Autism Awareness and communication. Please be truly aware…

This is Autism awareness month. And everyone is talking about Autism, but no one is trying to be AWARE of what life on the spectrum is like.

For me, it would be great if people would be aware of how difficult communication can be. I am constantly defending myself because people miss-read what I say. If that my fault? in part, yes, I try to communicate clearly. Sometimes I just can’t get the words in my head to come out right. Sometimes I use the wrong tone of voice. However, when others assume I meant something other than what I said, it is frustrating. Even worse is when I get condemned for something I didn’t say or imply. Remember, I am black and white, I don’t IMPLY anything. If you are aware that I am on the spectrum, and you are aware of how I communicate, then please be aware that I say what I mean. Nothing more. If you are aware that the words sometimes get stuck, and are hard to get out, then why to you assume that I am being rude or that I must be angry because I am not answering right way? If you are aware, then why do you get upset when I say one thing, but you chose to add words that I never said? If you are aware, then why can’t you see how frustrating it is when I can’t communicate? When you wont try to listen?Why can’t you see how much it hurts when I TRY to communicate, and you shut me down either by talking over me, not listening to what I say, or by judging me before the words are even out of my mouth?

If you are aware that I live in fear that my every word will get twisted around as soon as I speak them, why do you twist my words? If I say my feelings are hurt, why do you twist it to mean I am angry? If I say yes, why do you accuse me of saying I really meant to say no? If I say you are right, why do you call me condescending? If I say I was wrong, why do you call me a martyr?  Do NT’s REALLY communicate like this???

If you are aware of these things, then you must also be aware of how bad it hurts to be accused of not saying what I really said. Aren’t you calling me a liar every time you do that? Do you know how painful it is to tray to tell someone how you feel, or what you think, only to be told your words must mean the opposite of what you said?

What is on the other side of this coin? Please be aware that I take YOUR words at face value. I assume you say what you mean, and mean what you say (also be aware that this affects my trust in you when you don’t say what you mean). Please be aware that I do not really get subtlety. Please be aware that I don’t understand why you get mad and walk away without telling me why. Please be aware that I cannot read your mind (or your subtle clues).  All I get is you are mad or offended by what I said, or how I said it, or something. Yet you won’t even take the time to tell me exactly WHAT I did that was wrong? How I do I defend that?

Please be aware that this lack of communication is frustrating, and frustration leads to meltdowns. It is compounded when you want to get mad at me for a meltdown, when you are the one not trying to listen. When I am trying to find a way to fit in your world, but you refuse to try to see my side.

You force us to live in your world of grey subtleties, yet you refuse to live in my word of black and white. All the while you preach awareness.

10 comments on “Autism Awareness and communication. Please be truly aware…

  1. Liz Neil says:

    I love reading your thoughts and feelings, I have a 23 yr old son who I love and adore so much who also has aspergers and if people were more thoughtful and understanding in this world just maybe your day to day stresses would be a bit easier to cope with. I admire you all for coping and living in a very grey world, please keep writing so I can keep learning. Liz neil

    • aspiewarrior says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Sorry I don’t write often. I kind of use this blog as a way to get things out of my head from time to time. I don’t like to write just for the sake of writing.

  2. Akira says:

    I feel the same way it’s nearly impossible to communicate with my relatives and I’m called weird or stupid by them yet they simply do not understand me.
    My friend is an aspie and many people don’t understand him either saying he talks too much or something else and it’s very frustrating.
    That’s usually why I can’t stand being around “normal” people but I enjoy being with my aspie friend even if he’s hard to talk to and understand him sometimes but he’s better company though.

  3. Tirekyll says:

    I so know this feeling, it’s mind boggling how frustrating it can be. It’s difficult due to never knowing what to say to people for them to get the right meaning, to even really speak properly at this point in my life. I feel like many I speak with think lesser of me as I rarely speak more fluently than a 12-ish year old. (I’m 30)

    Here’s how I feel about it though…it isn’t anyone’s fault. I feel worse for them than I do for myself really, they never know with whom they speak what that person may actually mean. “Normal people”(or NT’s, as you call them) are taught from a young age that a persons expressions, not their words, are their true motive and message. Aspergers patients don’t show those expressions, at least not properly. Whether this is because we simply lack the capability to do so, or never really understood the point of it, it confuses others.

    Words are either rarely or never face value in our society. This is shown by so many who lie to our faces to attempt to gain our trust then break it as soon as they get what they want. Sadly, the best way for an aspie to deal with this is by entirely ignoring the rest of the world and only staying within our own. Oft times that just isn’t an option, either due to being forced by our peers, or the world demanding our attention. We aren’t the only ones who face this either, everyone has to deal with these things.

    However, this also breaks down to another problem sadly(humans really like drama, apparently). NT’s tend to get, how one would say, envious of us. They believe we demand and require special treatment in society and refuse to really try to ever get to know us. Having any type of social problem is an instant “black mark” on who we are as fellow people. It’s a sad state of affairs but seeing as we’re JUST now trying to seek equality between men and women, I don’t see this changing for a long time.

    I’d like to see aspies, NT’s, and really just everyone getting along and trying to get each other. i hope I’m alive if it ever does happen.

    Sorry for the long reply, I really don’t see the point in blogging so I tend to get wordy in comments.

  4. Tirekyll says:

    I so know this feeling, it’s mind boggling how frustrating it can be. It’s difficult due to never knowing what to say to people for them to get the right meaning, to even really speak properly at this point in my life. I feel like many I speak with think lesser of me as I rarely speak more fluently than a 12-ish year old. (I’m 30)

    Here’s how I feel about it though…it isn’t anyone’s fault. I feel worse for them than I do for myself really, they never know with whom they speak what that person may actually mean. “Normal people”(or NT’s, as you call them) are taught from a young age that a persons expressions, not their words, are their true motive and message. Aspergers patients don’t show those expressions, at least not properly. Whether this is because we simply lack the capability to do so, or never really understood the point of it, it confuses others.

    Words are either rarely or never face value in our society. This is shown by so many who lie to our faces to attempt to gain our trust then break it as soon as they get what they want. Sadly, the best way for an aspie to deal with this is by entirely ignoring the rest of the world and only staying within our own. Oft times that just isn’t an option, either due to being forced by our peers, or the world demanding our attention. We aren’t the only ones who face this either, everyone has to deal with these things.

    However, this also breaks down to another problem sadly(humans really like drama, apparently). NT’s tend to get, how one would say, envious of us. They believe we demand and require special treatment in society and refuse to really try to ever get to know us. Having any type of social problem is an instant “black mark” on who we are as fellow people. It’s a sad state of affairs but seeing as we’re JUST now trying to seek equality between men and women, I don’t see this changing for a long time.

    I’d like to see aspies, NT’s, and really just everyone getting along and trying to get each other. i hope I’m alive if it ever does happen.

    Sorry for the long reply, I really don’t see the point in blogging so I tend to get wordy in comments.

  5. Spencer says:

    If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then we Aspies are from…Pluto 🙂

    People would sometimes say to me, “You just have to know these things” and it was so irritating. They thought I was deliberately trying not to know. For a while I was, but now I’m trying to learn as much of the NT stuff as I can. Just enough to get by, and get some friends, y’know? The good news is that you don’t have to be super social, although American society tends to favor extraversion.

    I’ve heard stories of Aspies getting exploited and sometimes worry if that could happen to me. That’s never really happened to me, but I did have people making me humiliate myself in my younger days–and the thing was, I did it for attention, and some of them probably thought that since I didn’t appear to have my feelings hurt that I was enjoying it, too. It took me a long time to realize that people are only your friends if they value you no matter what your mood is or what you do.

    • Sharon Rose says:

      My Aspie friend’s brother used to say to her, “Just relax in social situations. You’ve got to learn to relax.” I said, “No, first you have to practice following social guidelines, and after you have practiced enough, you will eventually be able to relax – not before.” This is the lady who first made a joke a year after I met her, and who had to be told to smile when people look at her. She is much more relaxed now. 🙂

  6. Max says:

    It is interesting reading this. It works both ways. Clarity is difficult to achieve. I am thinking of exchanges with an aspie friend. I am NT. Aspies say things that are ambiguous too! Everyone needs to realise that just because they meant meaning A the listener may take it as just meaning B or that it is ambiguous. There is no point just complaining that you are misunderstood. I am misunderstood when logic tells me (admittedly my logic!) that my words are clearly capable of conveying their intended meaning. You have to think about possible meanings and when in doubt seek clarification and/or look at the context. Now I get that the context can be a difficultly but my experience is that an aspie will sometimes interpret in the worst. ..and possibly unintended..way, be offended and stick doggedly to this interpretation. No listening to my attempts to clarify and explain intended meaning and lack of any intention to offend. No listening to agreement that offended aspie interpretation was feasible but wrong in this instance. So who ends up frustrated with lack of understanding?
    Please remember that communication is a two way thing. Aspie and NT can misinterpret and can fail to be clear in speaking. I do not agree that aspies are infallible! I know you didn’t say that but I keep reading how aspies take and use words literally without any mention of possibilities of ambiguity. Everyone needs to try and understand and not be prejudiced, judgmental or defensive. Does this line of thought ring any bells with anyone?

  7. Sharon Rose says:

    My mom and I are both Aspies, but otherwise our personalities are very different. She grew up in Philadelphia, and she likes to talk loudly, especially when she is annoyed. I have had to learn not to take it personally, though that is very hard. I grew up in Japan (on the mission field) and there, people actually listen politely and speak one at a time, so my culture is different from my mom’s.

    Recently, I used the Bible idea of turning away anger with a soft voice. I said to my mom, “Please don’t get frustrated with me when you haven’t finished explaining, and I am still trying to figure it out.” Another time, I told her, “Please don’t get mad at me because your mind is faster than mine.”

    My mom also (her whole life) has substituted different, but similar, words for what she really means. At other times, she will be talking along and get stuck and just go silent. So I have always had to do “mind-reading” for my mom and feed her the words she is trying to spit out.

    I have also generally been good at mind-reading for friends whose personalities I have studied in depth as we interact.

  8. Debbie says:

    I am encouraged by reading this post. My boyfriend of nearly 7 years has Aspergers. I did not know this until after the 4th year. I saw quirks and differences, but had no knowledge of Autism. I went to a therapist to help me deal with some of the issues and discovered he was on the spectrum. Once he saw me getting help, he told me he has Aspergers. I told him I realized that and that it did not matter, I love him just the way he is. Fast forward: 2 years ago I became seriously ill with Lyme. I was frightened and temporarily moved from MD to IL to be closer to my parents until they could figure out what was wrong and get proper medical care. I was really frightened. He accepted this and we spoke daily and texted often. I have learned I now cannot be around mold. My body won’t process the lyme toxins let alone adding mold spores to the toxic load. His house is loaded with mold. He knows this and said he would fix it during the winter so I could come home. He did not feel well during the winter (I understand this) and did nothing about the mold. We both race sailboats and sailing season has started. He feels well enough to sail and go to race results parties, but no energy to fix the mold. I lost my anger at him over a week ago via a text message. He now is ignoring me, texting he is too upset to talk, he’s not ready to talk about it. It has been me initiating all contact. until this past Thursday. He began to text, but would not respond to my saying “you can call if you like”. He just ignores those. Needless to say, I am very upset and have no idea if he wants our relationship. I have not heard from him in 24 hours. I decided not to text him any longer as it just tears me up when he ignores me. He informed me via text that he missed two days of work right after our argument and only got out of bed because of sailing. He did text 3 nights ago that he does love me. My question to you: Does it appear there is hope he will remain loyal to our relationsip? Any advice on what to do? My life is on hold, his home is full of my belongings and I cannot get a reply about the status of our relationship. He said he’s too upset to talk. I feel badly that I hurt him with my burst of frustration. I could really use and helpful advice or insight. Thank you kindly! Your work on your blog is so helpful to others! You are changing lives!

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