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Featured connecting to self when with others

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Sab, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Sab

    Sab Active Member

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    Hey! I don’t know if any of you can relate to this but I’m looking for advice. I am wondering if any of you have tricks to feel connected to themselves when with other people? It’s really hard for me to connect to myself and know how I’m feeling when I’m alone but it gets extra complicated when I’m hanging out with someone else. This happens when I spend a lot of time with someone without having alone times or when I’m with someone who takes up more space. After a while I just feel very disconnected and that brings up anxiety because it’s like I’m unable to know what I want or need and become a bit of a zombie. I’m curious if this is a shared experience by anybody here?
     
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  2. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, I've never really thought about how I feel in the way you described, but I think I do the exact same thing. I usually feel disconnected from others, but maybe it is because I feel disconnected from myself. I often feel like I don't know or don't have an opinion or feelings regarding many subjects or issues while others seem to have emotions regarding almost everything.
     
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  3. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I think I'm alexithemic and find it hard to connect to, recognise and describe both my own emotions and those of other people. When I phone my mum in the UK, she sometimes asks, "How are you feeling?" and I dread this question - I know she wants to asks about my emotional wellbeing, but I'm not aware of any particular feeling and honestly don't know how to answer the question.
     
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  4. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I dread that question from others too.
    Most of the time I just give the weird honest truth: "I don't know. Just the same, I guess."
    Of course I wouldn't say that to someone I don't know well. Such as the receptionist putting out those socially expected greetings, expecting the answer of "I'm doing fine, and you?"
    Gee it's hard to remember those expected norms and not say the truth: " I feel like crap today." :confused:
    Rather than lie, that's when I usually smile and nod, with maybe an OK or Hanging in there.
    Always forget to ask them in return. I probably care about as much as they do about how I feel. Oh, well.

    The title to this thread attracted me a it sounded different. Connecting with yourself.
    This brings to my mind, the tiring nature of being with others and sometimes not feeling anything or
    not wanting to talk about anything. Then I get hit with the question: "What are you thinking about?"
    hmmm...maybe some song is in my head or I'm just looking at a painting on the wall.
    It also could mean when I feel that spacey dissociative sensation I get when anxious that I don't like.
    That is a surrealistic type of not connecting with self.
     
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  5. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have felt what you describe right up til I found out about aspergers and now, more and more, discovering what makes me.

    In the past, when ever asked, I would just go blank.

    To this day, can't cope when asked how am I? It is like a jumble of wires in my brain, all tangled up. But I am trying to learn from nt who pick one specific thing, that, to me, seems unrelated, but is accepted as reasonable.

    One strange thing I find is that when at home, things make sense to me and then, with others, that sense seems sooo, well devoid of context. As though irrelevant.

    It is hard to feel irrelevant.
     
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  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Same here - I rarely ask strangers how they are, and if they ask me, I forget to ask in return - though in the case of my mum, I know that she really does mean it when she asks how I am and I want to give an honest response. That's because of her wording, she doesn't use a stock phrase "how are you?" she asks, "how are you feeling?" It's different.
     
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  7. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    I don’t really have any tips or tricks to offer.

    I tend to make interaction (face to face) about the other person, it just seems easier to get through.


    I don’t have many answers when others ask about me.
    I can rattle on about those connected to me, family and the like.

    Even when was me-centred (therapy) - I used to make stuff up because not feeling much of anything about something appeared to be a wrong answer.

    I wonder if you could remind yourself to check in with yourself somehow?

    Make a practice of reminding yourself you’re an individual with your own needs?
     
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  8. Moomin

    Moomin “My servants never die!”

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    I don’t really have anything helpful to add. I think it’s down to practice and letting yourself know what your limitations are, then building on those limits to support you when you do feel anxious. My last big communication was a few months ago, and despite being there physically, mentally I had shifted and felt isolated and disconnected. It was nothing to do with the people, although they did ask me if something was wrong “oh no I’m just listening “ . Sometimes I use up all my energy.


    As for the “How are you?” I always seem to tell it how it is. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll say it. I didn’t realize that it’s a norm to technically lie about how you’re feeling....
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I get the same sort of feeling when with others for an extended period. One trick I used was taking mini mental breaks whenever opportunity offered. In those times I would allow myself to follow my own thoughts, daydream, whatever. Being a smoker, I mostly relied on smoke breaks (which failed if the other smoked as well) but other things could work as well, like running an work errand - taking the long way - getting a cup of coffee - pretending to nap on a drive, but really just zoning out. Preferably not while I was the driver.
     
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  10. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm very connected to self, especially when anxious. I freeze. I'll feel myself getting dehydrated but can't get myself to take a few steps across the room to get a cup of punch or something to drink. Can't get myself to excuse myself because I can't move to walk away. It's miserable when you know what you need but you can't get it or ask for it.
     
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  11. Bedlamite

    Bedlamite Senior V.I.P Member

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    I normally reply to this question in a mundane way. I have come to realize that this "question" is not an actual inquiry but a rhetorical salutation.
     
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  12. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Oh, and mom's just want to know their kids are okay. Some of mine are hard to get hold of so I started this thing if I haven't heard from one of them in a while that I just text or send a group (like after a traffic filled holiday) Marco and they know I just want to know they're okay so they will all respond their Polo.
     
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  13. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    It's an automatic question. People usually ask it not because they want to know how you are, but because they think they are expected to and it is even considered rude not to ask it.
     
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  14. TheFreeCat

    TheFreeCat Active Member

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    This is a good topic because it's something that happens to us and we may not even realize it.

    It is necessary for us to maintain our own thoughts. NTs may call it disassociation, but it's not.

    When I am around others, I tend to become the unpaid therapist. This is because I was in my own comfy world as a child. When I went into "therapy" they cajoled me into thinking I was bad and broken. So I mimicked. I watched how others acted and eye contact and all that.

    I never really got it, but got the basics. Eye contact, seering eye contact. People would say, "FreeCat really can focus on what i am saying!" (A teacher said that). No, it was because i found if I stare at you, you think I am listening but I can zone out.

    So people thought I was their therapist. I don't mind an occasional person sharing with me. I like that and respect that and it is what friends do. but I mean the person who DUMPS on you always. Never stops. Dominates.

    Then it progresses. Then they act like they are in their living room around you. They will play their own music loud on their phone, never thinking you might hate it because you are just the sounding board. They start with NT things I don't understand. Jokes and unsaid gestures and quips and saying one thing but meaning another or saying something I just cannot figure out and before long, to try to stay on top of it all, they are all I can think about---not because I am attaching, but because I now have to stay on my toes all the time to try to understand, to respond in the right way, not to meltdown when they push too far........

    GOOD GRACIOUS, Go away!!! make it stop!!

    People absorb me,
    Rope me in,
    Steal my mind, right
    behind me back!
    Pour their thoughts into my head,
    their senses dead
    while mine explode in rage
    to engage......
    madness!
     
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  15. 2205

    2205 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have this same feeling. Never knew how to explain it and that others feel it too.

    When I was younger I frequently felt like I was becoming the person I was with. If it makes sense..

    A few years ago I started working with children and then I noticed that with kids I manage to remain “myself”. I think about it a lot, what is it that’s different with children... it might be that with children I feel they’re not judging me but grownups do. Unintentionally, but they do. So I suppose I’m afraid of being judged for being myself.
     
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  16. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I also know that grownups judge and that makes me very uncomfortable.
    That feeling of becoming whom you're with, yes, I understand.
    It seems I will start picking up on the way the person I am with acts, their personality be it introverted or
    extroverted, even their accent and without realising it I catch my self "getting into" the same ways.
    Unless I am just so tired and non-caring that I sort of shut down and don't talk much at all.

    Same with a gathering of people.
    I may try to put on the mask and converse on the questions and subjects being passed around,
    but, it grows tiring and eventually I"ll drift away, either outside if possible or if there are children
    and pets, we get together away from the grown up group and have fun playing with the dog,
    investigating the gardens, finding insects, etc. I feel I can be myself then. Kid stuff!
     
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  17. Annanda

    Annanda Active Member

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    Just can relate to all, what is written above. Sometimes I talk with my students about what NT humans feel. What they declare is normal, often sounds very strange to me, like being from another planet.
    Basic emotions like joy, anger, fear and love I'm able to spot within myself. And I can feel them very strongly. With complex emotions like jealousy or envy it's more difficult.
    Today I tried to imagine within a group situation, what this or that person's emotions might be behind a verbal expression or tone of voice. I remarked, that I can conceptualize them and might be totally wrong, but on a bodily level I just feel numbness. (This group situation was specific: we were about ten people in a relatively dark room watching photographies and discussing them. So I was not socially overwhelmed and darkness calms me down very effectively.)
    And then I thought, what a relief not to be forced to process all this feelings.
    Enough space to think about other things!
    More interesting things!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  18. Annanda

    Annanda Active Member

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    @TheFreeCat
    Your text is very beautiful. You found words for exactly my experience. It's just great to read that!
     
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  19. Sab

    Sab Active Member

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    Yeah, I feel that a lot too. It's really hard for me to form an opinion on something «on the spot». The way I understand it, it's like okay first, I'm receiving the information, then I need to be alone to process the information and make myself an opinion about something before being able to share it with others. Also, I feel like when I don't really care about something, I don't see why I would need to have an opinion on it.
     
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  20. Sab

    Sab Active Member

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    Yeah totally! That's how it feels most of the time too. It's like when I'm at home alone, I know myself, I know what makes sense and I feel solid but when I'm with others, it's sooo much harder to connect to that feeling. And it does give me the impression of being irrelevant, or non-existent and sort of like a ghost.
     
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