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Weakly developed or absent "self" - looking for info and advice

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Kriss, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. Kriss

    Kriss Active Member

    May 15, 2020
    Looking for help - info and advice on less popular autistic feature - weakly developed or absent "self". Will try to describe concisely.

    I'm a high-IQ Aspie, professionally successful in my very narrow, very complicated technical niche. Always felt very different from other people, but tried my best to blend in, not very successfully, but together with tactical use of alcohol as social lubricant managed to get somewhat accepted as one of those smart well-meaning weirdos. Good with me. Discovering I'm an Aspie gave me answers to most of questions I had as to why I'm different and gave me peace. Still, one unusual trait still bothers me a lot.

    I have always felt like a machine with engine on but no driver inside. Always had trouble formulating what I wanted. Because I had no specific wants/interests beside the few rudimentary ones - eating, sleeping, reading random information and playing primitive computer games. As a result, I spend my days either reacting to external inputs (school classes, instructions by my boss, requests by my colleagues, family) or when left alone, just staying at home doing nothing. I prefer doing nothing best, hence the analogy to machine with engine on but no driver inside.
    I see other people having an internal need to move around, do things, interact with others, build and execute on longer-term plans. I don't have that internal need, I would want to have it but can't find it inside myself. And I also lack that longer-term thinking somehow. Every morning I wake up, and it feels I'm a new person, and have to spend some moments to rebuild an picture of myself in my head, and figure out why and what should I do today. I sometimes try to write down my thoughts and future plans in the evening, to pass over to the morning-me, but don't work that way, you can't download your person in the evening and upload in the morning, so I feel like a blank sheet in the morning :(

    Long story short, I was binge-reading Uta Frith and Simon Baron-Cohen writings on autism, and saw there a description of "weakly-developed/absent self" as one of autistic expressions, and it struck me as a perfect match to how I perceive myself.
    Since then, trying to find out more about this, but no luck. My thinking -
    1) maybe there are ways to train and strengthen the "self" somehow?
    2) if I could find out, how the "normal self" functions, I could somehow reverse engineer it in my head, like I do with all those social interactions etc.
    3) if there are people like me, maybe they have tactics or strategies I could try

    Any ideas, tactics and reading links much appreciated!

    Even if no ideas, please shout out if you have felt in similar way. I have read many many Aspie-personal-story books, and have never seen weak selfs there, only the strong ones. So either weak-self Aspies don't write books, or I'm pretty alone here.
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  2. Mulder

    Mulder New Member

    Jan 4, 2021
    Did it help finding similar people in someway? Reason I ask i am new to this site.
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Jan 7, 2015
    Maybe try spend some time thinking/daydreaming about goals. At work, in an interest, at home. Visualizing something it would be nice to be, have, do, etc.
  4. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2020
    I thought about this,...and yes,...I do see your described tendencies in myself. I too, am a higher-IQ (65th-100th percentile, depending upon the specific testing,...welcome to autistic asymmetrical intelligence) and do work within a narrow niche within the medical field.

    Due to mental exhaustion, there are tendencies, on my days off to want to "vegetate",...I would argue this is normal behavior given my job. I've spoken to neurotypical co-workers that do the same. However, beyond that,...I must have goals,...short-term,...long-term,...whatever. Something to do, something to look forward to, etc. Now, it may encompass around one of my "hobbies" or "special interests", but also around perhaps a major project, purchase, building my next home,...whatever. You have to have some reason to look forward to the next day. This tends to build a sense of "self".

    The other part,...being introspective here,...is overcoming my personal insecurities. Early on in school, it was weightlifting and athletics. If I could be the strongest in the school,...people were a lot less likely to pick on me. I remember that scene from Star Wars where C3PO was playing "chess" with Chewbacca. C3PO complains about Chewbacca cheating,...and Han Solo says something about "Let the wookie win, because wookies have been known to people's rip arms out their sockets." I was the "wookie" at school. I was never mean,...never had to be,...and people didn't pick on me. I had that intimidation factor going for me. Later on in school, it was academics. I pushed myself to be the top of the class,...at the expense of other things,...but I met that goal. At work, people know that I am very knowledgable about my field. If someone asks me a question, it becomes an intimidating, sometimes off-putting, "tsunami" of information to be washed over them. On the other hand, I have become an educator and resource person. I am answering questions all day, even patients that I am not following. My comment about my professional IQ testing above,...I didn't have to mention that, but I did. I have a bit of a narcissistic streak in me,...because of my insecurities. I can also be very humble and self-deprecating at times,...often said with some degree of humor.

    I have a strong sense of self. I am very introspective. I know my limitations, my faults, my strengths.
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  5. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    Be cautious of equating a developmental difference as a weakness. There are SO many on here who are favourable to their autism and do not feel at all weak----only when up against the larger community do they feel things are hard.

    The deaf community went through this. They were told they were broken and disabled and forced to read lips. Eventually they became very strong. When I learned sign language, there was a whole community I met that would never even want to be hearing!

    I wish we all could get to that place. We are still shamed and told we are disabled and developed "wrong" instead of different.

    So I think for any of us to develop a strong self, we have to believe that we are not faulty. That has to be #1.
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  6. Finder

    Finder Active Member

    Oct 13, 2020
    I think the first step to understanding the "self" is to ask the question. I think we are all going to come to different conclusions. Western culture is confusing because the only models given are rather select. I have found this a good read: Acceptance as a Well Being Practice
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  7. Mulder

    Mulder New Member

    Jan 4, 2021
    Please define "staying at home and doing nothing"?
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  8. 4na11

    4na11 Active Member

    Jan 2, 2021
    I know what is life with passion, and I know what a passionless life is.
    Whenever I have a project, whenever I feel passionate about something, I don't even need to sleep, and of course I will be the same next day.
    But when I don't have a passion, when doing nothing is the best thing I have to do, then, I don't know who I will find next morning. Most likely it will be the worst version of myself. Or if I am lucky, something will inspire me.
    I still don't know how to create this passionate field. It seems it is self manifested.
    I should know by know how to remain in that state, but so far I have failed.
    At present, I am waiting for that chance again, for inspiration to make me be my best, be superhuman.
    It is very similar to falling in love. You can't force it. It happens when it does.
    Creative and intellectual inspiration have been like that for me, like falling in love with something that makes life worth living.
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  9. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Apr 14, 2010
    I felt personality-less as a young person, had no fixed opinions and a general shrugged shoulder/whatever reaction to everything. Sort of like a blob or an amoeba in some ways. no fixed shape. As I've aged I developed opinions and biases and that seems to amount to 'self' in this world. I guess personality is shaped by experience so if your not experiencing life, it stalls development of 'self'.
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  10. phantom

    phantom New Member

    Jul 21, 2020
    I wonder if this is similar to not being able to answer the question "How are you doing", I feel like i am just a person who is alive and there nothing more i can tell you about it. I have no idea what tell someone when they ask me to describe myself and ask me questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" or "How do you like to spend you time?". I spend 100% of my free time studying, listening to music and thinking while zoning out. I don't listen to pop music and only few people would wanna talk about math, electrical engineering, programming and computer architecture. I have an iq 95th percentile, my aspie uncle however has one in the 99th and will happily talk about physics and philosophy no one can understand at family gatherings and birthdays, i am to self conscious to do that.
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  11. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2017
    Do you have a belief system?
    Some sort of moral code?
    A work ethic?
    Likes and dislikes?
    Can you say "No" to a request?
    Can you disagree with anothers opinion and put forward your own?

    What motivates you to keep on showing up for work each day?

    Are you a son? brother? father? boyfriend? partner? uncle? friend? colleague etc?

    What traits in others do you value?

    Can you state what you enjoy most about primitive computer games? Why those and not the more recent games?

    (an idea) -
    Sometimes, if we spread ourselves too thin in pursuit of perfection, being amenable, fitting in and never saying 'No' to others requests,
    fatigue sets in and we may have little left for our own self care other than rudimentary obligations.

    Another idea is connection or value?

    Personally, I'm capable of operating on autopilot or just 'going through the motions' when what I happen to be doing means little to me.
    When I place little or no value on the task or have no connection to a person.

    An example of which may be a script used when answering a telephone in customer services at a workplace.

    It would have been considered impolite to answer a random strangers' (customer) call with
    "What do you want? Why have you called?"
    - (when really that's the question that needs answering)
    I have no initial connection with that random stranger until my script elicits more information in order to forge a connection.

    So my next question is,
    Do you value connections with others and elicit information to discover the wonderfully rich complexity of humans,
    or are your interactions meaningless?
    Just citing the scripts and going through the motions?

    Sorry for all of the questions at the beginning of post. Not obligated to answer them on public forum.
    They're private questions. A test of sorts.
    If you're able to answer them you have some idea of 'self' on which to build.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
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