What if your abusers are right? Disabilty and mental health and their effects on abuse

So much for our superior social skills. Mrow! Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/DinahTheAspieDinosaur

So much for our superior social skills. Mrow! Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/DinahTheAspieDinosaur

I want to tackle the popular notion that what an abuser says is always wrong. To me the world sadly is not that black and white. You see I am autistic. I AM more sensitive than other and I DO have needs that are unusual and require extra effort. It is an overdramatisation to say I’m complicated because of this as my mother likes to do because if asked I will tell you what I eat and what I don’t eat, I will work on finding a compromise to have you keep your blasted radio running and so forth. I’m well aware I’m unusual and need to find compromises. The abuse comes in if the compromise is that I have to adhere to the needs of someone(s) because they are the majority. This is where autism . It is wrong and abusive and I do not accept people like this as part of my social circles if I can help it. Trouble is I can’t always help it. We are social creatures, we are required to interact with each other and not everyone treats me decently. This is why . The likelihood of meeting someone close minded is very high. People like me are a litmus test to see how social people are. They are putting their vanities above our core needs. Often they misclassify our needs as vanities as well and thus not more important than their needs. I’d say at least every 10th person abuses me that way. I am well aware most of them are not malignant. They assume I’m neurotypical, like people generally do. It’s rather hard to blame them for not seeing something that is invisible. I think many would relent if I was able to inform them about what is going on in a mature and polite manner. But my family had that beaten out of me through psychological means. Retraining my brain to stand up for myself will take a LONG time. This is another lovely example of disability induced abuse: they claim you will fit in better that way and may genuinely think they are helping you by teaching you to deny who you are and punishing you for expression of self. For otherwise healthy people they may not encounter this kind of discrimination later in life unless they meet truly malignant people. For some like me it’s again a sizeable number of people claiming I behave asocially by for example not dressing according to current tastes. (I do not expose parts of my body that should stay private or wear symbols of extreme religious or political content or anything like that. I just don’t dress fashionable.) I have medical reports mentioning how I need my teddy during examination with a clear attempt to make this sound as if I’m nutcase as opposed to just having a severely intensified experience of pain and thus looking to feel safe. This type of abuse is probably the most horrifying. You are vulnerable and seek help and your “therapists” tell you how broken and defective you are. How you have no empathy and only dysfunctional relationships and so forth. In case of autism much of this is projection. My relationships may be unusual (I’m drawn to people several decades older than I am as friends) but that does not make them dysfunctional. I also have much more empathy than most but I am unable to read social signals thus I don’t show it appropriately. By norming us and us we face another reason to be depressed about. Or don’t you think sounds much better than ? Keep in mind this is done by professionals who “help” the mentally ill. So here we are, hard to understand, unusually needy and having unusual or even high expectation, sometimes hard to be around. Something common to many disabilities and mental health issues I’d say. And then there is the crown discipline of guilt tripping me and so many fellow people on the spectrum: we are saying hurtful things all the time. Its like blind people hitting other peoples legs with their walking stick. It happens. You can’t do much about it. Regardless how many social rules you learn (the equivalent of moving the stick slowly) you WILL get it wrong often enough. There is all this discrimination going on and at the end of the day we can not distance ourselves from all of this. This is not your narcissistic parent/partner you can just block. If you go no contact with all of your abusers you will only not starve if you find a delivery service that does not require personal interaction and a way to pay the bills with no social contact whatsoever. And even if you manage all this you are very alone. No surrogate family coming out of the woodworks to replace your abusive one. So obviously this kind of paranoia is not the solution. And as there will always be discrimination no amount of societal change will fundamentally change the problem. It hopefully shifts more and more. We now thankfully are becoming more accepting of foreigners, homosexuals, southpaws and so forth. A fight worth fighting and I’m rooting for every single cause other than accepting incest and abuse. Anyhow I’m sidetracking: even if we win all these fights one by one the war will not be won. It’s hard wired into us to be afraid of the other. So the task for the discriminated and abused is a very tall order: we need to build our confidence and self esteem in the face of ongoing abuse, we need to rise above all this and learn to be calm and assertive. This is where you have me wondering if this is possible on a large scale.

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7 thoughts on “What if your abusers are right? Disabilty and mental health and their effects on abuse

  1. I think that even by talking more, people like you are changing attitudes slowly. It can be so hard to share your experiences for fear of rejection or discrimination etc, but if we continue to be open like this then hopefullly our voices will begin to be heard and understood. I used to work with autistic children and adults, it was of course challenging at times, but I can honestly say they were some of the most interesting and beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. A lot of people have an idea in their head of what it means to be autistic and just do not get how broad the spectrum is and how completely unique every individual and their needs are. Keep opening up, and know there are people who will understand you, it’s just finding them that’s hard sometimes. I just got diagnosed with severe mental illness, I’m living in a care home now. And yet some of the things people have told me…. “You’re not sick, you just can’t deal with life”…. “You just think everything is about you”…. “Keep acting like that and you will get locked up, take responsibility for yourself”…. “Man up”…. My own dad reffered to the hospital as the “loony bin”. I could go on! It is their lack of understanding as a result of society’s stigma.

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  2. Thank you! I only share so much because the internet gives me the luxury to hide my identity. Under these circumstances it’s quite easy for me to share. Atm I have nothing to do but heal so I’m doing what I can and I hope I can help some other people by essentially posting my diary online. So far I have no been rejected or discriminated. Not even criticised. (Unless you count two people who did not get past reading the title of the blog.)

    Yes the stigma of mental health runs rampant. Funny how people blame and shame everyone taking responsibility for oneself by getting help and still manage to make it sound as if you’re the one who is wrong about everything. You might enjoy my blog about why I think that is

    https://rootlessintrospection.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/the-last-taboo-mental-disorders

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  3. You might like this: https://planetautismblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/the-square-peg-into-a-round-hole-mentality-and-its-value-to-autistics/

    I don’t think your title fits with what you are saying. You are asking if the abusers are right – of course they aren’t! But in your post body you explain what they do that is wrong. Being in the minority, doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to have reasonable adjustments and accommodations. It shouldn’t be about us having to accommodate them, we are the ones with the disability. That isn’t saying we have to behave anti-socially either of course. But many of the things that distress us or cause high anxiety are already annoyances to others, it just doesn’t cause them the same level of emotion or difficulty.

    We may be a minority, but our numbers are growing. Something’s gotta give sometime.

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    • forgive me for getting back to you so late. life got in the way unfortunately. I have read your blog post as well as another one

      https://planetautismblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/the-aspie-adult-an-uncomfortable-reminder/

      including sonnolentas reblog with comment. I think I did not word my post here well and will edit it to reflect what is on my mind more clearly. For now I will try to in this comment.

      What if your abuser said to you the world is full of people who will force you inside their petty boxes regardless of how much damage it does to you? Will they be wrong? What autistic people face is a discrimination that I feel is closely related to racism. In a way you are inherently not good enough to fit into their world. The distinction between normal abuse is that in this case the abusers world is very similar to the one most people share. When they say no one is going to accommodate you, you are not good enough, you are to sensitive and too complicated they are not wrong on principle. This IS the world we live in. Just like sonnolenta said, they set back the progress we make. Getting away from my primary abusers (i.e. my parents) was not the way to get away from this abuse. Because this happens everywhere.

      I also don’t quite buy that our numbers are growing. But that’s a long story. I think i should wirte a blog post about it. Let’s just say I think autism has been around for a LONG time. In fact I think autism is older than our species is. I can’t see why other social animals can’t have this spectrum to. IF our numbers are indeed actually rising I do not think we will become anything even remotely close to a majority.

      ATM it’s what? 1 in 60? That makes 59 neurotypical people still for every one on the spectrum. Majorities are famously reluctant to let go of their privilege. I think they will have to because the louder minorities get the harder it gets to ignore conscience. It was the same for enslaved people hailing from africa and left handed people, it happens for homosexuals and I do hope it will happen for us soon. I like to think I see the start of it happening already. But for now abusers are right when they say no one is going to understand us.

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  4. …but it’s not necessarily abuse when someone says something like that. Like you say, if they are telling the truth, it’s just a fact. We can be the most factual people in what we say, so we can’t criticise others for doing the same. It becomes emotional abuse when they deliberately say it to upset and belittle you. Do you see anyone that states the truth of the ignorance out there as an abuser? Or does it happen to be abuse to you because it was used in a deliberate way or by those who otherwise abused you?

    I agree that autism has been around a long time. But that doesn’t mean incidence is not rising. The statistics depend on where you live. In the USA it’s been quoted as high as 1 in 50. In the UK, they reckon 1 in 100 (but the NHS is crap and fails to diagnose lots of people so the statistics are wrong for sure). There are also different types of autism, some syndromic and some non-syndromic. Some triggered by environmental causes, some genetic, or at least epigenetic. The rates according to the statistics have certainly gone up in the USA. To a degree, the statistics will be affected by more accurate diagnosis and of course at one time it was only severe autism that got diagnosed. But that’s not the whole picture. Some schools of thought believe autism is evolution in progress. If that is correct, the rates will certainly be going up.

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    • the rates of diagnosed autism may have a lot more to do with who gets money for what and hwy rather than anything remotely dealing with the actual spectrum. which is why I’m unconcerned about anything to do with it. autism has been around for a long time and I do not care about the relative numbers of varying neurologies any more than i care about the relative occurence of various sexual preferences because neither are a disease. I don’t get this whining focus on the incidence is rising.

      there is a difference in stating the blatant truth. one of it can be abuse in the right context. overdramatised example (parts of which taken from real life): someone asks me what I think about their new shoes. I do not give a fig about shoes and the entire notion that liking or disliking shoes says anything about liking or disliking character is downright idiotic to me. For the sake of this argument it is deeply ingrained into this person that their value as a person depends on other people liking their appearance.
      Now if I make myself noticing the shoes and think long and hard about what I might be think about this particular pair I might not like it. If I run around like bulldozer now and do not take into account the other persons view of the world and what they are actually asking (am I as a human being acceptable, do I have a right to exist) then yes this blatant statement of these shoes are boring/unfashionable/accent an unfavourable characteristic/whatever can discredit this persons very view of self and knowing where these people come from this is abusive. I do not need to want to hurt my fellow humans. Its already abusive if I do not care about whether or not they are hurt.
      In my real life example I told this particular person that I thought these shoes are very suitable to a person working in the profession this person was working in. That is still the truth but it can be viewed as affirmative. I omitted what I thought about the profession the person was working in. I had no interest in judging that persons very value as someone existing at all and I could see that this meant a lot to them.

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