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Hitting oneself on the head

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I don't do this but I was visiting my Autistic friend a few days ago and they hit themselves on the head (not hard; mostly as a symbolic thing) when they do something stupid or dumb. They didn't say why they did this but I think that this might be some kind of self-punishment. I'm just asking if anyone else does this as I don't know if this is common Autistic behaviour?

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Lexi

I have seen non-autists do this as well, when they are stressed and feel overwhelmed. I think this is also one of the  autism symptoms that are widely shown in the media (starting with "Rain Man"). I do not think I had myself ever a phase when I was doing this really.

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(deleted)

He specifically does it when he says or does something really stupid, but there was one time the other day when he was feeling overloaded because everyone in the room was talking at the same time and asking him a whole pile of questions about a topic under discussion and he started doing this then as well. But then, he does do a lot of very typical Autistic things.

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The Id

People who externalise their stress punch other people, those who internalise their stress punch themselves. It is just a habitual expression of frustration, usually brought on by an underlying dislike for self.

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Lexi

People who externalise their stress punch other people, those who internalise their stress punch themselves. It is just a habitual expression of frustration, usually brought on by an underlying dislike for self.

 

Do you mean, it would not be a directly autistic trait, but rather something that comes out of a dislike for self, like in not coping with the own mental condition? I think that would then make it treatable, in the sense approaching it from the side of learning to accept their own condition?

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MrGrey

People who externalise their stress punch other people, those who internalise their stress punch themselves. It is just a habitual expression of frustration, usually brought on by an underlying dislike for self.

 

  I agree 100%.  I like the use of the word "usually", because there are special cases where some people use physical pain in an attempt to cloud an emotional pain.  And I think that "frustration" and "stress" are key words.  Everybody has a breaking point.  Add enough of those to anybody and is almost guaranteed that somebody is gonna get hit.

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The Id

Do you mean, it would not be a directly autistic trait, but rather something that comes out of a dislike for self, like in not coping with the own mental condition? I think that would then make it treatable, in the sense approaching it from the side of learning to accept their own condition?

 

Yes. Not all aspies hit themselves and some non-aspies do, therefore we can say that it isn't anything to do with aspergers. People with eating disorders often self harm for similar reasons.

 

When we get stuck into a death spiral where everything is our fault and we are so stupid for continuing to make everything our fault, then eventually the frustration gets externalised with physical actions.

 

Reality is that at some point in the distant past we learned everything was our fault and formed habits that control our behaviour in ways that tend to make us repeat the pattern over again. This goes around and reinforces the original belief (that everything is our fault), hence the death spiral. There are probably a hundred variations of this theme depending on the individual circumstances and reasons.

 

Yes, this can be recovered from with enough work to break the cycle and understand the overall situation. Finding out what and who started a person to form these habits and then going back through the chain of events that lead to today's habit will dismantle it and set the 'owner' free. A lot of these things have roots in memories from an age before we can recall anything so it gets quite complicated to find them.

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Little Pink Coupe

I used to hit my head as self-punishment...usually with the heels of both of my palms, systematically, all around the front, back and sides of my head; every time I did something wrong.

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(deleted)

The other thing is that this might be a habitual thing that he does, not nessecerially as a form of self-punishment.

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DominikaCupcake

I do this sometimes, but not when i do something stupid. I do this when i'm angry and frustrated. Generally hitting myself is part of my meltdowns. sometimes i even end up with bruises or make myself bleed. 

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