Beneath the Skin of Conversation: an Aspie’s Interpretation of Communication

The hardest part of the communication process for me is in the act of sensing others’ expectations of me. In other words, when conversing in written or spoken form I can often detect the way someone expects me to respond in words and actions to his or her words and actions; and as a result, I feel an uncomfortable sensation and pressure to perform and live up to expectations, as if I have unwillingly been written into some theater script.

Sometimes, if I don’t act and sound the way another expects then he or she responds in a manner, e.g., with words, inflection, posture, body movements, tone, etc., that reflect defense or question. Often, during conversing, even online, I feel another person reaching into me: a type of octopus probing.

Before conversing, I prepare myself emotionally and physically for a bombardment of others’ expectations. Not out of defense or fear, but out of the constant exposure, and my resulting adaptation of self. It’s a type of communication assimilation, one in which I wasn’t effectively given a choice, but rather forced into the pattern of give and take in order to escape isolation and not feel entirely obsolete and ostracized. I rather joined in to release myself of the pain of being alone; not because I agreed or fancied the way the discourse presented itself, but because my only choice was to join in or remain outside the perimeters of society.

Recently, I have concluded that if others’ expectations of me bring me discomfort, my expectations must in turn, whether at a conscious or unconscious level, bring others discomfort. Thusly, I practice daily releasing expectations for all people. I have let go of my unspoken expectations to be understood, heard, comforted, loved, etc. Having let go of most expectations, the challenge now is at a deeper level of my psyche.

I know myself enough to realize I still hold onto expectations regarding others. I still want them to release expectations of me. Wanting another to release expectations of me is an expectation on my part. This is clear.

I now detect with great awareness many wants and needs individuals bring into a conversation, which at times I can perceive as much unspoken ‘unfinished’ business and emotional baggage. Most of these complexities of needs and desires are at a deep level hidden below the surface so that even the individual is unaware of what he or she is bringing into the conversation.

I theorize, even if others could recognize these needs and unspoken feelings in self, and I could attempt to appease and soothe their insecurities, nothing would be accomplished at the core-level. As their esteem isn’t based on my response or surrendering to a game of ego-stroking; their esteem is something that must be built from the inside out.

For myself, I take no issue to addressing my exact needs. I am in touch with my core being. I was born this way, I believe, as most are, but much of our core-self is hindered and hammered by the indoctrination of societal expectations. I, for one, have no challenge in admitting I am in need of comfort, I am frightened, or I am feeling insecure. I recognize myself as a human being with a full range of emotions. The difference I find between myself and many others, is I will simply state without fear, when I need something. I am matter of fact. “I feel ugly. Tell me I am pretty.” I don’t hint or create scenarios in which I hope another will fulfill me. I simply state what it is that I am experiencing, whilst also recognizing I am the only one who can build myself up into a state of wholeness. When I reach out, I reach out fully, without secrets.

When I sense others’ expectations, as the observer I am dumbfounded at times in how to ‘act’ in a conversation. To me, saying what I think another wishes for me to say is not truth, but instead a type of false-validation in which I am playing a role and fulfilling an unspoken expectation based on another’s deep-seeded insecurity. This might sound cruel, but I don’t believe it is. I think instead, I view things at a deeper-lever than the typical person. I see what is beneath the skin of conversation, and much like a doctor, I am able to detect through observation and study what the patient cannot readily detect alone.

I am diving in deeper to the analysis of conversation and recognizing a familiar truth established thousands of years ago by philosophers, gurus, and spiritual teachers. The truth of freedom in all things, including conversing, is truly in the process of letting go. Letting go is freedom that doesn’t exist with thoughts of the future. All expectations are woven into the future and created from material of the past: the remnants of material based on the scaffolding of personal interpretations.

As of late, I have noted certain people trigger my own need for ego-stroking. I give my power over to the ones I supposedly ‘love’ the most. However, at closer look, I give my power over to those I ‘attach’ to the most. For in my view, love does not encompass fear or expectations, not even needs. Love is enough in and of itself.

Today, I am facing the challenge, a journey which often feels equivalent to being scraped on the inside with a razor blade to spirit, of releasing expectations of validation from those I love most deeply.

I am granting them the freedom that I desperately wish granted to me.

This is an all engulfing and brutally life-transforming, releasing process. Yet, I find in the moments of solace, in-between the effort and pain, I can at last breathe, in that I have shed the hypocrisy of self, by treating others as I truly wish to be treated.

The Extremes of Being

The Extremes of Being

meee

I like to be with people; I am lonely without them.
People exhaust me.
I enjoy time alone, resting in peace and quiet.
I miss companionship.
I love who I am, my mind, my thoughts, my deep, deep depth.
I dislike the depth of my thoughts.
I want to share my story. I have to share my story.
I wish I’d kept more secrets to myself.
I long to pour all my love into the universe and to serve and give.
I often shove an excess of my love into a singular one.
I feel an increased sense of worth when I accomplish a lot of tasks. The simplest accomplishments satisfy me.
I am exhausted in my attempts to accomplish anything.
I love, love, love the moment. I am happy. I am content.
I dread, dread, dread the moment that the happy moment ends.
I understand the complexities of the universe, of philosophy, of love, of spirituality.
I cannot understand the various tides of my own being.
I am a giver. I give, give, give, unconditionally, without a trace of wanting to receive the same. I just live to give.
When I give, I become depleted and wonder why I have given so much.
I am honest. I am over honest.
I know how to be a very effective liar, and it scares me.
I am myself in completion.
My self changes every minute.
I want to be held and loved and protected.
I want to not want anything from anyone, and be self-sufficient.
I crave to be understood. I understand others.
I don’t understand myself.
I can see through the rules and games of society. The falsehoods and created truths and statements of how I should be.
I struggle with how to live without a playing board; where to move the pawn of me, if beneath there is no foundation, and beyond no playbook.
I hear from a source unknown, and trust in this truth and heart-mind wisdom.
I crumble into myself wondering why I am forsaken.
I embrace all aspects of myself, the good, the bad, the ugly. The powerful, the weak, the incredibly feisty and the incredibly shy.
I recognize none of these elements of self exist, once I dwell outside the realm of classification and judgment.
I respect the freedom for others to think and live their own thoughts and lives.
I get cluttered inside my own mind on whether or not I have the right to be the way I am.
I understand the process and action of letting go, releasing control, trusting and having faith.
I understand that I go to a place in which none of the tools previously gathered are effective or tolerated by an aspect of self that I know neither as shadow nor angel, but merely lost.
I am confident, empowered, worthy, and remarkably brilliant.
I am like everyone else; in truth, nothing about me is unique beyond the thoughts I gather as my accepted reality.
I love to release, stay in the present, be at peace in the moment, live in the space of now.
I find comfort in structured times of routine and order.
I am in a battle with myself in which I often win.
I wonder where the loser goes to cry.

444: 10 Reasons to Embrace Your Asperger’s

10 Reasons to Embrace Your Asperger’s

1. You’re gifted and most-likely highly-intelligent, if not borderline-genius in some areas.

2. You experience life in completion, all the range and spectrum of emotions. You are truly living. You are truly having a human experience. You aren’t stuffing and avoiding.

3. You have soul-filled deep eyes. No matter where you go, people will notice your depth of character, strength, and aptitude. You are brilliantly bright in your beauty and introspection; this light shines through.

4. You are complex to the extreme, never boring, never out of ideas, never dull. Your company is needed and longed for. You may not know it yet, but someone wants someone just like you. With all your quirks and zaniness. Your uniqueness inspires!

5. You have the brain to figure yourself out (and other people, to boot). It may not feel like it, but you know yourself to a great extent, and you have the ability to delve deep into self-analysis.

6. You think way outside of the box, so far that you are a force for dynamic change and powerful shifting. You have the capacity to study anything of interest in depth, to pull out the elements, and to reform all into potential new ideas and thoughts. You are capable of presenting things in new ways and exposing others to the grey areas of right and wrong.

7. You don’t follow the crowd! In all of history, it was the movers and shifters who discovered new ideas, brought people together, and went against the grain to produce a positive transition in the way people perceived the world.

8. You are authentic to the core! There is no doubt about who you are. You are what you are. There is no hiding behind manipulation, games, and falsehoods. What you see is what you get. That element of authentic being is desperately needed in this day and age. You are an example of what genuineness and truth looks like.

9. You are fabulously witty and funny. The way you piece things together is like no other. You make others smile, even when you aren’t trying. You have a contagious smile because it is real.

10. You are in good company. You aren’t alone. There is a whole community out ‘there’ that truly gets you and your experience. Some are longing to connect and communicate. Many are learning to embrace their inherent uniqueness.

Other Reasons Why found here: ABC’s of Aspergers

426: Verbal Fluency and Females with Aspergers

People with Aspergers, in my opinion, often have high verbal fluency and are able to think of many things about one given letter, topic, subject, item, etc.

Here is one example of my ability to think of many things based on one letter:
link to Dirty D’s Don’t you Weep (prior post)

I think that people with Aspergers have a high-intelligence that can be demonstrated by their ability to scaffold off of one given idea. Sometimes this processing ability adds to stress and misunderstandings, and the appearance of ADHD like behaviors.

As a person with Aspergers, my own high-verbal fluency can cause high anxiety. A simple action, like my husband showing me tile for a potential bathroom remodel, can trigger a reaction in my mind in which I am jumping from one image to another. In the case of the tile for the bathroom, the tile itself is an object trigger, triggering a series of sequenced events in my mind.

On seeing the tile, my thought process went like this:

We could make cosmetic improvements to our home’s bathroom, but we don’t own the house. If we improve the house, should we buy the house? If we don’t buy where will we live? Should we sell our other house? What should we ask for selling price? What if the house doesn’t sell? Well what is a fair price? Maybe we should continue to rent out the house. That makes sense. But what about….

All of these thoughts bombard me. Wherein my high verbal fluency can lead to fantastic writings and the successful completion of projects, the same fluency can cripple me emotionally. As a result of a number of triggers, I can find myself unable to be constructive for hours or even an entire day. Certain triggers can leave me immobile for most of a week. I get lost in the loop of my own thinking.

In the future, the tile could again trigger these same emotional responses in me, and therefor the tile could feasibly remain a trigger for an extended period of time.

Here is an activity that demonstrates the concept of verbal fluency.

This was a quick activity I did this morning. If you wish to partake in an easy four-minute activity, then read the first section “Preparation” and then stop before continuing onward.

Preparation: Without scanning down further to read, find a piece of paper, a pen, and a stopwatch. When you are ready to begin the activity, scan down and read the directions. (You can type a list instead of writing.)

DSCN0736

Directions:
Don’t read past this until your list is done.
1. Set a timer to four minutes.
2. Write a list of anything you can think of that you can do with a pencil.
3. Stop after four minutes.

Read below when done with your list.

DSCN0510

****************************************
My husband’s list (written)

Write
Erase
Measure
Roll
Bounce
Whittle
Wedge
Break it
Bite it
Eat it
Flick it
Throw it
Lever to lift
Stab with it
Sharpen it
Poke it
Spin it
Stand it on end
Spear things with it
Build something with it
Draw
Paint the pencil or draw on pencil
Drumstick for music
Lift things with it

My list (typed)

Miniature sword for a mouse or small creature
Stabbing utensil for defense of intruder
A rolling device to place on table for a contest
A stick to poke bugs with outdoors
A shovel to pull up weeds
A massage roller for the arm or back
A way to make a fake mustache..hold up to face.
A tiny baton
Break it up to use as a pawn in chess game
Place on paper and use as a spinner
Use for spin the bottle on flat surface
Poke holes in something (or finger)
Break off lead and use the lead to draw and smudge on paper
Use to connect yarn and make a toy like sling shot
Bang on a drum or other object
Bookmark
Flag holder (use tape)
To keep a door from closing all the way (may need heavier object)
Stir coffee
Take hair out of bathtub ring
Fidget between fingers when nervous
Write with (of course)
Play fetch with dog
Keep a plant held up in garden
Poke to see how dry the dirt in a plant pot is
Play catch
Place under bedsheet to bug/irritate someone
Dress up in clothes and make a doll (add yarn)
Sketch, trace, smudge
Sharpen it
Throw it away
Chew it
Look at it
Dig into garbage disposal
Twirl hair

Conclusions:
My husband is a ‘neuro-typical.’ Also known as an NT. He is considered mainstream and typical when compared to a person who has a neurological syndrome such as Aspergers. I have Aspergers. When examining the two lists some interesting things come to mind. Of course I am a female and Bob is a male. So this aspect of gender also affects the results.

1. I saw what I would do with the pencil in full imagery and thusly often included exactly what the pencil would be used for. I added specifics. I didn’t just write ‘sword.’ I wrote “a miniature sword for a small mouse or creature.” Bob wrote a simple answer without specifics. It didn’t cross his mind to do it any other way. He thought he got the point of the question and answered accurately.

2. I paid attention to detail because in the back of my mind I didn’t want to confuse anyone that might read my list. Bob didn’t consider what other people would think at all.

3. I didn’t list logical things such as ‘write’ until the creative aspects were thought of. My mind immediately went to creativity. Bob’s mind immediately went to logical.

4. The question read what I “can do” with a pencil. In my mind I interpreted that question as actions and saw people or animals doing the action. In my mind someone or something always was attached to the pencil. In Bob’s mind it was only the pencil. He saw the pencil doing it in isolation.

5. I was actively involved emotionally with each thing I thought of, simultaneously evaluating if I’d like that action, how useful it was, and if it was truly feasible. I included minor details such as tape, flat surface, etc. to guide another or in essence to ‘prove’ it was feasible. Bob just thought about a pencil.

6. I knew in the back of my mind if I wrote short answers I could write a longer list but I had to add detail, even though I knew my list would be shorter. Bob didn’t even consider detail.

7. I saw the pencil naturally being used in my mind. Images popped up and I wrote what I saw. I used my environment to help me. If I saw I plant where I was sitting I could connect an idea. Bob didn’t look around his environment. He said he used ‘mental effort’ to come up with his answers.

8. I worried about my list. I questioned if all the ideas were valid. I questioned whether the one thing I started writing before the timer started counted. I worried about the time. I watched the clock. As the time ticked I evaluated in my mind how much time was left and the average number I was writing. I was distracted by the time and numbers. I thought about my typing speed and the typing speed verses writing speed. Bob worried about the amount of time left a little bit.

9. I pictured and evaluated each thing after I wrote it. As I went on to write the next thing on my list, I was still thinking about the first one. Had I used the right words, enough words, and described what I saw? For example I was concerned about the door wedge (to keep door from closing all the way) and thusly added ‘may need heavier object.’ I knew I couldn’t add more detail without taking up time, and that bothered me some. I could think of new items while still focusing on previous items at the same time. Bob just wrote his list. (He did say “that’s cool” when I read him this number nine; so there’s that.)

10. My thinking is complex. I wrote to keep a door from closing all the way (may need heavier object) and bang on drum or other object. Bob’s thinking was basic core segment from the start. He wrote wedge and drumstick.

My husband has a high verbal fluency. This is evident by the length of his list, and he was able to write without pause, until the timer stopped. He was able to think of many things. I have a high verbal fluency as well but my list was much different than my husband’s list. My list was affected by my imagination and thinking in pictures, and somewhat by my anxiety of time and worrying about what others would understand of what I wrote. Any person, NT or not NT, can have a high verbal fluency. But, as mentioned earlier, I think people with Aspergers generally will demonstrate high verbal fluency and use of imagination in their list.

Feel free to share your list and conclusions below in comment section.

Here is a study:
Verbal fluency in adults with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome

321: Don’t make me look at you!

Don’t make me look at you

I am often depleted energetically in new environments with unfamiliar people. Part of the reason is because I am empathic and can innately pick up on others’ emotions and state of being. The other part of the reason I am energetically depleted seems to be entirely biological, at least in the way my brain senses the stimuli around me and in the way I process the input I am receiving as a result of the stimuli.

Sometimes, quite frankly and honestly, I would be a better listener and friend, if I didn’t have to look at you.

Because I am extremely analytical, acutely self-aware, and live in a heightened state of sensory awareness, I often forget that the majority of mainstream society does not process their environment the same as me.

I forget that the majority of people are not responding to me in the same way as I am inexplicably responding to them.

The first part of my energetic depletion is spawned from the belief system that I am being sliced and diced and dissected visually by another, only because when I spot another, I generally have to take each piece of person apart and put the features back together to make sense of what I am seeing. As a result, distinct markers of a face and body are found, categorized and reorganized.

I try to take apart another perosn and piece him or her back together without being judgmental. In other words, if a “big” nose is the first thing I see, I remind myself that “big” is a judgment and based on my limited perception and biased collective experiences, while understanding that societal norms determine the essence of beauty for most folks, norms which are indoctrinated onto a sub-culture by profiteering establishments.

Thusly, as I’m beholding another’s appearance, and trying to make sense of what I am seeing, in regards to features and taking in the whole picture, I am also simultaneous reminding myself that the individual’s features are not right or wrong, good or bad, or striking or dull, they just are.

And beneath this linear thinking of releasing judgment based on the indoctrination of societal norms, in the same juxtaposition, of me being with me, I am trying to remind myself, that according to many spiritual belief systems, that self and this other person in my line of vision do not even exist.

All of these thoughts pass through me, just as I am stepping into the line of vision of another: the release of judgment, the reminder of the limitless of the illusion of universe, and the fact that I am entirely analytical when it comes to viewing another.

And the added fact that I know way too much for my own good (and would apparently make a good sitcom character).

With all of my thought-processing, I become distracted and don’t realize that the other person I am analyzing is most likely not viewing me in the same manner as I am viewing him or her.

While my mind is shooting a million miles per second, the other person’s mind has probably just thought: nice red sweater or there’s a brunette middle-age woman; or, if it’s my husband: There’s my hot wife.

But I forget this.

Somewhere between wondering if my fly is open, my teeth are flossed, my nose is big, my hair is brushed, and if I matched the right color socks, and wondering what the other person is dissecting about me, and what this makes that person think, and how he or she has categorized and judged me and has fit me into his or her comfort-level of classification, I turn into a tailspin of panic, fearing that the other person is not only doing to me what I am doing to him or her, through dissection and examination of part, but also reaching conclusions based on the data received.

Ultimately, when all is said and done, in the midst of my boggling analysis of said other person, I am fearing the conclusion the other person has reached about me, whether it be red sweater or big-breasted tart; I am wanting to huddle into a corner and make myself entirely invisible and inaccessible to onlookers.

Wherein if I lived in a world where I was masked and cloaked, and perhaps entirely invisible, I think my anxiety, and resulting depletion of energy, would be drastically reduced.

But since I live in a world where I am seen, I am also faced with the fact that I am judged and categorized based on my appearance.(It’s no wonder my son with ASD refuses to wear anything other than plain clothes—no designs, no images, no nothing.)

And in so being keenly aware that I am looked upon with deciphering eyes, whether fleeting the observer’s glance be or not, I want to then explain to the observer as much about my true self as possible, fearing that the person has reached conclusions about me that are entirely false and inaccurate, because the gathered data is based solely on my exterior.

In the meanwhile, I am having a miniature debate in my mind about how the release of fear and the release of worrying about whatever people think of me is optimal for my state of well-being and reciting the random quote that says: what people think of me is none of my business, while holding back an entire dam of dialogue longing to be thrust upon the person returning my glance, so that I might attempt to accurately describes my spirit behind this cloak of humanness.

When all is said and done, all of these processed thoughts, (including the deductions of reasonings circling around the non-beneficial and detrimental effects a fear-based outlook to the collective of spirit, mind and body), have left me wiped out, and wondering how it is that up until this point in my life I have not become dependent on the port wine I savor some evenings, or at least a stiff shot of cough syrup.

For my brain is such a grand uniform of thought that even a sergeant general, marked with the stoic stars and stripes, could not maneuver his troops inside me to find the potential threat of enemy.

And then, with the coming of more and more rushing thoughts, I begin to laugh inside, realizing again that more than likely the stranger is not analyzing my distinct features; and then the sadness settles in, or at least what seems like sadness, but of late seems more akin to the knowing I am different and likely a different species of human all together.

In the meanwhile, with all of these aforementioned thoughts, my mind is continually involved in a game of connect–the-dots, bringing all the facial features together to make a collective whole.

And quite frankly sometimes I don’t like what I see. And then there is always the lingering notion, that this is all much-to-do about nothing, because if I was ever to see this person again, I wouldn’t recognize him anyways, because I cannot retain visual images of faces in my memory banks.

By this time, when my thoughts have run full course into a state of exhaustion, the person I was looking at has either moved on and out of my view or he or she has moved on in conversation. And where the person is left waiting for me to respond to something said, that she assumed I heard, just as she assumed I was ready to listen, I am still wondering, if in fact, if I look older or younger than this person, because I have wrinkles under my right eyes in the same way, and likely the same depth; and this person is still so pretty even with the marks of age; and I wonder if the wrinkles are appearing more engraved because of the lighting and what the person would look like in an alternative setting, with say a red scarf instead of green; and if her hair is naturally blonde, or now with her aging, recently dyed; and when I should stop dying my hair; and if I remembered to mark my hair appointment on the calendar, and why at times I seem so forgetful.

Through all the analysis piled upon rhetoric and philosophical jargon, added to the process of scaffolding current information with past information and connecting other to self, and the tangent of strings my mind travels to, I am left literally spent, my pockets of reserve penniless, and my wallet flung open for the taking.

And so it is I wonder, when the others, perhaps less aware of this process, say: “Look at me, while I’m talking to you.”

I wonder if a person realizes what one glance, what one look, what one simple demand, demands of me.

Pass me the port, please.
~~~~~~~~~~

(dang if I ain’t one prolific goofball and a half)