I am not sure if anyone caught on who has been reading my blog for a while, but I have gone into a slight psychopath/narcissist/liar special interest over the year. I actually, started research about narcissists in 2002. I got caught up in my religion special interest and put that one on the back burner – little did I know that the two would interweave later in my life. I have not shared that much about my religious experience and I am still not sure that I will. It is too touchy and I would feel awful if people misunderstood my intentions. However, I do have a painful history with church and church leaders/people. I have shared several of those experiences on here, but I still have not gone in-depth. I have found that my special interest regarding how the brain works and why people act the way they do has been with me since childhood.
I believe it stemmed from trying to figure out my parents and seeking ways to protect myself from emotional pain.
If I could only figure why then, I could let it go! However, I have discovered that sometimes the whys are unanswerable or the reality of the why may be more painful than not understanding. Although, if I had a choice I would still want to know why because I can work with that — I do not work well with unasnwerables. Though my special interest in human behaviors and mental workings has been with me a lifetime, I still find myself constantly learning something new. I think that may be what keeps my spark going — humans always change, but somehow stay the same! Oxymoron. I have a love-hate feeling about that. I would not want to bind myself to being exactly the same all the time, however; a dabble of consistency would be nice from some fellow humans.
I am garrulous today, forgive me.
I find it interesting how there are vast beliefs and emotions when it comes to sociopaths and narcissists. I had never really given it any thought until I read several things that referred to Autistics/Asperger’s as narcissists. I have my own personal story in dealing with a narcissist (a few actually) that I am not comfortable writing about. I have written plenty about the topic and about manipulators, but I see no need to share some of my personal stories at the time – I indicated as much above, but I do have some others that have been much closer and quite frankly, scarier in my life. I think out of everything that I read the one thing that helped me the most was discovering that they are about “crazy-making.” Their tactics wear you down and eventually strip you of your abilities to discern and trust your instincts.
The constant self-doubt and being molded into not trusting anyone but them causes you to become blind to many things.
In a way you have to in order to survive. They instill such fear and anxiety directly or indirectly with stealthy manipulations and dismantling of your identity that one feels they MUST do whatever it takes to keep that relationship — no matter how painful, demeaning, or agonizing it is the feeling of being nothing unless they are there is too consuming. The fear of abandonment is too powerful. In order to protect any sense of self, no matter how little may be left — you hide it away, but the interesting thing is that the sliver that is tucked away has become extremely acute in detecting unseen things. That detection becomes an impressive emotional reader, lie detector, and has adapted keen abilities in learning how to read people’s real emotions not based upon body language, words, or how they are perceived by others.
There is a constant battle within oneself with the instinctive knowing and the constant state of self-doubt.
I have a theory that there are many of us who are Autistic that have the ability to read people’s true emotions as well because we do not look to what others look for when communicating. In my feeble mind-meanderings, I have resolved that those of us who have been abused could possibly have gained some great intuitive abilities at reading people’s actual motives or emotions because we have had to in order to survive. However, our social confusion and constantly being told that we are wrong or have misunderstood caused us to second guess ourselves to the point of questioning our ability. Some of us, like myself cling to language and rely upon words to navigate though that method will fail. People use words all the time in the wrong context, out of context, laced with emotions which will give them different meanings, inaccurate definitions, and meanings can get lost in translation.
I have found that my means of trying to understand the world caused me more confusion because I spoke a different language.
Even though we shared the same words our intent or definitions were different. I tried to use words because I felt that I could not rely on my nonverbal readings of people. I am not very good at reading body language and I tend to see people’s faces as blurred when I am looking at them. I focus on their lips and eyebrows normally, I do try to make eye contact as much as possible when I remember to let them know that I am engaged, but I cannot keep a steady flow of eye contact. It is too much input for me. My brain gets overwhelmed trying to process emotion, words, thoughts, and all of the images flooding my head with the conversation. I do think in pictures, but my pictures are also, connected to colors, smells, numbers, data collected, fleeting ideas, emotions, music, words, etc …
Since, I am now aware of this about myself I have been able to have conversations much easier.
By that I mean I no longer feel like I am wrong for not looking at a person or when my words get all jumbled and I cannot get them out I allow myself to slow down. I have also allowed myself to stop, close my eyes or look away until I am able to get my words. I used to get so frustrated or overcome with feeling foolish because I-could-not-talk! The negative thoughts would enhance my feelings of inadequacy and fill me with anxiety. Not only did I feel this because I felt overwhelmed, but many times what I was/am feeling from a person’s presence did/does not match the words, tone, movements, or expressions that I do notice on their face. It took me a while, but all this leads into my latest special interest. Have you heard of the TV show “Lie to Me” inspired by the research done by Dr. Paul Ekman? I stumbled upon information about him a while ago, but had forgotten all about it until one night when I was too fatigued to do anything but sit on the couch. I decided to pull up Netflix and was intrigued by the show so I watched it.
After watching the first episode, I went into research mode to find out about this research and methods pertaining to micro expressions and deception.
I was elated to find books written by Paul Ekman, Ph.D. I am currently reading three different ones by him. Yes, at the same time I am rotating the books and making connections. As I was reading I thought how amazing this research and practice would be for Autistics. I wondered if they were using any methods or curriculum to help Autistics, but it was a fleeting thought. Until I found a video that showed some intriguing curriculum in development where indeed they are doing this, however; I can no longer find the video in English I did find it German - sorry no translation. I thought this could be really beneficial to some of us who are Autistic. Apparently, I am a little late to the party because I found several people talking about using micro expression with Autistics – I see that as a good thing there could be some real positives from it. I am not on any real venture here; I am just excited and intrigued about the research and possibilities. (Sharing my ramblings)
I have had a lot of curious thoughts stem from what I have read and watched.
One being that possibly Autistics are overwhelmed with all of the micro expressions that we see, but do not understand. The face and every muscle in the face is telling us something, it is a lot to process – the words are telling us something and we are processing that. The tone and the body is telling us something and it is all so consuming, but it does not stop there we are being infiltrated with all the goings on in our environment. The “typical” person has the ability to process all of that information instantly and if the words do not match the face, body, and/or tone they somehow override the inconsistencies. I get stuck. I get stuck on inconsistency until I finally have to force myself to let it go, easier said than done much of the time. There would need to be much more research to discover whether Autistics are “seeing” all of the micro expressions. The current research being done to track eye movement as an early means of Autism diagnosis indicates that we do not look at people, but at things.
That has manifests a whole other set of questions and wonderment in my mind.
I will not tap into those thoughts because I am in one of those moods where I could go on and on with my thoughts. I pondered the idea of people reading my micro expressions, I tend to have a stoic face much of the time. When I am listening to a person, concentrating, or deeply focused my face can be blank, intense, or I smile/laugh at inappropriate times. How does that affect how people read my micro expressions? People read my face, body language, and tone incorrectly all the time. Much of the miscommunication that David and I have had was/is due to him reading me wrong and inferring incorrectly. I too have misread him and infer incorrectly. Asking questions such as, What does that face mean? Are you upset? What did you mean by those words? has helped a great deal. For me, expressing when I feel his emotions intensely, but I do not understand them has brought much clarity.
In reading about lie detection, deceptions, and how to read micro expressions I found myself feeling that it was a good thing.
I think that it is fascinating and beneficial in many ways, but I also feel that people should not rely so much on those types of nonverbal communication. I believe that it is useful, but I feel that having the freedom to ask directly without judgment, condemnation, and having upfront knowledge of possible emotional responses is good too. I am not always capable of being able to look at people. If I am anxious, overwhelmed, my sensory system is being attacked, social confusion all consuming, and/or PTSD triggers are raging there is no way I can read a person’s micro expressions. Nope, it’s not going to happen. I MUST rely on asking people so that I do not spiral into loops of chaos and fear. I am still in my research mode, but what I have read thus far has given me a boost in trusting my instincts. I have become more social once again; I am out practically every morning going to the Y at the crack of dawn. (Literally, I am up at 4 am and at the Y by 5 or 5:30 am so I can be home before anyone wakes up as to not disturb the ecosystem here.)
I have been more social at the home school co-op, but I have also encountered similar experiences that I did before in that environment.
Before when I encountered certain types of people, I condemned myself for having certain feelings about them. I doubted my instincts and ended up in situations that caused me to be confused, extremely anxious, manipulated, and used. After reading the information, I have found answers to help me not get sucked into the “why would they do that or am I wrong” vortex. I have the clear understanding that people have many reasons for why they lie, behave, respond, and say the things that they do. I did not have a clear understanding of this before. I had an understanding, but not in concrete terms that could help me understand more deeply. I have also; found that I am becoming even more empathetic and compassionate. In the past, when faced with injustice or downright negative/mean people I could “see” their point of view, but I had a difficult time truly “seeing/feeling” from their perspective.
I do not think that is uncommon for any person.
When you have not experienced what another person has you can find it challenging to comprehend the whats, whys, and hows of their responses. I still feel indignation, but it moves quickly into wanting to understand and move forward in a positive direction. My latest special interest has opened my heart, mind, and eyes even more to humanity. It helps to understand why people lie this has helped me to understand that it does not have anything to do with me. People lie, manipulate, mastermind all sorts of things daily for many reasons some are not so sinister as others or destructive, but there is no black-and-white answers. People all have their personal struggles and experiences that have molded them into how they respond. I used to take it very personally and think that I HAD to be the problem. (I still struggle) Sure I have my problems and my responses can seem inconsistent or erratic at times, but now I understand why I do that and all of the factors that play into it.
I had unspoken/unknown thoughts until recently that if I could just figure out why people lie than, I could protect myself.
Lying is so devastating to me – I would much rather have the truth no matter how painful or heart wrenching than to be lied to. But I have realized that sometimes a person’s lie is better kept to themselves. Dismantling the thoughts for the reasons they lied and letting go of the fears that I had done something to cause their lies has set me free from needless turmoil. I believe those thoughts were faulty beliefs I adopted from being abused and being socially confused. I have also, learned that telling “your truth” at all costs without any considerations for others is just as damaging. Certain things should not be said and it is not a lie if you do not say it – yes, I still find that thought challenging. You cannot protect yourself from the pains and joys of relationships. If we could live in a completely honest world and not be influenced by our triggers of past pains and negative experiences I think that would be ideal, but that is not how the world works. I am not so sure I want to always know when people are lying.
Many things are best left unknown so I have come to learn … although; I could completely change my mind about that tomorrow. HA!
Related items - I watched a lot of videos lately too, I will only share a few.
- Body Language vs Micro-Expressions
- Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar
- Dr. Paul Ekman on Expression and Gesture and Their Role in Emotion and Deception – Part 1
- The Role of Microexpressions Lie Detection
- RSA Animate – The Truth About Dishonesty