It hit me today, that not only am I existing in survival mode, running on empty, but I am also living day-to-day with buried PTSD.
Suffering what’s called ‘parent abuse’ for such a long-time, with no way out, when some of the episodes are so extreme that you almost go into shock, seems to be an occupational hazard with PDA.
One of the PDAers will make active efforts randomly, to drive home expressions of anger.
“I hate you”.
“I have no respect for you”.
And deny affection, that is nonetheless demonstrated with gusto to people in school (peers and staff alike) and will come home and not only tell of this affection to others, but demonstrate it – whilst fiercely denying it to us, her parents. And knowing how much we want that affection and are so disappointed not to receive it. It eats away at you.
Of course, it’s the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of PDA. It’s also a method of control.
Irrational blame is another thing. Any little thing will be plucked out of the air to start a tirade of why “it’s your fault”. Constantly. Daily. You don’t realise until you look back, the effect it’s had on you. You apply logic in your responses at the time, you know it’s not true, but the hurt is no less. In retrospect, you realise how it has soaked into your psyche, that you are unappreciated, constantly at fault, wrong, viewed as not worthy of affection, from someone you love. That’s damaging enough.
The periods of violence are traumatic though. When it’s not seriously and potentially life-threatening (intended or not) violence, it’s low-level aggression that makes you feel like a daily punchbag. Someone to crap on. There to take out the whole of the world’s ills on. You don’t suffer low self-esteem, or you think you deserve it in any way, it’s not that. But the pain of having all of this done to you is no less anyway. When your flesh and blood, that you carried in your body, brought into the world and raised with all the care possible, could do this to you, is gargantuan in proportions of pain. When you love someone, it’s almost impossible to disconnect and say “it’s the condition”.
So today, I acknowledged, again, that what these PDAers put me through, in the past and continue to, coupled with the highly detrimental experiences I’ve been subjected to in obtaining their support, have given me post traumatic stress.
When people are tortured, they are in a situation from which there is no escape, something causing them pain, distress, trauma, harm of some sort. How is this any different?
If a parent did this to their child, just the verbal stuff, they would be accused of emotional harm to their child. Never mind the physical stuff. But as a parent, you are expected to just treat it like water off a duck’s back. Apparently parents don’t have feelings. It feels like we don’t have rights either. Considering in reality that children are legally liable for crimes from ten years old, how does that work? Many autistic adults are put in prison for crimes they may have diminished responsibility for, so it doesn’t add up does it. You’re a parent, take it on the chin no matter how bad it is for you.
I don’t see a solution either. This is why PDA is the most extreme form of ASD, behaviour-wise. This is why it’s so urgent that there is recognition everywhere about PDA. Professionals working with children and families need to know what parents of children with PDA go through and how to help them.