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Toxic Positivity and Autism

Stupid and hurtful things people say when they don't know what to say. Why do people do this? Have you experienced this in your journey? 'Oh they meant well'. So your feelings don't matter. Maybe they did mean well, but they did not do well. They've hurt you.

Why do people say these things?

I think people are often trying to be encouraging if dare to tell them what life is really like. They want you to feel better, but instead minimise, dismiss or invalidate your feelings. Or they may give you some 'advice' (criticism) that they think you need to hear or hadn't thought of.

  • People are uncomfortable with negative feelings so they invalidate them.

  • People feel guilty they have a 'normal' child or a 'normal' life themselves and don't have the same struggles you have.

  • People are uninformed - you can't 'get over' autism or ADHD. It's for life. You're not going to grow out of it - even if you 'try harder'.

  • We are socialised into toxic positivity about what parenting should be like and what it should feel like. Sometimes it's just hard and not fun at all and you do worry about the future.

  • Some people are mean and dismissive sometimes and lack genuine empathy.

  • Some people are only interested in themselves and they don't want to hear about you so they shut you down and continue talking about themselves.

  • Some people think they know better when they have no experience of what you're going through.

You may notice a theme in the Do's column of the infographic. "I'm here for you." Perfect. When you don't know what to say, this is what you say. No advice. Just validation. We don't tell people our 'stuff' because we want advice. We want to be heard, accepted and validated.

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