kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
[personal profile] kaberett
This is something I have apparently spent a lot of time working on, just because it makes life easier. In a lot of ways it's a superset of other skills I've learned: sometimes more conscious - like when I deliberately switch into Posh White Lady mode - and sometimes it's completely automatic, like the way I codeswitch defensively (I tend to reflect the accent of whoever I'm talking to).

I chatted about this a few weeks ago with TOL - I'd sent an offer-culture-esque e-mail to the tune of "I'd still really like to see you but I know you've got a lot on your plate at the moment, so if e.g. x or y means you'd rather postpone that's fine", and she'd had to read it a couple of times to reassure herself that I wasn't trying to get her to cancel for me. We talked through ways to avoid hitting that particular miscommunication-in-potentia in future; I said I was happy to phrase such e-mails in whatever way worked best for her, because it was effort-neutral for me.

And then we clarified: it's actually that I'm already translating-to-allistic, and which variey-of-allistic I translate to ist mir egal; but not translating isn't any easier, because code-switching to "natural" speaking - with someone who doesn't ping me as autistic - is just as much effort as anything else.

And... that's the thing. There is such comfort in the ways that I can, with other autistic folk, frequently just... talk. Relax the monitoring and the double-checking against my learned scripts and just get on with it -- but so much of it is so automatic at this point that I don't notice I'm doing it until I'm... not. Which in turn makes it hard to pass on the skillset, because when the answer is "I have a checklist for how to handle a situation where someone has just received news of a bereavement and I follow it automatically" it can be... quite difficult even to expand what the checklist is, never mind help the other party absorb all the checklists for all the different possible situations to the extent that they come that automatically. (I have talked a little about how the intersection of autism + being an abuse survivor means I have very consciously learned to... interact in ways that look like "gaming people". It isn't actually that simple.)

I don't, I'm afraid, have any tidy conclusions; I just know that passing-for-allistic is at this stage something I do reflexively, except that when I'm triggered/exhausted/whatever I find it much, much harder to do the "basic" shit like reflecting the language and modes of communication other people are using with me, and I think that ties into being perceived as hostile/aggressive.

(In turn, I seriously need to work on the extent to which I freak out when people say that they're perceiving/experiencing me as same - I know why I freak, but it is a criticism I need to be able to hear. It's on the list for discussion with my counsellor next time I see them.)

I've watched people wince when I am Obviously Autistic In Public, because I'm exhausted or overwhelmed or whatever. And maybe that's actually the conclusion, I suppose: successfully passing for allistic takes energy, but is still less work than persuading people to interact with me in ways that are easier-for-me, at least for me, because of how long I've been learning this particular lesson. This is some of what I mean when I say I've "run out of people" or "am not fit for human company" - there's a bit of constructing-self-as-monster in there, on which topic I have a first draft of something that is approximately a prose poem - and some of why it hurts so much when I get told that I'm unfairly dictating modes of communication (through e.g. advocating active listening over formal debate in one-on-one informal interactions, to pick an actual example).

And on that note I shall sleep before I ramble more, I think.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 12:19 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Finding Nemo's Dory, the adventurous fish with a brain injury (dain bramage)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Useful, educational, challenging ramble.

Active listening always feels more effective than formal debate, in any setting.

Sleep well!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 12:39 am (UTC)
raze: A man and a rooster. (Default)
From: [personal profile] raze
Having trouble synthesizing a thoughtful reply, but just wanted you to know that I read - and recognized - this post. Thank you for sharing.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 01:16 pm (UTC)
woggy: (Lurking Frog)
From: [personal profile] woggy
I second this sentiment, in all three parts.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 12:57 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I think my reply would probably boil down to "allistic person offers unsolicited advice" or "allistic person asks insensitive question", so I'm just going to say that I read this and think it's lovely how you are able to share your thought processes.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 01:41 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I don't think I understand fully how people are classifying you as unfairly dictating modes of communication - are they getting frustrated because they can't codeswitch?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 11:24 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Ah, we understand. They could not conceive of the idea that perhaps they were not the centre of the universe, and therefore reacted hostilely to the suggestion that they could change to make things easier for others.

Asking for accommodation is hard, especially for things that don't have obvious physical manifestations.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-01 11:09 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is a curiosity to me, it feels like that same conversation with two allistic people ought to result in the other person being willing to make adjustments. If you'd written this without saying with party was allistic and which autistic I'd have thought that one that was uncompromising on their mode of communication was the one that was autistic (quite possibly mild and undiagnosed, but somewhere on the spectrum).

As far as I know I'm allistic, I have feelings about how is an unhelpful way to talk to me and how is a helpful way and appreciate how different people in my life communicate with me in different ways whether it's because it's their default mode or because it's their judgement about how they can best communicate with me. On the other side of the coin, I know that to some people in my life saying things one way is helpful and to others it's useless, or even hurtful, but it's the people I know or suspect to be non allistic that I feel would fail to understand the need for difference in communication that they are the ones that fail to understand what is semantically the same to them can feel very different to me.

*flaps in recognition*

Date: 2014-04-29 07:29 am (UTC)
shehasathree: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shehasathree

successfully passing for allistic takes energy, but is still less work than persuading people to interact with me in ways that are easier-for-me, at least for me, because of how long I've been learning this particular lesson
Also yes.

Also i thought i'd invented the phrase "not fit for human consumption" (clearly a cousin phrase to yours) when i was in my late teens/early twenties.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 10:07 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Thanks for writing about this.

[Interesting-to-me thoughts about categories of people I translate for in different ways and the very few people I don't feel the need to translate for at all.]

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-01 03:00 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I think I hardly translate at all for my sister or my partners or for one very close friend.
I translate (or avoid) emotional stuff for other family members, best-school-friends, particular other friends I can think of, and mostly avoid it with anyone else.
I think I translate a lot of everything else with everyone else.
I know a few people in various bits of my life where I have to ask other people to translate because as soon as we get into anything more complex than 'hello', we start misinterpreting each other so much that communication just. does. not. work. at. all., which is weird and disconcerting.
I don't find not-translating difficult in itself; I do have to keep reminding myself that not-translating works with the people it works with.


(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 01:00 pm (UTC)
quirkytizzy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quirkytizzy
Why would you need to be open to criticism of people freaking out because you at first appeared to altistic (that's non-autistic, right?) but then it turns out you are, in fact, autistic? Is that what I read? It seems like you shouldn't have to apologize for being YOU, especially not when you're tired or overwhelmed. That's just part of the package deal, and others being upset or offended because you're not what THEY expected at first is THEIR problem. (I mean, as long as you aren't running around breaking grievous social norms, which I don't think you do.)

I do get the awesomeness that is being able to let go and communicate in ways that your brain says is natural and that others also find natural. I experience something very similar in the bipolar community (especially during a manic flush.) The actual language and syntax changes in the grips of an episode and it can really disturb normal people. But other bipolar crazies like me? They get it and I don't have to stumble over explaining HOW I'm saying something. I really appreciate that in those circles.

Your observation about gaming people was interesting. Like, gaming as in manipulating, right? And I can see how speaking/acting from an abuse place inside of yourself (like PTSD episode or trigger or whatever) MIGHT be seen as gaming, but again, I really feel that's just people who don't know or don't care that abuse and whatnot literally changes your brain.

But maybe you are onto something. What do you mean, like how does that sort of thing look like gaming???

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 06:09 pm (UTC)
pteranodon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pteranodon
Thank you for sharing this.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 09:34 am (UTC)
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] ludy
So much "o yes"

I've been trained/progamed to present as NeuroTypical so much that it's my default setting when I'm around people. I have to sometimes remind myself that it's a big part of my I find being around people is exhusting. For me the training/programming was a lot about being socialised as a girl and the expectations of "a good little [church] minister's kid". So it's a lot about trying to make sure the other person/people are comfortable and putting their comfort ahead of mine.
Because it's my default setting when I am acting in a more obviously autistic way it's when I'm stressed/overwhelmed/dealing with difficult physical or emotional stuff - which encourages the people around me to see me being more obviously autistic as being a problem/warning sign ...

It really bothers me when NT people think "you don't seem autistic to me"/"I wouldn't have known you had am autism spectrum diagnosis" is a compliment - and part of that is because they have no idea of how hard I've been working to accommodate them (and they are obviously not going to put the effort in to accommodating my autism)


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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