I attended a very interesting talk at our monthly Houston Aspie Info meeting that gave me a lot to think about. The speaker is a family therapist who also has Asperger’s, and though highly technical in nature, I found the talk very interesting and relate-able to my own life and work experiences; Deeper insights, for example, into why I write technical manuals and procedures in the peculiarly thorough way that I do, for example, mapping out multiple contingency scenarios and rational responses to said contingencies, however remote in actual probability. Deeper insights into why I experienced so much frustration at my penultimate boss’s training methods and my attempts to cope with them. The problem of overcompensating for unreliable sensory input which tends to push us to absolutes in modes of thought. In my case, tending to push me to a general pessimism or outright cynicism in the worst cases, regardless if actually factually justified or not. Overcompensations such as because harsh experience has taught me I cannot reliably trust if my interpretation of flirtatious behavior from a female subject is genuine or a figment of my imagination, I tend to assume automatically that all such impressions are incorrect and shut myself off from all such stimuli…which includes ignoring the occasionally genuinely intended flirtation that is often only visible clearly in hindsight, at a remove in time, when the actual opportunity to act is long past. I tend to assume any perceived flirtation is an error on my part unless a girl is so forceful and interjects herself in such a way that I can’t possibly discount or misconstrue her intentions. It’s an overcompensation I’ve devised to avoid the pain of rejection, especially rejection that comes about from a misinterpretation of intent from the other party. There’s no good way I can see to parse this by asking direct questions the way one potentially could in differently charged emotional scenarios.
My first girlfriend in High School seized the initiative. She not only invited me to her house, she initiated our first kiss. One woman in my adult life whom I eventually had a one night fling with…she invited me to her place; we put on a romantic movie that we both knew we liked. But when I sat there quietly and respectfully watching the movie, it was she who grunted with impatience at my lack of initiative; she turned the movie off, and led me by the hand to her bedroom and started kissing me. My most recent girlfriend after my divorce actually asked me out to have drinks with her out of the blue. I initially declined because I was unclear on her marital status, but that information later gave me the courage to ask her out once I clarified that she was also a divorcee like myself.
Primarily in the case of my ex-wife (and maybe partially in the case of one previous girlfriend) did I actively court and woo her…in the case of my ex-wife we watched a movie at her apartment and I worked up the courage to simply hold hands with her. She thought this was very innocent and nice rather than overly aggressive and responded favorably…though she had insecurities of her own to wrestle with and overcome before we could become a committed couple.
Just wanted to get these thoughts down in writing before bed;
Also, mostly unrelated to the above…I feel that, sort of like how “gaydar” supposedly works, we autistic people can sort of “sense” our own. A particular person in my social/work world has been pinging my “autisticator” (?) as a possible hit for some time now; I confided my impressions with a third person whom I know for sure is autistic, and he confirmed he’s had the same thoughts about this individual for quite some time as well. It’s reassuring to get some partial external confirmation from an independent source. Nice to know we have the same impression, at least.