I keep reading about the opinions of parents of autistic children and they seem to really hate their kids. They spout words like “I love my amazing kid” but then they say “Aspies are SO manipulative”.
I’m an Aspie and I don’t even know what that means. Being an Aspie means the opposite of being manipulative. In order to manipulate someone, you need to have an understanding of behaviour and having a social disorder means you don’t! Duh!
What I think is that these parents are the manipulators. They want you to think that they are great parents, devoted and martyrs, but they actually want you to feel sorry for them for having such an awful, abnormal child. I was on the receiving end of that. One of my parents learned to exaggerate and even lie about me in order to earn sympathy.
An NT friend of mine attended a support group for parents of Auties, and felt the same way. These parents were backslapping each other on being heroes with their “manipulative” children. What she told me made this support group seem like a Hate Group.
These parents are not heroes. They are manipulators and attention seekers. If they think their lives are hard, imagine being trapped inside a body and brain that make you feel like such a freak and so confused that sometimes death seems like the best option.
When a transgender person feels they are trapped in the wrong body, they are rightly given sympathy and help, and it is illegal to hurt them. Autistics are trapped wrong bodies too.
When Autistic people kill themselves, they are escaping their parents too, remember.
I’m not great at change. I don’t think many Aspies are. Plenty of non-Aspies aren’t good at change either. It occurred to me the other day that when I prepare myself for change, I can cope without getting that sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t get anxious. When I say “prepare”, I mean it might even be as simple as telling myself that while plans are in place, something might happen to change them. That way, I’m ready: a possible change is part of the plan and therefore not unexpected.
This could work with older children and teenagers. Instead of worrying about a meltdown in case a routine is thrown out of whack, tell them that their routine might get thrown out of whack on this one occasion. Explain why a change might occur, the causes and effects. Plan how your Aspie will handle the change.
An example of this is when we go out for the day, I might say to one of my kids: I’ve got this and this sorted out, I’m going to do this and this, but if THIS happens, I need you to deal with it. I’ve planned all the things I’m responsible for so this one thing will be yours.
You could tell your child: we are going here to do this, but if the car breaks down before we get there, you will read your book until it’s fixed and we’re on the way again. Your list of jobs for the trip are: sit quietly, nap, read book if we stop for any reason … etc, or whatever is right for your kid.
And then afterwards, when a change has occurred and they haven’t freaked out/panicked/had a meltdown, point it out. Congratulate them. Show them that they now know they can handle unexpected change – a step forward!
It’s been a month and I’m still at the same job. Miracle. It’s not been without its difficulties but I’m hanging in there. I have been having panic attacks since the first week but like I said in my last post, I have been determined to make it work so I have tried various ways of self-calming. I’ve been sat at my desk literally screaming on the inside, desperate to just run out and drive home, but I haven’t let myself do it. Unfortunately, emotions don’t vanish just because you want them to, just because you drive them down into yourself. I started to wake up shaking. That was a new one. One day I woke up shaking, from a nightmare about murdering a rapist by kneeling on his neck. I do not normally dream about anything negative, so this was a shock. Add that to the shaking, and I knew I was in a bad way, but I still tried to go to work. Three or four miles down the road, I realised that I was actively wishing to be in a car crash so that I wouldn’t have to go to work. This is ridiculous – my job is fine, the people are fine, the only problem is the sensory over-stimulation which I can overcome (can’t I?) by wearing ear plugs. Either way, I do not WANT to suffer from this panicky crap anymore. I found myself asking, “Is this how I’ve got to spend my life?! Dominated by irrational emotion?”. I’m so sick of it, and the morning I wanted to be in a motor traffic accident instead of go to work I knew I had to do something.
I turned the car around and went to the doctor. I lied to work and said I had car trouble (which ironically I actually did have, later in the week, hey ho), and told my doctor how frustrating it is to be ruled by irrational emotion and unnecessary panic, and how I need this job to work, and how I WANT this job to work, and that I’m too young to suffer like this all the time, and that I’m just getting myself back on my feet, and she doubled my dose of anti-depressant. She has also referred me for CBT to find ways to control the panic attacks. She didn’t think I was crazy or stupid or malingering.
Things are a bit better, now that the dose is kicking in. I’m not waking up shaking or having nightmares. I’m still internally conflicted about work but I can control it without crying all the time. I’m still socially anxious and it shows, but then I never fit in anywhere. At least my fight-or-flight instincts aren’t triggering for eight hours a day.
We shall see.
It’s so tiring and sometimes I get spectacularly fed up with it. Life is so freakin’ hard. I’ve been reading this post this evening, questioning what authenticity is. It hits the nail on the head. We live in a world in which the mantra of a million girls’ magazines and Disney is “Be Yourself!”, but My Self doesn’t fit in and people don’t like it. So what am I supposed to do? I get too tired to act “normal” some days so people think negatively about me – and rarely talk to me again. People do not like Aspies and that’s a sad fact. At least, they like the ones who try to fit in all the time, but if you are an Aspie who struggles with that and simply is not physically capable of fitting in all the time, you’re excluded and disliked. You’re weird/a loner/horrible/miserable etcetera. Put yourself on the receiving end of that and think about how it feels: the world tells you to be yourself and when you do it hates you.
… due to the new job. It’s going well so far. I haven’t go into trouble yet. Miraculous. The training was murderous. Boring as hell, most of it nonsense, in a hideously bright room, crammed full of way too many people, but I got through it somehow.
A lot of self-control. Forward planning. Regular breaks. Plenty of alone time. And sneaking into the room early and turning the lights down.
Like a ninja.
That’s what we are. Oh yeah.
Last night: two cats on me, same positions as last time, and EVERY SINGLE quilt in the house (two doubles, three singles, plus a couple of fleece blankets). Oh yeah!
Both kids are away this weekend so I have every duvet in the house on my bed. It’s fantastically awesome: all that deep pressure and weight.
Temple Grandin discusses deep pressure and its effects on Autistics here. She developed a machine to squeeze animals in the slaughterhouse in order to calm them down … and I’ve wanted to have a go ever since I found out about it.
On Monday at work, a male co-worker touched my boobs. He pretended to be straightening my name badge, but he was actually touching my boobs. I waved my arms around in horror, shouting “Get away from me! Do not do that!” etc. He tried to laugh it off, as if it was a joke or a game, and I did not know if I was overreacting. I walked away from him and found another – female – co-worker who knows me well enough to know something was very wrong. Her reaction to what I told her reassured me that what he had done was wrong.
Then I started getting angry. Asperger’s Syndrome got in the way there: it stopped me from knowing that I was right to react the way I did. I have dealt with someone like this before – my male parent – who used to do things like this, and worse, for years and years and years. He would act like I was overreacting or being silly or dirty minded when he touched me or spoke to me inappropriately. He said that he was a normal Dad, thereby insinuating that I was not normal, but obviously snogging on your daughter’s neck like she’s your girlfriend is not normal.
Asperger’s Syndrome did not protect me from predators like this. I did not know that his behaviour was abnormal or wrong so I permitted it to continue. He knew how vulnerable I was, how trusting and gullible, so he knew he could keep doing it and I wouldn’t say anything because he had implied that I was abnormal if I didn’t let him do it.
And then it happened at work the other day. I haven’t been back yet, I took the day after off, and am now unsure of how to proceed. Work will be finishing soon as it’s seasonal so I don’t know whether to speak up or not.
What really, really annoys me though came later: I spoke to another colleague about this and apparently this man does things like this all the time. All the time?! Apparently all the other girls hate his guts and avoid him because of it – but no one had told ME. They allowed me to put myself in a position to be harmed in this way. I asked why no one had told me: “We thought you were friends with him”. What that means, I don’t know – do they think he wasn’t doing it to me because we were friends, or that he was doing it and I liked it?!
Not only that, because of Asperger’s, I MISSED ALL THIS. I could not see any of their body language or facial expressions that would have told me they didn’t like him or were uncomfortable around him.
WHAT THE HELL.
How could I be SO blind to social situations that it led to me being harmed in this way again?!?!?!?!?
Why didn’t they tell me?! This means I am excluded socially from a group I thought I was part of – I thought I had actually made progress, but it seems nothing could be further from the truth.
If you have an Aspie child, TELL THEM NOW what is and isn’t appropriate, and don’t just restrict it to touching behaviours. Explain to them what overfamiliarity is. Tell them to watch not only how people interact with them, but also with others – they will not even consider doing this until you tell them to. Tell them to watch for signs that people don’t like a particular person because usually there will be a grounded reason for it. Had I known to watch the reaction of the other women on my team to this man, I would have known that there was something wrong. I would have then kept myself safe.