Emotions and Body Language

Good whatever time of day it is for you, my dear friends.  Today I took a measuring tape to my body and despite not losing weight on the scale, I have lost a couple of inches.  I have a very discernible waist now and it kind of worries me.  I’m worried about unwanted male attention and about people addressing me as “miss” or “ma’am”.  Also because it is really interfering with my personal delusions on how I look.  Since I am the type of person that constantly compares, realizing that I’m so vastly different in shape and size from when I was morbidly obese bothers me.  I still feel fat.  I still feel the crushing sensation on my chest when I wake up sometimes.  However, that is due to my uncontrolled asthma.  I’m going to be making a doctor’s appointment for that soon, probably.

As you all should know by now, I’ve been going through the Dialectical Behavior Therapy program.  There are 4 main sections of skills that are Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.  Currently, we are going through Emotion Regulation.  This is by far the hardest part for me.

I don’t understand emotions.  I know all the basics and since discovering The Atlas of Emotions I have been able to go through the logical steps of figuring out what I’m feeling. I suppose if I were able to describe my emotions as colours and have people understand me, I’d be more adept at communicating what I’m feeling.  For example, the Social Security Building meltdown thing is mostly remembered by shades of blue.  Is it sadness or fear?  I haven’t a clue.  Apparently, ‘overwhelmed’ is only able to be used as a level of emotional state, not an actual emotion.

What’s so confusing is that emotions are more than one main set.  You can feel happy and sad for the same reason.  Anxiety and anger can go hand in hand.  It’s baffling.  It also makes me feel very hopeless and helpless.  I feel like a small child lost in a huge mall.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for emotions unless I take apart what I’m feeling step-by-step.  Unless I pay attention to my spazzes.

Did you know you can tell someone else’s emotional state by their body language?  I hate looking at people.  It makes me super uncomfortable, so I avoid it like the plague.  I have no idea how to read facial expressions or body language.  I’m okay at vocal tones, but only on the severe ends of the spectrum.  It’s frustrating.  I’m also going to be forcing myself to start studying body language.

I cannot express how much I loathe the thought of me doing this.  I hate it.  I hate it so goddamned much.  Unfortunately, Charon is right on this.  I’m missing out on a huge part of human interaction.  I simply don’t know all this stuff.  I hate not knowing things.  I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and I’ve been willfully ignoring body language for years.  I cannot, in good conscience, continue on my journey of a Life More Worth Living if I blind myself to such an important part of day-to-day social interpretation.

As ToadieOdie once said to me as well, eye contact and body language is an art.  It’s very open to interpretations and everyone has their own kind of body language so you have to memorize the different nuances of the important people in your life.  If you’re someone like me, anyway.  Apparently, in the vast majority of people without an Autism Spectrum Disorder automatically interpret and react accordingly to other people’s body language.

Fuck you.  Not really, I’m just expressing frustration at a seemingly impossible task.  I am going to have to actually look at people and not stare at random things in the general vicinity of where I’m located.  I’m probably going to end up spazzing much more than usual because I’m putting myself into such an uncomfortable situation.

As I’m typing this, I’m trying to figure out why I hate looking at people when I’m talking to them.  Eye contact feels very intimate and there’s a lot of information that I notice when I’m looking at a person.  I haven’t been able to have a conversation whilst actively looking at whoever the fuck I’m conversing with.

Looking back, maybe I just get the same “too-muchness” with eye contact and looking at someone as I do when I’m at the store.  If I’m looking at a person, I’m noticing all the little movements that they do, making it very hard to listen to whatever it is they are saying.  Likewise, it’s hard for me to formulate a response when I’m trying to tune out visual distractions.

I don’t know.  I hate that these things are so hard for me.  I feel like less of a person because of it.  It makes me sad and ashamed and I dislike having such emotions.  I prefer being Zen.

Oh well.  I’m not dead yet, so there’s no reason for me not to give it a go.

I wish you all well.

Until tomorrow,

The Sarcastic Autist

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5 thoughts on “Emotions and Body Language

  1. Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t have Autism that can’t read body language. My sister is one of them. She had to take a class for it for her nursing degree she told me or something like that. Blew my mind. She told me I’m one of those “weird people” that instinctively get it and she is one of those people that had to learn the general concepts and have to guess what the specifics mean until she gets to know people. Like for example since she has known me since we were babies, she has a pretty good idea how I’m feeling just by the way I sit in a chair. The same with her own daughter. Not so with a stranger.

    One of the things you could try is to “people watch” passively. Just go to a park or mall and wear your ear plugs and just sit some where out of the way. Bring a notebook to write or draw in. The point is to look busy, but you are going to be watching people as they pass by. It’s a pass time. Authors and artists do it often, just try not to stare at anyone to very long. The goal of the activity is to guess what people are feeling based on what they are doing. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and just pretend. If you were doing whatever it was, what would you be feeling? Pay attention to behavior. Are they smiling, laughing, frowning, slumping their shoulders, walking fast, walking slow, running, etc. One of the keys to body language is placing yourself in the other person’s shoes. You’re not always going to get it right, but it is a place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m normally preoccupied with staring at random things when I venture to malls. But I will try this when the weather gets better. I’m actually going to write this down and pretend like it’s a homework assignment. People are just so difficult to understand. It’s why I changed my Major from Psychology. I have a hard time comprehending why people do things.

      Like

      • I just had my therapist today tell me that I need to stop obsessing about the why over what people do and stop obsessing about what make people “tick”. It seems that by me doing this I tend to give them a free pass to do whatever they want to me, even when it is mean or horrible things. That’s not how healthy boundaries work. Healthy boundaries respect both parties regardless of why anyone is doing or saying whatever. *sigh* So once again I need to focus more on the boundaries and less on the “why did you do this?” because in the end I am coming to realize that I don’t think we ever fully understand other people. Heck, I have a hard time understanding myself and all of my own complexities. So yes, it’s nice to understand a little but don’t get suckered in to the point of getting lost in it like I do. That’s not healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

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