Interruptions from an aspie




I just need to interrupt you there...

It would be useful if I could insert this phrase in at least half of my conversations, because I really do need to interrupt. I need to stop what you are doing to start a small part of the conversation that most likely has not much to do with the rest. I need to open up a gap you never knew was there and say a few words that popped into my head a nano-second before I said them.

I need to hesitate very rarely, only long enough for you to wonder what I am doing, what I am talking about. My few words, my line, my phrase, my piece of information takes precedence and it doesn't matter what your face does as I step in, it only matters that I say what has to be said.

The interruption is key because my information has a shelf-life of seconds before it is lost forever. Or not lost, but left behind to the point it may as well be lost. I know if I don't speak right now, right in the middle of your turn, that the words will evaporate, leaving only the feeling that I had something I needed to say.

Aspergers, so often the model of manners, learned and better learned as a way of managing social situations, loses all control when it comes to interruptions. I know it isn't polite to talk over people and it is very bad to actually stomp about on their conversation. I know how awful it feels to be spoken over because it has happened to me, a lot. But I also know it has to be done.

If I leave what I have to say, it never gets said. Your ability to wait your turn and still speak is lost on me. I need to tell you something and the something is transitory but very important. If I don't tell you now, I won't tell you later.

Like a child interrupting you on the phone, or tugging at your sleeve while you're trying to talk to a neighbour, I must be heard. A child learns interrupting is bad - I learned the same thing. A child usually stops interrupting, even though they also might lose their opportunity to share.

I also stopped interrupting, for a while. When I was younger and much quieter, through all the years when shyness haunted me, it also stopped me from butting in. I didn't say what I needed to, I stepped back and let others speak and I knew it was the right thing to do. I also very often felt like conversations were unfinished creations, role plays where all my lines were printed badly and I had to squint at the script to work out what I was meant to be saying.

I grew more bold, confidence wasn't always lost to the four winds and I managed more fulfilling conversations. As well as learning what people expected me to say, I was also brave enough to share what I wanted to tell them.

It follows naturally from this kind of confidence that you begin to say what you need to right when you feel it needs to be said. Why wait when you know it will be lost? Confidence leads to conversations and conversations with an aspie lead to interruptions.

I know the interruptions aren't always relevant - sorry! But they are important to me and will have some connection with you and I, even if they have no connection with the conversation you and I were just having.

The good news is that I am willing to shut up again after I've interrupted and you can carry on with what you were saying. I might actually be more interested post-interruption because I won't be waiting for my chance to interrupt you. Yes, so do continue. Where we you? Your trip to the dentist. Hmm, yes, you were having something or other done, weren't you, and you thought I might want to know about it.

Did I ever tell you about the time I found myself in a lift with a man with no teeth?

Yes, you were having a big filling? No? Root canal? Oh...

I drift off, thinking of the Suez, and we both enjoy the conversation in different ways. No more interruptions from me as I'm trying to remember which old film I watched about the Suez canal. And happiness from you because, finally, I'm paying attention to you. After all, if I'm not interrupting, I must be listening. Right?

Amanda




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