Innuendo as a way of masking

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Lately I have been looking at some of my behaviours and trying to understand them. In particular, how I mask (the act of changing behaviours to fit in with others, even when it comes at an emotional and physical cost). In previous posts, I have discussed how my alcoholism was a form of self-medication as well as a subconscious attempt to mask. I could blame a lot of my more idiosyncratic behaviours on being drunk, when in reality many of them were part of my undiagnosed autism. In this post, I want to take a look at how innuendo and crudeness are also a form of masking for me.

We all love a joke, don’t we? It helps to lighten the mood and makes people smile. I make a lot of jokes, often at my own expense, as a way of putting people at their ease and avoiding conflict. However, I almost always return to innuendo. On the surface, it just seems like I have a dirty mind and will manage to make almost anything someone says into a filthy comment (not entirely wrong). The reality is quite different, though.

People with autism often employ what I think of as “delaying tactics” although it is more commonly known as Echolalia. It tends to manifest as repetition, for example repeating phrases someone has just said (I do this a lot when I’m on the phone). It can be used to confirm details as well as give a person time to find an appropriate response. However, it can seem strange to people who are not familiar with autism, and can come across as ignorant (weren’t they listening when I first said it?). The way I have overcome that is by using innuendo, in casual conversation at least.

When my mind gets overwhelmed during a conversation, throwing in a dirty comment helps me a lot. It often catches people unaware and makes them pause. The conversation can come to an abrupt halt as they try to understand how the comment I just made is even relevant. It can cause confusion for the people I’m talking to. This gives me more time to breath and respond to the original comment. I will typically be the person who pulls the conversation back to its original topic after being the one who derailed it in the first place. On paper this sounds quite harsh, in practice however it helps me a lot.

Innuendo also has the advantage of being funny (unless my filter is off). The responses tend to be funny too. The light-hearted nature of a comment I make is more likely to cause laughs than hostility because I displayed confusion or appeared ignorant. I don’t have to worry about someone taking offence to me and can use the time to think and consider. (A caveat here, occasionally a comment I make can be seen as offensive or be misinterpreted. While this can cause friction, it is something I can usually manage through discussion. There is still hostility there, but it is not because of my various medical issues or the way they cause me to behave.)

The difficulty for people who do talk to me frequently is figuring out if my comments are a way of giving me a chance to breath, or just me being silly. It can be difficult for me at times too. Having subconsciously developed innuendo as a coping mechanism to disguise the fact that I need time to consider things, unlearning it and developing more appropriate responses can be very difficult.

For me, innuendo has become a core coping mechanism. It is far from ideal, and can lead to some very awkward conversations when I’m talking to customer services, but it works for the most part. My next challenge, figuring out a less filthy method of buying myself time. Different people have different approaches to help them engage in conversations, just because innuendo is one of mine doesn’t mean that all people with ASD are going to throw dirty jokes into conversation. It is also worth noting that Echolalia is something I am only just starting to understand, and the post represents my understanding of it and how it manifests in my day-to-day life. There are plenty of resources online that can provide a more accurate description of it, this post is just my way of exploring.

Published by Kle

A busy bee deep into video games and other gaming related things

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