentioned that her bad feeling lowered. So I looked away because most women don't like to be watched this way but her bad feeling started to become stronger again. For this I looked again on her recognising that the bad feeling not only completele disappeared because of me watching her body but that she even started to enjoy it and to feel good because of this way of being watched by me. I have never seen something like that before. But anything seemed fine again and I ordered the beer. Some time later I saw her smoking at the door having a break and wanted to ask her what happened before. But she got instantly mad on me because approaching her - in front of the doorman. Now I don't even get in anymore. Women and their strange feelings and their shitty indirectness. :roll:
Yes - I know - the women won't ever change the way they are during my life time. :mrgreen:



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22 Sep 2018, 9:02 pm

I'm not even going to address this misogynistic rant and its magical thinking. It's off topic anyway. You've got it all figured out and I'm happy to leave it at that.


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22 Sep 2018, 10:18 pm

BeaArthur wrote:
The second month, my primary discomfort was a different guy who was wildly large-motor stimming - twirling in his swivel chair, pacing, lots of movement, and sitting right by me.


You are likely glad you do not go to one with me.


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23 Sep 2018, 7:13 am

But I like you because of you are a positive and you always try to help others with their problems in a positive way. You own my respect for it because that is the way humans should be.

PS: I have removed the rest of the text above. It was to dark minded, judging and helps nobody and I don't like me if I be that way. The world is not only black but also beautiful.



Last edited by quite an extreme on 23 Sep 2018, 9:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

BeaArthur
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23 Sep 2018, 8:34 am

quite an extreme wrote:
But I like you because of you are a positive and you always try to help others with their problems in a positive way. You own my respect for it because that is the way humans should be.

Thank you. :)


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