Ableism in Action: Negativity Breeds Negativity

A recent post on Autism Wars brought something to my attention: the common link between digital exhibitions of the worst of autism and the outright murder of the autistic child in the future of those posts. A quick summary of the cases presented:


Issy Stapleton: Her mother blogged The Status Woe, which obviously sounds negative, and whose murder I have posted about previously.


Alex Spourdalakis: A video of a naked restraint on a bed session raised funds, then he was stabbed to death by his mother and godmother.


London McCabe: Similar style of blogging and fundraising used, then thrown off a bridge.


This article touched on a pattern of exhibitionism and agony that seems to focus on the parents’ agony, not their child’s agony. What it fails to mention, however, is that systemic ableism in society encourages this kind of dwelling on negativity and personal agony due to the apparent agony that society seems to, for lack of a better term, get off on this type of agony and parental pain of the deserving angel parent, not the less-than-human child with the disorder. Do you see how this type of valuation harms not only the child but the parent? I believe society focuses on negativity when it comes to autism, and encourages autism parents to do the same.


Are you aware that negativity breeds negativity? Focusing on meltdowns and all the things the child takes away from you takes your mind off the positive contributions that person may or does contribute to your life. It’s as if these agony-focused parents are wanting everybody to agonize with them. It’s like the old saying: Misery loves company. Or should I say, misery loves to spread and contaminate? Of course, it makes no sense to love misery unless it’s accepted, right? So the now-miserable parent does something drastic to try and “stop” (they think) the misery. But of course, now they have a dead child and a potential prison term. Oh, and they have society saying “You were right to murder your child. It was life unworthy of life.” (Those last four words were a term the Nazis used to describe the Jews, by the way.) Dr. Phil, I am talking to you. You justified Issy Stapleton’s attempted murder by giving her an audience for her negativity, and made an attempted murder right in society’s mind. How insane is that?


I am just saying that putting your child in a negative, undeserving, unwarranted light will make you want to eventually murder them, whether you actually hate them or consider it euthanasia (mercy killing), or “sending [them] to heaven.”


Yes, autism can be a crippling disease with little or no recovery – but only if you let it. What a parent needs to understand is that every life is precious, no matter what level of contribution to society. There is something you can learn from every facet of society-even ones you consider to be doing or being wrong. ‘


Just so you know, my mother would never have put any of my childhood meltdowns on a global video website, or even blogged about them. You do not do that to your children.


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Autistic woman in her 40s, bringing attention to issues that affect her and her kind.

2 thoughts on “Ableism in Action: Negativity Breeds Negativity”

  1. In addition to ableism, I see some potential for the opposite – (disableism?) My brother is autistic, and I have caught myself and my friends trying to downplay ourselves in an effort to make him feel more “normal.” Which is absurd, because we all have our own problems anyway. I find that some people think my brother is a perfect angel (he is NOT) who deserves to be placed on a pedestal.

    Do you think that broadcasting only the beautiful moments – at the expense of the mundane moments – is just as damaging? Or is that the kind of dishonesty that everybody uses on Facebook?

    1. I think we tend to ignore the mundane moments for the dramatic anyway, because we like drama. This “angelic child” persona put on your brother is just as damaging as the stereotype of always melting down. We autistics just want to be treated like everyone else.

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