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Featured Refrigerator Mother

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Aspychata, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Refrigerator mother was coined in 1950 as a label for mothers of children diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia.

    Leo Kanner (American physician, psychiatrist) identified autism in 1943, he noted lack of warmth among the parents of autistic children.

    Alice Miller maintains that autism is psychogenic as her fear of the truth about child abuse is the leitmotif of nearly all forms of autisticm.

    Frances Tustin believes it's children's neurological disorder of psychogenic nature ie., caused by abusive and traumatic treatment of infants.

    Finally a explanation l can relate to follows: For normal process of socialization, it is necessary for parent-child relations to be normal by loving or non-anxiety parents. These are the first social act, and a stimulus to either accept or reject society.

    The children's SELF in this view is a reflection of the sentiments , thoughts, and attitudes of the parents toward the child.

    Autistic children show extreme socializing disorder and do not want any sort of relationships with people.

    They ELIMINATE people from their consciousness. The FEAR of the parents is extended to other people, a tendency to cut off communications with human beings.

    l believe my mom takes a ice bath every night just so she doesn't thaw out. My stepfather-not any better.
    Wikipedia
    Refrigerator mother/Refrigerator parents
    Ariet S - Interpretation of Schizophenia 2nd ed, 1974

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  2. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I think you'll find autistic people with all kinds of parents.
     
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  3. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    So far the two autistic people l know have dysfunctional parents. Guess l am trying to understand if the scales tips one way more then not. Both moms were basically ineffective as mothers. I came from some severe neglect as a todler. l recall serious falls and nobody was around me. So l am also looking at people that have those experiences or can recall that far back. My parents presented as normal in public but it was different in private.
     
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  4. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Oh yeah, I have extraordinarily dysfunctional parents! Lots of neglect. But I wouldn't want someone to come along who had relatively normal amounts of dysfunction and be thinking, "So am I not autistic?" or something odd along those lines.
     
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  5. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    My childhood was extremely toxic - physical and emotional abuse and severe neglect; but just as there are countless abuse survivors like me who are autistic, there are countless others who are not autistic.

    I'm not convinced that parenting styles create autism. I know several autistic people who were brought in a 'normal' household environment and have none of my childhood experiences.

    My belief is, we are who we are due to a neurological difference. And then we can have additional issues on top due to our upbringing. These issues can be worked on with therapy and self development. In my case, this 'self development' and therapy didn't commence for decades due to severe disassociation. The fall out from disassociation was catastrophic.
     
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  6. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

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    Can relate, indifference bordering on neglect, but dad was born 1916 and mum 1926, (I had older parents than most skewl peers) so seen a lot of hardship and war. Dad was arguably autistic, electrical engineer, fixed anything in the house that broke down, mum arguably multiple personalites, some of them wicked. Did my head in but they're gone now.

    I think they worry that we'll be on their hands for the rest of their life and act accordingly.
     
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  7. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Chaotic Neutral

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    I grew up in relatively good family. My parents (both of them NTs) have never been cold or abusive towards me or my siblings, yet I am autistic. So I guess I'm disproving the "Refrigerator mother"-theory.
     
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  8. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    No, parents or upbringing doesn't cause autism. Many autistic people have/had very caring families, mine included.

    But I think a poor environment can cause additional emotional problems for an autistic child and conversely the difficulty in raising an autistic child cause difficulties, sometimes severe, for the family.
     
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  9. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I had very warm and loving parents. I was also a very social kid until puberty struck.
     
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  10. OrdinaryCitizen

    OrdinaryCitizen Well-Known Member

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    What's the question again?


    here's some art for this thread,
    p.s. i have not read this book.

    cover.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019 at 7:19 AM
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  11. Dadwith2Autisticsons

    Dadwith2Autisticsons Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    If I do have Autism, as I am unsure as I have lifelong AvPD, Social Anxiety Disorder, and OCD diagnoses, but one doctor a few years ago diagnosed a milder form of Autism, it was not because of a refrigerator Mom, as although she had mental illness, and had many anxiety and fluctuating bipolar or borderline mood issues, she also had a side where she came across as nurturing, warm, and clingy if anything. I remember all the times she would want to sit with us twins in a big reclining chair when we were very young, and how she loved cooking us full course meals and making sure we were warm when we went out to play in the winter. She often gave hugs, and often said daily , ‘Honey, do you want this”. She had a warm side. I know that.

    Having said that, she did though neglect our needs when we needed comfort when her mental illness signs and symptoms flared, and when our parents fought a lot, and she had a domineering and controlling side, too. Our mother often sided with our alcoholic neglectful physically abusive father, fearing him leaving her. We as children felt alone only those times, fending for ourself, and the severe anxiety in us increased and our desires and needs to avoid others increased, for us three sons, such that we turned more and more inward and fearful of people. We still craved though relationships and friendships. Our sister turned narcissistic to cope with all that anxiety, abuse, and stress.

    My wife who has ADHD has a severely cold mother who was not there for her for any emotional need when she was young. Her mother was a workaholic, and she talked in a very cold, fast, loud and serious way to her, and everyone. She did not care about my wife’s emotional needs those years she was a child, and she never wanted to spend time with her, or do things with her that she enjoyed. Her mother’s idea of showing care was paying the bills, and providing a prestigious place to live. Having mother and daughter talks were not important to my wife’s mom, nor celebrating holidays, nor finding out what my wife as a child wanted or needed. She needed attention, and someone to calm her during anxious times, and to create peaceful times, and she needed a mother who was not anxious, negative and cold about everything. I think her mother had both obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and general anxiety disorder.

    Now, with regards to my wife and I as parents of two Autistic children, I am more introverted and the shyer type around groups of people, and my wife seems more extroverted, and more outwardly friendly and positive to strangers even. We each have very caring and warm sides, though I admit I have been been more nurturing to our children since early on, as I have since my self-help attempts long ago, have less problems, more tolerances, less limitations, and as I more aware of all the details needed to care for children, and have more abilities there. I am aware of the importance of a household that is peaceful and loving, and I am constantly focusing on what each child wants, needs and cannot handle.

    This does not mean my wife was or is not loving towards each of our children, since infancy, as days when she has less stress and anxiety or is not hyper focused on some perceived problem, or when her mood is better she can do many things for our children, and be very positive, warm and nurturing, but under stress she can focus on her own problems and not be aware of or be able to provide our children’s specific basic and other needs, whereas I under stress can focus on someone else’s daily needs or issues, and care for and provide those, and since I love detail and analyzing a situation and providing those needs and solutions, and trying to multitask at times if need be.

    Since each of our children’s birth, I daily have exhausted myself making sure each of our children’s attention and comfort needs were met, and their personal and educational needs, but allowing them space as well if they seemed wanting to do certain things independently. I even chronicled everything about our children and our parenting of them, in my last book, since each of our children’s births to about ages four and seven respectively, about three years ago. What I can say is soon after birth, both children had severe drinking issues, and it was extremely difficult for feedings. Not sure if that was an early sign of sensory issues. And one of the babies did not like being held. My wife did have severe mental health issues then, in terms of severe anxiety and hyperactivity, with preoccupations often on her own needs and anxieties, being hospitalized often. She did though attempt to hold the babies a lot and show warmth then too, but sometimes met resistance with pushing away arms. Admittedly, I have done more for our children daily, since their births and understand more what they want and need, but when she does things for them, sometimes at my asking, she is positive and warm.

    Neither of our children fear people. Our oldest loves being around others and interacting with others. He is fearless there, and he even says he wants to get married one day. Socially he is maybe 1-2 years behind his age of ten, but most do not even notice his Autism. They just think he is small for his age. Our youngest, age seven, is still mostly nonverbal, but he is very clingy. He is next to and hugs or cuddles with both us parents daily. He likely does not fear people in general, but fears just new people and new situations, likely because change is scary for him, but he does not know how to interact with people. He is too hyperactive for that, and with too many sensory issues, and prefers to do his own thing. We talk to this child daily, and look for clues to tell us what he wants or needs.

    So, I am not sure if I could discount 100% that neglect could not play some factor in the development of such lesser social functioning conditions. I do think genetics is involved, for Autism, but in some cases, could that genetics be partially from underdeveloped brain neurons in certain parts of the brain, when very young, from any less warmth or attention from one or both parents, because of any anxieties and needs to tend to those foremost. Not sure. I do know I was there for each child from infancy on, but I admit I was not the type to have baby talk with a baby, but to just hold and rock the babies, and let my wife know when feedings should occur, or if they needed something else. Only when they became about one age old would I start those many daily attempts at social and educational teaching interactions, and to this day I do such, and continue to do all the things for them that most mothers would.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019 at 10:02 AM
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  12. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Looking at the date, it sounds about right for the rationality, but too much has been learned to continue to believe that. You can look at siblings and disprove that theory.
     
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  13. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I had very loving parents and I am autistic. So in my mind, how you are raised has nothing to do with being autistic, I was born this way. However, I can see how being raised by uncaring, dysfunctional parents could cause additional problems. Being raised this way would cause problems in NT kids as well.

    This is why I believe that kids on the spectrum should get consoling to help them live in a NT world, to help them better deal with their weaknesses and better take advantage of their considerable strengths.
     
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  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    So maybe environmental might be a possibilty? Does it run in any of your family members?
     
  15. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Actually, in the 1940 and 50's, it was the thing for parents NOT to hold their babies too much and that bottle feeing was better - so during those years, babies were not nurtured - which led to the discovery that babies needed the nurturing and why they put so much emphasis on it today. I was staying with my mother in law when I had my second son and she kept fussing that I was holding the baby too much (she was in that generation) but I wasn't about to stop holding him. Her son, by the way, is a sociopath - and not saying that to be insulting to him, because he's who I've always said is the love of my life - but may be Stockholm syndrome, as I've learned in the past year, thanks to some conversations here. :)
     
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  16. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    It's always good to talk about childhood abuse so this post was good. lol
     
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  17. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    That is a good point. l do like reading about how people where raised, and what they got through in childhood. Morbid curiosity l guess you could say. (Spectrum related)

    By releasing your dysfunctional *story* you release pain? Also by me retelling my story, l picked up on early feelings l had, which use to be shame (eating flies), now l see a toddler who had nothing to do, was left in a closed room for periods of time by herself because mummy dearest was busy or didn't like having me. My grandmother did tell me she would adopt had my mother given me up. But l only connected the dots recently about how bored l was as a child.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019 at 11:44 AM
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  18. Captain

    Captain New Member

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    My parents are lovely and understanding; even throughout my "phase" of "acting out" just before I got diagnosed (in my teens). As I learn more about what other people's parents are like; I appreciate them more and more.
     
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  19. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    There are a lot of people with undiagnosed autism in my family. Most of them typical Aspies unaware of it. The only ones that are diagnosed are two second and third cousins with severe autism.
     
  20. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    The "refrigerator mother" theory was debunked years ago. Please don't buy into it.

    Now, I will admit some parents of autistic people are inadequate, but don't you think that might be because autism, HIGHLY heritable, was present to some degree in them, too?

    Hate the parents, hate yourself. Get over it.

    EDITED to add: This is no way excuses abusive parents some readers may have had. Abuse is abuse, period. It adds to the challenges of an autistic child... but it does not cause the autism.
     
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