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Extroverted and female

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Kristiina, Feb 14, 2020 at 12:53 AM.

  1. Kristiina

    Kristiina New Member

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    Hi. You have a very nice and active forum here. :) I don't have a diagnosis and I've been wondering whether I could possibly be on the spectrum. I know its supposed to be a yes/no diagnosis, but I'm definitely in the grey area.

    I'm a 36 y.o mother of two, with a successful career in science. I'm a people's person and my favorite part about my job is helping my employees realize their potential. I generally have a lot of energy, especially when it comes to my obsessions and I have had several strong obsessions in my life. I smile a lot and I get energy from being cheerful around other people.
    However, until I was 19, I was the awkward kid - always daydreaming, never being able to understand my peers. I lived in a bubble of stress, anxiety and depression and I just felt different. At around 18/19, I got obsessed with psychology and personality types (socionics). I was certain I was INTj. After many months of comparing myself to other people and trying to understand other people, I realized I was ENFj. I am a strongly visual thinker, with my mind always predicting how things could continue.

    I still I get days when it's a struggle to be part of the group. I lose myself into a bubble of distance. I hate shopping alone: the entire time I try to "act normal". I also get "hangover" after social events even if I didn't drink any alcohol and slept well. But I don't think "social anxiety" is a good fit because I don't fear talking to people and I've given public presentations with very little warning time and even enjoyed it.

    I am drawn to people on the spectrum. My husband is undiagnosed but clearly on the spectrum and possibly also 3 other people in our close group of friends. My two kids both seem to be on the spectrum and one day I realized that as a child I had all the same traits that I now view as autistic traits in my children.

    My AQ test result was 29.
    Aspie quiz said:
    Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 127 of 200 Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 83 of 200 You are very likely neurodiverse (Aspie)

    So is my extroverted social personality a mask? Perhaps. But how do I tell?
     
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  2. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the forums. Nobody here (that I am aware of) can answer your question. If you really want to know, go to a psychiatrist and tell them your concerns. Most likely because you are outgoing they will say that "No, you aren't on the spectrum", but psychiatrists often hold a very narrow view of what autism is and they make mistakes due to whatever school of psychiatry they come from. I'd suggest a psychiatrist who specializes in female diagnosis. Most women on the spectrum get diagnosed as having BPD or something else, I've heard and read.

    Good luck, and again welcome.
     
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  3. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well Known Chat Member, Welcomer of Newcomers V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)
     
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  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome. Yes you sound like you are on the spectrum. Some of us won't be diagnosed, for example if we cope fairly well and have a job and seem sociable. Diagnosis is done behaviourally, brain science is not yet sophisticated enough to be useful, plus they don't understand yet anyway what differences in the brain relate to autism.

    I have self diagnosed as having high autistic traits or Aspergers, and find that it answers usefully some core issues in my experience and behaviour that I can't otherwise account for and which are not subject to change through any means. As opposed to behaviours I have been able to change rather than mask, such as developing greater attachment security in my interaction with others.

    I've found I can develop strategies around my autistic traits, so that I choose what to mask, and can also feel less confused or anxious. I hope that you enjoy it here, and find plenty of useful information and threads to read.

    :palmtree::cactus::seedling::herb::sunflower::cat:
     
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  5. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    I can.

    You might be :)

    Think about yourself in a way that works.
    Dont put authority onto other peoples opinions.

    Is one opinion. Sometimes it's mine :)

    Welcome to the board.
     
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  6. Cassiopeia

    Cassiopeia *⊱•••✩•••⊰* V.I.P Member

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    Did you do something else than taking the online tests? There are nice, informative books around, especially for Asperger girls and woman, since we seem to have it harder to get a precise diagnose. I was lucky I guess, cause I got mine quite early on. I just ignored it for several years. I honestly don't think the mbti can help you much with that. I can "function" quite well and people would be surprised to hear that I'm on the spectrum (and actually were when they heard) but that doesn't change me or my core personality. I think, from my own experience, females grow up being kinda forced to socialse and perhaps we try to copy behaviour because of that. I know for me it's true, I've read so many books about how to interact with people, how to socialise, how to make friends, how to interprete body language - and all of that when I was a child because I was so confused and wanted help. Child = perhaps around 11 years, not much younger but also not much older. I always had issues with other children tho. I'm agree with Major Tom because I don't think I'm in the position to diagnose you. If you can't or don't want to get a diagnose right now maybe get into reading more about the spectrum and how it might show up in females. There are good resources around here and I personally really like Rudy Simone's books, especially 22 Things a Woman with Asperger's Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know.

    Oh and welcome to the forums of course!
     
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  7. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    Hi Kristiina :)

    welcome to af.png
     
  8. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  9. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Ssssssuuuuuupppppp.
     
  10. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    Welcome Kristiina!!! :) So happy you found us!

    If this helps, I realized all my interactions were a mask because I had to deliberately and forcefully do things other people APPARENTLY do automatically. I have to study social situations, body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions to the best of my ability using my intellect. Every time. Although I have studied it for decades, I could never learn to make it natural.

    I too have been studying psychology and how people socialize as far back as I can remember (my first memory of taking notes, figuring out a plan, and trying to mimic others to fit in was in preschool, no joke).

    Many people would think me an extrovert, but I am not. This is precisely what I would do.

    You all know how you feel when you are engrossed into one of your special interests? That boundless energy and happiness? The ability to be extremely excited?

    That is what I tried to use as my mask. I tried to pull that enthusiasm from that part of my personality, and tried to drag it across my entire personality when socializing. But it was fake. I forced myself to be bubbly, forced myself to smile, tried to be exuberant, because I wanted to always be that person. Not the robotic, cardboard cutout (uncaring about what they are 'small talking' about, unable to feel a connection to others) that I actually am (when not in an area of my interest).
     
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  11. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    Welcome! Your story sounds a lot like mine. I’m a medical doctor and I get a lot of energy from interacting with my clients in a professional way. On good days I also get energy from interacting with friends, but on bad days I can’t handle a lot of interaction.

    I’m a woman as well and I think, for a big part, I’ve been socialized by societal expectations of how women are supposed to act. I was a very awkward and lonely teen, always daydreaming and engaging in escapism with books, painting, writing stories and playing video games.

    As I got older I got better at social interactions, to the point that most people have trouble believing I’m on the spectrum because I can be quite the social butterfly when I’m “on”. I take care to be pleasant, friendly and understanding to people I encounter. That’s part masking for me, and part who I am. Some days it takes a lot of energy to maintain this. In social situations when I’m not with friends or am interacting with coworkers I take care to behave in a proper and correct way. This is my safety net.

    I can be exuberant and extroverted, but this usually only happens when I’m with close friends or when I’ve had alcohol. This isn’t masking for me, it’s just a part of who I’m am that’s usually carefully hidden behind a mask of correctness. I love being able to let go now and then, but the circumstances have to be right for that to happen. Plopping down on the couch with my boyfriend and having a few drinks together is great, because I don’t have to do any masking then.
     
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  12. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    @Bolletje you are SO spot on! I totally forgot the part of masking when I am interested and excited, I too have to attempt to shut it down in an effort to maintain 'correctness'.

    I do this less now. Less of both actually. I now see it is unnecessary for the most part.
     
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  13. Kristiina

    Kristiina New Member

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    Thank you for all the welcoming posts. I am rather new to autism information - I've read all I can get my hands on but there is still a lot to learn. When I posted a question about it on a facebook autism group I had a backlash because of misuse of terminology so I'm glad to have found a friendlier and more open atmosphere for discussion and learning.

    Cassiopeia,
    I have only done internet tests and I spoke to a therapist about it once. She dismissed it immidiately and told me that everyone has autistic traits. That was literally the last time I went there. Meanwhile she didn't seem to relate to anything that I tried to describe to her about my mental experience. Now I need to find a different therapist. I want proper testing and assessment.

    Bolletje,
    My husband is very intuitive about people. He's classic aspie - a speed-reading genius introvert. He didn't think I was on the spectrum but also added that his reference could be skewed. It is very nice to read you, as an officially diagnosed aspie, can relate to what I wrote. I had mentally prepared to hear that what I described is too different from the diagnoses. I enjoy socializing but today, for example, I couldn't bring myself to write emails or call people. I was just completely spent.
     
  14. Rasputin

    Rasputin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You and I have similar issues, except for masking to be bubbly and to smile. For me I have to have a genuine emotion to be excited or to smile. I could not mask those things if my life depended on it.
     
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  15. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    :mad:

    Imagine if she had said that about and invalidated any other diagnosis. Her office would be set on fire. I am so sorry she said this to you. I am furious on your behalf.
     
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  16. Kristiina

    Kristiina New Member

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    I have found it helpful to adopt an honesty based persona. Less masking this way. Whenever I am not certain if people understand me, I start to tell them what I mean. I'm pretty much an open book - my emotions (good and bad) just show without my control. I have no poker face and (as my husband says) I am an exceptionally bad liar. Even withholding parts of truth make me visibly uncomfortable. Therefore I work really hard to think pleasant thoughts! :D When I feel good, I'm pleasant and bubbly. When I feel bad or tired, I try to hide it and I feel like I'm ruining everyone's day. Then even strangers react by giving me a lot of space as if I had a disease.
     
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  17. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    In public I’m pleasant and warm whether I feel good or not, but the latter takes a lot of energy. It’s why I love being at home, because I don’t need to mask there.
     
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  18. Kristiina

    Kristiina New Member

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    I am so confused with myself - I can not be positive and bubbly without feeling it at all, but I can often anchor my emotions to another person. When I see them, I suddenly get a surge of energy and all the emotion of being with that person. When they exit the room, often I sag and I lose all energy. Is that a mask? But the emotions in the moment are real. But then later I ruminate that I "overdid it". Perhaps I laughed too loud or smiled too wide... But again, the emotion is real, I sometimes just feel like my response was like an exaggerated version of what I felt.
     
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  19. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Masking of itself is probably not a good yes/no indicator, because even NTs can mask in many ways and situations. It is maybe better to think of it as one marker that is usually on the autism track and sometimes on the NT track. More analysis is needed.
     
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  20. Schism

    Schism Authentic Alien

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    Nope, I don't think so. That's a very NT social reaction. I don't feel anything other than stressed aka articifial performance needed. I definitely don't anchor & am hugely relieved when they go. Then I go obsessive & over think, destructively. About me, not them.