Are You Described as Too Unemotional?

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NeantHumain
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05 Sep 2005, 11:47 pm

Through much of my childhood, I was considered too unemotional by my peers in school. In eighth grade, a fellow student even drew me as a computer because I had misunderstood what I said: He heard, "I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up," as, "I want to be a computer when I grow up." It was actually a running joke because he was trying to get me to crack a smile for a change. Anyway, I reflected on the situation and decided that I had to learn more about emotions so that I could once again experience the emotions of happiness, pleasure, and such that had alluded me for years. I began analyzing every little thought to try to understand my emotional state in any given moment. I also decided I would try to show more emotion. I was breaking down the old dichotomy I had picked up between reason and emotion: that somehow emotion was irrational. I was learning how to understand the emotional value of circumstances instead of feeling compelled to do my work before all else and saving pleasure for after all the work has been finished (of course, this eventually saps you of your ability to feel pleasure at all). Since I perceived my overrationality as a character flaw, I began trying to become more and more emotional because I thought emotion is what made people likeable. I thought emotionality was associated with sensitivity and girls liked sensitive guys—at least in movies they do. Anyway, I gradually slipped feeling words into my language to convey my emotional state as well as my awareness of others' emotional states to others. I thought that this was the means to gaining friendships, that it was the problem that was holding me back. My attitude was, "See! I have emotions just like the rest of you! I'm not a robot!" My emotional expression was clumsy at first—and still is—but it is improving.

Anyway, apparently, I have carried this concept too far. When I told one girl that she misunderstood me and that, despite all appearances, I am a very emotional person, she apparently took that to mean a highly impulsive person with no self-control instead of the sensitive guy women supposedly desire. Among guys, I have found the amount of expression of feelings that is par for the course among women can lead you to become the butt of jokes.

Also, I have discovered, in my quest for happiness, that emotions are life enriching. If one stops accepting the worldview picked up in elementary school—that life entails doing mundane work required of you from superiors without concern of whether it is even of interest to you—you can take back some control of your mental landscape. In other words, you can take yourself off the assembly line where the robots are and join your fellow human beings. I went into high school believing that, yes, you did learn some valuable things in school but, by and large, it deprives you of your life. When your life becomes so banal that you are filled with apathy, you're definitely in dire straits. School does that. Children enter school happy, curious, and optimistic; but eventually the routine wears away at students' individuality (the white-shirt-with-gray-trousers uniform was only the most blatant example) and creativity. Instead of enjoying life and learning through curiosity, children are set at desks where they are made to memorize loads of irrelevant facts that might someday be useful to them. In trying to do this task well, children neglect other important aspects of their development and, in the worst cases, become listless and apathetic or violently rebellious. You could look across the years of my attending school and see the increase in knowledge but also the decline in "humanness" as I adapted to this narrow environment too well for my own good. Eventually, your ability to even make goals is annihilated because you become stuck in the apathy and a way of life deprived of all pleasure.

I am still recovering from this. I don't know if I'm too emotional now, too unemotional still, or what; but I know everything's not okay yet.

Does anyone else think they're too unemotional or have been in the past? I'd be interested to hear about other aspies' socio-emotional development.



mikibacsi1124
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06 Sep 2005, 12:01 am

Au contraire, I've always been seen as being too emotional, mostly because of my ocassional oversensitivity to remarks made about me, and because I've my tendency to feel depressed and lonely.



Mockingbird
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06 Sep 2005, 12:01 am

Me? Unemotional? never!! As far as I can remember I've been overemotional, but I have a theory to why this is. The whole time I was growing up, my Mom was really into feelings...how do you feel? how do they feel? How did you feel when...? How do you think they felt when...? What would you do if you felt...? and so on, and so on, and so on. I think I grew to recognise my emotions and express them to their full capacity because if this, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, especially because it's just about impossible for me to hide, or even not express my emotions. That said, I either have a big response to something or none at all. There have been quite few situations(mostly empathetic ones) where I was "supposed" to feel something and I did not. I feel very bad about my lack of empathetic response, bacause sometimes I feel like my Mom sees me as inferior to others because I cannot have empathy. I can't even tell when I'm supposed to fake empathy :roll: Stupid NT social rules



rpm2004
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06 Sep 2005, 12:28 am

yes I am


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Thagomizer
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06 Sep 2005, 12:42 am

I'm usually described as creepy, actually.

I usually appear unemotional, however. My lack of affect and vocal inflection, coupled with my apparent intelligifence and vocabulary, makes some people mistake me for a 'scientist' type. Say, an mbti type INTP or INTJ. I'm actually an 'NF' idealist in every core of my being. I'm more emotional, just outwardly detatched.

I used to think I was going to be a paleontologist when I grew up. I loved dinosaurs insanely, the way Robert T. Bakker describes in his forward to The Dinosaur Heresies; as a childhood disease that one will have a lifetime immunity to at the point of recovery, but a terminal chronic case for him. However, once I got into High School I realized I hate science and was no good at it. It was like math because it relied on numbers and objectivity. To me it seemed to cold and passionless. So when I entered college, I majored in English instead. I took one dinosaur paleobiology class once. Everyone who was in the class was either a geology major (who simply took it for purposes of department requirements), or (more likely) wanted to teach Middle School Earth Science. I was the only member of that class there solely because I loved dinosaurs.


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Civet
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06 Sep 2005, 5:46 am

Yes, I'm seen as too unemotional.

Only a few people in my life (mainly family and those I've lived with during college) know that my emotions come to a "boiling point" and all bubble over every so often. It's not something I do intentionally, in fact, I'm completely unaware of it until I've already started to "bubble."

My mother has told me that she thinks the reason I get like that is because I rarely express emotion like most people do, and so when I actually do get around to feeling something it's overwhelming and I don't know how to deal with it or regulate it.

In a sense I think she's right, but I also think part of it is my failure to recognize a slowly building emotional state within myself. I will feel the stomach aches and the headaches before I'll feel the anxiety, for example. And once I feel the anxiety, it's too late to avert it or supress it. The same goes for most other emotions.



hale_bopp
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06 Sep 2005, 5:50 am

I'm pretty emotional, but my main emotions are laughing and cracking jokes, and anger and distaste.

I am slightly emotionless when it comes to things like love, unless it's about my cat.



fahreeq
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06 Sep 2005, 6:10 am

I get pegged as overemotional because day-do-day annoyances are so overstimulating to me.



rpm2004
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06 Sep 2005, 6:12 am

koala hurts brain!


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hecate
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06 Sep 2005, 7:28 am

i have had people describe me as "emotionally-detached" but i don't think this is true. sometimes, even when i experience intense emotion, people don't notice because my facial expression doesn't change. there was one occasion when something bad had happened and inside i was thinking "OH MY GOD, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?! ! HELP! EVERYTHING'S GOING WRONG! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!! !" and my friend turned to me and said "i'm really suprised you're so calm about the situation." on other occasions my emotions have been mis-read as other emotions (eg: percieved as angry when i was feeling sad).



Namiko
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06 Sep 2005, 8:34 am

Mockingbird wrote:
Me? Unemotional? never!! As far as I can remember I've been overemotional, but I have a theory to why this is. The whole time I was growing up, my Mom was really into feelings...how do you feel? how do they feel? How did you feel when...? How do you think they felt when...? What would you do if you felt...? and so on, and so on, and so on. I think I grew to recognise my emotions and express them to their full capacity because if this, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, especially because it's just about impossible for me to hide, or even not express my emotions. That said, I either have a big response to something or none at all. There have been quite few situations(mostly empathetic ones) where I was "supposed" to feel something and I did not. I feel very bad about my lack of empathetic response, bacause sometimes I feel like my Mom sees me as inferior to others because I cannot have empathy. I can't even tell when I'm supposed to fake empathy :roll: Stupid NT social rules


Nearly everyone I know has tried to do this to me, except the people who are not very emotional, kind of like me. I tend to be fairly unemotional, up to a certain point, and still hide my emotions well. I hate the whole empathetic thing, too. It's really hard for me to feel sorry for another person, unless I can really identify with them, which is rare.

Thagomizer wrote:
Say, an mbti type INTP or INTJ. I'm actually an 'NF' idealist in every core of my being. I'm more emotional, just outwardly detatched.


Nice. Are you an INFJ, by any chance? I know someone who is (and I'm not trying to stereotype here) and seems fairly detatched, but she's not. She is extremely emotional and empathetic, but does not express this to other people upon just a glance. Just curious, as always...


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CockneyRebel
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06 Sep 2005, 9:00 am

I've been told that I'm too emotional and that I should stop whining about my short commings. Maybe, that's a different story, all together.



Serissa
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06 Sep 2005, 9:02 am

mikibacsi1124 wrote:
Au contraire, I've always been seen as being too emotional, mostly because of my ocassional oversensitivity to remarks made about me, and because I've my tendency to feel depressed and lonely.


Ditto. I get depressed at the drop of a hat and I've always sucked at hiding that. Ironically I've gotten better at hiding that AND have developed more affect for positive emotion at the same time within the last couple of years.

I've also been told that I always look angry or contemptuous, which is apparently how I look without affect; I'll get "what's wrong?" asked of me when I feel fine and thought no emotion was registering. My crossed are wires or something.



Namiko
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06 Sep 2005, 10:41 am

Heh heh. I know what you mean. I always get the "what's wrong with you today?" question from everyone I know. Apparantly I have this perpetual ticked off look that those darn NTs always seem to be looking for... :evil:


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Sean
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06 Sep 2005, 10:58 am

My Mom once commented I look mad in my avatar. In reality, I'm completely neutral, spaced out and stimming in that picture.



NeantHumain
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06 Sep 2005, 1:11 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I've been told that I'm too emotional and that I should stop whining about my short commings. Maybe, that's a different story, all together.

I don't know if this is actually directed at me, but I am not intending this topic to be a complaint. I am merely curious as to how other aspies are finding the appropriate emotional balance that allows them to interact better.