Isolation v fear of people getting too close

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firemonkey
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09 Apr 2015, 2:14 pm

I had not realised the average reply to views ratio was so low on here. I can only say it appears to be lower than on other forums I have been on. Now I know I will expect fewer replies.
As for CBT I am not a great believer in it. Mainly because the " your thinking is wrong" mindset tends to negate the very real negative experiences people go through. Ie " it wasn't that bad " you just thought it was.
I think I would be more for it if it accepted people's bad experiences and didn't downplay them whilst helping people to cope better with the after effects. CBT advocates seem to think people are robots who should respond optimally to sub optimal situations.


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09 Apr 2015, 3:58 pm

firemonkey wrote:
I had not realised the average reply to views ratio was so low on here. I can only say it appears to be lower than on other forums I have been on. Now I know I will expect fewer replies.
As for CBT I am not a great believer in it. Mainly because the " your thinking is wrong" mindset tends to negate the very real negative experiences people go through. Ie " it wasn't that bad " you just thought it was.
I think I would be more for it if it accepted people's bad experiences and didn't downplay them whilst helping people to cope better with the after effects. CBT advocates seem to think people are robots who should respond optimally to sub optimal situations.


Given CBTs origins in behaviorism, it makes sense that it would have this coercive, abusive quality in practice. I approached it without understanding that and largely worked with the ideas by myself, so I haven't had this negative experience.



Hyperborean
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09 Apr 2015, 4:13 pm

firemonkey wrote:
I had not realised the average reply to views ratio was so low on here. I can only say it appears to be lower than on other forums I have been on. Now I know I will expect fewer replies.


Yes, I think you are right about this. Posts tend not to get very many replies on WP (unless you make an outrageous or insulting comment or behave like a troll), so don't take it personally. But as Adamantium pointed out, once a discussion eventually gets underway the quality of the debate here is usually high - so it's worth waiting for.

BTW I'm glad you decided to stay on WP. :)



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09 Apr 2015, 8:29 pm

firemonkey wrote:
I had not realised the average reply to views ratio was so low on here. I can only say it appears to be lower than on other forums I have been on. Now I know I will expect fewer replies.


It happens all over the internet, people lurk...but here, yeah, the rate of responses is probably lower than usual, given that most people who post here have some challenges in communicating. And I think a lot of the time people just don't know how to respond if there's not an explicit question to respond to. I can be like that in everyday conversation, if a person just makes a statement, it may not occur to me what to say or even that I'm supposed to say anything. I can be really dense that way sometimes.

I don't actually read very many threads here, but when I do read a thread, I usually reply.

Anyway I'm not exactly isolated, but I FEEL like I am. It's weird because I can spend time around people, like for example I could work with the same people for years and still they wouldn't know much about me and vice versa. I know a lot of people in my current job...or rather, they know who I am. Embarrassingly, I don't always remember who they are, much less remember the things they might have told me about themselves. :oops:

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It's as though the processes required to interact at a close level are too overwhelming and hard to master. I am not sure this is an aspergic thing .


I think it's definitely an Asperger's thing, and it's also true of many other disorders as well.

Actually, not many people in general really become a master at it. They just manage to do it well enough to maintain relationships with other people.

Some of us here probably hold ourselves to higher standards than other people do in that sense. When a thing doesn't come naturally, you feel more like it's something to be mastered. That can work well in a career or hobby, but I think it doesn't come off so well in a personal situation. When people get close, they want to feel like it just happens naturally, not something that they/you have to work at.

I have known people who have lots of friends, or who have been married a long time, and it boggles my mind because they come off to me as having a really poor ability to relate to people. They may be very selfish and rude, and unpleasant to be around...but I guess the thing of it is, they are themselves, and they seem to accept themselves. People tend to find that more attractive and appealing than low self-confidence. I think that's rather short sighted, as a person who does not think so highly of themselves may have a lot more to offer in the long run.

But I think the way it works, when people sense that you have doubts and fears about getting close to them, they are put off because they sense it will be more work for them. It can take a lot of patience and effort to get past that with someone, and I mean it can be really difficult. So the other person might pull away, or things just fizzle out somehow, and then you wonder what went wrong. When in reality, it's not that you're doing anything "wrong" per se, maybe you're just not ready to get close to them. And/or it could be that they aren't the right person for you(whether it's a friendship, romantic relationship, whatever).

Fear gets triggered for a reason. It doesn't just come up from nowhere. Sometimes there are valid reasons to be wary of people and distance yourself from them. Other times it is more about something within you, like being reminded of a bad experience you had in the past. Sometimes, it might be a combination of both factors. But I think it is absolutely vital to be able to tell the difference. Knowing when you should let go of fear, or listen to it.

This is where some of us here could be at a disadvantage, because it can be difficult to process that and figure it out in a real-time situation. And the difficulty itself just becomes another reason to avoid people. But what might help is if you can work out ahead of time what's likely to be difficult or overwhelming for you, and come up with some strategies to deal with that. I've realized part of why I isolate myself is because I just don't know how else to handle certain situations.

As for physical intimacy? This is a touchy subject for a lot of men. But personally I would find it utterly repulsive if a man had a lot of "skills" to show off to me in bed. That's like getting a blatant message that he's been with a lot of other women (which would be about the last thing in the world I'd want to think about at that moment), and/or that he's watched a lot of porn. I could go off on a tangent here, but I think this is the G-rated section of the forum. lol



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09 Apr 2015, 8:45 pm

jimmyboy76453 wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
I realise that I am very isolated,which I'm told is unhealthy, and yet have a fear of people getting too close to me(not in a physical distance sense). It's as though the processes required to interact at a close level are too overwhelming and hard to master. I am not sure this is an aspergic thing .


Well, I think you hit the nail on the head: the processes required to interact at a close level ARE overwhelming and difficult to master. While this is true for everyone, it is worse for people with autism/ASD. That's probably a large reason why you are very isolated. Isolation can be unhealthy, but healthy amounts vary for everyone. If you are comfortable with your level of isolation, than don't worry about what people say. However, if you are feeling depressed, lessening your level of isolation may help alleviate your symptoms. You don't necessarily have to get close to people; reach out in online groups like this one, or find a local group that is based on a mutual interest, such as cycling or bird watching or mushroom hunting or whatever.


I wholeheartedly agree with jimmyboy.



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10 Apr 2015, 11:26 am

firemonkey wrote:
The high number of views/few replies is par for the course for me across forums over the years, so undoubtedly a sign of something wrong with me rather than anyone else.


This is a ridiculous thought, over the top ridiculous reasoning, as in, there is little reason to it. This thought is not a rational. Why is it not rational? 1-no support that posts with lots of hits mean that the initiator of the post is 'right' 2-no support that you get a higher view/post ratio than other people do 3-don't even know what you mean when you say 'wrong'. I would even wager that 'wrong' posts get more replies because people seemingly like to pipe in when there's something really askew. Kinda like I did by seeing your non-logic, worry-based thoughts, that you do not perceive as emanating from fear and not logic.


Anyways, this topic in general resonates with me. I think I likely schizoid personality disorder, which is easily mixed up with ASD (lots of people on the schizoid forum I've been going to present all sorts of signs of autism too). I socially isolate myself. I feel like there is an invasion of privacy in all sorts of regular social situations, and I don't like it. I find it distressing. For me, it is not a worry that I will mess up socially, but rather a 'f**k off' feeling I get.

Probably a key part of it is that I think perhaps I do not feel like I can have emotions when I am around people. I never learned how to experience emotions and socialize at the same time; as a child I remember learning to control experiencing emotions when I had to interact with people because that was how I was able to act properly. There was no 'don't show the emotion' as is what is probably the healthy thing to do I guess, but rather 'don't experience the emotion' because then the acting is simple. I now feel that nearly any emotional experience is deeply private, and I also do not have that control over my emotions that I had when I was younger, if only because I have to do so much more with my time now than when I was a kid, so the down time I had to experience emotions alone is now not enough.

My ASD partner doesn't like to be social because of the effort involved when he is. He passes as not an aspie, but when he describes what goes on in his head to do so, I shudder at the amount of effort he must put into it. I simply would not have the capability to do what he does-the lack of motivation that I also associate with SPD that I experience would not allow that level of conscious effort on any regular basis.


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10 Apr 2015, 11:42 am

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I was getting ready to post something similar. I had a realization earlier today about my relationship with intimacy. I realize that in order to have an intimate relationship with another person, I have to feel around that other person. I have to feel safe enough to just be myself. I realize that I NEVER feel safe in the presence of other people; I only feel safe when I am alone. I notice that most other people are able to form bonds with others over a relatively short period of time. They may be shy and guarded at first when interacting with someone new. However, I NEVER stop being guarded no matter how long I have known a person and how much that person seems to like me. I fear that the person will dislike me if I let him or her see me for who I am. Like Adamantium said, negative early experiences resulting from being your regular self reinforce the tendency to hide who you really are. I used to have an alter ego when I was younger. Now I don't. I just follow scripts for social situations, doing what I assume people deem appropriate in each situation. I don't have an elaborate alternate personality that I present to the world. I kind of feel like I am nobody. I go through the motions but never reveal, in real time, what I am feeling or thinking. I keep searching for someone who I can be myself around, but the people I feel comfortable with are few and far between, and invariably, they don't understand me. There is always a barrier between us. I don't know if I will ever meet that special someone who I can be my complete self around. However, I hold out hope that I will someday encounter that person. Until then, I keep people at arm's length. Can anybody else relate to this post?


Yes, I feel extremely unsafe too.


Quote:
I was thinking about posting something similar the past few days myself. I recently realized that I HATE hearing other people say my name. I hate seeing it in print. It's too intimate. I also don't like sharing information about myself.

I feel like I want to make a connection to people but I don't want to let them know much about me.

As for forums...there are a lot of lurkers around. Many people here have said in other threads that they often read and don't post. Please don't take this personally.


I also hate to share personal information. Now much more after I have just had another traumatic experience recently of which I have still to recover from it. It is definitely not good at all to do so. There are only bad consequences.



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10 Apr 2015, 12:07 pm

firemonkey wrote:
As for CBT I am not a great believer in it. Mainly because the " your thinking is wrong" mindset tends to negate the very real negative experiences people go through. Ie " it wasn't that bad " you just thought it was.
I think I would be more for it if it accepted people's bad experiences and didn't downplay them whilst helping people to cope better with the after effects. CBT advocates seem to think people are robots who should respond optimally to sub optimal situations.



I've never tried CBT, but that combative style reminds me of my conversations with this one person. They are cynical, a NT (although they do have some minor ASD traits) and is quick to respond with "your thinking is wrong"-type arguments. It's painful, yah; but I appreciate it because it forces me to really clearly define my own position and desires, and think outside myself. And talking to them, I feel like I'm gradually growing as a person; and it really is helping me get through the incredibly difficult time I find myself in.



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10 Apr 2015, 12:22 pm

Yes, growth requires some risk in exposing part of your private self to someone else. If you can do it, I think it's a good thing to allow. Sometimes I feel safe enough and sometimes I don't. It's nice to make the connections when I feel I can, though.


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10 Apr 2015, 3:08 pm

Hi Firemonkey, sometimes I don't reply to a post because I do not have a response/don't know what to say, it's not a personal thing. Or I might write a response and delete it, I'm not always able to communicate with clarity. I think most people here have experienced the 'no replies' thread at some point in time, it just happens. :)

em_tsuj wrote:
I was getting ready to post something similar. I had a realization earlier today about my relationship with intimacy. I realize that in order to have an intimate relationship with another person, I have to feel around that other person. I have to feel safe enough to just be myself. I realize that I NEVER feel safe in the presence of other people; I only feel safe when I am alone. I notice that most other people are able to form bonds with others over a relatively short period of time. They may be shy and guarded at first when interacting with someone new. However, I NEVER stop being guarded no matter how long I have known a person and how much that person seems to like me. I fear that the person will dislike me if I let him or her see me for who I am. Like Adamantium said, negative early experiences resulting from being your regular self reinforce the tendency to hide who you really are. I used to have an alter ego when I was younger. Now I don't. I just follow scripts for social situations, doing what I assume people deem appropriate in each situation. I don't have an elaborate alternate personality that I present to the world. I kind of feel like I am nobody. I go through the motions but never reveal, in real time, what I am feeling or thinking. I keep searching for someone who I can be myself around, but the people I feel comfortable with are few and far between, and invariably, they don't understand me. There is always a barrier between us. I don't know if I will ever meet that special someone who I can be my complete self around. However, I hold out hope that I will someday encounter that person. Until then, I keep people at arm's length. Can anybody else relate to this post?
Yes I can relate to it, feeling safe with another person is something I have limited experiences with and being my regular self is a risk that can push people away.



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10 Apr 2015, 3:59 pm

LOL...I'm not the most hated member of this Site (at least I hope I'm not!) I get ignored about three quarters of the time. It's just the sheer volume of posts on this Site.



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10 Apr 2015, 5:13 pm

I also have a fear of people becoming too close. I think it's because their expectations from me increase with time or more interactions; and I've learned that people become less predicatble and sometimes quite mean when they become disappointed in a friendship.
My cure... don't let people get close enough to make demands on behaviors, actions, time, etc. People say they understand my "quirks", but they inevitably try to "fix" me and demand I attend a social party or other phobic setting and then become irritated and sometimes cruel if I can't keep up with them socially.


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10 Apr 2015, 5:48 pm

My experience has been that too much disclosure only exposes to people how different I really am from neurotypical and ultimately it feels like everything I disclose is used later as a weapon to verbally beat me with.

There is nothing I'd love more than the kinds of intimacy and "soulmate" bonding you read about in books and poetry and hear about in songs, but I don't seem to be capable of that (assuming that it does, in fact, actually exist). Not that I'm incapable of those feelings, but more that I have the wrong connecting cables to be able to share them with another person.

Even in the best relationships I've ever had, I never felt like the other person really wanted to know who I was, they just wanted the public persona - anything else was too complicated and didn't fit their cultural stereotypes and expectations. And when the public mask began to falter and the Aspergian began to show - aw hell no, Homey don't play dat.


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11 Apr 2015, 9:36 am

will@rd wrote:
My experience has been that too much disclosure only exposes to people how different I really am from neurotypical and ultimately it feels like everything I disclose is used later as a weapon to verbally beat me with.

There is nothing I'd love more than the kinds of intimacy and "soulmate" bonding you read about in books and poetry and hear about in songs, but I don't seem to be capable of that (assuming that it does, in fact, actually exist). Not that I'm incapable of those feelings, but more that I have the wrong connecting cables to be able to share them with another person.

Even in the best relationships I've ever had, I never felt like the other person really wanted to know who I was, they just wanted the public persona - anything else was too complicated and didn't fit their cultural stereotypes and expectations. And when the public mask began to falter and the Aspergian began to show - aw hell no, Homey don't play dat.


I love my partner's non-public persona, but it seems most people don't. I met him online, through text. Worked well for both of us I think, knowing each other first that way. I'm not sure that at this stage of my life that I would be able to find a partner in person. I am too guarded, too not myself in public, and have been most of my life. Of course there's also the fact that text is quite different than even saying the same thing in person, and my partner's told me before that people find him to be quite different in person than text.

I do not know you, but I would guess for you that it's not a lack of a capacity for bonding. Because even though you describe it as having the wrong cables, you then go on to say that no one has ever really connected to you when you are being yourself. It seems an impossibility to expect someone to connect to a persona that is not you and then after thinking that that's who you are, then connect to what's actually underneath. The sort of person who you would be with is the sort that probably sees your persona and if they take it for real, do not like it at all and will be dismissive of you.

I did not really think I was capable of falling in love myself, right up until I did. I even married someone else beforehand thinking 'this is the best I'm going to get, a good friendship.' And I know you're probably thinking 'oh well you're different, you are obviously normal enough to have already married and you have friends and you don't think you have autism'. Well I don't have friends right now, I have my partner. My husband was a friend I had made a decade earlier. I don't talk to my family much, I avoid them most of the time. I have mood swings and feel numb and struggle with everyday life almost every day. I don't feel that I have the communication problems and I know I don't have the context/social reading problems that's characteristic of an ASD, but I also spend most of my time in public with a mask where I possibly dissociate from large parts of myself, and it seems that whenever I act like myself I naturally do not act 'properly'.
It has become a problem recently, when I try to attach one part of myself in a situation where it wouldn't otherwise exist so that I can be more whole and less 'there is no meaning' because to detach for too long leaves me utterly bereft but that's seemingly the only way I can function when I'm not home alone with no tasks to get done. To bring those parts of myself into public is madness, probably because when I am alone my emotions are very strong and I like to let them go. I cannot through tantrums or cry in public and expect people around me to let me do my thing and then carry on like nothing happened, which is what I would need to happen I feel.
Even telling my partner the things that go on inside my head and trying to explain my emotions is all very weird and different for me, things I'm not sure I've ever done I've been so withdrawn. Like, I am capable of explaining myself to a degree, but then I am talking -about- myself, not disclosing myself, if that makes sense. I can talk about myself and not be connected to myself, but to express myself using actual words that are connected to my emotional state is foreign to me.


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11 Apr 2015, 1:08 pm

firemonkey wrote:
I realise that I am very isolated, which I'm told is unhealthy, and yet have a fear of people getting too close to me (not in a physical distance sense). It's as though the processes required to interact at a close level are too overwhelming and hard to master.

You seem to be not very sure about how much isolation is good for you. So I would like to ask if you have any sensory issues. And how attractive the simple life of a hermit would be to you, somewhere in a nice and isolated place, which is only visited by few people, and without you having to welcome them? I remember that in a quite secluded area of the Cevennes National Park in France there was once a sign saying "hermit hut /please dont disturb". Or would a life in a monastry-like place be O.K. for you with some rather strict daily rhythm, some work (not too much) and some vow of silence for most of the day, and limiting communication for the rest of the day to what is necessary? So basically staying among people, without having to interact that much?

In any case, if you feel at the one hand that too much isolation is raising your anxieties (which is true for most people), and on the other hand that close interaction is overwhelming you, you neednt necessarily interact at a close level. Just being around people for shorter periods of time, like in a park, at a minor sport s event, in the church or in a quiet corner in a coffee bar watching and listening to people, while staying a bit apart from the others and only interacting with people a little bit, and more with the nice ones. That helps already.

You fear being rejected and a physically intimate relationship. You have a trust-building problem, and good sex requires trust in the partner or at least a good feeling for your own body, and with giving up control. So it is indeed better to avoid closer relationships. It is possible to have a meaningful and somewhat deep relationship without it becoming very close and demanding. I was surprised about what kind of conversations I had with people during the time I was doing some hitchhiking from time to time, and I think that with people like you who have after all very special life experiences, some people might also be more open than they normally are. Because of your own difficulties, you might on the other hand attract more the troublesome people. Is it difficult for you to say "No" if a woman starts getting more interested in you and wants to spend more time with you? Do you have trouble telling her that you dont want a very close relationship, and to explain the reasons why this is so? And to set barriers in a friendly, and non-offensive way, if she does not get it? If she gets upset, although you have been quite clear about what you want and what you dont want, and stayed quite friendly, it is a problem of hers and not yours, if she gets upset. If you need help and advise with these issues, you will surely get some support on WP. You are definitely not the only one here with this set of problems.

I was saying that with the upset woman, because you so easily think that it must be your post s fault if people dont answer quickly enough. You made a reasonable post, with the right motivation, so the response cant be really negative, or if it is, it is because the one who replies has a problem, not you.

Sometimes you will be confronted with a general resentment against Aspergers. The strongest aversion often comes from people who have themselves some autistic features, and if one of these people had been your parent, I really pity you. But I hope you manage nowadays better when you are confronted with such resentment and irrational hate and dont take this too much to your heart, because after all it is not a personal thing.

In general, if you try to give something good into a relationship, even if it is rather little, it cant be that bad for the relationship, even if the relationship does not turn out that well.

firemonkey wrote:
Also I find the whole process of social interaction hard to get my head around as to what's expected and not expected. It's as though there are rules I'm not privy to .
There are lots of rules for social interaction, but some people are able to understand that you have trouble with these rules, and dont care that much if you follow them or not. This makes interaction with them much easier than with other folks. They will normally not be much interested in a closer relationship, partly because of respect for/ fear of your own fears, partly because they are quite different from you, but some social interaction should be quite easy with them. Plus they might have a true interest in a view like this:
firemonkey wrote:
the " your thinking is wrong" mindset tends to negate the very real negative experiences people go through. Ie " it wasn't that bad " you just thought it was [... ]CBT advocates seem to think people are robots who should respond optimally to sub optimal situations.



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11 Apr 2015, 1:35 pm

i love being alone. Hearing only one type of noise with no body talking or eating or watching tv is like thebomb.com. i isolate myself, not because i'm scared but some times i just dont think its worth it. i know/i guess its wrong but how do you convince yourself that the noise and the people are not really disturbing when they are "all up in your head disturbing you" i hate it when the tv is on and someone else is playing music and someone else is talking, i can't seem to focus. i get so upset that i start to shake and i start to cry. i just feel like yes, you should make an effort to hang out with people you may care about. but for me more isolation means less panic attacks. less there's a guy eating and freaking talking on Skype in the spot that i found in school that is quiet. and he's just making so much noise. and back home the tv is probably on usual. something i just want to smash the tv and the speakers with my base ball bat. i look for another lonely spot.