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Would Like Some Help Identifying Some Unique, Possibly Autistic, Behavior

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Hi- This question is not necessarily for myself, though it will certainly sate my need for information regarding this subject.

I participate on a large online forum that discusses a great variety of subjects. One particular board on this form focuses on comics and cartoons. As you may or may not be aware, the “brony” phenomenon swept the internet a few years back. A “brony” is person, usually and adult man, who is deeply interested to the point of obsession in the TV show “My little Pony”. Most of these dudes are alright, but some can get pretty creepy.

That’s not the reason I’m here though, that’s just for a frame of reference.
On this particular forum, discussion of my little pony was prohibited and moved to a board all it’s own to keep their followers contained. However, occasionally, some images or references to the show make it onto the board, though the moderators of the forum permit such usages now. However, there is one user in particular who worries me.

Every time, and I mean EVERY time anything, anything at all gets posted relating to my little pony, this user, henceforth referred to as Barney shows up.

Barney will viciously attack the user, with his favorite phrase being “DIE YOU DEGENERATE BARNEYFAG”. You see, he found that My Little Pony was often scheduled on TV very closely or even following Barney and Friends. You know, the show with purple dinosaur “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”. That guy. Now, despite somehow hating MLP with a zealous fervor, he is able to recognize anything, and I mean anything relating to MLP. He’s able to catch any reference, no matter how obscure, and trace it down and find it’s source.

Isn’t it strange that someone who hates something so much would surround themselves with it as much as the people they loathe?

Often times, fans of My Little Pony are autistic, as children’s shows are designed to be “friends” for young children, and autistic men have a hard time socializing. But I also suspect that Barney is also autistic, as I cannot find any other way to explain his unusual behavior. Barney has been banned from the site multiple times by the way, but somehow manages to illegally claw his way back. He is THAT obsessed.

What are your insights on this phenomenon?

Would Like Some Help Identifying Some Unique, Possibly Autistic, Behavior

Answered by on -


In the process of identity development each of us need role models. Whether these models come from actual people in someone‚Äôs life, or from other sources, including fictional characters, these models tend to either aspire us toward characteristics of the role model(s) — or despise these features and oppose them. While there is much more to identity development than this — either emulation or denigration are the usual end results. When someone is polarized and rejecting of a positive role model the net result is in a negative identity. They need to be the one that is constantly rejected. They will continue to find ways to be the negative outlier. The greater the need for an identity the more effort will be placed into the emulation or denigration.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral


Would Like Some Help Identifying Some Unique, Possibly Autistic, Behavior

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Would Like Some Help Identifying Some Unique, Possibly Autistic, Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.