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Voice Masking

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by SusanLR, Jun 5, 2020.

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  1. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    Through my life I have become very good at masking to fit in.
    Or at least I hope I have and not just fooling myself while others still may be thinking
    I am strange somehow.

    Today a cashier who started talking with me on one of my interests ask if I was
    British. Suffolk in particular.
    This has happened quite a few times when talking with strangers.
    Usually I don't talk with cashiers or have conversations of any length with people
    I meet in public unless they initiate a convo on a subject of interest.

    I still feel an inner anxiety, but, if it is something of interest I can be quite the
    talker when I find someone with the same interest.
    The question is why does my voice seem to change without thinking about it?
    It's like I suddenly have a different accent from my everyday speech and I'm asked
    if I am British.
    I'm actually southeastern USA with little to no accent.

    Just wondered if anyone else has this happen.
    An unintentional change in voice when conversing with people you don't know.
    Higher, lower, softer, louder or even accent.
    Perhaps it's an unconscious mask of the vocal kind?
     
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  2. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I adapt my voice to given situations or people to blend in.

    I think it's an iteration of the fawn response. This being people-pleasing to diffuse conflict, which can help you feel more secure in relationships, or earn the approval of others. It's a dysfunctional way of creating a feeling of safety in our connections and conversations with others by essentially mirroring the imagined expectations and desires of other people.

    It's exhausting all this masking, isn't it? I think people would probably prefer the colourful personality I am, rather than the reflective (or deflective) one I tend to portray.

    I enjoy accents though, and can spend prolonged periods talking exclusively in a specific accent such as Scottish or Scouse or talking like a stereotypical redneck.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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  3. 8398

    8398 Well-Known Member

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    My vocals are up and down a lot, yet all too quiet for people to hear it seems. >: ( XD
    I do accents too, not good at being accurate at a particular one. Something along the lines of british comes out unintentionally quite a bit. I like accents.
     
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  4. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    If i hear a unuasual pitch or intonation i without consciously mimic it to almost perfect ability, this has caused people to think i was being rude but honestly that isn't my intent, i can now SOME-TIMES not do this but it still happens once in a while, i also find voice moderation tricky, apparently i talk to loud, oh well ther's worse things i could do!!!!
     
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  5. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    My voice gets louder and more animated when I talk to most people. With the one or two people I'm comfortable with my voice is softer and closer to monotone.
     
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  6. WoodWorkingJoel

    WoodWorkingJoel Active Member

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    I think NT's do that too, Ive seen people adapt accents while on holiday for a week.
    Part of the tribe mentality and wanting to fit in.
    And yes I do adapt my voice in certain situations but it's a very conscious choice and usually in short interactions with people I know I won't be seeing again.
     
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  7. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I never thought about it that way but you might be right.

    I do it without realizing I'm doing it (and not just with voice either - with mannerisms, actions, etc.) and usually, I realize it at some point once I've already established a pattern of thought or behavior well enough that it's too late to gracefully back out of it. "Crap, I'm masking again." What results is a bunch of uncomfortable realizations and self questioning and insecurity as I try to re-orient myself to what I actually value, think and feel while trying to figure out how to get myself out of the mental tangle and incorrect impressions people now have of me in this situation.
     
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  8. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    I know anxiety affects my voice but it makes it more mumbled and lower volume instead of an accent.
     
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  9. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    I felt the need to mask symptoms my entire life. I didn't realize until recently that everyone else does it too. Most of the masking I did and that I hear other autistic people do is just normal adapting that every NT does. I used to think it was stressful and took a great deal of effort but I realized it was my own belief that I needed to hide my differences and the fear of people finding out I was different that caused all the stress that made me feel exhausted. After I stopped masking, I found out people like me better since I'm being myself instead of hiding who I am.
     
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  10. Jumpback

    Jumpback Well-Known Member

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    I find it far easier to make my voice match the social demand than to make my face match. Like I can make my voice sound very friendly, but I can't smile on command
     
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  11. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Twice l have talked to a group of people that just suddenly appeared. I masked my tone and choice of words because l wasn't sure of the true intention of the group. They use size to intimidate so l had to go pigeon with one, and l guess my interpretation of street with the other group. Never saw them again. Not sure really what to call this except voice masking appro.
     
  12. Taira

    Taira Member

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    There's a lot of subconscious stuff going on when using one's voice. Adapting one's accent is something that happens to almost everyone, except perhaps people who've lived in the same place their whole life and only know one accent. This seems to be mire of a biological thing connected to our language learning ability. The brain analyses and interprets language as long as we use language, and then implements any new features that are repeated often enough. It's not really something to control or not control, but some people adopt a new accent much quicker than others, and that's very interesting to listen to.

    Changing the pitch of one's voice is also very often subconscious. Almost everybody will talk in a very high pitched voice when talking to a baby. It's probably a biological thing, just like how people generally find anima babies very cute because of features like big eyes and big head on small body. How you talk to adults is something I don't k ow much about, but it might be that talking in a higher pitch is a mechanism to make oneself sound less threatening, in a not your rival kind of way. Masking is connected to survival, and sometimes i think it isn't as much about people pleasing as just not being noticed in a negative way, which may lead to life threatening situations.

    Only masking one's quirkiness too much among people who should be friends, or at least friendly, is something I'd be a little worried about. Masking when dealing with strangers is a necessity, to everybody.
     
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