First time in history!! !! The NT/AS open hotline ! !! !! !

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Teach51
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28 Apr 2019, 10:18 am

PoseyBuster88 wrote:
Thanks for the response, KimD.

Another question for anyone with ideas - any tips for conversations where a there is a group? I do pretty well I think with one-on-one conversations, but when there is a lively group chat going on, I struggle. I have a hard time following, especially if it's in a noisy room, and I am so bad and figuring out when it is "my turn" to say anything. I usually end up starting to talk a few times, but everyone just talks over me, and then I give up and just sit there. Any tips at all?



Hi PoseyBuster88,
Actually as an NT I have the same problem while conversing, many NT's tend to not pick up cues from others and don't notice when they are hogging the focus for too long and ignoring the more polite, quieter ones.
I was raised in England, and was exposed to extreme politeness ( decades ago) and when I moved to the Middle East I was unable to get on a bus ( everyone ignores the queue) or join a conversation. Here in my country communication is similar to a boisterous family gathering with everyone butting in.
When I would follow a conversation nodding my head and making encouraging sounds to indicate my interest, uhuh, uhuh, it was considered very strange.

I do better now though it feels rude because I have to interject what I need to say because nobody will ever ask "what do you think?" I can only imagine how hard it is if you are on the spectrum to identify the cues and flow with the conversation.


I usually wait for something to be thrown into the conversation that I would like to comment on, for example, a holiday being discussed, or an experience I have also had and I throw myself in and say if I like the place or not and maybe add a little anecdote. Then I might ask a question such as "how did you like the food, did you have good weather ." etc

I usually am not in the centre of the crowd. I try and find someone who looks pleasant and have a one on one conversation. I would ask about where they live, work, what are they interested in, non invasive stuff. I am just networking and I may briefly say what my line of work is, who I know there . If the conversation stagnates then I just say nice to meet you and move on.I look for smiley faces.


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Denysstar
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06 Jun 2019, 8:01 am

Sounds good



IstominFan
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06 Jun 2019, 9:09 am

I look for people who share common interests. Since I know a lot of fellow cat/animal lovers, that is always a good topic of conversation.



Newbeginings
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18 Aug 2019, 10:08 pm

It would be great to get involved and learn enough to make it easier for those entering this world with this condition. Ive servived with this condition for 54 years and it's mostly just luck that I'm not dead yet. It can be made better for the next generation.
Cant really think of much else's to do with the rest of my life. Well there are lots of books I want to read. And lots of stuff to write about.

Wrong planter has always been my fortune, thanks for this place!



KimD
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18 Aug 2019, 10:24 pm

Hi Newbeginnings! I'm glad you've survived (though I hope you may soon thrive), and I'm glad you've joined the site!

As an NT with a lot of ND people in her life (many of whom can't tell me about their experiences, perspectives, needs, desires, etc.), I've found WP very helpful, and I've enjoyed some of the completely-unrelated-to-autism discussions, too.

I like to read, myself--and write. Do you have a favorite genre?



Newbeginings
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19 Aug 2019, 9:31 am

(:
Thanks for the welcome!
I'm really excited about this website, and autism as well. It seems like I've only heard about the spectrum until recently. But I have always noticed the difference between ways of thinking. Like I've always been told theres just something off about the way that boy thinks, or the number of jobs I have lost mostly due to not not knowing how to deal with people. I mean I would freak out and it would just make things worse. Or I would crawl up into a shell trying to hide away. When it gets this bad I find it even harder to understand people and it gets worse. Not linked up in some ways that others are, but linked up to other valuable assets that others aren't.

Well I guess there are lots of places to write dont need to put it all on this page. Working hard on the communicating thing. In a lot of ways I've gotten sharper at noticing things and pick up on things that the adverge person isn't aware of, just because where it comes natural for them I really have to sometimes brake it down into parts and see things and it's made me somewhat better at observing and relating.

There are just some places my mind cant go or has a harder time with that other people breeze right through. On the other hand my mind can go to some pretty strange places others cant get to, or it's more difficult for some, but this is where the ideas come from.

I'll get better as I write more so bare with me. I've read some really good stuff here so far, and am glad to be here.

As far as what genre I'm not really sure. I like Literature or what's called Literature. Once heard it described as story's that show a general sense of ambiguity. And it seems to fit.

Once again thanks for the welcome!



loveandotherdrugs
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29 Aug 2019, 4:58 pm

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less than a minute ago Edit postDelete post
Hey,

This is the first time I've posted on a site like this, about personal situations- but I would like input. Other sites that I have found scare me with how negative they seem about outcomes of NT and AS couples. I am a woman (28) who (as I have only recently learned) is deemed a "NT". My partner has AS and is 28, and we are engaged. He has never gone to professional treatment, or gotten a professional diagnosis- but he is aware that his brain is wired differently, and that it seems to line up. His siblings have also been officially diagnosed with AS.

He is an excellent boyfriend in a lot of different ways, he is always on time, he cares deeply about me and our dog and cat, he makes dinners and cleans when I ask, he makes big long term goals with me in mind.

I started suspecting things were different when we started dating, long distance (about 3 hrs away). He hates talking on the phone- and a lot of our arguments were about the fact that I needed more than the same texts every day. He would defend himself saying he texts me all day, how is that not enough? Fights would escalate quickly, I wouldn't feel heard, he wouldn't feel heard. There were a lot of hurtful things said. Getting him to apologize for those hurtful things was a hard mountain to climb too, whether that was because he felt righteous or overly guilty I'm not sure.

A huge tell for me was when he accidentally scared me one time by grabbing my shoulders. It wasn't bad, but it was during an argument, and I have past trauma with physical abuse so I got shaken. When I tried to bring up that that scared me, his first reaction was pure anger. He told me that I wasn't allowed to say stuff like that because it would ruin his career. I literally just wanted to make him aware that he had scared me, so we could be on the same page. But it actually started another argument, with him saying that if he ever hurt me he would kill himself, and that I wasn't allowed to say anything like that because I would be ruining his career.

Fast forward to now, we live together- and communication is okay, but doesn't have much depth. He hates talking about feelings, but we have our day to day figured out and our routines. He's said no to therapy, but I've attended therapy to find coping strategies to try to feel emotionally taken care of. The main thing I need help with is de-escalation of arguments. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but he drinks on his nights off- and he drinks usually a good amount. When I do something that makes him mad, or if I bring up a previous situation that was about him hurting my feelings, it seems to spiral out of my control extremely fast and everything I say is taken as a direct attack. He raises his voice, says hurtful things, and I start crying which of course makes him incredibly angry, and then he tries to touch me (in a kind apologetic way) after flailing and screaming and I flinch. That flinching sends him off the rails- he's yelled at me that I think he'll hurt me, hes told me to leave, he's asked for his ring back.

Of course, he apologizes after everything, always with defensiveness added, that he told me to not bring up a situation again, or that I shouldn't have been on my phone during a movie we were watching. But what I really want to know from the AS community is whether there's a right way to de-escalate when it starts spiraling. I've been having pretty gnarly panic attacks- and for my own emotional well-being, and his (he really hates me being so emotional) I'd like to figure out a better strategy. Any and all advice welcome- and please don't just tell me to leave him. I love him and I'm doing this to try to find a way to move forward.

Best,
NT



PoseyBuster88
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29 Aug 2019, 5:56 pm

Hello loveandotherdrugs, and welcome to WP!

Let me preface this by acknowledging a couple things. First, I am not sure if I am NT or AS. I have qualities that fit both profiles, and I don't have the financial resources to be tested to find out. Second, I have been in a past relationship that was emotionally and psychologically abusive, and had strong PTSD symptoms from it for a long time. So some of my advice may be reactionary or me placing my experiences into what you said. But maybe not.

Okay, on to my thoughts.

I might be helpful to talk to your therapist about this specific issue if you haven't already. You mentioned working on "coping strategies to try to feel emotionally taken care of," but not whether or not you have gotten a trained professional's input about conflict resolution and de-escalation. And how to work through your past trauma and triggers. We are (mostly) not trained professionals here, and we do not know you personally, so our advice is likely to be less helpful.

That said, I do have a couple ideas. First, it kay work best to communicate delicate or deep issues in writing. I strongly written communication, since it gives me a chance to think deeply about what is said and how I respond. In person, you are required to do all of that immediately. Sometimes I need more time. I also sometimes feel very attacked/defensive about things because I try so hard to get everything "right" in my relationships. It is hard to hear I am failing after all that effort. So maybe include a lot of encouragement with the item you would like to address.

For the flinching reactions you have that bother him, I have found this analogy helpful (in conversations with my husband): "someone who was seriously injured by a dog will likely be scared of dogs in general, even dogs they KNOW beyond a doubt are gentle and kind. Their body will react in a fearful way sometimes even though their brain KNOWS it is silly. A past abusive relationship causes that same type of reaction - it is not a reaction to the person I am currently around, it is a reaction to my past trauma. It does not reflect what I believe about YOU. It reflects how deeply my past relationships scared me."

Okay, last piece of advice. This is something I learned after my abusive relationship, and it is how I screen for potentially abusive behavior from others: I consider whether I embarrassed to tell people about how he treated me. A normal fight/conversation/interaction is not truly, deeply embarrassing. It might be funny (because the topic of the fight was stupid or something). It might be something you are still angry about and venting to your friend. But it should NEVER be something you feel the need to hide or cover up or downplay or (fake) laugh and brush aside. That is a definitely a red flag if it happens. You should not feel ashamed. Not saying that's you, but something to keep in mind. Aspergers or autism does NOT excuse behavior that is abusive. It can lead to misunderstandings or some communication issues, but abusive behavior is a whole different thing and not a "symptom" of autism. So please do make sure you are evaluating your relationship to see whether your flinches, fears, etc. are you being triggered by past trauma or whether it is your body sending you warnings. Even in my current (loving, safe) relationship I have struggled with being triggered - which is why the "am I embarrassed by how he treats me" guideline has been very helpful.

Hope that helps. I am not trying to judge your relationship or tell you to stay or leave. Just wanted to share what I have found helpful.


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Mona Pereth
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29 Aug 2019, 10:52 pm

To loveandotherdrugs:

See my reply to you here.


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loveandotherdrugs
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30 Aug 2019, 1:57 am

PoseyBuster88:

That was such a wonderful post, and so thoughtful- truly, thank you! I have actually been researching some therapists that could possibly help with our situation that have a expertise in AS- and ideally he would be able to go with me so we could work on strategies, but like many people he thinks people that go to therapists are broken, so he's unwilling to come as of now.

A little background, I did actually work in autism research at a medical school for 3 years with a MD/PhD so I understand how complex AS and just the brain in general is, I also am a nurse.

My therapist gave me a set of rules to have during arguments for both of us such as "we don't raise our voices" or "we don't storm out in the middle of a fight unless we both agree to table it". But to be quite honest it hasn't done much to change anything.

That's a really great way of looking at physical abuse, and it's something I'll definitely keep in mind. It's true that none is acceptable. I'm so sorry that happened to you, it's hard to not be triggered at least sometimes. It's hard to separate whether I feel scared because of past or present. I know my reactions may be exaggerated, but I'm not one for ever having panic attacks before, so it's definitely not a regular occurrence. Sometimes I know our gut tells us things our conscious brain doesn't fully understand.

What you said about feeling attacked because you try so hard to get everything right is 100% how he feels. He puts more pressure on himself to do everything right in all areas than almost anyone I know. When a work situation doesn't go as planned, or dinner- it's hugely upsetting for him. When he gets defensive he tends to make everything into villains and victims, as so many people do. I'm usually the villain so it becomes less of a "let's both fix this" and a "me against you, trying to prove how horrible you are"- So when things don't go to plan, or I'm not 100% happy it's hard for him to look at anything but his own pain and how unfair it is.

I do want kids eventually, and I'd like to know that we can conflict resolve better. Sometimes it feels I'm the only person who thinks there's any problem. I can't even count how many times he's called me irrational or crazy or overemotional or over analyzing. Though I can be overwhelmed, that's definitely not my nature.

Best,
C



PoseyBuster88
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30 Aug 2019, 12:36 pm

Perhaps try sending your concerns in writing and/or scheduling a time to talk. And perhaps refer to it as "ideas to improve our relationship" rather than problems?

I also had success getting my partner to counseling by saying "my therapist thinks it would be helpful to get your insight/perspective about the issues I am having and my behaviors at home. Would you be willing to meet with them and help?"

Of course, you would NOT want to ambush him with a session all about him, but that might get him in the door and let him see how therapy could be helpful. And it may also legitimately help your therapist serve you better.


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PoseyBuster88
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30 Aug 2019, 3:17 pm

To clarify my response, scheduling a time to discuss might help because many people with ASD (myself included) struggle with surprises and change. Having a chance to mentally prepare for the conversation, including knowing the general topic you want to discuss, may help him be in the right frame of mind.

And sending your thoughts in writing also helps, since he can think about his response ahead of time and/or respond in writing. I find it MUCH easier to share emotions in writing, and it gives me a chance to get over any defensiveness I may feel. And in writing, you can make sure what you send won't seem like an attack. Make it a potential improvement you both can work on and/or a way that he can help you with your issues.


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NT5732
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31 Aug 2019, 1:47 pm

Hello, everyone!

I'm a female NT getting married to a very intense, creative AS man in a few weeks. I have a few questions..

1. Any advice on practicing two-way conversations? On our first date, I sat and listened to him talk for six hours (and he'd only just started learning English!) I said maybe two words the entire time. I love his passion and honesty, but (two years later) he's still ranting on a loop about the same topics. Even bringing this up with him means giving the disclaimer: "Can we focus on what I'm feeling for the next twenty minutes?" If anyone has any tips on smoothing this out, they'd be very appreciated. :) Sometimes I can feel him counting the breaths until he can speak again... haha.

2. How can NTs best support an AS with obsessions and volatile emotions? He takes any perceived criticism very hard, which makes talking about this stuff difficult. He shuts down and internalizes it (more than is "typical" for most people), even when it's presented as a way to improve, rather than a criticism. He also has difficulty regulating his emotions when he gets negative feedback on his work or feels let down by a friend. It's like his whole world is coming to an end--in the most literal sense, it's an emotional apocalypse. He'll feel that life has lost all color if a good friend (someone he cares about) takes a few hours to text him back. AS & NTs: how do you all help/accept help regulating these (occasionally irrational) responses?

I'm so in awe of the AS mind. He is a video game designer who goes to the office from 7PM-9AM to avoid working near his colleagues, or he'll stay awake for 24h straight (then nap for 4-5h before another 24h cycle) when he becomes really fixated. This can last for upwards of 7 months. He drinks 10 cups of coffee a day and smokes to help him focus. Does this sound familiar to anyone? How can I help him slow down, maybe live a bit healthier, and find joy and self-worth outside of his obsessive work cycles?

Thanks so much for your time and for reading! I really appreciate it! :D



Newbeginings
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01 Sep 2019, 1:31 am

I'm the same way. It was a lot worse when younger. Now i put it on auto and pray for the best.



NT5732
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01 Sep 2019, 7:41 am

Haha thanks. I appreciate it, good to know it might level-off



Teach51
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01 Sep 2019, 8:00 am

My best suggestion is not to expect that you can change your future husband in any way. My aspie S/O has found that his behaviour and his ability to cope has significantly deteriorated as he gets older. Written communication of my feelings is the most effective method in order to receive any response. You must take into consideration that this is as good as it gets and love him for who he is and not what you want him to be. You will need to be pretty emotionally healthy to enjoy the differences you have, because in times of crisis he may care deeply but will not necessarily be able to give you the support that you expect or even demand in a conventional NT sense. You should consider all these things thoroughly before you get married.All the people that I know on the spectrum are completely different so what I am saying is pretty general. Perhaps a few sessions as a couple with a therapist who understands autism will help, before you both embark on this journey? All the best!


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