The “I stopped my kid from stimming they appear so neurotypical now” to “my kid is aggressive and depressed” pipeline.
I’ve discovered the science behind stimming. It’s all self soothing stuff that generates the chemical that allows social connection and prevents the one that causes a lot of anxiety. Simplified Oxytocin(love) and Arginine Vasopressin(fear) bind to the same receptors.
If you limit our natural way to produce Oxytocin we get trapped in an anxious, fearful and depressed state.
Simply put. Stimming is joy.
This is why the only solution to helping Autistic people is to increase Autistic acceptance. Not to change us. We are trying to ensure we are regulated properly, you change that, and we are unable to.
Those of us who discovered our Autism later in life have been reverting back to the behaviours we did as children, because they contain the keys to well-being. But the internalised ableism is so hard to undo, and a lot of us have forgotten.
The more destructive stims are usually responses to pain we are feeling but are unable to express in other ways. It’s a external manifestation of internal psychological or physical pain.
I adapted btw. When my parents extinguished my Autistic stims I started turning to other forms of generation. I was lucky in some ways because I had largely absent parents due to divorce, working and poverty.
TW / sexual abuse, suicide, drug use
When they stopped me sucking my fingers, I became hypersexualised. That was an extremely bad outcome for a young child, and it was taken advantage by bad people. I also turned to substances. It was this, or plummet into despair and suicide.
Do you know who tends to be really nice and help you gain access to both those things? People who offer you one for the other.
I was a naive as hell child in many ways socially. This was really really toxic.
I was lucky I was ADHD and Autistic. My impulsive nature allowed me to find alternative forms of regulation. Sure I have PTSD from them, but the alternative would have been death. That I am sure of.
It’s been incredibly helpful to understand why I did such reckless things. I had a lot of shame from doing this stuff. Because some of it was my initiation. I was also a damn child, it wasn’t up to me to know this was wrong. I was doing logical stuff, they were taking advantage.
I didn’t discover hypersexualisation on my own. That first move was made by someone else at my fourth birthday party. When your frame of reference for acceptable behaviour is this broken, it distorts everything else.
Everyone else in my life was infantilising me. These people were not. It’s not hard to see how they took advantage of my need for agency and autonomy by showing me respect, while simultaneously abusing me.
Lonely desperate kid looks for friends in an environment people are looking for something far more dubious but it’s guaranteed to mean social contact.
This is the most obvious outcome. Add in disrespect for authority due to maltreatment and I know why I did this now.
My behaviour is entirely explainable by the intrinsic human motivations of self-determination theory:
Autonomy – I was treated as an adult.
Competence – They told me how mature and intelligent I was, making me feel competent.
Relatedness – I was being offered social connection.
Imagine if I had positive people in my life telling me this stuff from the start?
When you have authoritarian parenting which controls every part of your life, you don't know what a good and bad relationship is or what a healthy and unhealthy one is.
Kids with autonomy, competence, and relatedness intact respect themselves to know this is wrong.
You have to understand – I didn't seek help even when I was hurt here, because that was always the expectation – I should be hurt. When you are getting hurt by your parents it can't be they are wrong, it has to be that you are wrong. This means you justify and hide more pain.
Here's a thing I need other kids who look back on their past now with a lot of trauma to know.
YOU WERE A KID. NOTHING THAT WAS DONE TO YOU WAS ACCEPTABLE IF ABUSIVE.
Cry all the time hearing other people saying the same stuff I did for so long:
"I was a bad kid"
"I was trouble"
"I needed discipline"
That is the stuff that broke us. It was a failure of parenting. I know that from seeing healthy parenting now.
I got to repair my relationships with my parents. I understood how intergenerational trauma is transmitted down family lines. My dad died 3 years ago today. He was a flawed man, but he always loved me and was proud of me. I just didn't have him as a parent
Really want to make clear here it’s not survivors of abuse that have to do this and I never want to claim that. I am critiquing the systems we have and the ways we think about others.
People often wonder why we keep having bad parenting. Because I loved my parents, and I still do. They are complicated. They were doing their best. I wanted to get them help but the only help that exists involves taking me away from them. No ‘Justice’ in that. ACAB.
It's really fucked up I had to be the social service that mended my relationship with my parents. I learned all the stuff I could to understand and fix the problems. I had to find out the grey that they existed in because the world was telling me to see them in black and white.
"You aren't responsible for fixing your parents" – therapists.
Cool ? Who is going to do it then? Because cutting people out of my life is some carceral bullshit. I want to develop connection between people always.
Healing these relationships restores my humanity too.
I know people will say this is pathological.
The pathological thing is that we have this expectation, that some people are unsalvageable. It's been hard work – it's taken a lot of introspection, reading, mental fortitude developing, and care. They are more happy now than ever.
All it really took is figuring out how to communicate in the language they had been programmed into thinking about, figuring out what was driving the behaviour that hurt them, and helping them autonomously realise there is always a better way forward.
I also stopped judging them. That was the first thing I had to let go of – if I need unconditional positive regard to fix me… maybe they needed that too.
This takes some epic mastery to develop. I had to control PTSD reactions. It was a slow non-linear process.
Hurt people can hurt people. Generally no one acts negatively unless dealing with some unresolved issue.
No survivor is responsible for rehabilitating their victimzer.
When you realise everyone has the capacity to hurt others – especially those with "good intentions", it actually makes you more connected to other people, not less.
There are no good and bad people. There are good and bad actions and behaviours.
Thank you The Good Place for solidifying my moral code and belief system, and breaking down the good person/bad person dichotomy I had built in my head.
People ask me a lot what helped most with OCD?
This show. Literally this show – it helped me more than anything else to start conquering my OCD before I even knew I had it.
I have non-cleaning OCD (except in times of extreme stress). I have moral OCD.
This show gave me the guidebook that I needed to actually make a code to live by – you will see that in a lot of what I do. Because now I just make sure I am acting in line with my code – I check to see if I violate a principle. I needed good personal boundaries too though.