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Episode 7: Your strange Sounds and Actions
Remember during the Home Page video I said “ we should think of our Children as “children” first and everything else second”?
If we start to think that way, then suddenly we realise that our Children are not getting all the Feelings they need as human beings, feelings that we regularly get, by being in the Real World more often. Their funny sounds and actions are all ways of expressing and enjoying these much-needed Feelings.
We saw in Episode 4, “Need for Control”, that example demonstrated that our Children can create any feelings they need for themselves if they don’t get enough of them from us, or from the world around them. Your Child has found different ways to express his.her feelings (being hampered by Withdrawal to do so in the usual way). We will look at 5 Feelings here. They are
(1) The need to feel the release of Laughter and Fun; and
(2) Needing to feel Approved-of, and Rewarded,
(3) Needing to express one’s Frustration, Distress, and
(4) Feelings of Confusion, needing to sort them out / untangle them, and
(5) Feeling in command of the situation, feeling “Centred”, “Grounded”, Confident.
Does that explain why you make your funny sounds and actions?
Yes, as follows:
First, get yourself into the state of mind where you need Withdrawal, a place of retreat where your Over Sensitivities can rest from their constant hammering. (To conjure-up that need, picture again a time of deep personal distress where you basically numbed yourself.)
(1) Needing to feel the Release of Laughter and Fun:
So here you are, safe-ish and quiet. But you are here a long time. Like everyone else you want to laugh, feel amused, express joy, obtain happy release, entertainment. But you can’t get those feelings much from the Real World because (like Paul Simon’s “I am a Rock”) you are far too wary of bringing your vulnerable wounded Sensitivities back into the glare of the Real World for another round of battering. Far safer and easier to provide your Own entertainment, “in-house”.
You self-entertain. Some experts call this “stimming”, I dislike the word because it implies a closed-loop activity that can never be focused outward. Whereas if you start with the word “self–entertain”, you have the potential to redirect that action, to re-focus it towards “co-operative–entertaining” – that is sharing fun with others. (This change of focus is one we frequently achieve during Game-Playing with each other, as part of “Real-World” Training, where we use the power of fun for a “fun-damental” change towards outward-focus)
How does your self-entertaining work? There are two varieties:
(a) “Replay Fun” : You extract some amusing happening from the Real World and Replay it.
(have you ever noticed your boy or girl being very-aware briefly, looking about like a creature stealing something and returning to its hole?)
These happenings could be events, sounds you like, actions that feel good, and you replay them to yourself in your mind, sometimes chortling, making other amused sounds, sometimes repeating the funny things quietly (or loudly) to yourself, and so on. As a way of counteracting some approaching anxiety you may start your relief-producing funny routines as the stressful moment approaches.
Like a show or song you really enjoy, you may repeat the fun to yourself endlessly, until you change the TV station and go to another fun-replay which you have taken into your Own World.
Your fun sounds and actions can be unrestrained, because you are not very aware-of, and not very concerned-about, others’ reactions to your behaviour. Wild pitches of eerie and spooky sound may issue from your lips. Odd movements that please you, though they may somewhat distress others, may be exhibited. Too bad! You are having fun!
(b) Self-Mesmerising Fun (also used for Self-Grounding in item (5) below)
Very often the movement of an object, particularly rhythmic and regular, like a train, a free-rolling wheel, or perhaps the rain, is a source of deep satisfaction. Observing or being involved in regular, predictable movement seems to help “straighten things up” in a jumbled mind.
Have you sometimes taken pleasure from a non-demanding regular predictable activity?
Maybe you have practiced Meditation, where you repeated a “Mantra” endlessly and found release and relaxation.
Naturally this fun activity will be the source of deep involvement and consolation. Focusing on such a thing to the exclusion of all else, meaning Mesmerising, makes sense.
(2) The Feeling of being Approved-of, being congratulated for your effort.
Humans are social creatures, and need constant approval and affirmation from each other to keep feeling Confident and to feel connected with each other, the “virtual pats” we get and give, the “yes, you’re right” phrases that are denied your Loved.
One to a large extent because of his.her Withdrawal.
As a more neurotypical person you can feel how important these pats are to you when you ask your Child something and get no response. Your feelings of abandonment and anger are quite out of proportion to the lack of response you experience. Why is it so important that you get a reply? Because getting that feeling of confirmation is an instinctive “herd” need that you have, the feelings of togetherness, unity of purpose, that others endorse you and your actions. And that feeling is largely denied your boy.girl due to his.her Withdrawal distance from you.)
Being closed up in Own World you are not very open to feeling those pleasant Affirming or Congratulating words that others depend-upon. (And you don’t get them much anyway, usually criticism, or direction.)
So because you need Feelings of Affirmation but aren’t able to receive them via the Real World, you give yourself said Feelings by self-affirming self-talk or sounds.
(The TV show “Boston Legal” had a character, Jerry Aspinson, who when he won a point in a court case or similar would give an involuntary “Pop” sound with his mouth. A good show.)
If parents or carers understood this need of yours better they would “agree with you” even when you didn’t make much sense, so long as you were trying to make Real World contact. And they would heap more praise on you at every opportunity that you made an extra effort, because some of it would get through to you. Agreeing with you rather than criticising and praising your every Real World effort, are two of the prime motivators to get you to participate more in the Real World.
We certainly harness those motivators as part of “Real World” Training.
(3) Expressing Feelings of Frustration and Distress
All humans have such feelings. But unlike more neuro-typical people you are less concerned about others’ responses to you when you voice your Frustrations and Distresses (because you are in your Own World) – so you are often less-restrained.
Again your sounds may disturb, but you do not make that your problem. Your odd habit of Echoing others words’ to yourself is also a symptom of Frustration at not understanding. Not being in the Real World very often, you are habitually distanced and remote. So you hear others’ words as from a distance.
You repeat them to yourself, to get a better grip on them, usually saying the words out loud for better emphasis.
You are at least to some extent engaging with the other person, because you are at least acknowledging his.her presence by repeating his.her words.
By imprinting his.her words in a quieter part of your brain you are able to analyse them better. You may even be ready to actually talk after that, but the opportunity would be long gone by then. (If you would like to experience something similar, you could imagine you are in the company of a group of fast talking raconteurs, whose wit and quick grasp of each others’ conversation leaves you standing in the dust, flummoxed and tongue-tied. You may think of something, but long after the conversation has moved on to some other topic.)
(4) Sorting out your feelings of Confusion
Sorting out what has recently happened takes up a lot of your time and focus, and you may be either quiet about it, or quite vocal in your debates with yourself.
(5) Self-talking to gain a feeling of “grounding” oneself
Strong or insistent intrusions from the Real World may be hard to shut out,
and hovering between Worlds can be unnerving,
so talking long and loud about anything you are thinking of,
including ‘specialty subjects’ that you know a lot about,
can put you more firmly back in Own World, and at ease, and often more in Control.
You can experience this Feeling of needing to be grounded, back in your Own World, by remembering when other people around you have been too noisy, you may hum or even talk to yourself to shut out the distraction.
Your self-talk may even be vocal.
Soldiers being faced by inquisitors may stick repetitively to giving “name, rank and serial number” to stay centred or grounded, and prisoners of war may calculate pi to the hundredth number, or replay long tracts of literature in their minds to create a World in which they would rather be living. Tony Attwood describes intense-self-thought activity as “Self Mesmerising” in his Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome” book (page 277).
Your intense self-mesmerising focus can also be on more passive things like car number plates, or phone numbers, things that are solid, reliable, stay the same. While you might vocally express such topics they are more often the subjects of quiet Own World self-talk. This self-distracting explains why you build up your encyclopaedic knowledge of some topics.
Speaking of intensity of focus, I am reminded of a comment by Einstein,
which I paraphrase: “I’m no smarter than many others in my field,
it’s just that I keep thinking more about the subject at hand”.
In all the “Your Odd Sounds and Actions” examples above, the same theme is present: you are fundamentally hampered in your interactions with others due to being Withdrawn in your Own World too often.
And unfortunately, the more you engage in these behaviours, the more Habitual they become (or as neurologists would say with the benefit of modern scanning equipment, the more “hard-wired” your brain becomes to these behaviours).
What to do?
The answer is to train your Child to enter the Real World more frequently, using the most effective possible motivators, as used in Parent-Power, “Real World” Training.
But you engage in this Training with compassion,
acknowledging your boy.girl’s extra Sensitivity-Stresses, so that return to Own World and rest are a fundamental part of the Real-World-entering process.
These are the techniques employed in Real World Training,
which you are now able to use yourself.
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