Lyric Rivera - NeuroDivergent Rebel Asks: Has anyone ever tried to punish the NeuroDivergence out of you?

Have You Ever Been Punished (or Scolded) for Your NeuroDivergence?

Recently, I asked my NeuroDivergent readers if anyone has “ever tried to “punish” the NeuroDivergence out of” them (while being reasonably sure I knew the answer to my question). 

Lyric Rivera - NeuroDivergent Rebel Asks: Has anyone ever tried to punish the NeuroDivergence out of you?
Lyric Rivera – NeuroDivergent Rebel Asks: Has anyone ever tried to punish the NeuroDivergence out of you?

Overwhelming comments came pouring in on various platforms, with stories from my readers telling how they had been harmed by people around them (who insisted on unfair and unrealistic expectations of NeuroTypicality). 

I knew there would be Autistic People and ADHDers who had been punished for our NeuroTypes because many of my readers are my age (or older), and when we were growing up, punishment was the standard of care for kids who struggled to fall in line.

What surprised me was how many people with other NeuroTypes were also punished for things beyond their control. 

Some of my readers were Dyslexics who were punished for struggling to read. Some Dyspraxics were penalized for being clumsy or spilling things. A reader with Dyscalculia described being shamed and mocked for struggling with math. 

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I felt great sadness reading the traumas shared by those who felt safe enough to chime in. 

Our parents and guardians punished some of us, but there were a few people who had more aware NeuroDivergent guardians (who saw themselves in their children and didn’t react punitively to their struggles). 

If we were lucky enough to have our NeuroTypes affirmed at home, it didn’t ensure we would be spared in school by teachers or other authority figures. 

I (like many NeuroDivergent People I know) experienced some of my most significant traumas while in school (at the hands of teachers). 

When my guardians sent me to school (a public school in our small central Texas town), they assumed I would be in good hands, with a loving teacher who would understand and care for my needs while keeping me out of trouble. 

My mission was to “be good” and “do what the teachers told me,” parting words imprinted in my brain as I ventured to school. “Be good” and comply.

Once in class, I wanted so badly to “be good” but didn’t understand my teacher’s expectations of “good” (because the expectations in school were much different than they had been at home). 

I wanted so badly to be good, but I didn’t know how (because things that had never been a problem at home sent my teacher into a rage).

Having adults against you is scary as a young person for many reasons. 

Before entering school, I thought adults were supposed to help and protect me. After entering school, I started seeing them as adversaries who would randomly exert their will over me without reason or compassion for my feelings. I learned (the hard way) that adults outside the home often weren’t allies (and were people I needed to protect myself from). 

The realization that I was powerless against them and that they could make me do things against my will, punish me, lie about me, and take away my “privileges” on a whim was terrifying. 

Then there were the behavior charts (used for public shaming), which I won’t get into today (because I’ve spoken about them a few times previously in multiple Subscriber and Founding Member posts). 

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It would mean a lot to me,

– Lyric

2 thoughts on “Have You Ever Been Punished (or Scolded) for Your NeuroDivergence?

  1. Lyric, the things you say are totally true. As a child and in my adult life I’ve been misunderstood by a majority of people. As well as mistreated for it. When my words don’t come out right there seems to be a consequences. Recurrently my son’s school sent 2 sheriff cars to my place of employment because they were so concerned over an email that I sent. I talk a lot, feel a lot, and I need help learning self control and to use less words so that that I am not as misunderstood. I’m ADHD but I suspect I am also Autistic, I know the community doesn’t like high functioning as a term but I us these terms in my own life to communicate with the “normal non Nerodivergent” on how I’m feeling. Today I feel high functioning. I probably wouldn’t tell anyone that on a normal day. But I’ve been having alot low functioning moments that I need to hide from my client that has dementia. I’m a caregiver. I’m 40 years old. I’m not seeking a diagnosis just trying to learn to cope with the symptoms that I present. It seems the more open I am about my symptoms it just creates more problems in my life. I’m trying to learn to be quiet. I’m meditating. I’m listening to affirmations. I’m trying for my children to learn to manage these things. I love your content it teaches me a lot of things. Mostly that we are not alone. But if you have any advise I would take it. I would also do the same for you my friend. So if you get my email out of this it is an option below, you may use it whenever you need if for yourself. If you advice for me whenever you have the mental headspace. I would love to roller skate again. I have a pair in the garage, that I brought when I broke my leg as a goal of what I wanted to do after I healed. It’s been 6 years since then and I tried once, but have now decided to look for a walker for my safety when they are on lol. Hope you are well and keep doing your work it helps people. And thank you.

  2. repeatedly for years and years, diagnosis at age 68 explained a LOT! I am still shamed and told “you can do it if you just try” As if our days are not filled with trying just to keep our ” heads above water” metaphorically.

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