“Now you know, so you can change that”
I encountered this in one form or another all my life.
I was wrong, I was bad, I was a problem.
By being told how I was wrong, bad, stupid, a problem, or otherwise behaving badly, I was supposed to understand and change my ways. Often this was not specific, but things like “you know what you have done”, “think about it” or “shape up”,
It was assumed at all times that I was “doing it” on purpose, no matter what behavior or lack of insight or comprehension of any given situation or actions was involved.
I see this constantly on forums, in discussions, in ideas about “autism training” “behavior therapy” etc.
The concept seems to be rooted in the idea that all I ( the autistic subject) need is to be enlightened or told and then I can willfully and simply change their behavior.
( In this is the idea that the autistic person will want to simply change!)
“what can I do to make my child like “this thing” ” “do this thing” “behave this way” ?
” What can I do to make my autistic partner more responsive to me” ?
“I love my mate but they are so socially inept, how can I help them”?
( meaning how do I get them to change to somebody who is not like that)
“I want to help my mate be a better partner, he or she ( description about all the things the partner does that are not what the complaining mate wants)”
“I care so deeply but if my partner does not do (this) I will leave them” ( its not a partnership where we work together, it is either my way or the highway)
I see this as maladjustment of the person asking the question in each of these instances. It is not convenient or easy or comfortable to change oneself, so it is easier to blame problems on the other person. The autistic child or adult carries a double whammy because, well, autism. Relationships always require the work of all the individuals involved to be successful, in shared problem solving, especially.
Subjects under a dictatorship are likely to revolt eventually.
In many instances there is a great deal that could be done if the complaining person, parent, partner, spouse, classmate, friend, etc. Would take a look inside themselves and see if there are other ways they could choose to behave or react in cases where they want the autistic person to change or “do better”.
I was subjected to rages and physical abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, intimidation, and more, to try to “fix” my autism and make me into an acceptable form of person to my parents, my siblings, my friends, my spouse and others.
I did not do what they wanted me to, did not react or behave as they thought I “should”. My childhood and young adult life was a misery.
If your child does not do something you want them to, how do you change your actions, reactions, behavior, environment, words, schedules, expectations, to adjust to this circumstance?
If your autistic partner, friend, spouse, etc. Is doing something that you do not like, do you continue to punish, abuse, berate, criticize, harass, belittle, intimidate, scold, and shame in expectation that they will change ?
Do you just do that over and over, maybe more loudly or harshly or with more anger?
I suggest that the person who has the complaint needs to think of new ways to approach any problem, so that it is not simply up to the autistic person to change.
Instead of expecting the leopard to change his spots, try changing your approach to the leopard.
Some things are not possible due to invisible workings of our neurology. Some things may be negotiable or navigable with support and encouragement.
Constant criticism, “fixing my problem” by making me miserable because everything is all my fault for not doing better, fixes nothing at all.
Is it any wonder so many autistic people avoid contact with others ? Avoidant behavior may be considered a personality disorder, but it makes perfect sense to those of us who have lived our lives under constant demands we are frequently not equipped to respond to in the expected ways. After so many repeated social failures is it not reasonable to find relief by withdrawal?
4 thoughts on ““fixing” Autism”
I’ve had similar experiences, like others on the spectrum. I’ve read a quote attributed to Shantideva which basically says it’s easier to wear shoes than cover the whole word in carpet. As human beings, we repeatedly encounter those who push our buttons by acting in ways we wish they wouldn’t. Rather than try to get others to change (which never happens whether they are on the spectrum or not), it’s always better to change our reaction and work on why the button is there in the first place. Often easier said than done, but tiring for those who are forced to take on the onus of change when they are not wired to do so.
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As sometime on the autistic spectrum, I found this blog insightful. Thanks for sharing!
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Thanks so much for saying all this. I agree that no-one can change anyone else, be they autistic or not. However, with autism added into the mix, it is often easier for t he neurotypical partner/parent/sibling/friend/etc. to blame the autistic person, sometimes in disguised ways, such as “I love my child/partner/friend/whatever but I hate autism”.
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As mom of 30 aspie, is really intensely painful to have someone doing stuff that causes me pain, money and frustration if I don’t do absolutely everything myself. As adult living rent free with me, putting garbage to curb , taking his dog out instead of kicking it for needing to go, volunteering to do dishes on Mon when I don’t feel well but they are still not done on Thurs hurts emotionally and physically. I truly appreciate a lot about him but brushing the dog in the house and leaving drifts of dog hair, checking tire pressure 3 times in a wk but not putting windshield fluid he identified as low,leaving his laundry to pile up 3 wks til he has no clean clothes for work. He moved out abruptly, haven’t heard from him in 8 mos and even with the intensely limiting, difficult symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis it is better than the meltdowns from work frustrations aimed at me for any of the above. Abuse because of autism is still abuse and yes, I love who he is inside but I hate the meltdowns that result in broken tools, scared dog and walking on eggshells.
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