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Featured Aspergers vs Avoidance in relationships

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Ocarina, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Hello

    Does anyone have any wise words on this subject? Aspergers in relationships and friendships can look very similar to avoidant personality traits typically demonstrated by individuals who have been deprived of love and affection in early years and have therefore never learnt how to be intimate relationships and frequently behave in ways that sabotage these relationships or feel fearful of commitment, intimacy and struggle to experience love. Alexythymia is a common feature of both.

    I have an ASD diagnosis - as and adult, but I have often wondered if some of my typically aloof and cool behaviours are actually as a result of childhood trauma (which I did suffer) rather than simply autistic traits. Could be a mix of both.

    This is an interesting paper comparing and contrasting the two in children - showing just how difficult they can be to distinguish.

    http://www.aettraininghubs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/5.4-Moran-paper-attachment.pdf
     
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  2. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    Would need a lot more detail
     
  3. Ragnahawk

    Ragnahawk Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes.
     
  4. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    ""The more extreme avoidants are almost incapable of talking about their feelings; whatever feelings they do have access to are primarily negative and they have great difficulty describing them verbally. This syndrome is called alexithymia, the roots of the word literally meaning “having no words for feelings,” which is not quite the same thing as not having feelings. The worst cases can only express themselves with inchoate rages and tantrums, or unexplained physical symptoms like stomach pains and adrenalin rushes.

    The most compelling theory of how consciousness arose has between-person communication (primitive language) giving rise to internal communication, so that what we see as a stream of consciousness is actually internal dialogue, talking to yourself. Noting this, you might say that an inability to name and talk about feelings cripples a person’s ability to be consciously aware of them. If one is very poor at doing this, one would tend to note feelings only as manifested in somatic symptoms like fast heart rate, discomfort, loss of energy, nervousness, etc.

    This is why talking to someone about how you feel (or writing about it) is also training for being conscious of feelings internally. The more you talk about it to others, the more you can talk about it to yourself. Even for those not suffering from alexithymia, talking or writing about feelings can clarify understanding of them, which is one of the reasons talk therapy is effective."

    The above is a quote taken from a description of dismissive avoidance behaviour in romantic relationships - the link is:

    Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
     
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  5. Ragnahawk

    Ragnahawk Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    EDIT:

    (Oh. You weren't talking to me. MY BAD.)


    I was agreeing with the aloof and cool personality. Haven't you seen sans from undertale or shadow the hedgehog? Every cool aloof character ever has a dark history. It's like they lose touch with happiness and sun shines. Suddenly there's a really real danger and the world needs someone to step up to those dangers. You lose hope being the only one as others seem to dismiss you as abnormal...
     
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  6. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Thanks I do want your wise words - and agreed. I suspect growing up feeling somewhat alien and by default alienating those around us does have a deep impact on many of us in later life. Aloof and cool is perhaps something of a protective shield.
     
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  7. Sabrina

    Sabrina Gentle & brave earthling

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    Hi, thank you for the link, very interesting. My husband, according to this article (a link at the bottom of it) would be fearful-avoidant. We are separating.

    I think he’s aspie too, but I suppose it would require a professional to draw a line between the two, or indicate the presence of both diagnosis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  8. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    I’m alexithymic, the article on Dismissive-Avoidant i’ll Have to read a few times.
     
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  9. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

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    A very timely post! Just having these thoughts myself. Experiencing difficulties explaining feelings, and identifying whether I have, in fact, felt certain feelings at all.
    I have been very distant and seemingly unable to fully commit to any form of relationships as far back as I can recall. Friendships were arms length to some extent but I do remember all encompassing one-on-one friendships sporadically. Romantic relationships have not been successful.

    During the undiagnosed years, my inability to identify feelings and express those I did have and the speed of relationships caused issues. I spent - correction "spend" - the majority of my life in my head. I do not talk easily despite having many things to say, hold insightful observations and can be quite articulate at times.

    My current line of thought is that I experience relationships at a different speed and on a different wave length to others. Like I'm on a different vibration... also I have no concept of appropriateness and tend to mimic to my detriment.

    My psyc has started me on mindfulness therapy, which I translate to "awareness" and that is helping me to articulate certain feelings. I am usually better in writing than verbally, so writing things down has helped.

    I feel I have rambled and may have missed the point of the topic ... should re-read the thread before posting this reply and edit. But I won't :D.
     
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  10. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    The most compelling theory of how consciousness arose has between-person communication (primitive language) giving rise to internal communication, so that what we see as a stream of consciousness is actually internal dialogue, talking to yourself.

    This is very cool!!! I do not like my internal dialog, but this is still very cool!!
     
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  11. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    But to answer, this is hard for me to answer. There are times when my brain is OK and I HAVE TO BE ALONE so I can do what I need to do. Knock on the door at the time, and it's meltdown time. On the other hand, I do like people and want to connect. I wish to God I had a loving partner, but i know it's a long shot. I try not to avoid but I have to in order to get calm........
     
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  12. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Agreed - when you are in the midst of something it's difficult to separate cause and effect in behaviours, identity and personality. Two of my children who had and asd diagnosis as young children show classical autism behaviours but perhaps because they've been accepted without question throughout their lives they don't seem to have developed the coping mechanisms that so many of us late diagnosed adults seem to have incorporated into ourselves - I wonder if that's what some of the isolation of autism comes from - learnt rather than innate.
     
  13. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Mindfulness has been really helpful to me by enabling me to actually physically locate the sensations which are attached to various emotions - and to sit with them as a result. You are not alone - your description of being on a different wavelength in relationships resonates with me.
     
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  14. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Difficult indeed - a constant battle between desire for intimacy and need for alone time.
     
  15. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Good subject. I can see how ASD and Avoidant Personality Disorder may "overlap" in any number of ways.

    Wish I could offer some positive advice, but I find myself with a number of APD symptoms as well.
     
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  16. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    Yes - I am also avoidant in many ways. I am learning very slowly to sit with discomfort through meditation and to resist the need to run or distract. By the time I was diagnosed it feels as though life has imprinted so many patterns of behaviour upon me that it's difficult to unravel and unlearn these things even though they can be extremely detrimental and restrict life some areas.
     
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  17. LostInSilentHill

    LostInSilentHill Terrible Gaurdian Angel

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    This is very interesting. As a child, I suffered abuse and my symptoms were treated as being caused by these events (ie, tantrums and meltdowns considered reactions to abuse). Unfortunately, I have little information about my childhood (I remember almost nothing), but going by how I am now and was as a teenager, I find myself leaning heavily towards ASD, though a few symptoms were either APD or neither.

    I feel as though it would have been better to have been diagnosed as a child with ASD though because I never received the proper 'training' on how to interact with others, proper boundaries, or even information on why things were so difficult. For example, I was bullied and disliked by most of my peers, but I wasn't aware that a large reason for this was because I either snubbed them or did things like stand too close or speak too loudly. This information could have helped with what was a very difficult and miserable school life.

    I also was not aware that I did things like talked repeatedly about the same subject or repeat the same things over and over again.

    I think this kind of thing is very important to caregivers as children need the proper support in life to be successful and adjusted adults. Trauma can easily change the perception of that child, especially when it starts early, and the child has not been able to show what they are capable of or their difficulties.
     
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  18. Ocarina

    Ocarina Well-Known Member

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    "I think this kind of thing is very important to caregivers as children need the proper support in life to be successful and adjusted adults. Trauma can easily change the perception of that child, especially when it starts early, and the child has not been able to show what they are capable of or their difficulties."

    Maybe as a population subgroup we are more likely than your average nt to be exposed to lack of a stable and loving upbringing - perhaps having parents on the spectrum who struggled themselves or because our parents were disappointed at us and we felt rejected by peers etc. I wonder if this is where some of the avoidant behaviour comes from rather than it being a clinical sign of being on the spectrum per se.
     
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  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Equestrian Aspie

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    I think I see how most aspies are left out of social times with others their age expressed over time as equivalent to a traumatic experience, so maybe because we are autistic and how the autistic are treated commonly by others, do we have alexythemia
     
  20. SchrodingersMeerkat

    SchrodingersMeerkat trash mammal

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    I never sought out a relationship to begin with. Too many negative experiences in the "friendship" field before I even knew romance was a thing...and a few creeps who basically wanted me as their volunteer prostitute. Not too many men out there who share my interests in meerkats and veterinary medicine (I volunteered at an animal hospital and NO ONE talked about veterinary medicine) and if I was on a date with someone and they tried to get me to stop talking about them like Paige from Atypical, I'd drop them like a rock. (Seriously why didn't they just have him meet a girl who shared his interest in animals?) Anyhow, marriage or dating was never the first thing on my mind.
     
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