|BEHOLD! NEGATIVE LIGHT!|
This is one of those entries I have been putting off for a while… And the reason for it is that it kind of puts us in a negative light. There are two sides to the issue, really…
Interrupting conversations… We do it. Unless it is a group of close friends or family, it is my understanding that NTs see interruptions as a form of disrespect. I have been told that NTs see conversational interruptions as a way of saying, “I don’t care what you have to say.” Sometimes, this is true – but not often.
Honestly, when dealing with an Aspie, conversational interruptions are not intended to be disrespectful. I have spoken to several Aspies on the subject, and (Of the Aspies who I polled) interruption is just something that happens. When we interrupt, it is not because we disrespect you, or don’t care what you think… When we have thoughts, they often come in a rush… they flood into our head in a scene reminiscent of any breaking dam scene in any disaster film you have ever scene…
Think about that analogy… we process information in a different manner, and when we come to our conclusions, they burst the dam and flood into our brain. Like with that metaphorical flood, the thoughts move with the force of a battering ram… they hit, bounce around and keep moving… If we don’t get them out when they strike, they can be swept away from us in the rush of mental pressure…
|The thoughts… they need to get out!|
When thoughts are fleeting, we often fear that we will lose our ability to be understood, so when we have a thought, we have to get it out. That being said, with practice, we can learn to latch on to those thoughts and hang onto them long enough to be polite.
And honestly, most of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. So, the best way to discourage the behavior is a reminder… Don’t get angry when it happens, just point it out… talk to your Aspie about it and, between the two of you, work out a code word between the two of you. Something that you can say to them to remind them that they are doing it. With awareness of a behavior comes the ability to modify said behaviors.
A great many of our social problems are a result of interruption. Many NTs get very upset with it, and as such, mastering the art of conversational restraint is an attainable goal.
This, however, is a double edged sword. NTs, as they get into a relationship (and by this I mean romance, family, or friendship), will start to feel more comfortable with the situation. As they do, they will do what friends do, which means they will interrupt. It’s something that groups of NTs will do. Often, that is the way a social group of NTs interact – they all speak over one another and (because they are friends) they interrupt each other… and this is the status quo.
Now… remember how our thoughts come – a flood of words… To be able to speak, we often have to wrestle with our thoughts. It is like grappling with the greased up deaf guy from Family Guy.
So, we work hard to speak… grabbing those thoughts and forcing them into a semblance of order. Once we have them in order, we start to speak. If we are interrupted, our thoughts tend to get jumbled again. So, we have to start the thought over.
You will find that, in these situations, the NTs will be laughing, talking over each other and having a good time and your Aspie will say the same 4-8 words… over and over and over again. It’s because they are starting their thought and getting interrupted, having to start the thought over.
Remember what I said about how NTs view interruptions… a lack of respect and conveying the impression that you don’t care about what they have to say? Well… The first couple times, your Aspie just accepts it… this is the way NTs are… and many of us understand that we do it, too… and turn about is fair play.
After the 4th or 5th time, we start to get upset. Please understand that we’re not upset with you… we are getting upset because our thoughts are getting away from us. Our brain is a sieve and the thoughts are water… So… We get frustrated. After that, it keeps going… We expect the NTs around us to be able to tell that we are upset… I mean that is what they have going for them, isn’t it? They have the super power of instant on empathy and the ability to read microexpressions…
Once we’re upset, it goes downhill from there… The NTs keep interrupting and not seeing how upset we are, and we can’t get our thoughts out… they are slipping away… and the dissonance creeps in… so we get snippy… JUST SO WE CAN SAY WHAT WE HAVE ORGANIZED IN OUR HEAD… So we blow up… and yell it…
I have actually been very rude to my friends, my long time partner, and other people… to the point of saying “Can you just shut the >>>Expletive redacted<<< up for a moment and let me talk? I have tried to say this same sentence for the last 5 minutes!”
When this happens, we are not trying to be rude… we are trying to rectify an internal conflict before it becomes a dissonant event and ruins our day… or even our week.
As usual, my admonition is to show patience… help us learn to realize when we are interrupting… and try to be understanding when we do it…
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: