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Getting defensive/embarrassed when asked about stim toys?


Well-Known Member
Is it normal to get defensive when someone asks you about the stim toys you use? Not just when they're being disparaging and condescending about it, but also when they're just genuinely curious? I tend to get this way mostly when people ask me about the chewable silicone pendants I wear...my favorite ones are a blue circular one with a cloud symbol, and the other is a pink dulcimer-shaped one (both are from Stimtastic). When someone asks me about them, I just say something like, "Oh, it's just a necklace I like to wear," preferring not to go into all the details of why having something to chew on benefits me (in addition to being there to bite into when I would normally self-harm and bite myself when I'm melting down/raging inwardly), especially if I don't know the person very well.

I don't get asked a lot about the Tangle toys I use to stim with, tho....once one of my siblings and I were at a concert, and they were bored and saw me with one of my Tangles, and asked if I had an extra one they could borrow. I let them borrow another one I had on hand, and when we got home I gave them a spare one I didn't use. I think they liked it. :)

Does this happen to anyone else who uses stim/fidget toys?
People ask about my twiddle because it is very conspicuous with its bright green colour. I don't really get emberrased as I do not believe it requires a full explanation. I just explain to them that I have very fidgety hands and I like to have something to keep them occupied. People will often ask me where I got it an I will simply inform them that I got it at the book store and then list off a number of other options I know of for purchase.

I do not have any oral stim toys. I suspect those might be a bit harder to explain as many adults do not resort to chewing on non-food objects for stress relief. Maybe I should get one as I sometimes find myself chewing on bannanna peels or running the ridges of a a bottle cap against my teeth, for example.

I suppose my degree of emberrasment would depend largely on who asked about my stim toy. Many of the people I associate with are very non-judgemental. Quite a few of them are on the spectrum or are very aware and accepting of it. Were I still working I might feel emberrased if a co-worker or supervisor enquired. My experience in imposed peer groups is that any noted deviation from the norm is usually construed in a negative fassion. As such; I would likely endeavor to hide any stimming from them, or keep it to the most common and acceptable forms (i.e. stress balls, chewing gum, fidgeting with pens, ext.)

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