View Full Version : Donít Pass Us By: NLD and People Not Getting to Know Us (article)


APSJ
03-15-11, 08:25 PM
This blog post really struck a chord with me (though I didn't make it through the video example):

In my case, my thoughts are well-organized in my writing and mentally, but saying them is a horrible challenge. I only say 5-20% of what I want to, and this is involuntary. As a kid, when I didnít want to talk to someone, Iíd pretend to be mute. Now that I have help with speech and counseling, I know I canít trust all my reactions. I ask myself, what do I not know; what am I not picking up on that I should be, and why wonít my face and gestures match the feelings I have inside? Put simply, the inside and outside donít match.


Another complicating factor is this: many times other people just pass me by. They donít try to know me. http://nldthoughtsandfeelings.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/dont-pass-us-by-nld-and-people-not-getting-to-know-us/

This is basically all true for me. I feel like I've hit a plateau as far as social functioning goes. I don't feign muteness anymore, and can deal with routine interactions without great awkwardness, but the disconnect between how I come off to others and what I'm actually thinking and feeling persists, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

People don't avoid me. At work, for example, if they need to talk to me about something specific or ask a question, they do. But, they largely ignore me otherwise, and I'm pretty sure their perception is that I prefer it this way. Some have made efforts to get to know me, and my intent was to reciprocate, and did to the best of my ability, but do suspect I came off as suffering through it. This is how it was in school as well. Each new place, people at first seem sort of uncomfortable, ask me if I'm okay a lot, etc., then sort of get used to me being how I am, and just accept that I don't socialize.

The thing is, I do, if I can get past the small talk stage, and into a one on one conversation with someone, I do fine, and do enjoy interacting with others, in moderation, though I am more inclined toward solitude than most. But opportunities to do this seem few and far between. Certainly weren't many of them at work or school, and I don't deal well with group events. I'm losing friends through attrition despite my best efforts, and wonder if this is it? Is this the best I can do? Does it bother me enough to try and change it if any risk is involved? I don't know....

Anyone relate?

Abi
03-15-11, 08:49 PM
When I was a preteen, from the ages of 7 - 13 or so, I had a lot of social anxiety and people found me snobbish and weird.

In my teens, I came out of my shell, and was much more outgoing and sociable, people found me annoying and weird.

In my twenties, I suffered a return of anxiety, depressive and hypomanic episodes, and a mental meltdown. Now people find me scary and weird.

*shrug*

Fortune
03-15-11, 09:02 PM
I can relate to much of that, although I do not think I have NLD (or just NLD if I have it - I am pretty sure I have Asperger's Syndrome, an opinion that my therapist and now PCP share), although my social functioning has varied at times - I was better in my 20s than I ever was before or have been since, but the socializing was in a specific context, and outside of that context I wasn't really any better than usual.

I was actually trying to discuss my own issues with verbal communication earlier today with someone, and unfortunately those issues kept getting in the way of explanation. I was trying to make the point to someone that I could not have a real conversation with her if more people were around - that beyond 1 on 1 I fall back on social scripts and social imitation that seem to be adequate for socializing, but I don't really get into anything of substance.

The main thing I found is that I can meet/socialize with people online. A lot of the pressure (especially interpreting nonverbal cues) is gone, and I can get involved in things that make it easy to at least talk to other people of like minds and at least develop a decent circle of acquaintances online, some of whom I have since gone on to describe as friends. Some, I think fall through, but it seems so far that it's been a net gain.

This is why when people say that socializing online isn't real I get a bit shirty. I hardly know anyone I haven't met online, but I know people I would never ever ever have approached or been approached by because of my online socializing.

APSJ
03-16-11, 07:46 PM
I was actually trying to discuss my own issues with verbal communication earlier today with someone, and unfortunately those issues kept getting in the way of explanation. I was trying to make the point to someone that I could not have a real conversation with her if more people were around - that beyond 1 on 1 I fall back on social scripts and social imitation that seem to be adequate for socializing, but I don't really get into anything of substance.

It's sort of a catch 22 isn't it? People need to understand the issue if you're going to get around it, but the issue prevents you from explaining it.

On those rare occasions when I've tried to explain my social issues to someone it's almost always been incredibly awkward, and more often than not, counterproductive.

The main thing I found is that I can meet/socialize with people online. A lot of the pressure (especially interpreting nonverbal cues) is gone, and I can get involved in things that make it easy to at least talk to other people of like minds and at least develop a decent circle of acquaintances online, some of whom I have since gone on to describe as friends. Some, I think fall through, but it seems so far that it's been a net gain.

I can interact with people online better than in person, but some of the same qualifiers apply, specifically, that the larger the group gets, the less I can function, though it's not as much of an issue as it is in person.

There was a period where I had a bunch of online friends, who I lost contact with long ago, largely due to my not signing in to the program I used to chat with them for a couple years. Since discovering this forum, I've started up again, and have made friends here. Perhaps I should be satisfied with online communication, but it would be nice to have people other than my fiancee to do things with, particularly since I have some interests she doesn't share.

This is why when people say that socializing online isn't real I get a bit shirty. I hardly know anyone I haven't met online, but I know people I would never ever ever have approached or been approached by because of my online socializing.

I've made some great and very real friends online, starting in high-school, and don't care for such characterizations either. I will say, however, that it's different, if only in that you don't have any shared frame of social reference. An online friend, for the most part, will not get to know your family, other friends, etc., and vice versa. Thus, it's a much simpler matter for the friendship to end with one person just 'disappearing', as seems to be the normal trajectory for mine...whether I withdraw during a bout of depression, or the other party goes away for some reason.

Fortune
03-16-11, 08:04 PM
It's sort of a catch 22 isn't it? People need to understand the issue if you're going to get around it, but the issue prevents you from explaining it.

On those rare occasions when I've tried to explain my social issues to someone it's almost always been incredibly awkward, and more often than not, counterproductive.

Yeah, I can't believe how Vaguely McVagueVague I was yesterday - I was talking to my mother about this, and the problem was I would try to hold a conversation and she kept digressing. She's kinda inattentive (although I don't know if she's diagnosable. If she is, she's self-medicated on cigarettes her entire life). When people digress I can get distracted right along with them and lose track of what I want to say.

I can interact with people online better than in person, but some of the same qualifiers apply, specifically, that the larger the group gets, the less I can function, though it's not as much of an issue as it is in person.

There was a period where I had a bunch of online friends, who I lost contact with long ago, largely due to my not signing in to the program I used to chat with them for a couple years. Since discovering this forum, I've started up again, and have made friends here. Perhaps I should be satisfied with online communication, but it would be nice to have people other than my fiancee to do things with, particularly since I have some interests she doesn't share.

Right - I have issues with larger groups in real time conversation - in real life or in chat. The more people involved, the harder it is for me to participate. Online is still easier, but there's still a limit.

I've lost touch with a lot of friends over the years. I just socially withdraw because I hit my limit and then I don't manage to keep up. Some people I do, many I don't. Sometimes contact becomes too stressful to maintain for whatever reason and I let it go.

I've made some great and very real friends online, starting in high-school, and don't care for such characterizations either. I will say, however, that it's different, if only in that you don't have any shared frame of social reference. An online friend, for the most part, will not get to know your family, other friends, etc., and vice versa. Thus, it's a much simpler matter for the friendship to end with one person just 'disappearing', as seems to be the normal trajectory for mine...whether I withdraw during a bout of depression, or the other party goes away for some reason.

I totally agree that it's different. I have made some good, real friends myself, and I have found that often they survive meeting face to face. I've had a chance to get past the initial awkwardness of first meeting face to face, and that makes everything else go more smoothly... But that doesn't mean that they always work out. I end up losing touch with friends I have met and friends I haven't just about equally.

Sometimes I just withdraw from everyone at once, at least on particular levels: I stopped all my chatting with everyone I know last week. I still do e-mail and fora, but they're asynchronous and it's easier for me to socially process at that level. The nice thing is that my stress levels have dropped considerably as a result, but I miss the chatting.

APSJ
03-19-11, 02:39 AM
Yeah, I can't believe how Vaguely McVagueVague I was yesterday - I was talking to my mother about this, and the problem was I would try to hold a conversation and she kept digressing. She's kinda inattentive (although I don't know if she's diagnosable. If she is, she's self-medicated on cigarettes her entire life). When people digress I can get distracted right along with them and lose track of what I want to say.

I tend to use humor to try and defuse these situations, which is sort of automatic for me in any potentially uncomfortable situation, despite how often it backfires, and in these situations it *always* does...people just seem thrown....like they can't laugh because it would be insensitive...

The digression thing is infuriating...part of my job is, oddly enough, talking to people about very specific issues, and they always tend to drift, and I then forget where we started....lots of fun...

Fortune
03-19-11, 04:07 AM
I tend to use humor to try and defuse these situations, which is sort of automatic for me in any potentially uncomfortable situation, despite how often it backfires, and in these situations it *always* does...people just seem thrown....like they can't laugh because it would be insensitive...

The digression thing is infuriating...part of my job is, oddly enough, talking to people about very specific issues, and they always tend to drift, and I then forget where we started....lots of fun...

I had to establish firm parameters to talk about things a couple of days ago, and managed to get everything out on the table. Fortunately it went well, but it took more work than I would have preferred.

I go for humor too! And like you, it's sometimes not entirely appropriate (love those uncomfortable silences followed by a swift, apparently tactful change of subject).