Leif: Hey, Thorn, people have communication problems for lots of reasons in this storyline. Can we break them down?
Thorn: Sounds like a great idea.
Thorn (narrating): People like my nephew Hawthorn or his aunt Lupine are non-neurotypical. They have trouble picking up on subtext and nonverbal cues.
Tansy: It’s getting late. You probably want to head out soon.
Lupine: Oh, no, I’m having fun!
Thorn (narrating): You can clear things up by being explicit and straightforward!
Larch: Actually, Lup, we have to turn in soon. I’ll help you pack, okay?
Lupine: Oh! Okay.
Thorn (narrating): People like my friend Kale are heckin’ traumatized.
Thorn (thinking): You do this one too.
Thorn (narrating): Their experiences have made them extra-sensitive to subtext, and vigilant about finding hidden meanings . . .
Larch: So, you’re Thorn’s friend, huh?
Kale: What’s with that tone of voice? Are you implying something? Is it a code? Is it presumptuous to say yes, or rude to say no? What else am I agreeing to with my answer?
Thorn (narrating): . . . even when there aren’t any.
There’s no quick way to clear this one up! They won’t believe you’re safe and trustworthy unless you demonstrate it in the long term.
You just have to keep that up, and hope eventually they realize they can let down their guard.
And people like my sister’s in-laws are just terrible.
Gloriosa: When are you coming to visit?
Larch: We’re not doing visits right now.
Gloriosa: That doesn’t apply to us.
Larch: Yes, it does!
Gloriosa: What do you want to eat during your visit?
Larch: We’re not visiting!
Oleander: Stop yelling! Are you trying to upset your mother?
Thorn (narrating): Doesn’t matter how clearly you explain something, or how consistent you are. If they don’t like it, they’ll ignore or dismiss it, until they wear you down and you give in. The only real way to avoid it is to refuse to engage.