Learning doesn’t work by force
Oh my goodness…I am so sorry about that chat you posted. I know that many of us consider fair treatment to be the inclusion of things that make you feel uncomfortable without truly understanding. I think that your blog here serves an excellent journal of your experiences. My brother is also on the spectrum and I am a psychology student myself :)
Sorry I didn’t answer this sooner, Tumblr didn’t alert me at all!
I understand the logic that practice makes social stuff easier. I know certain things have got easier, like when I was a kid I used to find it terrifying to buy things in shops. Now I do it fairly easily, though I often use self-service to avoid interaction wen highly anxious.
And that’s exactly the point: I learn these skills slowly over time, but sometimes I still avoid them. Some situations will probably always cause me some level of stress, because they involve thinking fast and communicating effectively.
I used social stuff as an example here because I see social and practical stuff as beings together in the ‘you’ll learn!’ category. I probably have got better at some practical stuff too, but examples are harder because I tend to avoid it.
Unfamiliar tasks, as were being presented in the post, are stressful because they involve using initiative. I prefer to be able to do what I have always done, and facing new challenges is only really worth my time if it MUST be done.
All other times it’s just stressful, and I DO NOT get better at facing new unfamiliar tasks.
Maybe I do get gradually better at this too, but forcing me into these situations to ‘teach’ me has never been a proven method. Instead I hate every second of the task. My family lose patience with my lack of practical skills and mock or insult me. However friendly they mean it, feeling useless and inept leads to panic attacks and meltdowns. I feel drained of energy and relieved of a burden when it’s over.
I think I made a valid point in the other post about not being allowed to say no. This is an important thing about shy and anxious people: they will not tell you their true feelings if they think there will be negative consequences. If I say no, my parents either plead with me or tell me I have no choice, which makes me unwilling to set any boundaries whatsoever.
So I guess the main lesson, as always, is that self-care always comes first. Maybe I would’ve ‘had to’ do it if my dad was being crushed by the curtains and I had to save his life. Even then it could be argued that I can’t be expected to perform tasks that are more stressful than I feel comfortable with. Try as I might, I can’t just scrape the energy/processing barrel and find myself willing to do complicated tasks. What really grinds me down is people asking for me to spend all my energy and then, when it’s totally gone…
Telling me I still have more to give.
Side note: I realised later that the illness my mum was referring to in the chat was actually the cold I’ve had for nearly a week. But the combination of this and the practical difficulties of autism were my reason for not being able to do the task, so I was still right to mention it.