Reliability is NOT a PDA trait!

Reliability is NOT a PDA trait!


Reliability – the ability to rely on something or someone. The placing of expectations in the assurance these expectations will be met.

I would not say that reliability is a PDA trait, I would struggle to say that PDAers can be reliable. Not because they don’t want to be, on the contrary I’m sure there are many that would see themselves as being reliable and would hope that others would trust them to be relied upon. But let’s face it, no matter how much we want to be relied upon, no matter how much we feel we can be responsible, no matter how much we try to be reliable, Demand Avoidance just holds us back.

In order to be reliable we have to be willing and able to meet the expectations placed upon us. Expectations are Demands. Being reliable is therefore a Demand. PDAers don’t ‘do’ Demands. Again, this isn’t by choice. Demands are extremely difficult for us to complete, we end up procrastinating, doing anything else but the Demand, making excuses or simply ignoring it in the hope it goes away. We can’t just get on and do it, our bodies literally make us run away or become like lead (immovable). Yes, there are tricks we can use to help us accomplish these demands, but sometimes every trick in the book is used and the demand becomes so big that nothing can help us overcome it.

We can’t not be relied upon though. We have jobs, family, friends, social responsibilities, housework, our own needs and wants, governmental rules and regulations that we have to follow. It’s rather silly to expect so much of us, yet people tend not to stop piling on the responsibilities, often because they just don’t know or care that we will struggle with these. The governments don’t care that expecting us to complete a tax return is equal to expecting us to swim the English channel with a boulder on our backs. They expect us to shoulder the responsibility, they expect us to be reliable and fill out that form. It’s the same for every responsibility heaped on us PDAers. Even our own needs and things we offer to do for others, we are relied upon for so much, we make ourselves reliable for so much.

It would be easier if we didn’t have so much responsibility, so much expectation placed on us. So many parents have noticed how their PDA children do so much more once the expectation is removed. Just having the option to do or not do something makes it so much easier for us to accomplish it. If it doesn’t matter whether we do something or not then we can manage it far easier, because we are no longer carrying expectation as a boulder on our back. We are not having to swim through responsibility.

Yet even knowing that expectation and responsibility are weights on our backs doesn’t stop us from assuming more responsibility. We continue to offer ourselves us as reliable lean on’s for others, forgetting just how hard it is to meet these Demands or maybe in the vain hope that this time will somehow be different. We want to help, we want to be reliable, we want to be responsible, we just aren’t! And that sucks!

Of course we can be reliable, to a degree, but the energy and time needed to meet these expectations are so high that often even when we do complete the tasks, we are left more drained and exhausted than should be allowed. Often, it’s not worth the expense.

4 thoughts on “Reliability is NOT a PDA trait!”

  1. Very well said!! My son is always trying to find a community to associate with and his case manager brought him to the “club house” community where people with mental illness disabilities can go and spend the day. They are all expected to work and he stayed a total of 30 minutes and he had to run out of there. He knows he is not going to meet their expectations and he sees trying is pointless. He told me he was feeling very anxious and just wanted to leave as quickly as possible and so his case manager brought him back to his apartment. I told him I understood and I thought it was good that he tried and figured out the club house was not for him. If the club house would have allowed him to just come with no work expectations he might have stayed. It makes me upset that people don’t seem to understand that!! Thanks for your insight!!

  2. Thanks for the insight again into this topic. I have recently discovered that my 15 yr old ASD son seems to fit the PDA criteria so it really is very helpful to learn more from you.

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