Hey Humans. My voice – my voice, is that, is that my voice?
Won’t come out of my mouth. Oh no.
Let’s try that again.
Lyric Homans here. I’m the NeuroDivergent Rebel, and this week we’re going to talk about boundaries and consent with Autistic People, and why it is so important that we do explain boundaries and healthy relationships to Autistic people, instead of assuming that we will never have these things, or are uncapable of understanding these concepts.
If you would like to know more. Please do stay tuned.
When I was a fairly young Autistic Person, and even into my mid and late twenties and early thirties, I struggled with boundaries in various ways.
When I was a teenager, I struggled not violating the boundaries of my friends and peers. When I was a young adult, I struggled saying no, and not allowing people to violate my boundaries, and acting authentically, because I had very weak boundaries at that point in my life.
My relationship with boundaries has been very up and down over the years, but has recently gotten much better, since learning I was neurodivergent, and becoming very firm in honoring those differences, and how that impacts me and my own ersonal needs, my life has gotten much better.
The reason I struggled with boundaries was because I grew up not knowing I was neurodivergent and not having words to express and advocate for my needs- most of which are my sensory processing needs, and advocate also for other needs that are invisible to other people.
When you have a need that other people do not understand very well, and you don’t have a clear explanation for why you need to do something differently, it can be hard to get your needs met.
For a lot of years, with things like my lighting troubles, I thought everyone experienced pain when they were exposed to this lighting, and I was just the biggest wimp, because I was complaining more than everyone else.
It didn’t occur to me that not everyone was in pain, and I was more sensitive to lighting than the other people, because I had no frame of reference for sensory processing differences and nothing to go by.
I was under the, false, assumption that I was a broken or faulty neuro-typical person and I held myself to neuro-typical expectations most of the time.
Learning I was neurodivergent, allowed me to shift my expectations of myself, and be a lot more kind and compassionate, and have more realistic neurodivergent expectations of myself, my needs and how I need to live my life.
I had to teach myself boundaries, in my early thirties, after I found out I was Autistic, when I was diagnosed at 29, because I didn’t have them.
I started by asking myself, with almost everything I did, “am I doing this for myself? Or am I doing this for the benefit of other people?”
For example, “is this something that I really want to go to? Is this an event I really want to go to, or am I going to this event just because I think it’s what’s expected of me?
Do I really want to wear this, or am I just wearing this because it’s what I think I am expected to wear? Or am I doing this because it’s what I think I am supposed to be doing? Is this what I actually, or even want to do?”
So many things, things that I had been doing for a lot of years in my life, especially right around the time of my diagnosis, where I was trying very hard to be something I wasn’t, which I guess was what cracked the egg.
It all fell apart, and I couldn’t do it anymore, and I burnt out in catastrophic fashion, and regressed, and was Diagnosed Autistic.
That was a pivotal moment to getting my life back on track, because then I was like , I’m not broken. I’m not a neuro-typical. Okay. And there was like no more, no more. I’m not doing anymore.
Then I had to teach myself boundaries from that point.
Boundaries. Not allowing other people to violate my boundaries, but there is another side to boundaries as well, and that is how to be gracious with other people’s boundaries, and not violate other people’s boundaries. That’s really important to relationships – being able to have healthy boundaries in both directions.
Thinking back about growing up, not knowing I was Autistic, I often wish I could have known sooner, but then sometimes I think I am grateful that I didn’t find out until late in life, because in the nineties, when I was growing up, outlooks were not so good.
I may have been subjected to some pretty horrific things, if I had been diagnosed earlier in life. So maybe it’s good that I was thought of as just a kid with behavioral issues instead of labeled for what I was, but maybe it would’ve gotten me the help I needed in school. There’s a lot of what ifs and maybes.
One thing I’m grateful I didn’t have to be subjected to, as an Autistic Person growing up, is having my parents doubt my abilities to do things, or to have relationships with other people, or to understand important concepts, and therefore they taught me everything I needed in life, as if I would be able to do things, and never put doubts in me of myself in that way. They never talked about what I couldn’t do.
I, on the other hand, had plenty of ideas of all the things I couldn’t do, in my own head, without any help.
So thank goodness I didn’t also have my parents telling me the things they thought I couldn’t do, because some doctor had told them they didn’t think I’d be able to do these things.
I had enough doubts, already, about what I could and couldn’t do in my own head, without having that put on me externally.
I’ve gone in a circle. Yes.
We have a very real problem, where people do not try to model, or explain, healthy relationships to Autistic People growing up, because they assume that we are incapable of understanding these concepts.
You are doing a huge disservice to the Autistic People in your life, if you are not explaining to them these things.
We can understand, even as a young child, ‘Hey, so-and-so, doesn’t like when you do that to them. That’s not nice if they tell you to stop or no, you should stop. You would want someone to leave you alone. If you were uncomfortable, wouldn’t you?”
You explained these things to children, but for some reason, they think we’re not going to explain these concepts to young Autistic Children, and you’re hurting Autistic People, because we need to know these things as we grow and as we’re adults.
I remember, when I was very young, I sat on our cat.
I was like one and a half. Okay?
My mom told me that I couldn’t do that, because “Gracie wasn’t a horse and it would hurt Gracie if I sat on Gracie, and that wasn’t nice for me to do” and then I never sat on Gracie again, but I needed someone to guide me.
If my mother had, maybe done as I’ve seen, horrifically, mentioned online, said “Lyric is Autistic. Lyric can’t understand that sitting on the cat is not okay” and continued to allow me to sit on the cat, how I would have continued to treat that animal and other people from that moment in my life?
I didn’t come up against that. That is a very lucky for me, but I’m begging you not to do that to Autistic People.
We are capable of not harming others, and understanding that we don’t want to cause harm.
And dismissing and saying “They’re Autistic, they can’t possibly understand that” isn’t doing us any favors.
So stop, please don’t. Knock it off. I wasn’t even two years old when I understood that I didn’t want to hurt the cat and I was told if you sit on the cat, it’ll hurt the cat.
Don’t infantilize Autistic People and say, we can’t understand these concepts. You are hurting us.
Thank you for tuning into my very serious video this week. I am so grateful for your time.
If you found this educational or helpful, or, or can think of someone in your life who might need to hear this message, please be sure to share this video with them or share this video.
I am really grateful for everyone who helps get the word out about these contents.
I put out videos. Each and every Wednesday.
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Just a little thank you for giving that support and helping me put out regular videos of high quality content.
For the best version of my videos, do watch them at NeuroDivergentrebel dot com, because you will have the transcriptions and close captioning, that doesn’t always work the way it should on Facebook.
I don’t know Facebook, get it together.
Alrighty humans. I will talk to you next Wednesday. Bye .
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With gratitude, Lyric