Autism: Maybe I Heard Wrong

05 Jun

I suppose part of the issue comes for the fact that I don’t hear well in groups. Not at all. I try to hear what is being said. I try to pay attention. But if there is any sound at all other than the one person talking – say, quiet music in the background, or a couple of conversations going on at the same time, or… any sound – I miss most of what is being said.

The situation happened like this: there were a group of us sitting around in a circle. The question was, “how was your week?” and it was my husbands turn to answer.

Now another issue with paying attention to what is being said is that I am not at all an auditory learner. I am not even an auditory thinker (if that is a thing.) I think in pictures. So when people talk, I spend much of my time trying to convert their words into the pictures that I can understand, and then match it up with prior experiences so that I can remember what is being said.

It doesn’t always work.

It doesn’t often work.

In this particular moment, as I was trying to convert the words of my husband, other people were adding comments as well – and suddenly one of those comments was directed at me!

I didn’t even catch all the words, only something about me not counting on the insurance… and they all laughed.

Was it a joke?

Was it something they believed, which was hidden in a joke?

Since I didn’t hear what was said, I didn’t respond, and they moved on. They did, but I couldn’t. In my head I was going over the few words I heard, mixed in with the subject my husband had been talking about (his trip to the doctor) and I was once more hurt and defensive by the words that might have only been meant as a joke.

Only I never understand these types of jokes (if that is what it was – if not, it is even worse.)

It is like when my son was a baby, and his paternal grandmother bought a t-shirt saying something like, “baby for sale.” She thought it was cute and funny, but I was absolutely horrified.

“I would never!” I thought, and kept the pain and tears hidden inside with extreme effort.

Do they think I am with him for the insurance?

Maybe they do. Not them specifically, but many people have believed many bad things about me before that weren’t true. It hurts even more that I can’t defend myself, and when I try, they become even more sure of their original belief.

I am not with him for the insurance – yet if something happened to him, I would struggle a lot in so many ways (that they would likely never understand) and would depend on it, so they would likely believe it more, and it is so not true. But I can’t explain it. I haven’t the words.

Again, this isn’t about the people I was with in that room – but about a lifetime of past experience with things others have wrongly believed about me (and caused extensive damage in believing.)

So maybe it was a joke, and maybe I did hear it wrong – but it still hurt. And those jokes? No matter how hard I try, I am incapable of understanding them.



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One response to “Autism: Maybe I Heard Wrong

  1. Grainne

    June 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

    My son experiences something similar when there are too many sounds at once. He actually uses it as intentional white noise, sometimes, to block out the rest of the world, but he has a very hard time tracking multiple sounds and picking out the right one to listen to.

    Although you struggle to make your thoughts into words in social situations (and believe me, it’s not just people on the spectrum that have difficulty with this), you express yourself very clearly here, in your written blog. Even though it may become a burden to upkeep at times, your thoughts are coming through loud and clear. Just thought you’d like to know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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