PARTNER SURVEY RESULTS
Survey of Relationship Experiences of Neurotypicals in, or who have been in an intimate adult relationship with someone who has, or is suspected of having Asperger’s/High functioning autism.
So, it is entirely possible that one or more of the survey respondents is involved with a sociopath, psychopath or “average” social typical male, and not an Asperger.
Conducted by, FAAAS Inc. and J.A. Morgan B.Ed. Grad Dip, July, 2016 © Published online at www.faaas.org and www.theneurotypical.com
This survey comprises 44 replies from 43 women and 1 man who voluntarily responded to advertisements on the internet, mail-outs and support group newsletters during May, June and July, 2016.
The disparate maturity in neuro-developmental levels and milestones is clearly obvious by the neurotypical spouse/partner’s responses to experiences in these relationships. (WOW! Whole lot of “spurious” assumptions and conclusions here! No question as to the developmental maturity of the female spouses! This is a totally “loaded” survey…)
Q 4. Does communication with your partner leave unresolved disputes, unfinished business and unresolved emotional upset?
All respondents, to varying degrees, described communication and dispute resolution failure to be a significant part of their relationship profile and the corporate life of the household.
Q 67. Does the phrase: Death by a thousand paper cuts, express how you feel in your relationship? (WOW! These people are loaded for bear and determined to “blame” Asperger males for whatever is “wrong” in the marriage!)
All respondents, to varying degrees, stated that the phrase expresses how they feel in their relationship. This graphically demonstrates the extreme hardship experienced by neurotypicals in intimate adult relationships with someone who has high functioning autism/Asperger’s. The fact (that) this seems to be unknown to the wider community is an even more serious occurrence. It has been said, “Oil and water do not mix.” (Prof Tony Attwood). In the case of AS/NT relationships this is indeed obviously true. Disparate neuro-developmental levels between the couple cause misery for the neurotypical partner. (Again – a cliché about Asperger “symptoms” is applied to “all Asperger males” – and offered as “the cause” of marital unhappiness, without any inclusion of other factors, alternatives or an acknowledgement of mutual responsibility. Remember, these are people who responded to solicitation for survey participants – a self-selecting group who are more likely than not, eager to “sound off” about their dissatisfaction)
Q 68. Do you think you suffer from Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (OTRS)? (Leading question!!)
Thirty-eight respondents replied they experienced the negative effects of their relationship, and six were not sure. This strongly recognizes the conditions of the relationship as greatly stressful for all respondents.
They experienced physical illness and the normal emotional stress reactions of a complicated extremely dysfunctional relationship. This reaction is called OTRS. It is not a mental illness. The respondents were seduced into believing the pre-relationship persona of their partner was true. Respondents found a different outcome when the façade which concealed the reality of Hfa behaviour was revealed soon after the relationship became cemented. (This “persona change” is characteristic of socio-psychopathic personalities and not common to Asperger people, who have extreme difficulty hiding their “Aspergerness” – which is non-manipulative; social behavior that AS people reject!)
Respondents own personality and life style was changed dramatically to accommodate the narrow mandates of the partner with ASD.
In Question 35 Do you feel more like a parent to your partner? (Really? What woman would not answer ‘yes’ to this question?) only one respondent was able to say they never felt like a parent to their partner. Many respondents reported they suffered depression. (Treating another adult as a child is controlling behavior, and often valued as an antidote to fear of losing that person – he or she DEPENDS on me)
Q 20 Have you developed feelings of strong anger arising from what you consider to be injustice and false accusations in your relationship? (That’s ironic!)
Only one respondent replied they did not have anger about the injustice of interactions in the relationship.
Q 57 Do you have unresolved anger about your relationship?
Only one respondent replied they did not have unresolved anger about their relationship.
Q 11. Do you feel loneliness in your relationship?
Only one respondent replied they never feel lonely. They seek solace with other partners. (Nice excuse for infidelity)
Q 27. Do you experience undesired isolation?
All respondents, except one, reported feeling isolated.
Q 29. Do you lead a controlled, narrow social life?
Only two respondents replied their social life has never been narrowed and controlled.
Q 16. Do you feel self-doubt? (About what?)
Only two respondents replied they never felt self-doubt.
Q 41. Have you lost self-esteem?
All respondents have lost self- esteem. (Did these women ever possess healthy self-esteem? Lack of self-esteem is epidemic in social females)
Q 2. Do interactions with your partner leave you feeling a loss of sense of self; insecurity or uncertainty of own reality? (The passive “victimhood” continues.)
Only one respondent replied they never felt insecurity or an uncertainty of their own reality.
Q 60. Do you feel loved during love making and romance?
Only two respondents replied they have warm physical contact and true intimacy. (The assumption is that the female spouse is by default, capable of “true intimacy” when she may actually seek to avoid it by partnering with an unresponsive male.)
Q 14. Does your partner deny your truth? (OMG: this is so vague, over-generalized, prejudicial and utterly subjective nonsense)
Only one replied their truth was never denied.
Q 65. Do you “walk on eggshells” to avoid conflict and keep the peace? (Again – so general to all humans in every relationship and not an Asperger exclusive!)
Only three respondents replied they never felt they needed to tread carefully to avoid conflict.
Q 47. Do you feel an obligation to solve urgent household disasters alone and for your partner?
Only three replied they never felt the obligation to solve urgent problems alone.
Q 42. Do you feel unappreciated by your partner?
Unanimous agreement the respondents felt unappreciated.
Q 66. Have you found counselling helpful and relevant?
Only two respondents replied constantly. Four replied sometimes. Eight replied occasionally. Twenty-three replied never. By far the most successful form of assistance in understanding what was happening and ways to cope came from sharing experiences with other neurotypical partners: peer to peer mentoring as in SALVE. (Yes; seeking “answers” from other neurotypicals who are dumbfounded by “Asperger behavior” is the way to go.)
SALVE* is Support, Advocacy and Assistance, Listening, Validation, Education by someone who has lived the experience in order to alleviate the symptoms of Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (OTRS)
Support for neurotypicals
Advocacy for their situation and Assistance dealing with AS spouses/children
Listening to and believing them
Validation of what they have experienced
Education about ASD and how it impacts them
At this point in reading results from a “survey” that attacks possibly Asperger males, while presenting the neurotypical spouses as passive victims, I have to say that this “self-reporting group” of women are highly dysfunctional themselves.
One of two respondents who replied “constantly” to question Q 66 received counselling by a war veteran psychologist…the constant domestic abuse, coercive control by neglect, dismissal, humiliation, ignoring, belittling, explosive outbursts has been likened to living in a war zone.
Q 46. Do you feel an obligation to prompt your partner or to fulfil their neglected duties?
Three replied never.
Q 48. Do you feel an obligation to remind and prompt your partner with cues about everyday situations?
Two replied never.
Those respondents out of a relationship or in long term relationships reported prompting their partner less as a result of sharing their experience and receiving SALVE through support groups and talking to others in the same situation. They use active resistance and don’t micro manage their own behaviour or the behaviour of their AS partner as they realise the futility of the endeavour. However, they still suffer the consequences of whatever takes place within or outside the household. (Wow! Who are these women, who cannot “let go” of a horrific relationship, but continue to participate in outrageous levels of family drama? If they have children, why do they persist in exposing them to domestic violence and trauma? And none of these women are “disordered” or responsible for their actions…?)
Many professionals currently recommend micro-managing by following “to-do” lists as a strategy to “improve” the relationship. When a neurotypical partner arrives at professional counselling they’ve already tried anything and everything to make the unworkable relationship work. (Is this not a pattern of “insanity”?) Resistance is used by other neurotypicals in their own fashion e.g. having their own bedroom and space or separate social outings. This does not minimise the pain and grief of the incongruent relationship. They still suffer the normal stress responses of Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome. (OTRS)
Q 47. Do you feel an obligation to solve urgent household disasters alone and for your partner?
Those respondents who have learned to protect and regain themselves by disconnecting and refusing to take up the slack had all been talking to and sharing experiences with other spouses in the same situation: those living with ASD partners. This strategy provided comfort and support for them, unlike their negative experiences with professional therapists and counsellors, who require compromise including couples counselling when compromise is not possible. (I smell a rat!)
Q 37: Do inconsistent messages of love characterise your relationship?
All participants felt inconsistent messages of love.
Intermittent reinforcement is when one person in a relationship metes out or reinforces rules, rewards or boundaries occasionally or inconsistently. Instead of discouraging the other person, intermittent reinforcement actually does the opposite. It fuels the recipient’s attempts to extract the reward once again, keeping them hopelessly locked onto the relationship. (Note that we actually KNOW NOTHING about the Asperger spouse’s experiences in the marriage, or even worse, whether the man is even “Asperger” since no diagnosis is required for inclusion in this attack against Asperger males.
Q 7. Is there spontaneous intimate connection such as “pillow talk”, real friendship, loving foreplay in your relationship?
Only one respondent replied constantly. (So the measure of a successful relationship is constant attention? Sounds narcissistic and unrealistic.)
Q 60. Do you feel loved during love making and romance?
Only two respondents replied constantly.
There is none or very little spontaneous, sincere loving physical and emotional contact in the vast majority of these marriages/partnerships. The essential ingredient in a marriage partnership is the intimate physical and emotional connection. It is unique and exclusive. When that connection is not there the relationship connection becomes extinct. Loneliness, solitary activities, strict routine, lack of being appreciated, lack of genuine physical warmth and tenderness crush the spirit of the neurotypical. (Again; this litany of victimization can characterize a relationship between any two human beings, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or other factors. This is “neurotypical nuttiness” – to blame failed relationships on ONE person or party and to not take responsibility for participation AS AN ADULT in the equation. This is a prime indication of psychological NEOTENY)
Q 38. Do you feel a loss of trust in your partner?
Only three replied they have not lost trust.
Without complete trust there is no real relationship as one partner is unable to completely relax with the other party. (Does trust travel in both directions? As an Asperger, I will add, Why would I “trust” a friend or intimate partner WHO HATES ME, but sticks around anyway, for some dysfunctional agenda; for economic reward, or for the social status of being a martyr?)
Q 25. Are you affected by family violence and or abuse?
Twenty-two replied never.
Q 58. Do you feel you live with domestic abuse and/or violence?
Fourteen replied never.
There is a perplexing contradiction between the number of respondents who answered never to these two questions and the much higher number of respondents who answered they experienced the following interaction, behaviours from their partners. (Could it be that these are women who not “rational” actors in their own lives, but in denial as to “why” they chose such difficult men? )
I was raised in an AS / NT marriage and I’m Asperger: I would not ever deny the “odd and difficult” behavior of my father, who was socially clueless, and particularly naïve and trusting toward “neurotypical” women; he never saw it coming – my mother’s motive for “snapping him up” was clear – she wanted respectability, financial status, and security. But – she was unwilling to offer anything in return.
Where is the human relationship in this nightmare presentation of “partnership”? Why are these people married to each other?
The excerpts below focus on interventions and suggestions for relationships in which a man with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is partnered with a woman who does not have AS (or a non-AS woman). The article in its entirety may be found on the AANE website. Yes, more stereotypes – Aspergers are robots. Would the “instructions” be the same for an AS woman married to a social typical man?
Asperger Marriage: Viewing Partnerships thru a Different Lens
by Grace Myhill, LICSW and Dania Jekel, MSW
What can be helpful to non-AS partners of people with AS? When it comes to AS, thinking outside the box is usually beneficial. It is important to hold on to and present to the group members the hope that AS + non-AS marriages can work—but probably not as traditional partnerships. The outcomes are best when both members of the couple learn about AS and communicate with each other about how it affects their relationship, recognize where their individual needs differ, and are open to working out alternative solutions—arrangements that may be original or unique to them, rather than meeting conventional expectations.
Yikes! This is an expedition to the center of Hell. Life as one long therapy session? Why would anyone do this?
Even in marriages where neither partner has AS, couples may marry expecting an unrealistically high level of togetherness— that they will do everything together—and it is important as the partners mature to let go of that fantasy. It is even more important for AS + non-AS couples to let go of such unrealistic expectations. Some AS + non-AS couples have separate bedrooms, separate sections of a house, or even separate houses. Women should be encouraged to have their own work, social networks, and places to turn to get their own needs met—needs which the partner with AS is not meeting, and may not be able to meet. On the other hand, it is important for a couple to continue to share their mutual interests as a means of connection or reconnection, even when raising children.
This is bat-crap crazy! Get a dog!
Because of executive function problems, the partner with AS may have trouble completing tasks or doing chores. Whenever possible, it is advisable to hire childcare or household help on a regular basis, to take some of the workload off of both partners and to minimize anger and resentment. In couples where the man with AS has difficulty managing money, if his partner cannot or does not want to take on this task, the couple should seek help in this area.
Oh – and one of you had better be rich!
Getting a formal diagnosis for a man with AS can make a difference. Working with the diagnosis—coming to understand that AS is the root cause of some behaviors, difficulties, or past misunderstandings—can help the couple to forgive and reconnect with each other. Similarly, disclosing the AS to extended family or community members may help heal other important relationships. A diagnosis may lead to making changes at home or at work to reduce stress for the man with AS. Men with AS who are motivated and willing are able to learn behavioral and communication skills that can improve their marriage. Some people with AS learn these skills from books but often they need private or group tutorials from a professional who knows about AS and how to teach social communication pragmatics. From these experts men with AS can learn about conversational hierarchy and social rules, such as how to ask people questions about themselves, and they can use this knowledge in their relationships with their partners.
More $$$$ for therapy
Even with the similarities described by group members, all people with AS are unique individuals, with different capacities and strengths. Some men with AS can be cognizant of the other person and can be quite helpful in certain ways— or they may respond well if asked directly to do something specific…
Other interventions that have worked with group members’ relationships are:
- Making lists
- Accommodating sensory needs, both positive and negative sensory feelings
- Resisting the temptation for both partners to make assumptions about the other’s feelings
- Making suggestions to each other without being critical
- Taking time to talk about issues and ideas looking for possible changes to old unhelpful patterns
- What stunningly vague and generalized suggestions! The “helping, caring, fixing” professions GET PAID for this feeble stuff; blah-blah-blah that a 2-year old could collect off the Internet.
In some cases, prescription medication may improve executive functioning, or lessen anxiety or depression for a man with AS. Medications should be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist or psycho-pharmacologist who has expertise treating AS. Prescription medication or individual psychotherapy may also be helpful for a non-AS wife until she is able to get more of her needs met, and is no longer overly stressed or depressed.
Of course! DRUGS are always the bottom line answer to human behavior problems: get “zonked” so that you can tolerate the horror of a “socially approved and prescribed” dysfunctional life.
Why? Because the human behavior industry HAS NO ANSWERS; human beings are “objects” to be controlled. There is no empathy for “life on the ground” as everyday humans experience it day to day.
Surprise! I have much to say about the failure of all types of marriage / partnership / cohabitation / reproductive arrangements in the U.S.A., where 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Neurotypicals are obviously unable to form satisfying and long-lasting relationships. Asperger’s need not feel inferior or abnormal in this endeavor.
The question that no one seems to be asking is, Why are contemporary Americans so incompetent when making the choice to “merge their life” with a spouse or partner?
…insulting and dehumanizing.
Telemarketeer -Twenty years ago…
1997: In my now-and-then capacity as a telemarketer for the local newspaper, I have been addressed as Sir, Son, Ma’m, Dear, and Dude. The confusion produced by my telephone voice began when I was about ten years old, the result of an innocent quirk of nature that caused my mother so much embarrassment that she directed me to speak in a higher, more feminine voice, insisting that if I did so, the change would become permanent. Her idiotic suggestion did not win my compliance, and to this day the people I ring up on behalf of the local newspaper call me Sir, Son, Ma’am, or even Dude and I let them think whatever they wish.
As TV journalists like to say, “the vast majority” of copies of the weekly flyer named The Guide are delivered to residents of two towns in our county. Of the 30,000 copies printed each week, 350 must be mailed to outlying households, a service for which the United States Postal Service charges the publishers $125.00 per week. The postal authorities have decided that we (that’s me) must obtain the names of 8,000 people who will admit that they wish to receive The Guide, otherwise the Postal Service will no longer permit copies to be mailed bulk rate.
About Our County: Not the entire state, just our county. Imagine an area the size of Massachusetts. Remove the vegetation, the history, the thriving cities and towns, the ethnic culture, the restaurants, the shopping, the seafood, the numerous institutions of research and higher learning, the cultural arts, professional sports teams, and all but 45,000 of its people. Add bitter alkaline soil, a uniformly high and lifeless plateau (average altitude 6,500′) and precipitation on a par with the Mongolian Steppe. True, a river does flow through the area like the Nile crosses Egypt, but without delivering a single bucket of fertile sediment. Too barren for cattle – Pronghorn, coyote, varmints and rabbits form a tentative fauna. Hordes of sheep are trucked in during February because the vast public lands mean they can be rotated to a different grazing patch every two to three days.
Over the brief time that I’ve lived in Wyoming, contact with my neighbors has for the most part been via the phone calls I make on behalf of the newspaper’s ongoing survey. When someone answers the phone, I say, “This is The Guide calling to verify that you still wish to receive The Guide.”
The usual response is “uh” or “uh-huh”, both of which mean yes, so I quickly confirm the address as it appears in the phone book. Good enough, but in an extraordinary number of instances, the phone number does not belong to the person listed in the phone book. This invalidates the response, and I must ask the person to reveal his or her correct address and identity. Shockingly, he or she invariably complies. The percentage of disconnected numbers is also high: area jobs depend on oil and gas production and coal and trona (baking soda) mining, industries that guarantee a boom and bust transient population.
About half the respondents don’t recognize the free paper as The Guide, so I prompt them with, “The free Tuesday paper, the shopper’s guide, you know, the one that has the TV listings inside?”
Everyone gets it then, although a few say, “Oh! That thing I find in my bushes every Tuesday.” Which is true.
An alarming number of residents fear that we intend to take it away from them or that we will start charging for it. One woman said, “Well, if it’s a bother, I guess you can stop bringing it.”
Another meekly replied, “No, I don’t want it anymore – is that OK?”
A few say positive things such as, “We love that little paper.” “I sure do need that TV Guide,” and “Don’t leave me without the grocery store coupons.”
A teenager responded wryly, “My mother and her husband aren’t here. Call back.” Stereotypical husbands must ask the wife. “I’m not in a decision-making position in this house,” admitted one.
“My wife just got laid off and I’m kinda gettin’ that way too.” What this had to do with receiving a free paper, I’m not sure. I worry about folks who contrive to make me decide whether to say “yes” or “no” for them, and about a man who shouted, “Come over for a soft drink, a cup of coffee, and Ritz crackers.”
A high percentage of those who wish to stop delivery cite failing eyesight or blindness.
“I always have the TV on, why do I need a TV guide?” an elderly gentleman asked.
Sometimes despair overcomes me when my phone call intrudes on what sounds like a tiny human black hole at the center of a room-sized galaxy, surviving on energy sucked from an excruciatingly loud television set, with the furnace set on Hell, in the company of a sole surviving houseplant that was packed into potting soil in 1952, its one withered leaf gasping for the CO2 that the old human can no longer supply in sufficient quantity. Enough poetry.
The phone book is crammed with names that are new to me: Likwartz, Labuda, Bodyfelt, Copyak, Bozovich, Blazovich, Chewning, Bilyeu, Crnich, Cukale, Delanneoy, Depoyster, Fagnant, Holopeter, Jauregui, Jelouchan, Lovercheck, Manhard, Warpness, and more. Between 1850 and 1950, this corner of Wyoming attracted an international ensemble of men looking for the worst work on earth, but alas, ethnic names are the only lasting evidence of a diverse cultural heritage, which is not surprising in an environment that defeats human effort, and in which the vast and bleak land paralyzes the psyche.
A friend who grew up in a coal camp north of town contends that by the 1950’s, everyone had become the same. “Everybody just looked and sounded the same,” he said. “Bleak, beaten up, defeated.”
I continue to jot down amazing names: LaDonna LaCroix, Season Lower, Ty Harder, Larry Hell, Numa Grubb, Jack Leathers, Bert Mexican, Edwardo Wardo, Osmo Ranta, Clint Chick, Caddy Cackler, Fyrn Coon, Rhett Coy, Theron Dye, Deena & Alle Jo Butters, Kamber Bink Backman, Wanda Hodo, Hushlen Cochrun, Tex Jasperson, Cyma Cudney, Bubb Buh. And the surnames – Uncapher, Sweat, Warpness, Chitica, Laundra, Tonette.
Another melancholy evening as a telemarketer: one phone exchange took off on a sad energy of its own. I don’t recall what set the woman off, but she said that as a young bride she had agreed to follow her husband into the Colorado mountains for a three-month try at a mining job. The pair stayed to raise four kids before moving to Wyoming.
“Eighteen years in Colorado, eighteen here,” she said. A symmetrical life at least. Her husband still works as a miner and drives “a twelve-mile-long dirt road with nothing but ditches” to work and back, which worries her. “I can’t believe that my life is all gone,” she sighed. “After eighteen years we still don’t know anyone in this town.”
Me neither: my rubber dingy ran aground here a short two years ago and I’ve been busy falling in love with the landscape.
“We’re sorry, you have reached a marriage that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” No longer connected are Duke + Sandra; Don + Darla; Eldon + LaRie; Cactus + Tammy; Amber + Travis; Hava + Holly; Jay + Dee Dee.
It could be 1957 outside the newspaper office, except that town was an exciting enclave back then. Copies of the newspaper from that time are characterized by enthusiasm and pride; by advertisements for roadhouses, dance halls, and social clubs that catered to every interest, age and hobby. There were restaurants and stores. A full plate of gossip and local news kept people connected. Flipping through the old papers makes me wish I had wandered here a half century ago.
Today’s main street is a dreary alignment of gas stations, concrete block motels, and auto body shops punctuated by weedy lots and businesses that stick to the Interstate interchange at either end of town like cultural antibodies guaranteed to fight off growth and prosperity.
Ancestral humans relied on their senses. Visual memory and concrete thinking formed their perception of the world. They were animals – and so are modern humans, except that modern humans suffer delusions of grandeur made possible by technology and magical thinking – two partners at work in creating human cultures.
Modern social people have an indirect relationship to nature, which causes big problems. Our perception of the world is moderated and modified by words; words are a valuable invention, but too often serve our egotistical notions. Scientists may have dismantled the idea that Earth is the center of the universe, but humans refuse to believe that man is not.
The integration of early humans with the natural world was more intimate than we can imagine. No other world existed. There were no written instructions, no external memory, no schools or delicatessens nor emergency medical services. Not even a bicycle. There were Master Humans, who may have been no more than teenagers, who functioned as the repositories of human knowledge for their group. Few memory aids had been invented – lines and designs scratched into a familiar rock outcrop or fascinating lumps of rock that resembled an animal or a person; a resemblance that could be enhanced with a few strokes of a tool. Dependence on each other was literal, not social, conceptual or abstract. To live was to exist in the present moment, and one instant of distraction or of inattention and – Bingo! Your time was up. Success required absolute trust in the behavior of people one lived and died with.
Dog and baby – how cute! Thousands of years of domestication of dogs and humans have made this interaction possible, but the dog retains wild behavior, and if its instinctive buttons are pushed, the baby is in serious danger of injury. (The baby is, in fact, in far more danger from predation by other humans) Big carnivores, with whom our ancestors shared the environment, have no such restraints. Human infants, like the young of other prey, would have been easy targets. Predation held human population in check, so that scavenging and gathering were sufficient to feed human groups that remained low in number. The gradual shift to human-as-carnivore would have boosted nutrition, providing the fat and protein that fueled larger brains and bodies. Bigger and better-fed humans would have been able to reduce predation. Infant survival rates gradually increased.
We forget or ignore that for most of existence humans were prey animals, and indeed for most humans alive today, that is the still the case. Now that we have greatly reduced, or exterminated, our wild rivals in the hunt for food and territory, man has turned on his own kind. Man is the predator most dangerous to children (pedophiles), to women (rapists, domestic abusers, murderers), to young men (violent gangs), to consumers (toxic and dangerous products), to entire predatory economies (sociopaths in suits), to civilian populations (chronic war), to entire nations (political interference and war. )
Modern human-on-human predation is a social activity built into the foundations of the social order – a hierarchy of power and authority that determines who can abuse lesser humans without consequence.
Thy Child’s Face / website
Thy Child’s Face is a testimonial to the sexual violence inflicted on children by predatory Roman Catholic priests. In the last 25 years, clergy sexual abuse of children has been revealed for what it is: an organized syndicate of criminal accomplices who work in concert to shield pedophile priests.
More at: http://thychild’sface.blogspot.com/
Yep! This is about as deep and complex as social feeling gets in the Good ‘ol USA. .
An alarming disconnect exists between the infantile modern social mantra that Life is a Hug and the real suffering inflicted by social institutions, including schools and the family.
It’s the Aspie Blank Stare! Who knew that this was such a disturbing facet of Aspie behavior? Not me!
My observations attempt to “rectify” the communication that is (not) going well.
From a ‘Mum’
In my experience, I would get a blank stare when I asked (my Asperger son) a question. It could be, for example, what he would like for dinner? What happened at school? You know – normal sorts of ‘Mum’ questions!
Social typical questions tend to be vague, over-general and non-specific. A specific question would be: Would you like pizza or hot dogs for dinner? Or try, “We’re having hamburgers for dinner. I bought the kind of buns you like and you can add tomatoes or pickles or cheese, or whatever else you like.” What stories did you read in reading class today?
How did I interpret the blank stare that I got?
At the time, I believed that ‘the blank stare’ was used by (SON) to avoid answering the questions I asked questions I thought were easy to answer! I realize now, that in my frustration over not getting an answer, I would pile on the questions one after another, and (SON) didn’t have time to process even the first one!
I would get cross with him, frustrated that he seemed to refuse to respond to my requests for information, and I would give up.
One of the big mistakes that social typicals make is to attribute INTENT to Asperger behavior. This is because social typicals are “self-oriented” – everything is about THEM; any behavior on the part of a human, dog, cat, plant or lifeform in a distant galaxy, must be directed at THEM. Example: God, or Jesus, or whomever, is paying attention 24 / 7 to the most excruciatingly trivial moments in the lives of social typicals. We’re not as patient as God or Jesus.
The Asperger default mental state is a type of reverie, day-dreaming, trance or other “reflective” brain process; that is, we do “intuitive” thinking. The “blank face” is because we do not use our face to do this type of thinking.
Sorry – we’re just busy elsewhere! When you ask a question, it can take a few moments to “come out of” our “reverie” and reorient our attention. If you are asking a “general question” that is meant to elicit a “feeling” (social) response, it will land like a dead fish in front of us. Hence the continued “blankness”.
What is the real cause of the blank stare?
I believe that SON uses the blank stare while he is processing a question. If give him enough time, he will think deeply, and consider his response, which is often unexpected.
The “blank stare” is due to our type of brain activity: processing questions adds to response time. Some questions are so vague that we simply cannot answer them. Some questions aren’t questions at all, but are an attempt to get our attention and to get a “social” something from us. This is truly confusing.
An Aspie will be taking in as much information as they can from the world around them at any given moment. They notice details that ‘normals’ ignore. These details can easily result in sensory overload. The blank stare is used by Aspies as a way to ‘zone out’, or ‘go into themselves’ as a coping mechanism for when their senses are overloaded.
I don’t think this is correct. Sensory overload is another matter entirely; sensory overload results in the desire to flee, and if we can’t “get away” we experience “meltdown” Other Aspies may have a different take on this.)
Aspie chat concerning “The Stare”
I watched “Rain Man” again recently. There was a scene where Dusty was sitting on a park bench and just looking at the ground, and Tom Cruise started YELLING at him. I felt like, “Hey ! sometimes I just sit and think about things, and maybe I’m staring at the ground, so cool it Tom.” We tend to look off into the horizon while we’re talking, and really, it’s not a big deal …
At work I’ll be at my desk just working away and people will tell me to cheer up when I don’t feel at all down. Also, if I’m standing around somewhere, and not focusing on anything in particular – and feeling fine, someone will ask me if I’m OK or if I’m pissed off about something. Something about my neutral (not happy or sad, just contented) expression makes people think I’m depressed or angry.
I must do “The Stare” because people are always doing one of the following: Ask me if I’m okay because I’m staring off into the distance; look behind their back to see what I’m staring at; or tell me to “SMILE!” because I don’t have any facial expression.
Yes, social typicals are self-centered and demanding. They don’t want to “put up with” a blank face; it damages their perfect narcissistic universe, in which it is everyone’s job to make them feel important.
And then, there is the OTHER “Aspie Stare”
I dont get it…..my teacher tells me to look at her when she talks and when I look at other people they tell me to stop staring at them. What the…?
Apparently staring and looking are two different things, not that I know how to tell the difference.
Teacher demands eye-contact? It’s the OBEDIENCE – submission thing. Authoritarian adults demand instant obedience from children. Stare at a ‘non-authoritarian’ person? Predators stare down prey; you, dear Aspie, are unwittingly behaving like a predator.
I stare because I get easily distracted by details and I want to see more; it’s just attention to detail. I’m doing better at straight eye contact, but open my eyes too wide because I’m trying hard to focus and pay attention.
If I am interested in what a person is saying – it’s new to me or important information, I will stare like a laser. Also if I am trying to recognize someone that looks vaguely familiar, or there is something interesting about how they look and I want to examine it. If I’m not interested, I won’t look at them. However, that does not mean I am not listening just because I am not looking at them.
It seems to me, that Aspergers use our senses selectively: many, if not most of us are visual thinkers so we use our eyes to “see” and if there is not something to “see”, but rather, there is something to “hear” – we listen. How bizarre!
Uh-oh! It’s that darn ASPIE / INTJ overlap again!
Parents are the true gods.
The gods first arose inside the infant brain, which is predestined to seek the all-powerful parents, without whom babies would perish at birth. Do humans ever outgrow this stage of super-dependence? Psychology says yes; human behavior says no.
If one of us encounters an unconscious person we first try to get a response; we want the person’s eyes to open, and to hear the person say, “Where am I?” or “What happened?” In return we ask, “Are you okay?” This may be a request for a medical report, but what we most desire is that set of coordinates that certifies our presence in the world: Our name, the names of the people to whom we “belong”, and how to contact them. Simple, and yet these few bits of information join the individual to the community of human beings.
Human infants are born with instinctual responses, such as suckling, but identity and self-awareness must be activated and constructed over a 12-18 year period of extended gestation – childhood. In western cultures these “requirements of adulthood” are considered to be somewhat flexible and personal, whereas conservative societies impose strict class and gender roles on individuals. Strict behavioral boundaries support the structure of traditional societies.
Word language is inseparable from the process of creating a “conscious” human being: use of words to structure thought is conscious thinking: “being conscious” is a “product” of verbal language.
Visual thinking / intuition are unconscious processes; “intuitive” simply means non-verbal. Modern social humans are so dependent on word language that they dismiss the obvious: Nature has “invented” a stupendous variety of systems to process information and facilitate communication! These systems are what we call LIFE in its myriad forms.
A child is told who it is, where it belongs, and how to behave, day in and day out, from birth throughout childhood (and indeed, throughout life.) In this way culturally-approved patterns of thought and behavior are imparted, organized and strengthened in the child’s brain. Setting tasks that require following directions (obedience) and asking children to ‘correctly’ answer questions along the way, helps parents and society to discover if the preferred responses are in place.
I don’t remember blurting out “Cogito ergo sum!” in school one day. Achieving awareness of my existence was a misty process, a journey taken before I knew myself. Identity (which is not the same as personality) does not pre-exist; it is constructed. Long before a baby is conceived and born, family and society have composed an identity and a comprehensive world picture for it. The majority of those who belong to a religion or a social class are members by accident of birth, not by choice. We are born into cultures and belief systems; into versions of reality invented by humans long departed.
“The Gods” are ancestors who have been compressed by time and “ritual memory” into symbolic beings who retain the “all-powerful” status of parents.
Consciousness is not a thing that is stuffed into the human body, neither is it a bump on the brain, nor a patch of color on a brain scan. Consciousness is a phenomenon that might more correctly be called co-consciousness, since what we refer to in everyday terms is our ability to respond to other human beings using word language.
How many of the memories that we assume to be our own are provided by the family? Do you remember your first birthday? Years later, you may be told a narrative and be shown photos of yourself at a party and these images become your memories, as if you had been present as a conscious being, but at one year of age, you were not.
Even with basic information in place, and hoped-for responses forthcoming, children can be frustrating for adults to deal with, because young children are not fully able to interpret language and may be slow to respond, to which adults often react negatively and with anger. Adults are impatient for a child to use language as an adult would – that is, to be conscious. We could use the phrase ‘a brain accessible to others’ to characterize a conscious state. Failure of a child to ‘pay attention’ drives adults crazy, whether it’s ‘willful disobedience’ or the child is developmentally AWOL.
To the adult, a child’s immediate attention confirms a successful connection. Words may preface or follow other types of communication, or simply serve to get the child’s attention if he or she is out of “eye contact”. In Western culture, the goal is “obedience” to words – remote control.
Obedience to commands conveys a willingness to follow the rules, but children are young animals in need of physical experience that develops healthy bodies and engages curiosity. The words we bombard them with may not have the desired effect. It is better to demonstrate what it is we want from them; children learn through imitation, which requires adults to slow down, use visual cues and to model proper behavior, something many are not willing to do.
The human need for reciprocity is the tip of the iceberg. Our need for connection to others results in the projection of consciousness onto every object in the universe, from rocks, trees, rivers, mountains, lakes, springs, planets, stars and the moon, to the universe itself. Like perpetual children, we wait expectantly for advanced (adult) beings from distant galaxies to contact us. We see signs and miracles in the least coincidences. Humans are capable of relationships with automobiles, slot machines, animated characters, stuffed animals and body parts.
The need to project human purpose and intent onto objects in the environment, a necessary step for development of a child’s awareness of its surroundings, does not go away, but persists in adults as unquestioned ‘magical’ patterns of thought. Modern people need the reassurance of being connected and protected by parental figures that continue to watch over them throughout life just as early humans needed ‘adult’ guidance from the wisdom of the elders and ancestors who preceded them. The gods are very ancient ancestors who by necessity are conflated into single all-powerful beings – no one can hope to remember them as individuals.
Helpless is a scary way to begin life: being born incomplete is the price of premature birth – which is every human birth.
Supernatural thinkers are not daunted by scientific explanations of phenomena, but neither are scientists exempt from magical thinking. The scientific mind also desires to find a pre-existing “cosmic consciousness” – a super mind – a Theory of Everything. Our search for alien life (even a single microbe would do) is an extension of the search for the “ultimate eternal parents”.