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emotions have been one of the trickiest things for me to figure out. being autistic is more of a side issue for me on it, because my entire family has the emotional abilities of two year olds. so there was no where to learn it anyway.

but, when i started therapy forever ago, that was one of the main things we started with. what ARE emotions? how can you tell if you have one? how can you tell if someone else has one? i still have very little clue about other people's, since their cues are too subtle for me.

we actually had to start with "mad sad glad" and it was a full year later before i graduated to "mad sad glad scared lonely". that's still where i am, but i'm good at telling when i have those five.

so i was just stumbling and came across this neat site for kids. it gives explanations of emotions (how to recognize if you or someone else is angry is a good one!). so for anyone who is interested:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/

i've found people are more willing to give proper explanations to kids because they assume adults know certain things that not everyone does know.

i hope other people find it interesting ;)

abifae

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I ended up working on a philosophy degree to try and figure stuff like that out. "What are emotions?" That's not a question that can be answered without first defining all the other related terms, and it ends up taking half a million words and no two people who make it that far will agree anyway.

When you deal with questions like that in therapy the goal is to give you an answer that will keep you from going nuts and make it easier for you to interact with NTs. It's a means to an end. That doesn't mean it's the correct answer. For the most part I never did very well in therapy.

I think Aristotle had some stuff that isn't too hard to follow. I can look that up if you want.

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what ARE emotions? how can you tell if you have one? how can you tell if someone else has one? i still have very little clue about other people's, since their cues are too subtle for me.

People who don't like monster posts, ignore this one.

I may be taking the question too literally, but since this has been on my mind a lot lately, I figured why not post a reply to this? Just so folks know, I have figured out that my past suspicious that I am Aspie are more than suspicions.

The words emotion and feeling are often used interchangeably in common usage, but in more strict psych parlance typically refer to two seperate but related things. A feeling is an inner experience that gives a tone to all your thoughts and often has visceral, physical components. The feeling of anxiety, for instance, can be recognized as a tightness, constriction of the blood vessels possibly along with a higher heart rate, and a general urgent sense to ones thoughts. Thoughts seem more dire or painfully uncertain and thinking is less flexible (than when not anxious). The overall, "gestalt" quality of anxiety is something must be done or else!!! What feelings all have in common is that they are based in our deep biology, are elicited by changes in hormones responding to changes in our body. Some are purely the results of physical demands -- as blood sugar runs down, we well feel hungry -- whereas some are the results of thoughts -- when we recognize what we are looking at is a bear whose blood sugar has run down and is salivating while looking at us, we will feel fear. Everyone has feelings. Sad/morose/miserable, glad/happy/joyous, fearful/afraid/scared, hungry/ravenous/famished, angry/enraged/furious. To name a few.

An emotion is the outward expression of a feeling. This can be anything from a smiley ;) to a temper tantrum to a hauntingly beautiful aria. These are all expressions of feelings (namely, friendly/happy/joy-joy, frustration and rage, and, well, something that feels hauntingly beautiful).

NTs are emoting all day, every day. Studies have demonstrated that non-verbal communication accounts for as much as 80% of the communication between people engaged in conversation, and non-verbal communication is mostly about conveying inner feelings. These emotions convey the most salient, gross information essential to conveying things like intention, emphasis (prioritizing items being conveyed verbally, the non-written equivalents of italics, bold, underlining, and all the shades of emphasis in-between), and context. The last is most difficult to explain. But suffice it to say, a single phrase like "That's a nice shirt," can be a friendly come-on line, a literal compliment, a sarcastic statement meaning something more like "get away from me, loser," a statement of irony at the lack of words to meaningfully express the sublime, and many other things. The difference being in the delivery, i.e. the non-verbal, emotional content communicated.

When a person wants to convey something about how they feel, the most common approach, which for most people is unconscious, is to communicate this non-verbally, through facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gesture, volume of voice, or usually through some combination of these. Most people will, for instance, laugh when something is funny, as opposed to saying with a stony dead-pan "That comment was humorous." (Funny is a feeling we seem to have wired into us without having to learn it from others, though it's a lot easier to pick up on when someone is intending to be funny when you can read their emotional cues.)

When someone speaks, usually they will want to feel that their feelings are being "heard" (a misnomer as this is again usually through entirely non-verbal means). This is another wrinkle for someone with problems understanding non-verbal emotional cues. Even if you do get the intended meaning of a message, if you are not used to communicating emotions, and practiced to the point that doing so is automatic habit, you may not think to show any sign of having received the message. But NTs, just like those with autistic traits, are upset when their feelings are ignored. This is a universal human trait. Sometimes this is an intentionally conveyed feeling, as when someone tries to convey to another that they are needing someone to talk to or are very excited or whatever. Sometimes it is simply wanting another to "get" what sort of mood you're in, without consciously conveying anything. For instance you are feeling wonderful that yo did well on an exam, and are in a general good mood, and you go to say hi to a friend, who is snippy with you and scowls, not seeming to notice at all that you're feeling good, or asking why you seem so happy. This is a more subtle form of ignoring emotions.

So here's an example of emotions in a neurotypical day, probably playing out millions of places around the globe every day of the week:

Boba is Aenea's boss. One morning, he stops at her office door and says "Would you mind digging through the files and pulling out all the clients from last quarter?" In addition to his words, his slightly rigid lower face, raised head and lifted, creased eyebrows indicate what I'm telling you is very important; his smooth tone and casual stance at her office door convey I know you are competent to handle this request; his quick smile right before speaking convey I'm friendly and am happy to see you this morning; his shortness of words and held expression after speaking say I don't have time to talk right now, so that's it unless you need clarification about details; now I'm waiting for you to convey you hear all this... . (Yes, it is possible to convey all this simultaneously without using any words, fairly unambiguously, and this is a fairly typical exchange.)

Now, an NT response (assuming said NT was fully awake and not having a frazzled day; no one is on all the time) might be to make eye contact when Boba pokes his head in the door, show a receptive face, perhaps raising eyebrows and opening the lips a smidgen to indicate that she is listening while receiving the request, and then acknowledge by giving a light smile (I am also friendly and am happy to accomodate your request), and say verbally "You got it." (I won't waste words since I get that you're in a hurry; even words can have non-verbal meaning), finally turning her head and eyes away from Boba and towards the files (I don't need any more details, I'm already working on it, you can go and be assured I'm working on it.)

Let's say Aenea only hears the verbal message ("Would you mind digging through the files and pulling out all the clients from last quarter?"). If she only responds to this, but does so with a flat voice, no eye contact, no other non-verbal response at all, she will still be read as if she is interacting on all channels. What she is (not) saying non-verbally is now up for interpretation, but a fairly common interpretation of these non-communicative emotions might be I'm not happy to see you, I don't care that you're happy to see me, I'm not putting any great importance on what you are requesting of me, I don't think enough of you or your request to acknowledge it, and various other not so good, unintentional messages. In the absolute worst case, taking the message 100% literally, Aenea might verbally respond "No." (That is, no she doesn't mind.) Unfortunately, with the other things being unintentionally communicated by her lack of non-verbal engagement, this might likely be interpreted as the exact opposite of what she actually means. (No, I'm not going to do what you're telling me to do. Fuck off, boss.)

All this communication is about emotion, which is, again, the outward expression of inner feelings. Boba is trying to convey his feelings about his request -- that it's important, that he thinks well of Aenea and knows she can handle it, that he's open to any questions she might have. Note that none of these feelings is as simple as sad/glad/mad. This is because both feelings and emotions become nuanced as people learn with experience to separate out the different emotional "colors," if you will, and mix the primary emotions of sad/glad/mad in different measures. The resulting emotions are rich and textured, very rarely conveying anything as simple as "I am MAD!!! ARRGHHH!!" However, since anger is an outward expression of frustration that has gone too far, and since all people find it frustrating to not have their expressed feelings heard, AND since one evolutionary aspect of anger is that it is meant to be an emotional expression that is wired into us and is hard to ignore, a common situation for people on the autistic spectrum (as well as many people with all sorts of problems communicating) is to experience the very first emotion expressed in an otherwise "unemotional" conversation as sudden anger. This is often the anger that has arisen from the other speakers frustration, which has been building as their emotional communication -- their intentions, emphases, and subtle meanings, have been ignored. At some point, overcome with frustration, they reach a level of anger that is impossible to miss (raised voice, showing lower teeth, jaw forward, eyes wide, etc.) To the suddenly shocked listener, this appears to be sudden anger at some detail that just occurred. Something mysterious. Or perhaps they see the last thing they said must have some horrible flaw, they've done it again! They're an alien, failing to act and speak normal!!! The deep irony is that the listener has literally not done anything wrong. They are simply trying to follow the hidden emotional meanings inherent in what is being said, trying to deduce what is going on in the others mind based on this, all without access to the other persons openly broadcast messages as to what is going on in their head.

Beyond just recognizing non-verbal cues to mean certain emotions, one must be able to contextualize the non-verbal expressions. For instance, when Aenea sees her boss smile as he makes his request, the smile could mean that he is quite happy about having to dig up all the client reports from last quarter, or that he's smiling because he just saved a lot on his auto insurance. But an emotionally healthy Aenea, who has a healthy relationship with her boss (hahaha as if that existed), knows intuitively that the smile is meant for her. She is able to perceive that someone else would find her worthy of expressing positive, warm feelings. And she is able to contextualize this smile from her boss and know that it does not mean, for example I really like you today and it's fine if you don't feel like working very hard. or Hey, sexy, let's get out of here and head back to my place. She has learned to discriminate feelings accross a spectrum and make assumptions based on experience about what this smile does and does not mean. This is what it means to be emotionally well-adjusted. It is the reason emotionally well-adjusted people don't start crying when the mailman says "Hello, how are you today?" no matter how dark and empty is their soul. They have learned not only to discriminate the subtle differences of the friendly smile from the loving smile from the sexy come-hither smile, but they have also learned the "emotional landscape" if you will, the nuanced rules of the social world that create a different emotional tone to the workplace vs. being with close friends vs. meeting friendly new people. Within this landscape, one actually comes to feel differently in different settings and with different people, because, quite simply, as the landscape becomes more familiar and understandable, one knows what to expect.

There's no need to feel fear when you know you are surrounded by people who like you and care about you and whose emotions are predictable and make sense. There's no reason to worry at the office that you'll be judged as a person, as long as you are able to do the work. And there's no reason with friends to feel you'll be judged for your ability to use Microsoft Office. Without such emotional awareness, one would be constantly afraid, not knowing what is okay, how people are seeing them, whether they are being judged, what people want from them. Such confusion will in itself produce feelings of fear and shame and confusion when things do go wrong or there is conflict, and like anyone else these feelings will eventually come out as emotions, but again, having such built up feelings, and seeing that no one is "hearing" them, leads to frustration, which will come out as the emotion anger, because you're human. Not because you have some imbalance of emotions with "too much anger". But because you need to learn how to communicate your feelings and perceive others' communicated feelings. This is the healthy purpose of all emotions. It's what they're for.

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yep. that sounds a lot like what my katharyn explained to me. she spent two years teaching me as much as she could about this stuff (she was raised with autistic foster kids off and on, so she'd had experience). she taught me how to smile, not grimace. and she explained this non-verbal crap.

i still miss a good 80%. but since i was missing a good 95%, it's a huge improvement.

the reason my boyfriend and i get along so well is that we both view the games people play (which is how i end up interperetting most of non-verbal stuff if they say one thing but mean another and one is to guess the meaning by subtle, hidden clues) as time wasters and we both are blunt and honest.

after however long we've been together (a year? two?), we can actually tell the other's non-verbal clues a bit better. but we rely on words.

and one of the main things katharyn taught me: don't just answer yes or no. you'll confuse people (as in your example). she says to use complete sentences. "no, that's not a problem at all" or "no, i don't have time right now" so that everyone knows what was meant.

for some reason though, people at work think i'm really funny. i've noticed a lot of my autistic traits come off more like i am joking. very dry, deadpan humor, but that i'm not being serious. it's annoying. i'm not sure why this is. it also comes off very often as being assertive - which i do like.

if a manager says "can you do this" and i reply "not right now, because i can only do four things at once and i am already at my limit. if you remind me, i'll do it when we slow down a bit" i'm just being serious and honest. it comes off as very straightforward and assertive. so that's a plus.

i think i'm really lucky i had katharyn because she taught me all this and then i got kicked off of disability (declared sane due to the fact that the person i was living with was on disability first and two people who are nuts statistically would not be living together and therefore i was lying - it said so in the report, almost phrased that way. i don't think he used the word "lying" though) so i have to be able to figure people out well enough to work with them. which is hard.

i just tell everyone i work with that i'm autistic and sometimes get overwhelmed and need a break and that i don't always catch what is going on, so be sure that if something is important, to be absolutely sure i got it. *shrug* my managers are all good about it.

okay, i'm rambling now. i need to go get ready for work, and i don't wanna. i'd rather write a long post about communication lol.

abifae

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i just tell everyone i work with that i'm autistic and sometimes get overwhelmed and need a break and that i don't always catch what is going on, so be sure that if something is important, to be absolutely sure i got it. *shrug* my managers are all good about it.

That's awesome. Good for you. :) ( <- non-verbal reminder that I'm not being sarcastic or something ;) )

we both view the games people play (which is how i end up interperetting most of non-verbal stuff if they say one thing but mean another and one is to guess the meaning by subtle, hidden clues)

I used to feel this way about the world. It's helpful to keep in mind though, that these people are not giving out subtle clues contradictory to what they mean so that others can guess at them. They are in fact sending out other messages that they and most everyone they've ever known can read quite clearly, which alter the meaning of what they are saying sometimes dramatically. When you think of it this way -- that the messages are not supposed to be all that subtle or hard to pick up -- you realize, people aren't trying to play a game with you, they just don't know how to speak literally 100% of the time and explain all their unconscious intentions.

I used to get so pissed off at how often I would reply either "Yes." or "No." and people would tell me they heard the opposite word. Neurologically, I now understand this. I even understand that they may literally be hearing the opposite word; that's how strong the non-verbal cues are. They can override the verbal in an NT.

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I used to get so pissed off at how often I would reply either "Yes." or "No." and people would tell me they heard the opposite word. Neurologically, I now understand this. I even understand that they may literally be hearing the opposite word; that's how strong the non-verbal cues are. They can override the verbal in an NT.

that's bizarre! wifezilla says i don't give off nenverbal stuff like "normal" people do. i'm still not sure what it is that i do or don't do, but i can see how that would confuse someone who uses them all the time.

i just read that people see different words in writing based on what they were expecting, and that is in type and should be pretty clear. so i guess it isn't surprising that they'd hear something else based on expectations and non verbal thingies. i mean, everything auditory is pretty much interperative anyway. i know i hear weird things that have nothing to do with what is said all the time. or maybe, in light of what you've said, i am hearing the exact words, but missing so much of everything else, that i'm just as lost ;)

abifae

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"wifezilla says i don't give off nenverbal stuff like "normal" people do"

Yeah..we were just talking about this yesterday. I knew there was something "different" about her right off the bat. Luckily I know enough to not see "different" as "bad". I think it is non-verbal cues..or maybe it is pheromones. Since so much of this happens on an almost subconscious method, who knows?

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My husband had to work very hard with learning emotions but he started at a young age. he says he just stayed quiet (he's pretty quiet mostly anyway)and would just kind of watch what went on in a situation and then he'd piece it together and then assign names to the faces during the experience. as he got older he gave off nonverbal cues so that he wouldn't have outbursts or so that he could give himself extra time to work out what was in front of him. he got mad,sad, and happy early on. The rest he got during school and his teens. Now the few things he has troubles with he discusses with me but mostly he's got a really good grasp of things. His uncle was autistic but lower functioning so for the whole of his life could never work out the differences in emotion no matter how hard people tried to teach him. Even when he was passing in his fifties though in pain couldn't quite get why we were all falling apart in tears next to his hospital bed. It just takes a lot of work and help.

Sorry Jemini I couldn't get through the whole thing(gotta love add) but I'll come back each time and do it a paragraph at a time.

lilie

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My husband had to work very hard with learning emotions but he started at a young age. he says he just stayed quiet (he's pretty quiet mostly anyway)and would just kind of watch what went on in a situation and then he'd piece it together and then assign names to the faces during the experience. as he got older he gave off nonverbal cues so that he wouldn't have outbursts or so that he could give himself extra time to work out what was in front of him. he got mad,sad, and happy early on. The rest he got during school and his teens. Now the few things he has troubles with he discusses with me but mostly he's got a really good grasp of things. His uncle was autistic but lower functioning so for the whole of his life could never work out the differences in emotion no matter how hard people tried to teach him. Even when he was passing in his fifties though in pain couldn't quite get why we were all falling apart in tears next to his hospital bed. It just takes a lot of work and help.

Sorry Jemini I couldn't get through the whole thing(gotta love add) but I'll come back each time and do it a paragraph at a time.

lilie

i wish i'd been able to start it younger, but i had no opportunity until i started therapy in high school. i still don't quite understand the full range people feel (sad versus morose... angry versus enraged), or why they feel things (like jealousy, or pity). and there are some emotions i have never felt and don't think i ever will feel (well, like jealousy or pity lol).

how does your husband assign names to faces? i can't tell the darn faces apart. heck, i can't recognize PEOPLE by their faces, let alone anything like emotions on the faces! i can tell really well in cartoons, though. i think i need everyone to wear masks that have nicely exagerrated smiley or sad or angry faces. then i'd know. human faces are too complex for me to figure it out, and they change too quickly. in a cartoon, i can stare at it for five minutes and decide what the feeling is.

i understand why the uncle didn't know why you were all upset. i wouldn't get that either. he was the one in pain, wasn't he? did you like him an awfully hugely lot? i am sure i'll cry when my cat dies, because she's been a close friend for eighteen years. but when any of my relatives have died, i've been very confused why anyone was upset at all, since they never liked the person. and i really really don't understand why anyone gets upset when someone they don't even know personally dies. i think that's weird. no offense to anyone who does get upset by things like that. (<---- that's called being polite!!)

i took forever to learn to express the emotions though! i still go by the old therapy standard. "i feel <insert emotion> because this happened." and being very careful to not be accusing or to blame someone else for my stuff. it works, too. i use that with anyone i talk to.

my favorite standby is still "nate, pretend i am glaring at you" because i still can't figure out how to make faces. i just tell him to imagine whatever emotion i decide should be on my face since it's too hard to actually make the face. it feels as silly as trying to touch my tongue to my nose!

abifae

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I'm curious when folks here first had treatment or were identified as autistic. I have had so many diagnoses, and the Asperger's label seems to fit, but I didn't figure this out until very recently, in my 30s. When I was a teenager, I remember smiling when I was happy, but not really at other people. I had a therapist who told me I was obviously filled with a lot of anger, and I blew up at him and said "Fuck you! I'm not angry!" And I truly thought he must be a quack. I also remember that I didn't really make eye contact with people until maybe when I discovered drugs at 16 or so.

At this point, I have had more relationships and friendships and have learned a lot, and feel so much more part of the larger world. Enough so that I'm feeling more and more comfortable finding people to confide my fears in. I definitely get why people feel upset when other people they don't know personally die, but I have never felt this as an actual feeling. And yet, in another way, I feel compassion for everyone. I can feel very emotional watching some movies, and I have had a friend die which was very painful. Also very painful when my cat died when I left for college. I have always had an affinity for animals, as if I instinctively speak their language, and for children up to maybe teenagers, and for other people both in my personal life and public figures who have rather autistic ways. I like geniuses and savants. Beautiful minds. Freaks and geeks.

Sorry rambly. I'm just trying to learn more about autistic culture, and I know I'm being half clueless, half not so clueless. Duh.

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"in a cartoon, i can stare at it for five minutes and decide what the feeling is."

I personally think Max has learned more by watching cartoons than anything else...maybe for the very reason it worked well for you. He would watch a scene or a particular character over and over (we burned out about 10 VCR's over the years) until he understood it.

Then when a similar situation in real life would occur, he would reply in the cartoon character's voice and repeat the character's lines. As profoundly effected as he is by his autism, this is freaking brilliant if you think about it. Hell, hubby and I figured out what he was doing and it made sense to us ;)

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I think(not completely sure about this) but I think my husband "landmarks" faces to remember people. The redhead with the freckles is "lisa" or the black haired guy with the weird blue eyes is "joe", or the short browned haired girl with glasses and a mole is "elena". stuff like that. I have no idea what happens if someone dyes their hair or strays from their standard mode of dress. We were all very,very close to his uncle and very upset at watching him suffer so the tears were pouring as he was dying. It took my husband a long time to make eye contact and it's still hard but he LOVES cartoons. They're very easy for him. He can get emotional in an empathic way too maybe it's the underlying gift that sometimes is suppressed.

emotions are hard for everyone especially when folks aren't genuine but by the end you end up managing okay eventually

lilie

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I'm curious when folks here first had treatment or were identified as autistic. I have had so many diagnoses, and the Asperger's label seems to fit, but I didn't figure this out until very recently, in my 30s. When I was a teenager, I remember smiling when I was happy, but not really at other people. I had a therapist who told me I was obviously filled with a lot of anger, and I blew up at him and said "Fuck you! I'm not angry!" And I truly thought he must be a quack. I also remember that I didn't really make eye contact with people until maybe when I discovered drugs at 16 or so.

At this point, I have had more relationships and friendships and have learned a lot, and feel so much more part of the larger world. Enough so that I'm feeling more and more comfortable finding people to confide my fears in. I definitely get why people feel upset when other people they don't know personally die, but I have never felt this as an actual feeling. And yet, in another way, I feel compassion for everyone. I can feel very emotional watching some movies, and I have had a friend die which was very painful. Also very painful when my cat died when I left for college. I have always had an affinity for animals, as if I instinctively speak their language, and for children up to maybe teenagers, and for other people both in my personal life and public figures who have rather autistic ways. I like geniuses and savants. Beautiful minds. Freaks and geeks.

Sorry rambly. I'm just trying to learn more about autistic culture, and I know I'm being half clueless, half not so clueless. Duh.

i had several friends figure it out seperately and both come to me lol. my closest friend was raised with lots of foster kids and several were autistic and her husband is aspergers and she noticed almost immediately. as she put it "i knew i could sit you down with him to talk and neither of you would get into any social trouble". and my girlfriend at the time had researched tons of MI and after we were together a year or so gave me stuff to read about it and i thought "wow, that actually fits."

i am almost positive i had dx of either/or autism/schizophrenia growing up because i was given various meds off and on, and i was given free reign at school to leave anytime i got over stressed or just needed to run my hands along the bricks of the buildings. since no one ever spoke to me about it, and just let me wander (i was in early elementary school), my father must have talked to them.

when i talked to my parents about it, my mom was just baffled (you did what? you did? oh.) and my dad said "i always knew you were different. i mean, all you kids are different, but you are more different than they are". gee thanks. so i don't know what the dx actually was when i was younger lol.

so i was about 24 or so when i realized there was anything going on. and then my friend katharyn spent a couple of years workign with me a LOT on facial expression, social cues, social rules, all that crap. if it weren't for her, i wouldn't be holding down a job right now!!!

i've also always had more affinity for any mammal that wasn't human. and, like you, i prefer beautiful minds, freaks and geeks. *grins*

abifae

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I think(not completely sure about this) but I think my husband "landmarks" faces to remember people. The redhead with the freckles is "lisa" or the black haired guy with the weird blue eyes is "joe", or the short browned haired girl with glasses and a mole is "elena". stuff like that. I have no idea what happens if someone dyes their hair or strays from their standard mode of dress. We were all very,very close to his uncle and very upset at watching him suffer so the tears were pouring as he was dying. It took my husband a long time to make eye contact and it's still hard but he LOVES cartoons. They're very easy for him. He can get emotional in an empathic way too maybe it's the underlying gift that sometimes is suppressed.

emotions are hard for everyone especially when folks aren't genuine but by the end you end up managing okay eventually

lilie

i kind of do that. i can pick out hair color, height, pitch of the voice (high and whiney, or deep). but if people change their hair, i really dont' recognize them anymore. my manager did that a week ago, and i still can't find her when i look for her.

i can understand feelign sad if you were close to someone. i'll be very sad when my nate dies.

i think if everyone were honest with their emotions, not only would the entire world be nicer, but autistics would have a much easier time learning to tell emotions.

ps wifezilla - max is awesome! i do that too sometimes. or i quote books. because obviously it worked for them, maybe it'll work for me!

abifae

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This topic is wonderful. I'm learning so much these days. (Like, for instance, why the Klonopin I took last night and today has spun me down from schizo to relaxed and clear. Overstimulation is still a problem I can't see a simple solution to, other than getting adjusted to the fact that I have Asperger's. Walk around Walden Pond the other day helped a lot, but I quickly revved up again when I got home, maybe because I'd already been so stressed before the walk.

I would love to hear more. I may need to peruse this area of the boards more. Still, this conversation is fascinating me. In some sense, I didn't really "get that there was stuff going on" until age 14. In fact, I can remember the day, where I was, walking home from school, and the thought itself. In another way though, as life keeps going, I keep having such "getting it" moments every few years, understanding more. What's weird is I understand enough about the world to be tuned in to very large things, like politics and religions and community things, but my ability to handle direct contact with most people is a constant struggle. I can be very charming and make friends easily when in a group dynamic, but as people get to know me more personally, things go seriously wrong.

A friend who is very close commented the other day that I had become more honest recently, and that this was having a very good effect on her. I am wondering now, in light of something abifae said, if she perceived that my change of heart in how I was communicating was actually about me suddenly getting honest, as opposed to the truth, which is that I've always been honest, but haven't always had access to my feelings. Not only autistics are like this -- everyone does things like this, and it's not dishonesty so much as confusion about what they are feeling deep down inside. Of course, there are also dishonest people. Heh.

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dishonest for an end, then there is dishonest for the reason that honest was always 'known' to be wrong, i think what jemini is talking about. not accessing for own benefit as much as to save anyone else's pride or something (not making too much sense perhaps).. like,

don't look at me don't look at me, i feel too deeply and you're being creepy.

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A friend who is very close commented the other day that I had become more honest recently, and that this was having a very good effect on her. I am wondering now, in light of something abifae said, if she perceived that my change of heart in how I was communicating was actually about me suddenly getting honest, as opposed to the truth, which is that I've always been honest, but haven't always had access to my feelings. Not only autistics are like this -- everyone does things like this, and it's not dishonesty so much as confusion about what they are feeling deep down inside. Of course, there are also dishonest people. Heh.

i think there is a difference between lying to oneself first, and then lying to others is only a by-product of self delusion.

then there is lying intentionally. either for your own benefit or to help someone else.

i keep being told by others there is a moral difference between all of these, but i've never seen it. i think lying to myself through self delusion or fear is just as bad as intentionally lying to someone.

there are times i will choose to lie, even though i think it is a Not Good thing, to benefit myself or others, but i do try to have thought it through and actively choose to lie.

in my morality, it is the choosing that matters most.

and that quirk right there, i am almost positive, causes the most problems in my ability to fathom "honesty" from most people. they have SUCH a different concept of it. i'm not sure i even understand where their concept is built from.

so add to the completely different view of what "truth" vs "lies" IS, and then add autism and a lack of catching on to subliminal cues... well, i'm screwed in social situations. lol.

i think this is a neat topic too ;) i'm glad other people are enjoying it.

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