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12:15pm September 14, 2014

realsocialskills:

how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now they say they’re not judging you which means you can’t trust your own perceptions)
realsocialskills said:
  
One thing that’s important here is that distorted thinking and gaslighting are not mutually exclusive. When you know that you have distorted thinking, gaslighting abusers sometimes exploit that to get you to doubt your perceptions. Even when you are having an episode of actively distorted thinking, that doesn’t mean that the things someone else wants you to believe are necessarily true.
  
I think there are a couple of things that can help to sort out what’s really going on and what’s distorted thinking: outside perspective, and paying attention to your perceptions over time.
 
Regarding paying attention to your perceptions over time: Even if you have depression, you’re not always going to be equally depressed. Even if you have anxiety, you’re not always going to be equally anxious. If you still don’t like what someone is doing to you even when you’re not actively anxious or depressed, it’s probably not distorted thinking.
  
Also, if every time you object to something someone does, they consistently convince you that it’s distorted thinking, something is probably wrong for real. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes you’re both depressed *and* reasonably objecting to something. If someone consistently uses your mental illness to try to make conflicts go away, that’s gaslighting and wrong even if your perspective actually is distorted.
   
 (That said, if you’re actively anxious or depressed, it can be hard to tell in the moment whether or not something is a pattern. It’s possible to feel like it is a pattern when it isn’t, due to distorted thinking. That’s a reason why it can be really helpful to pay attention to how you feel over time.)
   
One way to keep track of how you feel over time is to write a journal. If you write a journal, you can pay attention to how you felt yesterday and whether you still feel that way today. Writing down your perspective is a more reliable way to track things over time than relying on memory. It’s hard to have accurate memories of how you’ve felt over time, and it’s particularly difficult to have accurate memories of what you thought when your thinking was distorted. (That said, journaling does not work for everyone, and if you can’t do it, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure things out.)
  
Outside perspective can also help a lot. That’s one reason that therapy is very helpful to a lot of people who struggle with distorted thinking. If you can find a therapist who you can trust to have a good sense of when you’re probably getting something right and when it’s probably depression/anxiety-related distorted thinking. This backfires horribly if your therapist *isn’t* trustworthy. I don’t really have any advice about how to find a good therapist (I wish I did, and if I ever figure it out, I’ll post about it), but I know that for many people it is both possible and important to find a good therapist. 
  
Personal blogging can also help as a way to track your perceptions over time and get feedback, but be careful about that. Personal blogging attracts two kinds of people who can create problems for those who struggle with distorted thinking: mean people who try to make you feel awful about yourself, and people who unconditionally offer you validation no matter what you say or do. Neither of those kinds of perspectives are helpful for sorting things out. In some ways, unconditional validation is particularly dangerous, *especially* if there’s a possibility that you’re abusing someone.
  
Friends and relatives can also sometimes be really helpful, particularly if they know the people involved or observe things.
 
If you have a sibling you can trust (not everyone does, but some people do), you might be able to have this kind of conversation:
  • You: Sarah, when Mom made that face, was she judging me or was I imagining it?
  • Sarah: Yeah, that’s definitely her judgey face. 
  • or, depending on what she thinks:
  • Sarah: Actually, I think she probably didn’t mean it that way this time. She just talked to me about her obnoxious boss and I think it was her pissed at my boss face.
Similarly, friends sometimes have a really good sense of what’s going on. 
   
The caution about blogging goes for consulting friends/family and other forms of peer support. Be careful about people who offer unconditional validation of all of your thoughts and feelings no matter what. That can end up reinforcing distorted thinking, which is not going to help you learn how to improve your perspectives and trust yourself when your perceptions are accurate.
  
People who are offering you useful perspective will sometimes tell you that they think your perceptions are off base, and they will not be jerks about it when they are critical. They will also not try to coerce you into adopting their perspective. Sometimes they will be wrong. Sometimes you will disagree with them and be right. You are allowed to think for yourself, even if your thinking is sometimes distorted. No one else can think for you, even if you go to them for perspective and help sorting things out.
tl;dr: Gaslighting and distorted thinking are not mutually exclusive. It’s common to experience both, even simultaneously. If you have distorted thinking, people inclined to gaslight you tend to exploit it. Tracking your perceptions over time, and getting outside perspective, make it much easier to sort out what’s actually going on. Sometimes therapy is helpful. Sometimes blogging is helpful. Sometimes friends and family are helpful. Be careful about trusting people who are mean to you or who offer unconditional validation. 
 
What do y’all think? How do you protect yourself from gaslighting when you struggle with distorted thinking?

I have very specific people that I will go to, to ask whether my thinking is distorted or not.  People I would trust with my life.  People who would never in a million years gaslight me.  And different ones have different specialties in terms of being able to see when I’m doing something distorted.

Laura is one of them, she was the first person I could do this with and trust.  Anne is another, although with Anne I have to be careful because she and I have the same brain almost, so we can have the same thought distortions — if I think that’s going on, I check with a third party.  You’re actually another person I trust that way, like I’m not always going to believe you’ve got things right (because we haven’t known each other that long) but I trust your motivations enough to listen to you when you tell me something is off.  The Amorpha& system have been wonderful to me at times for things like this.  And all of you are good at noticing slightly different things, so I feel really lucky.

One thing that made it very hard for me to start doing this, is that I had a doctor once who literally told me never to think my own thoughts, that my thoughts could never be trusted, and that he was the only person who could tell me whether my thoughts were accurate.  He told me he would climb into my head and replace me with a copy of himself, so that I would always carry him with me so he could tell me what to think.

And so for a long time I had a PTSD-type reaction to the idea of checking with people to make sure my thoughts were accurate.  And I had a tendency to check at the wrong times, not to trust myself enough.  So I had to unlearn a lot before I could do any of this.  This psychologist had basically convinced me that I was psychotic, and that psychotic people can never be trusted to be introspective or to have our own thoughts.  He called it “reality-testing” to check with him whenever I had a thought, any thought at all.  It was really messed up.

10:03pm September 13, 2014

Caregivers and abuse and murder and neglect (content warning for every-frigging-thing).

Right now I have one of the most amazing teams of caregivers I have ever had.  These are people who get paid shit wages to come in and take care of me, mostly stuff involving housework, feeding tube care, and personal care (a euphemism for things like having your ass washed by someone else).  

And they not only come in and do it, they do a really good job, they’re respectful, and we get along really well.  They’re not my friends, and I always maintain that boundary because it’s really important to me.  But they are people who I like, that I miss when they are gone, and who feel the same about me.  It’s a weird kind of relationship because it’s more intimate by nature than a lot of working relationships, and yet it’s not a friendship, and trying to turn it into a friendship practically never works — you end up having to choose, friend or staff.  There’s too much of a power dynamic there.

And it’s the power dynamics I want to talk about.  Nondisabled people hear the words that we use for staff and they don’t get it.  They hear ‘staff’, which is a holdover from institution staff.  Staff is a word that generally has a connotation of being below someone in a hierarchy.  But what staff means in an institution or an agency setting is that the staff are at the bottom of the hierarchy of employees.  There’s one group of people below them — the disabled people.  So when a disabled person says “This guy’s my staff,” sie means, “This guy has tremendous power over everything that happens in my day, and yet is powerless over his bosses at the agency, which can be a dangerous combination for me because I’m the only person he can take his otherwise powerless status out on.”  Sort of like how a child in an abusive family may take it out on the dog because the dog is the only person with less power.  In developmental disability agencies, we are the dogs, power-wise.  And that goes even in good agencies with good staff — it doesn’t make the power go away.

And some disabled people, especially physically disabled people, have tried to come up with fancy names to mask all this.  Personal attendant, personal assistant, things that sound like what a bank manager has.  But it doesn’t stop the fact that when it’s time to transfer into bed, that ‘personal assistant’ of yours is the one with the power to do it and the power to choose how to do it.

One of the worst things about caregiver abuse is it’s nearly impossible to prove.  I had an LNA punish me for being unable to wash myself, by scrubbing me so hard it hurt.  I told her she was hurting me, and she smiled really big, said “Thanks for the feedback!” in a bright cheery voice, and scrubbed harder.  We tried to talk to her supervisor, but her supervisor said that it was all okay because it was in the name of motivating me to do more for myself.  (I was lying in the hospital with pneumonia, delirious and near adrenal crisis.  I wasn’t doing a damn thing for myself and it wasn’t the time or the place for anyone to decide to teach me a lesson.)

That’s how physical caregiver abuse works though.  It’s often extremely subtle.  It can be a matter of how hard they jolt you when they transfer you.  How much anger flows through their arms as they scrub your body.  These are not things you can quantify on a checklist.  They’re not even things that an eyewitness can always pick up on.  They’re just subtle differences from the way you would do things if you do them right.

And there’s judgement calls.  I had a caregiver once who treated me like a piece of wood.  But not just like a piece of wood.  You know how when you’re in the kitchen and you’re mad, you slam the plates around, you slam the cupboard doors shut, you make unnecessary noise and use unnecessary force?  Well when she was angry about something, and it didn’t have to be anything about me, she would do all those things to me.  She would turn me over in bed harder than she had to, she’d hold my body down too hard, she’d scrub too hard, she didn’t even realize she was doing it.  Because to me, I wasn’t a person, I was an object.  I was just one in a long line of bodies that she had to scrub to get through her day.  And I was only a body, I was not a person.

Another time I was sexually abused by a caregiver and chose not to report it.  It was, again, too subtle.  I still don’t understand how you prove, to an agency that has a vested interest in protecting its workers, that a touch was a caress and not a clinical touch.  There’s a difference.  I could feel it.  It made me feel exactly how I felt when I was molested as a child.  But it wasn’t genital contact (well there was contact with my genitals as she washed them, but there was nothing special about the way she washed them as opposed to the way she washed the rest of me), and it was so damn hard to prove that she was getting off on touching me in a certain way.  I knew I could endure the abuse better than I could endure the scrutiny that would come after reporting the abuse.  And given that this was an agency who protected someone who took a swing at me in front of witnesses, I had no reason to believe that someone caressing me with no witnesses would get in the slightest bit of trouble.

So much of caregiver abuse, in the physical and sexual realms anyway, is a judgement call like that.  So much of it is something that can never be proven.  And yet a lot of that stuff is where the power lies.

I once helped another client defend her right to have her staff stay out of her living room.  We did it as politely as we could but I ended up having to literally stand between her and the living room.  Her staff threw a temper tantrum and refused to make her dinner.  (And then took a swing at me when I said this was a form of caregiver abuse.)  Refusing to make someone dinner because they tried to exert power over their own belongings in their own home, is a classic form of caregiver abuse.  The staff person then tried to make me leave, which of course I didn’t do — never, ever leave a client alone with an enraged staff person.  I found it very ominous, as did her client, that she wanted me out of the room so badly.  We didn’t know what she was planning to do to her when I left.

And that’s the thing:  No matter who holds the purse strings, staff always have power over disabled people.  Even if we go self-directed.  Even if we hire and fire people ourselves, and decide when to give raises and other things like that.  

Because always.  Staff can decide:

  • When we go to bed
  • When we get up in the morning
  • Whether we get out of bed at all
  • Whether we get into bed at all
  • Whether we get food and water
  • Whether we get our medications
  • Whether our homes get cleaned
  • Whether our pets get looked after
  • Whether our groceries get done
  • Whether our food is prepared
  • Whether our butts get cleaned
  • Whether we go to the bathroom
  • Whether we get our bowel programs
  • Whether we get our catheters, feeding tubes, trachs, etc. taken care of properly
  • Whether our belongings are put within our reach so that we can use them when they are not around to help us
  • Whether phone calls get made
  • Whether appointments get set up
  • Whether rides to appointments get set up

And not just whether, but how these things happen.  Whether they’re done in a civil way, or whether they slam everything around, including our bodies.  How much time is spent on things, whether they rush through everything making lots of mistakes or take their time to do it right.  

And there are plenty of wonderful caregivers, but even the best caregiver always has the power to become a bad caregiver if they wanted to.  If they got mad enough, they could take it out on us, and often they do, because people in hierarchical cultures tend to take out things on those beneath them in the hierarchy.

Worse, when we try to complain about things, I’ve heard a lot of people who don’t have caregivers, say really snide things about it.  Like, “Oh, you can never trust the help.”  As if having a caregiver that you depend on for everything, is the same as being a rich person with servants.  That one really bothers me because even though caregivers are usually at the bottom of the employment hierarchy, they don’t answer to disabled people, they answer to their case managers, who answer to people higher up in management.  There’s an entire hierarchy in agencies with disabled people firmly at the bottom of it.  And disabled people tend neither to be rich nor powerful in these situations.  It’s an insult to imply that there’s anything related between a rich person/servant dynamic and a client/staff dynamic.

Withholding care is a big way that caregiver abuse happens.  It can happen where one caregiver withholds care, but it can also happen where someone higher up in the agency withholds care.  I at one point had an absolutely wonderful caregiver who went above and beyond the call of duty by working for me for free when her boss decided that I was too annoying and that she was simply going to stop hiring people to work for me.  (The boss had no conscience and enjoyed putting clients in awful situations.  Her specialty was separating clients from our favorite staff.  Also having confidential, seemingly friendly meetings with staff where she’d gather blackmail material so she could get them to quit before they were fired.  Real piece of work.)

But it can also be staff who withhold care.  One thing that really upset me when I moved to Vermont, was that I did not get a say in unpacking my apartment.  My staff person told me it was unreasonable for me to tell her where to put things, so she just put things wherever she felt like.  It would have taken two seconds for me to point to where things should go, but she didn’t want to take the two seconds.  She made me feel like dirt, like this demanding horrible person, for wanting to say where my own belongings went.  I asked a lot of case managers and staff about whether I was out of line in that instance, and they all told me that she was the one out of line.  It got bad enough with her that someone called Adult Protective Services and to this day we don’t know who it was.  She insisted I must have arranged it, but I didn’t.  I wasn’t strong-willed enough at the time to do something like that.  In fact when APS called I told them the situation was resolved and to go away.

I know several women who have horrible yeast rashes under their breasts and between their buttocks, like ones where the skin is actually splitting open, because caregivers are not helping them with the kind of lotions needed to prevent that rash.  I used to get those rashes when I had big breasts, and they are incredibly painful.  Failing to provide medical treatment like that is another form of abuse.  I’ve never had anyone refuse to treat my yeast rashes, but I have had people allow me to lie in my own vomit for hours, resulting in long-term acid burns on my skin.

I’m not saying any of this to dump on caregivers.  I actually sincerely love each and every one of my current caregivers, none of whom have shown the slightest sign of doing these things.  But I’ve seen the best and the worst of the community DD system, and the worst is really bad.  

I think the worst I ever found out about was a woman who was, for years, locked in a room of her house, naked, with only her own shit to play with, which of course she did because what else was she going to do, and then they’d use that as an excuse to keep her that way longer.  This was not a formal institution but you can bet it was institutional community care.  Which is a thing.  You can have an institution with just one inmate if you pull it off right, and that agency specialized in taking people out of state institutions and putting them in institutional living situations in their own apartments.  (This is the same agency with the conscience-free case manager.)

Sometimes I worry talking about this, though.  Many parents of disabled children fear that their children, as adults, will be abused, molested, or neglected in the system.  Those are definite risks.  But then the parents sometimes say “I’m the only one who can take care of them properly.  So if I die, then my child has to die too, otherwise they’ll be abused and neglected their whole life.”

That’s not how the system works.  There’s abuse and neglect, but that’s not the whole system.  And even when it is what the person is experiencing, you don’t have a right to kill someone to remove the possibility that they will experience it.  Because even when you’re being abused, there are other parts of life, and you can still be glad you’re alive.  And nobody has the right to take life away from anyone else on any grounds like that, ever.  I am so glad that my parents have never thought that they are the only people who can take care of me.

And the ridiculous part, to me, is they seem to think abuse will be more likely from strangers taking care of their children.  When they themselves may be abusive or neglectful towards their children.  And usually abusers are someone known to the person, often someone from within the family.  So keeping everything within the family doesn’t get rid of abuse by any means.  I’ve been sexually assaulted by two relatives, four fellow inmates of institutions, and one staff person.  So that’s twice as many family members as caregivers, and what the caregiver did was much less awful than what my family members did.

And the thing is also that life doesn’t end with sexual assault.  Sexual assault is horrible, and you never fully get over it, but it doesn’t mean a person’s life is over and they are better off dead.  Encouraging people to think that about disabled people is horrible.  To me, the biggest red flag a parent of a disabled child, or a pet owner, can possibly throw out there, is “Nobody can take care of them like I can.  Nobody is fit to take care of them like I can.”  Because that almost always leads to thought of “Maybe I should kill them before I die myself, so that they don’t have to endure the hell that is being taken care of by anyone but me.”  And once you have the thought, you have the potential for action.

And that could be me, if I had different parents.  That could be you, any of my disabled followers.  It could be some of you, right now.  Some of you may have parents who are plotting to kill you when they get old enough or sick enough that they think their death is imminent.  This is real.  I’ve seen it.  Parents do a lot of disturbing things when they think their children won’t be taken care of properly.  And the two main things I see parents doing when their own death is approaching and their child is not in a secure caregiving situation and the parent really doesn’t get that other people can take care of their child without the world collapsing… is either institutionalizing their child in a way the child doesn’t want to be institutionalized, or killing them (or at least talking about killing them).

I can’t say how much this scares and enrages and terrifies me and makes me badly want a way we can get disabled people out of these situations.  I just encountered a disturbing letter today from a mother who believes that her child will never be happy if they have to rely on paid caregivers (because apparently being paid means they’re only in it for the money, which is laughable if you know how much they make), and that she wants to kill her child so that the caregivers won’t ever have a chance to do horrible things to her (adult) child.

And caregivers do sometimes do horrible things.   People do sometimes do horrible things.  But despite everything I’ve said in this post about the way a bad caregiver can make life hard, making life hard is not the same as making life not worth living, and I worry so much about the adult children of parents who can’t realize that.  Because they either put their child in an overprotective institution situation or a pseudo-utopian farm community, looking for the perfect “placement” for the rest of their child’s life, with no consultation with what their child wants. Or they start talking murder.  And neither of those are acceptable.

And again — a shout-out to my caregivers for being amazing people who aren’t like that at all.  And by amazing I don’t just mean they’re decent, I mean they’re truly amazing and I feel lucky to have them.  I actually look forward to them coming every day, which is a far cry from when my first caregiver walked in the door and I ran outside and started frantically lining up sticks because I couldn’t stand someone in my house and felt like order needed to be restored by arranging sticks in pleasing patterns.  Another time I tried to hide under a chair, but only my head would fit.  Now, I actually look forward to people showing up, I look forward to our interactions, I look forward to joking about how disgusting my feeding tube can get, I look forward to sharing music with them, I look forward to all of it.  And that is what a good client/staff relationship can look like.

12:33am September 13, 2014

 http://fogwithwheels.tumblr.com/post/97352179201/cannibalgender-sanityscraps-tw-sexual

cannibalgender:

sanityscraps:

[TW: sexual abuse, ableism]

I’m sure just about everyone here is aware of the statistic that on average, 1 in 5 women in the US are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

For people with developmental disabilities, that number is over 90%. Over 90%…

5:26pm September 12, 2014

melesmelesxvx:

misandryxvx:

Remember that even if someone abused me and then did something cool, that doesn’t erase the fact that he abused me. I decide when the debt has been paid. Not you.

Ditto.

12:43pm September 9, 2014

hatzigsut:

very chilling topic on twitter right now. 

i have my own reasons for #WhyIStayed, and looking through this hashtag, i can see so many women and men who were lost, just as i was.

i stayed because it was the first time i felt important to anyone. he “loved” me. when he said he would die if i left him, i thought it passionate. when he started showing up unannounced at my house, because my friends told him my brother’s friends were over, i thought the jealousy was endearing.

then he tried to kill himself when i left town for two days. he was convinced that i would find someone else, in a town where i knew no one. i came back home, and promised i would never leave.

the manipulation and emotional abuse became physical—but only once. he slammed me against a wall after i made a joke about dumping him once i started college. i hid the bruises from my family, for weeks. that was the moment i decided to get out, no matter what happened. for some people, it only takes one time. others need more than one. and some people never make it out alive.

it is not always easy to “just leave.” it is a blessing if you are able to leave, with no consequences.

I stayed because I honestly believed some weird sci-fi stuff he’d said about a link between us that, if broken, would cause one or the other of us to die or ‘go insane’.  He eventually tried to convince me the link wasn’t real, but I thought he was “trying to break the link” so I clung to the idea harder.  I did eventually leave him, not the other way around.

11:17pm September 7, 2014

pervocracy:

tranqualizer:

we need to stop idealizing “speaking out” to the point where victims/survivors feel coerced to share their traumatic experiences around sexualized violence because they feel like they need to prove that they deserve support for being “brave enough” to speak out about it. there is tremendous strength and vulnerability in silence. i need us to stop relying on this model of bleeding ourselves dry in order for transformation of the self and others to happen.

This is important.  Obviously I very much respect people who talk about their experiences (I am one myself), but I also respect people who don’t.  Whether for your emotional health, your safety, or simply because you consider it private—it’s okay to not share your story.

Survivorship is not performance art.  Don’t support survivors because their stories are heartbreaking or inspirational or show us all why we need feminism.  Support survivors because they need it.

Sometimes I feel like these kinds of posts are hard to make without sounding like “okay, everyone, 180 degree turn, now we all need to only support people who keep silent!”  No.  We need to honor both and  shut down any idea of “the one right way to be a survivor.”

10:29pm September 7, 2014

“An estimated 63 percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are imprisoned for homicide have killed their mothers’ batterers.”

— 

Kimberle Crenshaw, in her article Intersectionality and Identity Politics: Learning from Violence Against Women of Color. (via supreme-shieldmaiden)

when kimberle crenshaw speaks, you fucking listen. this is the incredible black woman who is responsible for creating the term intersectionality. 

(via doyouthinkimspoopy)

10:27pm September 6, 2014

I watch a lot of documentaries that show children playing.

It doesn’t matter where the documentary is set.  It can be any country in the world.  The children are laughing, dancing around, prancing, playing games, looking idyllic and utopian as can possibly be.  And I can tell it’s supposed to create a reaction in the audience.  We’re supposed to feel happy and uplifted by this universal fact that children play and laugh and are happy, if we only give them the opportunities they need.

But I remember being a child.

I am always looking, but I never find it, because they usually edit them out.  I am certain they edit them out.

I am looking for the child who plays by hirself.

I am looking for the child who tries to play the games the other children play, but sie never quite fits in, and may be reduced to crying or melting down.

I am looking for the child who is crying or melting down or shutting down.

I am looking for the child that the other children deliberately drive into a meltdown, and then they run away to let hir take the consequences and get in trouble with the adults for ‘starting fights’.

I am looking for the child hiding in the bathroom, pulling all the paper towels out, pulling all the soap out, smearing the soap on the walls and mirrors, in an almost ritualistic way, every day.

I am looking for the child who hides in the library.

I’m looking for the child who actually reads the rules for handball and four-square and tries to make people follow them and melts down when they don’t.

I’m looking for the child who gets teased the moment sie walks onto the playground, no matter what sie does or says, everyone can spot hir instantly, even kids who’ve never seen hir before.  And they act like sharks on a feeding frenzy.

I’m looking for the child who can’t walk onto the playground without being bullied.

I’m looking for the child who was sent to therapy because sie was being bullied, but hir bullies were not sent to therapy.

I’m looking for the child who always got blamed for hir own bullying because, in the favorite phrase of her first fourth grade teacher, “It takes two to tango.”  Who is forced to sit there and “talk it out” with a bully who does nothing more than create crocodile tears.  Teachers love crocodile tears, they are sweet and wholesome, unlike real tears which are babyish and messy.  ”She couldn’t have hit you.  Can’t you see she’s crying?”  He asks me.  ”But I’m crying too,” think.  ”And she did hit me.”  But I lack the language to even communicate that much.  Plus, I’ve long since learned that the uncontrollable sobbing that goes along with being a habitual victim of bullying, doesn’t endear you to anyone.  It makes them resent you.

I’m looking for the child who, when asked about the bullying, tries to give the whole story.  ”It started three years ago, when she started trying to keep me from making friends, and it only got worse from there.”  The teacher interrupts, “None of that matters, we’re here to talk about now.”  But it does matter.  The whole pattern matters.  It doesn’t happen in isolation.

I’m looking for the child who was always getting sent to the principal’s office or the school counselor’s office, often with the bully alongside, to “talk it out”.

I’m looking for the child who has been ordered not to be within ten feet of hir bully.  So hir bully works out wherever sie wants to be, and stands within ten feet of it.  This includes standing near any of the child’s would-be friends.

I’m looking for the child who wants desperately for the playground to be like it is on TV and in books, full of children laughing and playing and most of all including hir in their games without comment.  I’m looking for the child who has read books like The Secret Language and wants school to be like that.

I’m looking for the child who is so overwhelmed by the emotions of others that when sie walks onto a playground, sie feels every joy, every anger, every skinned knee, all at once, coming from everywhere.  Sie doesn’t understand that this is out-of-control empathy.  Sie just knows that playgrounds hurt.  Sie goes on them anyway.

I’m looking for the child who is normally so passive that sie doesn’t know sie can get away from bullying.  Like severe chronic pain, bullies are simply unwelcome parts of the landscape, but not something you could change any more than you can change the sky.  So sie goes out on the playground, not knowing sie could do anything else, not knowing she could go somewhere where the bullies don’t exist.

I’m looking for me.

I never see me.

I see smiling, happy children frolicking.

I see an adult fantasy of childhood.

When I was a child, I swore I would never forget that childhood is not idyllic and wonderful.  I swore I would always remember what childhood was really like.  And I have remembered.  I’ve remembered everything.

It makes me grateful to be an adult.  So, incredibly, grateful.  Adulthood is wonderful, even with all the responsibilities and pressures.  I can make so many choices.  Children don’t have many choices.

I know some people, even some autistic people, who had that idyllic childhood.  I am so happy for them.  But for autistic people, that idyllic childhood is as rare as hen’s teeth.  And I have a feeling it’s rarer for nondisabled people than people let on.

In “Winged Migration,” they used a child choir for part of the backup music.  The director (or producer, or something like that) said that he deliberately used children’s voices because childhood is a time of danger and fear and terror, and the birds were always in danger during their migrations, and he wanted to evoke that.  And he evoked it very well.  Maybe in France, people admit more what childhood was like.  Or maybe it was just that particular director.  I was gratified by what he said, though.  Most people won’t admit the realities of being a child.

Childhood bullying is child abuse, done by one child to another, but still child abuse.  Nobody treats it that way.  And when they crack down on bullying, somehow it’s always the victims who get hurt by the crackdown.  The real bullies can manipulate the victims into looking like bullies.  It’s easy for them.

I could never see the teacher.  I could never see what the teacher was looking at.  I could never even fathom I was supposed to see what she was looking at.  So the bullies would do things to me when she couldn’t see, getting a reaction out of me right when she looked in my direction, and looked innocent.  So it just looked like I blew up out of nowhere, and I would get punished.  I didn’t have the communication skills to fully explain what happened, and even if I had, I doubt they’d’ve believed me.

Whenever I see videos of children playing, I look for that one child.  The child off to the side, playing by hirself, screaming when approached by other children.  The child trying to climb into the playground equipment and getting pushed roughly off by hir ‘peers’.  The child who saw all the other children lining up to play games, and got in line, and was told sie didn’t count, that sie couldn’t play.  The child whose only ‘friend’ was marched up to hir by another girl and told to say, “I don’t like you.”  And that was the end of that.  The child who was bullied in preschool, an age when bullying isn’t even supposed to have started yet.  The child who sometimes ended up in the middle of things, on the playground, trying to do normal playground stuff, and always ended up bullied and rebuffed.  The child who couldn’t talk right, so everyone made hir repeat words and sentences so they could make fun of hir speech patterns.  

The child who was so literal that sie spent an entire year with this exchange going on:

Bully:  Do you have any balls?

Me: Yes.

Bully:  How many?

Me: Two

Bully: What color?

Me: One green, one red.

Bully: How big?

Me: The green one is this size, the red one is this size.

Bully:  Where did you get them?

Me:  I got them for Christmas.

Accompanied by roars of laughter when I gave every single answer, because I didn’t know balls meant testicles.  Things like this were a common part of my day at school.  So were people making fun of my clothes for being “fake” because they weren’t name brand.  And all kinds of other kid stuff.

But added up together it became so traumatic that I’d stay home from school rather than face the bullies one more day.  The teachers saw nothing particularly wrong, other than that my social skills were terrible.  If my social skills were better, they said, the bullying would stop.

And the idyllic videos about children around the world, they don’t show me.  Even when they show children in trouble, children in bad situations, they don’t show me.  They don’t show the social outcasts who are social outcasts no matter how much we try to integrate ourselves into the schoolyard.  They don’t show the pain of overload.  They don’t show the child screaming, having meltdowns, crying in the corner, hiding in the bathroom, or exposed in the middle of the playground, too stripped emotionally raw to have the chance to hide anywhere, feeling like sie’s got no clothes on in hir mind, no skin, no nothing, just the feelings of everyone around hir whirling around and battering hir.

They don’t show me.  They don’t show the autistic people I’ve known.  I know we’re out there.  I know because there’s so damn many of us, we can’t possibly not be out there.  I know that even in schools and mental institutions that are designed for neurodivergent people or other Kids With Problems, autistic people stand out as people to be bullied.  I know because I’ve been there.  I know because I’ve been sized up in five seconds as fair game for bullying, by kids with mental illness that should have given them some empathy for my position.  But autistic people seem to be outcasts everywhere.  And when we’re not outcasts, I always worry that we’re only being kept around so that bullies can pretend to be our friends, because that happened to me too.

I want it all to end.

I want a world that’s safe for us.

Really safe, none of this ‘safe space’ bullshit.  I’ve never met a ‘safe space’ that was truly safe for anyone.

And I want to see us.

I want to see that child whose unhappiness shows on hir face, and I want to see hir not presented as the problem when the bullying happens to hir.  I want people to see hir problems as caused by a society that sanctions bullying of people like hir.  Which is most societies, from what I can tell.  It can be subtle, it can be blatant, but it’s always there.

And I know sie is there.

I know sie is out there.

I know sie may even be one of the laughing, smiling kids, with hir laugh and smile edited in at the right moments so nobody has to see hir cry and scream.  Sie may be camouflaged by editing.  I’ve been in the news, I have seen how editing can completely distort a story, even a story that’s supposedly nonfiction.

And they don’t want bullying to be part of the story.

They don’t want autistic outcast kids to be part of the story.

But we are always part of the story.  Wherever there is a school, there is us.  What is it, one in fifty now?  It was one in fifty back then, I can tell you.  Because I remember us.  I remember the people who weren’t diagnosed, but who were ‘like me’.  I remember hating them because they reminded me of myself and self-hatred was something I learned young.  I remember my shame as I treated them just as badly as everyone else did, sometimes.  I remember wondering what else I could have done.  I remember them treating me the same, half the time.  Better to have us fighting each other than to have us gang up on those who kept us down.

It makes me horribly sad, and horribly angry.

I remember all of them.  I remember most of their names.  I remember all the people who would now be called autistic.  Back then, a few may have been diagnosed, usually by their teens, like me.  But most if they had a diagnosis it would’ve been hyperactivity, that was the diagnosis of the day in the eighties and nineties.  Or sometimes gifted, as if gifted explained everything.  As if there wasn’t a big obvious problem when we were put into gifted classes and told “These are your people, you’ll get along with them,” and were ostracized there as much as anyone else.  Or sometimes learning disabilities, put in the resource room.  Sometimes both resource room and gifted.  Sometimes told, “Are you sure you’re really in gifted classes?  That’s what they tell ree-tards to make them feel special but they’re really in ree-tard school.”  At any rate, few of us were diagnosed with autism, but today every single one of us would be diagnosed with autism by the age of three.  The diagnostic criteria and awareness have changed greatly.  A study in England showed the rate of autism in adults, properly screened, was the same as in children — very high.  Most of the adults had been misdiagnosed (schizophrenia is one of the biggest misdiagnoses for adolescents and adults) or undiagnosed.

We’ve always existed.

We still exist.

So where are we in these idyllic childhood videos.

Where is the child screaming in the corner?

Where is the child melting down?

Where is the child stimming?

Where is the child with hir hands covering hir ears?

Where is the child who runs away and hides?

Where is the child who doesn’t even know enough to run away, who absorbs everything, all the noise, all the emotion, and finds that sie can’t take it anymore?

Where are we?

Because I know we’re there, and it hurts not to see us.

tl;dr:  I see a lot of documentaries that show children playing peacefully and happily.  Even children who have clearly been to hell and back.  But I always look for the outcast kids, the autistic kids, the kids who were like me.  I never see them.  This means they are either hiding them or editing out their ‘worst’ moments.  This makes me incredibly sad and invisible.  We exist.  They need to show us.  Even if we are inconvenient to their notion of an idyllic childhood.  We exist in large numbers in every country on the globe.  

8:26pm September 2, 2014
My reward for rescuing my friends birb from somewhere my (wheelchair user) friend couldn’t stand up and reach.  I am apparently a very good Quaker parrot rescuer because I don’t flinch or pull away or scream even when being pecked in seriously painful (but not very damaging) ways.  Quaker parrots know all the best spots to hurt a human — nipples, the inside of elbows, grab the skin at the back of your neck and twist, that kind of thing.  And this one was both sick, and pissed, so she bit all over both of my hands as I tried to get her down from where she was.  I’ve seriously got scars on my hands from this birb.
She’s a very sweet birb when she’s with her human, but not so sweet to anyone else.  Although she likes to dance with me.  I get the feeling she wants to be my friend, but being my friend would require shedding her badass image that she likes to send out, as a way of dealing with years of abuse and neglect.  So I try to just ignore the bites and she’s warming up to me more and more.  
She even lets me pet her head sometimes when we’ve got her wrapped for meds — she could struggle at that point, but she doesn’t, and she seems to actually enjoy it, it’s almost like she’s saying “I have an excuse to enjoy this now, because I can’t get away from you, so I’m going to act like it’s all your fault, but I’m going to lay here looking ridiculously happy and even helping you pet me a little, as long as you don’t acknowledge it, no don’t acknowledge it at all, because I am a seriously bad-ass birb and I can’t show weakness or affection except with my main human.”
But according to her main human, the less you react to her pecking you, the less she pecks you, and the more she warms up to you as a person.  So I’ve learned to just take the pain (I’ve had surgery where anesthetic failed, bird bites are not going to faze me) and she’s getting more and more friendly with me.  I love dancing with her.  We rock side to side in the same rhythm.  I can tell she likes me, she just isn’t sure if she can or should like me.
She actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger, and her human has seen that too.  She says she has this habit of taking in “rescue cases” and that the bird and I both qualify.  
This is not offensive to me (and it’s nothing like that horrible “broken baby bird” comment someone made about me once, context is everything) because we have the kind of relationship where that kind of joking around is okay.  She saved my life, and she did so under circumstances where she lost a lot in her own life in order to do it.  She did it because she cares that much about other people.  And she saw a lot of her younger self in me, and wanted to spare me some of the worst experiences in her own life, because she wasn’t sure I’d survive them.  I lacked a lot of the survival skills that she had, and she was quite worried I’d end up on the streets and die there.
Anyway, this parrot came from a rescue group after such severe abuse and neglect that when she came to us she was emaciated and had no feathers just about anywhere.  We didn’t think she’d live out the week.  My friend told her, “I don’t know if you’re going to live, but even if you only live a few days, I will make those the best few days of your life.”  To our surprise, her body was tough enough she pulled through.  But now she has hepatitis and we’re quite worried about her again.  But she’s been through so much, if any bird can survive, this one can, both emotionally and physically she’s just tough as nails.
She’s also very cute, and very sweet, but she is guarded about showing that side of herself, and can get angry if people notice it too much.  I swear, it really is like looking at me several years ago.  I felt like I had to be a fighter, all the time.  I felt like showing love and affection was showing weakness that could be taken advantage of.  I felt like coming on strong, and hostile, was the best way to go, sometimes.
I was wrong, of course.  And when my tough facade started melting, I was so happy.  So happy and so sad, all at once, for all the years that I had missed because I was too busy trying to be tough, trying to disconnect from other people because they might hurt me the way I’d been hurt, that I wasn’t connecting, I wasn’t having the experiences I had always wanted to have.  And all those years of thinking that cutting myself off from my innate lovingness, tenderness, and compassion was making me stronger, when it was actually doing the opposite.  I see all of this and more in this bird.  Parrots have highly complex social and emotional lives, with better social skills than humans have.  The way she has had to live has really messed her up.  But she’s really blossomed since moving to a safe environment where she’s loved and provided with everything she could possibly need.  It doesn’t matter that there’s only one person she loves, she at least loves that one person with her entire heart.  As she feels safer maybe she’ll find more friends, she seems to want us to be friends, she just doesn’t want to admit it to herself because that wouldn’t be badass in her eyes.  And she desperately wants to be badass.
(She’s also unbearably cute, and doesn’t understand that people have trouble seeing her badass side when she’s looking utterly adorable.  She even has this song that sounds totally cute and sweet until you hear the words, which are “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, shit.”  But it sounds ultra-cute until you hear the words.  Cuteness can be quite the handicap when you really really want people to see you as powerful and strong and brave and curmudgeonly.  Of course, she is all those things, it’s just most people can’t see past the cute.  She’s amazingly brave and strong to have pulled through the hell that she had to live in, both emotionally and physically.)
Anyway… bird bite.  Not a big deal, but holy crap her beak was sharper than usual today.  At least she didn’t dig a ditch in my hand the way she did one time — she just dug out a chunk of skin and I’ve still got the scar.  But I love her.  I can’t help loving her.  She is so reminiscent of myself when I was younger, and she’s got such an intense and loving personality under all the bluster and bravado, it’s impossible not to love her.  And I know that her human loves her even more, and that if anything happens to her, she’ll be devastated.  I remember when she lost her last bird, who was the most asshole unlovable bird on the planet, like hard-core bird people could not stand this bird.  And she was still crying and screaming inconsolably the whole way to the vet and back.  She has a much better relationship with this bird, so I can only imagine if the hepatitis gets to her… I don’t want to think about it.  :-(   They have such an amazing bond.  I want them to grow old together.

My reward for rescuing my friends birb from somewhere my (wheelchair user) friend couldn’t stand up and reach.  I am apparently a very good Quaker parrot rescuer because I don’t flinch or pull away or scream even when being pecked in seriously painful (but not very damaging) ways.  Quaker parrots know all the best spots to hurt a human — nipples, the inside of elbows, grab the skin at the back of your neck and twist, that kind of thing.  And this one was both sick, and pissed, so she bit all over both of my hands as I tried to get her down from where she was.  I’ve seriously got scars on my hands from this birb.

She’s a very sweet birb when she’s with her human, but not so sweet to anyone else.  Although she likes to dance with me.  I get the feeling she wants to be my friend, but being my friend would require shedding her badass image that she likes to send out, as a way of dealing with years of abuse and neglect.  So I try to just ignore the bites and she’s warming up to me more and more.  

She even lets me pet her head sometimes when we’ve got her wrapped for meds — she could struggle at that point, but she doesn’t, and she seems to actually enjoy it, it’s almost like she’s saying “I have an excuse to enjoy this now, because I can’t get away from you, so I’m going to act like it’s all your fault, but I’m going to lay here looking ridiculously happy and even helping you pet me a little, as long as you don’t acknowledge it, no don’t acknowledge it at all, because I am a seriously bad-ass birb and I can’t show weakness or affection except with my main human.”

But according to her main human, the less you react to her pecking you, the less she pecks you, and the more she warms up to you as a person.  So I’ve learned to just take the pain (I’ve had surgery where anesthetic failed, bird bites are not going to faze me) and she’s getting more and more friendly with me.  I love dancing with her.  We rock side to side in the same rhythm.  I can tell she likes me, she just isn’t sure if she can or should like me.

She actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger, and her human has seen that too.  She says she has this habit of taking in “rescue cases” and that the bird and I both qualify.  

This is not offensive to me (and it’s nothing like that horrible “broken baby bird” comment someone made about me once, context is everything) because we have the kind of relationship where that kind of joking around is okay.  She saved my life, and she did so under circumstances where she lost a lot in her own life in order to do it.  She did it because she cares that much about other people.  And she saw a lot of her younger self in me, and wanted to spare me some of the worst experiences in her own life, because she wasn’t sure I’d survive them.  I lacked a lot of the survival skills that she had, and she was quite worried I’d end up on the streets and die there.

Anyway, this parrot came from a rescue group after such severe abuse and neglect that when she came to us she was emaciated and had no feathers just about anywhere.  We didn’t think she’d live out the week.  My friend told her, “I don’t know if you’re going to live, but even if you only live a few days, I will make those the best few days of your life.”  To our surprise, her body was tough enough she pulled through.  But now she has hepatitis and we’re quite worried about her again.  But she’s been through so much, if any bird can survive, this one can, both emotionally and physically she’s just tough as nails.

She’s also very cute, and very sweet, but she is guarded about showing that side of herself, and can get angry if people notice it too much.  I swear, it really is like looking at me several years ago.  I felt like I had to be a fighter, all the time.  I felt like showing love and affection was showing weakness that could be taken advantage of.  I felt like coming on strong, and hostile, was the best way to go, sometimes.

I was wrong, of course.  And when my tough facade started melting, I was so happy.  So happy and so sad, all at once, for all the years that I had missed because I was too busy trying to be tough, trying to disconnect from other people because they might hurt me the way I’d been hurt, that I wasn’t connecting, I wasn’t having the experiences I had always wanted to have.  And all those years of thinking that cutting myself off from my innate lovingness, tenderness, and compassion was making me stronger, when it was actually doing the opposite.  I see all of this and more in this bird.  Parrots have highly complex social and emotional lives, with better social skills than humans have.  The way she has had to live has really messed her up.  But she’s really blossomed since moving to a safe environment where she’s loved and provided with everything she could possibly need.  It doesn’t matter that there’s only one person she loves, she at least loves that one person with her entire heart.  As she feels safer maybe she’ll find more friends, she seems to want us to be friends, she just doesn’t want to admit it to herself because that wouldn’t be badass in her eyes.  And she desperately wants to be badass.

(She’s also unbearably cute, and doesn’t understand that people have trouble seeing her badass side when she’s looking utterly adorable.  She even has this song that sounds totally cute and sweet until you hear the words, which are “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, shit.”  But it sounds ultra-cute until you hear the words.  Cuteness can be quite the handicap when you really really want people to see you as powerful and strong and brave and curmudgeonly.  Of course, she is all those things, it’s just most people can’t see past the cute.  She’s amazingly brave and strong to have pulled through the hell that she had to live in, both emotionally and physically.)

Anyway… bird bite.  Not a big deal, but holy crap her beak was sharper than usual today.  At least she didn’t dig a ditch in my hand the way she did one time — she just dug out a chunk of skin and I’ve still got the scar.  But I love her.  I can’t help loving her.  She is so reminiscent of myself when I was younger, and she’s got such an intense and loving personality under all the bluster and bravado, it’s impossible not to love her.  And I know that her human loves her even more, and that if anything happens to her, she’ll be devastated.  I remember when she lost her last bird, who was the most asshole unlovable bird on the planet, like hard-core bird people could not stand this bird.  And she was still crying and screaming inconsolably the whole way to the vet and back.  She has a much better relationship with this bird, so I can only imagine if the hepatitis gets to her… I don’t want to think about it.  :-(   They have such an amazing bond.  I want them to grow old together.

4:02am September 2, 2014

clatterbane:

youneedacat:

lichgem:

That reminds me that mental health programs tend to assume that if you’re alone it’s your fault. That you’re ‘self-isolating’ or ‘need help being integrated in the community.’

I’d be able to ‘integrate with the community’ if it wasn’t ableist as hell and completely inaccessible to me.

I’ve also told my workers that I’m alone because of bullying and abuse and they wrote down in my file ‘has issues getting along with others.’ Thanks a lot, shitheads.

I was first sent to counseling because I was being bullied in school.  That was the first reason I ever saw a shrink.  I was seven years old.  We were all treated as if we were there for various social problems.  (It was both group therapy and individual therapy, with an MFCC who did both.  My parents told me that because the counselor was very fat, she would understand being bullied.  She didn’t seem to understand much of anything really, but I don’t really think you can expect an MFCC in 1987 to understand autism, either.  She decided I was different because I’d fallen into a duck pond as a little kid, then she made me draw it over and over.)  We were all treated as if bullying was part of our problem, rather than a problem on the part of the bully.  It was really weird.  You never saw the bullies getting made to see a counselor.

Coincidentally, I got referred at 7 too, for pretty similar reasons. Mine was specifically about my supposed “severe anger problem”, and got blamed on my parents’ divorce the year before basically unhinging me. AFAICT that problem consisted of showing any anger at all when some other people didn’t like it. It couldn’t have been a series of normal/understandable reactions to getting treated like crap in school, not at all. :-| Thankfully that didn’t last more than a few sessions. But yeah, the often sneakier aggressive-behaving ones who are actually causing problems are not the ones who end up getting blamed for those resulting problems. Much less viewed as in need of help with changing that behavior. It’s really disgusting.

Yes one of the things that happened when I was seven, was I started actually noticing a lot of social stuff, and I started getting bullied a lot worse.  People say sometimes that bullying doesn’t start until the age of 7 or 8, but they’re wrong.  I was bullied from the moment I set foot on a playground at the age of 3 or 4 in nursery school.  I remember it vividly because any time I got on the play structures I’d get shoved off by groups of other kids.

But anyway, bullying did really pick up when I was seven, and so did my social awareness in general.  I became more aware of other kids.  And I developed a hair-trigger temper as a result.  Like at home, I’d snap at my parents, yell at them, all for little things that weren’t a big deal — and I mean, for real they weren’t a big deal.  I just had this fight/flight/freeze response going on and sometimes it got stuck on “fight”.  My parents kept telling me “not to be so negative” and “calm down” and stuff but it obviously didn’t fix the problem, especially because I didn’t know what the word ‘negative’ meant except that my parents used it when they were fed up with me.  (Another example of my receptive vocabulary being extremely low for my age.  It’s weird when I remember words and realize I had no idea what they meant at the time.  Like the time I aced an IQ test and didn’t know what “test” was, and didn’t know what “IQ” was either.  I heard “testingwithSarah” as one word (they said that every time I went for testing), and even then didn’t get what it was referring to.)

So I’m sure my temper was part of why I got sent there, that and the fact that I was so afraid to go to school that my parents would deliberately keep me home some days because they felt bad for me.  But I still maintain there’s something seriously weird when bullied kids go to therapy and the bullying is seen as part of our problem, while the bullies don’t have to go to any kind of therapy at all.  It reminds me of a staff person who, as a teenager, tried to kill herself to avoid being raped by seven of her male relatives.  She got put in the state hospital for years.  Everyone knew her father raped her, everyone, nobody disputed it, but he never served a single day of time.  So basically she did time in a mental institution for her father’s crime, but her father never did time in prison or anything.  (And while I don’t like the idea of prison, I do agree that there needs to be some way to keep child abusers away from kids.)

9:35am August 22, 2014

dendriforming:

Yes, lying to cognitively disabled people is SO innovative. I’m sure it’s never been done before.

10:01am August 20, 2014

 Shout-out to everyone whose childhood was hell.

theiredepartment:

chaos-under-construction:

youneedacat:

Shout out to everyone who can’t remember back to an idyllic childhood, because that time never existed for abused children.

Shout out to everyone for whom childhood was a never-ending hell with no refuge, anywhere, in sight.

Shout out to everyone who never experienced…

Thank you

Thank you for reminding us that we are better in spite of what we had as a childhood. We have no family and haven’t since we were five or six. We call ourselves street rats for a reason. Juvie and so-called foster care, orphan homes and dumpsters, backyard sheds we could sneak into and the occasional family that saw us, knew we had no place to go and let us stay hidden for short periods of time if we worked. Gaps where we honestly felt like we were transported and ended up in a different part of town with no memory of how we got there but no real change in how we lived.

Until the age of 15 when we found a real foster home for the first time and home school for real learning also for the first time. Does it make sense now to you why we don’t comment on families? Why we can’t comment on growing up and school?

This is why our goal is only to survive because this has been our goal for life since that age of 5 or 6. 

-NV

As well as those of us who weren’t taken away when we should have been, in “families” in which nobody outside wanted to intervene because the parents were considered “respectable” ie white, older, educated, middle class. You know how in schools they tell kids “If someone is abusing you tell an adult, and keep telling successive adults until someone believes you!” and then proceed to ignore it when kids come forward in the way that they’re told, with the bruises to prove it.

Just in general everyone who didn’t and sometimes still doesn’t understand why anyone would want a family when the concept of family was something horrific you tried to escape from, who couldn’t stand when school let out for the summer because you’d be trapped, stuck at home with your mother’s rages and no break to force her to cool off occasionally.

Who still faces every new event or process in life with dread because they spend most of their lives to date having to steady themselves for whatever new cruelties their family could dream up next. Who is ostracised by their extended family because they don’t let their abuser(s) take central place in their lives anymore or participate in (ruin) their occasions and who finds that this doesn’t surprise them all that much because if they refused to protect an abused three year old they’re sure as shit not gonna be on your side now.

Basically, people who have to learn how to live when they are already adults because all they know is how to duck and cover and survive

6:53am August 20, 2014

 Shout-out to everyone whose childhood was hell.

chaos-under-construction:

youneedacat:

Shout out to everyone who can’t remember back to an idyllic childhood, because that time never existed for abused children.

Shout out to everyone for whom childhood was a never-ending hell with no refuge, anywhere, in sight.

Shout out to everyone who never experienced…

Thank you

Thank you for reminding us that we are better in spite of what we had as a childhood. We have no family and haven’t since we were five or six. We call ourselves street rats for a reason. Juvie and so-called foster care, orphan homes and dumpsters, backyard sheds we could sneak into and the occasional family that saw us, knew we had no place to go and let us stay hidden for short periods of time if we worked. Gaps where we honestly felt like we were transported and ended up in a different part of town with no memory of how we got there but no real change in how we lived.

Until the age of 15 when we found a real foster home for the first time and home school for real learning also for the first time. Does it make sense now to you why we don’t comment on families? Why we can’t comment on growing up and school?

This is why our goal is only to survive because this has been our goal for life since that age of 5 or 6. 

-NV