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Featured ASD/NT relationships - NTs need for validation

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by sisselcakes, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Okay, everyone. I need your input. Have you run into the issue of NTs needing "validation"? I'll tell you why I ask.

    My ex (still friend) and I broke up and went back and forth for 10 months before realizing we needed to cut it out. It's emotionally exhausting. I told him, and he agreed, that I think we are 1/2 soulmates and 1/2 toxic for each other.

    We encountered challenges with each other. I had difficulty accepting certain behaviors (anger outbursts and him disputing my observations/comments all the time- invalidating interactions for me) and he had to deal with my depression and low energy.

    Sadly, we failed to communicate like we should have, so lots of things have come out during our break-up discussions. We also screwed up by failing to continue to see our therapist who had really helped.

    While I've learned a ton on here and through reading other material, there are certain things I still can't understand. One example is I used to ask him for compliments and he did give them sometimes.

    Later, I realized what really bothered me was an overall lack of validation. By validation, I mean just listening to me and accepting how I felt without having to contest or dispute what I said. This is ultimately what caused us to break up in a dramatic, emotional moment when I really needed understanding and support and he responded in a matter-of-fact way.

    So, here is a run through of our conversation.

    Me: Why is it so hard for you to give compliments? Did you ever look at me and just think "she looks pretty?" What's so hard about actually saying the words?

    Him: You just don't understand me.

    Me: But how hard is it to just say the words? Words have a lot of power. Women like to be complimented.

    Him: Well, I think doing things for someone shows more love and I always did things for you.

    Me: I appreciate those things, but I don't understand why you can't believe me when I say what I wanted, even if it didn't make sense to you, and you just try to do them.

    Him: It doesn't make sense to me. Me, spending an hour in the kitchen cooking dinner, shows more love than some words.

    Me: Okay. I know you look at the logic of things, but can you use logic to understand that people need different things? If I tell you I need "such and such", can't you see that as logical?

    Him: You just don't understand (or something to that effect).

    So, if any of you have had this experience with NTs, I'm hoping you can help me understand because he has difficulty explaining it in a way I can understand. I suspect he has alexithymia, but it seems like more of a challenge doing something he feels is fake. Maybe? I'm just totally lost on this.

    Did he actually understand that I needed something different from him, but there was some block on doing it? Is it that his own logic won't allow him to go against what seems right to him? Is it uncomfortable to force something that feels unnatural or doesn't make sense? Is he just stubborn?

    I know you don't know him, so you can't say for sure; but I was hoping if any of you have had similar experiences, you could explain to me what it's like for you.

    He actually gave me an inadvertent compliment that is much nicer than anything he could have said about my appearance. He said he wanted me in his life, even if we aren't "together", because he loves me. He'd rather have me in his life as a friend than not at all. He also said that I was the one person who he felt comfortable with and who understands him (for the most part!)

    I'll admit it. Even though I know we will never work out, I do love him a lot and still maintain a little bit of hope that we could work out.


    Thanks, as always.
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata But this is my happy face.....

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    Maybe you need to work on this. Relationships grow and can become better. Hope you give this a chance. It's not a black and white answer, it's areas of gray. Why do you have such a great need for validation? Are you extremely insecure? Does he make you feel insecure? Does he need validation? Can you come up with a better way to describe this to him? Perhaps communicating this differently will help him understand. Best of luck to you.
     
  3. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think the idea on your other thread about focussing on yourself is the way forward here. It's easy to get sidetracked onto how you wish he would be or what you find difficult about him, but it just stops you from working on your own issues, which are the only ones you have any power to change.

    Forget about analysing him, and work on yourself. You would care less what he thought or did if you were more confident in yourself and believed in yourself, so why not work on that with a therapist or in other ways, like taking some classes and joining an interest group for example.
     
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  4. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    We made those things into a humorous thing.
    Coming back from the hairdresser,I know I'm supposed to compliment.
    So I giver her a strange stare,then say the words.
    It takes me about a week to 'get used' to it.
    Before I can answer.

    If I suspect she wants a compliment and I don't know what for I say
    'is this a trick?'
    'is this one of those things where you want me to say something?'

    These developed over a long time.

    The is this a trick one, usually funny,as we both knows it refers to the type of situation in your example.

    Both flexible in the responses we need.
    (Your example neither of you are)

    In early days I would argue - I don't know. It isn't real (or not honest,a week hasn't passed yet)

    Does your friend remain silent instead of saying what he thinks sometimes?
    Him saying what you want is really the same thing as being silent if you think about it in the right way.
     
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  5. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    My husband who is the nt needs a lot of validation and to be fair, I need validation too, so it is not a about conditions here.

    I do see your ex's point though, because my husband is very good with saying things and I want more of the doing things from him. I rather, he put his arms around me, than call me pretty, for example, because the action is more powerful.

    If he does the washing up, then to me, he is saying: I respect you and want to help you. If he said: I will do the washing up, but doesn't, then it is negligable to me.

    I prefer actions over words.
     
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  6. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for your support. I appreciate it.

    I'm not sure I need more validation than any other NT woman. I'm not generally needy, though I have my moments. I'm not an insecure person either. I believe the impasse that I felt between us when discussing the compliment thing threw me. I can normally understand his point of view, but I was lost on this one.

    I have this need to understand, because when do, I feel reconnected to him (in a healthy, not enmeshed, way). Our gaps in mutual understanding create like a hollow emptiness between us (that I believe only I feel). It's very hard to explain with words, so I apologize if I'm not communicating this well.

    What confused me was how he suggested that he almost can't do it. I was wondering if it might be impossible to do something (give compliments) if it doesn't make sense to him. I was wanting others' feedback because he seemed to have trouble explaining it, responding that I just don't understand him- which is true! LOL

    The irony here that just occurred to me is that we both have a need to understand things, for things to make sense to us. He has trouble doing something that makes no sense to him and I need things to make sense to feel comfortable and settled. That was a mini-epiphany!

     
  7. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you for the reminder! You are right. My friend actually said to me the other day, "I wish you focused on yourself half as much as you focus on him!"

    I had this need to understand him in order to feel that connection you should feel with another person, otherwise there is an uncomfortable chasm. I'm not talking about an unhealthy connection (neediness). I'm talking about the connection I easily feel with my other loved ones. While I love him a lot, perhaps this divide has nothing to do with our brain wiring being different. Maybe we just aren't compatible, period.

    Though we are not in a relationship anymore, you can see that I'm still pondering things, trying to figure out if we could have worked it out. I will admit, hope dies hard. I think I'm in the bargaining stage of grief, where I'm trying to think of things I (or we) might have done differently.

    Did you see what I did there, focus on him the whole time? LOL! I appreciate your response and I do agree with you. I have a tendency to put my energies too much into others when I should be looking at myself.
     
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  8. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

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    If you ever start a relationship again with an autistic man realise that we really communicate via pictures, not words!.

    so like Suzanne said ,touching is the way we really communicate! with humans !and other animals! and I still have a problem Communicating with cats( I am constantly saying to the cat “I don’t know what you want” ), for me it’s what I can understand is pretty ( for instance I have lived 23 years with a female neighbour ( next door )and once in those 23 years, I complimented her on her clothing, that’s the way I am )I think autistic people are naturally very modest ,so the clothing that some people wear ,would make us very uncomfortable! psychologically !and especially! if a man would have a Problem expressing femininity, if you cut off that part of yourself, it dies and it will take a lot! to bring it back to life!
     
  9. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes! This is it- "In early days I would argue". That's us. He will dispute something that doesn't make sense to him when I just want him to accept something I say. Then I realize, would I just accept something someone tells me, without any critical thinking? No!

    It's nice you and your wife/partner developed a style that works for you. I will admit that I may not have always given him the credit he deserved. Something I did occasionally was ask him, "What do you like about me?" You can probably guess how challenging that was for him. He would scrunch up his face and I could almost see the wheels turning. After a pause, he'd come up with a really sweet answer. Usually it was something much more meaningful than a comment about my appearance - like his acknowledging that I'm compassionate or that he felt comfortable with me because I understood him well.
     
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  10. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Wow, so interesting you mention the picture vs. words thing. Once, I drew a picture of a flower getting watered as a visual reminder of a person's need for attention/validation. I put it up on the fridge. I never thought he noticed it after the first time I showed it to him. When we had our break-up heart-to-heart discussion the other night, he recalled it. I was shocked he remembered.
     
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  11. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    It also might help if you read, together with your friend, The Five Love Languages Book by Gary Chapman. Your friend might be more accepting if he understands that your way of expressing and interpreting love is different than his. You need to learn each other's love language so you can express yourself in the way your partner can understand and interpret correctly.
     
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  12. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My ex clearly needs validation, though I'm not sure he would even think of it in such terms, because he has commented many times that he feels comfortable with me because I understand him- that I'm the one person who understands him the best. That's definitely a form of validating him- my acknowledging and accepting who he is.

    There is a book on love languages that talks about how we experience the receipt of love. I'm more of a words and acknowledgment person. He is more of a doing and spending time together person. So, conditions aside, we all have our preferences that way.
     
  13. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Ha! While I was commenting about this book in another message, you were writing a recommendation of this book. I actually have it. I'm superficially familiar with what it's about. I think I'll look at it more closely.
     
  14. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think your mini- epiphany may help :)

    Is the reason you're unable to accept and love him exactly the way he is because you want to change him into something YOU personally are more comfortable with?

    Perhaps You are more used to people using words to express emotion and so expect all to be that way?
    Stubbornness doesn't come anywhere near this :)

    You've mentioned cooking for an hour in the kitchen and that you appreciate it.
    Do you though? :)

    Do you realise what's involved from the very start?
    The ideas all the way through to placing the full dinner plate in front of you?

    It takes approximately two seconds to say "you look pretty" and possibly the best part of two hours to place that full dinner plate in front of you.

    two seconds? two hours? I know which I'd appreciate more.
     
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  15. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    From our side it's like

    Why do you need me to say something that you know has no meaning.

    That's from everybody all day long.
    Very draining.

    Flowers,right?

    I knew it :)
     
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  16. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I refer to it as a blank space within a relationship. Where nothing is resolved, much like a circuitous argument. Sometimes think of it as akin to the 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico.

    It's unfortunate that this happens in relationships, but it's more common that you realize. It may have more to do with upbringing and parental nurturing than autism. As well as heterosexual relationships in general.

    It may be thrice compounded by all these considerations. So there's certainly a difficulty in wading through all of this and hoping for solutions.
     
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  17. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Like the doldrums.

    Not every issue is going to be resolved.

    And that's ok.
     
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  18. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Have you tried rewarding him with a Ritter Sport each time he compliments you? 9024584253470.jpg
     
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  19. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor

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    B871B24C-9181-44AF-AA08-B51CDDCEB2FA.png
    Shock horror you are fickle remember
     
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  20. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    not so much :)

    A bouquet of stylish, fine nibbed pens would be more suitable. And practical.

    A bouquet of pencils would also be acceptable but if you want me to like you,
    it has to be the pens :)
     
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