Hello - HFA with strong social skills ?

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Pliny
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04 Jun 2019, 11:28 am

Hi Everyone,

I suffer from occasional issues with extreme rage. This always occurs at home or in the car and never in public or the workplace. I typically use avoidance techniques to prevent this, which usually work in public situations. At home it is different and it puts a strain on my marriage (as you would expect). I consider my wife my best friend.

My wife comes from an abusive family of narcissists. So, she is always looking into self-help and therapy to deal with those repercussions. In doing so, she stumbled across a video on HFA (high functioning Autism in adults). She said that it hit her like a ton of bricks and that she sees those same traits in me.

So, I researched it a bit and saw many traits that do apply to me and many that don't at all. It took 4 online self-tests about HFA and none of the tests came back with a hint of Autism. Yet, a select few of those traits resonate very, very strongly with me.

My social skills are very good. I love talking with and meeting new people. I don't feel any anxiety at all around social situations. I have a successful career and many close friends. I am engaged in conversations. I love team sports, etc.

On the other hand, I mentioned that I have rage. This is usually triggered when I feel unjustly accused of something. But, it can also happen when I feel that somebody close to me is being overly unfair/insensitive. I have a high degree of emotional sensitivity. I am overly concerned with time and when things get out of sync, I have trouble coping. I get upset when someone moves my stuff in my environment. When I am derailed in my activity, I have some trouble getting back into my thought process. As a result, I don't like to be bothered at all when I am working on something that requires deep engagement (my career) in an activity that requires a lot of thought.

So, my question is this. Is it possible to have HFA and have good social skills at the same time ? The online tests say no. But, my wife insists that a lot of the symptoms apply to me. I can agree that a lot of them resonate very strongly with me, while others not at all.

I have had lots of therapy for my anger issues. Usually their answer is avoidance. Sometimes, that is not possible and I have trouble disengaging from an argument. So, we are looking for help and I am trying to find others that are similar.

Any feedback you might have on this subject would be very much appreciated. Could I be in the right place ?

Thank you !



Tim_Tex
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04 Jun 2019, 11:38 am

Welcome to WP from a fellow Texan!


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Gulhalla
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04 Jun 2019, 1:11 pm

Personally, I found this book very helpful when I started to ask whether or not I might have Asperger's about four years ago now: https://www.amazon.com/Autistic-Autism- ... 1511760125

Speaking from my own female perspective, a person can certainly have very good--perhaps better than average--social skills. They might be consciously acquired, however, through observation and application, until they become a part of one's routine, so to speak. In any case, I think the difference is that these skills can exact a *very* heavy toll, especially over time, and can result in burnout and/or collapse, especially by midlife. The exhaustion is extreme and cannot be put into words.

In the book, the author mentions meltdowns as a potential key indicator, though a "meltdown" will not necessarily look anything like popular stereotypes. To me, these feel like a combination of having an ice pick rammed into my skull and my brain feeling like a hard-drive that has overheated and is catching fire. I will do my darnest not to show signs externally, but at the very least, I will *have* to flee the situation or place and will need a lot of dark, quiet, and solitude to feel anything like myself again.

Perhaps the book will be of help. The "worst" case is that Autism does not turn out to be your answer, but you will have new information and an understanding that may be of help in other situations or with other people. Best wishes.



Pliny
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04 Jun 2019, 1:52 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post that. I will check into the suggested book.

The thing about me socially is that I need to have regular dialogue with people, especially 1 on 1. I love talking to people and need that in my life on a regular basis. So, it's not just getting by. I need it in my life.

At the same time, there are times when I prefer isolation. But, to much of either and I am going crazy.

"I think the difference is that these skills can exact a *very* heavy toll, especially over time, and can result in burnout and/or collapse, especially by midlife."

That is an interesting comment. My depression and burnout is at an all time high right now. I feel like I have been going 100 miles an hour, 24 hours a day, for the last 20+ working years.



BTDT
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04 Jun 2019, 2:03 pm

The rage could be related to general anxiety issues. I knew someone who took Lexapro to control GAD.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... nd-anxiety

And a study from Concordia University shows that for millions of sufferers of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), anger is more than an emotion; it’s a conduit that intensifies anxiety. Specifically, when the anger is internalized rather than expressed—think seething inside without showing it.



Mona Pereth
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04 Jun 2019, 6:53 pm

Pliny wrote:
My social skills are very good. I love talking with and meeting new people. I don't feel any anxiety at all around social situations. I have a successful career and many close friends. I am engaged in conversations. I love team sports, etc.

How did you acquire your social skills? Did you have to put a huge amount of effort into acquiring them when you were younger, or did it come naturally for the most part? Did you get along well with other kids when you were a kid?

Pliny wrote:
My depression and burnout is at an all time high right now.

Extreme irritability can be a symptom of depression, especially in men.


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