Regarded as Having a Fairly Normal Childhood?

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Filipendula
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14 Nov 2012, 12:02 pm

Did any of you have a relatively “issue free" childhood in the eyes of your families or carers?

By which I mean:
- you were not diagnosed with an ASD or any other disorder (psychiatric, neurological etc)
- Your parents were not particularly concerned about your behaviour or development
- You were regarded, for all intents and purposes, as a normal child albeit with the odd quirk or difficulty and not as having anything that needed diagnosing or ‘addressing’

I’m not suggesting that you didn't have problems, but that either your problems were considered mild or acceptable childhood obstacles. Or that they were internal to you and your family weren't really aware of your personal struggles in life.


As an example, I am the only child of an only child, so my parents weren't necessarily so aware of how children should develop. I was good at school and I did have the odd friend so I don’t think they saw any reason to worry about me. I was shy however and a lot more insecure than I ever let on. I also had some strange idea (I don’t know why) that emotional problems were the province of adults and that children aren't “allowed” to feel dysfunctional or depressed (although sad is acceptable). I felt that my parents had provided all the resources I needed to thrive and so I ought to be perfect and mustn't fail them. Consequently I did my best to live up to their expectations and avoid showing weakness. I was incredibly strong and independent on the outside (still am) and suffered from hopelessly low self esteem on the inside (still do and it's got worse). I don't really know how many BAP traits I displayed as a child, but my father is definitely BAP too so he wouldn't have thought it odd anyway.


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windtreeman
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14 Nov 2012, 12:18 pm

I can absolutely relate to everything you said. Almost every issue I had in my childhood was either completely internalized or only remarked upon by other children and though it was a somewhat traumatic period for me, my parents would tell anyone who asked, that I was a great kid; perfect grades, never in trouble at school, etc. I too functioned almost entirely to please both my parents and teachers and therefore, neither group had any real insight into my internal struggles until, years later, when the facade basically shattered and I dropped out of college to everyone's immense dismay. I think having what appears to be a more ordinary childhood could make diagnosis slightly more difficult since the questionnaire my Mom took for my assessment asked quite a few questions regarding being in trouble at school, fighting with other students and needing to be regularly reprimanded by teachers...none of which applied to me. I guess I'll know in a month, anyway.


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14 Nov 2012, 1:04 pm

Yes, I was regarded at a completely "normal" child that stayed in constant trouble at home. I functioned very well in school, and I made very good grades; however, at home, I was a nightmare. I had frequent "tantrums," and I remember being told to "act my age," quite a bit. My parents have told several stories about my "odd" behavior.

For instance, I chewed all the varnish off the coffee table legs as a toddler, and I continued to chew on almost everything as I got older (my husband has his own stash of pens); I would bend over put my forehead on the carpet and run around the living room until I had carpet burn on my forehead as a toddler. I walked on my toes. They've mentioned several times that I had an odd manner of speaking; particularly, that I sounded like an adult from the moment I started speaking. I had all sorts of "odd" behaviors as a child, but they were never even concerned enough to ask my pediatrician about it.

As I got older when I would get into trouble, I would try to physically combat my mother. I remember one particular incident when I was about 8 or 9 we got in a fight in my great aunt's front yard; I don't even remember why I was in trouble. I just remember being angry and her spanking me, and I felt a need to strike her back. I never had any interest in socializing outside of school, and my mother would try to make me. She would get angry when I refused; at one point in time, she told me that if I would stop being so "antisocial" I could have more friends. (Gee, great advice.) I could on for days with this list; it is quite ridiculous.

However, I was a "model" student at school. I was bright, and I did all of my work quietly. In fact, I barely interacted with anyone other than the teachers. This seemed to convince my parents that I was completely normal, and all of my problems at home stemmed from having a "bad attitude."
If anyone asked my parents about me, they would say that I was an excellent child, and I was very well-behaved. I'm not sure why they felt the need to lie, but they did.

I was the first born child to teen parents, so I imagine this could have something to do with their complete obliviousness.



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14 Nov 2012, 1:15 pm

I can also relate to how you described your childhood. My mother seems to think I was a fairly normal child, but I remember my childhood very differently. Part of it has to do with her perpetually rose-colored glasses, and part of it, I think, is that she doesn't want to admit there was anything wrong with me, because that might reflect poorly on her as a parent. That's nonsense, of course, but I've come to know my mother's motivations, and she wants to be considered the ultimate mother.

I usually internalize my feelings and struggles, and have since an early age, with the result that I appear okay, despite inward struggles. I've come to realize now, in my thirties, that I'm a pretty good (subconscious) faker....and I feel (unreasonably) guilty about it.



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14 Nov 2012, 1:30 pm

windtreeman wrote:
I too functioned almost entirely to please both my parents and teachers and therefore, neither group had any real insight into my internal struggles until, years later, when the facade basically shattered and I dropped out of college to everyone's immense dismay.

Oh, I can certainly relate. I internalized all my struggles until the facade shattered twice: once in grade 7 when I started self-injuring to deal with my overwhelming pain and suicidal thoughts despite being an excellent, well behaved student and again late in University when I had a nervous breakdown and almost dropped out despite being a "model" student. I did finish but wow was it a monumental struggle to say the least! My parents (and no one in the world) has any idea of how bad the bullying REALLY was!

gretchyn wrote:
I can also relate to how you described your childhood. My mother seems to think I was a fairly normal child, but I remember my childhood very differently. Part of it has to do with her perpetually rose-colored glasses, and part of it, I think, is that she doesn't want to admit there was anything wrong with me, because that might reflect poorly on her as a parent. That's nonsense, of course, but I've come to know my mother's motivations, and she wants to be considered the ultimate mother.

After I admitted I was getting an Autism assessment done my mother got extremely upset and defensive and kept telling asking me "who put that idea in your head?". She finally calmed down when I reassured her I saw no need for a formal diagnosis as if it would have destroyed her to be known as a "failed" mother. Looking back it was OBVIOUS something was "off" but my mother refused to see it as it would have reflected badly on her.



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14 Nov 2012, 1:38 pm

You've just described me almost exactly: did well in school, never got in trouble, just the occasional "talks too quietly" or "needs to learn to speak up" on elementary school report cards, yet massively insecure and less than zero self-esteem.

Until recently this "internalize everything because i have no excuse not to be perfect" habit hasn't been too much of a problem, but now I'm hitting the phase of grad school where one is expected to teach and write argumentative papers and defend one's opinions, and well...it's been a long, slow crash-and-burn. It never occurred to me before that the expected reaction to being told "you're wrong" is sometimes "no I'm not, and here's why", rather than "yeah, probably am. *hide in a corner and spend the next six to eight hours thinking about how dumb i am* ".


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Artemisia_Amaryllis
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14 Nov 2012, 1:45 pm

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
gretchyn wrote:
I can also relate to how you described your childhood. My mother seems to think I was a fairly normal child, but I remember my childhood very differently. Part of it has to do with her perpetually rose-colored glasses, and part of it, I think, is that she doesn't want to admit there was anything wrong with me, because that might reflect poorly on her as a parent. That's nonsense, of course, but I've come to know my mother's motivations, and she wants to be considered the ultimate mother.

After I admitted I was getting an Autism assessment done my mother got extremely upset and defensive and kept telling asking me "who put that idea in your head?". She finally calmed down when I reassured her I saw no need for a formal diagnosis as if it would have destroyed her to be known as a "failed" mother. Looking back it was OBVIOUS something was "off" but my mother refused to see it as it would have reflected badly on her.


...And this. Several times in high school I raised the question of getting some sort of assessment to figure out what my problem was, and my mother just got angry and defensive - "There is NOTHING wrong with you!" - and implied that I was foolish to even consider such a thing...because if there's something wrong with me, and I'm a product of her, well...

I think there's a separation-of-personhood issue there, too: she never did seem to quite get it that not every aspect of me is directly attributable to her.


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Kairi96
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14 Nov 2012, 3:07 pm

Quote:
Did any of you have a relatively “issue free" childhood in the eyes of your families or carers?


Not me; actually, I was a lot worse during childhood, and I have improved now. Almost every mental disorder appears during childhood, and autism/AS in particular, since it's a pervasive development disorder. This means that its symptoms should be observable since one's childhood.


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14 Nov 2012, 3:29 pm

Yeah, I think my Mom is on the same caliber- if something is wrong with me, then it's wrong with her, too.
Most of my family calls her "Schizophrenic", and i think she might be, myself. I AM diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome, so I wonder what I might have inherited from her?
I don't know- maybe she is Asperger's, too? :?:


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windtreeman
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14 Nov 2012, 3:40 pm

Yar, I know what you guys/gals mean with your parent(s). Luckily, my Mom's had plenty of time to slowly adjust to my weirdness as the suspected AS wasn't really brought up until at least three or four years of dealing with anxiety and other issues. Now, she just wants me to get help and feel better. My Dad on the other hand...I'll never mention any of this to him and luckily, he lives about thirty minutes away.


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14 Nov 2012, 3:41 pm

My parents thought I was just perfect (and still do). I met all the milestones and I did as I was told, always and without question.

The fact that I was reading at 3yrs was all the more evidence that I was doing well (little did they know what it might signify :roll: ). Even when I became very shy, especially in class, my parents didn't worry at all. I was fine at home and quite happy to go to dance classes and perform on stage, so they were surprised when my teacher told them, but no more than that and they never tried to get to the bottom of it. All my report cards say, 'Needs to speak up more'. I was bullied and they never knew (I never told them, I was never asked). I had issues with reading/concentration and, instead of asking for someone to try to figure it out, my Mum had an argument with the teacher and told her the level of homework was too much. Obviously the problem was with me, as everyone else could do it, but my Mum wasn't having it. This resulted in the teacher hating me and making my life hell. I never even told my parents about that. As with everything else, I kept my worries to myself.

Whenever a friendship ended, they'd say I was better off without them. They still have no idea why I left uni after 3 years (this was 19 years ago) and they have never really questioned me about it. I got my degree and they have my graduation photo on their wall and that's all my Mum wanted.

I'm glad that they're proud of me, but it would have been nice for them to have shown concern over things which were a little concerning. They think my daughter's Aspergers diagnosis is probably due to genes from my husband's side, as his brother and Dad are quite clearly on the spectrum. But, my Mum has traits too and I've inherited that from her.


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Entek
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14 Nov 2012, 4:49 pm

Same - "normal" but quiet.
I hated my childhood, but apparently it was all normal etc.

Conclusions? Dad was always at work and mum didnt want to accept we were odd.

I think parents are terrified they will be told they are "doing it wrong".



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14 Nov 2012, 5:20 pm

My problems were not considered mild or acceptable. My parents didn't give much thought to childhood development issues. They never considered that I may have had real cognitive difficulties, just bad behavior that was my fault. My mother called me babyish, fidgity, fussy, belligerent, temperamental, persnickety, and sick in the head. There was no understanding and no attempt to get me help.



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14 Nov 2012, 5:29 pm

In the name of balance, I should say that, no, I had a depressing childhood and phycologists could never figure out what was causing me so many seemingly unrelated issues. In teen years I internalised a lot of stuff and became quite mentally unwell. Since then I have gradually found workarounds for a lot of stuff but find many of the same old things a struggle.


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14 Nov 2012, 5:36 pm

Relate, relate, relate to so much here.

I wonder, as a hypothesis: it was common back in the 60's -70's-ish era to "mother blame" by professionals, thus the term: schizophrenogenic mother (hope I spelled that right, but I am already diverting time from my essay so I'll leave it to stand corrected). I am just wondering how many of our moms may have been chastised by professionals or judged by their peers who were exposed to the same beliefs: blame mom.

My mom is Cleopatra, queen of denial, but there's a lot of MI in our family and she weathered a lot of it in the ignorant '50's. Then she had two kids who may have triggered all of her "stuff" in that regard.

There would have been nothing for my brother and I then anyways. Except like when my brother hit grade 8 and the school told mom he was "retarded" - he blew them away with a 3rd year university level evaluation - but quit for the bullying. I'm going to stop the tangent I see I am going on. 8O Back to work ...



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14 Nov 2012, 7:11 pm

My parents always refused to believe there was anything wrong with me. Though they were also very abusive, and saw their own actions as normal.

Also telling your kid that if they go out of their room, that dogs will kill them, in an attempt to keep them inside is just as bad as locking them there.... (Which my parents considered "Normal".)

I failed school, amongst other things.


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