Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They taught me to not opine.

One of the main goals of autism 'treatment' is passivity. Unfortunately, they succeed at that. A lot.

Those of you who know me are laughing your asses off right now, because "passive" isn't the adjective most people think of when they think of me. But none of you know what it is to be inside my head.

They taught me that having an opinion is wrong. They taught me that wanting a say in what happens is wrong. They taught me that what I think and feel is far less valid than what anyone else thinks, feels, and wants. They taught me that standing my ground is among the worst things I can do.

And I internalized that.

I know, none of you believe me, because if there's anything I am known for it is standing my ground. But keep in mind-I don't give 2 shits what most people think, especially internet people. If I do give 2 shits what someone thinks on the internet, chances are good we are on the same side. We are fighting through the same things. And the stuff I stand my ground on, that I fight for with the whole of my being, it's often a literal matter of life and death-if not my life, someone's, somewhere. And that's worth it.

But what you aren't seeing is the panic and freeze. Every time I am asked for an opinion or a quick decision, even one that doesn't matter-often especially one that doesn't matter-my mind shuts down and starts racing at the same time. Do they actually want my opinion or are they checking to see that I have the right one? What if my opinion is the wrong one? Oh god. It's easier to not have an opinion. I don't have time to figure out the motive of asking and what my opinion is or how to say it in a palatable way. I'm not good at palatable ways, not even for innocuous things.

The way I do advocacy is the only way I can. Brute forcing through the panic, because those beliefs are more important than the very real fear of very real, terrifying consequences. It isn't easy. At all. It's like having to face a rational fear that developed into a phobia every day. But I have to allocate that energy-it's worth it for matters of life and death. It's worth it when other people like me are affected too. It's worth it when the listener doesn't immediately particularly matter to me (sorry. That's how it is) or they can't do anything to me.

But that kind of energy, on everything? I can't do it. The fear is too much.

Fuck yeah, passivity training. Hope you're happy.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post.
I think I understand what you are saying.
I only found out about being autistic as an adult, I did spend years on therapy for other things that I didn't have (and it was emotionally abusive most times), but I am extremely passive, I am so afraid of saying my opinion that I agree with anyone, it doesn't matter if I care about the other, if it's online or not, it's really scary, the few times I try I stay in a state of panic for a long time.

Neurodivergent K said...

It's crappy that they did that to you (or anyone). That's exactly what I'm talking about though, if I understand what you're saying.

If you're who I think you are, I so very much appreciate your comments here and on other blogs. (well, even if you aren't. But if you're the person of your name who's been posting on TPGA's comment threads this week, you're badass).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I have been commenting the best I can on the TPGA's blog this past posts, I'm probably who you think I am, I happened to just see a comment made by you just bellow mine . :)

cobwebspun said...

this is great. I am not autistic, but I do recognize the training - I was in a serious automobile accident when I was young and can remember going through all sorts of behavioral therapy concerning when it was appropriate to say things and what was appropriate to say and how to say it. A lot of it I have thrown out the window or I get sucked up in the moment and refuse the learned behavior, which I find can be to my detriment. And then there are moments when I find that I am being far to hard on myself, for example - I am an auditory processor and so I speak to think and I find myself in classes speaking sometimes too much, when really it is not too much, and then I wont speak for weeks. And it is all of the behavioral therapy I know telling me that "it's not the appropriate time to talk" or I am "monopolizing the conversation"

ther1 said...

I went to a middle school in Georgia that practiced the things you're angry about. (Georgia-no surprise...) Within the third day of mainstream class I threw a fit that was evidently so bad they put me in the room for special ed students.

It got worse. I remember very little of that period but these epic battles between me and hapless teachers. I barely remember why I got mad in the first place. Whatever it was, I was biting, lunging, crying, cursing, banging on doors until they'd call my father to come and get me. Usually I fought him too!

These were the only times I can remember making my father lose his temper. He would try not to say anything because he was so angry, but often ended up verbally abusing me.

I think they didn't taze or arrest me because I was so small and easy to drag off to the quiet room. Finally, both my parents figured out that my life and sanity were being threatened and sent me to a school with a legit autism program. But yeah-even after that some of the passivity training rubbed off on me.