Emma Discusses Biting

Emma bites herself, occasionally pulls her own hair and less frequently will smack her head into the wall or punch herself in the face.  I hesitated writing about this on such a public forum because… well, because it is so public and people come to this topic with a great many strong feelings.  But Emma asked me to “put it on the blog” so I am, though with some ambivalence.  I ask that anyone who chooses to comment do so with the love, care and compassion you would hope others would have for you, were you to talk about things that are so deeply personal.  I will just add that Emma is incredibly courageous and I have nothing but admiration for her desire to speak so publicly about a topic that brings up so much distress for so many.

I asked Emma if she would be willing to discuss what is going on when she bites herself.  This is something that has happened nearly every day at her school this past week.

“I am anxious about angering those who are watching, but can’t control my aching feelings of distress.

“Biting my arm is helpful in giving those difficult feelings a pain I can control.  Getting mad at me makes it worse.

“Trying to force me to stop does not change how badly I feel, just adds to shame I already have.

“I know it upsets people, but it’s not about them, it’s about not being able to describe massive sensations that feel too much to tolerate.

“Fear takes over.

“Stress becomes impossible.

“I need helpful thoughts of calming kindness.  Reassuring words of understanding, instead of irritation and impatience.”

*I asked Emma if she could sense people’s emotions and if that added to the overload.

She wrote, “Yes, it makes it worse.”

Emma ~ 2011

Emma ~ 2011

Related Posts:

 Self Injurious Behaviors ~ Let’s Discuss

Different Neurology, Different Perception

60 responses to “Emma Discusses Biting

  1. Thank you for sharing Emma. It is so important for us parents to hear how this feels from someone who actually experiences it and can express how it feels so that we can better understand and help our own kids. Your bravery in sharing will help many people better understand autism.

  2. Emma, loving and calming thoughts are coming to you from more directions than you can imagine (well, maybe you ‘can’ imagine!)

  3. Thanks so much Emma and Ariane. I really needed to know your thoughts Emma, on this painful issue, so thanks to you and to Ariane for sharing them. It’s so hard for any parent or other family members and friends to watch someone they love harm themselves in any way. So it’s very important for me to know what Emma is actually experiencing when she does this, so I can better understand and be more helpful instead of actually adding to her distress and upset.

    Love u so much Emma! You are so awesome in every way!

  4. I love your posts Emma. I am a music therapist and many of my clients type and I facilitate with them. They are the teachers in my sessions. I learn most from their insight and then I can gear my sessions to best meet their needs. I appreciate your insight and bravery to post such personal things, but they are all helpful to those of us who work with individuals with limited communication.
    I also appreciate your bravery Ariane. It is very hard as a mom to expose some of these realities, but it is so good that you respect Emma’s view and are giving her this voice!! Way to go mom and daughter!!!

  5. Emma, thank you for sharing these thoughts! This is critical for caregivers, educators and PARENTS to understand! You have now conceivably changed the lives of thousands of people in one fell swoop! Applause for your humility, your bravery and your willingness to “take the bullet” to help others!

    I have 3 children who must on a daily basis cope with ” the emotions of others and their effects on them. (My youngest can feel my emotions as approach, (I drive up to the school in a parent pick-up line), and already is affected before she even gets in the car. None have articulated it so clearly. All will benefit! Gratitude, my sweet one!

  6. Emma I want to thank you for sharing this with us. It is hard to tell people something so personal that many could judge us on. I work with children with disabilities including children who have some behavior ‘problems’.
    If you don’t mind answering I would like to ask you Emma what can people like me who work with and learn from people like you do when you or someone else is biting themselves or scratching themselves? You stated above that yelling at me does not help, so what do you believe would help?

    Thank you Emma

  7. I believe the one of the best pieces of advice she included was:
    “I need helpful thoughts of calming kindness. Reassuring words of understanding, instead of irritation and impatience.”
    😉

  8. Listening to Emma’s words, I wonder if anyone has “connected the dots” to those who are not on the autism spectrum (and perhaps who are) who use cutting in much the same way – it is a pain they can control. It seems obvious because of what Emma says; how could so many of us miss this “obvious” expression of internal pain? I am so greatful for autistic bloggers for bringing their experiences to us, seriously. Thank you.

  9. Thank you, Emma and Ariane, for sharing this with us. I know many families will be helped by your description of how you, Emma, are feeling when you do some self injurious behaviors. Carly Fleischman describes some similar feelings in her book, Carly’s Voice. Emma and Ariane, you are wonderful brave people who I love and admire. I would also like your opinion on Amanda St. Dennis’ question above. I have a young man I work with at church who struggles with biting his arm. I would like to be able to help him better. Usually, if I can get him to talk about (type) what is bothering him, the biting settles down. Sometimes deep pressure helps him or letting him cover himself with a blanket.

  10. Thank you for sharing this Emma! In a way, you are giving a voice to so many others. I think of your words every day now when trying to understand my friends (adults) who I live with who can not express themselves like this (yet…). Today’s post really explains it so clearly, and I am going to make a poster out of your words ‘Helpful Thoughts of Calming Kindness’ to remind everyone here to keep this in mind always.

  11. You are so amazing Emma! Thank you thank you!!

  12. thank you thank you so much for sharing this Emma, this has helped me so much in understanding my own kids. xoxo

  13. Thank you for sharing so courageously and so simply. It makes so much sense. I “get it”. I pick and bite at my fingers, around my nails. Sometimes with awareness and sometimes not. Shouting at me definitely doesn’t help, nor telling me off, even if I’m the one telling me off. I wonder if relaxation and/or mindfulness helps with staying calm? I think it helps me.

  14. I relate to Emma a lot on this. Stuff like this is always about coping, I find. Definitely, shaming, hand slapping, etc, just makes everything worse for me and for everyone else I’ve talked to like that.

    What helps me: Reducing demands, reducing input, making the environment feel safer, reducing sensory stimuli and accepting that biting my hand is to me what biting your lip or fingernails or pacing is to you – a nervous habit designed to comfort and reduce anxiety. The answer when I was a kid wasn’t to eliminate the coping mechanism, it was to reduce what I need to cope with and to teach alternative coping mechanisms when I was calm. I couldn’t learn new coping mechanisms while in the heat of upset. Teaching me about, say, journaling when I was calmer, though, did help in the long run a lot. YMMV.

  15. Mackie peels the skin off his fingertips, bites his nails (I used to bite nails as well, and remember well the anxiety that went along with the habit), and scratches at his face and neck when he gets really upset about things.
    At least with those manifestations, it’s been pretty obvious that he’s coping with a great deal of emotional turmoil when he does these things. And as a mom, I’ve instinctively put the bandaids on, kissed his little raw fingertips, and just told him that I’m sorry he’s hurting. I’m sure it’s not quite the aid he needs, but Emma’s right, getting upset back at him isn’t going to help…whatever we put out there for our own emotions gets reflected right back – sometimes we don’t even realize what we’re doing until he’s telling us.
    On another note – a friend of mine made Mackie a weighted blanket (filled with 10lbs of plastic pellets), and we picked it up yesterday. He loves it so much…she’s planning on producing a lot of them in that size, but thinks she can manage larger as well, and will have an etsy shop for them at some point.

  16. Emma, I loved reading this. But I would love it if you could expand on what you think we parents should do when our children are going through the need to bite.

    Jaymes gets very upset and bites himself, but no amount of kind words and trying to calm him help- he is often too upset to really “hear” me. He is not yet able to communicate clearly, so it is often a guessing game for me. I wish I knew what I could do to help him. I’m going to stop trying to physically stop him, this post definitely made me realize that was not the right way to go about helping him. Sometimes I forget that he needs to do things that distress me, biting included.

  17. Yup that about sums it up… when I’m in pain that I can’t control (mental or physical), my response, however flawed or whatever it is, is to create pain that I can control. This usually involves biting my arm or knee, whichever is available. Thanks, Emma, for letting the world read this. It is something that many people don’t understand, and they think we are doing it for attention, or because we enjoy hurting ourselves, or are “crying out for help”. But really, it’s just a way to help control our bodies during a time when everything is out of control.

  18. Emma, I am 52 years old and still have meltdowns but mine are not seen by others due to living isolated. But as a child I ate my fingers the nails and around the nails so much so that the damage to the internal tissues comes up on Live Scan fingerprinting…and when I so fearful that my inner angst would come out on others and I would injure them. So I would run and hide in the bushes, sometimes sitting on the roofs of buildings where no one thought to look–one time I lived in a clump of bushes by a road for a week. But back then (in the 70’s) when people heard me screaming in terror or saw me being self-injurious I was strapped down, medicated and locked away. I believe that others are not only more tolerant today, but want to know how to help.
    I remember people wanting to help and trying to hold me, and I freaked out more…I called it “the hands”, I couldn’t stand to be touched. Even though I could feel their intention was good. As a teen I used to wonder what was wrong with me, I self medicated, I hid myself away. And in my 20’s I thought I could control myself through alcohol–but what I noticed the other day is that I was way overstimulated and did not take a break from what I was doing, before I started punching myself in the head. My cats always know before hand when I am getting to this point, and if I cannot pay attention to myself, I can pay attention to them and the way they are looking at me and staying clear of me. So I have devised to have pets show me when I am too out there! All animals are as empathic as autistics–but as I am trying to “achieve” in the world and feeling stressed because of it, I lose touch with my inner self. Many times I am able to breathe through, like big yoga breaths, and feel the spirit move through all my body and reconnect my brains with my insides where I am still that safe, but autistic self.

    Autism is a blessing, it gives us a core that others cannot find…it gives us empathic senses and connection to all around us.

    • You both [Emma and Bev], remind me of things I used to do and things I still do to reduce stress or over-excitement/stimulation. Yes, “the hands” are a horror to me too. Hugging is terrible, touching me is terrible especially in my times of being overwhelmed. Yes, I have been strapped down a few times, scary. I even signed a paper that says that this organization can physically restrain me and strap me up until I cannot move anything. It was scary to even think about that possibility. I freaked out about it for months and sat PTSDing in my camper w my dogs. Eventually after one meltdown, I saw that no one was coming to get me in that instance, so, I now assume that it will not happen if I’m allowed to be alone if I want. I did bite myself and head-bang, and dig at any “flaw” I saw on my body [moles] and rip apart my fingernails. My arms look like I’ve had chicken-pox recently. I do less of all this now because of my relatively stress-free environment and my dogs. Instead of doing something to myself with my hands, I pet my dogs for hours instead in times of worry and overload. Emma and her mother is doing the autistic community a service by publicizing these often little-known facts. Caregivers, therapists,ABAers, psychiatrists, psychologists, special-needs professionals and staff, teachers, police, medical doctors etc all need to have this memorized. IMO

  19. emma friend, i am forwarding your explanation to my staff and family as it is my explanation too. grateful for your time and words b

  20. Thanks Emma! Very helpful information!

  21. Dear Emma,
    Thank you for sharing and for being so brave! It is so very helpful for those of us who love and work with people who may experience similar feelings to hear your insights.

  22. Hello Emma My son has the same story as you. He is 15 and still hits himself in the head when he gets really frustrated. One thing we learn is put a rubber band on your wrist and when you feel you need to do these thing pull the rubber band and let it snap on your wrist it will hopefully help you with your stressful senses. You are a beautiful girl and I am wishing you the best in your life ❤ 🙂 Jody

  23. Martha Hainey-Flacke

    Thank you, Ariane for having the courage to share Emma’s words. Thank you, Emma for sharing what you feel. As an S-LP working with children like you I find your words very encouraging and it is so helpful to have someone put a voice to feelings that so many are unable to share. You are a brave and remarkable young lady.

  24. Wow. Arianne Zucher, this is a very important blog post. I commend Emma for outright asking you to put it onto the blog here, in a public space where others can read it. As an Autistic person myself, this definitely is important to talk about, and the insights Emma has (and likely others like her and I can have on this and other Autism-related topics) are very important, I think to understanding what is going on here.

    I have read many of the recent postings of this blog, but haven’t commented on all but a few of them…but, as someone who has gone through experiences like these, I completely relate to what Emma is saying, and I think I understand what she is saying on a level where I have had similar experiences (at least to a degree; I don’t want to say I understand completely without her confirmation, so as to not leave out her voice and clarity on the subject).

    There are times where my awareness of all the overwhelming sensations around me will skyrocket to dangerous heights, and that awareness and feeling of being overwhelmed, if approached with any stress, in-and-of-itself feels hurtful to keep inside. So, in some very rare instances (in my case specifically…they may not be rare in others) I would bang my head against something hard, or grip my hair and tug at it…and sometimes bite at my skin. This is so clearly and obviously familiar.

    But, the important part here, to me, is that Emma has put into words very clearly WHY I have those moments of overwhelming feelings. It is hard for me to remember most of these moments, as I can’t really replicate (and almost always don’t want to replicate) that state of feeling my body tense and grow stiff with a great fear. Yet, because that feeling is not one I have felt much, and because it overwhelms me almost every time I feel it – even in adulthood where I tend to have much greater awareness of it and why it occurs (it occurs even less often now) – I haven’t been able to relate some of the aspects of this experience that Emma has pointed out here to this overwhelming feeling (I often call the feeling “overwhelming stress” myself when it finally begins to fade away, for those few who are normally around and ask – often family). But, all of those factors that Emma mentioned, I genuinely think do impact the growth and escalation of this anxiety – especially feeling such a variety of nuanced, specific emotions on a level where they genuinely seem to flood into you all at once. And it is worse if they, like all sorts of different instruments playing different songs in different keys in out-of-tune ways, create a cacophony of emotions that someone like Emma or I sense.

    I make that sound-to-emotion comparison because, when I usually sat in a room filled with people feeling different emotions, and sometimes when I still do, it feels like I am disoriented in the same way as when a TV is blaring out music that is discordant that I cannot stand, alongside other people talking and chattering and doors opening and closing, etc. etc…They both result in this same anxiety, but the anxiety doesn’t need a particular discord to arise; as long as it has a discordant effect on the person, and as long as the person doesn’t manage to dispel the anxiety, it magnifies inside. And with Emma and I and others like us taking so much into us all at once – having a great awareness of our environments that we often don’t succeed in applying healthy ‘mental-emotional filters’ to – it is no wonder that, with all of those notes, the song often is discordant: it is VERY hard to make sense of and find elegance in so much variety.

    But, for what it is worth, I find that I am happiest when I do make sense of all of those emotions that make it beyond my filters, and filtering processes, and create from them something that I find happiness in. I have no doubt that this is will be difficult for Emma though on her own; it was for me, and often still is for me whenever I am alone in a busy, hectic, disruptive, or any related environment. Sometimes, even when it is quiet and I am in a house alone, it is hard because the reverberating echoes (emotions included) of those environments are still fading away inside of me; they were so loud that my body held onto them and kept playing their echoes for a long, long time. In this way, I feel sometimes like an amplifier of the ‘sounds’ – the emotions – and patterns that they make, that I find around me. I’m literally carrying them with me if I don’t filter them out, sometimes to my detriment – and in spite of all of my outward environmental awareness, it is difficult for me to be aware of what goes on inside of myself, inwardly, on the same attune and attentive level.

    So, the biting, the head-banging and such releases that – but not in the best of ways. In my case, I prefer to talk about why I am stressed, angry-feeling, etc…truly, having some kind of fear and discord invoked form outside of myself lodged deep inside of me, like an invasive thing I should cast aside. Often the talking, or any communicating helps – especially when it involves another person physically interacting with me and communicating with me on that level. Not sure if that will be of use with Emma, and I would need to read up more on how she communicates best, but I do wonder if that would be something that she would dispel the anxiety with easier – understanding why it came into her, and that the anxiety as it manifests, as a physical feeling, doesn’t have to be her. Though, she should be the one to explain this in the communication process; I don’t want to put words into her mouth, and give anyone an expectation that this is what “will help her” with “overcoming her so-called bad habits…” that isn’t the point. I just know that, for me, I want a method that doesn’t involve physical disruption and pain for myself to be what brings me out of anxiety; I’d want the kindness, and that often comes from feeling like others are listening, and wanting to learn in a compassionate, gentle, and loving way.

    Please, may Emma know that she is doing a lot of good by sharing this. I myself have trouble starting up this kind of a blog entry, though I plan on starting my own blog, with some entries dedicated to sharing my perspective and awareness of my own Autism-related and Autistic-quality-effected experiences. Emma and others like her are part of the reason for that – a huge part, to which I owe a great deal of my own awareness of who I am, let alone my own self-appreciation and understanding that I am not alone, and am worthwhile and valuable as a person.

    So, please do let Emma know that I thank her for sharing this. And I am grateful that you did as well, and are so willing to support her. That is compassion, and it means a world of difference when applied to what Emma is strongly standing for in asking for this to be shared on this blog. It makes a world of difference to read this for me, and I hope it can for all others who need to read something like this as well.

    Andy Willmore.

  25. Good for you Emma for letting others know why you do the things you do. You are a strong, smart girl. You give other parents hope that someday our children can explain things to us too. We all want to understand. 🙂

  26. Emma, thank you! I have long suspected that people who self harm do so in order to control one of the few things in their lives they can when they feel everything is spinning out of control. My mother used to bite her nails down to where only that little crescent moon (lunula) was left. I used to get so upset with her but later realized it was because she felt so stressed that it was the only thing over which she felt she had control. She said it didn’t hurt to bite them that short. I don’t know if it did or not because she did it for years and may have grown used to the pain. Whatever stressors were causing it, she got past it/them eventually. She now has long, beautiful nails.

  27. Emma, I understand the need to have a focus, to gain a form of control when you’re lost in an overwhelming tumult of emotions and sensations. I have deliberately injured myself as an act of desperation when I could find no other way to deal with the chaos inside my mind.

    I wish you peace and happiness. With love, Alex.

  28. The fact that you decided to share this so that others with autism would have a voice is very brave and courageous. You are helping the world by letting others know how you are feeling and thinking. You are educating parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, everyone! Thank you very much, Emma, for all you do!

  29. Brenda Smith Myles

    Emma,
    This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. I have learned a lot already.

  30. Dear Emma,
    You are not alone. As a girl I used to bite and slap and body slam. They were all solutions to me to help defray the too-big feelings inside me. My solutions were good in that they worked to accomplish my goals. They were also bad because I got physically hurt with bruise and fracture. Another thing it made worse was when adults stopped me it made my feelings get even bigger and my need to bite and slap and body slam got bigger.

    When I grew older I worked very many years to outsmart my neurology. I began to try other things that could be solutions for me and yet not physically hurt me or cause others to make me stop because that only added to my difficulties.

    I always wanted to try body slamming on a huge trampoline. I have many movement issues that make it not be a good idea for me. I saw a video clip of your trapeze moves. It makes me think you might be good at learning trampoline moves. If you ever take a class on trampoline tricks and learn to body slam on a trampoline I would be very interested to know if it was helpful in the way biting and hitting and head smacking are helpful.

    Your comrade in outsmarting the hard of our autism to be who and how we want to be in this world we must live in –
    Judy

  31. Sensory overload. It does not cause me to feel shame.

  32. Sensory overload. I do not feel shame.

  33. Thank you for sharing this, Emma. I also sometimes do those things. It is very hard to talk about because so many don’t understand. You’re so brave to share this with everyone!

  34. She has hit the nail on the head, I agree. I also do those things, and to some extent it is so I can control something when nothing is in my control. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Thank you, Emma, for explaining this. My son, Kenny, is 12 and occasionally bites himself but can’t explain why. This makes sense. Unfortunately, this happens in school and I don’t see it so I can’t help. He’s pretty sneaky about it, too, so the teachers don’t see it, either.

  36. I am on the verge of tears, you’ve helped me understand my son better with this explanation, but not only that, what you said describes the reasons why I felt compelled to hurt myself when I was growing up. Thank you Emma, you are truly a star 🙂

  37. So far we have been fairly fortunate…E body slams but always so far does it on a soft surface. I don’t know what lies ahead as his world grows increasingly harder and less understanding. I have read explanations before but every single additional one is important. The fact that you asked your mom to post it speaks of your courage and desire to help others even at a young age. As always i appreciate your input as you are closer to my sons age than the adults are.
    Well times up…little monkey has finished dinner and I’m busted for stealing the ipad….i see a little face in the window lol.
    Ps i ordered one of somas books and purchased a membership so I can more thoroughly look into RPM…think hes miles ahead of me since almost every day we discover a new word he can spell…but he still prefers the drag mom around the house method of communication 🙂

  38. Please explain more so that we can understand and help others that may feel the se way you do.

  39. yes I like to do this too. i like to bite myself (it’s very hard to hurt yourself for real this way), body slam, etc. i also empathize with the thing about “hiding in the bushes” from the comments. i am 25 and female.

  40. Thanks to all of you who’ve left comments. We’ve read almost all of them. For those of you who are asking for a longer explanation, please know that I have asked Emma if she’d like to write more, but the process is an exhausting one, takes a lot of time and we are also doing a number of other things during our sessions, so it may be a few days or even weeks before she decides to get back to this. In the meantime, there are a great many wonderfully eloquent Autistic people speaking up on this thread who might be willing to speak to the question being asked by a few – What can I do to help when you are biting or hurting yourself?
    (Emma’s answer was: ““I know it upsets people, but it’s not about them, it’s about not being able to describe massive sensations that feel too much to tolerate.” and “I need helpful thoughts of calming kindness. Reassuring words of understanding, instead of irritation and impatience.”)

    Doing as Emma asks will not take away the overload of noise, temperature, lights, stress and anxiety of it all being too much, but it won’t make the overwhelm even more overwhelming by adding your emotional weight to all of it either… And now I believe I know what today’s blog post will be about…

  41. I remember biting my arm as a child. As an adult, I use a finger nail against the tip of another finger to create the same point of focus that seems to help me navigate too much sensory input. Pain is a point of focus. It’s original purpose is of course, to bring our total awareness to a threat to our body and our well being. But in a storm of sensory input, it can become a beacon, a path out of the chaos. I would say, look for ways to allow the benefit of the pain, without it doing harm. No one tries to stop me from using the tips of my fingers as points of focus. I shift the pain from one to another as I need to keep the signal going and do no physical damage to myself. I don’t think of it as painful. It’s just enough and no more. I think that understanding the reason for the pain and allowing it’s validity can be important in developing less harmful self applications. It is very brave of you Emma, to begin this conversation. It is very brave of your mother to trust you and your instinct to have this conversation. Thank you.

  42. Thank you so much for sharing this. May I please borrow your line ““I need helpful thoughts of calming kindness. Reassuring words of understanding, instead of irritation and impatience.” In my work as a therapist and a teacher with NT toddlers – too often ‘bad behaviour’ which is really anxiety/sensory issues is met with irritation and impatience and I think your words could jolt the love feelings the parents have but have been buried from societal expectations. Please email me if I can quote you on this kiddieclub@kiddieclub.ch

  43. Just shared to fb and tagged my sons OT even though it’s not one of his current behaviors. Little did they know what accepting me as a fb contact meant lol. I probably drive them crazy at times, but every single person in contact with autistic ppl needs to see, hear, read these voices!

  44. Thanks for sharing-so interesting! Reminds me of using a TENS machine on my lower back to help focus the enormous sensations of labour.

  45. Thanks for sharing- it’s so interesting! It also reminds me of using TENS machines in labour to help manage overwhelming physical sensations.

  46. Thank you Emma. My daughter, Kat, also harms her self. She is also violent with other people, especially family due to anxiety. You are very brave, and your family should be very proud of you!

  47. Being calm and relaxed with Katrina always helps her. She went through a time when she was biting her hands hard at school, which upset her teachers a lot. We sent her to school with brightly colored bangle bracelets and when she needed to bite she was able to “bite the ring” as she called it. We also tried to always have lotion available to help smooth out the callouses that can form due to self pinching. Unscented or lavender fragrances seemed to work best. The teachers were better able to remain calm when they had a soothing strategy in place for her.

  48. Extremely interesting and illuminating !

  49. Thank you, Emma. I sometimes bite and hit myself and once ended in the hospital because I hit my head too hard and hurt my brain (it’s okay now.) I have words that come from my mouth (most of the time) and fingers (all of the time) and have not been able to explain the thoughts and feelings that happen when I hit and bite as well as you have. I will share your words with people who care about me. thank you.

  50. Thank you for sharing Emma you have helped a lot of people by doing so.

  51. I’m crying. My Mia does all of these things. I ALWAYS assumed she was somehow feeling overwhelmed and out of control. I always assumed my negative reaction caused more problems and have actively been trying to change that. This post means so much to me as a parent and validates how I have been handling this as of late. Thank you Emma for being brave enough to share this. Thank you Emma for being beautiful enough to care.

  52. Please thank Emma for me. I work with children, ages 3-7, who have an autism diagnosis, and I have commented here before. Your blog and her insights are informative and I share them with my co-workers at our preschool. The curriculum is relational and not behavioral. Both of you are helping expand my awareness and understanding and that is contagious. Thank you both for your clear communication about subjects that have so much confusion associated with them. :)Diana

  53. There was a semester in college when I’d get through class by ducking into the bathroom and biting my hand/arm when it became too much before returning to class. Now, I don’t need that kind of thing as often, but when I do I just dig my nails into my skin or squeeze my arm between my thumb and the rest of the hand. The *pressure* that clears everything else out of my mind was what I was going for. I guess I don’t really understand why biting alarms other people, since at least in my experience it never did real damage? I discovered later that I am in fact capable of biting harder when it’s not ME I’m biting, but pain limited how hard I could bite myself then. Part of why I did it was to get away from self-injuring behavior that broke skin, leaving an opening for infections as well as scars (although sometimes just looking at my scars centers and grounds me and helps me relax, reminding me where I’ve been and how real I am). I really empathize with Emma’s comments as well, and could apply them to when I wholly or partially lose the ability to move–“This is normal for me, calm down and be there for me until I’m okay,” is what I always wanted to say but rarely could.

  54. To those who are trying to help:

    1) Quit trying to crush me! Your thoughts are too loud, and I want to hide from you!

    2) Being around people like you is terrifying, much as if you are going to eat me alive (and laugh at me as I die!). When you demand eye-contact, I can see your raving hunger – it’s like looking at the face of a demon or something out of a nightmare.

    3) I can feel your xenophobic / narcissistic hatred – hatred for me, and hatred for all life that isn’t under your total control. I’d like to get along, but you are not interested in anything like that. You know what YOU want, and that is to be ‘the God’; and if I cannot be a perfect supplicant – one who reads your mind perfectly, as if I were a part of you – then I need to be punished.

    The last is why I used to hit myself, and ultimately why I still do. Much more often, however, sensing these things cause extreme guilt, self-hatred, and a compulsion toward self-destruc

  55. continued from earlier posting

    self-destructive behaviors that is difficult to ignore.

    While I did not have ‘formal’ behavior-modification (in a formal setting, with a designated ‘therapist’) I did have some much cruder abusive treatments that had identical goals: I was not to embarrass my parents (stated) and I was to make them “look – to others, as in ‘impression-management by proxy’ – and feel as good as was possible.

    There’s a MUCH cheaper way to destroy your ‘defective’ children / adults, compared to formal ‘therapeutic’ means – cheaper, and for the actual abuer(s), far more ‘pleasent’.

  56. messed up again…

    The secret: “cluster ‘B’ personality disorders”, especially NPD (Narcissistic) and ASPD (Antisocial PD, I.e. psychopathy).

    These people do instinctually what many so-called therapists do consciously – though in some cases, one DOES wonder as to the true motivation.

    The end result, however, seems identical: societal codependence, living life as a dead-inside narcissistic extension, and ultimately welcoming abusive behaviors in all their forms as deserved punishment.

  57. I can’t agree more about si I struggled for years with it I believe it’s a way to express unbearable pain that we can’t describe and I’m pretty sure a lot if people like me with autism struggle at some degree with this. I wish the people who were supposed to help me understood this especially the sensing other peoples emotions part it’s so hard and sharing this Emma makes me admire you even more if that’s possible!!!

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