Being infantilized is painful and even infuriating

I feel it’s important to recognize this for anyone who isn’t neurotypical because it is actually painful when I become aware of the dynamic that is occurring.

The article gives some idea of what this is and it may help you to recognize when and where it is occurring.

Growing up, I was not really infantilized directly with baby talk or anything as I was mostly feeling neglected.

However, if you are not neurotypical - in any kind of way - it is probably a behavior that you will run into that is actually incredibly painful.

I want to give some examples, but I want to know if you’ve ever been treated like this - and obviously with SZ you will likely be - and I want to know what it feels like.

There are numerous ways you can experience this but for me it makes me feel very unsafe with people who do this. Because they are treating you in a way that says you just can’t handle reality like ‘adults’ can. Or that you are not capable of understanding like ‘adults’ do.

It’s very infuriating because it also feels like gaslighting because you own perspectives, opinions, feelings and thoughts will be disregarded. After all, you’re too ‘childish’ to know what adults know. [rant]

But personally, I have never treated children or nieces/nephews like this because it isn’t loving to me at all. It is damaging and it delays healthy development.

I didn’t even need to read a book to know this. I just know not treating a child like they are capable will ultimately end up causing them to feel like that in the long run. It also corrodes the relationship. And life is all about relationship. It’s all there is. It’s always happening.


I have only started to notice as i get older that i get infantilized by people as they get closer to me. And i didnt think autism could cause this but my eyes have just opened. It’s so true

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I treated my daughter as appropriately as I could for her given age. There were things that we simply told her, no, you’re not doing them when she was seven. We were encouraging her to do these things and more when she was seventeen. Parenting means setting up boundaries when appropriate and helping your kids learn to move past boundaries when they’re ready.

When it comes to those of us with autism, those who are more impaired may need some boundaries. I have some of the social deficits that come with autism and it’s helpful to me when my wife tells me to dial it back. I would not be enjoying the professional success I am now without her help. She has never infantilized me, but I would say she has “snapped my leash” on occasion, and always to my benefit.

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It can also occur with elderly people as well.

My mom does this with my grandma and it so painful and irritating when she does it…

My grandma is not the nicest person all the time but… seeing her get treated like this is just abrasive internal feeling. It just feels so familiar to what occurs with me sometimes.

But with my grandma it’s like she just gets the loud and slow talking…

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My father-in-law now has serious dementia and you really do have to talk to him like he’s four. In fact, we should probably be talking to him like he’s two. It’s that bad.

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Yeah in some cases I can see that.

But in my case with my grandma I never treat her like she’s incapable of not understanding me.

I get very irritated when everyone talks to her that way though.

I’ve had some progress with intimately understanding her but it’s just hard because I have my own interests that have my attention more. That and she’s not that familiar with intimacy - nor are many people at all from what I’m aware of.

Well, I’m noticing ageism now that I’m in my fifties. I’ve also been OK Boomered a few times by some millennials who are apparently unclear on the concept of what a Boomer is (that would be my mom - I’m Gen X).

I think some of the conflicts arise because of me telling a Millennial or Gen Z that doing something is probably not a good idea. In fact, it is probably quite stupid. The reason I know it’s stupid is that I was their age once, did exactly what I’m warning them against, still have the scars from it, and would like to save others from the same suffering.

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Ah, but when I hear what you’re saying this is exactly why intimacy is so important.

Problem is, I don’t have - nor want - kids to give examples.

But intimacy means being able to understand the other’s perspective and allowing honest communication about those things you don’t want them to do.

Because what I would think of is:

“I don’t want you to do that because you could get hurt.”
“Well, but then I’ll just be bored! I don’t want my life to be boring.”

Or something like that is what allows intimacy to occur.

I think the problem is most people think intimacy solely involves touch or lovey dovey ‘aww’ feelings when it doesn’t. Or they think of ‘sex’ which it isn’t solely about at all.

Proper definition:

Intimacy in a relationship is a feeling of being close, and emotionally connected and supported . It means being able to share a whole range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that we have as human beings.

My mom is 85 and reads every day. My dad, 84, is in dementia and stopped reading and writing. He is taken care of by a family in Thailand and never contacts me.

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