I want to speak about PDA and empathy.

There is an ideology in social culture that PDA creates challenging, violent children who, with or without intent, can be 'abusive' both to other humans and to animals. My son, on past occasions, has been labelled by people who don't know him as uncaring towards other children, or malicious.

Anyone with a close family member, or friend, who has PDA will no doubt have first-hand experience, have read posts in support groups, or read articles on the internet discussing violent or 'challenging' behaviour caused by their high anxiety. I want to completely switch that image around.

This week, very sadly,  my son and I had to have one of our pet rats put to sleep. He cried lots of tears. It would be easy to say that he was just thinking of himself, but no, he wasn't, although of course he was going to really, really miss her.

He babied and cuddled her often whilst she was unwell, and he held her in his arms very gently, telling her how much he loved her, and kissing her, whilst I drove her over to the vets.

This was a couple of days ago. Since then, he has cuddled me a few times when he's spotted a couple of tears inadvertently welling up and trickling, and he hasn't needed to have any explanation. But on top of that, he has often gone out of his way to tell me how much he loves me.

It's a complete fallacy that PDAers don't have empathy towards others, or that we're abusive. There's nothing worse than someone trying to label a person in that way just because we have high anxiety levels and may sometimes find it harder to self regulate. On the contrary, we feel emotions very keenly. So, yes, we may get angry sometimes when we feel that there has been a serious injustice served, but equally, we love those closest to us so deeply, and when we lose a person or animal we love, we grieve very deeply indeed.

And this is a part of why I love my son so much. With a PDAer, you can’t just instruct or train them to say 'please' and 'thank you' very easily, or kindly, if they don't care to. Nor can you get them to pretend they have feelings that they don't. But when someone has been really loving to them, they totally, totally love them back ❤

In memoriam of Maria 🐀❤

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