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NT Children of Parents with Aspergers: Looking for Information?

By HERWriter
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NT Children of Parents with Aspergers: Some Information for You LoloStock/Fotolia

Six years ago, I wrote an article for neurotypical children of parents with Asperger's syndrome. I wrote that some NT offspring of AS parents have grown up feeling unloved, that their parents were not able to tune in to their needs and their feelings.

As children, they blamed themselves for a disconnect between them and their parents. Often as adults they have continued to suffer from the lack they experienced in childhood.

The response from neurotypical kids to that article "Asperger's Parents and Neurotypical Children"was substantial, and still ongoing, six years later. So much so that I am writing on the subject again.

I received 154 comments and replies. Some were posted as recently as last month. Some readers used the Comments thread at the end of the article for a time as though it were a forum where they could talk to each other about their experiences.

When I started researching for today's article as a follow-up to my first one six years ago, my online research was interesting. That is to say, disappointing. Again.

Material about these NT children was surprisingly sparse six years ago. It's still challenging to find anything written from their perspective, or about their experience.

One differences I noticed was that my original article from 2009 was showing up as the first item in my Google search. And in second place came an Aspergers forum page that ripped my first article and my intentions apart.

Some comments by people with Asperger's syndrome responding to my first article were in much the same vein.They told me that I was attacking them all, which was not true.

They said that lots of Aspies were good parents, that they themselves were good parents. That plenty of NT people are bad parents, too. All of that is undeniably true.

But really, that's not my focus. This has happened too many times to these kids.

So often, they find their feelings and their needs pushed aside.

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EmpowHER Guest

My Mom, two brothers, son, niece and nephew have Asperger's. I suspect my maternal uncle and grandfather also had the condition. My Mom's world has always centered around her. She lacks empathy and quickly slips into a rage becoming verbally and physically abusive if she misinterprets other people's words. My Dad and I tried not to 'trigger' her by doing her bidding, but for me, it was like living in a prisoner of war camp where you never knew when the 20 ton weight would be dropped on you so my bedroom was my sanctuary. As a small child, I had a hairbrush broken over my head because I made a whimpering noise when she tried to get a tangle out of my hair. I had my shoulder dislocated when I was small too. As I grew older, I thrown across rooms by my hair so that my hair came out and furniture was toppled. I received 60 to 70 slash cuts across my back and legs from a flyswatter when I was sixteen. I did the laundry and most meals with my father and I cared for my younger brothers and cleaned the home. She told me as an adult she has no recollection of ever having beaten me and said that she has always felt in competition with me. Even now she has physically attacked me when I have tried to help her. I hated her throughout my time at home and the first decade after I escaped from my home. My father endured public humiliation, verbal abuse, and some physical too. My younger brothers, have been more fortunate than I as she can relate to them better. My grandfather used to beat my uncles and sometimes my grandmother. I don't hate my Mom now that I realize she has Asperger's, but I do recognize that I am permanently scarred by my experiences and have been on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications for some time. I don't believe that people should have children if they have Asperger's.

January 5, 2018 - 2:41am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

You have really been through an extreme amount of suffering! You were raised with the unspoken -- and perhaps also spoken -- message that how you felt and what you went through didn't matter, but now you see that this isn't true.

I hope that you are able to live in a way that you will be able to protect yourself from abusers and seek out people who are very different from what you have known -- People who are compassionate and sensitive to others, who will respect you and treat you with kindness.

They are out there, and you can find them. I wish you well.


January 9, 2018 - 7:23am
EmpowHER Guest

It's been a long road since I learned that my mother is on the spectrum. I am a neurotypical, but my sibling also has a disability. I have entered the special education field with compassion and patience, but also still have bouts of depression from my upbringing from time to time. I'm always trying to move forward and not look back, though there's no denying it has shaped who I am. If anyone ever has any questions feel free to email me.

December 21, 2017 - 10:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It's brand new to me to think my mother might have had Asberger's. Some things fit, and some I'm not so sure about.

I also have CFIDS/ME.


January 4, 2018 - 8:52am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Good for you! Helping others as you continue with your own healing and personal growth. Be kind to yourself as well.


December 22, 2017 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest

I am an NT child whose father was diagnosed with Aspergers many, many years ago, and who then kept it a secret from us all until his dementia meant that my stepmother had to manage his medical situation - and was given access to his medical files. For me it was a huge shock, and a huge relief, to hear the diagnosis (in my 50s). Suddenly I realised, and genuinely understood, that 'it' wasn't my fault. All the times I'd failed him, hadn't lived up to his expectations, hadn't lived my life according to his rules, had listened to music he disapproved of, had married a man he didn't approve of (twice), had got a degree in a subject he thought a waste of time, and many many more things, triggered reactions that were actually NOT ABOUT ME!

Suddenly I understood SO much about my childhood and interactions with him up to that point. He was a satisfactory parent insofar as he gave me boundaries, held down a job to pay for a roof over my head, food, clothes etc. He gave me the opportunity to get a good education. However, he never loved me (and he told me so), he never thought I was a worthwhile human being. He never hugged me, ortold me I'd done something well (he often told me I'd done something less than well). He hasn't spoken to me for many years now, and I live on the other side of the world. I support my long-suffering step-mother who has the unenviable task of looking after him, and one day I'll go home for his funeral - for her sake. Eventually, after much counselling, I found peace for myself and, with the knowledge of his diagnosis, I have understanding. However, I would never wish a man like my father on anyone. It has been a long and miserable journey.

December 11, 2017 - 5:39pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

It sounds like it has been a tough journey. And never being told he loves you -- and in fact being informed that he never did love you -- must have been gutting for you. You have my deepest sympathy for what you went through.

Healing could begin once you learned the truth about him and his treatment of you. And being on the other side of the world doesn't hurt either. I hope you are able to experience love and peace now and in the future.

December 12, 2017 - 6:50am
EmpowHER Guest

I’m a young woman with ASD… and I hope to one day have a child of my own once I’m out of college… and I worry I’ll have a neurotypical child, and won’t be able to raise them well… with a neurotypical mom and dad, i room it upon myself to figure out where everything went wrong, and paid attention to the things that upset me that my parents have done… but I don’t know how I’d raise a neurotypical child. Any neurotypical offspring of autistic parents have any idea what your parents did or didn’t do? Like… what it was that you wish they had done to raise you better. Now, I’m not saying you were raised wrong, or that your parents are bad parents. My parents weren’t that’s for sure; they just didn’t know how to handle me because I was both the first born and different. But there were some things that, having neurotypical parents helped me prepare for an eventual autistic child… but I don’t know what to do with a neurotypical child. If someone can inform me of this, and explain what’s best to do for a neurotypical child, I’d really appreciate it!

October 5, 2017 - 3:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for writing on this topic again. I'm (an NT) married to an NT who was raised by a likely Asperger's mother. I was the first person in my husband's life to start articulating how dysfunctional his childhood family unit was and still is. I've met a lot of resistance from other family members in my efforts to address issues openly, and have been researching for help/support/understanding for the siblings for the past 4 or 5 years. I'm almost always "in trouble" so to speak.

December 29, 2016 - 8:54am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

You've taken on a huge task. I know it's not easy.

I wish you and your husband great happiness, and healthier family relationships.

December 29, 2016 - 5:30pm
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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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