Anonymous asked realsocialskills:I’m autistic, and my mom outs me against my will to anyone she has known for more than 5 minutes. How do I get her to stop?realsocialskills said:Unfortunately, I can’t think of any way to get her to stop that seems likely to work. I’m posting this in hopes that someone else has ideas.Have any of y’all succeeded at getting a parent to stop outing you?
I don’t know what your relationship with your mother is like, but maybe ask her if you can talk to her privately for a moment, and be firm but gentle, use words like “This is important, we need to talk.” Vocalize in the nicest way possible about how you feel about what she does when she introduces you to people. Think of an agreement when you want to “out” yourself as being Autistic, if you even want to out yourself.
You can even write all these feelings in a letter if talking to her face to face is too intimidating.
That kind of thing is much more effective between equals. I haven’t seen it work well as a strategy to get someone with power over you to treat you better. Have any of y’all?
I find this particular aspect of parent-child relationships interesting. At some point there is a shift, when the parent switches (slowly) from treating their child as a young dependent and starts treating them as an equal and an adult. The relationship changes from carer-dependent, or sometimes superior-inferior, to being more like two friends or family members of equal standing.
Sometimes it is a real struggle, because the parent doesn’t want to stop seeing their child as the little one they raised. Sometimes it’s very natural and easy, as parents allow their child to grow into whoever they want to be.
Part of this process can happily include the child requesting that the parent respect them and their boundaries more. This is what I would advise the anonymous OP to do, but only if they judge that it’s unlikely to go down badly. If it’s something you’ve not tried before, it can be very difficult to judge how it will turn out. It’s up to you whether you think it’s a good risk to take. If the parent is open to the relationship changing slightly, they will accommodate this request as they would with someone who’s not their child.
I think it’s worth remembering that however it turns out, it is your right to assert your needs and wants and comfort levels, and people who don’t respect that are in the wrong, especially when it’s something as small as asking them not to say something. We deserve respect from everyone, including our parents.
It might be that a parent could feel uncomfortable about their child’s behaviour, and providing an explanation to strangers helps the parent to feel less judged by others. Like, “I acknowledge the weirdness; it’s because they’re autistic.” I don’t say this to excuse the behaviour, just to provide a different perspective. People have weird issues around having attention drawn to them, or feeling like others might think they’re a bad parent, or whatever. Everyone’s messed up.
Edit: I am fortunate enough that to my knowledge no one has outed me without checking with me first.