Tag Archives | opinions

So it’s Victim Mom vs Warrior Mom now? Here is some perspective


Jenny Mccarthy Victim

Sending all the wrong messages

Jenny McCarthy, more famous in the autism community for her on again/off again autistic son and her war on vaccines than her actual acting career, has made some very bold statements during the latest Autism One conference where she likened some moms to choosing to be victims and enjoying the “oh woe is me” victim role.

For some light reading on the subject:

Jenny McCarthy: Autism Moms “Fall in the the victim role…and they are loving it”
Words Matter
A letter to @JennyMcCarthy

There are a lot more posts and articles out there but I don’t want to list every single blog/article in the autism community because everyone has written about this.

I was going to let this go by as just something silly, nonsensical or, more or less, stupid.

But, upon thinking about it more today, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should say something. Something that I feel is imortant.


To recount what it was that she said, I’m going to borrow from the Left Brain/Right Brain post (the first article I listed above):

As we continued to talk about alternative treatments for our children, I noticed the room separating into two sides. We were no longer talking as a whole anymore. There was a group of moms who didn’t want anything to do with what we were talking about. They slumped into a corner and had a “woe is me” attitude. I decided to eavesdrop on both conversations.

The “woe is me” moms were talking about how they didn’t get to shop or go to the beach with their friends anymore, and the “I’ll try anything if it will help my kid recover” moms were trading success stories about the latest treatments.

And, later…

“My other theory was that they enjoyed the victim role. I know that might sound mean, but I’m sure you’ve met people who are constantly having shit go wrong in their life. They complain and play the “don’t you feel sorry for me” game.

Now, for the most part, the autism community got up in arms over this in one of two ways… either being offended as she had called them victims, or defending her as they felt that she was making a great point.

My stance is, it’s all a matter of perspective. Now, hear me out.

This is just an example, but where’s the dads? How come it’s only moms who get a label? If anyone should be offended, it’s us dads that work every bit as hard as the victims and warriors combined and we’re forgotten about completely.

See? Perspective.

Anyway, more to the point, I’d like to offer a few alternative perspectives.

The two groups

The two groups that she alludes to were contained within one larger group of moms discussing alternative treatments. I can only assume, and this is just me, that if not all, then most of those moms were in the anti-vaccine camp… believing that vaccines, or other toxins, had caused their child’s autism in the first place.

This already excludes a lot of moms in the autism community. The majority I’d say, since most autism moms do not believe the vaccine theory. This means that she’s casting a divide within an already divided group.

So to put it mathematically, in hypothesis only and my numbers will be way off, if the split is 75/25 for moms who don’t believe the vaccine theory and those who do… then she’s dividing up the 25 into two groups. If 50/50 then it would be 13/12 or something like that.

It’s still very wrong to label those moms and cast judgement, I’m just saying that maybe she’s not talking about the moms that you think she’s talking about. You know, the moms that have no qualms with the toxins of the world.

The Accepting Mom

The prevalent perspective is that Ms. McCarthy is talking about moms that have come to accept their child as they are.. with or without autism. That those moms do not seek out chelation or force feed their children bleach and therefore would rather just be the victim.

If this is the perspective of choice, then you must realize that it’s how she sees things. It’s her own perspective.

I realize that this won’t be popular among those who like Jenny McCarthy or feel how she feels but remember, this is only to illustrate a different perspective.

See, she may consider a mom that does not try things like giving their child a bleach enema as just playing the victim but I tend to think of that mom as simply having common sense enough to not try something obviously dangerous, and stupid.

She may consider a mom that accepts their child for who they are as enjoying the victim role so much that they give up rather than try tons of pointless and costly treatments but I tend to think that not seeing their children as damaged goods in the first place, and having unconditional love trumps all titles that one can fling at them.

She may consider a mom that talks about her struggles in raising a child with autism as a person that basks in the feeling of being the helpless victim but I tend to see that mom as someone that I can relate to, get advice from, share experiences with and understand.

She may see a “warrior mom” as a woman that battles “big pharma” and government agencies. That’s fine. To me, when I see a mom crying about how the evil empires broke their child, how much money they spend on treatments that put their children in danger because they are so desperate to cure them… that’s when I see a victim. In fact, I hear it in their chants: “big pharma is making money while making our children sick. We’re the victims!”

She may see a mother that never stops fighting for their child as a warrior mom but I tend to think that ALL MOTHERS NEVER STOP FIGHTING FOR THEIR CHILD. If they do… they’re not really their mother. Moms do not give up. Period.

She may see compassion, positivity, acceptance, understanding and love as being the victim. Then I say, please call me a victim too.

If seeing my child as perfect makes me a victim and seeing my child as broken, in need of being cured from the damage done by evil doctors makes me a warrior… I’ll take the victim title, thank you.

That’s just my perspective. And opinions are born out of perspectives. They do not make them fact.

Her opinions, based on her perspective, should remain her own.

She’s entitled to them.

As I am entitled to mine.


Victim and proud.

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My 13-year-old son Alex and I get into the elevator with a neighbor. Perfectly normal thing to do after the end of a perfectly normal day. The door slides shut and the neighbor says, “Five, please” when I ask what floor she wants. Then perfect normalcy ends.

This violates my new rule of avoiding, if I can, elevators with neighbors when I’m riding with Alex. He still presses the buttons for a load of extra floors.

Alex, who has autism, presses three (not our floor) and nine (our floor). “Alex, press five, please.”
Noooo!” he says. “Alex, press five.” “Noooo!

Once, I would’ve felt the neighbor’s eyes on my back. I don’t this time. I try to press five and Alex grabs my hand; my other hand holds a grocery bag. “Alex, press five now.”


I could put down the bag and, suddenly needing both my arms for this 13-year-old, force his hand to the five button. I guess I still feel the eyes for a moment, though, because I don’t force his hand.

We get to three. Alex dashes to the door, in front of the neighbor, and stares out. He curls the fingers of two hands to make his own 3.

Eventually we get to five. I forget how, but I may have pressed the button myself. “Have a good night,” I say to the neighbor. “Take it easy,” she says. “Take it easy,” Alex says.

Alex, walk this way…  Alex, press five, please…  Those times he doesn’t, I grunt like Basil Fawlty in comedic exasperation even as I know that whatever Alex is doing is no passing instant but the way things are and the way they’re going to be. I’m getting plain old pissed at the idea that not every parent has a son who’s going to have to be a grown-up amid the wreckage of our special-needs budgets. Some doctor put it best 14 years ago: “You’re at the mercy of everybody with an opinion.” At that time, I believed he was talking about just Alex’s year in a hospital. Now I think he was talking about the rest of Alex’s life.

What must people must think when they see Alex? I pity the parents. Why do they let him do that? Why don’t they find a home for him somewhere?

He has a home. The opinions we have of him there will do for now.

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Autism blogs are not news!

I’m finding more and more of a disturbing trend lately… where Autism blogs, by parents, are deeming themselves news media and submitting their work to Google News and other sources.

The media, especially aggregators such as Google News, make it especially easy these days for average people to be heard… not just heard, but to be included in with the other news stories.

Many news sources allow “reader opinions” or even let them write in as “editorial pieces”… which is good, to a point. However many people don’t differentiate these stories from actual, fact checked and verified news stories… not that actual journalists are a whole lot better these days, but you get the point.

fact or opinionWhen the news isn’t the news

There’s a code by which journalists go by, or at least should go by. That is that they reports facts as facts and opinions as opinions. That means that they need to get on the phone, go to the locations, talk to the people and verify that facts are facts.

The news agencies have a very real obligation to the public to bring current, accurate and fact checked information… obviously this doesn’t happen very well, especially with recent events in the media but in practice, this is how it’s supposed to be.

Blogs are a way for people to share their opinions, to add commentary to what they find in the news and to share information that they have acquired. Bloggers can do a fair amount of fact checking but for the most part, the fact checking involves what they read from the media, from other bloggers, from other websites that have random information and some people even use Youtube.

Two wrongs do not make a right

Many bloggers find that the media is slanted or even lie to tell their own versions of stories… so those bloggers write their blogs to combat what they find in the media, to argue their side of the story.

Eventually, they discover that they can submit their own stories as news sources as well, thinking that their own slant will help to balance the system but this couldn’t be more wrong.

First of all, two wrong opinions, event if opposites, have no guarantee of being right. Also, even if one is right and one is wrong, who should the reader believe? Because most people will believe one and not the other, rather than find middle ground or seek more information.

Worst of all, most people won’t even read information from both sides in the first place.

No room for a second opinion

People don’t read the news from various sources to get a second opinion. If they get their news from one source, they depend on that source…. and will rarely go to another source. Especially if it’s the same story.

Which means that they won’t fact check it themselves, they just believe what they read and take it as fact. You see it all the time when you talk to people that argue with you on current events… they’re so sure of something that you believe differently… it’s because you got your news from different sources.

If a person believes your blog posts to be their dependable news source, good for you…  bad for them. I feel bad for them because they now think your opinion is a fact. And whether you are right or wrong… no opinion is fact.

When the solution only adds to the problem

I see these blogs in the Google News lists and I cringe. Actually, I see red. It really upsets me.

These people, upset that the media is deceiving them, go out of their way to deceive people. What kind of messed up logic is that??

It’s even worse when I continue on to read them and it’s so blatantly obvious that it’s an opinion, and more so, a wrong opinion… that is so blatantly obviously slanted to their own views…. that’s what really upsets me.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a blog, there’s nothing wrong with even getting hundreds of thousands of readers… if people like your reading, like what you’re saying… great work! Good on you.

But your blog is not news!!!

I wish there was a way to “report” these sites or people such that they’d be de-listed because there’s just no way that they should be included with other news sources.

But as it stands, there is no way to do that. We have to filter ourselves and just hope we can recognize a blog post from a news source.

If our community isn’t messed up enough with the conflicting messages we send the public, do we really need to make it worse by doing this?!?

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Autism and the honest opinion, where does it all go wrong?

Normally I write posts to help describe Autism traits to those without Autism but recently, I was asked by @ThatSPKid about a previous post I made called “Do you really want my honest opinion?

So I thought I’d take the opportunity to change it up and explain to those with Autism a trait that the rest of us share (well, most of us anyway).

The problem

You have a friend or loved one that asks you a seemingly trivial question, usually about themselves personally. Some of our favorite questions include “how do I look?”, “do I look like I’ve gained weight”, “what do you think of what I’ve done?” and of course, “do these pants make my butt look big?”

You get the idea.

The problem here is that a person with Autism is likely to answer honestly… the first answer to enter their mind, the obvious answer, the honest truth, is likely to be what leaves their mouth.

Chances are, unless the person asking is a super model, and even then, they’ll likely not want to hear the truth.

What a person really wants

When a person asks for a personal opinion from someone, unless they are very secure and confident in themselves, will likely not be able to handle the absolute truth, unless they truly do look fabulous and your opinion of them really is a perfect 10.

When a person asks a self gratifying question, they do it because they want re-assurance… or, as I like to call it, ego stroking.

If a person asks about how they look, that means that they’re concerned and need you to tell them that they’re just being paranoid and that they look great.

People know when they’re fat, they know when their look is questionable, they know when the artwork they did is amazing or not.. what they want from you is to reassure them, validate their feelings or simply… to give their ego a boost.

Why so upset?

Some people are more than capable of hearing the truth and may accept the fact that you find they look fat and therefore will simply choose to wear something else or hit the gym after… and they won’t be upset with you in the slightest.

But those that aren’t so secure in themselves won’t take it so well and very likely will get upset with you. Not because they think what you said was untrue but it’s because they already knew what you’re saying, they just wanted you to make them feel better and you didn’t.

For no real rational reason what so ever, they asked you a question to which they knew there was a good chance they’d get a negative answer, especially if they already knew it to be true, and yet they asked it anyway anticipating you to make them feel better about themselves.

How do you know when to say the truth?

For the most part, a person will make it very obviously clear that they can handle the truth and if they do and still get offended, then you know not to repeat it next time. But if they take it as constructive criticism and don’t get mad then you’re free to be yourself.. your honest self.

However, it’s a good general rule of thumb that anyone, anywhere, that asks a question about what you think about them, their weight, their look, something they created and so forth is simply looking for your appreciation… you to give their ego a boost.

If you do tell them they look great or what they created is wonderful and they push you further, asking if that’s really your honest opinion, then it’s ok to give more honest feedback.

Encouragement or Discouragement

In the case of a person’s efforts, your honest opinion may make the difference between whether or not a person is encouraged to do better next time or discouraged from ever doing it again.

My children are a perfect example, which is what I used in my previous post. My 3 year old (Tyler) put a bunch of blocks together in what he felt was a nice pattern. He showed my 5 year old (Cameron) with all the pride a person could possibly have to which Cameron replied that it was nothing and just dismissed it.

He was right, it really was nothing. It was a 3 year old putting blocks together in no real pattern or anything.

However, my 3 year old was proud of it and would very likely continue to play with his building blocks and get better and better.

With proper encouragement, he could one day become an architect or engineer should he continue to enjoy working with building blocks. But if he shows off his work at the age of 3 years old and is discouraged from ever trying again… well, becoming a builder is likely not to be in his future.

In this case, someone that does not have enough expertise is not going to put together a masterpiece but is looking for positive feedback simply to help encourage himself to proceed further, to keep trying harder.

Anyone that is just starting something is likely to do poorly at it, but relative to their experience level, it might be right on par to what they should be able to do. And when they come to you for feedback on it, they’re looking for that encouragement. They need to know that they’ve done well and their work is “amazing”… because it will give them that push to keep at it.


There’s no perfect science to this… everyone is different and some people really want the honest truth and that will be what motivates them to look better, lose weight to try harder… but for the most part, it’s a safe assumption to say that the person just wants you to tell them what they want to hear.

And what most people want to hear is something that will make them feel proud, feel happy and feel encouraged. Appreciate is what feeds most of us what we need to push ourselves harder… we’re not nearly as good at taking constructive criticism as we tell people we are.

Put it this way, when someone asks you a personal question, think of it as a multiple choice question. There is a) the truth and b) what they want to hear.

Unless ‘a’ matches ‘b’ (the truth is what they will want to hear) or they’ve proven themselves to be very good at handling the truth without being offended… you’re probably best off taking a moment to consider both options before giving your answer.

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