Neurodivergence

Awe-tism Acceptance – Day 6

Yesterday, I left you with some really hard questions. It seems only fair that I too answer them.

Yes, I am happy…happier than I have ever been.

Yes, I love what I do…making a home for Cookie Monster, PanKwake, my other kids when they so rarely have the chance to visit, and our friends. I also love writing and sharing with you.

Yes, I genuinely do like the people in my life now…family and friends.

In short, I LOVE my life. Honestly, a HUGE part of that is my relationship with Cookie. But there are other bits too.

But it has not always been so.

I have had jobs that I did just for the money. And hated. (Though honestly…not many. Perhaps this was always an area that I would not compromise in?)

But my biggest flaw has always been…

Letting the wrong people into my life! 

The number of times that my kind heart has gotten me into trouble is too many to count. Way too many.

Last year, my friends/family goal was to actually set limits. The exact wording was…Draw lines in the sand. Boundaries of things I would not accept in my life.

Oh, were people shocked when I started saying…no, I can’t do that. PanKwake needs…

But it has made all the difference in our lives…taken pressure off of us both. And opened the doors, cleared out the closets and made space for the RIGHT people in our lives.

That is the thing though…

NO!!!

Is perhaps the most volatile word we ever learn. And likely the very first one too. From the time we are born, it is probably the word we hear most…

  • NO! Don’t touch that.
  • NO! Don’t do that.
  • NO! You can’t run in the halls.
  • NO! Don’t cry. Big girls don’t cry.
  • NO! You can’t be this…
  • NO! You aren’t any good at that…

Conversely, we learn just as quickly that NO! is not a word we can say back.

I am ashamed sometimes of how traditionally I raised my now adult children. But I’ll share it with you anyway as an illustration…

My older daughter Mere-Mere was about two…and a defiant child. At the time, we were in THAT church and adhered to the philosophy of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’. I was cooking in the kitchen and she came in. I said NO! to something. And my beautiful, spirited toddler told me NO! right back. I repeated myself louder and more emphatically. And she stamped her little foot, looked directly at me and said…

NO! I said NO!

I have to admit even I was biting back laughter…but I did what was expected of me back then. I put my child in her place. Established who was boss. Based solely on size, age and might.

Thankfully, my daughter’s spirit was stronger than my will. But I have learned so much from Pathological Demand Avoidance and I would NEVER do something like that with PanKwake.

But the word NO! is just one of the ways that we are ‘trained’ without realizing…before we know it…and most certainly without our permission…

We just learn somehow all those unspoken rules…what is expected of us…and we do it because we want other people’s approval…love…acceptance.

That is the root of Pathological Demand Avoidance, PDA. Our kids either can’t just soak all those unspoken rules up like a sponge…or…they have a greater strength of spirit…fortitude…to say…

NO! I won’t. That does not make sense. That is not logical. That is not fair. That is not right. 

Now I can hear some of you saying…

Yes, but…

They need to learn.

Maybe because you fear the disappointment that they may face later if they fail. Maybe because you don’t want them hurt by rejection…

This clip from the Amazing World of Gumball is one of the most poignant illustrations of a well meaning parent…crushing her children’s dreams for just that reason…

Maybe we do it because that is what our parents did to us. Or maybe we do it because we are afraid that other people will think we are a bad parent if we don’t.

But for whatever reason we do it…the question remains…

Is it fair? Is it right?

That is why I asked you all those ‘homework’ questions yesterday. To get you thinking about where your ‘training’ has gotten you personally…

But let’s look at the cost to society…

  • Antidepressant usage has more than doubled in the last decade. That means in 2015, the NHS spent £780,000 per day on them.
  • But many others are self-medicating with alcohol. Alcohol related harm costs England around £21bn per year, with £3.5bn to the NHS, £11bn tackling alcohol-related crime and £7.3bn from lost work days and productivity costs.
  • Suicide rates too are climbing. Over 6,000 deaths per year in the UK. Or a suicide rate of 10.9 deaths per 100,000 population.

There are other global signs of trouble as well.

  • the economy
  • the environment
  • poverty
  • crime
  • terrorism
  • political unrest
  • …the list goes on and on.

I want to leave you today to ponder this question…

Is this what we want for our children?

 

 

 

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