T Nation

Thread for People On the Spectrum

Let’s detail our perspectives on numerous topics, world views, differentiations from neuro-typical individuals.

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I do not quite understand a lot of the ways in which ppl act “polite” when both parties would benefit by just telling the truth or not participating. It’s literally a lose-lose situation

For example, in Chinese culture, it’s considered polite when having guests over to prepare a large excess of food. In the past, this made sense because people were literally starving, but this tradition continues despite people having an excess of food.
Guests will literally say “I’m so full, pls no more food” and yet the host still feels oblidged to order/prepare more (creating food waste and spending more money/effort)

Also I’d like to know your thoughts on loss/grief. IDK if it’s being on the spectrum or something more sinister, but I’ve never really felt much sadness around death, whether in the family or reading about it in the news. I find that stories about animals being hurt or the economy going down affect me much more

Finally, any advice/stories about dealing with the opposite sex would be much appreciated. I’m not interested in a relationship now, but I like learning

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Wow… It’s like reading a page out of my own mind.

I can’t fathom this concept, particularly in relation to social dynamics and interactions with individuals and peer groups. Lying and/or dismissing truthful correspondence for the sake of “being polite” is a fallacy and typically ends up (as you’ve stated) akin to a lose-lose scenario.

If someone doesn’t want me to attend an event, if a date isn’t having a good time etc don’t beat around the bush, lie or try convince me otherwise; then go home, speak about me behind my back after which I hear the truth from a third party. This only serves to make me resentful, irritated, upset, angry and reigns in an omnipresent sense of rejection. Rejection still stings when someone is upfront, however other aforementioned emotions aren’t as powerful when the truth is flat out stated from the beginning. I also tend to lack respect for/believe someone is a coward or lacks integrity when they don’t have the balls to simply speak their mind; the ability to be transparent is an admirable quality to me… I’ve been told my appearance can be somewhat intimidating (heavy scarring and I look quite a lot older than I actually am)… Tough shit, tell me the truth dammit…

There’s a decent movie called “the invention of lying” set in an alternate universe wherein for whatever reason individuals are incapable of lying and have to tell the truth. Sometimes I legitimately believe the world would be better off if we were all like this. If you’re religious and don’t find critiques of religion funny I would avoid this film, otherwise it’s quite an enjoyable watch.

I can’t make a judge of character based off forum posts however I somehow doubt you’re a psychopath, sociopath or narcissistic if that’s what you’re getting at. Initially growing up people thought I was cold, as my father once stated “a little bit blunt, the potential to be cruel”, though I wasn’t a bad guy/cruel; I just came across as blank/emotionless like a vulcan from star treck. At the time I had trouble discerning differing emotional responses, so I would just state “I don’t feel X emotion the way you do”. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel, it was that I felt within a slightly different nature and had trouble expressing these emotions. Perhaps it took/still takes a greater stimuli to evoke an emotional response from me, and perhaps my emotions in response to certain stimuli/dynamics aren’t inherently appropriate (laughing during dramas and/or films known to be “very sad”), but I feel.

What really helped me in this department was owning a dog. Slowly but surely I grew to become attached to this sweet, innocent, adorable, kind hearted creature. It helped me discern and gauge numerous emotional responses like love, anxiety (when she was gone and I didn’t know what happened to her), joy etc. Owning a dog has been one of the most therapeutic/breakthrough experiences in relation to allowing me to blend in with a neuro-typical society.

As to grief/death, it certainly affects me; though probably not to the same extent as it does others. I’d imagine I’d be heartbroken if my twin/my parents died, even the thought is extremely uncomfortable to think about. A palpable feeling of dismay is prevalent when a distant family member dies, but at the same time I’m not bawling my eyes out. I’d gauge this is normal/acceptable.

As to the news… It doesn’t affect me directly. I think tragic events throughout the course of history/deaths in the news are shocking, and human rights violations throughout numerous nations today are abhorrent, at the same time I don’t have an emotionally charged response to merely hearing about these atrocities on paper/TV or even watching footage (i.e WWII footage). I think it’s horrible, but I’m not crying over it; I feel too disconnected from the event at hand.

I’ve never been particularly interested in a romantic/emotionally intimate relationship either. As to dating… Practice… Try learn how to read social ques/body language (very difficult for us), despite wanting to tell the truth all the time (and I too think everyone would be better off this way) sometimes White lies are the way to go as others will sometimes view the truth as insulting… That’s about it.

If I recall you are asexual right? You’d have to disclose this almost immediately as sexual interaction is an aspect of (most) healthy romantic relationships. When I’m not on antidepressants (I have major depressive disorder) I am definately interested in sex, and I enjoy hooking up/sexual activity. That being said I have virtually no interest in an emotionally intimate romantic relationship. My interest in sex is primarily driven by lust as opposed to a desire for a more intimate connection with a given partner.

Should be noted I’m not some shit heel who strings partners along or anything. If things get to the point wherein it looks like a hook up is possible I quickly make this apparent as not to elicit any confusion/mixed messages.

@brickhead it should also be noted there are varying degrees of being “on the spectrum”. We aren’t all alike, even those (like me and Anna) of the high functioning variety.

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For some, it’s not about politeness. It’s about display of wealth. For some (like me), I just don’t want my guests to feel that they have to limit what they get because they’re thinking if the other guests will have enough. I want my friends to have a good time because food brings people together (specially for me and my friends). I hate wasting food too though, so if there are left overs, I guess that’s lunch for tomorrow…and the day after lol. Good thing I ordered good food.

If you want a glimpse of unconditional love, get a dog

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One can also simply avoid truth and falsehood at the same time. That’s part of being polite in some cases and avoids human conflict. Of course people can go about life “telling it like it is” and see the resultant human conflict.

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Exactly!!! If I fucked up, I want to know that I fucked up.
It’s even worse for me because this kind of intention hiding, obsequious behaviour is baked into Chinese culture. @whang @dt79

I’ve seen this and completely agree with your assessment

My mom said the same thing about me! Funny story, the reason I got diagnosed was because of an inappropriate comment I made to a classmate about her grandmother’s passing.

For me, I just don’t understand why there is so much significance put on death. It’s something that’s inevitable and irreversible (thst mag change some day). Of course, it’s reasonable to take precautions to avoid it, but it’s going to happen and if the person lived a fruitful life and the life wasn’t taken unjustly, they’re just “moving on”

Good. Then I’m not crossing any concerning barriers

Haha there’s a reason I study behavioural science :joy: it gives me a “reasonable” explanation of why people act differently than I would or economic models would predict
First impressions and non verbal cues are particularly interesting to me and I’m working on a project right now.

Reading research has definitely helped with my communication. Now, before I speak, I run the words through my head and “check” for social appropriatness (like grammarly :joy::joy:)

Yes. However I’m very interested in sex- not participating in it, but the biology, neurology and social psychology behind it

I want a relationship more to satisfy a need for emotional stability and for the financial benefits of marriage (eventually)

I’ve had a hamster, dog, goose and a cat. I much prefer cats

This makes sense. I brought this up because it’s a very salient example right now. We have some very dear family friends who I think genuinely derive pleasure from helping others. They go out of their way to help us and often refuse help themselves (We sneak in gifts and stuff) they’re basically family
We have semi-regular dinners together and every time, they, or us, prepare a massive feast (the grill nights).

Here’s the catch- the husband is obese and has the intention of losing weight, the dinners are expensive, and every time, both my mom and them acknowledge that there’s way too much food

I’m writing in all seriousness here. After reading this, a typical person would wonder why you’d want to involve yourself romantically with the opposite sex at all. They might even question if you have empathy or sympathy for them or their family members. Can you imagine a spouse reports loss of his parent or other relative and the other isn’t even moved by the death of an in-law? One might even question if there would be affection for their children.

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I’m inclined to agree with BrickHead here that your relationship goal seems like a business transaction, and a similarly-oriented roommate might better fit the bill. I cannot imagine being interested in someone who wants me for my income and willingness to share in chores, and who will be my friend, but potentially, given the lack of empathy common to the spectrum, not a very good friend.

I would also offer, as concerns death, that both @anna_5588 and @unreal24278 are very young, and have yet to lose a mainstay of their lives. Anna, you speak with immense affection for your brother - people lose these sometimes, to car accidents, suicide, cancer - and it leaves a gap that the loss of a grandparent you’ve seen 4-6 times a year, for example, doesn’t.

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Good post. I remember her asking if no sex in a relationship is acceptable, or something to that affect. This is not a put down, but telling someone like this, “please, never get married,” for the sake of the other person is not unreasonable.

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@BrickHead
Good points
@EmilyQ
You’re right.
I’ve never experienced “real loss” so I can draw any conclusions as to how I would respond
This roommate idea is definitely worth considering I would like my future relationship to resemble the relationship between warren buffet and Charlie munger

I found this very interesting article

Much of it resonates with me. Anyone else have thoughts?

How much semblance to asd would a lack of emotional nourishment, support or modeling have? Or in some cases neglect and/or trauma?

I’ve often wondered about this. I’ve seen a few parents fishing for a diagnosis and even making their own a few times, and the common theme among them is a lack of ability to exist within their own emotions, let alone support another person’s (their child).

There was a kid at my sons daycare whose mother was doing this. Everything in their lives was dumped on the kid as being his fault, she was obnoxiously outspoken about all of their goings on (his doctor won’t diagnose him… His dad is back on drugs/in jail again…) and she would literally grab your hand and try to yank an emotional response out of people (me, daycare workers).

So everybody would say “oh, Billy is autistic…” while he spit on and attacked other kids.

I finally responded that no, he isn’t. He’s emotionally damaged and neglected, but he doesn’t have the vacant emotionless affect of a kid on the spectrum. His mom is a doctor shopper and won’t take ownership of her role as a parent. That raised some eyebrows.

I also have my own experiences of emotional and physical trauma which made for some difficult to parse out problems in early childhood, as I was very closed off. There was a lot of testing and stuff to see if I was “retarted or something” (contemporary terms readers, don’t get pissy). Turns out I was not. Just unable to communicate what was going on inside due to lack of vocabulary, shock, and just straight horror.

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Learned another new word on this forum today lol.

I think Chinese people generally don’t express their feelings but the kind of behaviour @unreal24278 described has more to do with China culture than Chinese culture.

My parents were never intimate in front of me and my siblings. It was always a very “regulated” environment when we were present but we were always taught to be upfront about things but keep our emotional problems to ourselves and never overtly display them.

I’ve stated before I don’t have the ability to feel anxious because from young my dad would slap me if I displayed any signs of anxiety but my brain is now wired to experience more intense feelings of guilt than the average person. Perhaps it’s to compensate for this imbalance. It’s pretty complicated.

But this is a traditional Chinese family from MY generation. I’m a late gen Xer. Millennials and kids from more “Westernized households” weren’t brought up this way and the present generation was brought up in even less strict environments.

Back to the topic, it’s interesting because I was recently speaking with an associate from China who relocated to where I live, which consists of mostly Chinese people, and doesn’t plan on going back.

One of the reasons for why he didn’t like living in China was because his colleagues and friends were like that and he had to think twice before confiding in them certain intimate certain stuff lest he got stabbed in the back or something. He doesn’t feel that way here because people are more easy-going and unassuming. This is from what he says.

I have the same sentiments after doing business there for over 15 years but I assumed it was mostly a business thing. My wife told me things similar to what he told me but she never went in depth into it so I just brushed it off as a Chinese thing.

So I asked her if what he told me was that serious and she said, ‘Yes’.

Let’s put it this way. I can dress like a bum and have coffee in the lounge of a 5 star hotel here and no one is going to give a fuck and I’m going to get good service as long as I pay the bill. In China, I’d get dirty looks from the waiters and they’d give me a fucked up attitude while serving me.

I think the transition from communism and extreme poverty to present day China has created a very superficial society. That’s the main problem. It’ll gradually resolve itself in the next generation and future ones.

On the flip side, lots of the guys whom I know on a personal level, mostly clients/ex-clients and business associates who live there have a very strong code of honour(义气 yi qi) and look down on this kind of behaviour unless it’s done in business. Then it’s regarded as strategy, not a personal trait.

They regard such behaviour as a “womanly thing”. (Shut up, feminists. This is what THEY think, NOT ME. And they’re mostly in their 50s and 60s so cut them some slack.)

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A lack of percieved emotional response is almost universal amongst the spectrum. That being said actual cruel/malignant actions aren’t.

Not being able to gauge/express emotional response, body language and social ques = normal for those on the spectrum

Cruel/malignant actions, bullying and harming others = totally not normal, doesn’t encompass ASD. If anything those on the spectrum are more prone to falling prey as Billie’s next victim.

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The word "富“(wealth) is basically a “roof” covering an abundance of “grain (田)” enough to fill your “mouth (口)”, which probably indicated a wealthy household in the era it was created. I guess that’s how the tradition started.

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If this is here in the US, I’m not surprised. Food is so affordable here, generally speaking. Besides, once you get to their age and have some money in the bank, you’ll realize that sometimes, there’s not much to do with money except…well…buy stuff. Lol

@dt79 makes sense!

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I’ve been telling people this is why Chinese people do so well in IQ tests. The written language itself is full of associations of symbols and stuff that’s taught to kids as soon as they learn how to write. This is why I don’t think we’re smarter than other races and ethnicities and worldwide IQ stats and rankings are deeply flawed.

Yup! Chinese is actually a very rich language the way its written

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Can’t say I’ve ever been diagnosed on the spectrum, but this right here to me is the single worst facet of our society. In my experience, almost 100% of the time the truth is withheld under the pretense of “not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings” or to be “polite,” but it’s complete bullshit. It’s about preserving your own self-interest and avoiding any effort to resolve conflict–selfishness and laziness. This in turn generates a vicious cycle of shit wherein nobody knows HOW to handle conflict, because they never face it. So when they are forced to confront it, it’s done so in toxic and destructive ways. So when shit inevitably blows up, it reinforces the notion that they should just lie in the future.

For whatever reason, I feel I’ve always intuitively known this, or perhaps it was the way I was raised. But since I was a child, I was never capable of lying. It just seemed like too much work keeping track of alternate realities. Even in situations where I’m out with a group of friends and we all have an unpleasant dining experience, all my friends will say “Oh great! Thank you so much!” when the server gets around to asking how everything was. I never hesitate to say “It was actually too salty and a little overcooked.” Needless to say, I’ve quickly lost some potential friends at this point, but the ones stick around love and accept it about me. Ironically, every time the server will always be appreciative of the honest feedback. I like to think it helps the restaurant improve more than the bullshitters who then go home and leave a shitty review on Yelp. While I hate the bullshit notion of polite lying, truth presented with tact is very beneficial IMHO.

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