social-rejection

I’ve noticed this revisionist Greek myth is common wherein Persephone loves Hades and eats the pomegranate seeds in order to evade her overbearing mother, and that’s all well and good. You know, sometimes I’m in the mood for it and sometimes I’m not. But hear this: as long as we’re doing this, why is no one wondering whether Aphrodite might really love Hephaestus? 

Think about it. All the gods in their immortal splendor are lining up to marry her, doing everything in their power to impress her, the goddess of love and beauty, and she choses…that guy. A god in technical terms only, a social reject who’s ugly and malformed and um, no fun. Always slaving away in his workshop when everyone else is quaffing nectar and having their eternal beach party up on Mount Olympus. They can’t believe she’d give up all of them for that. 

So, because the gods do not take rejection well (looking at you Apollo), eventually they start to say to each other, well, we all know Zeus made her do it anyway. He’s gotta feel guilty for throwing Hephaestus off Mount Olympus that one time. And it quickly becomes that poor girl, stuck in that workshop full of sweat and dirt and cyclopses when she could have had one of us. Because of course they’ve got love all figured out; it’s entirely technical and dependent on who’s the most charming and good-looking and not at all variable and strange and notoriously unpredictable, right?

Meanwhile Ares, only the most arrogant and brainless of the crew, can’t take a hint and is still showing up wherever Aphrodite goes trying to hit on her, so eventually she and Hephaestus decide to rig up an elaborate mechanical trap for him, using her as bait. When all the gods have laughed at him for getting caught he huffily attempts to regain his dignity by telling them, whatever, guys, you want to know the truth, I was meeting her for an assignation. And they all kind of know he’s full of it but they just accept it as the unvarnished truth from thereon in, because they’d love to believe she’d cheat on Hephaestus with Ares. They’d love it. Come on, Aphrodite, get off your high horse and admit you’re just as shallow as the rest of us. 

So they talk, but Aphrodite doesn’t really care about their collective jealousy because she dotes on her misshapen genius of a husband with his sooty hands and his sweaty brow who always takes her seriously and is always so hard at work inventing astonishing new things to make her happy, and she loves the volcano they live in with its internal pressures so conducive to the formation of precious stones and its passages lit with glowing lava that so gorgeously offsets her cheekbones, and all the cyclopses worship her because even with one eye apiece they’ve still got more depth perception than most men do where she’s concerned. True it is that as a couple the two develop a reputation for not getting out much, because all those Olympian parties bore them to death and they’d rather spend time with each other (poor Aphrodite, she’s such a vivacious young thing and her husband is so grasping and insecure that he won’t let her go out and have fun), but they do all right. 

Science Confirms The Obvious: Rejection Can Make You More Creative

There’s a reason genius and solitude seem to go hand in hand, a new study says. Social rejection leads to creative problem solving.

Don’t let rejection get you down–it might be the ticket to creativity, science says. That’s right: If regular rejection doesn’t cause you to lose all self-confidence and withdraw from the world entirely, it just might boost your ability to think outside of the mainstream and draw upon a unique worldview, suggesting that the kind of people society considers “geniuses” might tend to have a go-it-alone, loner mentality.

Research conducted by Cornell and Johns Hopkins University researchers has shown that people who are able to handle rejection in the proper manner–by shrugging it off and blazing their own, independent trails–can experience heightened creativity and even commercial success through an ability to eschew mainstream thought and groupthink and instead pursue their own creative solutions to problems. They tested their hypothesis through a series of experiments in which they manipulated the experience of social rejection; subjects in the study were led to believe that everyone in a group exercise could choose whom to work with on a team project, only to be told later that no one had selected them for a team.

For people with an independent mindset, this rejection inspired them to go on and complete the exercise in a way that was deemed more creative (we’re not exactly sure how “creativity” was measured). For people without an independent mindset–well, we’re not really sure what kind of impact this exclusion had on them (hopefully someone later told them it was just an experiment, it was all in good fun, and really, everyone here thinks you’re great).

The researchers acknowledge that for some, the consequences of rejection can be quite negative. Their research is only intended to show that for those of a certain mindset, social rejection can have a silver lining, driving home something that we more or less already knew: it’s not easy being a genius.

common fears & how to get over them

A lot of [usually ableist] autism awareness infomercials like to use metaphors to show how autistic people are so distant and different and “not there”. Often it’s the glass metaphor, like when they literally put an autistic child behind a glass wall. And I understand where that’s coming from cause sometimes, maybe even a lot of times, I do feel like I’m behind a glass wall and can’t communicate with the world as easily as everyone else. But it wasn’t me who put that wall between myself and the world. And it wasn’t my autism. It was you. It was the world. It was non-autistic people.

Another post about kids and forced eye contact...

As someone who has spent/spends a lot of time hanging out with and looking out for/looking after young kids, something I’ve encountered a lot is adults forcing kids to look them in the eye when they want to make sure they are getting a point across or when they are trying to have a “serious conversation” with a child. 


Forcing a child to do anything is not okay. Yes, there are some things that may be essential to a child’s health and safety that an adult taking care of that child may have to get that child to do even if the child doesn’t want to, and in those situations every measure possible needs to be taken to make the experience as okay as it can be for the child. To be very clear - eye contact is not one of those things. 


Forcing any child to make eye contact is not okay - this is as true for autistic kids as it is for non-autistic kids. But, with autistic kids, there’s the additional factor that eye contact may also be - in addition to being extremely stressful for the kid - impeding the kid you are talking to from listening to what you are saying or engaging with what you are saying because of the stress of being forced to make eye contact and because it’s easier for that kid to listen and understand when not making eye contact.


I remember so many instances from when I was a kid of having to choose between making eye contact when I was being told to and trying to understand what the person talking to me was saying. Situations like this were made even more stressful when I knew what was being said was something I was supposed to be listening to and understanding, but all I could focus on was how soon would I be allowed to break eye contact


I have only ever once said to a child “just look at me for a second.” I apologized afterwards and have spent a lot of time thinking about it since. The kid I was talking to at the time was really upset and had been asking for help fixing a situation (before he became too upset to have words to ask anymore). I was trying to help him find a way to resolve the situation that was upsetting him, and without even thinking about it, I blurted out a phrase I’ve heard so many adults yell at children before (I didn’t yell, though). The ironic thing is that in saying that to this kid, I definitely did not make that much eye contact with him either (especially because I was busy trying to think of ways I could help him) - I said it because it’s a thing that I have heard so many adults say to kids…basically it’s a widely used social script, and we all have internalized scripts we may not even be aware of until they come up in a given situation (my observations lead me to believe that this is true even for folks who don’t rely as heavily on scripts as I and many others do). But, it’s a really harmful script and one that we need to stop using when we want to get a kid’s attention or have a conversation with them. 


The other day I was hanging out with an neuroweird kid who I spend a fair bit of time hanging out with. At this point, we’ve gotten pretty good at knowing each others’ communication preferences and general ways of being. She sometimes makes direct eye contact with me and I sometimes make direct eye contact with her, but most often we sort of make periodic peripheral eye contact and not really much eye contact besides that. The other day when we were hanging out, she wanted to do something in the game she was playing that involved flinging small toys around. The toys involved didn’t seem like they had much potential to seriously hurt anyone or damage anything, and so there was no reason for me to stop her from playing that game. But, because I figured that there was still a potential that she could hurt herself or me, I asked her if we could talk about it before she started playing the game. Initially she did not respond to me or even seem like she was listening (she didn’t do the things she usually does when she is listening and she also kept almost flinging the toys). So, I asked her again if we could talk about the game before she kept playing it. This time she said yes, we talked about it and I explained that she should be careful not to aim the toys she was flinging at herself or at me and she agreed to this. This worked well and there is no reason at all why I would have needed to ask her to “look at me” or “look me in the eye” to have a conversation about playing a game more safely - even if it took a couple tries to get the conversation going. 


There are lots of ways you can communicate with kids without forcing them to make eye contact
- yes, even in situations where many people typically deem it “necessary” for a kid to look them in the eye “in order to make sure the kid has understood” or whatever other excuse people give for not respecting a child’s boundaries and needs. 


Here are some other ideas for scripts you can use to communicate with kids in moments where you might otherwise think you have to resort to forcing eye contact:
   •    "Can we talk about this?“ 

   •    "Let’s talk about this before you do [activity/game/thing].”

   •    "Let’s check in about this, please.“

   •    "Hey! We need to have a conversation about this before you ___”

   •    "When you’re done doing what you are doing, can we please have a conversation about ___?“

  •    "I know you want to do [activity/game/thing], but first I think we should talk about it to make sure that we both understand the things we need to do (or not do) to make sure everyone is safe/okay/etc.”

   •    "This is really important (for your safety/health/whatever other reason) and I need to make sure that you understand before you [start doing the thing, leave the room, start talking about a different topic, etc.]“

    •    "I need to talk to you about ___. I know you don’t want to talk about it right now and you want to go play, but it’s really important for your safety/health/other important reason, so what could maybe help you understand me best right now?”***


(***Note: with questions like the one above - especially with younger kids - it can be really helpful to give options or ideas rather than leaving the question totally open-ended because it may be hard for the kid to come up with things “on the spot” and/or they may not know what might be helpful. If you can offer some options - the more specific to that particular kid the higher chances of the options being helpful to them - it will very likely help a lot.)

  •    "The thing I just told you is really important (for your safety/health/because ___ reason/etc.). Can you please do something that helps me know that you understood what I told you?“**

(**As with the point before this one, it might be helpful to offer options for how the kid could indicate understanding - depending on how that kid communicates, how the kid can/likes to move their body, etc. For example, for some kids nodding their head might be a good option, for other kids clapping their hands might be a good option, for other kids verbal confirmation might be a good option, etc.)


This is certainly not a comprehensive list, and I’m sure there are other examples I’ve forgotten or left out. I tried to use phrases that seemed like they could translate well whether the conversation was being had verbally or non-verbally, but some of them might work better or worse depending on how you are communicating with someone and how they are communicating with you. I also realize that these scripts may not work at all for some people because everyone’s communication stuff (expressive and receptive) is different.


TL;DR: Forcing kids to make eye contact when you are trying to communicate with them about important things (or for any other reason) is not okay and is also entirely unnecessary. It’s especially important to consider what requiring eye contact as a "sign of understanding” does in terms of harmful impacts on autistic kids - many of whom may find eye contact uncomfortable and very stressful. There are lots of other ways you can communicate with kids about things that are important, things you need them to know and understand, things related to their health and safety, etc. without forcing them to look at you or to make eye contact.

Most common traits of School Shooters:

>Motivated by revenge or envy

>Low empathy

> Low self-esteem

> Considered a “social reject”

> Male

> Caucasian

> Withdrawn

> Lives in a rural community

>Has easy access to weapons

>Bullied repeatedly from a young age (there is a point when the bullied child flips roles and becomes the bully

> Comes from a troubled home