Feeling stares and people behind you



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SilverSolace
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14 Jun 2011, 11:51 am

Does it bother you when someone is looking at you or in your direction, even when you do not have to look at them? Can you "feel" it when someone is staring at you, even if you do not initially see them doing it?
Does it bother you when there are people sitting or standing behind you? Can you "feel" it when they are there?

I absolutely cannot tolerate people staring at me/in my direction or standing behind me. It causes me physical discomfort, especially when I am trying to focus on a task or am eating a meal. Like, I feel a shiver go up my spine, or an unpleasant tingly sensation plus the tension of stress. I want to stim when I feel the discomfort, but if someone is looking at me, or if they are behind me and I do not know where they are looking, I feel that stimming like I want to would draw attention to myself; the exact thing I am trying to avoid.
In a classroom or restaurant I always try to choose a seating area that leaves me no open blind spots. I sit against a wall or area where no one can see me and/or where I can see everyone and no one is behind me.

Is this just my own paranoia/quirkiness/etc or do other people with AS experience this?
Cause it feels like it would go under the category of needing control over my environment, of things being out of my control and knowledge. (I don't know what people are doing if they are behind me, I just feel them there. I don't know why someone is looking at me or in my direction, I just know they are. I don't like that. I would like to know everything that is going on around me; if I don't, I feel uneasy.)

If I have been unclear at all, please ask for clarification or specifics.



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14 Jun 2011, 12:40 pm

If I'm in a restaurant and some weirdo is staring at me from across the room, I'm surprisingly uncaring. But I hate with a capital H people looking at me when they're anywhere near me, particularly when they're right behind me.



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14 Jun 2011, 12:49 pm

I have social anxiety and what you describe is pretty much how it feels for me. I don't know whether this is common for people on the spectrum though. To be honest this is one of many reasons I have been avoiding crowded places so I am not exposed to it much therefore I'm not certain, but I don't think I feel the need to stim in these situations I think I just tend to freeze. I will have to try and analyse it next time it happens. If it does turn out to be social anxiety then slowly exposing yourself to increasingly worrying situations seems to be what therapists suggest. I am trying to work in this at the moment. :?



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14 Jun 2011, 2:04 pm

Definately when I was much less confident about myself (and others for that matter), but not many occasions of staring and the like cause me to be startled for more than a minute these days. Has this always bothered you, SilverSolace?


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14 Jun 2011, 3:23 pm

Yes. I have caught people staring at me. BEFORE I started taking my pet lizard everywhere with me. My sister-in-law is black and my brother is white. Their kids are mixed race of course and people are always staring at her and the kids. She taught me some comebacks for when people stare at me when I don't have Pippin with me. When people stare at her she just waves at them and they turn around and pretend she dosen't exist. I also make faces at people when they stare at me.



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14 Jun 2011, 3:32 pm

Quote:
Does it bother you when someone is looking at you or in your direction, even when you do not have to look at them? Can you "feel" it when someone is staring at you, even if you do not initially see them doing it?


It doesn't bother me when people are behind me (except little kids) but I can relate to the staring thing. I can feel stares very easily, and I just know that it isn't my imagination. I just know it, because I don't feel stares from everybody, so if it was my imagination I would be feeling stares from everybody. But it's only about 85 percent of people I pass every day who I feel stared at by. So it must be true. And cats can feel stares aswell, because I tried it on my cat. She was sitting with her back to me on the floor, and I stared at her, and I could see her ears going back slightly like she was bothered about something, and then she growled a bit. So I looked away and she stopped. So feeling stares isn't our imaginations, because if cats can feel it then it must be possible for humans to feel it aswell.
I get a 1-second sensation on my face (on the cheekbones) when I feel stares from each person. It's not a pain. It's not even nothing to do with my touch nerves. It's just my mind telling me that somebody is staring at me, by giving me this sensation on my cheekbones. If somebody is coming towards me on my right, and they stare, I feel the stare on my right cheekbone, and if somebody comes on my left and stares, I feel it on my left cheekbone. And if they don't stare, I literally don't feel anything at all. I think everybody can feel stares, because once I wasn't looking at somebody but was looking in their direction, and they turned around quickly and looked at me, because they must have thought I was staring at them (which I wasn't, but he was viewed in the corner of my eye, which is half-staring).

I have a fear of eye-contact with strangers (unless I'm starting work with strangers, or on a course, ect). But just passing people in a busy street is very difficult for me to look up at people, so as I walk along I feel every stare, without looking up. It's horrible, because sometimes I don't always know where to look. I don't like to look at them, but because NTs expect people to stare back (I think), they might look at me more and think, ''why ain't she looking at me?'' They probably don't think that, but because of my paranoid anxiety about what others think of me, I always think this.


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Sweetleaf
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14 Jun 2011, 11:42 pm

Yeah I hate when people are directly behind me, or if they're staring at me....it makes me very uncomfortable, occasionaly I've gotten that feeling when there is no one there though which is even more annoying because then there's nothing i can do about it.



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15 Jun 2011, 2:03 am

I have never been able to sit in a classroom, lecture theater, move cinema or exam hall with somebody sitting behind me!

I am also paranoid of people staring at me or people making noise in my vicinity - it intrudes on my train of thought, attention and my overall well being.



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15 Jun 2011, 2:15 am

I can tell when someone is staring at me, even if my back is turned and they are a ways off.

I despise it.


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Sweetleaf
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15 Jun 2011, 2:16 am

cyberdad wrote:
I have never been able to sit in a classroom, lecture theater, move cinema or exam hall with somebody sitting behind me!

I am also paranoid of people staring at me or people making noise in my vicinity - it intrudes on my train of thought, attention and my overall well being.


I cannot stand having someone sit directly behind me in class...lol I don't care if I seem weird when I get up and move when someone sits behind me, I prefer to be able to focus instead of trying not to react to that very uncomfortable feeling.



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15 Jun 2011, 2:18 am

Sweetleaf wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
I have never been able to sit in a classroom, lecture theater, move cinema or exam hall with somebody sitting behind me!

I am also paranoid of people staring at me or people making noise in my vicinity - it intrudes on my train of thought, attention and my overall well being.


I cannot stand having someone sit directly behind me in class...lol I don't care if I seem weird when I get up and move when someone sits behind me, I prefer to be able to focus instead of trying not to react to that very uncomfortable feeling.


Same here



izzeme
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15 Jun 2011, 3:09 am

yeah; i too hate someone being behind me; i usually move a bit aside if at all possible; and in busses/trains, i always choose a seat that hat its back against a wall or some kind; i even get this feeling without me really knowing that someone is there, but when i look, 9/10 there actually is someone.

as for the staring; that got less over the years, i can now handle people staring in my general direction, but if they look AT me; even from behind, i get very uncomfortable; unless i'm in a happy place of course...



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15 Jun 2011, 4:31 am

I also feel the people who are staring, and the weird thing is that they think I dont notice. It is strange because if I stare at a person, I know exactly when the person notices it. This is a fact.
Ive been playing with those moments Im stared at, and I know Im stared at because of how I moved the last couple of seconds, so I know what catched their attention and therefore how they try to analyze me. Thus I have the power to "fool" them...



Last edited by Maje on 15 Jun 2011, 4:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

jmnixon95
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15 Jun 2011, 4:36 am

Yes! I find that I can tell more easily than the people I know when someone is behind me or looking at me.



Goose25
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15 Jun 2011, 4:45 am

Yes, I experience this as well. If I'm aware that someone is behind me, I become hyper-alert to it. This happens when I'm on a walk sometimes, and usually I end up just letting them pass by unless it's impossible. Checkout lines at the store are worse, because it's almost unavoidable. Hooray for self-checkouts and pay-at-the-pump gas stations!



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