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Asperger's Parents and Neurotypical Children

By HERWriter
 
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Asperger's Syndrome is finally moving into the spotlight. Questions that have perplexed Asperger's (AS) and neurotypical (NT) family members alike are now finding answers. Marriages between Aspies and NT's can improve as more becomes known about how to bridge the neurological gap.

People with Asperger's are writing articles, blogging, and being heard. Their voices have been given a platform that's been long in coming. They certainly deserve this understanding.

One group, though, that seems to be under-represented in all this new information and support, are the neurotypical children of Aspie parents.

There's a certain irony here. From what I've read, this has been the story of their lives.

A cornucopia of material is available, finally, for AS children, and Asperger's / NT marriages, and Asperger's in adults. But their NT child is -- still -- overlooked.

An Asperger's parent might say everything is fine. They're not aware of any problem for their child. However, there's that Catch 22.

Neurologically, they are unable to be aware of it. But that doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

The neurotypical parent's view may be completely different. They'd see the hurt feelings the Aspie would miss. They'd be aware of the emotional distance the child faces. Inevitably, the AS parent would not.

Some NT children of AS parents, now adults themselves, would say that as children they felt unloved. Their Aspie parent wasn't able to be sensitive to their feelings and their needs.

As NT children, they couldn't understand the neurological disconnect. The present generation of NT adults with Asperger's parents had no way of knowing what was wrong when they were small.

Children assume, and internalize, that there is something wrong with them, that it is somehow their fault when their parents can't show them love and affection in non-verbal ways they can understand.

To compound the situation, Asperger's was unheard of at that time. Who knew?

Many offspring of Aspies are dogged throughout their lives with depression and low self-worth.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I really get that one person might enjoy their marriage with an AS person. I don't feel it is fair to say that, that is good. 99.9% of relationships are toxic, abusive and over the top stressful with an AS partner, unless that partner is also AS - even at that - I've read stories of utter exhaustion and co-dependency. Some women ( majority are men) give up some aspect of themselves, their needs, dreams in order to "stay". I question the fact that someone says they are in a healthy relationship with an AS man. It might be, but nothing to hold above others that have not. As it is so rare. Really, there is so much damage done to a NT person. I know! This damage can be un-done, nonetheless a journey back to ones self. I'm watching my daughter grow up with a AS father ( we are not together anymore) and I see. how hard it is. Though it certainly is not close the insanity I had with ( and continue to have) with my AS father. Their brains just cannot activate in certain areas, they struggle to be " normal" with areas working that are able to do the task of the areas that are not working. Therefore it feels impossible, because it mostly is. Yes, it is a mental illness, just like a brain trauma, Bi-polar or any other mental illness. It isn't something to be glorified. The brain has inflammation on top of the areas that do not work. Indeed, it is damaged brain. When someone comes on and tries to glorify it, make light of it, make it normal, I scream! It is NOT. Please do not patronize someone else because you happen to be someone that either suffers through it, or has found some way of accepting the challenges and not having a relationship with an NT. Very few people can deal with an AS partner, very very few. If you truly are happy, awesome! Don't tell other people it can be done, b/c that is unfair.

September 7, 2017 - 11:45am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I grew up in a household where my mother was a loner with super low self esteem and my father has AS....it was terrible...my father was very abusive.. emotionally, physically, sexually...my mom did nothing to stop him.. I have just recently been able to even talk about some of the things I experienced in my young life... ( I am not in my early 30's)

September 16, 2017 - 5:35pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

It's important that you have started talking. Don't stop. Tell your story, talk about how you felt, talk about how you feel now. If the people you know don't want to hear it ... find some new people.

Good luck on your new journey!

September 17, 2017 - 7:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I haven't read all the comments so I apologise if this has already been discussed. My father had asp. which has now been diagnosed however I am now in my late 30s. I'm not going to regale you with all the horror stories, they are all pretty much on here in one form or another. My mother appears to have NPD and my stepmother also NPD. I wondered if there is a pattern there. Maybe there would be a reason that someone with Asperger's would seek relationships with people who have narcissistic personality disorder? I wonder how common this is. I have to say I feel very strongly that people with these disorders should not have children and I am more than aware of how offensive that is going to come across to some people. I have spent my entire life wishing I had never existed, spent ridiculous amounts of money and time on therapy and medication but those feelings persists and I suspect might be quite common for those of us who endured this combination in parents.

August 10, 2017 - 5:34am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

However others might feel about what you think and feel, you have every right and reason for feeling as you do.

I wouldn't worry about whether people who have not experienced these things will understand. They are fortunate that they can't conceive of what it can be like in such a family situation.

I think you are right, that what you experience is very common for people who grew up as you did. I hope that you are able to pursue freedom from your past and how it has molded your life. Knowing that it is them and not you, will make a difference.

There are people out there who are more loving, more open and more sensitive and you can search them out and learn how to make such people a part of your life. I wish you good luck and soundness:)

September 7, 2017 - 10:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Incredibly enough, both my parents are on the spectrum, both have a quite severe version of Asperger/HFA, and both have severe ADD/ADHD. And it doesn't even stop there; my father has an IQ of around 60-70, and is mildly mentally retarded and has a really bad and extremely explosive temper. To top it all, my mother is even a covert malignant narcissist with an extreme mix of several personality disorders. She is basically a living encyclopedia of mental illnesses. Extremely anxious, extremely dependent, extremely avoidant/schizoid and a world champion of passive aggression. She is basically afraid of "everything", and hardly dare to go anywhere unless my father is with her.

In a world of more than 7 Billion people, it's a miracle that these two retards managed to find each other, it's truly a marriage straight from Hell. If I were to "choose" again, I rather would take a single, alcoholic and prostitute mother as my only parent than these two together! First I inherited their lousy genes, then suffered massive abuse from these two utterly crazy "humans". I truly believe they are the worst pair of parents in the world, I can't imaging anyone being worse!

My father has generally one emotion; anger, my mother has two more: self-pity and hatred. She is the eternal martyr who has sacrified herself for the family, and my father is the cheerleader who backs her up 100%, no matter what crazy stuff she is up to. Their marriage is very strong, undoubtedly because they have noone else. They have hardly any friends

They viewed themselves as excellent parents, constantly talking about how hopeless other parents were. True, we had always food and clothes, but just about the only emotion in the house was aggression. My father usually had several hysterical meltdowns each day and my mother used her passive-aggressive tacics on a daily basis on us from we were toddlers. I was NEVER hugged, never told I was loved. Every objection was hysterically treated as treason, as if we were dolls that had malfunctioned. Small accidents, like tilting a glass of milk could be punished with spanking. I remember once, when I was around 6-7 years old, my mother suddenly stormed out the door, telling us that she wasn't coming back until we behaved. We didn't even know what we had done. My father, staring angry at us, just said; "that's what happen when you don't listen." She was gone for several hours before she returned, as angy as when she left and didn't talk to us for the rest of the evening.

I am also an aspie with plenty comorbidities, as is my brother. My sister seems to have gotten away with "just" ADD. I have two children, one son who has asperger and a daughter who probably has BPD. My sister's son is a low-function autistic and her daughter is an aspie. Of my brother's three children at least one is a clear aspie. So, out of 12 family member at least 8 is on the spectrum.

As an adult I have tried to talk to my mother about and her and my father's mental illnesses, but she denies everything. According to her, the only thing she suffers from is a "nice-girl-syndrome"! These two were incredible harmful, and I hate them intensely to this day.

May 3, 2017 - 3:59pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Wow, it's weird but I feel like your my cousin. When I say that, I mean in terms of having almost identical experience with that combination with a bit of variation. I have the same configuration with the exception that I also have a step mother who is also narcissistic with psychopathic tendencies and I dare say diagnosed. I am very angry about it, furious to be honest. I've disowned my family, my father and stepmother nearly 20 years ago yet it's not enough. I'm hanging for the call to tell me when they have died but I doubt that will even bring me peace.

August 10, 2017 - 6:30am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

There has been a lot of suffering in your life. I hope the time comes when you will be able to be free of the past. May the future be better for you.

September 7, 2017 - 10:50am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

You have been through a lot in your life. You are still standing and that is something to be proud of. It's a tough journey that you are dealing with but keep on sorting out your life. Good luck!

May 7, 2017 - 7:57pm

My elderly mother has Aspergers. This article captures many of the struggles my siblings and I have faced - and continue to deal with even though we finally understand why she is so full of stress and fear and so oblivious to our needs and feelings. She has always treated us as little more than extensions of her needs.

As my sister once said, our mother's view is that nothing is too much trouble for us, and everything is too much trouble for her. And when she decides she needs something - no matter how outrageous - she is relentless until we give in. One example: she insisted I do her laundry on my wedding day. If you knew how she behaves if she doesn't get her way, you'd understand why I washed her clothes. We have always had to serve as her care-givers even as she avoided caring for us.

I know there is a cliche that people on the spectrum are not emotional. My mother, however, is quite emotional. It's just that all the emotion is directed to herself. Her emotions for all other people are quite shallow. When I miscarried my first pregnancy, she was insistent about knowing the gender because for some reason (despite having two daughters), she was obsessed with having a granddaughter. She kept telling me she was sure it was a girl. So instead of expressing sympathy, she made me feel like I'd failed to meet her need. She did the same thing when my sister-in-law miscarried.

As this article points out, kids aren't equipped to understand the lack of love from their mother. We always tried to project onto her what we needed from her, and we felt worthless and heart-broken that she was so unavailable and uncaring.

I occasionally post on my blog about my experiences. The comments I get from readers are either thankful to have found someone who understands their experience or angry that I am expressing this story. I know my story hard to hear if you have ASD or have a child with ASD. I've had people tell me I'm wrong to say my mother lacks empathy, and that saying so is hurtful to people with ASD. Kind of a bitter irony to be shamed for speaking up since my mother's lack of empathy has hurt me all my life. I'm used to being emotionally bullied and neglected. But I'm not going to deny my truth.

April 2, 2017 - 12:07pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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