My PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

I can do some things that many other autistic people are not so good at. For example can I read body language and facial expressions and I understand and speak NT (as a foreign language). My focus is on people, not on things, and I am very concerned with what is expected of me and what is perceived as normal. In this way, I look like an NT. But under the surface, I’m not intuitive among NTs, but work with a huge amount of strategies and systems, all of which are designed to make me invisible. For me it is affected by anxiety to be strange, striking, visible, exhibited, perhaps less good than others. I prefer to be a bit more able than others, at least in certain areas, so my inner emotional system does not respond.

Fortunately, I do not take things so personally when it comes to my work. Here I perform a function and, as such, do not experience any requirements, just tasks. Like in board games, there are things to do, but they do not have much to do with me personally.

It is very different at home, where everything is personal and everything involves emotions.

Olaf often says that my Asperger’s brain is not a problem. It makes me work as well as I do, it lets me identify and solve problems and create an overview and structure and on the whole it’s just a really good brain to have. That in my mind, which is similar to what is described as PDA, is a problem.

This causes that I can look like my normal self in a conversation with him, but when he asks me an innocent question, I go without warning in defense or attack or meltdown. Because in that very moment I could not. It became personal, he had an expectation that I should be able to do something that I just could not. At least not verbally.

Sometimes he succeeds in asking the question (which my decoding brain interpretes as a hidden claim and an expectation addressed to me) in writing. Also then may I react somewhat and immediately put my phone away from me and decide not to answer it at the moment. But while I’m in resistance, my brain nevertheless has taken the message and is working with it, and suddenly I can react because I know the answer. Because it’s no longer an immediate request I’ve been able to adjust to it. Then I can say that now we can talk about it verbally again, because now it is no longer a demand, now it’s a discussion and it’s just faster and more effective verbally than on writing.

I also experience it as a demand to have to review my text for errors, typos and the kind of errors that occur when you have changed a sentence too many times so that the word order becomes strange. I totally rebel against it, so there will always be a charming number of minor errors in my texts that you are invited to read with love.

Here you can read about my daughter’s PDA.

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