azekeil: (Default)
[personal profile] azekeil
On a similar theme to my post about learning methods, there is something else I'm slowly coming to realise. This is obviously my time for 'realising things'. This time it's about interactions and other people.

Now, as people who know me at all or read my journal in the slightest will know, in my early twenties I discovered that the reason I was a little different to others was most likely because I was some way along the autistic spectrum away from 'normal'. Before then, and especially since then, I've gone through large periods of self-doubt around my ability to interact with people. I'm slowly learning to overcome that; that I am actually a reasonable person to interact with and generally likeable (despite what the voices in my head keep telling me. No, scratch that I don't have voices, I have doubts. Whatever.)

I think back to interactions with other people in my past and realise that the thoughts I had at the time, things like "they're just young and immature" and the like. I had doubted and discounted these thoughts as invalid (due to the fact they seemed so damn sure of themselves combined with my position on the autistic spectrum). Yet they keep turning out to be subsequently validated independently and sometimes even by the very people themselves.

I so often lead a life of humility, very much aware of my own shortcomings - yet other people do not seem to have even this amount of awareness about themselves until later, if at all. Possibly this is a blessing in disguise for me, as I have been forced into acute self-awareness by my very differences from the rest of society. What annoys me is that once again I was right, yet I did not have the courage to believe that.

I will not let this turn me into an arrogant twat, as that is what I despise most in others. However I will have a little more courage in my convictions and be less easily swayed by others' opinions. Some might say I'm already quite stubborn about some things, but these things are practical things with little overall impact where the cost of being wrong is not that great. After all, if you don't make mistakes how do you learn?

What gets me with most people is that most prominently they cannot even comprehend that they cannot know their mind in the future. This scares me a lot, actually. If you can't comprehend that you cannot know your mind in the future, how can you make life-altering decisions like whether to be sterilised, or whether to get married, or whether to have children? Yes, there is no certainty to any of it, but if you are so unaware of yourself that you cannot accept that you cannot know your mind in the future, then I guess you will make decisions that turn out to be wrong for you. I guess this is how mistakes are made.. *shrug*.

The trouble with this realisation is it makes me a fence-sitter. I have trouble committing, knowing that I cannot know my own mind in the future. Some might say I have too damn much perspective, myself included.

Know thyself.

Date: 2007-02-12 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've gone through large periods of self-doubt around my ability to interact with people. I'm slowly learning to overcome that; that I am actually a reasonable person to interact with and generally likeable.

eh? I'm suprised you say this. I've always found you be be quite self assured. Maybe lacking in confidence externally but certainly sure of your own abilities.

Is this "work" interactions that are making you think this way?

Re: Know thyself.

Date: 2007-02-12 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, I'm just rather good at hiding it; I've had years of practise and self-awareness, remember? ;)

Actually most of the stuff I'm talking about came after we knew each other. I managed to hermit away a bit too much for anyone's liking and felt me losing myself a bit.

Date: 2007-02-12 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, you can't know how you might feel in the future. However you can know that, right now, you want something and don't anticipate that changing anytime soon, barring circumstances beyond your control. Not knowing how you might feel in the future is not a good reason to not get married, have kids, buy a house, change your job etc. But realising that you might change your mind at some point does (hopefully) ensure that you make sure you have contigency plans.

You choose to have children in the knowledge that you may have to bring them up on your own at some point, or something may happen to you and someone else will need to care for them. You make sure that you know what needs to be put into place if that ever happens, and lay down the groundwork, just in case. You have your children, you bring them up as best you can and you enjoy them before you get too old to have any. The liklihood is that they'll happily outlive you and you'll never regret having them, even if their parents are no longer together or they've had to relocate because of your job, or any of the other things that children survive on a daily basis.

You choose to get married in the knowledge that you may decide in the future that you no longer want to be with this person. You make sure that your finances and commitments can be seperated with as little hardship as possible, and you consider the 'risk' to be outweighed by the benefits that come from commiting your short-term to medium-term life with your partner.

You choose to buy a house in the knowledge that you may decide in the future that you no longer wish to live in it, or can no longer pay the mortgage. You make sure that you've done your research and that you're purchasing it at a reasonable time in the housing market. You take out buildings and employment insurance, and you maintain it well. You look into your possible options should you want to move away or fail to make the payments on your own. (Do you keep it and rent it out whilst buying a cheaper property elsewhere to live in? Do you get a lodger to share the house and the paymenst with you? Do you sell the house and cut your ties to the area it's built in? Can you decide these things as and when you need to?) You consider the 'risk' of buying a house to be outweighed by the benefits of owning your own home for as long as you choose to.

There's a common theme here. You want something that may well not be right for you right up until the day you die. You realise that you may change your mind in the future and wish to reverse your decision. You make contingency plans in case you ever need them, you go in with your eyes wide open, and most importantly of all, you don't allow the fear of changing your mind to stop you from being happy, of from making other people happy, right now.

Date: 2007-02-12 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Just one comment so far: Marriage - I guess my problem then is I take it too literally: "'till death do us part".

And I totally agree - I realise that there is a whole philosophy around having children, for example that 'waiting for the right time' is never feasible as there will always be reasons not to go ahead.

Strangely even though houses and finances are scary, they aren't as scary to me as emotions. As you point out, children cope with the amazing amounts of change they generally have to go through. I can sort out finances without too much problem in the event of change, but perhaps I'm just too precious around emotions to commit.

I agree that I do have a large amount of fear of changing my mind stopping me from committing, but I guess the problem for me has been that I don't see it stopping me from making myself or others happy in the present.

Date: 2007-02-12 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
> And I totally agree

Glad you are agreeing with [ profile] kissycat1000. :-)

Something else which I only learnt recently is that many people on the autism spectrum are strongly against change.

It *may* be the reason why you are reluctant to make life changing decisions even though you've reasoned it a different way.

(If I'm wrong about this it is just a suggestion - I dont know you well enough to tell you what is wrong with you :-)

Date: 2007-02-12 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I guess I know about life-changing decisions.. I've made a few in my recent history, such as uprooting job and home to be closer to [ profile] kissycat1000, and changing job again recently to ensure I was getting paid what I feel I'm worth.

I think it's around uncertainty of emotions rather than change - but it could be either/both/a complex mixture of things I haven't completely thought about (yet).

Date: 2007-02-12 02:55 pm (UTC)
diffrentcolours: (Default)
From: [personal profile] diffrentcolours
I think that there's an element of perfectionism in waiting for "the right time" - as you say, no time will ever be perfect. But you can get to a "good time".

Date: 2007-02-12 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm. I think it's probably safe to say that everyone finds social interaction challenging on some level. Some people find it more challenging than most, and I think I'd probably join you on the "I think I may be one of those people" bench. I think the point is that at least we try, and we make an effort, and to be honest I think you do really well at it. :)

Not knowing one's own mind in the future is a scary thing, but shouldn't keep you from committing - it's everyone's perogative to change their mind. I wish I'd realised that before leaping in all four feet flying to buying a house with someone whom, in a few years' time, I was going to realise was not the right person for me. If I had realised that there was going to be an issue like that I would have planned for contingencies - and because I didn't and was naive about things, I'm in a less-than-ideal situation now. You live and learn. :)

I think it's likely that where your difficulties with social interaction have led you to shy away from committing yourself, mine have led me to bend in the wind - to fit in with what others want because I don't want them to not like me if I say no. Neither is ideal, and both probably result equally as frequently in the making of mistakes as the 'normal' modus operandi. She says, depressingly. :)

Date: 2007-02-12 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yes. Being right in one area doesn't mean I don't make mistakes in another - far from it. I admit my mistakes in terms of commitments. "It's better to regret something you've done than something you haven't", after all...

Date: 2007-02-12 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Totally agree until you started talking about knowing ones mind in the future.

Not sure what I think about that.

Perhaps if it is ok I'll ask you about it next party we are both at. I need *something* to talk about.

Date: 2007-02-12 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Of course!

Would love to talk to you some more; no topic is taboo to me :)

Date: 2007-02-12 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
> I was some way along the autistic spectrum away from 'normal'.

Shockingly enough I only really did my own self diagnosis a couple of years ago - ie early 30s. Frankly as I am a science fiction fan perl coding geek among other science fiction fans and programmers the difference was hard to spot.

> large periods of self-doubt around my ability to interact

Hmmm. I went through that from 10 to 16, 18 to 20 something, and then again for the last two or three years. I currently have very low self esteem largely because of this self doubt and it isnt getting much better.

> once again I was right, yet I did not have the courage to believe that.

Oh yes. This is the fundamental problem with being different. Everyone tells you that you are wrong - and if you are not careful you start to believe it is because of the autism. However more often than not they are just being NT - thinking differently to the way you do - but no more right or wrong.

My problem right now is that friends are giving me contradictory advice: telling me not to trust my own instincts and thoughts and simultaneously telling me not to make my own decisions instead of listening to everyone else.

> I will have a little more courage in my convictions

I used to.... but a life changing experience showed me that I was wrong - my convictions were wrong - that I couldnt trust anyone especially myself - and the end result is that I am fubar.

I need to do as you are trying to do - stand by my own beliefs - except that I am going to lose a few more friends doing it. That hurts.

> life-altering decisions

For me those decisions are about trying to make something constant in a changing world. It is a promise. No matter what changes I will stay with you.

It is a shame I will never believe anyone who says that to me again.

Date: 2007-02-12 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Just in case someone jumps in with specific criticism: I am talking about myself to highlight where I have similar experience. I dont mean to make the conversation "about me".

Date: 2007-02-12 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I assume you have read a lot about autism then if you have self-diagnosed? My revelation came when I got to know [ profile] kissycat1000 as she has an autistic son. She has documented her carefully researched info on autism and how it affects young children specifically here.

I think I am close enough to 'normal' that I realised that I was different to 'normal' people. Up until the age of 7, I would go around hitting people in school who wouldn't do what I wanted, because I didn't understand that they were people like me who felt things. Ever since then I've been playing emotional catch-up.

This realisation at the difference made me think a lot more about self-awareness than I might otherwise have done, to the point that I am more aware than 'normal' people in some areas. As I point out in my post and to a reply to [ profile] easternpromise, this does not make me better, in fact in some ways it's worse!

I can't offer you advice on your specific situation (nor do I feel it would be well received from what you've said in any case), but one thing I did decided for myself was that I wasn't going to let disappointments stop me from enjoying my life. I may have gone a little too far in that view (ref. non-committal), but I would say I'm enjoying the life I'm leading :)

Date: 2007-02-12 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
> I wasn't going to let disappointments stop me from enjoying my life.

Good for you.

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