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

  2. To allow for the upgrade to the latest version of XenForo there will be a brief downtime on Sunday 10th July. The works will be carried out in the morning UK time to minimize the impact to members.

Identity Crisis

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by danielcollins, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. danielcollins

    danielcollins Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Karma:
    +170
    Seems to be the story of my life the title.

    Still struggling to find who I am and where I fit in to society, not that I care but I'd like to know where I stand rather than just being in a group of people that are "a bit of everything".

    Around once every 6 months, I have a moment and either throw a lot of clothes away and buy new ones or do something drastic like cutting all my hair off and wear black colours. Going hot and cold from wanting to be colourful and wanting to blend in.

    Just came out of a "plain" phase where I wanted to dress down in darker colours and be noticed but now I'm feeling like I want to be noticed again. Every time a colourful phase comes on I always end up feeling like an outcast.

    Are NT's taste in music, life style, dress sense dictated by there social circles? how do I or you identify yourself in society when you struggle to communicate in general let a lone making friends in side a certain circle. I've been thinking that a lot of what people are now is because of the friends they made at school, is this true?

    How do you get that happy medium of some-where in between, for once I don't want black or white I want grey :(
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,630
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Karma:
    +5,274
    While I'm clearly not an NT thus can't give you the exact NT perspective on it, I think you're right in that NT's often end up identifying with a certain group they're part of. Those friends can be made in school, at jobs, at clubs, but a lot of the foundation is made at a relative young age (mid to late teens mostly) Clearly, when you get older it's less (for most), since that's when a lot get married, have children, and thus have less time to be part of something. I've seen many people my age (whom I knew from school or a job or something like that) who got in that marriage/kids predicament and they became a rather bland bunch. They might still be nice people and have a "wild side" to them, but it's way more held back because of responsibilities towards a stable life, the family and so on.

    What I also think, and this might not be NT exclusive, some people just stick with the same friends for years, and change with them. It's just easier to change with them than to find new friends. That in essence makes people struggle to find their own identity more. A lot of people don't even have the drive to find their own motivation and thing. They're happy as long as it works for them. They don't even question it.

    I've noticed a similar issue when I was in a long term relationship from my late teens until halfway in my 20's. While I had my own identity, I always felt held back by my (then) girlfriend. I wasn't aware of this until I broke up with her and found out what things I liked more, what kept me going and why I did certain things. But the luxury of breaking off contact and pretty much being on your own for a while without any significant interference from the outside (no friends, no school, no job; I didn't talk to anyone for a few months at all) got me in a state where I could search and find myself and find what my life should be all about (now, the fact that society doesn't agree with that is a struggle by itself and a totally different matter, lol)

    The happy medium is agreeing that you can change styles every once in a while. It's just as natural of a process as the change of seasons IMO. Besides; if you're doing the same thing over and over again and end up in that grey place, I'm quite sure at some point you'll get bored. Change is a way of your mind telling you "I need excitement, I need change... I need something different". I don't know if you should try and resist a craving for change
     
  3. danielcollins

    danielcollins Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Karma:
    +170
    Thanks for your feedback :)

    I can understand that, but it's hard to stick with a bunch of friends when you don't have many to begin with! let a lone maintaining the ones I did have.

    Also had a similar experience after leaving a long term relationship which was terribly disastrous, he had many more mental issues than I did and for a while a lot of his bad attributes started to show in my personality which I hated. Took me a long time to shake off all the hurt and bad behaviours/thoughts he conditioned me into. I suppose I am still recovering from that and now I'm trying to baseline.

    I suppose, in true AS form I'm over thinking something which people just do.. society moulds them into who they are and they're just happy with the cards that they've been dealt - from the outside world it appears they've made a life style choice which I want in on, not as simple as that.

    You're right and these "identity crisis's" I keep having are costing me dearly both emotionally, mentally and monetarily.

    Something I've realised as of late is that a lot of my aspirations and wants/needs haven't changed yet life has and then there's a stark realisation when I achieve one that it isn't quite what I want/wanted any more. I.E. I wanted a specific home theatre system for a couple years, by the time I could actually afford it and purchased it I realised it was quite outdated and there was things I wanted on it that it didn't have. Forever on the back foot.

    I like fashion but I wouldn't say I read magazines or search the web a lot, I like clothes.. same again I create myself a "style" and then I soon realise that was a bit "6 months ago" and sorta look a bit weird.

    @King_Oni when you say society doesn't agree with that, agree with what? people spending lots of time by themselves? - I spend a lot of time by myself and have kinda took comfort in talking to myself as nuts as that sounds. Suppose that's my cushiony comfort zone, I always understand me.. most of the time.
     
  4. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,630
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Karma:
    +5,274
    Wanting to spend time on my own is the least of my worries. But my "fashion sense" for example seems to be a bit more out there. So in that way I can totally relate to the issue you have where you talk about appearance. Right now people look at me cause I have grown a full beard and long hair (and thus seem to give this impression of a scruffy looking person; up to people thinking I'm homeless) while in the past I've went with mohawks and such. I have no real interest in middle ground when it comes for appearance I guess. And that in fact kinda messes up when you try to establish your identity. It's not so much that I have an issue with people judging me. I could care less about that in general. But judgement from people who are in a position of power (employers, social services) always seems to mess it up big time, even when a therapist told me to "do whatever feels good to you". Funny how that works, when you've been refused entrance to bars and clubs when they don't like the way you look.

    And I think there's a few other areas that raise similar issues for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  5. 142857

    142857 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    763
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Karma:
    +145
    The stereotypical aspie or autistic has little, if any, fashion sense, and doesn't identify in society much at all.
     
  6. danielcollins

    danielcollins Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Karma:
    +170
    I'm kinda not suprised by that. I know that on the scale of AS I'm quite low so maybe some of it can be attributed to that.

    Maybe I'm at the point in the AS scale where I *know* I'm an outsider and keep trying to get in on a circle or part of society but can't because I don't understand the processes and rules to join one. The other part of me couldn't care less what people though or where I fit in society.

    It's weird...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. danielcollins

    danielcollins Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Karma:
    +170
    I think it's intended as an empowerment in a good way from therapists, but it sadly doesn't detract from the fact we live in a society driven by image.

    You look a certain way, therefore you behave a certain way ~ although completely untrue I think it's how people initially base there opinions on.

    Yeah I've been there too, if it wasn't for work I'd probably have a lot more piercings and much brighter coloured hair. Maybe it's something for the future... teenage years were really really hard, only ever wanted to fit in but still have a personality yet it never really panned out that way.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. 142857

    142857 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    763
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Karma:
    +145
    What I was referring to was a stereotype. Obviously not all aspies are oblivious to fashion and their place in society.

    A fairly common characteristic among aspies that I have encountered (mostly online) is that we tend to have a small number of friends who are generally misfits themselves in one way or another, rather than finding a particular social niche within society.
     
  9. nosouvenirs

    nosouvenirs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Karma:
    +37
    Finding what you call a "social niche" is overrated, honestly... most of them, as you've described above about parents, etc, are very boring. I LIKE my misfit/different friends, and I much prefer them to most of society. Conformity is not my thing and never has been. I need the company of people who have brains and like to think about issues, not just accept what life throws at them. That, in my opinion, is an extremely lazy way to live.

    Another thing I will say, though, is that I don't think people with ASDs are people who can just sit back and never think about anything, because right from the start they were never "normal", and only people who have had pretty normal, non-tragic lives can sit back and just accept the status quo (that or non-intelligent people). I am probably not a full-fledged Aspie, but I was basically born emotionally intense and anxious, and I was always the "nerd" who couldn't seem to fit in properly unless I was with other nerds, so never feeling normal is a perspective I know intimately.

    But, as I say, I honestly think normalcy is overrated. Not so in that we all need to be able to function day to day in our lives (an issue I struggle with due to multiple mental illnesses as well as possible ASD traits), but in other ways, it's absolutely overrated. Who WANTS to just be a sheeple in society? Fit in with someone, anyone, yes. But that doesn't mean you have to change who you are (and just for the record, I learned the hard way that you actually can't change who you are).
     
  10. danielcollins

    danielcollins Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Karma:
    +170
    Okay Touche... I agree with you and I enjoy having an identity and being an individual.

    BUT: Reality, (Maybe I'm being too frank) there are places I want to go and things I'd like to do which I just don't want to do on my own.

    - I'd like to go to New York (Friends that I do have, don't have that kinda finances available to them)
    - Have a group of friends to go out with on a night out. I love clubbing but won't go on my own.
    - Have an identity which doesn't make me feel more socially awkward than I already do.

    Like from my first post, I go from pillar to post about blending in and then standing out. I'm growing my hair at the moment in preparation for dying it bleach white, I'm excited about having something that makes me more unique but apprehensive about drawing more attention to the fact that I don't fit in.

    Sometimes when you feel socially in a corner, having a very unique identity just pushes people away even more. Although it really shouldn't in reality...
     
  11. iamanders

    iamanders Active Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Karma:
    +9
    you wanna become religious? down on your knees a pray! Seriously, it is difficult being yourself.
    btw, most people seem kinda unhappy. Do you really want to be like them?
     
  12. reveric15

    reveric15 UMC Pastor in North Carolina, USA

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Karma:
    +73
    Danielcollins, I want you to hear me out. If you hate what I say then throw it out!

    I totally understand what you're saying. I feel that you are having troubles in two (at least) distinct areas: your identity itself and your self-expression of that identity. Remember, people do not always express their true selves, but often express a self that they wish they had or idealize. People who are happiest (or at least have a solution to such an identity crisis) will express who they truly are, which I advise you to do.

    Identity, for Aspies and NTs alike I imagine, is not something which is stagnant, unchanging or permanent; it is fluid and constantly morphing, particularly in a world that is experiencing rapid technological and sociological progress and globalization. The more we are exposed to the greater world, the more opportunity we have to alter or solidify our current identity.

    So to respond to one concern, yes it think it is normal, especially at your age, to undergo frequent modification to your true identity. As you age your identity is likely to experience less change. But rather than worry too much about your changing identity (and it's expression), embrace who you are becoming! Who knows what you'll be like in ten years, but you're headed that direction already. And it'll be authentically you, in a way no one else can claim to be.

    You may say it's hard to define who you are. While I can't promise you'll be what you think is ideal, I can promise that you will be YOU and that is extremely valuable. There is only one of you, and if you don't allow yourself to be who you are, then the rest of us miss out on the awesome person you're hiding underneath. And you'll miss out on being yourself, which is a self-tyranny that no one deserves, especially someone who is ASD!

    As for self-expression, embrace your changes of color (or colour, if you will). Wear the clothes that express who you are today. Now I might keep those older clothes rather than toss them simply because you never know when your washing machine might break down! But remember that who you are is changing and evolving, and that is something to embrace. If you feel like standing out one day and hiding the next, I say go for it. By the way, that seems normal to me for both ASD and NT alike.

    Be who you are, just for today. Who are you? You may not even know, and you may forever elude definition or characterization. But you will always be Danielcollins, and no matter how hard anyone tries, they will never be just like you.

    Sorry for the rant, lol!
     
  13. syst3mcas3

    syst3mcas3 Active Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +17
    Here's my personal thing that I live with. I used to look very gothed up and I would always have blood red and black hair and do my make up all good. My friend and i (who I would say are social misfits) are not bad at that kind of makeup so we always looked good.

    However. When I became a parent, it did get to be a bit difficult to keep up. And even though nothing about my personality is any different, I look fairly "normal" now. Regular blonde hair, and I suppose I dress a little, I hate to say this but "older" now? I really have no other word for it so bare with me on the "older" thing.

    I really enjoyed the look I used to have, and maybe later when my daughter grows up I can do that kind of maintainence again, it was fun and I looked good. But now I feel like I get judged by my friends other friends for looking too normal. Which pisses me off. Because they seem to whine about how people judge them for dressing the way they do. But i dye my hair a normal color and all of a sudden I can't be identified with? It honestly makes me think they aren't smart enough. In general. It is extremely hipocritical. I am pretty honest about my feelings so let's just say a particular one of her friends doesn't like me for what I was honest about. But what am idiot. Sorry this has turned to a rant. But damnit!

    I say dress however you want. We all wear funeral clothes when we die anyway. So there ya go.
     
  14. AmyB8484

    AmyB8484 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    May 26, 2014
    Karma:
    +83
    OMG, I SOOO know what u r talking about. My whole life I have done that.
     
  15. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,064
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2013
    Karma:
    +1,695
    Most things NT are mainstream in any genre. That's the easiest thing to go by if you don't have a feel for something. Don't focus on what others like. Discover what YOU like, but also learn to tolerate what others like and compromise. Hold yourself in high esteem and don't let people walk all over you. You're allowed to like things that other people don't, but just try to do a few things you don't like now and then too. Stay open and positive as possible. Do enough to survive, but don't do something because you're trying to be someone else unless you're getting paid enough to do so, or are practicing acting, something like that.
     
  16. Stacey

    Stacey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    331
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2014
    Karma:
    +226
    When I was a teenager I was (called) a bit of a goth. I had a boyfriend who dyed his hair all the colours under the sun and listened to heavy metal. Now in my late twenties, I'm just 'bland'. I wear t'shirts, leggings, sweaters and pumps in grey/navy blue/black. My wardrobe is dreary and boring. I have no fashion sense whatsoever. Clothes are a means to cover my nakedness and nothing else. It bothers me that clothes are part of a persons identity. That concept has never made an iota of sense to me. Clothes cover my nakedness and keep me warm. Mostly garments are fussy and over priced.
    Although I suppose I should probably make more of an effort, but I absolutely abhore shopping. It puts me in such a bad mood. I had a friend who loved it so much, that she'd waste an entire day doing it! Then she'd moan about having hardly any money left! o_O
    Tell me where the sense in that is?
    I'd rather spend money on books. They have a point. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. faithmclaine

    faithmclaine Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Karma:
    +14
    I used to try blending in but I realised that a long time ago that I was failing social interaction but now I feel that I really would like to have a real friendship rather than a bunch of acquaintances
     
  18. Kusan38

    Kusan38 My self portrait ^

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Karma:
    +13
    This topic really interests me - "identity crisis" sometimes feels like the phrase that best describes my life. (Please note: I am not diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition - just questioning whether to be evaluated.)

    My appearance has always been relatively unremarkable, but if I had more drive, money and courage regarding the judgments of others, then I suspect my appearance would be very strange and ever changing. It has frequently been my secret wish to dress for the identity of the moment.

    From childhood through today, I have felt like I absorbed the identities of my favorite characters. I did not overtly or expertly imitate them (though I often adopted subtle aspects of them). I felt like I was adopting their essences, one by one, and "channeling" them subtly, as it suited me. At times when I felt no such character affinity, I was probably less likely to be happy.

    With this outlook, it may be quite obvious why I don't know who I am. Sometimes this is OK (e.g., with my recent interest in Buddhist derived meditations that emphasize a lack of enduring self), but at other times it can be deeply dissatisfying. When there's no favorite character of the moment, I feel like a null person. Like a stem cell that will never differentiate.

    It may seem strange, but I envy all of you who have a clinical diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition, because that is a seemingly concrete label that appears more comprehensive than many other labels.