Raised by someone with Aspergers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 11-09-2009, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not sure if this is the right spot, hoping the mods will move this if necessary. I am trying to find others who were raised by someone on the autism spectrum, specifically someone with aspergers. I'm having a difficult time dealing with some things, hoping to find others who can relate to my experience.

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#2 of 28 Old 11-09-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I believe my father had Asperger's. He also had a number of other issues to deal with, including severe mental illness. I figured out the Aspie thing when I started reading about it to understand my older son. I feel like I finally understand my father and his actions now. That seemed to be key in helping me forgive him.

Maybe I can help?

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#3 of 28 Old 11-13-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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I believe my father has Asperger's as well, though he was never diagnosed. He definitely shared a unique perspective on life with me, that's for sure.
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#4 of 28 Old 11-16-2009, 02:36 AM
 
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Have you checked out the forums on WrongPlanet?

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#5 of 28 Old 11-16-2009, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies, I'm not sure if this is the right place for me to process this stuff. I considered Wrongplanet, but it's difficult, since I do not have aspergers, and I need to discuss my mother, who does. It's hard to talk about my frustrations about the kind of mother she is around those who have aspergers, and who possibly have their own children, you know? I thought the finding your tribe section or the personal growth section here might be a better idea. Could this maybe be moved to personal growth to see if there is a better response? My issues with my mother have to do with her emotional detachment over time, and her obliviousness when it comes to emotions, and everything else really.... She is now loosing her vision, due to an unrelated health condition, and it's brought back a lot of hard stuff that I have problems even addressing with her.

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#6 of 28 Old 11-17-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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I am moving this to PG, this does belong there better. Hope you find the responses that you are looking for mama.

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#7 of 28 Old 11-17-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure my mom has Asperger's. It made for a horrible childhood for me and a difficult adulthood so far. I never got hugged as a child, I was never told "I love you", and that only became a daily occurance in my life when I met my husband. I was always yelled at for being bad and I didn't even know what I did wrong, if anything. Sometimes I would ask her a simple question and she'd just start yelling at me, which made me upset, which made her yell at me for being upset... She'd always offer to do something for me (like bring my laundry downstairs or get me a snack) then whine and complain that she was doing it. I never understood that. I still don't. She also always put her tv shows above her kids. If I walked into the room with the intent of asking my mom a question or telling her something about my day, she'd immediately shush me and say "I'M WATCHING THIS!!" which made me retreat to my room and cry.

Since I got pregnant, she's never once asked me how I'm feeling. Even when I told her the news, she said my name in an upset way and walked away to do the dishes. She has NEVER been someone I could go to with my problems. I often wish I had a different mother. Is it too much to ask to get a hug every now and then? I've heard a lot of children of Aspies forgiving their parent, but I just can't bring myself to do that. I've suffered most of my life because of the way she treated me, and I'm not over it. The only emotion she's ever shown me is anger or annoyance.

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#8 of 28 Old 11-18-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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^^^ Oh honey... I don't know what to say, but I'm so sorry.
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#9 of 28 Old 11-18-2009, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sonicfrost, thank you for sharing all of that. I'm so sorry. I have always been an emotional person, very much so when I was a child, and there was no way to connect with my mom on that level. I can relate to feeling like an annoyance most of the time. With my mother, it was more that she built up this fake emotional connection, I can remember her saying "have a good day we love you" every morning before I left for school, and it always felt so forced and plastic....processing a lot of things from my childhood after figuring out it was aspergers has been hard. I have felt like I need to learn a lot of things, socially, that I never learned from her. A lot of simple things are very hard for her.

She now has a tumor on her pituitary gland, and it's pressing on her optic nerve, causing her to go blind. She called me to tell me that she will be getting surgery for it next year, but that there is no hope for her vision returning. She actually said "but it's ok, I'm ok with it" after she told me, which to me, meant that she has not really considered how this is affecting the rest of the family. She's ok with it, so it shouldn't bother anyone else...I tried to open up to her but couldn't, it's really hard speaking to someone about heavy emotional stuff, when you know they aren't "getting it". She has a lot of sensory issues, and as you can imagine, loosing one sense has been really hard for her. It's really hard for all of us, because we feel like we don't matter. I am honestly really angry that since diagnosing herself with aspergers, after my brother was diagnosed by a Dr, but only after his school made them get a diagnosis or leave, she has gotten no professional help. Her anxiety and paranoia are out of control, sometimes I think that she's really dealing with OCD or something else, but she is fearful of Drs, so there's not much hope for her getting help. It's making life really difficult for my dad, and my sister and brother who live at home. I feel helpless in the whole situation. And something tells me it's only going to get much much worse before, or if, it ever gets better.

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#10 of 28 Old 11-18-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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My dad definitely has it, but he's so bullheaded that he would never ever even listen to anyone that brought it up to him. He would also probably never believe that it's a "real" condition. I mean, really, there's absolutely no point in broaching the subject. It would NOT be worth it.

I did tell my step-mom about it once, and all though she's not exactly the most open-minded person either, there was no doubt in her mind that it hit the nail on the head. She was kind of excited to have an explanation for it all.

We've never talked about anything important in life, ever. He can't handle it. He would never come to me if upset about something, he would just get quiet. I *STILL* hear about his "coldness" all the time from my mom (who has been divorced from him for 20+ years), my sisters (who have a different dad, so they are his ex-step-children), etc.

He has been obsessed with Maui for years and finally moved there several years ago. He hates having to visit here and will only do it when his job requires him to show up and fix something in-person, so he'll schedule the least amount of time possible here, despite the fact that his entire family is still here (his very elderly parents, included). He sits in the same spot on the couch every single night and watches the same shows on tv. He is a computer genius, musical wizard (all done by ear, can play many instruments VERY well), refuses to wear anything but shorts except when absolutely necessary, very particular about his sleep, and so on...

He is SO stuck in his political ways, it's scary. He can't see other opinions besides his own and therefore the way to deal with terrorists is just to bomb entire countries, and "liberals are batsh*t crazy". That's a difficult one to deal with, because I'm on the opposite end of the political spectrum and have to hide a lot about me...

ANYWAY, the other side of it is that there is a lot of that in me. Even though I'm way more emotional and open-minded, I look at him and see so much of the same in myself. So a lot of times i feel like I'm the only one that can understand him. I still crave the emotional connection from him, but I have a lot of the same quirks that he does. Sometimes I feel trapped, because on one hand I've always needed more from him, and on the other hand, I feel like he's the only one that understands (even though we never talk about these things).

I take medication that makes me able to deal with the anxiety, that I think helps me function a lot better in the real world, but I'm still very much stuck in my ways too. Oh well.

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#11 of 28 Old 11-18-2009, 09:27 AM
 
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Pretty sure my mom is on the spectrum. Also pretty sure I am on the spectrum so my kids are being raised by someone with Asperger's, too. I'll be back to read and post more.

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#12 of 28 Old 11-19-2009, 02:04 AM
 
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My parents are both slightly Aspie, Dad more so than Mum. Out of us six kids, I'd say five of us are on the spectrum, ranging from slight to full-blown autistic. I'm just a tad Aspie (I call it "vanity Aspie"), so I guess that's different to your situation as a NT raised by an Aspie.

We definitely aren't a huggy family, and we're pretty awkward about sentimental occasions like birthdays and such; but we're extremely close and get on very well at the same time. I don't feel like being in an Aspie family has been a bad thing in general - we communicate a lot through sharing our favourite books, movies, blogs etc and it works pretty well! The only issue I can think of was that Dad and I are both prone to occasional fits of blinding rage. When they occurred at the same time... not good.

I'm married to a guy who's also, surprise surprise, slightly Aspie. For some reason, though, we aren't "Aspie" with each other. I don't like to hug people, but I can hug him; he doesn't like to be around people much, but he can be around me. We're like the exceptions to each other's rules. And so is the baby, for the most part. Sometimes we get a bit worn out with her constant need to interact, but we're very huggy with her and make sure to say "I love you" a lot and so on. I think it's a bit healthier than our British, stiff-upper-lipped, don't-let-them-know-you-like-them attitude when I was growing up.

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#13 of 28 Old 11-19-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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My siblings and I all think that my dad has aspergers (and NPD). He is an extremely unpleasant person to be around and our childhood has been difficult b/c of the way he has been. It's also affected us even now as adults. My youngest brother probably has a touch of Asperger's as well, but not as bad as my dad. I sometimes wonder if DS1 has it, he is what I consider a very quirky child and often has problems with social cues.
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#14 of 28 Old 11-19-2009, 03:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
Also pretty sure I am on the spectrum so my kids are being raised by someone with Asperger's, too. I'll be back to read and post more.


My dad has Asperger's, but I've never lived with him so I wasn't raised by an Aspie.

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#15 of 28 Old 11-20-2009, 05:32 AM
 
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I'm sorry to share in this painful thread but it certainly is comforting to hear there are more of us. My mother and sister both have Asperger's. I'm not convinced my father has it too, but he's definitely strange. A failed mechanical engineer who became a developer and later couch potato after leaving "mother". He was really pretty weird and intimidating but my childhood was so awful I decided to stand-up to him anyway. I got hit a great deal but he listened to me, even taking the design advice of a twelve year old when building a strip mall (creepy). Once I mentioned wanting a pony, so he just went out and bought me one. There was one problem he knew nothing about horses and we lived in a small city. I'm not even going to talk about being stuck out in the ocean sailing with him, he would bring a gun let us leave it at that.

Needless to say... I cried everyday of my childhood and nothing ever made sense to me. My sister was never bothered by any of this and I protected her fiercely till the age of twelve when she started yelling at me too. My sister is now an attorney but as a child developed slowly and I would coach her. I always thought it was odd my parents never noticed and to this day yell at me for not doing my homework when I was five or justify my unkempt elementary look to my own lack of interest. Yes I wore a lot of tutus to school. I have a friend that convinced herself she was a horse till the third grade so it could have been worse...

Once I asked my parents why they never paid attention to me and my mother said, "you never wanted parents." Unbelievable, I still cry every time I talk to her yet somehow end up giving her advice and telling her how great she is right after she cuts me down again. My esteem is incredibly low and my therapist gave me an IQ test to convince me I wasn't a total case, of course it turns out I'm in the upper percentiles, my mother scoffed...I don't know about that, "your sat scores weren't that high". I attended top schools in my field. I'm not certain why we talk or why I forgive her. For some reason I always knew she didn't mean it yet she destroys me and I don't have it in me to cut her off. Her eccentricity is interesting and accepting yet she has no interest in anything I'm working on. I hope that made sense there was a need to release. My mother makes me feel worthless and stupid.
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#16 of 28 Old 11-20-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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#17 of 28 Old 11-21-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sonicfrost View Post
I'm pretty sure my mom has Asperger's. It made for a horrible childhood for me and a difficult adulthood so far. I never got hugged as a child, I was never told "I love you", and that only became a daily occurance in my life when I met my husband. I was always yelled at for being bad and I didn't even know what I did wrong, if anything. Sometimes I would ask her a simple question and she'd just start yelling at me, which made me upset, which made her yell at me for being upset... She'd always offer to do something for me (like bring my laundry downstairs or get me a snack) then whine and complain that she was doing it. I never understood that. I still don't. She also always put her tv shows above her kids. If I walked into the room with the intent of asking my mom a question or telling her something about my day, she'd immediately shush me and say "I'M WATCHING THIS!!" which made me retreat to my room and cry.

Since I got pregnant, she's never once asked me how I'm feeling. Even when I told her the news, she said my name in an upset way and walked away to do the dishes. She has NEVER been someone I could go to with my problems. I often wish I had a different mother. Is it too much to ask to get a hug every now and then? I've heard a lot of children of Aspies forgiving their parent, but I just can't bring myself to do that. I've suffered most of my life because of the way she treated me, and I'm not over it. The only emotion she's ever shown me is anger or annoyance.
I was reading this post and thinking, "Wow, this sounds very familiar!" Then I looked at your screenname and realized you are my sister. LOL

I think both our parents are on the spectrum. I have been able to forgive a lot of their behavior since finding out about autism. I know they can't help it. And now I know that I can't expect anything different from them. I also see a lot of autistic qualities in myself, but I'm not sure if it's because of how I was raised or if it's genetic. But I am wholly convinced that true healing is possible, and that it comes from within.

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#18 of 28 Old 11-21-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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I was reading this post and thinking, "Wow, this sounds very familiar!" Then I looked at your screenname and realized you are my sister. LOL

I also see a lot of autistic qualities in myself, but I'm not sure if it's because of how I was raised or if it's genetic.
HI!! I've been wondering the same, if I'm Aspie or if its because we were raised to not show emotion, but I think I really am Aspie. Mom said I almost never cried when I was a baby, and don't babies cry to express their emotions because its the only way they know how? I want to say so much more on this subject, but the words never seem to come the way I want them to.

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We definitely aren't a huggy family, and we're pretty awkward about sentimental occasions like birthdays and such; but we're extremely close and get on very well at the same time.

I'm married to a guy who's also, surprise surprise, slightly Aspie. For some reason, though, we aren't "Aspie" with each other. I don't like to hug people, but I can hug him; he doesn't like to be around people much, but he can be around me. We're like the exceptions to each other's rules. .... make sure to say "I love you" a lot and so on. I think it's a bit healthier than our British, stiff-upper-lipped, don't-let-them-know-you-like-them attitude when I was growing up.
Our family had our good, fun moments too, but they were few. The daily happenings were negative and the only positive things were rare. It wasn't 100% bad and negative, but if I was asked if I had a bad or good childhood, I'd have to say bad.

Yes! Me too for your second paragraph! I don't know if my husband is Aspie or just quirky, but we both don't like crowds or people, but we love being around each other. We both thought no one would like us if they got to know us, but we love each other, and understand each other. We make sure to say "I love you" and show each other affection every day, which is opposite of how we were raised. I definitely grew up with that "Don't let them know you like them" attitude. Though, I feel like a more emotionally healthier person now that I met my husband. I feel more normal, not like such an outcast.

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#19 of 28 Old 11-21-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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You know, it's important to remember that parents with Asperger's aren't always like this. A lot of their parenting is going to depend on how thye were parented, as well . . . also, people with high-functioning autism/Asperger's who were never diagnosed or helped in the ways they needed, have high-stress lives and are prone to depression and a higher incidence of personality disorders*. I think my mom has a couple or a few personality disorders-- probably Paranoid, Obsessive, and Narcissistic, for instance. She is very, very eccentric and she was a tough mom to live with. At the same time, I had the same kind of relationship that a PP described in that I would constantly try to make her feel better about herself and help her prop up her sense of self-esteem (narcissists have zero self-esteem).

Now, again, Asperger's parents don't have to be like that. I am parenting my Asperger son very carefully in hopes that he will be able to have a successful and happy family life as an adult. Attachment parenting makes a huge difference!!! And for that I thank my mom, because even with all her faults, she was intellectually dedicated to being a mom-- she actually read Mothering magazine back in the day breastfed me and attachment-parented me as a baby**. Of course, she abandoned me when I was one, but still . . . it still made a difference, the attachment parenting at the very beginning.

My son is very affectionate and attached for an Asperger's child. It wasn't easy attachment parenting him. He didn't like being "worn" most of the time. He was constantly complain-crying (as a baby). He hated being put down but would only be held one way (or he cried). And so on and so on . . . I think most of parents with a baby like would've just made him cry it out from a young age. That's probably what happened to my mom, and that's probably why she's the way she is today-- the unattached way she was parented.

So anyway, I hope this post might offer some new perspective and some closure and maybe some hope for the future.

BTW, I try to think of my mom kindly and forgivingly, but the reason I can think that way is that I no longer have a relationship with her. She's not in my life now. It was all about her, all one-sided, too painful. It's okay to "divorce" your parents if you need to . . . it makes it easier to let go of the anger.

ETA notes:
* Personality Disorders usually develop in the 20s when a person is exposed to incredibly high amounts of stress for an extended amount of time
** my mom abandoned my dad and brother and I when I was a year old and then fought for us in court a little while later, but I didn't see her for a year, until I was 2. Then I was sent back to live with her and life was miserable.

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#20 of 28 Old 11-21-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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One of my most vivid memories was when I was four or five and my mom hugged me to reward me for cleaning up all my toys by myself. It felt good, and I was shocked, absolutely SHOCKED! Because she never did that before. And hasn't really since. Just little fake hugs on parting ways, and that only started probably about my teen years. It's uncomfortable for both of us. :

I can imagine my parents' lives growing up with undiagnosed autism. Probably similar to my own. Getting harsh punishments and not understanding what they did wrong. Then continuing the cycle with their own kids, dealing out harsh punishments with no explanation. It's a struggle every day for me to let the pattern end. I am a pioneer with attachment parenting my kids. I have no internal map of a happy family, so I seek out a lot of parenting/ child development books, and of course MDC. It's bittersweet to know my kids have it so much better than I ever did. And they have no idea, and don't appreciate it. Which they shouldn't. Kids shouldn't have to know the difference between a happy family and a dysfunctional one. I never did either, except I was on the other side of the fence.

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#21 of 28 Old 11-22-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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To try to keep this thread going: I think the hardest part of being parented by Aspies is their complete social and emotional absence. They were there physically, but that's about it. And I didn't have anyone else in my life to go to for 'mentoring' or surrogate 'parenting'. This is dark, but at least if you're a kid and your parents die or something, other people know that and someone will fill in a parenting role for you, an adoptive parent, and other relatives. But nobody knew that I was growing up with zero 'parenting' at home.

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#22 of 28 Old 11-23-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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I don't know that all Aspies are completely absent emotionally. My father's weird, but I know he does love me; he just has different ways of showing it. I got along better with my family and myself when I stopped looking to society for those cues and started looking at them individually.
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#23 of 28 Old 11-23-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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My father was a classic example of Asperger's. My oldest son has high-functioning autism - essentially Asperger's. My father wasn't emotionally absent, and neither is my son. My father didn't withhold affection, and neither does my son. My father wanted to hug and tickle. He wasn't aware of when he was being too rough. He couldn't read my cues to back off, or to stop. My son is the same way. He wants to hug and cuddle and jump on me, but isn't able to tell when I've had too much and need him to back off. I have to repeat myself several times, and sometimes yell, so that he will hear and understand me. My father loved me. So does my son.

My father wasn't able to understand when I needed supportive words or comfort. He was very logic-minded. That's how he made sense of the world. But the world was often overwhelming, and he would lose his temper or shut down. My son has the same difficulty.

While trying to understand my son and what he goes through every day, why he acts the ways that he does, I've been able to finally understand my father. My father has been dead since 1998, so that understanding doesn't do him any good. But it has helped me. I have to take my son to occupational therapy twice a week, and it's still not enough to meet his needs. He's in a social skills group. We're looking into regular therapy and speech therapy for him as well. He's on supplements and digestive enzymes. And I organize my days around what he can deal with. I can do all of this because I can understand what my son is experiencing, and I can learn from what various doctors have discovered. My grandmother didn't have the same knowledge to use with her oldest son, my father. My father didn't go to therapies. He didn't have extra help for the areas he struggled with. He became an alcoholic. He suffered from depression and schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. He had OCD- hoarder's. He ended up in a group home as an adult.

Having a diagnosis for my son, and understanding the family history of mental illness, puts me in a good position to help my children in ways that my grandmother couldn't help hers. I was angry with my father for a very, very long time for behaviors that I thought he chose, or could have prevented. I now know that being angry with my father for his Asperger's and mental illnesses and how they affected his behavior would be like being angry with someone for having no legs and not being able to walk. I see my father in my son, and am able to forgive and understand. I just need to forgive myself now. And I need to do right by my son, and hope he is able to succeed.

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#24 of 28 Old 11-23-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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I don't know that all Aspies are completely absent emotionally.
Nor autistics either. My sister with full-blown autism is very empathic and caring. She's always the first to say "We should pray for her!" when someone's sick, or to tear up when a sad story comes on the news.

But obviously some Aspie parents are, so I should quit nitpicking. I think in this area it might be easier for kids who are slightly Aspie too. People outside our family probably thought we were very cold to each other, never hugging etc; but within our family we knew our cues and were comfortable with our unspoken solidarity. I guess if I'd been more NT I might have missed that "vibe" and felt unloved? I'd be very surprised if the average Aspie parent didn't love his or her child. (Particularly if he/she was partnered, demonstrating a cability to love and form relationships of some sort!)

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#25 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I let this thread go for a while, but I feel like I want to sort through this bit by bit....it's impossible to get a good post in now that my 9 month old is so incredibly active. I was thinking about being raised by my mom. Thinking that some things I could attribute to myself having aspergers, might actually just be the result of being raised by her, make sense? Like, she couldn't teach me certain social norms, because she didn't understand them herself. I'm almost 30, and I feel like there are some things that I just don't know or am just now learning, it's very frustrating. And she only just found out about aspergers about 7 years ago, so she went most of her life just thinking she was a weirdo and that's it....on that note, she has never been diagnosed, and it seems like in adults, at least to me, people aren't seeking a diagnosis, they are learning about it, and just figuring they have it. I don't know, it bothers me that she can't seek help, I know that there are people studying ways to use therapy to help....I don't know...so there are my discombobulated thoughts...

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#26 of 28 Old 08-07-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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If anyone is still around, I started a new thread:

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1387936/adult-children-of-aspergers-hf-autistic-parents

 

And could really use some help making sense of my life.

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#27 of 28 Old 09-01-2013, 12:36 AM
 
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Did you find where is the right place to talk? 

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#28 of 28 Old 02-18-2014, 08:13 AM
 
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It is so interesting reading all your comments.  I had such a hard childhood, longing to be held, loved and age 40 I am still finding hard to know what's appropriate and to have intimate relationships because I believe my mother was aspergic and my father narcissistic.

 

I was a baby that never cried and I assume it was because my mother never went to me so I stopped bothering.  When my sister was born she cried ALL the time and I used to go to her very anxiously because nobody else did.  I think my father resented my mother that she wasn't doing what was expected of her. 

 

Even though I was apparently a pretty  and bright child that was liked by others, my parents always told me I was needy, lazy, demanding, stupid.  I was told to 'f**k off' if I tried to hug my mother.  Once when my mother was crying about herself, my sister went to put her arm around our mother and she said 'don't, you'll make me feel sick'.  My father recently confided in me that he and my mother have never kissed - after 42 years of marriage.

 

She is a lawyer - very highly regarded as such and only talks about her work.  My father raised me and my sister with the help of nannies.  Since becoming a mother myself when I was 27, in tending to the needs of my daughter, I suddenly became aware of where my needs weren't met - it took that long to realise what was missing because I never had anything at all.  If my father had been loving rather than abusive (he was controlling and physically violent with me) then I might have had a chance of recognising that there was more to be had out there.  Instead I have had a series of less than or emotionally abusive relationships - sometimes with alcoholics as both my parents were alcoholics.  I have made sure I don't repeat that pattern since I became a mother and left her father for his alcoholism but when it comes to sober abusers, I find it really hard to tell...

 

It seems so many of us are out there who have struggled to make sense of this world after being raised by aspergic parents - and, I notice,  we all write very correctly!  My mother is so pedantic and was such a stickler for punctuation, grammar etc... If she weren't a lawyer I'm sure someone would have suggested she be tested before now but it seems the perfect profession for her. 

 

Over the last 10 years I have tried therapy, self-help books, co-dependency meetings, hypnotherapy, CBT, St.John's Wort, Seroxat and nothing really works.  I have felt an increasing understanding of the way I work  but I wonder if what's really missing is love and empathy.  All along I keep being told by my sister and mother etc... I have to get used to doing without relationships because I have had these dysfunctional ones but I think, finally, that all I need is someone who truly loves me and on a regular basis! That's how I think I'll get better.

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