Part 5 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Eye Contact

Neuro BannerThis is Part 5 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s and it is a biggie for me. As usual I will start out with a personal story and then show how that links into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my struggles with eye contact.

2016-09-24_13-59-05To most people eye contact, that is looking into the eyes of the person you are talking to, is a normal process. To me it is quite painful and it always has been.  It is as though I am looking into that person’s soul and that is just someplace I don’t want to go. Whenever I do it it is almost as if I freeze up and stop thinking.  I have never understood why I feel this way when so many others don’t.

Even in my early childhood I imagined that something was seriously wrong with me.  Why was eye contact so painful?  As I got older I managed to have “roving eye contact”. That is I would occasionally glance into someone’s eyes while mostly looking elsewhere . That worked pretty well for many but then there were those who almost glared at me when I did that. 

As I was graduating college and ready for the job interviews I knew I had to do something as people would find out I was defective during an interview if I didn’t look them in the eye. Fortunately it didn’t take too many interviews before I landed a job. I almost took the first offer officially given in order to not have to do anymore interviews.  Looking back I think the lack of eye contact was also probably one of the reasons I had few second dates.

When I became deaf at the age of forty  in some ways it was almost a God’s send. I could now just watch a persons lips and therefore didn’t have to look into their eyes.  People would understand that was what I had to do and therefore not expect eye contact. It actually made my life a little easier, at least in that issue…

Now lets see how this relates to Asperger’s:

An Aspie Point of View — Eye contact hurts.. no, not in the painful sense but it’s quite uncomfortable. I always feel that I’m revealing more than I want to with eye contact and that I’m receiving more information than I want to know.

Source: Life with Aspergers: Aspergers and Eye Contact

This was my primary “aha” moment in my discovery of Asperger’s. I found out that my pain in making eye contact was not just me but others felt it too.  It was soothing in a way to understand it might be a neurological problem shared by others.  I wasn’t totally weird after all. This revelation started my  journey where I discovered many other personal aspie characteristics.

I like being a unique person and in a way Aspergers helps me be just that. Wouldn’t it be boring if all of us were the same? I am now half way through this planned ten part journey into Aspergers but maybe it will go beyond that point and into a regular weekly post. It is that important to me and I hope you will get some additional insight into this syndrome.

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