‘Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage’

TW / CW / The root of my identity crisis

When pattern recognition in the subconscious is embedded at a deep level – you lose your life. This is why all forms of ABA are toxic to Autistic people – it’s an exploitation of our brain’s need for order and it’s subconsciously ingrained as a default mode.

I may have had issues with sharing material possessions because I was poor and I wasn’t taught well. But I wanted to share anything I could that I could afford to. It was never related to being better, it was seen as a threat.

Rory Reckons

The messaging about this had devastating effects in my adult life. I often forwent things I needed or money I couldn’t afford to give because this was so deeply ingrained in me as being “selfish”. I have severe anxiety seeing charity collectors.

OCD + reinforcement about being a bad kid when not sharing = personal harm to ensure you are being 'moral'.

A kid with a natural predisposition to sharing, reinforcement about how holding onto things he cares about is selfish when this was often related to poverty and losing things and being berated is a cruel set of conditions to instill in a child.

I gave away my lunch money and food at school all the time… I thought my only value to people was when I was giving them things. Most of these people were not even 'friends'.

I thought the moral of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – that there was no limit on what you should give. That was the message I took from that book as a child with this reinforcement.

Understanding this is always so hard now.

'Why don't I have boundaries?'

In so many cases I was explicitly taught not to and I did make pattern recognition that was logically reinforced by results. People talked to me = give stuff away.

Knowledge = bad.
Self-sacrifice at the cost of my health = good.
Learning = not for me.

Some cool lessons I learned at school being an unidentified multiple neurodivergent kid with learning disabilities.

Behaviourism works – trust me when I had no intrinsic motivation left all I did was live using behaviourism to dictate appropriate behaviour.

I realise now why I was so repulsed to learn it in University psychology. Variable ratio of reinforcement for positive and negative outcomes had dictated my entire life. I was still too naive to understand the damage or how it was applicable to masking as I didn’t know I was ND.

You know how this is the most successful form of reinforcement for addiction behaviour. Apply this lesson to relationships and work out WTF happens then.

Nothing like discovering at 37 that you have been stuck in a cage pecking a key instead of flying outside like you wanted to.

I feel sick.

I feel so sick. My life has been dictated by endlessly Skinner Boxing myself because I thought that was the best idea.

Never crush a child's autonomy or they will find a logical paradigm to explain how to behave.

My god, this actually explains everything in my life and I just feel absolutely repulsed.

This was deeply embedded in my brain through constant reinforcement. I remember feeling so sorry for the pigeons and rats in the experiments.

I was looking at me.

This was in my subconscious. This was what I fell back on – all the time.

It took an adult at 34 believing my internal motivations to actually start fixing some of this damage.

I… this is it… I couldn’t live till I had autonomy because I was programmed to be a tourist in my own life.

You know when in Flowers for Algernon he realises people were mocking him, instead of being nice.

This is a fitting comparison, except I am also the people mocking him.

Smart but brainwashed. I get it now at least.

I know what to look for.

I understand my strong aversion to compliments and I know why I have a desperate need to never start living for extrinsic reasons. Because I will lose myself.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on November 22, 2021.

Published by roryreckons

I am an ADHD/Autism Coach as well as ADHD/Autism/OCD/CPTSD advocate and independent ADHD/Autism researcher. I am an ADHD/Autism Coach who trained through the ADD Coaching Academy. I write mainly about ADHD/Autism/OCD/Mental health issues, but will also discuss morality, abolition, and current affairs occasionally.

One thought on “‘Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage’

  1. This was interesting, thanks. I didn’t follow every thing you said, but still fascinated and want to read more of your thoughts.


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