Aspies who don't identify with their own kind

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GhostsInTheWallpaper
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08 Aug 2007, 9:32 am

I'm curious about something.

How common is it that Aspies actually identify more with neurotypicals than with their own kind, seeing fellow Aspies not as long-lost kin from their own planet but as strangers from another world who make them feel uncomfortable?

And how does this come about? Do they just internalize the expectation to be "normal" too much, and want so badly to be "insiders" and therefore safe and accepted that they somehow repress their awareness of their outsider status and underestimate the impact of their Aspieness?

My boyfriend is a self-diagnosed Aspie, and does have sufficient quirks for me to believe it and for his AS-issues therapist to have seen him as worthy of seeking a diagnosis (which he didn't get - since my bf was so down at the time, the dr. he went to diagnosed hm with depression instead). He is aware that he has, or at any rate had as a kid, a lot of Aspie quirks. Yet, in another context - judging whether or not people are like him, or whether or not they are comfortable and enjoyable to be around - he seems to identify more with NTs. The people he has thought to be "a lot like him" have been definite NTs: my older sister's boyfriend, my dad, and at one point myself. (He actually thought at first I might be a fellow Aspie, because I was introverted and somewhat socially unrefined, but I'm definitely not one, and that's clear to both of us now.) On the other hand, pretty much every fellow Aspie he's met, he's thought to be "lower functioning" than himself, or simply off-putting for being too blunt or hyper or something or other.

How he reacts to other Aspies actually reminds me of how he reacts to NTs who are not of the sort he's used to interacting with - usually from different cultures or subcultures, or not as intellectual. He tends to find such people overwhelming...and they find him overwhelming too. He once told me a story of finding an Aspie he knew at an AS conference, someone he tended to avoid because he seemed rather blunt...and this Aspie apparently felt the same way about him. So I don't think it's simply a matter of lack of Aspieness on his part, even though he does seem to have outgrown a lot of sensory quirks. It seems as if he's just uncomfortable with people whose mannerisms differ strongly from what he's used to. Which, frankly, does sound a little NT-ish: I've thought of the NT fixation on "normalcy" as being our version of the Autistic fixation on "rules and rituals," both being cases of being most comfortable with what's most familiar and wanting to keep things in that familiar realm. So maybe he is more NTish than most Aspies...more of what another forum I've been on calls a "neuro-questionable," an in-betweener.

I still wonder, though, how often it is that Aspies identify more with, or feel more at home interacting with, NTs than Aspies. 'Cause from reading a lot of adult autistic blogs and message boards online, I get the impression that Aspies are often much more comfortable with fellow Aspies than with NTs. My boyfriend is the exact opposite.


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etg1701
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08 Aug 2007, 10:14 am

You could probably count me as someone who does not identify with others with Aspergers a whole lot (far starters, I loathe the term "aspie" to begin with and cringe whenever I see it). Certainly I don't share many of the attitudes of the various other AS people I have met, though my experience here has probably colored my perspective quite a bit. In general, judging by the people on both sides I have talked to, I would definitely say I tend to identify more with neurotypicals than Aspergers "sufferers" (for lack of a better word), particularly in terms of what we want, attitudes toward emotion and society, and so forth.



criss
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08 Aug 2007, 11:18 am

I found this a very interesting subject. I have very recently been diagnosed (im 41) spent 15 years in therapy and various 12 step groups working on my 'stuff' within a NT Trauma / disfunctional context, only to be revealed two weeks ago that I have AS. I have not met one addict who I could say was NT, and in that sense there were many deep connections.

All of my friends 12-step 'NT' friends are obsessive-compulsive and thus relate somewhat to my cluster of OCD, 'ticky'TS, & Relational difficulties. however, it was the anxiety around creative play with my 7 year old, that put things in a very different context, and as this reality is now dawning on me since being diagnosed, i am starting to see some interesting differences between me and my 12-step friends.

There are many ironies here, for although empathy is a complicated affair for me, I have a ridged and uncompromising ethical way with regarding managing my personal and romantic issues. For example, I believe I am the only member in my group who has never been unfaithful. Don't get me wrong, I am no saint, but there are attributes to being AS that I hear are inspirational for NT people, just like I admire many of my NT friends for being able to be late. I've been going to meetings for over 14 years and just can't quite manage to be 'normal enough to manage that one.

much peace
chris x


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criss
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08 Aug 2007, 11:30 am

I found this a very interesting subject. I have very recently been diagnosed (im 41) spent 15 years in therapy and various 12 step groups working on my 'stuff' within a NT Trauma / disfunctional context, only to be revealed two weeks ago that I have AS. I have not met one addict who I could say was NT, and in that sense there were many deep connections.

All of my 12-step friends 'NT' friends are obsessive-compulsive and thus relate somewhat to my cluster of OCD, 'ticky'TS, & Relational difficulties. however, it was the anxiety around creative play with my 7 year old, that put things in a very different context, and as this reality is now dawning on me since being diagnosed, i am starting to see some interesting differences between me and my 12-step friends.

There are many ironies here, for although empathy is a complicated affair for me, I have a ridged and uncompromising ethical way with regarding managing my personal and romantic issues. For example, I believe I am the only member in my group who has never been unfaithful. Don't get me wrong, I am no saint, but there are attributes to being AS that I hear are inspirational for NT people, just like I admire many of my NT friends for being able to be late. I've been going to meetings for over 14 years and just can't quite manage to be 'normal enough to manage that one.

much peace
chris x[/quote]


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poopylungstuffing
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08 Aug 2007, 12:24 pm

Well....I don't identify with NT's....very much at all...they overwhealm and exhaust me...I just don't fit in with them, and never have......BUT there are a handfull of folks on the autistic spectrum who I have known who definitely got on my nerves...the ones I know all have extreme personalities...and I sorta have an extreme personality...and that is why I find it difficult to get along with so many people in general beyond a purely superficial level...and I am sure there are plenty people on the spectrum whos nerves I would surely get on.



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08 Aug 2007, 12:48 pm

When measuring something like this you have to keep in mind disparities in observations based on the variance in sample size and errors caused by bias.

In simpler terms you have no way of telling whether or not when meeting an aspie if he is disliking them for them or because of a deeply repressed dislike for himself which is displaced onto the autistic individual. You also cant be certain that he doesn't seem to like more NTs simply because he meets more.

Personally I am very picky about my friends.. since I meet so few people the odds of me liking one of them is very low. Considering the number of autistics I meet are less than 1% of the total the chances of one of them being likable is astronomical.

The only way to know for certain what his preference is would be to take an even sample size of say 100 individuals (1000 would be better but impractical) where half are NT and half are aspie, dont tell him which are which, mix them up and have him meet each one individually, keep a running tally and take a look at the totals afterwards.


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08 Aug 2007, 3:55 pm

Aspies are as different to one another as NTs are from Aspies, apart from some shared traits. That is my belief, anyway.
If I meet a particularly intelligent and interesting NT, I can get on with them just as well as, if not better, than with another aspie, especially if they share my love of music, history and paranormal stuff.



9CatMom
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08 Aug 2007, 7:48 pm

I identify with people who share common interests, whether they have Asperger's or not.



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09 Aug 2007, 3:59 am

I think it depends why people with AS don't identify with aspies.

I know some people who don't because they still think that AS is a 'disorder' or a 'defect' and they tend to be pro-cure. They buy into the ridiculous notion that NTs have that simply because there are more of them they must be right.

I get on with some NTs, although those are all people who understand AS, and I get on with most aspies I meet. I definitely identify more with aspies than NTs, and the NTs that I do get on well with are all people who have had mental health issues and who have some traits of AS, although are definitely NT.

I'm aspie and proud of it!



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09 Aug 2007, 4:08 pm

I don't get along with NTs and if someone around me is an aspie, which I'm not aware of, I surely don't get on with them either. I just don't have the getting along gene, I guess.


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richardbenson
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09 Aug 2007, 4:16 pm

i pretty much dont identify with anyone my age. i seem to let my guard down with old people though because they are soo sweet. and i feel like hey, when im that age i hope i have a pal :D


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Ana54
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12 Aug 2007, 8:40 pm

I used to feel so insulted when people said I had AS. From what I knew, "they" were buffoons, robots, machines, morons, socially retarded social idiots. Since visiting this board, I know better. :D :cry: :)


But I still wonder if I'm really AS.



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12 Aug 2007, 8:46 pm

No, you are, trust me 8)



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12 Aug 2007, 9:22 pm

Some people that I've suspected of having AS were/are people that I consider my freinds due to common shared interests. Others that I suspect of having AS can be very overwhelming and tedious to be around because their interests are differant than mine and they won't leave me alone when I withdraw from them. I suppose conversely that others feel the same way about me as well, due to missed/nonexistant social cues. I cannot count the time that I have resisted the almost overwhelming urge to tell people quite loudly to STFU because of the fact that they were overwhelming me.

I've lived with two people who I now realise were probably more HFA than AS. One of them was ok, though some of her freinds from the disability support center were scary to sleazy. The other guy was quite difficult to live with due to the fact that certain traits of his personality/interests intersected negatively with mine, and caused great amounts of grief. In hindsight, he probably felt the same about me as well, as I'd seen him overload a few times. -- I may very well have been the cause of it.


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blacktext
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12 Aug 2007, 10:39 pm

I don't identify with anyone - at least no person still living or that has really lived.
Examples being writers, thinkers, or characters in films. Reality has almost nothing to offer me.

However the few phantoms that I do identify with do have some AS traits.



bobert
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13 Aug 2007, 8:39 am

I tend to get along with people like myself who are in the NT-AS gray area. I don't have the patience for people who have a lot of AS traits because they seem to be very difficult to get to know and understand. I find it hard to get too friendly with many NT's because my desire, and ability, to socialize just isn't that strong.

The people who really suffer are ones like my late brother who had almost all of the classic AS characteristics, but who thought of himself as an NT. It is sad to say, but he was like the mouse raised by elephants, he just didn't know who he was.