1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Emotional Distance/Disassociation

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by selectivedetective, Dec 3, 2019 at 3:37 PM.

  1. selectivedetective

    selectivedetective New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2018
    Karma:
    +63
    I would like to thrash something out a bit on here.

    Someone on a thread I read earlier in the week, mentioned that they are emotional distancers. That they are sometimes driven into a friendship or relationship when loneliness gets them down, but before long they get bored and perhaps frustrated, and end up either ditching the other person, or deliberately creating distance that causes the other person to disappear.

    I can't remember who said it, so feel free to come forwards or not, and correct me if I've added some of my own stuff to it, without realising. Anyway, thank you. It has really made me sit up and think. In my own case, I'm pretty sure there is Aspergers, and either because of this or as well, I have this emotional distance thing going on. Looking back, both my parents had a lot of emotional drama and damage in their childhood, and both seemed to have a real emotional disconnect and inability to speak in social situations or really form any lasting friendships. I'm beginning to realise now that this must have affected me a lot, as it also affected the way they were with me. For one thing I remember that if my dad was annoyed with me, he would yell and then just stop talking to me, sometimes for weeks.

    Anyway, here I am on an Aspergers site, and I've also said in previous posts that I think I have selective mutism. What particularly springs to mind in the light of the emotional distance post is that a few years ago I was very much abandoned by a partner, in a very cruel way. There was some drama, and I usually have drama with partners. I think it makes up for the emotional distance. Silence after the drama, and I still haven't found a new partner.

    Although I have felt lonely and wanted a partner, I wonder if this might be a good thing. Perhaps these few years alone have given me time to think and understand myself a bit more. Maybe I won't fall into the same patterns. I'm sort of hoping for comfortable and safe now, rather than anything dramatic. I'm also aware of my tendency to get bored, and have been reading up about emotional distancers and how they should start looking closely at feelings and triggers when they start to get to that bored space. Journaling is meant to be good, and I have found that helpful recently too. I'm wondering if, even knowing what I now know about how damaged I am, I could perhaps move on into a successful relationship at some point.

    I have also started to see things about my own family etc, in a different light. For the last few years my mother, sibling and I have had very little contact. They seem to be shunning me, but have never openly said what I did. Last year I made an effort to meet them with my children. They were friendly to my face, but no one has phoned since, or made an effort to visit me. This makes me feel very sad and damaged. If I were more NT and also emotionally healthy I think I would have confronted them and sorted things out, but I'm just sort of lost with it all. I think if they were too, they would do the same.

    That's all really. I've become very aware of just not building up emotional closeness in the way most people do. I do have a few friends, but, as the other poster said, except for when I feel very lonely and occasionally phone them, I could take them or leave them really. Except, at the same time I feel I would like more warmth and togetherness. Perhaps I do want close people, but the cost of reaching out and exposing my thoughts and feelings is too much of a gamble. I'm thinking of a man I like too, who I've mentioned before too. We chat briefly every few weeks and there are quite a lot of things that connect us. I can't fathom him though, and I expect he feels the same about me. I hope we aren't connected in our disconnection. Or maybe that could be a good thing?

    Just musings and meandering really, but if anyone has any similar experience to share, or thoughts, i'd be interested to hear.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. s704m

    s704m storm V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2019
    Karma:
    +31
    This nails my lack of connection and emotional distance from everyone. My "wall" that keeps others from reaching my inner core. It protects me from being deeply hurt or destroyed again (sort of), but it's lonely as hell sometimes. Might end up killing me some day.
    Thank you for articulating this so well. I could never put this into words succinctly.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  3. selectivedetective

    selectivedetective New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2018
    Karma:
    +63
    Thank you. I wasn't sure I was that clear, but definitely the other poster who posted along those lines helped me a lot.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

    Messages:
    1,789
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +3,164
    l have been on both sides. l only know that l just go the easiest route now in my life. Sometimes easy means less connected. As you age, you also are quite careful and conservative in relationships. Both sides have to give and take l am finding out. Some point you may meet someone that makes you come out of your turtleshell. That is neat if and when it does happen. But it doesn't happen a lot for me but l am always suprised when it does.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. dragonfire42

    dragonfire42 Perpetual outsider

    Messages:
    138
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2019
    Karma:
    +164
    I'm experiencing some similar difficulties right now. I hit a rough patch in my one close friendship a couple months ago, including the friendship being ended three times and then resumed later. After that, I'm having trouble not only getting close to this person again, but also getting close to anyone. I don't get bored with a relationship, but I do start feeling overwhelmed after a while and want to isolate myself, and I seem to have put up a wall around myself that I can't figure out how to take down.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +14,767
    Growing up there was lots of 'drama' in my biological family. Which might be simply the drama that teens promote at times in their lives, or rock music, or the turbulence of the times. It likely didn't help that the era ran counter to my parents upbringings, so there was a great deal of strife and misunderstanding. Hence the drama, shouting and constant noise. It made for an emotional roller coaster, peaceful then chaotic.

    It may have been the inverse reaction to that turbulent life, that made me emotionally distant. In fact I developed those coping mechanisms within the family, to counter the intensity of much of it. So I could have some space, and time to myself alone. Less commitment and involvement with others meant that I could spend time doing things on my own.

    Discovered afterwards when I moved out on my own, that the drama was something I craved to feel alive for awhile. It's the way I thought life was supposed to be. Without it, my life seemed dull, monotonous. Eventually, living that way through the extreme emotional ups and downs exacted a toll on my nervous system. Adrenalin surging on a regular basis, is not conducive to a healthy life.

    Eventually I learned not to trust all the emotional 'knee jerk' reactions as they were often vestiges of the past. And to pay attention when they occurred and triggered. It's aided me in clearly thinking for myself, as well as deciding what and who and when and why in understanding myself and others.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Creative Creative x 1
  7. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    480
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Karma:
    +931
    I’ve lost most of my friends throughout the years for this very reason. I become overstimulated. Socially overstimulated, I guess you could say. I pour myself into new relationships (including friendships) for a while, but I eventually begin feeling overwhelmed and resentful, and I just want them to go away so I can “regain my balance” and calm down from the overstimulation. So I push them away. It really sucks.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,370
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,859
    Yes absolutely, and as someone who has done masses of therapy and self development over the years, it was this area that persisted and that I eventually understood to be due to high autistic traits or Aspergers. A different brain. To the OP I would say, remember that this is typical of our experience, of our differently wired brains, and that we do benefit from downtime and reflective space, to process and to reflect.

    It sounds like you already feel better for having that, but are now thinking about how to have strategies around how you are. Finding out what works for you. Also, I have found, just realising what is really me, as opposed to a lifetime of masking, having tried to be a version of neurotypical without even knowing that was what I was doing, is quite profound and strange. However, now that you have that realisation, it will likely be easier to find strategies that work for you.

    I definitely do few of the behaviours that keep friendships going. They work best for me if I see the person regularly, perhaps for other reasons such as being work colleagues or having mutual interests. Or sometimes people who are good at maintaining friendships have kept in touch with me, despite my not keeping up my end of it. I actually don't know that this is due to emotional distance? I don't know that I d say that. When I reflect on friends and partners of the past, I feel warmth and liking or love even, and a sense of confusion and loss.

    It's like being on a different wavelength, or needing more space around interactions, being in a different time frame, a bit cut off, but liking to be attached. Hard to manage and often misunderstood as cool or distant in a cold way. Showing affection in non neurotypical ways, like making a poster for someone. At home, on my own, and without being in touch with them much, whilst doing it...
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
  9. selectivedetective

    selectivedetective New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2018
    Karma:
    +63
    THank you for the replies here. Lots of food for thought.

    I can see now from my own experience that I don't just cut off from people through boredom. It's also through feeling overwhelmed. And often I don't even cut off on purpose. It's often the practical side of stuff. For example once, when I was really overwhelmed, on my own with a new baby and other children, I forgot we had said we'd see a family friend that evening and then I couldn't find the time and courage to phone, apologise and make my excuses.

    I mask really well, so I feel people are quite hasty in dismissing me when I mess up too! They interpret my masking as being aloof, superior.... and this must make them feel uncomfortable.

    I do like the space of silence and separation, but it's balancing that with doing the right thing to keep connected enough that I don't feel lonely and depressed.

    Anyway, I did reach out to my mum. I wrote to her to say we could visit and could she let me know if she wanted us to, and I would go ahead and book somewhere to stay with my children the weekend before Christmas. Shee phoned me this evening. Did her usual stupid thing of putting a number in to hide her number in case I didn't answer, so I didn't know who had called and she could blame me for not phoning back. But I took the call, being wise to her tricks. She won't invite us to h er house as that would be too much. And neither will my brother. I understand that. They are as Aspie and anxiety ridden as me. The problem is they don't see it in themselves and criticise me. When we spoke, my mum said it was better for me to travel to them as they are so busy. I'm the single mother with three children, travelling without a car!

    But I feel I've done the right thing. My mother is old and I want my children to have some memories of her. It will be nice to get out of the capital for a bit. What could possibly go wrong??? hmmmm...
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. Major Tom

    Major Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +3,091
    I don't get very close to people or if I do, I eventually lose contact it seems. I've been living in this country for 12 years and still have no close friends and not much of a desire for any either. I guess I'm a loner.
    I also haven't spoken to anyone in my family other than my dad in at least 3 years.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  11. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,020
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,794
    I have more acquaintances than friends which is both good and bad. I'm lucky to have a strong support group that is there for me at all times though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Karma:
    +223
    I do this too, I'll have to look into it. I think I panic slightly about relationships becoming more solid. Overwhelmed is part of it.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  13. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,694
    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Karma:
    +4,790
    The older I get, the more I feel this way.
    From childhood I've never fit in or really cared for closeness with other people.
    When distant relatives came to visit I was so uncomfortable with them staying in my space
    it could induce panic attacks and couldn't wait for them to leave.

    I've had very few friends.
    A few girlfriend/boyfriend relationships, but, I never wanted to be with them 24/7 such as living
    together would be. I feel controlled and trapped when there is too much togetherness.
    Yet I never wanted to be totally alone either.
    My relationship with my parents was ideal. No conflicts. I worked and did as I wanted,
    but I wasn't lonely or alone as they were always there to be with.
    Never felt I had to mask around them.

    Now that they have passed, I'm in that state of not comfortable living with someone else,
    which is my current living arrangement, and not happy living alone.
    I have known a few people and some that have spoken here on the forums about having a partner
    close by, but, not living in the same house.
    Maybe adjoining apartments or next door.
    I like having someone to share doing things with, but, living together it feels I can never
    be at peace as I am always aware of them and what they may want.
    It isn't a feeling of feedom.

    I can mask very well, but, don't want to all the time and living with someone I feel I need to.
    And there is much in my past I really don't want others knowing about.
    Such as panic attacks, depression, and hospitalizations for it.
    So I have learned to build walls also to keep others out of my inner zone.

    One of my favourite pics depicting this feeling:
    shutterstock_79547737_man-in-bubble.jpg
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1