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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
Anonymous

I know this was written a while ago but I just need to say thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the invisible survivors of this type of trauma. I've searched the internet and never found one source of comfort or anyone who shared similar experiences to mine.
I have a parent and three siblings on the spectrum and now suffer from depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and complex post traumatic stress disorder because of the hell I endured growing up with them. There was violence, there was sexual abuse, there was denial, there was pain, pain and more pain. I first planned my suicide in my early teenage years, and my greatest accomplishment to date is not giving in to that urge for so many years now. So thank you for seeing those of us who are never seen. Thank you for noticing us. Thank you for writing this and not being afraid of the comments from those on the spectrum who are offended. Thank you for not being afraid of them. I've spent too many years being afraid of them.

October 23, 2018 - 3:41pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

I want to make sure that you are aware of my other article on this subject. It can be found here: 

https://www.empowher.com/asperger039s-syndrome/content/aspergers-parents-and-neurotypical-children

October 25, 2018 - 6:55am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for writing. You've really been through it. And even though you are grown and hopefully are able to stay away from the people who hurt you the damage doesn't just disappear, does it. 

Once the truth appears, and you realize that is wasn't some fatal flaw in you but came from outside of you, relief may come and some light may dawn. But the question can linger -- I've grown up all wrong, how can I change things?

I think it is a long process, and it helps to be able to get hold of information and to have people to talk to. 

But even when that may not be so available, the light you have seen will stay with you and if you are patient and kind to yourself, you may find that change -- in how you think, in what you do, in the types of people you open yourself to and the things you will now avoid -- will come. New opportunities can be handled in new ways. The past doesn't have to be your future.

Good luck to you:)

October 25, 2018 - 6:44am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

As my mother slips in to vascular dementia and Alzheimers she has become a sweet little old lady. Her self centred to the point of being greedy trait is now acceptable and she forgets to keep what was the life force of her relationship with my father going - the constant bickering.

Now that her personality is occluded by her conditions, I am reflecting on that personality - I suppose people with NT parents would call it being sad that the parent they knew is receding. I am wondering how my mother's life would have been improved if he had had a diagnosis, if she had known that she had Aspergers ( I am adopting the immensely arrogant position of the diagnoser here, I know). Probably not, although she would have found it a relief not to have put so much energy in to pretending she understood people's emotions.

But, and this is why I 'm offloading here, it would have been useful for me as a child. I could never understand why every single interaction, was very likely to end with someone getting anxious, upset or angry, with a row or a hurt feeling or a feeling of guilt, then fifteen minutes later everything was perfectly all right and would we like a nice cup of tea? (we are English).
I could not understand why the same patterns happened, even during my visits as a young adult and a mother with my own children - the same pattern, and the constant background bickering over minute details and perceived slights and unfairness between my parents.

My mother did love me, and she did show affection, however, she wasn't really interested in the details of quality of my life, just a long as she could summarise by saying "Oh that's marvellous, Darling". She used to say very hurtful things and would never stop talking, she always had the last word and was absolutely delighted if she could be right and demonstrate her cleverness and would poke at the embers of a row or an upset without having learned that it was time to stop sharing the contents of her head.

I suspected she may be Aspergers when I told her about my miscarriage in a phone call. She told me that she knew about my miscarriage because she had dreamed that she was visiting a museum and she noticed a baby hanging on a fascia board ( you know what a fascia board is, don't you Darling?) and as she had walked past it had let go its grip and slid to the floor. "So you see, I knew about the miscarriage".
At that point I figured that either my mother was a monster or that she had no idea what she was doing and how she made people fee. That was 18 years ago. I emigrated to Australia with my husband and kids and never looked back.

My sister copes much better with her because she has been a psychiatric nurse for 35 years.

Anyway, thank you for the links, and the therapy session. It is so useful to know we are not the reason we feel these varying levels of neglect from our Asperger parents.

March 17, 2018 - 7:26pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

You said you were "adopting the immensely arrogant position of the diagnoser" and I just wanted to say something about that.

Whether or not she was ever diagnosed, whether or not a professional would agree with your diagnosis ... whether she could be "proven" to have Aspergers or not -- you know what you know from years of a relationship with your mother.

Does she have it or does she not? You know that she has the traits that are markers for Aspergers and you know how that has made you feel all your life. You know that it has left marks on you, your expectations, you self-image, your relationships. And I don't think you are "arrogant" or presumptuous at all in calling it like you see it.

You are now enabled to see life in a different light, and be relieved of guilt for things you were not guilty of. It is OK to realize and to say aloud that it was not you that created this situation, but that you have the right and the ability to create something new and different for yourself.

I wish you all the best:)

March 20, 2018 - 7:17am

Those of you who have gone through counseling/therapy with some success, how did you find your therapist? Did they have experience with our situation? I'm realizing I need to start therapy for this, but I don't know how to find a therapist who will understand.

February 12, 2018 - 1:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

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.

Jody

January 9, 2018 - 7:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

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.

Anne

January 4, 2018 - 8:52am
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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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