Tony Attwood: on building autistic self esteem

Page 1 of 2 [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

B19
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 9,339
Location: New Zealand

07 Nov 2015, 10:35 pm

He has spent over 40 years studying the ASD population, and continues to be a voice of validation and inspiration. I hadn't come across this piece by him before today:

http://www.mindsandhearts.net/index.php ... elf-esteem

One of the sad things is that adolescents on the spectrum miss out on peer validation/compliments to a substantial extent, at a time when validation is a very formative experience. I don't know of any other "Aspergers Expert" who is at all concerned about this, other than Attwood, nor any who see so clearsightedly the needless damage that stigmatising attitudes cause. If only I could clone him...



the_phoenix
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,489
Location: up from the ashes

07 Nov 2015, 11:00 pm

I'm way older than an adolescent.
But today I've been feeling down and alone,
and then I just now went to a website where somebody actually did pay me a compliment.
I was so stunned,
I cried.

...


_________________
~~ the phoenix

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." -- REM
.......
.....
...


B19
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 9,339
Location: New Zealand

07 Nov 2015, 11:12 pm

:heart:

I know that feeling. We have often come to steel ourselves for the possibility of unexpected criticism, though not unexpected praise and kindness. It can be a very overwhelming feeling even when you know that praise is objectively true. That unexpected praise can suddenly connect with an ache so deep that we are almost unaware of it and the needs that it relates to, and this is a response to the continual disrespect that minorities have trained themselves to expect and endure. You are much bigger and worthier than that...



the_phoenix
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,489
Location: up from the ashes

07 Nov 2015, 11:39 pm

Thank you for your kind, insightful, and in-depth explanation, B19!

...



CockneyRebel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Posts: 103,335
Location: Hanging out with my fellow Sweet Peas at Stalag 13

08 Nov 2015, 12:14 am

I've read the article and I agree with everything that's mentioned. I've also experienced all that high school crap. I could have used that information in high school. It makes me happy that the information is available for teens to access today and in the future.


_________________
Schultz

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26&start=645


SpaceAgeBushRanger
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 13 Nov 2014
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 216

08 Nov 2015, 1:15 am

When I was at school went for a combination of the arrogant approach and the recluse approach. But I felt that I had to earn a right to arrogance, which inspired me to work really hard on my academics.

I'm interested that Attwood doesn't mention doing impressive things for praise as another coping strategy. I know that whenever I get praise for a story I've written, that I feel really good. Doing sports stuff probably has a similar effect.

The picture with the ruler and the rock is good enough to be someone's tattoo.


_________________
I'd say something clever, but here's a Youtube link instead https://youtu.be/YwjnQEtc4p4


Edna3362
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,616
Location: South East Asia

08 Nov 2015, 8:06 am

Coping mechanisms... Seems I got lucky by ended up with the said coping mechanism before I came across with the article.

I've done the part where one becomes recluse. I've been one since when I was 13. And it's becoming more 'loose'. (Few by few where I start opening up and less of a recluse overtime.)
From a complete hermit who never leaves the room. Then evolved to a silent, friendless, "mysterious student" reputation like with no actual social life. To this present, an observer of "sorts" while attracting unnecessary attention.

Along with the fantasy world part.
Except it's not all a complete fantasy or fictional: It was a real thing in an online game. Where I became well liked, climbed league ranks and even became the leader. As in, liked by actual breathing people behind the monitor screen as friends... No facades involved, just only NOT revealing that I'm an aspie. (Except to a few, who aren't NTs to begin with)
I'm still in contact with them. :D They all have this odd sense of respect to me despite that I'm not anything special... 'Strong', rich, fame never came to that online world, but friendship does.
And it gave me a tiny hint how the NT world works...

The false self? It didn't last. I only done the false self for validation, not friendship. Now that I found a cultural loophole where I don't need to 'act' alike NT, I don't need the false self. But still, I'll keep it just in case when the certain situation happens.

And I'm glad I never got in the narcissistic stage. :twisted: Because I lost interest to my own self image before it became a "priority problem". I don't need to act almighty around people because I don't have any insecurities. :lol:
Praises, compliments and flattery are confusing. Insults and teases became meaningless. Competition, the concept of "Winning" and "Losing" had lost meaning to me.


And hence my lack of anxiety in general. (Or at least got rid of it early)
As for my true self, I'm not satisfied that I found most of it's parts. I want to learn and grow more.


_________________
Gained Number Post Count (1).
Lose Time (n).


corroonb
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,377
Location: Ireland

08 Nov 2015, 8:54 am

It's a good article which I think is from one of his books. I was an arrogant loner in high school. I was also pretty reclusive too. I sought refuge in books and videogames. Tolkien, Star Wars and fantasy fiction were my staple diet. I didn't completely avoid other people but I had no friend outside of school and the ones I had in school were more acquaintances.



Ashariel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,779
Location: US

08 Nov 2015, 12:19 pm

Good article! Though I disagree a bit with 'reclusiveness' and 'fantasy' being unhealthy coping strategies. I think it's perfectly fine to be introverted, and enjoy stories. (And adopting that attitude leads to better self-esteem!)



Jacoby
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,367
Location: Permanently banned by power tripping mods lol this forum is trash

08 Nov 2015, 12:48 pm

I think it is a stupid article once it moves beyond describing the coping mechanisms, I am so tired of the Aspie super power empowerment horseshit like I have this special ability that apparently makes my life worth living because apparently I don't have it so where does that leave me? We're not all losers(some people in the past that we arbitrarily speculate might of been on the spectrum did some big things we swear) just most of us and I have absolutely nothing in my life that makes up for it. Intelligence is what you do with it so I am very very stupid. Next stage in human development, give me a break. I'd have higher self-esteem if I had a reason to have higher self-esteem, simple as that. I had a bunch of therapists try that crap with me to list positive attributes about yourself and it's always been that "i'm nice" or that "i'm smart", it just makes me want step in front of a train. Stop acting like its not a disability, some people are born into better circumstances and some find a way to over come them but it's a disability not just a "difference".



Hyperborean
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Jan 2015
Gender: Male
Posts: 956
Location: Europe

08 Nov 2015, 1:10 pm

Thanks for posting this. Like much of what Tony Atwood writes, it is thought-provoking and based on fact. But as you point out, he is virtually the only autism specialist who is saying this (publicly at least). We can only hope that more people will follow his example. I lobby my MP, who is currently Care Minister, on a regular basis - but I'm just one person.

Diversity in all its forms is something that society hasn't really got to grips with. And of all the diverse forms of diversity, neuro-diversity is perhaps the most difficult to grasp.


_________________
'All that we see is but a shadow and reflection of what is hidden from our eyes'
Vladimir Solovyëv

'Wo viel Licht ist, ist auch viel Schatten'.
Goethe

'Demain était déjà très loin'.
Julien Gracq
Un balcon en forêt

'Aș vrea să pot să locuiesc în propriile mele cuvinte ...'
Nichita Stănescu
O confesiune

'Once one has learnt to pay attention to the characteristic manifestations of autism, one realises that they are not at all rare'.
Hans Asperger


the_phoenix
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,489
Location: up from the ashes

08 Nov 2015, 2:07 pm

Jacoby wrote:
I think it is a stupid article once it moves beyond describing the coping mechanisms, I am so tired of the Aspie super power empowerment horseshit like I have this special ability that apparently makes my life worth living because apparently I don't have it so where does that leave me? We're not all losers(some people in the past that we arbitrarily speculate might of been on the spectrum did some big things we swear) just most of us and I have absolutely nothing in my life that makes up for it. Intelligence is what you do with it so I am very very stupid. Next stage in human development, give me a break. I'd have higher self-esteem if I had a reason to have higher self-esteem, simple as that. I had a bunch of therapists try that crap with me to list positive attributes about yourself and it's always been that "i'm nice" or that "i'm smart", it just makes me want step in front of a train. Stop acting like its not a disability, some people are born into better circumstances and some find a way to over come them but it's a disability not just a "difference".

Hi Jacoby,

You make some good points. Some I agree with, others I have a different opinion on.

1) Nobody is intrinsically a loser in the evil way society means it as a negative, judgemental insult ... each one of us deserves to be treated with the basic respect and decency due to all human beings. While I recognize winning and losing in competitive environments, a person shouldn't base his or her entire identity on whether they win or lose at something. Someone can choose to be a loser ... that's on them. (Note: I also fully recognize that nobody is perfect.)

2) Aspie super powers? I suppose some have them and some don't ... It seems in your case you're saying you're intelligent but don't use it so that makes you stupid? Well, now you're onto something ... Seems to me those Aspies who have super powers work at it. And do those super powers make life perfect? No way. I used to wonder why Batman and Spiderman wore masks, and why Superman had to hide his true identity ... Now I know ... it's not just evil villains out to destroy them ... it's average people who feel threatened or something, and react by tearing people down, especially if they're different. So why aren't you getting anywhere even if you're uber-talented? Could be envy or jealousy, or people resent your independence or freedom, especially if those people want power over you.

3) You'd have higher self-esteem if you had a reason to have higher self-esteem? Correct. Achievement and accomplishment bring higher self-esteem. That said, being "nice" and "smart" can possibly be a start ... depending on how people are using those words ... the problem is that too often, "nice" and "smart" really mean "sit down and shut up" ... and that's not a good way to achieve or accomplish anything, eh?

4) Disability vs. Difference ... Similar to you, I would say that depends on the Aspie's level of functioning and yes, on the circumstances. As for me, when I'm surrounded by decent people, (pretty rare these days as society has IMHO become way more selfish than it used to be) my being autistic is a difference and people can easily look past it and accept me, or at least treat me with common courtesy. When I'm surrounded by self-absorbed cliques, my being autistic becomes a magnified disability. YMMV ... Your mileage may vary ... But I do see what you're saying ... developing friendships has always been a mystery to me, I wasn't born with the manual on how to make friends, and yes it does make things harder.

Hope this helps ...


_________________
~~ the phoenix

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." -- REM
.......
.....
...


arkatron
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Gender: Female
Posts: 130

08 Nov 2015, 2:26 pm

I think that familial and peer validation is a fundamental concern. I can't recall reading about ASDs and validation before.

I personally did not have validating parents or siblings. I think I also missed out on peer compliments and validation. I like compliments now; I also don't particularly trust when anyone gives them. I probably used all of the potentially maladaptive coping strategies Attwood listed.

It's strange that more researchers don't study this matter as much as genes and brains :roll: . Lack of basic psychological and emotional support and care seems to me like a significant barrier against any child developing into a well-adjusted, happy adult. In adulthood, the same damaging patterns probably tend to continue. IMO, society in general is averse to investigating these basic issues because that investigation sheds unwanted light on loathsome aspects of our culture...


_________________
.
We have to change our way of thinking if we really want to change the future. - Saki Watanabe (Shinsekai yori)


the_phoenix
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,489
Location: up from the ashes

08 Nov 2015, 2:34 pm

arkatron wrote:
I think that familial and peer validation is a fundamental concern. I can't recall reading about ASDs and validation before.

I personally did not have validating parents or siblings. I think I also missed out on peer compliments and validation. I like compliments now; I also don't particularly trust when anyone gives them. I probably used all of the potentially maladaptive coping strategies Attwood listed.

It's strange that more researchers don't study this matter as much as genes and brains :roll: . Lack of basic psychological and emotional support and care seems to me like a significant barrier against any child developing into a well-adjusted, happy adult. In adulthood, the same damaging patterns probably tend to continue. IMO, society in general is averse to investigating these basic issues because that investigation sheds unwanted light on loathsome aspects of our culture...



... but they all want you to click the Like button on their FaceBook page when it's Autism Awareness Day to show how much you care ... "Share this post publicly if someone you know has autism" ... then they pat themselves on the back for being so heroic ...


_________________
~~ the phoenix

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." -- REM
.......
.....
...


arkatron
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Gender: Female
Posts: 130

08 Nov 2015, 4:08 pm

the_phoenix wrote:
arkatron wrote:
I think that familial and peer validation is a fundamental concern. I can't recall reading about ASDs and validation before.

I personally did not have validating parents or siblings. I think I also missed out on peer compliments and validation. I like compliments now; I also don't particularly trust when anyone gives them. I probably used all of the potentially maladaptive coping strategies Attwood listed.

It's strange that more researchers don't study this matter as much as genes and brains :roll: . Lack of basic psychological and emotional support and care seems to me like a significant barrier against any child developing into a well-adjusted, happy adult. In adulthood, the same damaging patterns probably tend to continue. IMO, society in general is averse to investigating these basic issues because that investigation sheds unwanted light on loathsome aspects of our culture...



... but they all want you to click the Like button on their FaceBook page when it's Autism Awareness Day to show how much you care ... "Share this post publicly if someone you know has autism" ... then they pat themselves on the back for being so heroic ...


Yes, I think there is a huge lack of genuine understanding and compassion. Thus, we get superficial stuff like that where what matters is feeling good about ourselves (and our trendy research) regardless of whether anything good was done.


_________________
.
We have to change our way of thinking if we really want to change the future. - Saki Watanabe (Shinsekai yori)