Over Protected?

Ok. I know every parent should be protective of their kids. But is there such a thing as being too protective or overprotective? In this post, I will attempt to tackle both sides of the coin. I will be using my own personal experiences as well as theoretical examples.

I was born with a Congenital Heart Defect. I am the oldest of three kids. There’s me (1990), my sister Caroline (1993) and Abbey (1997). Abbey and Caroline were born healthy. I think because I was the “odd man out” so to speak, my family kind of gravitated towards me. I am also the only one in my family to have an official Autism diagnosis. So that may have added an extra layer of protection around me.

In school, I got some special treatments. I had extra time on tests and notetakers. I had someone taking notes for me. So nice, but not 100% necessary. I was also a target for bullying. I think the other kids could tell something was “off” about me, so again, I was gravitated towards. This time negatively. But I was always good at thinking on my feet and dishing back insults quickly. They were often worse than what I was called. So there’s that…

But back to my family and their low-key obsession with me. My sisters were always there looking out for me, along with my parents. I have a very supportive family. Always have, (knock on wood) always will.

I have never lived on my own. Well, unless you count those 12 weeks at Workforce Technology Center in Baltimore City, but that was set up through the state. WTC, aka Hellhole to me and my friends who went there, was an establishment where instructors helped us with employment skills. It was supposed to be beneficial, but everyone I know who went there, hated it! Our instructors were inept. Personally I worked in the mailroom. My coworker and I drove our supervisor insane by joking around while getting our work done. She would often tell us to “be normal!” To which we would respond, “And what is normal exactly?”

My sisters, on the other hand? Both moved out after their Senior years in High School to attend Drexel in Philadelphia. They both currently live on their own. Well, sort of. Abbey lives with her boyfriend, Aaron. Caroline will soon be moving in with her boyfriend, Reda. So in that regard, they are more successful than me. Also my sisters have “real” full-time jobs. Caroline works for IBM and Abbey is a Nurse in Philadelphia. No pun intended, Abbey is killing it as a Nurse. Caroline is also very successful as a consultant for IBM. Now I am currently in the process of beginning to move in with two of my best friends, but nearly a decade later and a lot of envy towards my sisters, I feel it’s about time.

Abbey and Caroline both graduated Drexel. I dropped out of college after less than a year. Again, I was in a special curriculum class called Single Step. And, once again, the instructors, to me, were ill-equipped to teach people with developmental disabilities. I felt the students could teach circles around the instructors…with one exception. We had one instructor who was great! She totally “got” her students and would actually listen to us! The other ones had a “sit down, shut up, and do your work” attitude. So after deciding enough was enough, I dropped out of Single Step.

After hitting a rough patch, I wound up at the agency I am today, Itineris. But this isn’t an autobiography. My medical issues also gave me a little more, shall we say, “protection” than my siblings. I had a pacemaker installed in 2015. After waking up, (I was awake during the surgery but fell asleep after) the first person I saw was Caroline. That went well. Flash forward two days, and, as fate would have it, I passed out from pain pills and broke my arm. I wound back up in the ER in total shock and high on morphine.

Now here is when being Autistic and having medical issues comes in handy. There was a long line of gurneys in the ER and they told me I had to wait my turn. My Dad informed the doctors I had Autism and a pacemaker. NO WAITING FOR ME! I got promoted to the front of the line!

Now I said I’d use some theoretical examples. Let’s say a person’s parents never let them explore for themselves. I know this might be a cheat example, but take Carrie by Stephen King for example. Totally sheltered and overprotected. I have never “fully” had that experience. Yes, my parents and family looked after me, but I think it was just the right amount. Yes I get totally pissed whenever my family says I can’t do something, but whatever. They are just looking out for my best interests.

So do you think you were too protected or are too protective now? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

One thought on “Over Protected?”

  1. My dad and his family are very overprotective of me. They don’t let me be independent like I deserve to be. They always want to do stuff for me. I was constantly criticized by my dad for not getting things like he thought I should have. I am grateful that I live with my mom who let’s me be independent. She let’s me do the things that I want to do. She has always been very supportive of me along with her family. They are the only ones who have treated me like everyone else in my family. I am not treated any differently due to my Autism.

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