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Dandansson
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22 Jun 2021, 4:18 am

How do special interests lead to frustration and/or perfectionistic behaviour?
I often hear about the positive aspects but reality is not always positive and enjoyable.
I persevere and keep doing something even if it is difficult. Most of my special interest is difficult at times. I had to practice and was never a person who was a good learner. Even my special interests were difficult for me at times but I don't envy those for whom everything come easy. I had my struggles.
Special intetests has never been a safe haven for me. I could never escape from myself and my struggles.

What are your experiences?



ToughDiamond
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22 Jun 2021, 1:23 pm

I wrote a lot about it in another thread. Additionally, I think in my case my special interests do help me more than they hurt me. They seem to allow me to escape from more disturbing things in my life - to a degree, even if I'm not getting quite what I want from a special interest, well hey, it's only a hobby. It's not quite that simple at the time because I tend to fall into the trap of seeing everything I attempt as being very important to get right, but failing to achieve perfection in a special interest project still isn't as horrible as the feelings I get when I'm dealing with authority figures or whatever else in the outside world that seems to threaten me.

The negative side of special interests:
1. A nagging feeling that I'm neglecting other, more urgent things in my life.
2. Perfectionism means that I'm often dissatisfied and frustrated that I can't quite get the result I want.



HeroOfHyrule
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22 Jun 2021, 1:26 pm

I am a perfectionist when I partake in my special interests, which causes frustration. It caused more when I was a kid, but now I have a better temper and more self control, so I can get myself to take a break from whatever is frustrating me. My SIs certainly aren't entirely fun and do cause me issues sometimes.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


Dandansson
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23 Jun 2021, 4:03 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
I wrote a lot about it in another thread. Additionally, I think in my case my special interests do help me more than they hurt me. They seem to allow me to escape from more disturbing things in my life - to a degree, even if I'm not getting quite what I want from a special interest, well hey, it's only a hobby. It's not quite that simple at the time because I tend to fall into the trap of seeing everything I attempt as being very important to get right, but failing to achieve perfection in a special interest project still isn't as horrible as the feelings I get when I'm dealing with authority figures or whatever else in the outside world that seems to threaten me.

The negative side of special interests:
1. A nagging feeling that I'm neglecting other, more urgent things in my life.
2. Perfectionism means that I'm often dissatisfied and frustrated that I can't quite get the result I want.

How do you define perfectionism?

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I am a perfectionist when I partake in my special interests, which causes frustration. It caused more when I was a kid, but now I have a better temper and more self control, so I can get myself to take a break from whatever is frustrating me. My SIs certainly aren't entirely fun and do cause me issues sometimes.

How do you define perfectionist?



ToughDiamond
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23 Jun 2021, 9:52 am

Dandansson wrote:
How do you define perfectionism?

I'd say it was an unusually strong preference for very high standards, though the official definitions usually put it more pathologically than that, saying it's a refusal to accept anything less than perfection. I'm sure many such extreme cases exist in which the perfectionist makes their life (and possibly everybody else's) a misery through being too incorrigibly and unrealistically fussy about everything, but I think it's a spectrum phenomenom and that many people who have the trait will see an upside as well as a downside. Even "normal" people are going to sometimes wish things were more to their liking and will feel somewhat sad or frustrated when they aren't, and the opposite trait - low standards - can surely have just as severe a downside as perfectionism.

To a degree, I like my preference for high standards. Society often propagates the idea that everybody should be working very hard to achieve the best they're capable of, just that they limit that ideology to economic advancement - everybody's supposed to put themselves through hell for decades to strive after a tiny chance of becoming a billionaire, so compared with them, am I really such a maniac? Also, there is a real satisfaction in going the extra mile to achieve a fine result.

I've already mentioned the bad side of my own perfectionism. But I wouldn't call the ill effects severe in my own case. A lot of the time it's just a matter of remembering to ask myself "would it be the end of the world if I stopped insisting this was so mind-bogglingly excellent?" - and the answer is very often "no, I can afford to back off the effort and settle for something more realistic." Often there's a potential hill to get over, a part of me that rather rails against compromising my gut reaction, but I tend to feel much better very quickly. I like myself when I outsmart my tendency to bust a gut for an unimportant result. I feel I'm growing when I notice the need for broad strokes and to avoid diminishing returns. Recently when I'm baking bread, I've more or less weaned myself off the habit of weighing out 600 grams of flour to within 0.1 grams. 599 to 601 grams works just as well, and it doesn't exactly hurt me to lower my standards that much, it's just a funny impulse that I "need" to see that number on the scale, 600.00g.

It feels similar to what I've noticed about OCD and (my own) ASD - I've seen a guy with OCD full of panic as he's gone round his car making quite sure all the doors are firmly locked, and apparently he's damaged a few door handles by doing that. With me, I might catch myself doing something similar, but less intense and more flexible, open to the influence of reason.

So it might pay any Aspie who is noticing the pain of too much perfectionism to see if they can temper its hold on them. I think in a lot of cases it might turn out to be just a matter of self-observation and thinking about what they're doing, questioning whether or not this or that bit of fussiness could be usefully dialled back a little, and doing a few experiments to see. I think it pays to learn to appreciate the benefits of being a little bit lazy now and then. I think it's a much-maligned human characteristic.



Dandansson
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24 Jun 2021, 4:39 am

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I am a perfectionist when I partake in my special interests, which causes frustration. It caused more when I was a kid, but now I have a better temper and more self control, so I can get myself to take a break from whatever is frustrating me. My SIs certainly aren't entirely fun and do cause me issues sometimes.

I hear a lot about ASD and video games.
Many have video games as a special interests (I have met peoole like that).
I cant imagine peoole with ASD enjoying a special interest like this one when they loose (and see "game over"). We should probably see a lot of frustration.
Is the "no frustration" just a lie?
Too few people talk about their frustrations in their special interest. BB King talked about guitar playing being frustrating for him. He never learned how to accompany himself or others.
I wish people would talk more about their frustrations.



epl
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24 Jun 2021, 7:34 am

I certainly find my special interest difficult at times. My interest involve tinkering a lot, and I certainly can feel like I over do it sometimes, but then again, don't always want to stop. My interests certainly act as an escape at times, and sometimes I just need to say "epl, time for bed". As for perfection, I was going to lie and say I don't get preconceived notions of success, but I do, and most of the time it involves learning a new thing. I love learning new things, but sometimes wrapping your head around it, or just being able to do something is difficult.


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HeroOfHyrule
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24 Jun 2021, 8:03 am

I guess by "perfectionism" I also mean that I put high standards on myself. One of the reasons I can spend hours on some of my SIs is because I will spend that time trying to get myself to achieve those standards. As an example, I have a competitive video game as one of my SIs and I often spend a lot of my time playing it watching replays of my matches with people, and then constantly practicing the things that I don't feel are up to my standards. I find it frustrating and I sometimes don't really enjoy playing it. lol

I think if someone plays more "relaxed" games maybe they don't get frustrated as much, but I can't imagine someone who likes playing competitive games not getting extremely frustrated all the time.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).