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Ganondox
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18 Jan 2012, 11:18 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
I believe a lot more autistic people would be independent if a lot more autistic people HAD to be independent. I've learned a lot of stuff really quickly that for whatever reason I did not learn at that appropriate age once I was forced to actually do it.


I've been there, I've done that, and this wasn't true for me. Don't assume that particular things are true for everyone. When I was forced to actually do these things required for independence, they fell apart either because I was too disorganized to maintain them, because I didn't know how to do them in the first place and had trouble learning, or both.

Sometimes, I learned things. Sometimes I got stuck. I have over 20 years of adult life of trying and failing to live independently to look back on, and I have no hesitation in saying that you're wrong. You can call this learned helplessness or whatever if it makes you feel better, but I didn't believe I was helpless. I thought I could manage it, and tried hard enough to burn out. Speak for yourself by all means, but don't make sweeping claims about what it must be like for everyone.


I made no sweeping claims, so don't say I'm wrong on those grounds. I didn't say all would become independent or even most, I just said I believe there would be more would, and spoke for myself. 100001 is still more than 100000. The problem, of course, is we don't know who sinks and who swims until we throw them in the matter, and dependence is better than dying.


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19 Jan 2012, 4:39 am

draelynn wrote:
The first official generation of Aspies seem to have gotten the short end of the stick. they were raised to believe they were disabled - unable to do these things. You raise a child with that expectation you will have an adult that will always believe it. That doesn't mean ignore a kids challenges - it means work hard to work with their challenges and mentor them to the best use of their strengths rather than coddling their difficulties and making those all that they are.


I'm not sure I buy this explanation as being indicative of anything. I've seen successful autistic people who post here who were diagnosed as children, as adults, or never officially diagnosed at all. I've seen autistic people who have had a lot more trouble making progress and functioning as adults are expected to function who were diagnosed as children, as adults, or not at all. It may be that this kind of thing is a factor for some, but I would hesitate to label it as a primary cause. Autistic people, whatever label we've been diagnosed with, have a wide range of skills and abilities, and often these skills and abilities are simply not conducive to adult functioning, especially without assistance. Some function a lot better, or have more assistance. Finding one singular cause and blaming it strikes me as misleading.

I won't argue that children should be strictly taught what they can't and allegedly can never do instead of helping them work with their limitations and emphasize and exploit their strengths, but I don't think this is the problem. I mean, I ended up in the "not able to function as an adult" category and I had my mother fighting against the idea that I had a real disability ever since I was a child.



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19 Jan 2012, 4:45 am

I started getting put in special classes and schools from sixth grade until I was 16 and quit school but I was never actually diagnosed with anything as far as I know. I'm still not diagnosed with anything now.



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19 Jan 2012, 5:05 am

Ganondox wrote:
I made no sweeping claims, so don't say I'm wrong on those grounds. I didn't say all would become independent or even most, I just said I believe there would be more would, and spoke for myself. 100001 is still more than 100000. The problem, of course, is we don't know who sinks and who swims until we throw them in the matter, and dependence is better than dying.


My point is that you're on a forum with a lot of people who managed to sink, and a very few who managed to swim, who had to sink or swim, and some of whom have already had a lifetime of hearing how if only one tries harder or applies themself that they'd be able to do all of those things that are so difficult.

Like with Draelynn's post, there seems to be this idea that autistic children are sheltered and coddled from ever having to try hard enough to achieve anything, but I don't think that's true for very many, and I don't even think that diagnosis leads to a sheltered upbringing. The kind of sheltering I've read about from parents who limit their children actually sounds oppressive - like autistic people have to be controlled and managed.

You also have very likely not had to deal with all of the demands that adults typically have to deal with.



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19 Jan 2012, 1:07 pm

It occurs to me some of you have the wrong idea about learned helplessness, its not about being sheltered from difficult situations as a child. Learned helplessness is when an animal or person is subject to negative/unpleasant stimuli they cannot escape. So as a result they would give up on trying to escape the situation or improve it.........and then that mentality sticks with them even if there are ways out of a situation someone with learned helplessness probably wont perceive those ways out or have the motivation to act on that information if they do perceive it.

So abuse or a negative family situation is more likely to cause learned helplessness then sheltering a child from negative/unpleasant stimuli.



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19 Jan 2012, 2:31 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
It occurs to me some of you have the wrong idea about learned helplessness, its not about being sheltered from difficult situations as a child. Learned helplessness is when an animal or person is subject to negative/unpleasant stimuli they cannot escape. So as a result they would give up on trying to escape the situation or improve it.........and then that mentality sticks with them even if there are ways out of a situation someone with learned helplessness probably wont perceive those ways out or have the motivation to act on that information if they do perceive it.

So abuse or a negative family situation is more likely to cause learned helplessness then sheltering a child from negative/unpleasant stimuli.


I think you hit the nail on the head, Sweetleaf. I grew up this this kind of environment. I was constantly reminded that I was a failure at everything ("can't do anything right, useless, waste of space, an embarrassment, a human abomination, etc). I actually got to the point somewhere around 9 or 10 years old, where I would just apologize for being born whenever they started throwing verbal or physical lashings my way. I didn't choose my parents, they chose me. Reminded me also that since "they paid a boatload of money for me," I was obligated to do their bidding. I was less a child, & more a slave than human. Both my parents pretty much hated me across the board & there was no one else who ever said nice or good things about me around me (within hearing distance even when I got older). Everywhere I went, I was little more than an intruder who annoyed people...no loved ones, no friends, no support, nothing. All I had was me, & by the time I hit 10 years of age, I was a consistent self-loather. It can be difficult when raised like this to learn anything positive at all. Mom always reminded me that I really couldn't do anything right, & that was a huge damper to my self-esteem. It often crushed my spirit just being around her. I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I'm not sure what she gained by whittling away at my self-esteem. I guess it was to make her feel better about herself? Not sure. I did learn to be self-reliant & independent in other ways though. I learned if I wanted to eat I had to make food myself (often enraging my mom in the process-the kitchen was her turf only). I turned out to be a pretty decent cook anyway. I also learned that if I wanted to survive, I'd have to stand up for myself, because no one else would.

But I never tried to escape from my parents or the other abuse I endured. I put up with it on a regular basis. Even after my parents both threatened my life (one verbally in front of witnesses, one with a crazed enraged expression & a knife poised overhead). I still stuck it out. Why? I was reminded there were way worse people out there, & no one liked me anyway. Since no one wanted a "pain in the a$$, piece of crap," where would I go to get away? One of my mom's sisters was a foster mom, & I knew I didn't want to end up in a house like that. She was even worse than mom, & that scared me. All kinds of people reminded me I was a reject, so that lovely tidbit of information became ingrained enough to keep me stuck. Unfortunately, I stayed well into my 20s where the abuse continued. It even continued long after I moved out. It's what I knew & also what I expected to receive. No matter where I went, abuse followed. I have only gotten passed the obligation part with my parents once I hit my 40s. I guess that makes me free now? But all the years of being told I was just a piece of crap that no one wanted (birthmother included), I learned that it was useless to change my situation. Had I known at the time about the qualities of narcissicsm (mother), & Aspergers (father +me), perhaps I could have made better informed choices instead of just doing what I was told.

I hate abuse, but it follows me like a shadow. I've experienced it all my life, mostly in the form of bullying, physical & verbal. I got it from my parents, their family members, peers, teachers, other authority figures, other adults, co-workers, & bosses. I am a bully magnet, & try as hard as I can, I cannot seem to get away from it. If I take it, the bullying continues. If I fight against it, I am an even worse person. SO how do you get out of a mess when you're criticized & damned if you do, & are damned if you don't? So some things I have learned to be productive, & others completely independent. I'm having trouble finding a new job, & it brings out the worst of my insecurities...back to feeling like a useless POS who should have been aborted. Sucks!


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19 Jan 2012, 2:45 pm

tomboy4good wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
It occurs to me some of you have the wrong idea about learned helplessness, its not about being sheltered from difficult situations as a child. Learned helplessness is when an animal or person is subject to negative/unpleasant stimuli they cannot escape. So as a result they would give up on trying to escape the situation or improve it.........and then that mentality sticks with them even if there are ways out of a situation someone with learned helplessness probably wont perceive those ways out or have the motivation to act on that information if they do perceive it.

So abuse or a negative family situation is more likely to cause learned helplessness then sheltering a child from negative/unpleasant stimuli.


I think you hit the nail on the head, Sweetleaf. I grew up this this kind of environment. I was constantly reminded that I was a failure at everything ("can't do anything right, useless, waste of space, an embarrassment, a human abomination, etc). I actually got to the point somewhere around 9 or 10 years old, where I would just apologize for being born whenever they started throwing verbal or physical lashings my way. I didn't choose my parents, they chose me. Reminded me also that since "they paid a boatload of money for me," I was obligated to do their bidding. I was less a child, & more a slave than human. Both my parents pretty much hated me across the board & there was no one else who ever said nice or good things about me around me (within hearing distance even when I got older). Everywhere I went, I was little more than an intruder who annoyed people...no loved ones, no friends, no support, nothing. All I had was me, & by the time I hit 10 years of age, I was a consistent self-loather. It can be difficult when raised like this to learn anything positive at all. Mom always reminded me that I really couldn't do anything right, & that was a huge damper to my self-esteem. It often crushed my spirit just being around her. I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I'm not sure what she gained by whittling away at my self-esteem. I guess it was to make her feel better about herself? Not sure. I did learn to be self-reliant & independent in other ways though. I learned if I wanted to eat I had to make food myself (often enraging my mom in the process-the kitchen was her turf only). I turned out to be a pretty decent cook anyway. I also learned that if I wanted to survive, I'd have to stand up for myself, because no one else would.

But I never tried to escape from my parents or the other abuse I endured. I put up with it on a regular basis. Even after my parents both threatened my life (one verbally in front of witnesses, one with a crazed enraged expression & a knife poised overhead). I still stuck it out. Why? I was reminded there were way worse people out there, & no one liked me anyway. Since no one wanted a "pain in the a$$, piece of crap," where would I go to get away? One of my mom's sisters was a foster mom, & I knew I didn't want to end up in a house like that. She was even worse than mom, & that scared me. All kinds of people reminded me I was a reject, so that lovely tidbit of information became ingrained enough to keep me stuck. Unfortunately, I stayed well into my 20s where the abuse continued. It even continued long after I moved out. It's what I knew & also what I expected to receive. No matter where I went, abuse followed. I have only gotten passed the obligation part with my parents once I hit my 40s. I guess that makes me free now? But all the years of being told I was just a piece of crap that no one wanted (birthmother included), I learned that it was useless to change my situation. Had I known at the time about the qualities of narcissicsm (mother), & Aspergers (father +me), perhaps I could have made better informed choices instead of just doing what I was told.

I hate abuse, but it follows me like a shadow. I've experienced it all my life, mostly in the form of bullying, physical & verbal. I got it from my parents, their family members, peers, teachers, other authority figures, other adults, co-workers, & bosses. I am a bully magnet, & try as hard as I can, I cannot seem to get away from it. So some things I have learned to be productive, & others completely independent. I'm having trouble finding a new job, & it brings out the worst of my insecurities...back to feeling like a useless POS who should have been aborted. Sucks!



Yeah I can kinda relate to that, though my parents where not quite that bad........most of the issues with them had to do with them not getting along with each other. It was normal for me to hear them yelling at each other as I went to sleep most nights there was no escape I could not very well go somewhere else as a child. Also I would question some of my moms methods as a child because looking back a lot of it was borderline verbal abuse as for my dad he said a couple things a few times but with him its more like he'd get really frustrated and overwhelmed with everything and snap at people with my mom it seemed more about trying to control us. Then there was school I was the target the bullies went after teachers and students and again I could not very well walk away from the school as a kid so yes after a while of dealing with all this crap but unable to leave the situation or improve it left me with learned helplessness. I sometimes wish it was easy just to turn off that mental process so I might be better at helping myself.......but its hardly that simple I mean it took years and years for me to get to this point so it would probably take the same to try and improve any.

I know what you mean by feeling like a bully magnet........hell give me a society or internet website with a good reputation for not having bullying and I guarantee the bullies will show themselves. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if I'm just such a horrid person I just bring that side out of even the most considerate, caring of people.



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19 Jan 2012, 3:33 pm

I really think the only reason the bad stuff I endured pushed me towards anything good was because I had so much good to go along with it, so that there were at least some challenges I was able to rise to when I felt compelled. That's what I was trying to convey, not that abuse is a good thing. It still didn't give me capabilities that i simply lacked. I hope I didn't make the wrong impression.

My grandfather was a Marine. My grandmother trained as a nurse during the same era (Second World War, when the training was still much more militaristic, due to it's origins and history). Certain types of thinking and attitude come from those sorts of things. There were also some mental health issues in the family (continuing on down to my mother's struggle with anger), and my grandfather grew up in a large family without much money. Those factors were also significant. On the other hand, my grandparents had very progressive ideas about a lot of things, and my grandfather made his living by his pottery. So, artistic pursuits are valued in my family, and work in the arts is considered a real job. There's also been a lot of genuine love. So, that's the combination I grew up with, because it was my mother's family that I was around the most. The other factor, though, was that my father, who's probably an Aspie himself, had this very picky attitude about how all sorts of things had to be done, so even my mother felt belittled. He also was so stuck on his routines, and so resentful of any disruption, that it was often hard to get a chance to do extra activities that might've been good for us.

My parents told us we were smart, but they also said learning and doing our best were more important than grades. So, while getting poor grades was not a cause for celebration, it wasn't the end of the world. When my older sister discovered she was dyslexic, she got a lot of understanding, but it was not a complete 180 degree turn from how she's been treated before. On the other hand, I always seemed weird, so I got a lot of fallout for that. My parents never said I couldn't be myself. But it was made clear to me by my mother that, if you were going to be different, you had no control over how other's reacted. So, you could either toughen up or conform, but complaining about it was unacceptable. Trouble was, I couldn't conform and couldn't take the bullying. I also couldn't manage any better in school, despite my teachers' badgering about how they thought I was so smart and couldn't understand why I didn't do better. I even got embarrassed publicly for it, but that never did any good.

When people see how well I seem to manage the things I can do now, they may also wonder why I don't do more or better. They either figure it's all easy for me or they think that, if I could come this far, I should be able to take on all the other challenges and win, too. They either don't know that I've worked really hard, or they think that I used to but that I've quit trying, simply because they don't see the struggle itself. And I'm another one who wants to be at peace with myself, the way someone who can't walk could be at peace about it, but who gets criticized for being complacent if I show signs of inner peace and happiness. So, what am I supposed to do? Be miserable all the time in order to prove how incapable I am? Then I'd just be criticized for that!

I am the way I am, and no amount of harping on me about it will make me be some other way. I try hard. I often enough do things I don't like, just so I can get a good result. But I can only do so much. If the average person isn't expected to be able to do everything or be perfect, why are my limitations supposed to go unacknowledged? Why should I have to feel guilty for not being some Aspie equivalent of the NT "superhuman"?

The good news is that there's at least a divide now between people who actually know me and the professionals who don't, instead of everybody lacking understanding and being on my back. Now, if I can just get the professionals and officials to understand, I won't have to worry about having my benefits yanked without having the ability to go back into the workforce. That's my current challenge, and it's taking up almost everything I have to give right now just to try to get properly diagnosed. I haven't quit yet...


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19 Jan 2012, 3:53 pm

Three more things:

1) I think it's very common for people who take a lot of bullying over the years, from all sorts of sources, to think they must be causing it (even in otherwise nice people). That's one of the things bullies try to get you to think, and it's something I've struggled with thinking about myself.

2) I think sometimes asking for help with something when the other person doesn't understand why you need it can be perceived as learned helplessness, even when it isn't.

3) Here are a couple of things I thought might be useful to read in the context of this discussion:

Power Over Children

Wanted


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19 Jan 2012, 5:54 pm

MindWithoutWalls wrote:
Hanyo posted a link in another thread to an artlicle on "learned helplessness", and some things I read there got me thinking:

Quote:
A similar experiment was done with people who performed mental tasks in the presence of distracting noise. People who could use a switch to turn off the noise had improved performance, even though they rarely bothered to do so. Simply being aware of this option was enough to substantially counteract its distracting effect.


Quote:
People with pessimistic explanatory style—which sees negative events as permanent ("it will never change"), personal ("it's my fault"), and pervasive ("I can't do anything correctly")—are most likely to suffer from learned helplessness and depression.


Quote:
Apart from the shared depression symptoms between human and other animals such as passivity, introjected hostility, weight loss, appetite loss, social and sexual deficits, some of the diagnostic symptoms of learned helplessness—including depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal ideation—can be found and observed in human beings but not necessarily in animals.


Quote:
Whatever their origins, people who suffer uncontrollable events reliably see disruption of emotions, aggressions, physiology, and problem-solving tasks.[14][15] These helpless experiences can associate with passivity, uncontrollability and poor cognition in people, ultimately threatening their physical and mental well-being.


It seems to me that learned helplessness is a psychological injury, along the lines of PTSD.

Also, given the way Aspies are treated by others, diagnosed or not (but with less to help them counter people's opinions if they're undiagnosed, especially if they don't even suspect they have it), it shouldn't surprise anyone at all to see this effect so widespread in the population. Generally speaking, it seems to me, Aspies are trained lifelong to think of themselves and their troubles in terms of "it will never change", "it's my fault", and "I can't do anything correctly", while at the same time being pressured to change to suit others. (There's that weird contradiction I'm sure we're all familiar with.)

So, in addition to the neurological difference we start with, there's this further experiential complication to exacerbate the situation. And yet, even learned helplessness is blamed, by the average person, on the individual who has it, because it's supposed to be that person's own fault for having a "bad attitude". Furthermore, anyone who thinks you might have learned helplessness might then decide it's your whole problem, thereby dismissing your claim of having Asperger's (or at least not seeing anything that might clue you in enough to get you looking for other answers to help explain yourself, if you've never considered the idea of Asperger's to begin with). I know that's due to ignorance, and people who don't know any better can't do any better. It just doesn't help.

This stuff also got me thinking about the need to control our environment. Sounds like a better and more useful idea to me now than ever before, as long as it's within reason regarding the way it affects others. Routines and stims, for example, can be better understood with this information at hand.

Yes, I realize I'm just repeating thoughts already expressed by others about these things at various times, but I thought bringing it all together into a thread might be useful. Anybody want to comment?


I agree, especially with the last paragraph(which I'm too lazy to quote).

I have to say, though, I've always had somewhat of an "on/off" switch and have never had emotions that seemed to run as deep as most people's (at least not for a substantial period of time. I do feel some things as deeply as others do but it passes really quickly), but in the past, I did have more of a defeatist attitude.

It was partially because I thought I had some kind of unknown defect that could never be explained (before I knew anything about ASD) and also because I had always been treated like I had a ton of problems, even though I was a model student early on and was recommended to go to a private school. I had a lot of social and behavioral issues, never got not that private school for financial reasons and basically gave up on accomplishing anything by middle school.

BUT, I was more of a slacker than someone who really felt depression. When I found out about ASD a few years ago I was like OH WOW YEAH THIS EXPLAIN A LOT, THANKS.

And still, it doesn't explain everything, I'm not a match in a lot of ways but it does explain the unknown defect that I thought I had.

So now that I have this knowledge and more confidence that I'm not just insane, I feel much more...I guess justified in making plans for myself, and especially controlling my environment, like you said. I deal with who I want, when I want, and now do I whatever i need to do to make sure that I'm successful. I know that's not possible for everyone and that it won't always be possible for me (we have to deal with some people we don't like) but I caught out all the people who I didn't relate to and stopped trying to be something I wasn't.

Also, like you said, I think people in the spectrum do need to put in extra effort to control their environment and keep a positive attitude because it REALLY did affect my mental well-being and as much as i hate to admit it, I can ,lose touch with reality quite easily.



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19 Jan 2012, 6:02 pm

SammichEater wrote:
I'm just saying, my overinflated ego and sense of self-worth seem to help me out far more than I realize.

Damn, I'm awesome. :wink:


LMAO i am in the same boat.

And I'm not blind to my shortcomings but somehow I just can't seem to focus on them.

I know I should care more but I just don't.



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19 Jan 2012, 6:09 pm

EXPECIALLY wrote:
SammichEater wrote:
I'm just saying, my overinflated ego and sense of self-worth seem to help me out far more than I realize.

Damn, I'm awesome. :wink:


LMAO i am in the same boat.

And I'm not blind to my shortcomings but somehow I just can't seem to focus on them.

I know I should care more but I just don't.


No you should not care more...trust me focusing on your shortcomings will just make you feel bad which can negatively effect your entire mental state.



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19 Jan 2012, 6:15 pm

OliveOilMom wrote:
Two things helped me learn that I could actually do the same things as others do. Desire and determination.

I was horribly overprotected growing up. I was taught that I was fragile, incompetent, and couldn't do anything at all. I was expected to fulfill this role all my life. My mother benefited from it by getting sympathy from others for having such a "sickly child" and she got to feel good about her "self sacrifice" and being a martyr.

I didn't want to be this helpless sickly child anymore, so my rebellion consisted of proving her wrong. Which I did.

Now, oddly enough, for a "sickly child" who was incompetent and couldn't do anything, my mother sure gave me a hell of a lot of responsibility when I was 11 years old. My grandmother was dying of cancer, and she was home. She was on lots of heavy duty meds, and needed to be fed, bathed, put on the toilet, etc. My mother worked. That became my job. I wasn't allowed to use the stove because it was a gas stove and I might "blow us all to kingdom come" if I tried to light it, but my mother damn sure taught me how to give my grandmother her pain shots! Near the end of my grandmothers life she also left me at home alone for two months with a falling down drunk grandfather. I didn't know how to cook my own meals or wash my own clothes or even bathe myself, but I learned. I got yelled at for taking a bath. Alone. At 11 years old. Forget that!

From that point on, my life became about proving her wrong, and never being helpless again.

Someone else pointed out that they might be afraid to do things, or not want to do them, or not be willing to try them, or not enjoy doing them. Well, that's life. I was afraid of a whole lot that I've had to do. I didn't want to do them, didn't like to do them, etc. I've worked before, for years before I got pregnant with my first child. I didn't want to, I didn't enjoy it, and at times I hated it. But I had to do it if I wanted money. Just because we have AS doesn't give any of us a free pass to get out of responsibility because we don't want to do it, are afraid of it, don't like it, would rather be doing something else, etc. If we truly cannot do it, then yes, we get a pass. But not wanting to, or fear, or disliking it, are not reasons for any of us to opt out of life.


THIS IS MY STORY. As far as your mother goes.

I was treated that way and still am, even though I had of lot of abilities that teachers picked up on early on. She didn't want to hear about these things and still isn't happy when things are going good for me.

And I never necessarily believed it, I've always known that I could do SOMETHING if I wanted to, but until a few years ago, I was kind of hanging on to this mentality because I was in the closet and didn't ever plan on coming out. So, I had basically given up on life even though I knew I had potential, and I was hanging on to this as a way to make me feel justified for it.

And I'm actually still in the closet but am in getting my degree and plan on moving and being out in a few years.

BUT, I feel like a different person. I don't listen to anything my mom says and now I understand that I am free to do whatever I want and that I don't have to explain myself to anyone.



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19 Jan 2012, 7:21 pm

MindWithoutWalls wrote:
2) I think sometimes asking for help with something when the other person doesn't understand why you need it can be perceived as learned helplessness, even when it isn't.


^This. Or else it gets perceived as laziness.



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Location: USA

19 Jan 2012, 9:43 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
I made no sweeping claims, so don't say I'm wrong on those grounds. I didn't say all would become independent or even most, I just said I believe there would be more would, and spoke for myself. 100001 is still more than 100000. The problem, of course, is we don't know who sinks and who swims until we throw them in the matter, and dependence is better than dying.


My point is that you're on a forum with a lot of people who managed to sink, and a very few who managed to swim, who had to sink or swim, and some of whom have already had a lifetime of hearing how if only one tries harder or applies themself that they'd be able to do all of those things that are so difficult.

Like with Draelynn's post, there seems to be this idea that autistic children are sheltered and coddled from ever having to try hard enough to achieve anything, but I don't think that's true for very many, and I don't even think that diagnosis leads to a sheltered upbringing. The kind of sheltering I've read about from parents who limit their children actually sounds oppressive - like autistic people have to be controlled and managed.

You also have very likely not had to deal with all of the demands that adults typically have to deal with.



Ok, you got me, I'm 15 years old and have no idea what I'm talking about.


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