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.
18 thoughts on “462: Beneath the Skin of Conversation: an Aspie’s Interpretation of Communication”
I understand so well. For too many years my relationships were ruined by trying to live up to others’ expectations. At last I have a relationship where nothing is expected beyond mutual respect. I realize that I’m the one now, who after so many years of imprinting, am the one with all the expectations. But because he continues to model his complete lack of guile and non-judgmental being, I get better and better at letting go of my “programmed” expectations. Yes, I like your phrase “shed the hypocrisy of self.” I continue that process.
wonderful. thank you for sharing :)))
I could have written this WORD for WORD. Seriously. And it just applied to a conversation with my friend. OFten you give me words. Thank you so much for exploring your inner world with words and giving the gift of words in mine. I continue in the process. Sometimes it is life giving- sometimes very frustrating:)
You are so welcome. Hugs to you. ❤
Thank you for this.
You’re amazing. And very wise. I learnt a little more about you in this post and also a little more about me too!
Letting go of the need for validation – ouch! I am right there right now. In the midst of yet another sinus infection. They make me feel sooooo ill and they bring up all these feelings of rejection, and the grappling with the fact that it appears that people reject me at the times when I’m at my worst. Letting go of the expectation that it will be any different is like a pocket of extra space up ahead. It’s a cold light, like moonlight, and comfortless, but who knows what warm sunlight lies out beyond that, which I can’t see yet?
It’s sure a nystery, this life thing. Acceptance is the ongoing quest. Thanks for sharing your experiences in this area – they help me in mine
It is so very hard. I can always sense your strength, heart, and light in all you write. Thank you for sharing part of your journey with me. Your words are a companion. Much love. (and feel better, soon)
Thank you so much for saying that. Even though it’s the summer solstice here, it feels a little dark at the moment so you taking the time to say that really helps on a darkish day (although I’m feeling a bit better than early on – I broke a probiotic capsule into my neti pot before and wow, I feel a difference!. Squirting water through your nose is very weird but wow, it feels like it’s really helped, after burning just a little!)
I hope you are feeling better now? How are your health issues going (if you feel like talking about them. No worries if not 🙂
PS: I must confess I am enjoying the extra headspace I’ve gained from not being on Facebook, but you are one of the people I sure do miss seeing in my feed! 🙂
It is incredible how you put into words, that which is unexplainable to other people. In essence, they feel deeply, think deeply, and see things that most people would never think to contemplate. Thank you, as always, for your brilliant insight into the mind of an aspie. They’re amazing!
Oh, thank you; I had some doubts about this post being too complex and that no one would understand. So thank you very much :)))
Expectancy beats expectation any day. I find, although I’ve never been ‘diagnosed’, that I recognise many of the traits you write about, albeit not to the same degree. Something to do with that ‘spectrum’ thingy, I ‘spose. I am Life, showing up in this strange shape, having stuff called ‘experiences’. Weird:)
yes, yes :))) thanks, Harry. Your continued comments are always appreciated And that doesn’t surprise me
I can relate to this so well: I have so often found myself in conversations responding according to my interpretations of others’ expectations instead of my own inclinations. It’s a way of trying to fit in, trying to be liked by mimicking those around me.
It does feel like hypocrisy and I hate myself for doing it. It is so much easier when communicating online because I have the luxury of time to think about my responses and can avoid falling into the habit of imitation.
:))) thank you for sharing and taking the time to comment
COGNITIVE CLARITY FIRST then reprogramming can be done. I am a neuro-typical husband. My beautiful wife is an apsie with OCD. I have been able to CORRECT the main cause (this is a neurobiological issue). All of our boys have a piece of the aspie as well. The corrective measures are from the use of supplements (not meds). I did all of the research on my own and made observations for over 2 years now. It has been incredible what the benefits are with the supplements. It has basically fixed the audio processing problem that they all have and some of the over-thinking from intrusive thoughts. They now all have cognitive clarity and are able to work out daily conflicts or misunderstandings. CBT and biofeedback are now affective. And, it is a current and forward working progress. The past, in many cases, will work itself out. This has been easier with the younger boys age 17 and 20. All aspie family members are taking 2 Omega-3 and 4 Nuerolinks from Amen Clinics. They take this dosage 3 times a day and sometimes a “booster” (half dose) late afternoon. Please go to Amen Clinics website and click on the store button and read and read and read. Go get their books. Learn the functions of the brain and how aspie brain wiring tends to be different. The main benefits that my family receives is “brain food”; the omega-3 assist in the general overall health of the brain. It’s like oil for a car engine – just gotta have it, it makes the car or brain run smoothly. The Neurolinks have to roles: the first are the calming affects to areas of the brain that are overactive, it takes away the “noise” and calms it down; then, the other ingredients, amino acids, pick up the activity of the areas of the brain that lag. As one of the Amen clinic doctor’s told me “imagine a person with poor vision who then puts on a pair of prescription glasses for the first time”. Please note that the dosage stated was not taken immediately. We worked on that amount over a couple of months. However, effectiveness was immediate! And, noticeably, with each dose, it takes about 3-5 minutes to get the nutrients to the brain. The next 3-6 months bring remarkable improvements! FYI… if you are not sure what the heck this is all about then please call the clinic and pay for one of their consultants and ask questions! This may not be an answer for all of you, however, I know it works first hand!!! My statement to aspies is to simply know this: today’s science is all about the brain and we no longer just focusing on nourishing the body to be the best athlete or in good health. Also, a side note, we recently started taking one NeuroPS from Amen Clinics twice per day, more brain food. In addition, if this does not phase you or seems expensive then experiment on yourself with foods that may do the same. Example, how do you feel after eating a big piece of salmon (omega-3) and maybe avocado (tryptophan)? Also, another side note – D3 is very affective for Alzheimer’s!!! Mom is taking 3 doses per day of 2000 IU from Bluebonnet Nutrition, another great source of quality supplements. Again, a side note, most psych and medical professionals are way behind in this stuff. Please benefit from this! God Bless!
yay awesome stuff… very complicated though, but still got something out of it by just quickly reading through.. always nice to resonate with like minds:)