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How can a disabled person overcome a toxic childhood?

I am a fifty-one-year-old woman with several neurological disabilities, and I would have liked to have been reared as a human being. Instead, I was frequently informed (usually by my mother) that I was a "retarded, subhuman spectacle" -- a "vegetable," a "handicapped monstrosity," a "travesty of a human being." It was daily made plain to me that I was being reared purely out of my parents' sense of duty, so as not to burden other people with my existence. It was likewise continually made clear to me that, whenever anyone played with me or tried to become acquainted with me, they did this purely out of an imposed sense of a duty to do so: for instance, because they were following a parent's or teacher's commands in order to avoid being punished for avoiding me. My disabilities (dyspraxia, dysgraphia, and severe Asperger's among some others) are not physically visible. However, their effects on my behavior led to my being perceived as retarded despite a tested IQ above 150. (This tested overall IQ, in turn, was although scores on three of the subtests were in the 80-90 range.) By that standard, at least -- the objective standard of lacking some reasoning power -- I am a handicapped human being. As you know, Ayn Rand points out that no child ought to be exposed to "the tragic spectacle of a handicapped human being." How should this principle have been carried out with regard to me, as a child? Further, the consequences for me of growing up in this way include an immense fear of other people, and a feeling (which I have been unable to change or vanquish) that I am indeed subhuman and should be rejected by anyone I admire, anyone worth dealing with. This feeling persists despite what I rationally consider to be productive adult achievement in the personal and professional realms. So how best can I undo the damage that has been done to my sense of life by my situation itself (being a handicapped human being, and recognizing this) and by how I was reared (which was at least partly a consequence of what I was and am)?

Kate Gladstone , 11.05.2014, 18:15
Idea status: completed


Kate Gladstone, 07.06.2014, 21:49
I am the fifty-one-year-old woman in question.
For tomorrow's podcast, I want to correct two typos (of word-omission) ... the restored words are in CAPITALS below.

"Although my parents did at times break their own rules about what never to discuss, their exceptions to their own RULES were so unpredictable and unstable that I could never discover what principle governed them. There may well have been no principle, just simple caprice, because my mother was very angry that I should ever want to find an explanation or a principle, let alone even have to look for an explanatory principle when — as she never tired of telling me — other people could simply absorb from the environment, subconsciously and automatically, whatever they needed to know about each other. She thought it was wrong and vicious and unnatural of me to need and want a way to make sense of things, and to have to seek this out, INSTEAD of just understanding naturally and automatically and wordlessly exactly when, and in what ever-changing context, when a family rule either could be broken, or must be broken, or might be broken by the adults although it remained binding on the children. For example, it was all right for my mother or father to ask me to describe a particular belief or practice that I was being taught at school, but it was all wrong for me to answer the question, or to answer it partially (because that was talking about a forbidden subject), or to not answer (because that was disobedience)."

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