Last summer, Today.com published a controversial article entitled, “Why there’s a war between parents of children with autism and autistic adults.” https://www.today.com/parents/autism-wars-why-parents-autistic-adults-are-battling-t227565
The article states that some members of the autistic community are upset with how some autism parents share details of their children’s lives on social media.They believe these parents are using their children’s disability for sympathy and oversharing personal details.
In turn, some Autism Parents have reported receiving messages from members of the #actuallyautisticcommunity, calling them names, accusing them of not loving their children and telling them that they should kill themselves.
The truth is…
This article came out just as I was launching my one-on-one coaching program for moms raising children with autism, and beginning to share more on social media, about my own experiences with my son. I wondered about the things I might hear from strangers.
- You are a bad parent
- You do not love your kid
- You are exploiting your kid
- You are doing this for attention
- You are making this about you.
Here is what I realized: Of all the terrible things I could imagine someone saying to me or about me, they paled in comparison to the steady diet of thought garbage I was feeding to myself.
And I am not alone
The real autism war is the one we are waging against ourselves.
- With our self-doubt
- With our judgment
- With our fear that it is our fault;
- With our belief that we are not doing enough
Sure. Maybe we don’t do it in the form of nasty posts. We are more subtle in our abuse.
We do it in a way that pretends to be helpful. We do it by asking ourselves what I would call “dead-end questions”, like:
- Am I doing enough?
- Am I doing the right things
- Why me?
These questions are inherently negative and keep us as victims . Implicit in each of these questions is the negative answer. For example, when we ask ourselves,”am I doing enough?” we are really saying that we aren’t doing enough. When we are asking ourselves ”what’s wrong with me?”, we’re really saying that there is something wrong with ourselves. They keep us in the place as victims – a place were we will never thrive.
The antidote to negative questions is powerful questions.
Powerful questions are thought provoking and proactive.
- If I was not taking this personally, what would I think/do?
- What can I learn from this?
- What if this isn’t a problem?
Powerful questions can help us stop waging war against ourselves. We can’t control other people, but we can decide how we treat ourselves.
The next time you find yourself asking a dead-end question, ask a powerful one instead.