paranoia

I wonder if other aspies share my tendency to paranoia.

For instance, this evening I was working late, alongside my boss. We were the only two left in the workplace (a forestry nursery) I then had to get up to go and count some plant cuttings (I do R&D in plant propagation) in a mist house. While I was doing this I heard my manager draw up alongside the mist house on her motorscooter, stop for a couple of minutes, then move on. I got very worried about why she did this, when I knew she had been busy composing a company newsletter at her computer in the office. I thought she must have been checking up on what I was doing. Then I wondered why she would think she needed to do that. That line of thought snowballed to the point where I was dispairing of getting a fair reference should I find another job because maybe I could not trust her because she was harbouring groundless concerns about my integrity.

I went back to the nursery office and continued working at my computer, and later my manager also returned and carried on with her own work. She mentioned a Cassia tree in flower, and it turned out she had gone out on her motorscooter to get a digital photo of the tree, to go in the newsletter.

This kind of thing happens to me all the time. In the past there have been times when I have only become belatedly aware of people harbouring ill intent and saying and doing bad things, behind my back, and so now I go through life permanently on edge, always on the lookout for that kind of thing happening again.

Similar issues tend to develop concerning my personal life. I am homosexual, and also permanently single, because in my case Aspergers syndrome makes the idea of intimacy and cohabitation absolutely and totally abhorrent. As regards 'coming out' at work, or anywhere, really, I feel damned if do and damned if I don't. If I say nothing about my sexuality at all, some people start whispering behind my back that I must be a paedophile, because its clear I have no partner. If I do come out, then people want to pigeonhole me as "a gay" and make extremely annoying and insulting assumptions about my personal life - and even my health status as regards HIV. I 'came out' as an Aspie at my last job and will never do that again because it was used against me in injurious and hateful ways. All I will say now is that I don't 'do' relationships of any kind, which will never satisfy the curiosity of some. Accordingly I am constantly on edge about baseless rumours about my personal life being generated behind my back.

As a result of all this, not only do I have the unending and lifelong internal conflict between purely hormone-driven sex drive and the Aspergers' revulsion against intimacy, but I also lead my life in a state of emotional siege as regards the rest of the world. You couldn't describe it as a happy existence. Am I alone in experiencing life like this, or do other Aspergers males contend with similar?


paranoia and aspergers

I also very much relate to what you are saying as I have had problems of this nature for over 20 yrs, the paranoia worsening in adolescence and afterwards from bullying peers and bullying in the workplace and community. I was diagnosed with Aspergers at 42 this year so just thought I was odd and a misfit, now I'm understanding myself better and with posts like this see that I am not alone in the way I am perceived. This ignorance can drive you insane and make you retreat from society if you let it. The important thing is to maintain you are a decent person and not believe their negative crap,to believe in yourself and your good nature, just because you find it difficult to form relationships doesn't mean you are bad, it's them that have the problem, NOT YOU. I was good with children when I was younger, but avoid them now for fear of the ignorant thinking the worse, but it would have happened anyway as my patience with noisy kids isn't the same as it was, sensory issues, so prefer to not be around children now anyway. I just want to be accepted and not badgered because I am not part of the N.T. world, given credit for my talents and skills. It's best to just defer topics you don't want to discuss, i.e you private life or lack of it onto something else, you don't have to feel pressured to say anything. I am a lot better with my paranoia now and challenge it, I am a very allergic person so medication doesn't work for me, it has too many bad side affects, so eat healthily and don't drink alcohol either. I also had my amalgam fillings removed recently and feel a lot better for it too. No one is going to make me feel bad about myself any more and I am hopeful that the disability discrimination act here in the UK will help to counteract any future prejudice I may face in the workplace.

Being Yourself

Dear Artman

Thank you for your contribution and welcome to the forums.

I was reviewing a book yesterday for my next newsletter and the point about not blaming yourself when other people lean on you came up - again!

As a person with AS I have found it incredibly hard to accept this but, over time, I have increasingly come to appreciate it and refuse to allow other people to denigrate me this way.

In a work context this is so important. The key lesson I have learned is to not show any weakness towards the people who act this way by letting them perceive that you do believe that you are somehow liable.

Central to this is not apologising. I can think of one instance in a past career where a person let me down very bady, and my chief protagonist automatically blamed me.

When I breached the subject with him I started with the words "I am sorry about what happend in Winchester, but X let me down very badly". It started the whole conversation off on a defensive footing.

Indeed he had but I had nothing to apologise for. What I should have done is have confronted him with the facts: the memo leading up to the incident, the word of other people but that, of course, is hindsight.

Overcoming this feeling (of being automatically to blame) is so illogical if you think about it, but one of the hardest things to do for someone with AS.

I have posted about this, this week again on my blog. A colleague at work who was cold towards me a couple of months ago has, this week, been hugely amenable - and helpful - towards me.

Lets not worry about it.

Paranoia with Aspergers

I think it important to be honest with prospective employers and with equal opportunities and the Disability Discrimination Act I mentioned before hopefully being denigrated will be a thing of the past for Aspies. I haven't worked for a long time, mixing in the "real world" being too difficult, but am now with a back to work support project and will be helped by someone qualified or knowledgeable about the Autistic Spectrum, and hope that all the negative past experiences can be counteracted and challenged and with knowledge about my condition now, hopefully I can succeed. I want to succeed but know that there may be people out there that may take pleasure in seeing me fail, but am more prepared than I've ever been and have a stubborn streak, so we shall see. I am a creative type and found this book interesting " The Genesis Of Artistic Creativity" which can be found on Amazon, a really interesting book, although it's famous artists thought to have Aspergers, there are interesting similarities that gave me more insight into the condition. Also A.J Mahari the Aspie life coach was an inspiration to me, she gave me courage from her words of wisdom to go get a private diagnosis, a second opinion as it were because the first "opinion" not diagnosis really on the NHS wasn't adequate to help me move on. What I learned from A. J. Mahari was it's ok to be different, this leads to acceptance and a peaceful mind within yourself, although not everyone will agree that you are their idea of normal, you start to believe that their opinions don't matter any more, your sanity does. Thanks for the welcome, so glad I found this forum, like I said before I can relate to what the first poster said, it's caused me untold misery and people attacking me and spreading lies. I also have an advocate who has Aspergers, she isn't pronounced either, this NOT being pronounced and able to converse is another prejudice within itself as well, you are often made out to be a liar. I'm not I know the score and went to a highly qualified professional to determine it, one of the best in the UK actually, glad I did it and am on the right track now, just my thoughts won't go on too much from now on.

Being Different

I think that Mr (s) Mahari is so right. If I had a pund for every person AS who told that they would never want to anything different I would be a very wealthy person by now.

I passionately believe that you cannot be anything that you are not; and that includes being who you are in the workplace.

If you are slef-conscious of being "different" or somehow to blame when, more often you are not, then you will project the impression that you are vulnerable and susceptible.

I cannot reiterate how damaging this is because it sends a signal to others that you can be taken advantage. This has been the catalyst for do many difficulties at work for me.

Its a question of being strong ans not allowing onself to be taken advantage of.

Aspergers, pain and paranoia

With ya there man... My life as an aspergers has been full of searing emotional torment going about everyday life... its all i know so I do have fun and good times and im creative, with some friends but in general, especially when i was younger I was given little respect or dignity... not so much in your face harassment but simply never taken seriously, in the workplace and whatnot. As i child I was emotionally abused everyday by peers between 6th and 11th grade but made sheer relative progress (if you could call it that) by senior year even then however I suspect it was often opportunistic (i had a car) or whatever... For some reason tho i never wanted suicide im too happy in my own little world for that but the paranoia part didnt manifest itself until later when I got into my 20s (now) and I did modeling in LA as a gay guy and I was unable and unwilling to go along with the socialization... nor could I realy couldn date so of course this lead me to social faux pas and misunderstandings and general political hot water in that industry for me... including substance use issues that may have in part or wholly lead to... severe alternating bouts of paranoia and societal fear that is pretty disabling... and angering because my general perception of people as a whole majority is that theyre incredibly stupid and cant think for themselves but somehow I always can see things on a whole other level while the other 95 per cent of humanity is composed of mindless communicative drones with variable lacking in human regard or ability to self sustain us as a human race IE homophonic people, greedy ceo's, religious extremists and racists... etc etc... Its like I get broken down because im all into weather and forecasting pacific winter storms while everyone else is wrapped up in who gets the basketball in the hole the most times yet somehow im the retarded guy. I just sit and watch and die inside slowly as i get older and older and watch... I have read that an aspergers male ages for more slowly due to different hormonal algorithms which manifests itself as appearing younger and acting less mature as an adult, which I can believe because Im 25 yet I look 20 barely and show no signs of classic post college aging... which would contradict the amount of pain and stress I feel every day of my life of persecution.

Paranoia vs grasping at straws

Hi All~

Wanted to start with Peter: I'm not a man, but I AM a guy.

Masculine lesbian here. Graduate degree, blah, blah, blah

Yes - well sort of- to the "paranoid" tendencies. I wouldn't say they are delusions, though, as in the clinical category for paranoia. I don't THINK the Government is plotting against me... I KNOW the Government is plotting against me!! LOL!! But seriously, folks:
I suspect that this "paranoia" look-a-like amounts to periods of rumination that reflect a desperate "straw-grasping" attempt to read a situation that has happened "in-between lines of crisp clarity." And since most of us aren't terribly adept at thinking outside the "seems illogical to me" box, it can be quite problematic.
And it IS tricky when you guess wrong, that's why I HATE IT SO when people refuse to give me the info I need to draw correct or more accurate conclusions. Inference-challenged.

It's quite humbling though, especially if (like me) you figure you're smart or talented and people you love tell you that you sometimes seem to have no idea WTF you're talking about where their motives are concerned. Makes you feel like a sitting duck, 24/7, and THAT would make ANYBODY feel paranoid.

It's scary and disheartening, not-to-mention that if you say what you think it's not long before people's feelings get hurt, or they just become annoyed with you. Maybe, we miss the mark only one-fourth of the time, but that's still a lot...which leads me to you, Cherokee.

I can't find a (real) job and the longer it takes, the worse I feel, mostly because everyone (myself included) is so accustomed to being able to introduce me AND my job.. It's disarming, you know.
I thought I was probably feeling like most who can't find work in this economy, but I realize it's much worse. It's like I persecute myself and assume everyone else is doing the same. Again, some are. Some are not. But, certainly, not everyone is.

I was trying to have a relationship, which I actually would like to do, but it's a mess. She says I make her crazy. (Go figure, right?)
I think her "issues" just incite my "issues" at the moment, but I digress.

I am interested in hearing more about WHICH medicine might be helpful. I noticed that the Medical College of Georgia is doing research on kids - a 7-year study - but the results are not due out until 9/08, and I don't know that they will transfer to adults. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00352196?spons=%22Medical+College+...

Lastly, I picked up Donna William's book called, Exposure Anxiety. It's ... some of this stuff makes my feel hopeless, but I know that's not the intention. http://www.donnawilliams.net/exposureanxiety.0.html

Later.
AG

Oh yeah, Pete. Gayness is a "whole 'nuther" layer. Guys can't be gay and celibate without being accused of being predators. What a jacked up society. Anyway, you know what you can handle, and straight people are celibate or asexual and sometimes deal with similar assumptions. Also, people can assume you're unlovable or unworthy of a relationship and if people begin to treat you badly b/c of that, it ADDS to that paranoia that they're waiting for you to screw up so they can reject you because, well, you're not worthy anyway. See what I mean? I want to do a specialty self-esteem book sometime, because the people around us WILL NOT help us to develop or maintain it. It is up to us to do. Some truly don't understand. Some don't try. Most don't even BUY it, inasmuch as Asperger is not a physical-looking Syndrome, and LGBTIQ's are sometimes disregarded for another set of reasons. Stay strong, Dude. Keep doing the best you can. That's all anyone can ask or offer.

Geek-A-Nerd Products & Services

Paranoia at work & elsewhere

I know exactly what Peter is saying @ the paranoia. Something incredibly small becomes a nagging worry that causes me to lose sleep for several nights. I know immediately that a simply, probably innocent, comment or action is going to grow to this proportion, but I can't stop it. I am reading a book called, "How to Parent Your Child with Asperger's," and it is the first time I've ever read that there are "types" of Aspies, and that one of them, (as the book stated, "the most difficult to deal with"), is the Paranoid Boy, (or, I would assume, girl). Fortunately, this is not my daughter, but I now understand that it IS me. The book states that the paranoid type always requires medication. Malcolm, do you know what type of medication, & does this also apply to adults? This problem is seriously disruptive, & makes successful employment virtually impossible.

Cherokee

Don't understand.

Peter, I don't understand how you can be homosexual but be permanently single and hate intimacy? Many people don't have partners and loads of people are asexual at any given time. People at my work know I live with my parents and know I'm single and it doesn't really matter.

I have no feelings or desire for intimacy with others and never have. I might be single all my life. I'm OK with that. You might find that in some ways many people with partners secretly wish they had your freedom!

You just need to try very hard to be yourself and there is no reason to impose sexual identity on yourself at work.

Work and Identity

Your sexual identity should have nothing to do with work. If mean spirited people want to talk about you, then that is their problem and you can always document it and then take action. If anybody asks, it's okay to say that you don't like to talk about your private life. I've done this on many an occasion and people are no less friendly to me.

As for paranoia, just sit back and take a breath. People are not always out to get you. And if your boss was dissatisfied with you, I am sure that she would be more forthright about it.

Paranoia

Yes, I can relate to this too.

I'm always thinking that people at work are talking about me. Talking about the way I do things, talking bad about me, making fun of me behind my back and trying to do things behind me. This paranoia habits stem way back to my Junior High years. I won't get into details about my Junior High years since this forum focuses on work aspects.

I usually try not to think about it too much, hope they're not doing what I think they're doing to me and just not pay attention to the gossip. It's easier said than done. I then try to tell myself to worry or react when they do it in my face, then that's a different story.

I shouldn't really talk also because I sometimes talk about people behind their backs. I try not to.

I think if you are socially

I think if you are socially isolated in a workplace or educational environment, things tend to go in that direction as a matter of course, ie you feel uneasy about whether you are being talked about, and people may well be backstabbing because they see you as isolated, not part of a social group, and hence vulnerable.

Personally, I see now that meekness/lack of self esteem and ability/inclination to stand up for myself has been part of the problem - maybe for you too? Now, should I hear mutterings, I would confront it, (and document and report it) rather than slip away and try and pretend its not happening or doesn't matter. If you do that it only gets worse, people will walk all over you, try and destroy you.

Peter

north Queensland, Australia

Paranoia

Peter

Welcome to Asperger Management.

I can only really comment on the work related issue as this site is for business discussion only.

I think I have been too self-conscious at times as to how my AS could negatively impact on my work colleagues and the perception of my work.

Basically, I have tended to perhaps worry too much. I think we all have thoughts about how others perceive us, but if we automatically believe that it is negative it WILL be negative.

The example that you cite about your manager taking a photograph for commercial purposes is a perfect illustration. You assumed something incorrectly.

I find it hard at times not to do so, but I now force myself to not have presumed, negative thoughts about things. Doing so, tends to relieve my anxiety and makes the actual occurence much less likely.

I see what you are saying

I see what you are saying Malcolm and I agree, in principle. However, in a previous working environment, it transpired people around me were saying some quite awful, horrible things behind my back, and the management were complicit. In retrospect, it is a 'sick' company. One woman's whispered words to me - "Peter, people who you think are your friends are *not* your friends" (by which time it was too late),are burnt into my memory. How right she was. People can see when you are guileless and unsuspecting (classic autistic obliviousness to non-verbalised undercurrents and subtexts) and the nasty ones take advantage of that. That bad experience reinforced my cynicism and distrust of humankind in general - paranoia, in fact. I saw a psychologist a few times after I parted ways with the company in NZ, as I was in such a state. He said I was living in a state of siege, I had caged myself in. Is it any bloody surprise, I said.

In my current job, I have learnt a good way to put a stop to the stream of tendentious jibes that were coming my way from one of the co-owner/directors. The company has a very stiff anti-bullying policy and every time he made a jibe in my direction I would document it in an email to myself using my company email address, describing it as another instance of personal harassment. They have access to everyone's emails, so although my accounts were written as though they were private, I know they have read them, and it had the desired effect. Emails of course are legally discoverable and I imagine it makes them very uncomfortable knowing mine are sitting there on their server. I also wrote a formal letter of complaint to the owners about one of their favourite staff, who was harassing me, in quite scathing terms, commenting on her apparent psychological motivations, in part so they could see how I coldy dissect, analyse and articulate the behaviour of people around me, as a warning.

Peter

north Queensland, Australia

Paranoia

I have had similar issues, I developed some paranoid behaviors following a number of severely bad experiences that I had growing up. I've learned to deal with it, by changing the way I think about situations, which is often hard if not extremely difficult to do. Since I was constantly bullied and teased growing up, I learned to adapt somewhat, but lately I guess I've just either ignored it, or dealt with it legally.

Dealing with Difficult Issues

Betty

Thank you for a most useful posting and welcome to Asperger Management.

I think that you have encapsulated for me the key methods for dealing with difficulties/oppression in the workplace and, also, the mindset that a manager or employee needs to adopt when facing uncertain circumstances.

The first things to do (and my wife continually impresses this upon me!) is to not automatically assume that you are the guilty-party! I have invariably in the past done this, and yet, in the majority of cases it has turned out to be completely the opposite case.

I do, as you do, change the way I perceive the situation. That doesn't mean that I don't question myself or absolve myself automaically of any blame either; I think hard and am honest with myself as to whether I have contributed to any disagreement or discord. This, I have found, is equally important.

The other important point that you make is to resort to formal (legal) processes to address any difficulties if you have to. This is something that, perhaps, I have not done so sufficiently in the past.

Looking back - and, of course, hindsight is an easy thing - the way I should have encountered one manager who was bullying and victimising me, was by recourse to formal procedures, rather than, confronting him personally (and in an inappropriate) way.

The person concerned was the archetypal corporate politician; indeed I have taken some invaluable lessons from his approach and adopted them in my own management style going forward!

Becase he played "the game" so effectively himself, I should have used the same tactics. As I have alluded to under a new article under the Viewpoint section of Aspergermanagement.com on agreeableness, ( ) that will b distributed in my next newsletter, utilising formal procedures also reduces/removes the feeling of confrontation (and the lesser ability to deal with it) that a person with Asperger normally feels when such situations arise.

Malcolm