Trigger warning: contains heavy swearing
I’ll be sending link to this post to professor Baron-Cohen and Sarah Cassidy (whatever her title is) as a part of my challenging behaviour spree. As you know challenging behaviour is part of being autistic and who’s better to challenge than autism researchers? After all they should know how to deal with us.
In case they don’t know how to deal with this problem, I’m going to give them a hint: they can get a journalist from Spectrum News to contact my diagnostician and talk to her. She’s the only one who can solve my problems. She knows how to be kind to us.
I was in touch already a few months ago with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and I classified him as narcissist. He has his own tag on my blog so you can read there how I came up with that.
Sarah Cassidy is focusing on researching the link between autism and suicide, but you know how that sounds to me? That if I want to be kind to Ms Cassidy I should kill myself for her as that will help her to progress her career.
Therefore I’m not going to be kind, I’m going to be nasty. I do apologise.
This post is going to be about how, by using standard communication with autistics you can block their real experience, and like with almost everything, I’m going to use examples from my own life (I’m sorry, I don’t have anybody else here).
That will be about me and my dad.
As you may know, he had a mental health breakdown when I was little and he never recovered. I believe he was also autistic.
There was a lot of tension in my family because of that, although not all the time, like some could think. He beat me with a belt a few times, when I was maybe 8, but then my mum told him to stop and he mostly stopped, except of maybe very occasional push or semi hard hit to my head.
It wasn’t anything too bad, you know. I mean, not that I excuse this behaviour, but I am aware of other kids who had it worse, even though their parents didn’t have mental health drama to deal with (so possibly I am lucky in a way? I need to keep reminding myself of everything that was lucky in my life).
Of course any physical abuse towards children is bad, but, you know, I never was in bruises. So looking at it this way it wasn’t anything too excessive.
And yet, I shiver when I try to talk about my family home to various support people and they ask, in a very gentle voice whether my dad was ever physically abusive. I really don’t want to talk about it and I only recently realised this is because the question implies that if he wasn’t (and he wasn’t on vast majority of days) that means there was nothing wrong going on at all.
But the real problem for me was the tension that could be there for months at the time.
There were also better times, however. I remember, when I was 13, I actually started being a happy child. I don’t know why it was, quite possibly my dad was going through one of his depressive episodes and was quiet and withdrawn?
But the real problem was that when the tension was there, I couldn’t predict my dad’s behaviour at all. He was angry all the time and his hits, although very infrequent, were totally random, there was absolutely no pattern there at all.
I’d rather prefer if my dad was normal most of the time and very angry only occasionally, I would then know that on days like that I have to really behave myself and avoid him.
But with my dad I couldn’t predict anything, it was total randomness, and yet, the tension was there anyway.
And you know what? No one ever asked me about tension and whether that was a problem. So it feels to me like it’s me who should sort myself out, like I’m making problems out of nothing.
But I feel so unheard and unhappy. Misunderstood. Invalidated.
I don’t know how to change this, how to get people to see me, so after a while I get a brilliant idea: if everyone is so focused on physical abuse, I think, ok, I’m going to talk about but I’m aware that saying ‘it wasn’t really that bad’ will not get many people to listen so I start making stuff up.
I once told a friend that my dad wanted to kill me. I don’t know how I came up with that but I was quite young at the time.
Although maybe that’s how it felt to me when he was creating the tension? Maybe he didn’t want to kill me, he just wanted to eliminate me from his game of life. That’s how we, autistics, see social situations: a game with meeples instead of human beings; if it gets too much we just eliminate some and that solves the problem. And when we feel better, we want to bring them back. But what happens then is, real human beings, even autistic ones, get angry with us for doing that.
That’s why you really need to watch out how you talk to autistic people, and if you don’t know how to do that, not only you may not be able to give them the support they need (Ms Cassidy) but the result of your research is going to be total crap.
So no, don’t expect me to kill myself for you Ms Cassidy. There’s nothing that you did to deserve that.