Aspergers and watching fictional television as a child

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CuddleHug
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24 Jun 2014, 2:17 pm

Somewhere in our lives we learn about the existence of fiction specifically that not everything on television is real. Now I believe that Aspergers can complicate this and delay our realization that not everything is real. So until about 11 I thought talking dogs were real, magic, witches, etc but it was around then when I 'began' to question the accuracy of these facts. But there was one specific bit that has always stood out. When I was about 7-8 I watched a Charlie Chaplain, silent, black and white, comedy film called the ?Gold Rush?. In this movie just from the few minutes I remember there is one attempted murder for the purpose of cannibalism, one assault with the intent of murder and one death. I didn?t know it was fake so naturally watching that was quite disturbing considering from my perspective it was all real.

So I?m just curious if other people have had experiences with not knowing that fiction existed?

And perhaps what age did you discover that fiction existed and developed that separation between it and real world?



AspieUtah
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24 Jun 2014, 2:34 pm

I believe that I was somewhere between four and six years old when I started to realize that actors weren't the characters that they portrayed and that their performances were only pretending to be real. Some performances are obvious (such as when actors paint their noses black and wear clip-on dog ears; I never believed that they were dogs). More realistic performances required some help from my older sisters who would tell me that I should watch a favorite actor would be a talk-show guest after the program in which he just acted. In some cases, I denied that the actor had anything to do with the character(s) I was anticipating to see because he no longer looked the part. It took some repeated attempts to teach me before I realized that most actors were never as exciting as their characters.

But, I suspect that learning this at the age I was at the time is normal for fictional comprehension. Maybe not.


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zer0netgain
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24 Jun 2014, 5:45 pm

Although I think I always understood that TV characters were not "real," I always had an issue with seeing drama on TV as representative of healthy interpersonal relations.



AspieUtah
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24 Jun 2014, 6:08 pm

zer0netgain wrote:
Although I think I always understood that TV characters were not "real," I always had an issue with seeing drama on TV as representative of healthy interpersonal relations.

Definitely.


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Diagnosed in 2015 with ASD Level 1 by the University of Utah Health Care Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic using the ADOS-2 Module 4 assessment instrument [11/30] -- Screened in 2014 with ASD by using the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre AQ (Adult) [43/50]; EQ-60 for adults [11/80]; FQ [43/135]; SQ (Adult) [130/150] self-reported screening inventories -- Assessed since 1978 with an estimated IQ [≈145] by several clinicians -- Contact on WrongPlanet.net by private message (PM)


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24 Jun 2014, 6:46 pm

AspieUtah wrote:
zer0netgain wrote:
Although I think I always understood that TV characters were not "real," I always had an issue with seeing drama on TV as representative of healthy interpersonal relations.

Definitely.


Same for me. And I kept trying to apply the things I saw in tv/movies to real life.



olympiadis
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24 Jun 2014, 8:52 pm

Yes, I think autistics are naturally wired to filter out real from unreal, or conceptual things, but our society operates almost entirely in the conceptual world (like TV shows), which is very confusing for autistics.

I was just becoming a teenager when I started realizing that most people around me were experiencing reality deep inside their own imaginations, and shortly after realized that more than 90% of most people's behavior was for the purpose of psychological manipulation.

For me I experience the entire conceptual world much like a NT experiences a TV show. I can observe, learn from, and mimic it, but it never becomes primary to me. I always know that it isn't real.

As a child I had no reason to think that interaction with other humans involved mostly imagination. So yes, initially I think we are fooled by the imaginary world until we devise a solid method of sorting the real from the conceptual in our thinking.



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25 Jun 2014, 12:11 am

I don't remember how old I was exactly when I realized, but I remember distinctly when I was eleven believing that Harry Potter was real and I was going to get my letter that summer. And I still tend to get over-invested in television shows, to the point where I cry a lot when bad things happen to my favorite characters. I know that it's not real, in my brain, but my emotions seem to think it's entirely real.



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25 Jun 2014, 8:10 am

<----'s subconscious is probably waiting for the Cylons to inflict humanicide

(I watched the original series over and over as a little one according to my mother.)

And Jesus was totally a Jedi Knight to me.


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25 Jun 2014, 10:15 am

Interesting topic. When I was a kid a lot of stuff on TV and in movies scared me, even if it was clearly not real. Like "Dark crystal" Really really frightened me even though I knew it was puppets. Looking back, I think my emotional response to it is what scared me so much, not the movies itself. ET frightened me so badly as a child that I had to be removed from the theater and I've never watched the movie. Ever. I'm 36. Never seen the full movie.

Now my ASD daughter... she has understood since she was 4 that tv and movies are FAKE. And she is able to 100% compartmentalize this and have zero negative impact to anything she has ever seen. she accidentally walked in on DH and I watching some VIOLENT VIOLENT things (like GoT red wedding for example) and she didn't care! She said "ew.... good thing thats fake, huh?" SHES SIX. This kid blows me away. I shooed her away and said "this isn't appropriate for you" and she said "why not? I know it's fake. It's no different than tom and jerry really."



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25 Jun 2014, 11:03 am

dianthus wrote:
AspieUtah wrote:
zer0netgain wrote:
Although I think I always understood that TV characters were not "real," I always had an issue with seeing drama on TV as representative of healthy interpersonal relations.

Definitely.


Same for me. And I kept trying to apply the things I saw in tv/movies to real life.


Yes! It took me into my 30s to figure out that that's not how relationships - romantic or otherwise - work. (I still have no idea how they do work.)



LonelyJar
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30 Sep 2014, 9:46 pm

I think I always knew when TV was fake, but that didn't make it less entertaining for me.



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30 Sep 2014, 10:16 pm

CuddleHug wrote:
Somewhere in our lives we learn about the existence of fiction specifically that not everything on television is real. Now I believe that Aspergers can complicate this and delay our realization that not everything is real. So until about 11 I thought talking dogs were real, magic, witches, etc but it was around then when I 'began' to question the accuracy of these facts. But there was one specific bit that has always stood out. When I was about 7-8 I watched a Charlie Chaplain, silent, black and white, comedy film called the ?Gold Rush?. In this movie just from the few minutes I remember there is one attempted murder for the purpose of cannibalism, one assault with the intent of murder and one death. I didn?t know it was fake so naturally watching that was quite disturbing considering from my perspective it was all real.

So I?m just curious if other people have had experiences with not knowing that fiction existed?

And perhaps what age did you discover that fiction existed and developed that separation between it and real world?


I also saw 'Gold Rush' as a child. I didn't understand what was happening enough for it to be disturbing. I think I was only 6 or 7 years old when I saw it. I preferred the one with the train, which I don't think was a Charlie Chaplain film.



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01 Oct 2014, 1:14 am

AspieUtah wrote:
zer0netgain wrote:
Although I think I always understood that TV characters were not "real," I always had an issue with seeing drama on TV as representative of healthy interpersonal relations.

Definitely.


It baffles me how people find drama programs entertaining. There doesn't seem to be anything substantial there but people get a real rise out of it. "Soaps" and other drama oriented programs tend to just frustrate me to no end until I have to tell my family members to enjoy the rest of the program while I have a cigar and read outside.

When it comes to fiction I don't really remember a time when I couldn't distinguish fiction and reality but I'm sure there was such a time. The problem is that I have practically no recollection of anything before age 9. Probably the only reason anything started becoming notable enough right around then was that I started reading Dumas' unabridged Three Musketeers and Iron Mask. I'm told that before then I actually had some friends, went and did this or that (like going to a chocolate factory with my grandparents), but all I can really remember is things I've read and obsessions in the making.


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olympiadis
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01 Oct 2014, 11:21 am

Lukecash12 wrote:
It baffles me how people find drama programs entertaining. There doesn't seem to be anything substantial there but people get a real rise out of it.


+1



YarnMonster
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01 Oct 2014, 12:11 pm

If I watch too much of one show, it becomes my reality, more so than REAL reality.

If I watch too many episodes of Supernatural, for example, I have to take a few days break so I can go outside and touch the real world to ground myself again. I start thinking too much about the characters- like 'could I give Sam a call and ask him about this?' then I catch myself and think 'No, ninny, he's made up by a room full of writers, painted by professional makeup artists and edited to fight well.'

But I can easily lose myself and think of their world as the real one and this one as the fake one. If I didn't have the ability to go outside and touch a tree and remind myself of the physical rules of MY reality... I would be totally lost.

I do get embarrassed about this lack of firm reality boundary. I have never told anyone about it.



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01 Oct 2014, 11:23 pm

No, I knew very well that the children's shows (and bedtime stories) were fiction. That was never confusing for me. I understood about entertainment. I also, as early as daycare age, understood that news were real.


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