Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Imagine, going through life,

Thinking, "nobody understands me," until one day you realize that the opposite was true.  I've often agonized over not being understood, never being able to get my point across, when really a large part of the time I've been misinterpreting what people are telling me.

I hear your words, but I understand them usually only on a literal level, and then not fulling comprehending the little social and nonverbal signals that everyone uses to communicate.  Your words might be saying "the car is red" but I hear (understand) you as saying it is possibly blue.  The two things, obviously don't match up, but unless someone catches it, and points it out to me, I will continue going on about how its blue and I don't understand why you are telling me its red when its not, etc...on and on.

Now, for just a moment, imagine that 75%, no, lets even cut that down to just half of your daily communications were like that.  You'd begin to assume something is wrong (it is), and you'd blame and shame yourself ( I do), because it seems no matter what you can't understand why your not communicating and getting what you need.

If it seems as though I'm in a pity party I assure you I am not (now.)  When I received this diagnoses, it explained so much.  Knowing clearly that I was the one with processing problems, often misunderstanding, I'm beginning to train myself to try to pay attention (a different kind of attention) to others when I'm communicating, and to assume that if I don't work to pick up on the subtle cues that I can interpret, that it will be just more of the same.  Its a great relief, really.

I've learned that if I ask someone to break down what they are saying, or teaching me, or whatever, into discrete and literal steps that I can understand better.  For example, a lot of people can get by on being told "do 1, then, do 2, then 3  This is enough to send me off the deep end sometimes, and I can better understand if I can break down the information thus:  "in order to finish #1, first do 1a, like this, then do 1b like this, then do 1c, etc, etc...

I'm also beginning to understand how people can see me from how I appear to them, rather than what my intention (often) is.

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