Stigma is everywhere. It is against different disabilities, religions, races, etc. It is harmful. There is a lot of it when it comes to the autistic community. The autistic community perpetuates stigma against people with cluster B personality disorders. It’s because it was taught like that from the psychologist we see and who study us. The stigma needs to end now.
My Journey to Self Realization
People who have been following me for a while know that I grew up an extremely toxic environment. The abuse started right as I got my ADHD diagnosis in 1988. It was physical, emotional, financial and mental abuse. I remember them arguing back and forth because they wanted to send me to Willowbrook (more about this on the anniversary of the kids liberation on September 17) but it closed down the year before my diagnosis. I did not know what that was until I worked for ARC when I lived in Upstate NY, after leaving home. Learning about Willowbrook was a part of the training curriculum. There were some clients there who were rescued from there.
I was barely verbal and had terrible meltdowns. They wanted perfect children. As I was growing up, I was constantly reminded that I was created to make them miserable. I was even named after miserable relatives.
I even opened up to the school counselor about what was going on at home. They threatened to call CPS if they did not get mental health evaluations. They were both diagnosed with NPD when I was in high school.
My husband who was abused as a kid, hates them because of what they did. I thought this type of treatment was normal up until I met my mother in law (may her memory be a blessing) and quickly learned that is not how parents are supposed to treat their kids. I never called her by her first name, it was always “ma.” Let me digress by saying my 3 bonus children are her ex’s children and she had them call her grandma. She was truly special.
ANYWAY. After meeting my new family, I was seeking other people online who went through horrific childhoods like I did. I did sign up for Facebook and I did post about my experiences. It was thereupitc for me. Then after posting it for a while, a group was recommended to me. Please excuse the terminology. Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. I joined and then the description fit my experiences. Then I remember the diagnosis they got when I was in high school. I needed something to blame. I got sucked in. I finally found people who got me and were there when I was having a flashback or when my mother decided to offer to assist in my suicide (she offered to bring me ibuprofen, I am allergic to it, to help end my life. I was in a dark place and she was more than happy to help me end it. Nick stopped me and screamed at her).
I had this mentality for a long time, it helped me cope. I am not saying it was right, its just what happened. After I had children I was really careful. I did not want them to be like my parents at all. From the bringing I decided I would not parent like them.
When Bug was 3, I started to get involved with the autistic community. After he was diagnosed, I started to suspect myself. I finally had an answer to why I was the way I was. When filling out checklists for Bug, I realized he was just like me and that’s why I didn’t really notice but my brother in law did.
Anyway, years later I was talking in autistic led groups talking about my parents using ableist terms and I was corrected. It threw me off and I thought they were just trying to invalidate my past when I spent so long being invalidated and finally found people who got me. I thought they were trying to say I should not speak out about my abuse. I did not realize I was speaking out about it in a harmful way. That was the problem.
After many years in the autistic community, I connected with people from all walks of life. I had talked to a few people and a close friend told me they had a personality disorder. I asked bluntly if they were abusive and they told me know. They were insulted but sat me down, so to speak, and explained to me just because someone has a personality disorder, it does not mean they are abusive.
It literally hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so heavy. How could I be like that? This is just like someone equating all autistic people as violent. This is stigmatizing and it should never happen.
At that point I made a public apology. I really did mean it but I needed time to learn so I did it at my own pace. I spoke to people who have personality disorders. It is caused by the same trauma that caused my PTSD. It could have gone either way. It could have easily been me.
I added to the stigma. I am now trying to undo this stigma.
You Can Talk About Your Abuse Without Being Ableist
Yes you can still talk about your abuse. I was abused by two people who were supposed to protect me, love me, and nurture me. That did not happen. This is not because they have a diagnosis. The diagnosis did not abuse me, they did.
There is no such thing as narssassitic abuse. It just abuse.
I speak on my abuse a lot, not so much anymore. I am still uncovering memories that I have buried.
I would say,”I was abused as a child by two people who were supposed to protect me but instead they hurt me and hurt my children.”
My father got in my face when Roo was 4 and he still remembers it. I told him that he was scaring him and then my father told me it was my fault.
See, I was able to speak on it without throwing a group of people under the bus along with him. There is a way to talk about your abuse. It is healthy to talk about it but do not generalize about a group of people while doing it.
The stigma needs to end now. There needs to be no stigma against any marginalized group. This includes people with cluster B personality disorders. I wrote this to show even if you have had horrific abuse, this self realization can happen. Be kind to yourself without harming others.
No body is perfect, I slip up every now and again. The difference is that I catch myself and then correct myself. You can do it too.