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Reading Body Language - Consciously Using It

Hello friends,

So this morning I was beating myself up for a fight my spouse had with me yesterday. We were walking on the beach and I noticed some gunk in her tooth that was very distracting. Under normal circumstances I usually just keep my eyes away from her face and not tell her as I have always considered pointing out such things rude and a way to signal out someone. But I have been trying harder to be more communicative. So I BLURTED out that she had gunk caught in her tooth. She kept picking at her teeth in front of me and each time she just smashed it more into her tooth. She kept asking me if it was gone. I would say, "no it's still there." I admit that I was grossed out. I have a weird thing about people mouths. I hate it when they pick their teeth in front of me. So she got upset each time I told her no so she grabs my shirt sleeve to clean it. Oh so got it that time. But I snapped. I said, "please don't use my shirt to clean your teeth."

Even though she was completely in the wrong to disrespect my personal space, she got really angry at me for what?! She told me she does not like spending time with me and I am such a jerk. She apologized, sort of, but she was very defensive saying that my tone of voice and way I told her set her off from the gecko. And I was like, "do you even know how hard it was for me to tell you?" She then mirrored my mannerism back, which as painful as it is to watch, is pretty spot on. And I really did sound like a real jerk. I realized, maybe for the first time, that my words, which were fine when written out, were correct but they were lost in my tone of voice and body language. Well dang! That's why I get into so many fights with the people I love. Great! I do realize my wife was a jerk too, for spitting out words she did not mean. Again though, words mean so little so I shouldn't have taken it so personally. I cried myself to sleep.

Well this morning I woke up and decided that a research session was in order to start formally learning body language and voice tone. I haven't come across anything too helpful with voice tone. Except that I should voice record myself speaking to someone. I did came across a nice informative site of body language. It's actually for a leadership/cultish corporate group but it breaks down a lot of the common body languages and categorizes them into chapters. Sort of like a simple textbook which excited me. I was like, "Eureka! I found something I can memorize that practice."

Here is the link if ya'll are interest.
https://www.westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/book_of_body_language/toc.html

So, in order to demonstrate and understanding of what we had talked about, I tried a very simple mannerisms and applied them in the correct situation. I am practicing nodding my head in agreement in a slow, drawn out pace. From the above e-book they write that it's a slow head nod conveys that I am interested in what they are saying and I am in agreeance. Orcourse the head shake is the opposite that I disagree or simply I say no. I've known about these but my nods and shakes are either so minimal that one can say I did not respond or they are so obnoxiously fast that I convey that I'm annoyed with the conversation and I want it to be over. It's like, until I took conscious control over my head shakes and nods I did not understand that I was providing mixed signals. So this morning I did slow, but very obvious headshakes and nods and guess what? My wife accepting my responses with enthusiasm and the morning as gone smoothly. Usually she tells me it's like tooth extraction getting this very basic answer from me.

The only thing I really have left to say is, "wow, I cannot believe just how much of an effort and deliberateness I have to experience to do this basic human communication mannerism correctly. It has felt so unnatural to me. It's like, can't a yes or no in a stern voice count? No it cannot possibly suffice. It's " smile and nod my head yes.... frown and shake my head no. No words needed. To me it's topsy turvy but the evidence is that my morning was without any added duress. Just the pain of having to consciously monitor my every physical reaction and how tedious it was.

I did make an excuse to take the garbage out and do an errand in town. And in the car I had a beautiful monologue where I let go of the control..... It felt great! My imaginary passenger thought that I was a blast. LOL!
 
That's pretty cool that you're working to learn to adapt more to the world around you. I have done much the same over the years. It does feel a lot unnatural at first, but eventually it does become habit and feels less awkward.
I still have issues with my tone of voice though, and it still sometimes causes problems with my wife. The problem with that one for me is I can't really hear in my own tone of voice what is off about it.. I guess I've never tried recording myself though.. Maybe that'd help.. Let me know if you try it!

She told me she does not like spending time with me and I am such a B*tch.
On this part... I know every relationship has its own dynamics, but that just sounds so disrespectful to me.. Even said in anger doesn't make something like that acceptable afaic.
Presuming she didn't mean it and just said it out of anger, then she should give you a heartfelt and sincere apology, and perhaps consider working on her anger management.
If she did mean it, then you might want to reconsider the relationship.

my two cents..
 
Just a FYI

It's 'Get-go'

not

giant-day-gecko.jpg


;)
 
Love your post but I can't get past the part where she used your shirt to clean her teeth. Oh hail no!!!!!!! And she didn't like your tone????? If she had done that to me she wouldn't have liked more than my tone.

We have a reason for our struggles with our interactions with others but what are other peoples excuses? Are we trying so hard to be in a relationship that we will accept any kind of behavior someone wants to display towards us? The problem does not always lie with us. We need to stop OWNING other peoples behavioral choices toward us as if we deserve them. Where is the line for the amount of disrespect you will accept from her?
 
Hang on I have just read your post properly, she grabbed your shirt to clean her teeth! Unless that was some of kind of lighthearted action I think that in itself is pretty innappropriate and disrepectful....then the angry words and what she said...not sure you should keep putting yourself through that...hope I haven't overstepped some line with these comments.

Personally can't stand fast movements towards me, or in fact any movements towards me.
 
On this part... I know every relationship has its own dynamics, but that just sounds so disrespectful to me.. Even said in anger doesn't make something like that acceptable afaic.
Presuming she didn't mean it and just said it out of anger, then she should give you a heartfelt and sincere apology, and perhaps consider working on her anger management.
If she did mean it, then you might want to reconsider the relationship.

my two cents..

She did apologize. And she has PTSD from a traumatic childhood where parents were more into their vices then actually loving her and her siblings. The family has a "seen but not heard" and "kids don't have adult problems, so kids opinions and thoughts do not matter." Her voicing her opinions, even though its disrespectful is something she needs work on. It does in no way excuse her behavior anymore than me pushing her buttons. The only saving grace for her is she admits that her anger is a problem and she does work on it. I push her buttons a lot so I'm sure I don't make it any more easy.
 
Love your post but I can't get past the part where she used your shirt to clean her teeth. Oh hail no!!!!!!! And she didn't like your tone????? If she had done that to me she wouldn't have liked more than my tone.

We have a reason for our struggles with our interactions with others but what are other peoples excuses? Are we trying so hard to be in a relationship that we will accept any kind of behavior someone wants to display towards us? The problem does not always lie with us. We need to stop OWNING other peoples behavioral choices toward us as if we deserve them. Where is the line for the amount of disrespect you will accept from her?

To play the devils advocate, I often do this with my OWN teeth on my OWN shirt sleeve if out in public and without something more appropriate to clean with. (avoid embarrassment call outs from others often drives me to do this sort of thing). At the time my wife's shirt was extremely dirty and my shirt was dry and clean and no bathroom or napkins available....talking about primitive island awaiting a ferry......... she has social issues of her own - ptsd connected anger and severe ADHD. It's not a perfect story for the two of us but we're both weird..... just with different baggage we're both helping each other with.
 
LMAO! I like gecko better! But geesh, how often and for how long have people let me get away with this one......

For years I would always say, "The whole gambit", instead of using gamut..
And then one day...
Wife: "It's gamut..."
Me: "What?"
Wife: "It's gamut, not gambit."
Me: "Really?! I've been saying it gambit for years!"
Wife: "Yeah, I know. I just didn't correct you before."
Me: "omg, why?!"

Also, gecko is kinda more fun.. :D
 
I am going to be blunt. I hope you understand this is not criticism of you personally.

Several of the comments you have made about your spouse make me want to shout "It's not you! It is her!". She seems to be dismissive of your basic needs as a human being. She appears to be disrespectful of you as a human being and very ill equiped to understand your needs as an autist. But even if you were not on the spectrum her behavior seems to border on abusive.

I don't think your autisim is the issue at all. Even if you behaved exactly like an NT she would treat you the same as she does now. She will not improve no matter how hard you work on yourself. Because YOU are not the problem!
 
For years I would always say, "The whole gambit", instead of using gamut..
And then one day...
Wife: "It's gamut..."
Me: "What?"
Wife: "It's gamut, not gambit."
Me: "Really?! I've been saying it gambit for years!"
Wife: "Yeah, I know. I just didn't correct you before."
Me: "omg, why?!"

Also, gecko is kinda more fun.. :D

People often say "jerry rigged" as in "I don't gave the right part, I will jerry rig it". The correct phrase is "jury rig".

P.s. I like gecko better too!
 
People often say "jerry rigged" as in "I don't gave the right part, I will jerry rig it". The correct phrase is "jury rig".

P.s. I like gecko better too!

And, now I have a new correction.. lol
I didn't know it was jury-rigged.
I just told my wife that, she's like, "Yup, I know..".
Guess she never bothered to correct me on that one either.. :p
 
It's very nice that you want to accommodate her, but truly... I question changing yourself to do so? Something about you running in circles to change a behavior that indeed wife knew of prior to marriage and accepted to the point of marrying you, seems odd?

And that above effort for change (voice tone and body language) is because you are on the spectrum and thus do not give off the right tone or body language. Do you realize the emotional toll that will take on you to conform to that point. Just after one effort on that you escaped to your car and had to let off steam. Wow, and that is just after one initiation. It will add up over time that toll.

Ok... so my question is... When was she evaluated? Likely never.
But honestly, not knowing that this ("So she got upset each time I told her no so she grabs my shirt sleeve to clean it") is inappropriate behavior, maybe it is due?
 
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Friends I do appreciate your responses. There are plenty of good things about my wife though but I do admit she is a bit of a bully. But, from where I'm from she's actually nicer toward me that most others in my community have been.... and they do not know I'm an autist. Bullies are a BIG part of the cultural norm of rural Vermont.

Just on here, sometimes I really wish I could change the course of my decisions. I think if I was to go back before I dated anyone I would have whispered that I was autistic and to screw humans and to dive deep into learning about autism and meet others with autism. We may be all different, but I think we have more in common than with NTs.

I wish I could change my situation some days but other days are just as good and with lots of benefits. Overall I love the life we have created. I am having to learn to set my boundaries down. Be assertive to my needs. And also accept when I can't get every need from her met. She really is one of three people I talk openly with and she gets a lot of me.

Well she now knows not to use my shirt, and next time I will just let her wear the gunk in her teeth and look away. She'll figure it out eventually.
 
I’d get her a bag of those dental sticks with the floss on one end and a pretty bag to carry them in. The wiping teeth on another’s shirt....lmbo! Never saw it before but I’d have to laugh.

Fun to read thread, great answers! :)
 
Well she now knows not to use my shirt, and next time I will just let her wear the gunk in her teeth and look away. She'll figure it out eventually.

My opinion…

Her: At the very least, she should have asked permission first.

You: I’ve always believed a true friend / loved one DOES tell you when there’s food or lipstick on your teeth.
 
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