Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Kris

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
Gina3

50-something female with Aspergers

Recommended Posts

Gina3   

Hi all,

I’m new to this forum and joined because I wanted to communicate with - and possibly meet - women of a similar age to me (mid fifties) with Aspergers. I have a couple of male friends, who I can confide in, but no female friends, just a few colleagues and acquaintances. It would really be something for me to have a female friend I could trust and be myself with – something I think most women take for granted. I suppose I’m a typical Aspie: I love science, sci-fi and animals, and have, I've been told, ‘the social skills of a wombat’ (although that’s probably unfair to wombats). I’m in my mid-50s and pass as more or less normal, albeit as a shy, anxious type, but I am SO tired of trying to fit in, and beating myself up every time I commit a social faux-pas.

Gxx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tanya52   

Hi Gina,

 

Welcome aboard, nice meeting you. I know what you meant about missing on women companionship. I’m a woman of your age and often feel this way too. I think that it’s a part of my “deal” in communication. I’ve done a bit of a research in this field and understood that many women are very good observers, clever with reading body language, face expression and other paralinguistic signals.

 

I guess, when I unwillingly send my mixed signals creating micro-confusions, they just cut me off FOREWER. It might sounds cruel but I think many women have their personal well defined agendas in communication that not easy to overrule.

I wish you to find good key palls

Tanya :)

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gina3   

Hi Tanya

 

Thanks for your reply. I think I need to follow your example and do some research into communication, maybe starting with a book on body language, as I’ve been meaning to do.

 

I’m quite hopeless at communicating with other women: sometimes I’m too familiar, which offends them, but mostly I think I appear cold and/or nervous - I don’t usually attempt friendship overtures as I dread the inevitable rejection. I know that sometimes I bore people – I ramble on about things that interest me and don’t realise until I notice their eyes glazing over, or the stifled yawn. Sometimes I attempt small talk, to ‘fit in’ but I’m no good at it (when I try, I even bore myself). Sometimes I over-compensate and come across as trying too hard or trying to shock. Whatever it is I get wrong, I can only guess later on. Usually I have no idea I’ve pissed someone off until they either ‘tell me off’ (very humiliating, especially as I’m in my fifties now!) or start avoiding me.

 

For some reason, men don’t seem to get upset (why is that?) and I can just be myself with them. Consequently I’m relaxed with men and find it easy to be ‘mates’ with them, which seems to be another thing about me that women don’t understand and maybe don’t like (perhaps they see me as some kind of man-eater, who doesn’t like competition with other women. I'm not ‘one of the girls’) but what can I do? If I didn’t have my two current male friends, I would have none at all!

 

Putting a message on this site is itself quite strange and stressful. As soon as I did it, I wanted to delete it (but couldn’t figure out how). I’m not used to being open about any of this and felt like a mob of NTs would march up my street with flaming torches, and denounce me for being neurotic and self-obsessed.

 

Thanks for your good wishes, Tanya, it’s encouraging.

Gx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tanya52   

Hi Gina, :)

 

I’m sure that you’ll be able to improve, and trust me it worth a bit of effort. They say that aspies are a bit weak on social creativity. It’s very true! But for every obstacle one can design a personal strategy. My favourite is a copying strategy. I carefully observe the target person I’d like to copy and practice their behaviour patterns until it gets default and fun. This way I don’t need to invent my social identity from scratch. There’s nothing wrong with it from my point of view. I didn’t make the rules of social protocol and it’s only the winning strategy I’m after. It helps me to tune my greetings, smile, intonation and eye contact to the right frequency.

 

I agree that it’s much easy to communicate with men because they think differently and often don’t pay much attention to reading paralinguistic signals. Sometimes men only interested in their own opinions, that can gives us some space when we don’t know how to respond. Talking about competitiveness, I’ve met some very competitive men unlike many women who are brilliant collaborators.

It’s OK to be a bit nervous at first, this will pass.

XXX

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gina3   

I know what you mean about women collaborating, I once worked with 11 women at a charity, and they were super-efficient team-players, and yes, you're right, men can be very competitive.

 

Sometimes I find myself adopting accents or mannerisms from the person I'm speaking to without intending to! I'm trying to imagine your coping strategy in action .. who would the target person be? Wouldn't they notice you were borrowing their behaviours? Can I ask, what kind of people do you find you can be your true self with?

 

I can do the formulaic social stuff, more or less - I recently got some tips from an old copy of Debrette's Etiquette for Girls e.g. how to do the kissing on the cheek thing: 'present the right cheek first ...' but after that it gets complicated. I find trying to socialise with groups of women really exhausting as, by the time I think of something to say, the conversation has moved on, and if its in a noisy venue, I can't even hear half the things people are saying because of the background noise. One-on-one with women is even worse, as I feel incredibly tense, and I can't just be 'the quiet one' as I am in a group. I think I need a brain transplant!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gina :)

 

I'm a 42 year old Aspie ;)

 

I can relate to a lot of what you've said and only have two close female friends (though in honesty I'm a tad tomboyish and so are those two friends so it helps)

 

Hope to get to know you better

 

Chell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tanya52   

Hi Gina,

 

I was thinking about you this afternoon, thanks for your reply!

 

I guess I was very lucky in my life to meet some smashing women and girls, who weren’t my friends, just made me feel good and took care of me when I was lonely and poor. Many years ago I was a p/t student and worked full time. My salary was so modest that for 2 years I couldn’t afford a second pair of jeans. One girl who worked with me helped me to buy some closes for a fraction of its price and another one helped me to get inexpensive trip to a youth camp that I could have a rest bite and to enjoy myself. They did it because they could help and because they were kind and supportive.

 

The person I copy isn’t a woman but a young man. He’s natural and I NEVER saw him angry or ironic which is pretty unusual for a man in this culture. Everyone likes him, because his voice and manners project respect and dignity and above all he’s also a high achiever in his professional field.

What you described as adopting someone’s accent or body language is a very normal practice which in sociolinguistics known as accommodation. There’s nothing wrong with it and all of us do this from time to time.

 

You certainly don’t need any transplants, just try to observe when you’ve got a chance how other ladies chat in a small group of 2-3 people. I know that it’s hard but not only for you, I’ve got the same obstacles. You might want to practice along crafting a small talk 1-1.5 min. The safest topic is “the weather”. An eye contact is very important and your charming smile would be an ice breaker. Before I had problems with making eye contact, but now I need to remind myself not to stare.

 

Tanya X

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tanya52   

Hi Gina,

 

I don’t know if my professor eve noticed that I “borrowed” anything from him. In any case I adopted his micro strategies as a part of my social identity and it’s totally me now. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

 

2 years ago I run a sociolinguistic project with 2 groups of women and observed that the primary objectives of their successful communications is maintaining their social identities. It’s obviously this BIG and it’s how they do stuff in practice. When you do your research, you try to understand people and judging them doesn’t help. The best option is to shift to their point of view trying to examine how they might feel or even think.

 

I’m not sure if I answered to your question, but I don’t feel awkward or unnatural in interactions unless of cause people teasing me, being ironic or patronising but confrontation is a different topic.

Edited by Tanya52

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gina3   

Thanks for your message Chell

It's amazing and very impressive that you find the energy for your studies as well as all the home schooling. Forensics must be fascinating, although I have to admit my only knowledge of it comes from watching Dexter, and I suspect that's a tad glamourised! It would be nice to know you better too.

 

Hi Tanya

You've obviously thought about this a lot, and know a lot about sociolinguistics. I find that reading about things only gets me so far though. My ideal scenario would be to actually role-play these situations and have objective observers say: "You got this wrong." or "Try doing that." I have a kind of super-NT partner, and I've observed him for years, to 'see how he does it' in social situations, as he's extremely good at it, but I could never get the positive reaction from people that he gets. He tells me that I come across as abrupt sometimes and forget to engage in social pleasantries, which I'm trying to work on. It's hard work though, when it all feels like an act, rather than being effortless and innate as it seems to be for him.

Gxx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gina3   

PS Sorry, Tanya, I forget to say, I'm not sure what a sociolinguistic project means - was it to do with social skills? (excuse my ignorance!)x

G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tanya52   

Hi Gina,

 

Sorry for loading you with linguistic jargon , it’s not nice and I came across like an arrogant snob.

Sociolinguistics is basically a linguistic approach to social sciences. It investigates some important topics in communication like:

Language and gender

Dialects

Language and social stratification

Bilingualism and so on

In reality I know not that much. Our English department’s major is Stylistics which is not me as I'm interested in applied linguistics.

 

Your ideal scenario is my ideal too, in fact, it’s exactly how they train ASs on the social interaction workshops. As you can imagine this kind of a training can’t be a cheap option and there’re a very few good qualified professional coaches around. I know that Patsy Rodenburg and her colleagues at Central Speech and Drama were helping some people like us, but I’ve never did any myself. The good speech coaches are in a very high demand and could make some serious money for example on politicians or TV presenters, especially now when social networking is so BIG.

http://www.cssd.ac.uk/study/short-courses/business-bespoke-courses

Edited by Tanya52

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, its a pity you dont have a local women`s AS group. I`m concerned that by reading too much or trying to do the dreaded "social skills training" - how I hate that phrase and even concept-you may just learn a whole lot of new things to worry about. Its all so artificial somehow. You need to find out what is helpful for you as anindividual rather than a whole lot of stuff that apparently helps other people. You are interesting and valuable. Is there any one person you could look on as a personal "mentor"? Doesnt have to be anyone professional just a well intentioned prson you can trust. If you do have such a person you could try regular reviews of the things that come up in your life and discuss how did or could have handled them. This way you can gradually build up a range of strategies you are comfortable with while still remaining yourself.

There are several women`s forums online too. Or try our "Asperclick". Sorry for blatant advert its just quite useful for adults with AS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gina3   

Hi Nippy, thanks for your suggestions, I'll try Asperclick. I do have a kind of 'mentor' in the shape of my partner. Only the other day, we ran through how I'm going to manage the work christmas drinks! I think I know what you mean when you describe social skills training as artificial xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, its a pity you don't have a local women`s AS group. I`m concerned that by reading too much or trying to do the dreaded "social skills training" - how I hate that phrase and even concept - you may just learn a whole lot of new things to worry about. It's all so artificial somehow. You need to find out what is helpful for you as an individual rather than a whole lot of stuff that apparently helps other people. You are interesting and valuable. Is there any one person you could look on as a personal "mentor"? Doesn't have to be anyone professional just a well intentioned person you can trust. If you do have such a person you could try regular reviews of the things that come up in your life and discuss how did or could have handled them. This way you can gradually build up a range of strategies you are comfortable with while still remaining yourself.

There are several women`s forums online too. Or try our "Asperclick". Sorry for blatant advert it's just quite useful for adults with AS

What's happened to Asperclick? I haven't been able to log on there since the site was revamped a few months ago. I've sent several requests for a password reminder, to no avail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×