EYE CONTACT – OVERRATED!

It’s like being slugged in your soul with a sledge hammer.

So, it’s like physical pain?

Somewhat.  You remember that feeling when your first love dumped you, and your gut dropped and churned and clenched up like a charlie horse?

Yes, that’s not a pleasant feeling.  It’s that intense?

For a split second, and then it goes into an awful naked, uncomfortable, you went to work without your bra on wearing a thin white t-shirt kind of feeling. And everyone you talk to is naked.  It’s like it’s too intimate, or it’s too many secrets about someone that you shouldn’t be knowing – it’s a thousand different pieces of personal information exchanged in an instant.

Is it like this with everyone you look at? 

It’s always uncomfortable, no matter who I am talking to – it varies in intensity, depending on who it is – how well I know them, et cetera.  The only exception – my two kids.  I never feel anything but comfort and happiness when I am making eye contact with either of them.  Well, except when Mama don’t play that – then I’m not feeling hearts and flowers, but still I’m not ever minding the eye contact with my boys.

Hmm…

I was trying to explain to my shrink why I hate making eye contact with people.  I do it – every day I have to, but I still can’t stand the feeling.  I remember being 15 years old and my best friend said to me, “You know, you have to look at people when you talk to them, or else they don’t really know if you’re talking to them or not! Or they think you’re a snob!”  

So, then I stared at everyone when I was talking – I mean, really stared hard.  After a period of watching other people while they conversed naturally (and recoiled away from me frightened for their lives), I caught on to the nuances of social communication.  It was never really missing in me, in fact, I think it is just the opposite – I see too much, or get too much information from exchanging eye contact.  I didn’t stop and study how it was done naturally, because it was so uncomfortable and intense for me.  I always refer to that movie, Powder, when I try to explain this.  See this post…

 https://mamiautism.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/autism-honestly-raw-the-powder-problems/

  <— I need the hat and sunglasses every day, too!  lol

I wonder about this with Ronan.  Is this how it feels for him?  Or is his a completely different experience?  I’ve heard others on the spectrum explain it in so many different ways. 

It’s also a type of auditory processing thing that I have going on.  When I am listening to something being explained to me, I need to look away in order to visualize what someone is saying, or else it doesn’t compute.  You might as well be speaking in Mandarin Chinese, because I have no idea what the hell you just said if I have to worry about keeping up with the nuances/feelings of eye contact. 

What is strange about this is that you would think that the phone might make it easier for me to communicate/process what someone is saying, but it doesn’t really.  Something about that disembodied voice speaking into my ear, I can’t see the body postures or gestures, and I can’t visualize what is being said unless I “see” what’s being described.  With a present person, even if I am not looking into their eyes, so much more can be gleaned about what they are speaking. 

I sometimes wish the whole world could walk about with a dry erase board around their neck, drawing visuals for me to communicate with them, instead of looking into their eyes.  In fact, this is the exact approach I have taken with Ronan when I am trying to teach him new concepts, or even just conversing with him.  Our house is littered with typed-out conversations – red font for Ro, and blue font for Mom.

T.V. and the internet are godsends for us here, too.  Lots of visuals, lots of writing, reading and drawing out things. 

And no piercing eyes slugging you in the soul!

The worst part is, I joke that I hate people, but I really don’t – just most people.  : ) 

No, in all seriousness, I have my two beautiful boys, two great sisters, one great lifetime friend, and…the love life, yeah, I’m working on that one.  Not easy to get that area going when you hate looking at people!  : )

Hopefully, with the early therapies, etc. that we have going on now, Ro will be able to avoid feeling like running and fleeing into the nearest hole whenever he has to interact with people. 

Pray for us, because it’s like the blind leading the blind here!  Except, so far on this journey, Ronan is teaching me more that I am him!!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sandrar
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 20:06:42

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Reply

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