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There is no shame in feeling shame about having autism

Misty Avich

I have ADHD
V.I.P Member
Because I feel like a rarity for having these feelings about being on the spectrum, I thought I'd Google it, and I came up with this interesting article:-


Feeling shame and embarrassment are emotions and not a judgement. Nobody should be shamed for feeling embarrassed about who they are or the condition they have. It can also come from co-morbids to autism, such as depression and anxiety, which can cause one to feel more dysphoric about their diagnosis.

I suppose because I got an early diagnosis I'm expected to be more emotionally well-adjusted and happy with myself. No, it's not like that with me. I've explained why in my blog, plus more reasons that I probably haven't mentioned.

Autism can be embarrassing, as in it can make you do embarrassing things. It makes me everything I don't want to be and has made me because treated how I don't want to be treated.

I don't want advice or criticism, I just want people to understand.
 
Yes of course, feelings are not under our control. Suddenly unlearning all the emotional baggage that people forced you to carry and becoming a super positive person is not realistic.

The problem is people who make us feel ashamed of ourselves, not the emotions itself. After all emotions are not right or wrong.
 
Feeling shame and embarrassment are emotions and not a judgement. Nobody should be shamed for feeling embarrassed about who they are or the condition they have.
Judgement can enforce repetitive emotional reactions. Wanting somebody to not judge themselves (because others judge them) for something beyond their control is not shame, it is love. There is a point where people can work against themselves. You aren't looking beyond feelings with this, just reaffirming self-hatred, a less reasonable feeling.
It can also come from co-morbids to autism, such as depression and anxiety, which can cause one to feel more dysphoric about their diagnosis.
Are you saying depression and anxiety are not negative experiences? It seems as if it clearly colors how people see Autism.
I suppose because I got an early diagnosis I'm expected to be more emotionally well-adjusted and happy with myself. No, it's not like that with me.
I don't have such expectations for anybody.
Autism can be embarrassing, as in it can make you do embarrassing things. It makes me everything I don't want to be and has made me because treated how I don't want to be treated.
It shouldn't always be embarassing for you, especially if you do nothing wrong. It's about who you are, not a perfect image you need to fit into. You seem frustrated about how you are treated but legitimize it at the same time. I don't blame you, I have felt the same.
I don't want advice or criticism, I just want people to understand.
I only expressed my opinion here. I understand yours and I most respectfully disagree. I wish there to be hope for you escaping this cycle.
 
Judgement can enforce repetitive emotional reactions. Wanting somebody to not judge themselves (because others judge them) for something beyond their control is not shame, it is love. There is a point where people can work against themselves. You aren't looking beyond feelings with this, just reaffirming self-hatred, a less reasonable feeling.
It's okay for someone to not want you to feel ashamed about autism because they care about you, but it's not okay for someone to shame you personally for how you feel.
Are you saying depression and anxiety are not negative experiences? It seems as if it clearly colors how people see Autism.
No, I meant anxiety and depression can cause a person to feel more dysphoric about their autism than other people with autism do.
I don't have such expectations for anybody.
Well that's good.
It shouldn't always be embarassing for you, especially if you do nothing wrong. It's about who you are, not a perfect image you need to fit into. You seem frustrated about how you are treated but legitimize it at the same time. I don't blame you, I have felt the same.
I do feel embarrassment quite intensely. I think it's because others have called me embarrassing in the past for being clueless about my actions.
Also I have become so obsessed with certain people when I was a teenager that I have kind of demonstrated stalking behaviour. When I got into trouble for it (one of the men I was obsessed with confronted my mother telling her to get me to keep away from him) my mother had to tell him that I was harmless, like she was talking about "a harmless nutter" (no bad intentions of my mother, it's just how the situation felt).
I only expressed my opinion here. I understand yours and I most respectfully disagree. I wish there to be hope for you escaping this cycle.
Thank you for your opinion.
 
You could just leave it at "there is no shame", and those are the people who never grow, never change, and have a limited purpose in the cosmos.
 
Well, of course nobody should be ashamed or invalidated for having a feeling on any topic.

When I think about the premise behind this, I think what it'd be like if someone said they were ashamed of being ___ ... fill in ___ with whatever marginalized group you'd like, whether it be female, POC etc...

I think there'd be a sense that the shame is coming from negative stereotypes that have been internalized. Like, being female isn't something you'd naturally feel shame over. But if you were raised in a misogynist culture that reinforced the idea over and over that females are bad, then maybe it becomes something you'd feel shame over. So I think that's where the concern comes in, because it's hard to see where this internalized bias stops.

And likewise informing others of this possibility shouldn't be construed as shaming. If anything, it's pity.
 
You could just leave it at "there is no shame", and those are the people who never grow, never change, and have a limited purpose in the cosmos.
Yes, people have to distinguish right from wrong, innocent from shameable by themselves. That can give ultimate purpose. It doesn't make people inhuman or narcissistic, quite the opposite.
I don't think I am the only one with an honest analytical mind here...
Nobody is just born to be an "unchanging" or horrible person. They are shaped by their experiences and decisions.
 

I don't think I am the only one with an honest analytical mind here...
Nobody is just born to be an "unchanging" or horrible person. They are shaped by their experiences and decisions.

Agreed. I suppose I'm just a bit more cold-blooded about the math of this equation:

* There will be a very few who will want to understand and will succeed.
* There will be a few more who want to understand and fail.
* Leaving a vast majority to default to their way of thinking, and expect or demand we do the same.

With the reality being that it's unlikely short of one having direct and continual social interaction with autistic people, whether friends or relatives. We're less than two percent of society according to the CDC.

Why would anyone expect or demand that the societal remainder comprehensively understand who and what we are when the mathematical disparity is so great?
 
* There will be a very few who will want to understand and will succeed.
* There will be a few more who want to understand and fail.
* Leaving a vast majority to default to their way of thinking, and expect or demand we do the same.

With the reality being that it's unlikely short of one having direct and continual social interaction with autistic people, whether friends or relatives. We're less than two percent of society according to the CDC.

Why would anyone expect or demand that the societal remainder comprehensively understand who and what we are when the mathematical disparity is so great?
That's why, in the end, Autistic people need to understand and guide themselves. Nobody will "save" us. Nobody will "understand" us. Nobody even needs to, they just have to stop the direct harm. I will never be like others so I don't expect to become like others. I need to keep what is useful and true. I need to keep myself.
 
Nobody is just born to be an "unchanging" or horrible person. They are shaped by their experiences and decisions.
This, this, this. I am shaped by my experiences with autism, which have been mostly negative and stressful. So having people with autism making me feel like I'm ''not allowed'' to have these feelings is just as insensitive as telling someone with PTSD to stop feeling traumatized because it's offending others. (Not referring to anyone in this thread or in particular, just speaking in general).
 
You are allowed to feel shame or any manner of dysphoric feeling for having autism. Don't let certain people twist the meaning of your mindset to mean that you hate all autism or hate autism in other people. When people do that - they are the problem, not you.
 
Shame is coming from negative stereotypes that have been internalized. Like, being female isn't something you'd naturally feel shame over. But if you were raised in a misogynist culture that reinforced the idea over and over that females are bad, then maybe it becomes something you'd feel shame over. So I think that's where the concern comes in, because it's hard to see where this internalized bias stops.

Ymmv, but I believe--as a female--that all females are born into a world and a society that installs and constantly reinforces this ersatz shame for its own perpetuation. We should not be ashamed nor disempowered, yet we all are. We don't get a choice nor an escape, neither did our foremothers. It's the horror of being a woman in a system that disadvantages and yokes women like stock, in a hundred different ways.

So, it's not so much 'bias', nor a warped ideology to 'pity' us for. It's a real-world, collective experience with tangible, devastating effects on living women in every country on Earth.

Also I've been rewatching Utena, if it helps to know the frame of mind this is coming from.

 
I think it's the social isolation that has conditioned me to feel ashamed, as where I come from society does tend to shame people who have very limited friends. I've even been shamed for it and made fun of, and was often a target for bullies on my way to and from school because I had nobody who wanted to walk with me. If I did see other girls who were in my class walking the same way I sometimes joined them but I could tell they didn't want me there, which was so hurtful because they knew me well enough and I knew that if I was any other girl in the class they would have just automatically included them. But me, because of this AS, I was treated like I didn't matter, and it really hurt, being so I desired friendships and hated being on my own all the time.

In my teens and early 20s I would get so angry with myself for not having friends, that I would hit myself and want to punish myself for being so unable to do something that's as easy as making friends. One time I remember sitting on the kitchen floor screaming ''I WANT TO BE NORMAL! WHY AIN'T I NORMAL?!!!'' It really upset the rest of my family, because they hated seeing me like that (because they cared) but it also created stress for them, and I can understand that. Being the only person diagnosed with ASD in my family it can bring it home more and make you realise how unlucky you are to be the one to have won the ''genetic lottery''. My sister has learning difficulties and my mum and even a teacher did wonder if she might have had some ASD traits but I don't think so. She was never diagnosed and seemed to make friends better than me. One of my cousins showed some autism signs as a child and teenager but he was never as socially isolated as I was, as he seemed able to force himself to go out to clubs and bars with friends, and even now he enjoys going to concerts with a couple of friends he has.
When I was younger I was stuck between preferring to stay at home where I felt safe, yet feeling frustrated and angry with myself for not going out doing things what my peers were into. It was a dilemma and it caused me a lot of outbursts and thoughts of suicide. This pressure feels less as I gotten older, as a lot of people my age aren't as into clubbing and drinking as they were 12 years ago. But I still beat myself up for never having worked full-time, something a lot of people on the spectrum seem to accomplish or have accomplished in their younger years.

And I spent most of my high school life (during times when I was friendless) watching the other girls in my class chat and laugh and accept each other, and I'd long so hard for that kind of friendship with them. But instead I was made to stand on the outside, being ignored and disliked. It hurt, it really did. And those hurt feelings have destroyed me so much that it's just become how I feel about having ASD; angry and feeling victimised by it, feeling unlucky, isolated, etc. It can happen, though not to all spectrumers. I just never took my diagnosis very well and as a child I sometimes would cry and say ''please get rid of this ASD for me, Mummy, I don't want it any more, I want to be normal like all the other children.'' And it broke her heart. Wouldn't it break your heart if your sociable little Aspie child said that to you and you knew there was nothing you could do to magic it away?
 
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I don't think people who are ashamed of their autism should be shamed or ashamed. I think they should be supported to so that they can stop regretting who they are. They are fine the way they were made, and the ones with the problem are those who abuse and exclude them over their own insecurities. You don't need to be normal, and any time I look at what it is that represents the "norm" I recoil from it finding it to be a lot worse than merely being strange or introverted.
 
This, this, this. I am shaped by my experiences with autism, which have been mostly negative and stressful. So having people with autism making me feel like I'm ''not allowed'' to have these feelings is just as insensitive as telling someone with PTSD to stop feeling traumatized because it's offending others. (Not referring to anyone in this thread or in particular, just speaking in general).
This?
I suspect myself having had C-PTSD so I completely get it. You are allowed, no question about it. But others are allowed to have feelings too. It is insensitive to say "I am ashamed to be (insert your group here)". Recognizing that isn't a "shut up" or "you are a bad person" attitude. It is just recognizing a bad statement. It is maybe a call to reconsider but if you hate that, that is your attitude. If you think there is no judgement in somebody being ashamed of who they just are then there is no judgement in somebody responding to that in the obvious way either, trying to help them with getting out of a destructive cycle.
You are allowed, yes, so have your choice. I just want people to be happy, ultimately. And if that immediately bothers you, think about why. That is not shame either, it is just a bit of perspective maybe.
 
This?
I suspect myself having had C-PTSD so I completely get it. You are allowed, no question about it. But others are allowed to have feelings too. It is insensitive to say "I am ashamed to be (insert your group here)". Recognizing that isn't a "shut up" or "you are a bad person" attitude. It is just recognizing a bad statement. It is maybe a call to reconsider but if you hate that, that is your attitude. If you think there is no judgement in somebody being ashamed of who they just are then there is no judgement in somebody responding to that in the obvious way either, trying to help them with getting out of a destructive cycle.
You are allowed, yes, so have your choice. I just want people to be happy, ultimately. And if that immediately bothers you, think about why. That is not shame either, it is just a bit of perspective maybe.
Not sure why you responded with "this?", because me saying "this" means I was agreeing with your statement, saying "this" three times means I strongly agreed with your statement.
Saying I'm ashamed of who I am involves no direct criticism against anybody (except myself). People shaming me for feeling this way is more directed at me.

If you read post #14, you might get an insight as to why I'm feeling this way and that it's not about everyone else on the spectrum, it's about me. Also Blitzkrieg has a very good point too, also very true.
 
That is how shame goes from being an external force to an internal force. When you experience shame from others, you begin to internalize that feeling. Until, in time, you start shaming yourself.
Yep, internalising the shame is going backwards.
 

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