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Masking

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Daydreamer, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. leehart

    leehart Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, in my reading I hear many talk about masking. This is something I can relate to.

    One thing I am pondering when it comes to masking is how to accurately know what is masking and what is the natural person? Some mask so well that others could never tell. Is the person always aware of the mask or can it begin to feel as natural as cloths and the boundaries begin to blur some?

    Sorry if that makes no sense!
     
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  2. Michael Balog

    Michael Balog Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I mask so well no one can tell I’m anxious at work. I must do this subconsciously cause I’m not aware of how or when I’m masking the anxiety.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  3. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I used to mask so much I didn't even know who I was. As I got older and more accepting of who I am, I stopped masking so much. I still mask a little, but I am allowing more of myself to shine through. It helps that I am very open about my autism and my comorbid disorders with my friends and family, and they are accepting of me, so I don't feel the need to mask at much. At work I do mask a lot when seeing clients, because they don't need to know what goes on in my head. I was perfectly capable of being friendly and understanding while seeing patients, while in reality I was incredibly depressed and suicidal at the time.
     
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  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It makes total sense. ;)

    Simply put, in my own case I went through most of my life masking my traits and behaviors knowing that with so many social encounters of many kinds that "to get along, I had to go along". Without any thought of autism.

    So until I was 55 years old, I had no idea what motivated me to behave in such a manner. Making most of my life a kind of "blur" as you put it as to who- and what I really am.

    Though at this point of my life, I have been able to much better regulate my masking than before. Where now it is more of a deliberate choice as opposed to being on "automatic pilot".
     
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  5. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    I mask but l really don't filter through depression, maybe l had a lot of sun growing up. Not sure why, but l never encounter a drop off in my life like the little guy on a video game running then completely falls off. People have waited for me to hit this plateau or pit , it doesn't happen. Even l scratch my head, l guess that isn't my Achilles thing. Mine is just confusion, boatloads of really?
     
  6. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    I have recently had a very interesting experience with masking. I spent several years in europe, where personalities aren't performed to such extremes as they are in the US, where I am currently. Masking for me is matching my personality and actions to the group of people I am currently interacting with. I do this automatically most of the time and I really only noticed it once I learned about ASD traits. Now that I am somwhat able to watch myself interact with others, it's really a bit of a roller coaster, since I will adjust to different groups of people at the same social gathering, which in the US, can be rather high amplitude changes.

    My friends tell me, that they would like me to be myself more, which is a nice sentiment, but I'm not quite sure what that would be. I suppose I have some learning to do, along a similar trajectory as Judge.
     
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  7. ghostie

    ghostie Active Member

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    Is there anywhere to learn how to do it? I can't do it really hardly at all.
     
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  8. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    I think I learned it by watching my mom interact with people she doesn't know. She was always the one the group guide for travel groups would respond best to. I have to watch others in similar situations though. Otherwise it will take me a long time to figure out how I am supposed to act. Mostly it's just rewording and repeating the same thing the other person just said back to them while imitating their tone of voice, at least that's what I do. It works well for surviving, but not for builing actual connections.
     
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  9. ghostie

    ghostie Active Member

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    I'm going to have to pay more attention to that. I went through most of my life completely ignoring how other people interact because anytime I'm out in public it's about all I can do to stare at my shoes and not go bananas. But I'm getting better lately so I need to start watching people. Problem is, I don't like looking at people, makes me feel gross inside.
     
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  10. JojobaOil

    JojobaOil New Member

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    I feel like I’ve been pretending so long that I’ve lost myself. My mother spent a lot of time reprimanding next for whatever I did wrong even if I didn’t know why I was wrong. I never knew how people would react to what I would say so I just started memorizing facial expressions + standard responses. And I’m actually pretty good at doing it on the fly now I think. When conversations go outside of that I’m lost. Should I smile more or do that expression they do on that show I just watched? The more I do it the less me I feel. Who am I now?
     
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  11. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    does it make you feel gross even when they don't look back? Just asking out of curiosity.
     
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  12. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    Agree. I'm running into a bit of trouble now, that I'm supposed to be an independent adult because I always based my decisions on what I'm supposed to want to do, not what I actually want to do. So now I'm working on trying to find out what it is I want.

    I do the memorizing facial experessions as well. I've found people tend to react more positively when I laugh a lot. Makes them more comfortable than me being serious.
     
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  13. ghostie

    ghostie Active Member

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    Yeah. I've been trying to work through a lot of this but what I think now is that when I was young I started to be repulsed by people, I find the texture of skin to be very gross personally, no offense to anyone with skin I have some myself, and so I would just never look at people very closely. Actually I never let myself look at anything too closely because I was always worried people could read my thoughts and if they saw me looking at something they would know I didn't know what that thing was which I found distressing as a kid. Or something, wow sounds a bit crazy haha...
     
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  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    For some reason skin can be creepy. l have some movie scenes in my brain that were creepy because of skin, and it was a comedy.
     
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