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- Type: SeFi
- Development: lll-
- Attitude: Unseelie
As a child my parents suspected I might be autistic. Here are a few reasons:
- I took things too literally. I heard my mother call me “you” and call herself “I,” so I called myself “you” and called her “I.”
- Before I could speak (which I did early), I memorized books. She would read to me and if she missed or replaced one word, I would react negatively.
- I had severe social issues for no clear reason. It lead to me having to leave the school due to violence against me when I was 12. But I had no clue what had happened. In retrospect, some of this was systemic racism against Jews, but my brother for instance did not have these problems. He learned to navigate culture with ease and I didn’t.
- Obsessive behaviors, repetitive responses, hyper focus at the expense of all else? Check.
- Oversensitive to stimuli: this is the understatement of the century. I have to wear earplugs at normal social events. I could blame this on Lyme “hyperacusis” but I’ve always been like this. Oversensitive in every way. HYPER sensitive to stimulus. But at the same time, I don’t get offended over words. So I’m not over sensitive in THAT way.
- Word finding problems. The truth of this is that I have no problem finding words that make sense to me, but my wording is socially unacceptable and different from how others word things. It can range from others being unable to read what I wrote, when it makes perfect sense to me; to others being infuriated and offended by all the supposed implications in my words that I was unaware of. “I say it like it is,” I defend myself. I didn’t see hidden implications at all, and this gets me in trouble. My husband helps me edit out implications and ‘how others might read’ what I wrote. I’ve worked EXTREMELY hard on this in order to write my books in English. The word finding does get harder when I’m sick, but this is because I lose the ability to quickly translate “Animal-speak” to “English.”
- As a consequence of the last paragraph, people often find my words offensive. I do much better in person because people can see on my facial expression that nothing changed and I had no idea something was mean.
- Passive aggression directed at me flies right over my head. One example is, as a kid, my aunt “forced a smile” and I told my mom “She’s so nice! She likes me!” but clearly she hated children and was forcing a dishonest smile. I have memorized these cues by now so I can tell the difference, but it comes from study, not innate ability. However, it does feel natural for me to read body language today, but I’m picking up INTRApersonal stuff (what that person is about) rather than INTERpersonal stuff (communication between them and other parties, myself included).
- In early school, before I got very sick at 16, I had an excellent memory. I never had to study and could just recite everything the teacher said, or everything I read in a history book. I was also a math wiz. I figured out complex music theory by myself at 10 or 11, and it was all math. I received outlandishly high scores when tested on this in a professional setting. Getting sick changed the ability to figure these things out. But the point is, I had savant abilities (in songwriting too, and world class musicians who my family knows were impressed by the songs I was writing at age 8-12)…. but socially I was a total flop.
On the other hand, I can watch events unfold over time and get a very strong sense of INTRApersonal things like someone’s hidden motives, how they behave in a group, the impact of their behavior on the people around them, the patterns of behavior that occur. I can guess exactly what will happen next once this person enters a relationship or a scene with someone else. I know how relationships will pan out, how compatible two people will be, whether it’s the right group for them etc. For this reason people have told me I’m psychic. But immediate interpersonal communication can fly over my head. It may be that these instances are not separate. Perhaps, since I miss the small implications of how someone speaks to me, I trained myself to watch what they actually do. And not to take words at face value, but to notice what that person is really about. In my writing, the attention to tone, body language and eyes reads very well. Although I have other issues with words, even when I was a horrible writer, people could picture the characters in my work and how they move, what they’re about… I was very good at conveying this. So why is it that I can pick up and convey subtleties in a person so organically and smoothly, and yet I can’t tell if their smile is genuine in real life? Or maybe I can by now? It’s very confusing. Anyway, I’ve managed to escape any diagnoses, although to be fair, I have not looked into this with a psychiatrist.
I don’t want anyone to be forced to adjust to me. I’d prefer if they get offended so I can modify my behavior to be more acceptable if I so choose. Events unfold naturally and I learn from them. To tip-toe around me would be to take my own power away. Now, I am not commenting on others when I say this. People who are more severe than me in particular ways may require more careful attention from others – but personally, I want the truth. You think I acted unacceptably? Thanks for letting me know! This teaches me something about the social world, and myself.