Why do we show emotion differently?



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zeldapsychology
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16 Jul 2010, 11:04 pm

I've read topics on here before about this but just thought I'd toss an experience I had tonight into the mix. I had my Ipod on while in the mall. On the drive home mom/dad were like OMG you didn't seem like you were in a good mood if you are going to be like that you can just stay home!! (I was focusing on my music and thinking ignore ignore ignore (as not to say/do something to upset them) Yet alas the whole Ipod ignore idea DID upset them. Darn it!! ! (I thought if I tossed myself into my Ipod I'm less likely to do/say a wrong thing) So much for that logic. So I was wondering while I know some of you get the "You seem depressed etc. lines" but was wondering WHY do we as Aspies show emotion differently? Thanks.



jmnixon95
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16 Jul 2010, 11:30 pm

I get this all the time!
A lot of us have a 'flat affect'.
For example, my voice is extremely monotone and I have very limited facial expressions.
I could be happy, but I always get the 'Why are you upset?' or 'What's wrong?' or 'Why are you so depressed all the time?'
Grr!
It just doesn't feel natural to smile...



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16 Jul 2010, 11:37 pm

I still get the same sort of thing from my family, even today. I call it 'selective understanding', as they know damn well why I respond and react the way I do, but often choose to take it they way they want to to suit their own needs/moods.

We don't choose to be like this (unable to naturally show emotions) voice pitch, etc as NT's do, we're just wired this way. To me it's NT's that are always 'acting' we're more honest. Keep working on your parents, hopefully the 'penny will drop' and they'll realize that they can assume things incorrectly at times.

Good for you to use music to keep level headed while out and about, I often do the same. Sometimes I can't handle it as it's too much sensory, but on my better days it can be calming.



conundrum
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16 Jul 2010, 11:49 pm

Ditto.

Sometimes my facial expressions/tone of voice don't match what I'm really feeling.


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astaut
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16 Jul 2010, 11:56 pm

I think it's because we have a tendency to intellectualize emotions, but I can't say exactly why it is "we" do that. I guess it's all in the neurological aspect of AS. I always knew I experienced emotions differently, but I always thought "maybe I'm just a cold person" but I realize now that I'm just more logical and intellectualize things, but I DO care about people.

And a big part of it is the body language, facial expression, tone of voice, etc. Sometimes we are feeling what it appropriate but our expressions don't match the norm.


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ASdogGeek
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16 Jul 2010, 11:57 pm

happens to me alot mom is always saying "watch your tone," people also assume I am sad or depressed when I am off and thinking



nara44
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17 Jul 2010, 12:38 am

Perhaps the way we integrate emotions with the intellect makes us appear flat compare to NT who tend to oscillate widely between emotions and thoughts,
basically what make us looked at and treated as a freaks is our ability to walk and chew gum simultaneously ,
we thing while we feel where NT either think or feel,
that's why their expressions is based upon going in and out so they identify big gestures with big emotions which is why of the reasons NT are not to be trusted or taken seriously.
AS tend to adhere to linearity which is a bit more "real" than the average so they look as if they live in a bubble compared to the delusional NT
Our different and more grounded sense of linearity is also the reason that when we eventually spike, we spike hard or the fact we may looked a bit obsessive to the NT
I invite u to imagine if u will what it is like to be autistic in a middle eastern country where every thing is exaggerated and noisy to the extreme
At the small town where i live most people think i'm a living dead, a zombie, it's not uncommon for people here to wave their hands in front of me to check if i'll react or to burst into tantrums because i don't acknowledge their presence.
NT are morons.



Last edited by nara44 on 17 Jul 2010, 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

NGC253
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17 Jul 2010, 12:40 am

I find that I don't show any emotion or sometimes display negative emotions in an attempt to avoid interacting with strangers. It's a way of saying to passersby, nonverbally, please don't try to talk to me.



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17 Jul 2010, 1:02 am

I would think that after a while, the people that we are around a lot would understand that our facial expressions and our moods don't always match. At work sometimes they ask me to change my expression before meeting clients, otherwise they ignore it. Strangers are the only ones now who make incorrect comments about my moods.


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anbuend
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17 Jul 2010, 1:10 am

I don't think my 'flat' expressions are from intellectualizing emotions (which I don't do), but more from a flaky connection to my body, that causes responses to look unusual. Not that I'm not showing emotions, but I don't show them in the ways nonautistic people can pick up easily.


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rmctagg09
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17 Jul 2010, 1:23 am

People think I'm depressed because I rarely smile and always say "fine" when asked about my day. The truth is that most of the time (since at times I truly have been depressed) it takes a lot to make me emote since I'm so internalized.



crocus
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17 Jul 2010, 1:25 am

nara44 wrote:
At the small town where i live most people think i'm a living dead, a zombie, it's not uncommon for people here to wave their hands in front of me to check if i'll react or to burst into tantrums because i don't acknowledge their presence.
NT are morons.


Woah. This is fascinating. It just gave me kind of a light bulb moment. If confronted by another being radically different from them, most people feel threatened. So, given that I, as an Aspie don't show emotions the same way as NTs then I must threaten them just by being myself. Why the NTs then choose to go to extremes with their emotions in response to that feeling is what baffles me.

I've experienced what you've described and when it happens my reaction is always 8O WTF ? Why the hostility? Why the questions? Why the idiotic monkey antics?



nara44
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17 Jul 2010, 2:09 am

crocus wrote:
nara44 wrote:
At the small town where i live most people think i'm a living dead, a zombie, it's not uncommon for people here to wave their hands in front of me to check if i'll react or to burst into tantrums because i don't acknowledge their presence.
NT are morons.


Woah. This is fascinating. It just gave me kind of a light bulb moment. If confronted by another being radically different from them, most people feel threatened. So, given that I, as an Aspie don't show emotions the same way as NTs then I must threaten them just by being myself. Why the NTs then choose to go to extremes with their emotions in response to that feeling is what baffles me.

I've experienced what you've described and when it happens my reaction is always 8O WTF ? Why the hostility? Why the questions? Why the idiotic monkey antics?


U said it,our mere presence shakes NT (shallow? ) foundations,hence the bullying ,etc...what's so sickening and depressing about it is that u learn to expect zero support from your family or the so called pro's since they are also NT,i must say that considering the above i find the relatively small number of suicides among a testimony to an exceptionally resilient and healthy identity,it's also illuminate the notion of AS as rigid as absolutely ridiculous and shows that as always the pro's perception of AS is the exact opposite of the truth .
Some time when i look at my life i wonder what they would look like if the mere fact that i breath wasn't such an annoyance to the "good" people around me,
As many As i'm considered a talented good person ,so what would i be if could get once in my life just a little support or understanding instead of the constant crap that land on my head.



crocus
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17 Jul 2010, 2:31 am

nara44 wrote:
U said it,our mere presence shakes NT (shallow? ) foundations,hence the bullying ,etc...what's so sickening and depressing about it is that u learn to expect zero support from your family or the so called pro's since they are also NT,i must say that considering the above i find the relatively small number of suicides among a testimony to an exceptionally resilient and healthy identity,it's also illuminate the notion of AS as rigid as absolutely ridiculous and shows that as always the pro's perception of AS is the exact opposite of the truth .
Some time when i look at my life i wonder what they would look like if the mere fact that i breath wasn't such an annoyance to the "good" people around me,
As many As i'm considered a talented good person ,so what would i be if could get once in my life just a little support or understanding instead of the constant crap that land on my head.


You make some insightful points. I haven't read any studies about the incidence and rates of suicide, among those on the spectrum, but if what you've written is fact, it makes sense to me. I've been depressed before in my life to the point of utter despair and suicidal idiation. I would never do it, because there is always a reasoning part of me that I can access, even in my blackest moments, that presents all the reasons why it would be the wrong choice. I think perhaps that NTs are so driven by their emotions, that they don't access this part in many cases and therefore they would go ahead with an act of suicide, that once lifted out of their fog of emotions they would regret.

I agree with you about the resilience. Although, I do think we pay a price in weakened immune system and other stress related problems, merely because we are living in a world that chafes against us. Nonetheless, as you said, I wonder how long many NTs would survive given the same type of challenge? I also agree with you regarding rigidity. I know this is on the ASD test and considered an aspect, but I think it's a personality trait that can be found in anyone, and not neurological in origin.

As for self identity, I am a lot less likely to deceive myself than an NT. This may sound arrogant, but it's not coming from arrogance. I see self deception constantly by NTs. I think this is how they don't get depressed. I call it the head in the sand syndrome.

Understanding? The only understanding I've ever gotten is from other Aspies.



ColdBlooded
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17 Jul 2010, 2:57 am

nara44 wrote:
Perhaps the way we integrate emotions with the intellect makes us appear flat compare to NT who tend to oscillate widely between emotions and thoughts,
basically what make us looked at and treated as a freaks is our ability to walk and chew gum simultaneously ,
we thing while we feel where NT either think or feel,


Maybe i don't understand what you mean, but i always looked at the the opposite way. NTs seem to let emotion interfere with how they understand something, and are able to use their thoughts to regulate their emotions. But with me emotions don't get in the way of how i understand facts.. A fact is a fact, not something emotional.. And i can't use logic to regulate my emotions very well, which is why they elevate to meltdowns sometimes. It seems to me like my emotions and my logic don't really work together all that well. The way i try to make sense of everything, including my emotions, is through logic though.. so maybe that's where the flat affect comes from. Maybe you could explain more?



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