538: Assumption Junction… the truth of my Aspie words

People who don’t know me well, and some who do, sometimes jump to conclusions and assume things about my intention and motivation behind my writing that aren’t necessarily true. I write to write. It’s largely a processing mechanism.

The problem is that who ever is reading my words will interpret said writing based on his or her own opinions and prior knowledge. In other words, if someone is naturally confrontational then the chances of this same person thinking I am being confrontational in my writing is high. Or the opposite might be true, where a confrontational person might make a judgment call that I am weak because I am not displaying a countering personality. Wherein I might be explaining something for a thousand different strands of reasons, all of which pop in and out of my head through the process of scribing, he or she will make an abrupt conclusion about my intentions that includes perhaps two or three primary reasons (again, based on his or her experience). The worst part of it is when this said party then turns and suggests he/she knows what I was trying to say and why I was trying to say it. When truth be told, I have already played over in my busy mind a hundred times why I said what I said, how I said it, and why I said it.

People don’t often know how long I take to write a response. When I am dealing with an out-of-my-comfort-zone response to someone, for example via email or instant messaging to someone who I do not have a close relationship with about a subject I deem important, I take a very long time to write, upwards to an hour for revisions, rewriting, rewording, reworking, and rereading. I stim through the editing process itself to calm my anxiety over the situation. If I am triggered, particularly by what I interpret as an injustice towards another, it takes me even more time to write. What is difficult then is when I am accused by another to have written something in haste, without thought, at length, or without consideration to the audience or the communication rules of some company or organization. It is hard to digest this type of assumption because nothing is further from the truth. The receiver does not understand that I have painstakingly relived scenario after scenario of possible outcomes of how my words might be interpreted. That I have tried my hardest to follow any rules of communication. That I have pushed myself to shorten all I want and feel the need to say. That I have left out more than 75% of what is really on my mind, and sometimes much more than that.

In example of the revision process, I will write a sentence and then imagine the person/audience reading my words. I then evaluate their potential reaction and adjust in hopes of causing the least amount of miscommunication. It’s not about people-pleasing or avoiding conflict, it’s more so conveying my truth as I see it in the most gentle and kind way (and rule-following way) as possible. To do this I switch around words, I alter adjectives, I choose new phrases, and I clarify repeatedly through transposing my words and readjusting. A draft will be rewritten more times than I can count, and large sections deleted, redone, and deleted again. It never seems to be right enough. Not in a perfectionist way, but in a ‘this is my heart’ way.

I discern ahead of time feasible misgivings or upset on the upcoming reader’s part. This process is exhausting at all levels and causes physical and emotional pain. The most troublesome hurt follows if and when the intended recipient responds in one of the many non-constructive ways I had foreseen him/her responding, and then I see all my efforts were for naught.

People think that the length of my writing equates debate, that length = ego, that length = confusion, that length = selfishness, that length = not caring about the recipient, that length = non-professionalism, etc. etc. I don’t write at length to get my point across or to prove something. Once again, I write to clarify my inner workings and to let the person know my intentions fully. If a part of information isn’t shared that I believe at the time is a pertinent piece of the subject at hand I feel as if I am being deceitful, even as I logically know that by definition I am not. No amount of reasoning fixes this.

I over explain myself in written word as much as I do in spoken word. Particularly when emotionally triggered. And such triggers can come from a variety of sources, especially from others’ behaviors that are not privy to the autistic experience. With all my spiritual studies and practices, a part of me would like to say I am ‘above/ being triggered, but that’s hogwash. I am neurologically wired to be more prone to fight-or-flight responses. (And in my case biologically/physically wired that way, as well.) So, I accept that I get triggered.

It is cumbersome and downright dangerous for me to write (without a lot of editing) after I have been triggered. I cannot help but let some of the emotional upset leak through. As much as I try to pamper and sugar coat the words, this ache of being triggered comes out. And then, even with careful revision, the trigger leaks through. In response, I am evaluated based on the characteristics of my writing. I am labeled emotional, reactive, too concerned, too sensitive, etc. This adds to the initial trigger, and to the continual compounded feelings of being misunderstood and misinterpreted throughout my life. Thus is the prospect of such an invisible disability when held by a person that primarily seems to function at a high-level of ‘normalcy.’

People with autism usually get me. And I in turn get them. I am the first to smile when someone sends me a very long online message. Usually the person is apologizing ahead of time for what they label a ‘rambling.’ And usually I am skimming some of it and finding the golden nuggets of what was written. I get it. I am the same way. I am going on and on about a particular subject whilst at the same time stepping back and observing myself and thinking: Why am I doing this? Sorry! Still, I do it. I process and I stim through words.

I can go through periods of purposeful semi-muteness, wherein I try not to talk at length to anyone. I am mad at myself and the world at that point. And don’t think I can function unless I change who I am, at least outwardly. Usually this state by nature turns me into some type of hermit, where I am only talking to maybe one person I know. It’s the way I retreat and I guess hide from the world. When I have had enough of me and I believe the world has had enough of me, I burrow like a wounded animal licking my wounds and punishing myself for having any form of self-pity and the brain I do. Not long after I come out of it and I am a babbling brook once again.

People who are wired like me understand. They know the ebb and flow of being this self. They know that even we get tired of the non-stop jabber and thoughts and processing. And they, for the most part, accept me unconditionally, with so-called flaws and all. It’s the others that just don’t get it whom I have a difficult time repeatedly associating with.

It’s like this, supposing I am blind: I am blind. I need a different form of communication format to write to you. It’s not typical. It’s not traditional. And it’s accepted. After all you can SEE I am blind.

And then it’s like this: I have autism. I need a different form of communication format to write to you. It’s not typical. It’s not traditional. And it’s not accepted. After all you can’t SEE my disability and I should be able to change. I can adjust. I can conform. I can just communicate like you do. Follow the rules and protocol. And if I cannot then I must be inconsiderate, impossible to train, or stubborn.

But it’s not that way. It’s just not. I cannot adapt without modifications and understanding anymore than the person with a visible disability can. If I was an amputee I wouldn’t be able to grow legs. If I was permanently deaf, my speech would be affected. If I have autism, my brain is different. It doesn’t just change based on suggestion. It’s an impossibility.

Sam’s book Everyday Aspergers is now available internationally on Amazon.

More information can be found at her company: myspectrumsuite.com

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22 thoughts on “538: Assumption Junction… the truth of my Aspie words

  1. Love, love, love this! Your words bring emotions of happiness and relief when I read them. Even writing this short response to you, a million words and ways of responding in, literally the same way, are flying through my head. I feel like responding to someone, or even ‘talking’ in general, for me is like playing a chord of music, with many different notes, how do I just pick one of them to explain myself when I am feeling ALL of them?! This is why I love your posts. I relate. I get where your coming from. This is why I can struggle when I talk to NT’s as I just don’t always pick the ‘right note’ in the chord to express myself. Sometimes I just pick the wrong one and say something that is not 100% in alinement with what I thought I wanted to say. I too like to be exact in what I say because I feel there are thousands of infinite ways I could express what I mean. Even writing a text message to some one, I will edit it, a lot, untill I feel it is exactly right, as I too re-live every possible outcome to how my words will be interpreted. It’s exhausting. NT’s just don’t see this part of this condition. My partner asked me once, how would it be for me in a perfect world. My answer was simple. For people to stop talking so much and communicate on a more telepathic basis of what is in their heart, in an intuitive way, in the most kind and gentle way possible. Sounds so nice…. ☺️

    1. thank you. I couldn’t sleep until someone commented… because I was going through all the outcomes. I can sleep now. Many thanks for your excellently stated words… Yes, like chords… that’s it. Thank you for reading and understanding. 🙂 I agree… intuitive and telepathic… I think my planet was like that before 🙂

    1. I know you don’t expect this when you write and explain to others what it is like to be like us, but I want to thank you…your journals and writings have helped me not feel so alone. All my life I felt like I was cursed and no matter how I tried to get people to understand me it seemed to not matter. I am 39 years old now with 11 year old boy who have aspergers and I am working to get mine too. I used to isolate myself from others thinking I was meant to be alone, because if I wasn’t then I would beable to understand them and me to them. I am just starting out on this journey to begin healing and learning from all the years of being my own worst enemy. Didn’t want to be a long post just had to let you know that I thank God there are people like you that have put journals and blogs online for others like us that have struggled trying to connect.

      1. Much needed and appreciated as I am working on writing a book from my blog and need to be reminded I am helping others as I don’t want to be ego-based.

  2. Dear Sam! My fellow aspie mate, you are heard and totally understood I battle with the exact same issues when it comes not only to writing, but to expresing myself in the most proper way. My mind is constantly overthinking and going through this process of chosing the right words to describe how I feel and what I think. I also imagine people reading what I wrote and their posible reactions while reading it. I’m extremely carefull with redaction, ortography and when my need and anxiety for communicating it’s at the highest point. I find myself constantly opening and closing my good damn blog every half a minute, waiting for the moment that someone make a comment about what I wrote and see if a positive feedback comes out of this. If this doesn´t happens right away. I get so frustrated that I usually end up underestimating the work that I’ve done and diminishing myself, feeling stupid, useless and uncapable of write something that can be interesting for people, even for my aspie friends. I know that for many nt’s this may sound selfish and arrogant but it’s not it’s just that I don’t communicate enough in real life and everytime that I conceive something big and deep about my life, I want to just put it out there and get the most posible feedback so I can know that I’m finally heard.

    1. I completely understand. It’s not ego-based; it’s about a different level of connection. Being seen, understood, and making a difference in a way that is beneficial to others. About being the best version of us. Totally get it and your words help me to feel less alone in this. Best ~ Sam

  3. Oh I am so glad you said this! I have been getting this all the time lately that I have kept everything so short…and so to the point…but that is more exhausting to me than writing more!!! So I am drained even though the readers of whatever I writes are not…and should not writing be a pursuit of personal reflection, beauty and about the person writing?? SO thus I sacrifice the joy but I am not going to anymore…I will sometimes if I feel I am on a limited time constraint but otherwise! I get that ego thing all the time…selfish ect. In fact- my sister in law used to read my blog and she phoned my husband up from a post I wrote about my personal struggles and asked him how he could be married to a neurotic selfish false person like me and “no one can be really like that…you need to grow some balls- are you even happy in your marriage to her? And how she can take courses for counselling to help people when doesn’t she have something like aspergers?” That was TWO years ago and I still hear it every time I post. Sigh. I was floored that I was taken so completely opposite from what I know I am . Heartbreaking. But I know who I am and I refuse to again let anyone like her ( however nice in person) who takes me like that- to be near me often because I guess I can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in me.
    So thank you for writing this because it is heart healing.

  4. I have the same problems. The result of my inability to connect emotionally has classed me as being ‘evil’ by my remaining family members. It’s a disaster and no help. Because of my age, I can’t be classified as Aspergers. The government just want to ignore the ageing population that’s had a life of poverty and now critically ill. Being ignored, bullied and tormented by those who are supposed to love me, is adding to the stress I already experience with the the 5 chronic illnesses I have and it’s contributing to an early grave. HELP!

  5. THE 3MT VENUE/ aspio, please forgive my ignorance but how does age matter when it comes to getting a diagnosis? Here in the UK, you can be tested at any age… If you hit the criteria, you have Aspergers/Autism. (If there was no language delay early on in your life, it will be Aspergers). The waiting list is very lengthy here though, up to a year, due to the shear number of older people coming forward to be tested. But the assessment process would be the same for someone a lot older. I hope you can get some help soon.

  6. I’m so grateful for so many Aspergers bloggers who have helped me better understand thought processes and intentions. It’s helped me become so much more attuned to what a friend of mine likened to Aspergers culture. It’s like another culture, surely, and I’m trying to improve my cross-cultural communication skills by listening more (to great writers like you) and trying to take as much care in my writing as you do in yours.

    1. It is very much like another culture. Each day I live, I notice this more and more. I have to adapt my customs, nature, ideas, speech, sharing, etc. to better fit in. It is wonderful you have put in such an effort to understand. Your positive spirit shines through, as well. Best to you.

  7. Yes! This is exactly how I feel! I always bristle when people call me defensive because of this, in written and unwritten. Mostly it’s with my family, and no one can seem to understand I’m simply trying to explain my thought process when upset about something. It becomes longer than it should be, and I can’t help but feel emotional. Somehow we end up in an argument because of something I said, and it’s “just learn to be more clear. Say what you mean. Don’t beat around the bush.” etc. Then, of course, I get upset and try to work it out, get flustered, and…you can likely guess the rest.

    I feel like I’m better online because, like you said, you can edit and look over what it is you type. (Though when it comes to something I feel really passionate about, that’s not always as easy.) I can’t do that in spoken, though I’ve gotten better and I don’t see near as much confusion. Except, again, with family. It seems like they have the hardest time, which I find strange since they’re around me the most. I’ve volunteered countless times to write out what I’m trying to say for my family, but they won’t let me, because I need to practice being more clear out loud, as if I’m not trying my best and it’s simply that I don’t want anymore conflict.

    The sum up something long and (ha, rambling), it’s very emotionally frustrating on many different levels.

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