Ever feel like you need to act MORE autistic?

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lostonearth35
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05 Oct 2019, 4:30 pm

Because if you're a woman who didn't get diagnosed until you were an adult, it's more likely that people won't believe you when you tell them. So instead of masking your autism, which you basically taught yourself how to do for most of your life, you resort to acting out the signs that most people recognize as being autistic in boys and men, or make them look more severe than they really are.

Also since the majority of people on WP are male, you feel like you don't relate to their problems as much and they seem to think we have it so much easier than they do. :?



AprilR
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05 Oct 2019, 5:48 pm

Yes i used to do that when i first learned about autism. Since everyone acted like i was normal i thought that this was not right and knowingly started to act weird. If i do that i thought i would get help. Expect they didn't and started to ignore and show pity to me instead.



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05 Oct 2019, 7:02 pm

More like I need to be less stressed out... :|

Less overstimulated, less pressured, less having to put up with other's status quo of a 'need' in a demeaning and immature sense, less taking things too seriously.


Less imaginary 'threats' and worries. Less insecurities, less negativity, less reliance on stuff in order to live as.


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Amity
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06 Oct 2019, 6:52 am

lostonearth35 wrote:
Because if you're a woman who didn't get diagnosed until you were an adult, it's more likely that people won't believe you when you tell them. So instead of masking your autism, which you basically taught yourself how to do for most of your life, you resort to acting out the signs that most people recognize as being autistic in boys and men, or make them look more severe than they really are.

Also since the majority of people on WP are male, you feel like you don't relate to their problems as much and they seem to think we have it so much easier than they do. :?

It's the habit of masking that's difficult to shake off. It's a way of controlling/limiting unpredictable reactions. I dont want to deal with the hassle of other peoples reactions, so it's on a need to know basis, as from my perspective people generally still believe that we need to be normalised. So it's only those open minded people who I know well that I'd be comfortable enough with to be the real me around.
I think I spent so long on the outside, feeling isolated, that I would almost relate more to ASD men, than non-autistic women.


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petraA
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27 Jan 2021, 1:18 am

I often feel the need when I meet autistic people and am relating to their struggles to tell stories about my childhood when I was "more autistic" because until I do they tend not to believe that I could possibly relate to them because I mask a lot.



Ms Dobalina
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02 Apr 2021, 10:44 pm

Definitely agree on the masking. It's a conundrum - if I'm open about my autism to people I get a lot of scepticism. "Really?" Yes, I have a professional diagnosis and a 13 page report that took a lot longer to get than this 10 minute conversation. "You mustn't be very autistic". All autistic people are autistic. You can't make a judgement on how autistic I am because that's not a thing; you can only judge how well I appear to relate to others, hence masking.

And masking takes so much out of me it can be unbearable. I want to learn to mask less but I'm not sure how to do it and I'm scared of what will happen if I do.



IsabellaLinton
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02 Apr 2021, 11:21 pm

I can't mask or mimic, and never really did. I hid the extent of my stimming / BFRB but it was still obvious that I had uncommon mannerisms and repetitive motions. I couldn't assimilate to NT culture, let alone female behaviour. I've always been very different than other girls and women. It was obvious because I had meltdowns, an unending display of sensory aversions, and a lack of social grace. The problem is that no one knew what to call it, so I was rejected as defective, nerdy, immature, weird, etc. I have all the signs and characteristics that boys and men have, to an extreme, but it was easier for others to dismiss me than connecting the dots, or sending me for assessment.

I don't think I could act more autistic if I tried.

It would actually be nice to act less autistic --- if it didn't involve complex theory of mind, which I don't have.



Ms Dobalina
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03 Apr 2021, 7:13 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I can't mask or mimic, and never really did. I hid the extent of my stimming / BFRB but it was still obvious that I had uncommon mannerisms and repetitive motions. I couldn't assimilate to NT culture, let alone female behaviour. I've always been very different than other girls and women. It was obvious because I had meltdowns, an unending display of sensory aversions, and a lack of social grace. The problem is that no one knew what to call it, so I was rejected as defective, nerdy, immature, weird, etc. I have all the signs and characteristics that boys and men have, to an extreme, but it was easier for others to dismiss me than connecting the dots, or sending me for assessment.

I don't think I could act more autistic if I tried.

It would actually be nice to act less autistic --- if it didn't involve complex theory of mind, which I don't have.


May I ask, what do you mean by "complex theory of mind"? I know a little of theory of mind from psychology and took one incredibly boring philosophy of mind course at university, but am interested in how you are using it to describe yourself, since you write in an articulate and self-aware style.



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07 Apr 2021, 3:57 pm

I'm also very interested in Ms Dobalina's question.

but to answer the original question, I usually get disbelief. It's always, "no, I don't believe you have autism."
I actually don't think I mask that much -- but the people around me (all people?) are self-centered and don't pay much attention to what I'm doing or saying. Neurotypicals also have such a weird relationship with the truth -- does it serve their purposes to acknowledge I'm autistic? I don't think acting more autistic would help.



IsabellaLinton
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07 Apr 2021, 5:12 pm

Ms Dobalina wrote:
May I ask, what do you mean by "complex theory of mind"? I know a little of theory of mind from psychology and took one incredibly boring philosophy of mind course at university, but am interested in how you are using it to describe yourself, since you write in an articulate and self-aware style.


I'm never sure exactly what "theory of mind" means either, because I don't have it. :P What I lack is the ability to read people. I scored in the first percentile at a dangerously low level for interpreting body language, understanding nonverbal behaviour, and reading people's eyes. In fact I had the lowest score for reading eyes that my doctor had ever seen. I have significant challenges knowing when I'm being conned and when to trust people. I can't connect the dots or determine other people's motivation / hidden agenda because my intuition is often wrong. Nuance is lost on me. I need direct explanations of what another person is thinking or implying in their behaviour because I can't read subtext. I take people literally or at face value, and assume that they think whatever I think. This weakness put me in extremely dangerous situations throughout my life. I'm still recovering from the trauma of manipulation, exploitation, and violence, because I couldn't see the red flags which would have been obvious to others.

Thank you for the compliment. I can think fairly clearly when I type but otherwise my self-awareness isn't very strong. I have no idea what I'm thinking or feeling unless I put it in words on a screen, so it is concrete. Doing this type of introspection in real time is next to impossible for me.



Ms Dobalina
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08 Apr 2021, 3:39 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Ms Dobalina wrote:
May I ask, what do you mean by "complex theory of mind"? I know a little of theory of mind from psychology and took one incredibly boring philosophy of mind course at university, but am interested in how you are using it to describe yourself, since you write in an articulate and self-aware style.


I'm never sure exactly what "theory of mind" means either, because I don't have it. :P What I lack is the ability to read people. I scored in the first percentile at a dangerously low level for interpreting body language, understanding nonverbal behaviour, and reading people's eyes. In fact I had the lowest score for reading eyes that my doctor had ever seen. I have significant challenges knowing when I'm being conned and when to trust people. I can't connect the dots or determine other people's motivation / hidden agenda because my intuition is often wrong. Nuance is lost on me. I need direct explanations of what another person is thinking or implying in their behaviour because I can't read subtext. I take people literally or at face value, and assume that they think whatever I think. This weakness put me in extremely dangerous situations throughout my life. I'm still recovering from the trauma of manipulation, exploitation, and violence, because I couldn't see the red flags which would have been obvious to others.

Thank you for the compliment. I can think fairly clearly when I type but otherwise my self-awareness isn't very strong. I have no idea what I'm thinking or feeling unless I put it in words on a screen, so it is concrete. Doing this type of introspection in real time is next to impossible for me.


Thank you so much for this answer, for being so raw and honest - that takes so much courage to do. I know exactly what you are talking about when you say you can't read manipulation and exploitation. I've been lucky - professionals have told me that I have managed to develop some strong methods to compensate for my inability to read social cues, but I've been in enough situations where I couldn't detect deception and that I was being used and it has been hugely detrimental to my welfare.

I could go into what little I know about theory of mind but instead I'd love it if I could float a theory I have by you. It might be a huge generalisation but here goes: when it comes to spoken language, autistic people interpret language in a logical way. By logical I don't mean "sensible" or "accurate". I mean it in its pure philosophical definition: logic is the search for truth. That means autistic people are looking for truth in dialogue with someone else. But neurotypicals don't use language to convey or seek out truth. They use it to seek out "meaning". And that is a wildly different thing.

I've spent hours and hours agonizing about the most common question anyone has ever asked me - "how are you?" For years, if someone asked me that I would be completely honest and I drove away many people. Because "how are you?" doesn't truly mean "how are you?" If you ask someone that question and they say "Fine", and their eyes are open and bright and their voice is high and steady, they really are fine. But if they answer that question with "Fine", their shoulders slumped, with their voice low and abrupt, and with their eyes averted from you that means that they are NOT fine and for some stupid reason it's your job to try to coax them into telling you how they actually feel. Most of the time (but not always) a neurotypical person picks up on this instictively and will continue the conversation in the right direction. I cannot do this. Every conversation I have with a neurotypical I am constantly trying to pick up any clue I possibly can - tone of voice, vocal delivery, posture, eye contact, facial expression. Are they standing facing me? Are they far away or close? What are the right words to use so that I convey that I want to meet their needs but am not too blunt or intrusive or insensitive? Trying to do all of these things leaves me so exhausted that eventually I just break down completely and spend the day in bed with the curtains drawn, curled up in the fetal position, praying for my anti-anxiety medication to kick in as soon as possible so that maybe I can get some relief. It's too much.

So if this theory is has any traction then you, Isabella Linton, are a logical thinker. You take statements literally because you are looking for logic, for truth in a world where the vast majority of people are frequently not telling you the truth; they're expecting you to interpret the meaning behind their words, something that is incredibly difficult or even impossible for people like us.

Sorry for such a long post - I tend to do that a lot. But I think about this every damn day. Any thoughts you'd care share?



IsabellaLinton
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08 Apr 2021, 9:17 am

Ms Dobalina wrote:
Trying to do all of these things leaves me so exhausted that eventually I just break down completely and spend the day in bed with the curtains drawn, curled up in the fetal position, praying for my anti-anxiety medication to kick in as soon as possible so that maybe I can get some relief. It's too much.


This is totally me. I'm like that even when I haven't interacted with people. Just the thought of it depletes my resources and makes me want to hide. People are overwhelming because they're so unpredictable. You never know what their personality or mood will be that day, what motivates them, or whether they're NT / ND / experiencing mental illness, lying, etc. There are too many variables, and the same person can change moment to moment, day to day, and conversation to conversation depending on the context and who else is present. I like my world to be predictable, familiar, or routine. It's really hard to process, interpret, juggle, and respond to the onslaught of sensory, social, verbal and nonverbal info that just one person can generate. My brain kind of short-circuits after a short period of interaction, even if I like the person and enjoy talking to them. It's so much easier online like this.

I went my whole working career not knowing I was (Level 2) autistic, but that I was very, very, very different from everyone else and that people spoke about me behind my back. I didn't know about "How are you?" etiquette, and I used to launch into my life story with people when asked. I was an oversharer, but I didn't know that term either. I became the brunt of jokes from colleagues who knew the minutiae of my life, because the oversharing made my hardships stand out. I think they saw me as dramatic because I would tell them everything, thinking they cared. I'm sure they had just as much drama in their own lives, but they didn't share it -- so no one teased them.

Yes I'm a logical thinker as you describe. I try to derive meaning from the logic by deconstructing their words but I think most people work the opposite by "constructing". I've never been able to construct logically. I can break apart but I can't synthesise, even in basic daily living. Funny example: I was looking for toothpicks in a shop that had all the aisles labelled. That meant I had to synthesise. I had to start with the idea of toothpicks, and work backward in my brain to generalise which aisle label would help me find them. I couldn't figure out what the "big picture" of a toothpick would be. I kept asking my daughter, "What would toothpicks be? Health care? Medicine? Cleaning products? Is there an aisle called "Picnics??! !!" (she thought that was funny - in retrospect I have no idea why I associated picnics and toothpicks?) I couldn't figure out which category they'd be in so I gave up and left. Of course I wouldn't ask anyone. About a week later I was in a different shop and there they were! In the ... dental aisle. Whoops! :oops: Never, in a million years, would I have figured that one out on my own. If someone gave me a category like "dental aisle" I could deconstruct it and name about 100 products which might be sold there, but given the prompt of "toothpicks" I can't work backward to generalise or find the right aisle.

Sorry for the long example but I thought it was funny and very indicative of the way I think. I'm a details person who can't see the forest (dental aisle) for the trees (toothpicks). This is why it's very hard for me to have a conversation with someone, take all their details or cues, and work backward to figure out what the heck they really mean. People need to be very clear with me, or else I either give up, shutdown, or resent them because I start to feel vulnerable.

Sorry for the long post!



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08 Apr 2021, 11:55 am

Quote:
I've spent hours and hours agonizing about the most common question anyone has ever asked me - "how are you?" For years, if someone asked me that I would be completely honest and I drove away many people. Because "how are you?" doesn't truly mean "how are you?" If you ask someone that question and they say "Fine", and their eyes are open and bright and their voice is high and steady, they really are fine.


It's even trickier than this. If their eyes are open and bright and their voice is high and steady, it means "they definitely want you to think they're fine." That may be because they are fine OR they could actually be trying very hard to hide from you what they're really feeling. As an autistic parent of a neurotypical kid, I have to try to figure out what's really going on even after I've sorted out the non-verbal body language. Is she saying the answer she thinks I want to hear? As she gets older, I want to explain to her that I'm autistic and I always want the same answer -- the truth. The actual truth.



Ms Dobalina
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08 Apr 2021, 7:25 pm

Quote:

It's even trickier than this. If their eyes are open and bright and their voice is high and steady, it means "they definitely want you to think they're fine." That may be because they are fine OR they could actually be trying very hard to hide from you what they're really feeling. As an autistic parent of a neurotypical kid, I have to try to figure out what's really going on even after I've sorted out the non-verbal body language. Is she saying the answer she thinks I want to hear? As she gets older, I want to explain to her that I'm autistic and I always want the same answer -- the truth. The actual truth. Quote


Edit: formatting mistakes that are still poorly corrected.

Oh my goodness, this is so absolutely true. Perfect. The neurotypical person will be deceptive in every form of verbal and non-verbal language and they expect you to figure it out. I don't say that with any hostility or ill-feeling towards neurotypical persons; it is how the world works and most of the time the do it without any malice. They want to feel like you know them and care about them enough to see through any front they put on. Lord knows I want the same thing - for someone to assure me that my feelings matter to them. But it's so hard to do.

This is why I can never have kids. Well, sort of. I possess absolutely no maternal instincts whatsoever, which is a problem. And I think all children are truly awful. I'm approaching my mid-thirties, when your "biological clock" is supposed to go crazy, but every year my disdain for children only deepens. Having a child in my house is my version of a living nightmare.

I'm sure your kid and Isabella's are wonderful human beings that you love more than anything in the world and would make any sacrifice possible for their safety and happiness. And if I somehow ended up having a child I would feel the exact same way. But kids take up every moment of your waking time - they're incredibly needy, they pee, crap, vomit, and cover you in snot and it's your job to deal with the aftermath. Then they get bigger and they run and dart about constantly without provocation. They talk and tell you their tedious stories with weak plots, terrible syntax and no structure.

So I salute you both for being parents. It's a way of life so full-on that even thinking about it gives me heart palpitations.

Another long post. *Sigh*. I'll keep trying be succinct, it's just going to take time.



Last edited by Ms Dobalina on 09 Apr 2021, 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

IsabellaLinton
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08 Apr 2021, 7:32 pm

Ms Dobalina wrote:
... they're incredibly needy, they pee, crap, vomit, and cover you in snot and it's your job to deal with the aftermath. Then they get bigger and they run and dart about constantly without provocation. They talk and tell you their tedious stories with weak plots, terrible syntax and no structure.


LMAO. I don't remember running and darting but that's pretty funny. :P The worst was my lack of sleep when she was nine. Word of warning to all prospective parents: Nine is known to be a needy year. It's when their imagination kicks in, apparently, and many kids start having night terrors or wanting constant reassurance. I don't think either of us slept that year. It's a great age in all other respects, but wow ...



Ms Dobalina
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09 Apr 2021, 2:29 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Ms Dobalina wrote:
... they're incredibly needy, they pee, crap, vomit, and cover you in snot and it's your job to deal with the aftermath. Then they get bigger and they run and dart about constantly without provocation. They talk and tell you their tedious stories with weak plots, terrible syntax and no structure.


LMAO. I don't remember running and darting but that's pretty funny. :P The worst was my lack of sleep when she was nine. Word of warning to all prospective parents: Nine is known to be a needy year. It's when their imagination kicks in, apparently, and many kids start having night terrors or wanting constant reassurance. I don't think either of us slept that year. It's a great age in all other respects, but wow ...


I am a huge horror film fan. I have my Masters in film theory - this is not me bragging. There are few things in life more useless than a postgraduate degree in film studies and I regret that I did not realise this before I racked up a student loan so high I may never be able to pay it off. And then after my studies I had go into the workforce with degrees that had absolutely no transferable skills.

But I did my MA. I wrote 40,000 words (again, not a brag. Go ahead and study what you want, but make sure there will be work opportunities when your done) on four horror films that were terrifying. Films with tonnes of gore and mutilation and torture so bad that no amount of therapy could possibly relieve the trauma those characters endured.

But of all those movies I've watched, nothing has struck more fear in my heart than your description of raising a nine year old. No sleep? No sleep. I have a checkered relationship with my sleep being out of whack, but I love sleeping and turn into a zombie if I'm even slightly sleep-deprived. It not pretty. But you did it for a year, probably much more than a year. Plus you cleaned up their awful bodily excretions.

And so I stand in awe of you.



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