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?
For that kind of thing, I’d try to recruit allies who have more power than I do, preferably autonomous adults. That means going to another parent, an older relative, a teacher or coach I trusted, or a counsellor, disability advocate, or family friend, and explaining to them that my mom was doing something that embarrassed and hurt me and wouldn’t stop. They’d help me talk to my mom, or talk to my mom on their own, adult-to-adult.
Which is why I side-eye SO MUCH families who say things like “keep it in the family” or “don’t air your dirty linen in public” to shame kids into never reaching out for help. Outside allies are really important to dependents who are being squished by a dysfunctional family system.
I mean, that’s presuming Anonymous IS a minor/dependent. If Anonymous is an autonomous adult, zie has more options to hand.
What can adult allies do in that situation? I’m not sure I’d know what to do if a kid or teenager came to me with something like that.
The response I’ve seen the most is to approach the parent in a non-accusatory way about the general concern. “Anon spoke to me today about how zie always gets introduced as autistic/is always known to be autistic. It seems to be really upsetting for hir. Do you know what’s going on?”
Because a big thing for NT parents is, a lot of them don’t know this is a problem. They don’t experience stigma firsthand the same way. A lot of parents have experienced disclosure as a positive that makes things easier for them socially. When their five-year-old was having a meltdown in a grocery store, people would glare at them or lecture them about being a bad parent; saying, “I’m sorry, zie’s autistic” would often make people turn sympathetic and back off. And also, for some parents, being “The Parent of a Child With Autism” is a social identity that means a lot to them and lets them acccess help and support.
So those parents just don’t always see that from their kid’s perspective, this does not make things easier. And hey may not know when it’s time to step back and allow their child some independence to form their own social identity. Or to detach their OWN social identity from their child. So that’s the first and most obvious check: “Are you aware that this is not an unqualified positive for your child? Do you think this is a problem or that it needs to change?”