Schemas or Distortions


Homework assignment, identify my maladaptive schemas/cognitive distortions

All or nothing thinking. Perfectionist – if not perfect then why bother

Black & white thinking. – using extremes, always, never, ever, completely

Mind reading

10 common cognitive distortions – mental shortcuts or assumptions about how the world works that helped you survive but are no longer supportive

18 maladaptive schemas – thought structures that helped you in one or some situations but are now harming or restricting you.

18 Early Schemas Defined (

Why do we suffer?

What is the purpose of suffering?

To inform and motivate.

I am the only one I can control. I can influence others. Influence is different from control.

If someone tells me that I control them, that person is trying to give me their personal responsibility. They are denying their agency.

Until I fully accepted that I was responsible for my own suffering, I continued to suffer.

I still feel pain and every difficult emotion I did before. And I no longer suffer.

Before – my mind would be racing trying to keep track of all the things I was trying to do. I would not be focused on the present moment or my body or its needs.

Now – Every moment is a chance to check in with my needs. A chance to make a choice. A chance to be the best whatever I’m being.

I used to wander the house picking things up while I brushed my teeth. Multi-tasking. Now I practice being the best tooth carer I can be. If I’m brushing my teeth and my foot is uncomfortable, that’s a distraction. So I adjust how I’m standing. That discomfort was telling me to move. To change. And then I refocused back on the tooth brushing. Each action I took, I asked myself, is this what the best tooth carer would do?dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

And that is telling me I need to decide if I’m sleeping or getting up. I think I’ll sleep to let parts heal a bit more.


Small talk scripts

We realized that the kiddo was either bursting into song or making up zany stories because they didn’t know how to respond to “What did you do yesterday/this weekend/this morning/etc.?”

So here are some options:

  • I don’t remember.
  • I can’t recall at the moment.
  • I forget.
  • Nothing interesting/too interesting/special/worth talking about.
  • Not much.
  • The usual.
  • I’m not sure, let me ask <person>/check my journal.

Follow up these types of responses with:

  • What did you <repeat their question>?
  • How about you?
  • Enough about me, what about you?

Or for people you are closer too or will interact with more often, you can use something like this instead:

  • I’d rather hear what you did.
  • Why do you ask?
  • Is it ok to skip the small talk/formalities?
  • I wonder if you’re asking to connect, and if so, can we just hug/sing a hello song/<other ritual of connection>?
  • Nothing I want to discuss, can we talk about <topic> instead?
  • Do you actually want to know or are you being polite, and if you’re being polite, can we pretend I gave a polite reply?
  • I acknowledge and accept your bid for social engagement, let’s go play!
  • Socially acceptable response of your choice.
    • The above one is best used with someone familiar as it is more flippant than polite.

Notes for NT folks, if you get an unexpected response, you have two choices: get offended or get curious. Please choose curiosity and kindness. Some options that might help:

  • Wait, I’m confused, did you hear my question?
    • Do you want help with answering it?
  • Hmm, I wonder if you are having trouble answering my question?
  • Does this mean you’re ready to get going/started/skip the small talk?
  • I feel sad/hurt/disconnected when I don’t get the expected response to my bid for connection. Is there some way you feel comfortable acknowledging that I’m trying to connect?

Emotional Neglect Timeline?

I’d like to see research on the correlation between mothers going to work and autism in the US – comparison to the UK and/or England would be good too. And also changes to preschool & kindergarten.

This is what I’m wondering – most women in the US had little opportunity other than to stay home parenting their kids until 19??

And families stayed closer together in the US until when? I’m guessing it changed in the urban areas faster?

I know my grandfather moved across the country to get away from his racist family that were descendants of slave owners.

So at some point moms started having less and less support from family nearby and neurodivergent ones had more opportunities to work. So it was easier to send the kids to daycare/school. When daycares, preschools and kindergartens were small and shorter, the caregivers could probably spot the kids that needed some extra emotional support/learning that they weren’t getting at home. But those moms couldn’t work full time because none of them was longer than a half day when I was in kindergarten. Did the schedules expand because more moms went to work? Or vice versa? Same with class sizes? Either way, larger classes meant more kids were getting emotionally neglected, and instead of 1 or 2 in 15 kids needing extra support and kindergarten being pretty much all social and play based, now they are classes of 24-30 running the full school day and then maybe aftercare and way more of them are struggling and oh yeah, now they push reading and academics that early. Anyone remember those “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” posters? It was true, and sadly not so much anymore. And with families dispersing more, grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins aren’t around to take up that slack either.

I know my grandma worked and had 5 kids. And my mom had to work too. I remember there were so many of us “latchkey kids” who were unsupervised and alone every afternoon after school, from maybe 5th or 6th grade through high school. Maybe earlier. I think I might have been walking my brother the mile home from school when I was in fourth grade and he was in first?

Before I had my kiddo I had learned that having a primary caregiver for at least the first year, and preferably the first three was important. I didn’t learn that I needed to learn to self regulate, and that by not working at eye contact or babbling back that I was neglecting my kiddo. I babywore, I breastfed until 3.75 and I still neglected my kid. And I’m still doing it now because it takes so much effort to self-regulate. I’m doing better, but I can still see I have a lot of room for improvement.

Creating a Safe Environment

Starts with me and setting clear expectations and boundaries.

What does a safe environment

look like?

Clean, clear, uncluttered, organized – visual schedules, reminders, instructions, labels

feel like?

soft, smooth, stable, sturdy

sound like?

quiet voices, music

smell like?

fresh, clean, not stinky

What are the expected behaviors?

  • Ask before touching things or people.
  • respect other people’s boundaries
  • be kind – to yourself and others
  • take responsibility for yourself, your responses and the results of your actions
  • ask for or accept help
  • express your needs, feelings and boundaries