Isolation v fear of people getting too close

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firemonkey
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08 Apr 2015, 3:17 am

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 .


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firemonkey
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08 Apr 2015, 8:48 am

80 views and no replies. Something tells me (a) It was a silly post (b) I probably don't belong/fit in here.


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Adamantium
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08 Apr 2015, 8:59 am

firemonkey wrote:
80 views and no replies. Something tells me (a) It was a silly post (b) I probably don't belong/fit in here.


I wouldn't think that on the basis of this.


For what it's worth, I think that when you have many experiences in childhood of freely revealing yourself to people you think are friends and losing that friendship, it can make you guarded about revealing yourself ever after, or feel that you have to wear a mask of sorts when you interact with people. This is a very common experience among people with aspergers and other forms of autism. You can find a lot about it by searching "aspergian mask" or "aspergers mask."

It's probably an essential or very useful thing when you are young, but is generally acknowledged to be a drain and impediment for adults. Discovering this is a common part of a late diagnosis.



firemonkey
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08 Apr 2015, 9:14 am

I have never had many friendships to loose. Difficulty making friends being a long standing issue. 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.


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Adamantium
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08 Apr 2015, 1:04 pm

firemonkey wrote:
I have never had many friendships to loose. Difficulty making friends being a long standing issue. 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.


I don't understand why this would be an indication of anything being wrong with you. Your initial post seems to be a statement that doesn't particularly call for a response. You don't ask a question or solicit advice. Why should people respond to those statements?

If you want to get replies, give people some sort of indication of the kind of reply you hope to get.



thewheel
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08 Apr 2015, 1:32 pm

Fwiw a lot of people read forums, few appear to actually post. On other forums which have "like" features that I've used some of my posts have received many likes, but no one has actually responded.


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Waterfalls
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08 Apr 2015, 1:59 pm

I think a lot of people frame it as dislike of spending too much time with others and balk at the suggestion that's because of fear.

It is frightening, though, after being manipulated, bullied, made fun of etc. and even just the frequent misunderstandings that occur, trying to be close to others and knowing that cycle can recur.



firemonkey
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08 Apr 2015, 6:16 pm

Adamantium wrote:

I don't understand why this would be an indication of anything being wrong with you. Your initial post seems to be a statement that doesn't particularly call for a response. You don't ask a question or solicit advice. Why should people respond to those statements?

If you want to get replies, give people some sort of indication of the kind of reply you hope to get.


That is the problem. You say it wasn't calling for a response but to my mind it was . My purpose in posting being to elicit some responses. Are you really saying people should only respond to posts with sentences replete with ? at the end ?
Are we really only deserving of replies if we post in a certain fashion?


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Waterfalls
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08 Apr 2015, 7:16 pm

firemonkey wrote:
Adamantium wrote:

I don't understand why this would be an indication of anything being wrong with you. Your initial post seems to be a statement that doesn't particularly call for a response. You don't ask a question or solicit advice. Why should people respond to those statements?

If you want to get replies, give people some sort of indication of the kind of reply you hope to get.


That is the problem. You say it wasn't calling for a response but to my mind it was . My purpose in posting being to elicit some responses. Are you really saying people should only respond to posts with sentences replete with ? at the end ?
Are we really only deserving of replies if we post in a certain fashion?

It's not that people should only reply if you post a certain way, it isn't about "should". I've posted and wanted a response and notice people only seem to respond here if it's phrased in a way that reaches them, if they understand, it seems relevant, and they feel they have something to say. I don't find it easy to think through how to write in a way that engages and is understandable so as to get answers if I want other people's ideas. It's probably a good thing to practice, though!

And the most replies tend to be when people are arguing.

If you're looking for whether others feel as you do, the answer is yes. But for me it's what Adamantium described. I like people and want to be around them, just sometimes, don't know how to do that and protect myself effectively. And have a lot of bad memories that get in the way.



em_tsuj
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08 Apr 2015, 9:05 pm

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?



pattylarceny
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08 Apr 2015, 9:52 pm

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, absolutely. When I'm interacting with others, I feel I have to act like this generic person with canned answers who doesn't really have opinions or a personality, per se. But over time, I've realized that's the only way I CAN interact with people since I chase them away otherwise. I did come close to being myself with one person recently, but it ended up not working out and I returned to my shell. I've started feeling like it's necessary to my survival at this point.



Adamantium
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08 Apr 2015, 10:15 pm

firemonkey wrote:
Are we really only deserving of replies if we post in a certain fashion?


No--I don't think "deserving" has much to do with it.

But there are ways to open up a topic which are more likely to get responses--it's not about what people deserve but about what is likely to get a response.

em_tsuj's, I can relate.



firemonkey
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08 Apr 2015, 11:05 pm

For me there is (a) the expectation that the more people get to know me the less well they'll end up thinking of me and (b) the fear that an emotionally intimate relationship might head in a physically intimate direction.
(A) is not helped by the fact that email exchanges between myself and someone outside of family peter out sooner rather than later after people have got to know me a bit . (B) reflects my awkwardness and ineptitude when it comes to the physical act . In 58 years I have only had successful sex with one person my late wife. Even then it was erratic and my lovemaking skills were less than good. The only other attempt before meeting my wife was an unmitigated disaster.
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 .


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dryope
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08 Apr 2015, 11:53 pm

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.


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jimmyboy76453
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09 Apr 2015, 8:17 am

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.


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Adamantium
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09 Apr 2015, 9:06 am

firemonkey wrote:
80 views and no replies. Something tells me (a) It was a silly post (b) I probably don't belong/fit in here.


So the conversation is now moving on to the topic you wanted to discuss and some interesting insights are there, but I wanted to come back to this because I think this may be an example of perception being distorted in a negative way by habits of mind.

I think this is interesting both because this is the kind of thing that reading Valerie Gauss' book about CBT for adults with Apsergers syndrome has helped me to be keenly aware of in myself and because I like data. In addition to this, I have been learning about the very valuable perspective on CBT and its origins in behaviorism from WP member B19 and others, which tends to frame everything CBT related in a very negative way.

That said, here's some data that may interest you, based on the first 18 topics (not including the mandatory sticky) as of about 13:30 UTC today.
The average Reply/View ratio was 0.02.
This topic had a 0.05 reply/view ratio.
The social anxiety as it relates to touch topic had a 0.00 ratio.
The topic with the largest number of replies (2,192) also had a 0.00 ratio, with 621, 465 views (the unrounded ratio for that topic is 0.003527149558)
The topics with the top 5 highest reply counts all had a reply/view ratio of 0.00.
If you are interested, I can give you the complete set of numbers.

But I think this is enough to show that the relationship between replies and views doesn't signify what you seem to think it does. This suggests to me that your analysis of the response to your posts is based in some kind of cognitive distortion of the kind that can be challenged by checking these perceptions against reality.

I am interested in this because I am aware of many such cognitive distortions in my own perceptions and I try to check them both with the simple awareness that they are there and by examining data that shows them for what they are. I don't know that CBT has any more value to me than helping me to be aware of those distortions, but that is actually quite helpful.

I hope this information and these ideas are helpful to you