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Featured Asperger's and Metaphors

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Pondering, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Pondering

    Pondering Well-Known Member

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    I cannot get this thought out of my head: the stereo-types of Asperger's and autism alike are associated with, in general, being literal thinkers, and being poor at understanding metaphors and similes. But metaphors, analogies, and similes are my strong-suit, one of my greatest strengths. In my mind, almost everything has a metaphor. I can see the literal meanings, but I also see the possible metaphors that could go with them. Granted, I don't have very many Asperger's traits, but I'm definitely not NT either. So, I'm really curious. Is there anyone on the spectrum out there who excels at metaphors and similes, and doesn't take many things literally? If there are, what kind of metaphors have you seen in your mind's eye?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I do very well with metaphors, irony and idioms. Though I also tend to side with taking things literally, as well as having difficulty with sarcasm if aimed directly at me.

    When I was a website designer for a software gaming company I was routinely expected to create website interfaces that were a visual metaphor of the game in some way.

    I also have very strong executive functioning skills. Indeed, I'm no stereotype either. ;)
     
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  3. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    I think being good at metaphors etc does not mean you do not take things literally.

    'Taking things literally' (as our trait)I think isn't analysed enough and not understood enough.

    I take the meanings of the words to be what they are, as the definition, metaphors can be like a flower arrangement that goes with it.
    But, at the first point, I can be misunderstood, as someone hasn't heard my meaning but a hidden emotional context applied to their emotional interpretations of my words at point one. They get the metaphor but see different flowers.
    Even in the simplest of interactions there can be hidden assumptions.
    Taking things literally (giving and receiving words ) can mean those hidden assumptions do not exist.

    I mean, you strip it back to day one - they don't exist. Obviously we can learn or there's something strange going on. So a lot of it we try to pick up. For me, out hidden world of learning, is invisible to NT's as they pick it up subconsciously and socially.

    Humour also breaking down of expectations and assumptions within language.
    I guess I've learnt to play around with being misunderstood- a strange way to have fun:)
     
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  4. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty good with metaphors, but, I'm really good at taking words in their literal meaning and that ends up with an explanation of "I was just joking." Or an "I don't get it." coming from me because it doesn't sound sensible in the literal context.

    I think I am better with pun on words if I should want to not be literal.
     
  5. The Midge

    The Midge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There is a difference between learning as vast library of sayings and metaphors from being able pick them up immediately.

    As visual thinkers some of us can create links with pictures and word pictures. I can illustrate a point or tell stories to lustrate a saying. perhaps that comes with having to work hard to figure them out in the first place.
     
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  6. Fitzo

    Fitzo Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I like to use metaphors to help me explain things when I am worried I'll be misunderstood. However I'm not sure it helps in some situations because I think some people just don't really listen no matter what you say. I am constantly frustrated.
     
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  7. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Dulcolax?
     
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  8. Fitzo

    Fitzo Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I said frustrated NOT constipated! :)
     
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  9. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I know what the person is saying, but in my mind's eye, I see the literal meaning and most times, that comes out.

    So, for example: kill two birds with one stone. I know well what that means, but I SEE two birds being killed with one stone and my heart cannot deal with that.

    Or: I would like to be a fly on the wall. Again, I know what it means, but I SEE the fly and I hate flies and so say: I would like to be a butterfly on the wall.

    My husband is unable to get his head around me being a literal thinker.

    I said not long ago: gung ho to someone who is not English and tried to explain it, but decided to look it up and saw that I had got it wrong lol

    So, I am fantastic at mixing up my metaphors.
     
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  10. dragoncat16

    dragoncat16 Active Member

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    When I am conversing with someone, I always consider every possible meaning of the words being used. I guess I have always done that as a way to make up for the fact that I can't read facial expressions or body language very well. I use colloquial language and metaphors all the time. I understand them perfectly well and sometimes a mataphor is simply the best way to express an idea or feeling in a way that the other person will know exactly where one is coming from.

    Because I always have lots of different possible meanings in my head, I very rarely get offended by what others say, because there's always another way to take something that is said that is potentially negative. I have noticed that some NTs seem to get offended quite easily by what I say, probably because they already have a poor opinion of me and they are constantly trying to confirm their worst expectations. My willingness to believe the best in others is sometimes akin to naivety and has led to trouble where someone pretends to be my friend but is really working behind my back to basically destroy me as a person. Even so, I still give people the benefit of the doubt, because that's how I would want to be treated. Isn't that the golden rule?
     
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  11. Katleya

    Katleya A bit of an acquired taste V.I.P Member

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    I take things very literally, but I'm also great at delivering sarcasm (but not always so good at identifying it when someone else uses it).
    My thinking is very visual, so I usually make sense of metaphors, but I've never compared my understanding of a given metaphor with somebody else's, so I'll say there's a possibility that my understanding is a bit different (more shallow, or maybe actually deeper, or maybe a couple of degrees more lateral). I honestly can't tell. I do have a lot of interest in language, so it has probably helped me achieve a higher success rate than I would have otherwise.

    That being said, I've been told I use a lot of metaphors to express what I say, or to further explain it. This is not true; I use a lot of analogies, which apparently most people mistake for metaphors. Now, that... I'm great at delivering and understanding those.
     
  12. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Yeh right.


    (I've developed an app that posts 'yeh right' when someone mentions sarcasm. On every thread in the world)

    (I haven't really)
     
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  13. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Oops. I was taking it for incompetence.

    :)
     
  14. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member

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    Oddly, I am both. I was very precocious with anything to do with letters and words and however they are formed. At an early age, I understood language and immediately took to it at a high level. HOWEVER, I was extremely "challenged" in almost all other areas. This, of course, obscured the extent of my troubles for a long time and prevented any help.

    So, Yes, I get metaphors and all similar ideas and paradoxes and languages...........BUT when it comes to taking things LITERALLY? OH MY GOSH. I am the worst. Even if I KNOW it is not true, it bothers the crap out of me when people do it. If they say, "If you go to Wal Mart on a Sunday............" That "you" in there bugs me to no end because it is not the literal "me" they are talking about. I let it go, but it stands out so much that sometimes it is hard to follow the conversation for a while.

    Same if someone says, "you're nuts" or "you look nice is that colour" ( is this the only colour?) and too many to even list. I would be here forever.
     
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  15. Bolletje

    Bolletje Well-Known Member

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    I can second that :D

    Also, I have no trouble with metaphors, idioms or irony either. I am fluent in sarcasm and I live for wordplay.
     
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  16. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Yeh right.
     
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  17. Butterfly88

    Butterfly88 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't take things as literally as some other aspies I've met. If you've met one person with autism you've met one person with autism, we are all very different.
     
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  18. Dadwith2Autisticsons

    Dadwith2Autisticsons Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Although our young son Aaron used to have difficulty with metaphors, idioms and figurative language between the age of two and six, with him getting upset when we said things he felt could not be true, or that were not to what he was used to learning or hearing, between age six and eight he has been getting better at understanding when we are being funny or not serious, and in knowing what that saying or words really means, and he understands or laughs along too. So, he knows now there is a distinction between the truth and funny or hidden meaning sayings, like "a cat got your tongue," etc. Every time we use a new idiom or metaphor or other saying now, we explain what that means, so he gets used to interpret such sayings, or to not take always things literally.
     
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  19. Betbet

    Betbet New Member

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    On a similar (but slightly different) note, I always struggled with puns when I was younger and have spent hours studying them to keep up with my family as I was horribly bullied by them for not being able to think of a pun quick enough.
    I still don't think I'm particularly good at them but I have learnt enough to get by at family gatherings!
     
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  20. onlything

    onlything Gathering pieces V.I.P Member

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    Honestly, I've never seen it as a tendency for 'literal thinking' as much as for being confused because of the many potential meanings hidden in one sentence. For example, I can understand jokes but due to not being able to successfully read body language and can't discern if it was intended to be one. And, really, many jokes are just not funny. About idioms? No one knows them until they learn them. Metaphors? Life is one big metaphor.
     
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