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Eye contact?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Jade1498, Jan 30, 2020.

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  1. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    Be careful with that though. In some cases repeated exposure to a source of stress can make it worse. This is how I developed a social phobia around speaking a foreign language, before I was diagnosed with ASD and didn't know where my social anxiety was actually coming from.

    My psychologist told me that people on the spectrum tend to react to "exposure therapy" quite differently than NTs and it can easily backfire as it did in my case. It's important to try to find the root of the problem before attempting to treat it.
     
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  2. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    Never thought of it like that I must admit. I can be rather naive with my approach to helping people. I assume what worked for me can be implemented by others with no issue.

    Ed
     
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  3. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    I’ve not actually thought of that I’m too busy making people uncomfortable with my eye contact to smile, but anything is worth a go
     
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  4. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    This might be my case as I’ve suffered with this for years And it’s the worst it’s ever been, I think due to trying to ‘’just get over it’’ and face it head on - I’m starting therapy now to alter my subconscious thoughts which I’m hoping will help me with my negative thought process
     
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  5. mummifiedcircuitry

    mummifiedcircuitry passes for human

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    Hello.

    I struggled for a very long time with the eye contact thing. My eyes would tear up when I was a kid if an adult talked to me and did the stern voice and stared at me. I couldn't look at therapists when I got older. It was an issue I had to address. Would look at eyebrows or foreheads and then glance off. Learned that ppl generally don't express alarm if you occasionally look at their face. I pretty much learned to socialize at work so we were always busy and not free to engage fully. I think this helped me acclimate to eye contact. Still shy but can handle being center of attention now and then. Good luck and welcome.
     
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  6. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    I get this - my eyes tear up if I look at someone for to long it’s not a natural gaze more Like a stare so my eyes start to get sore and sill tear up
     
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  7. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member

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    I am aware of the general issues With eye contact, but it is not really an issue for me personally.
     
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  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't recall feeling upset by it, I just never felt drawn to do eye contact, and probably what was difficult was more that it's a bit unusual not to, so I tried to conform. But I think anything can become a focus for anxiety, and this is a very understandable concern you're having.

    I don't personally think you should pressure yourself to do this at present if you find it distressing, but have your therapy and work out what's happening. I am sorry you are feeling so down about it, and I think you have taken some great steps by discussing it here and by getting therapy.

    If you don't want to make eye contact you are in good company, and if you decide you do, there's help and support for you here and at your therapy.
     
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  9. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    thank you that actually made me smile :)
     
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  10. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I’ve learned to make eye contact. It causes me no trouble whatsoever these days and it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I quite like it, it tells me a lot about the person I’m talking to.
     
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  11. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    That’s nice and sounds quite promising for me, I won’t give up yet!
     
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  12. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    And that's why it irritates me that I can't always make eye contact.. My main way of telling what other people are thinking and feeling is by watching their facial expressions.. If I can't even look at them, I can't tell *anything*..
     
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  13. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    What do you mean when you say you can’t always make it?
     
  14. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Eye contact doesn't make me uncomfortable but I find myself wondering if I'm doing not enough, too much, etc. Like I bounce back and forth between avoiding it (as I've noticed I do when stressed and with strangers, like the cashier at a store for instance) and staring like a creeper.

    If I'm comfortable/trust you/am interested in what you're saying, I stare like a creeper LOL. Eyes locked for long periods of time, then I wonder if it's too much, etc.

    I think for most people, whether or not you make eye contact determines whether or not you're trustworthy whereas for me, whether or not I make eye contact is a reflection on whether or not I think the person I'm talking to is trustworthy.
     
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  15. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Eye contact for me is like trying to put two same poles of a magnet together..
    I wouldn't describe it as painful, as you did. But it's really difficult to force it, and maintaining it for any length of time is ridiculously difficult.
     
  16. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    Do you find that is just difficult for yourself or for the person you are also making it with?
     
  17. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just me, as far as I know. I've never noticed anyone else squirming due to me making eye contact like what you've described.. But.. I'm not one to make a lot of eye contact..

    Others squirming about you making eye contact might be based on how you look...

    You commented how talking to a man you find attractive gives you more anxiety (which is very natural). It goes the other way too.. I have a harder time making eye contact with particularly attractive women.. I'm sure that could be seen by them as me squirming.. Perhaps you are just a particularly attractive woman?

    Sometimes it can come down to the eyes.. Do you have an unusual eye color, or intensity about your eyes? In my last job I had a boss who had eyes that were a crystal blue color. Very unusual. It was harder to maintain eye contact with him because it made you feel like his eyes were boring into your soul or something.. Many people who worked with him commented that they found him "intimidating".

    Is your difficulty with making eye contact strictly because of fear of how others react when you do?
    If not, then I'd presume there's two completely different aspects going on here. One, where you have difficulty with eye contact, which very well could be an AS related thing.. And another, where people squirm when you do look at them.
     
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  18. Ken

    Ken Active Member

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    Hi Jade1498! Welcome to the forum!

    Before, and even shortly after I discovered I was on the spectrum, I thought I had no problem with eye contact. After discovering I am autistic and studying the subject of autism, and then after a very deep review of my life, I realized that I indeed never, ever look anyone in the eye. Past, present - ever. I realized that when talking with anyone, I never look at their eyes. I look at their mouth. I have even had people comment about watching their mouth assuming I did that because of my hearing issue. Prior to learning I am autistic, I also believed that was the reason, but now I know that I simply cannot look there.

    That being the case, it has never made me upset or want to cry because I just never do it. I’m not sure why, but it feels like the person is caught naked or something extremely embarrassing like that so I would never look at their eyes. It’s just too over-the-top personal.

    From a distance, I was (am) always terrified to look at anyone, especially in the area of their eyes, because of fear they would address me or want to talk, etc. I never know what to do in a cold contact situation where someone addresses me from across the room, hallway, street, etc. Part of that is because I do not trust I will be able to understand them, due to my hearing issue, but now I realize that my social anxiety is even more powerful than the hearing issue.

    It is even hard for me to look at the eyes of a person’s picture. It is also very unsettling to see a closeup picture of anyone’s face, whether it’s print or screen - even if I don't look at the eyes.

    So, I guess if I have any advice for you; I would just simply say don’t look. Don’t put yourself in that situation. It has worked for me all my life to just focus on their mouth. I guess the only issue I can think of is when someone asks me the color of someone’s eyes that I had recently met. I can never answer that question, but it hasn’t been a frequent or earth-shattering issue.
     
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  19. Peter Jansen

    Peter Jansen Veteran Aspie

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    Hi Jade!

    I remember having to be trained as a child to look people in the eye (among other things) because it was so difficult for me to do. As an adult, I have no problem with making eye-contact. It comes naturally for me now because I had to work so hard learning to do it when I was a kid.
     
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  20. Jade1498

    Jade1498 New Member

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    Most people on here have had the same response, people don’t feel uncomfortable holding eye contact with them. It’s them who have trouble holding eye contact but not due to a fear just simply because it makes them uncomfortable. Which makes me think mine could be more deep rooted?
    I understand where you Are coming from when you say some peoples eyes stand out - I wish I had those but I don’t think I do :(
    I will carry on with the therapy and hope for changes ... and keep the thread updated along the way :)
     
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