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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. Any suggestion that this happens is met with a reaction that is all about the parent with Asperger's syndrome and not about the child at all. If I needed to see proof that there is a problem, the comment column for that article was more than enough.

It is not my intention to condemn or attack people with Asperger's syndrome. I am not trying to say that every AS parent has done damage to their children. My focus in this article is on the children who tell me that they grew up lonely, that they grew up feeling rejected, worthless and unlovable.

Most comments responding to my first article came from NTs who grew up with AS parents. The parents' personalities were not in question, nor their intentions, nor their goodness. The offspring were taking this opportunity, which was meant to be all about them, to talk about their lives, to ask questions, and vent their thoughts and feelings.

The cry that I heard over and over again was, thank you for remembering us. Thank you for telling me I'm not alone.

Thank you for telling me I am not the cause this depression, loneliness, sorrow, grief. Thank you for helping me to understand where all that pain has come from.

Thank you for suggesting I can hope for something better, because it wasn't me after all. Thank you for saying it's OK for me to open my mouth and speak, and expect to be heard, to be visible to other people.

It's OK to expect, to require, something for myself in my relationships. It's OK for me to hold out for being an equal participant, and equally on the receiving end. Thanks for the reassurance that wanting such things is not selfish, it's just human, and part of any healthy relationship.

Many NTs mentioned that they can find next to nothing online for them. I suggested in a post that maybe they can write something themselves. They can post comments on my articles, or other writer's articles. They can start blogs. They can start forums. They can post on Facebook or other social media.

The feeling of invisibility and of having no voice, the fear of rocking the boat or of being called selfish for talking about yourself and how you feel may be deeply ingrained. It may be your first and biggest obstacle. But if you can climb over that one, and continue to climb over it, you may find it was your only real obstacle.

I spent several hours looking for resources for NT children of AS parents and I didn't find much. But I was able to accumulate some articles, book recommendations, websites, forums and a few writers and professionals who have reputations of being helpful to NTs.

In no particular order, here are some webpages that may be beneficial:

Asperger's Parents and Neurotypical Children
https://www.empowher.com/aspergers-syndrome/content/aspergers-parents-an...

Feeling Invisible in the Asperger World
http://psychcentral.com/lib/feeling-invisible-in-the-asperger-world

The Neurotypical Site
http://www.theneurotypical.com/index.html

Welcome to The Neurotypical Website
http://www.theneurotypical.com/about_us.html

Parents with Asperger Syndrome
http://www.theneurotypical.com/parents-with-aspergers.html

Parents with Aspergers
http://doris-mash.blogspot.ca/2008/02/parents-with-aspergers.html

What is Asperger's Syndrome?
http://faaas.org

There's something different about dad
http://www.independent.ie/life/family/mothers-babies/theres-something-di...

Links for family members of people with Aspergers
http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/index.php/component/weblinks/category/292-...

Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Reviewed October 23, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN

Add a Comment65 Comments

HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Great stuff here, C.

You have really been persevering over these many years.

You could definitely start a blog if you've a mind to. Or a facebook page -- or both. You could post the addresses for anything like that in this thread. I don't think they would be removed. 

You folks could also get in touch with each other, I would think more privately and have conversations as in depth as you wish with each other, form connections, share your desire to be free from this highly specific type of isolation.

I am very happy to see the conversations, the speaking from the heart, and the responsiveness that I have been seeing in this thread.

Jody

June 7, 2016 - 6:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Dear Jody,
I am crying as I write this - tears of relief! I knew from an early age that there was something very wrong at home and I left early. In many ways my life since then has been blessed in that I had an amazing education in the arts that led to a career that is still expanding. My search for healing has led me down all sorts of fascinating and unusual paths and while I can honestly say that I can't imagine how I survived the terror and unhappiness (there needs to be a stronger word to describe what I felt but I can't think of one) of my childhood I also regret nothing. Any changes to my past would mean that my present would be different to what it is and that's not a risk I'm prepared to take.

That said I suffered from crushing depressions for years and I still have many problems.

I've been saying for some time (not to them!) that I think my parents and brother are 'differently wired' but even though I knew I was telling the truth I felt like I was lying. BUT!!!!! Now I have read other people's stories I feel utterly different! It's like everything has come into focus, or I've been let out of prison. Thank you Thank you Thankyou for providing this platform and to everyone who has posted on it and the much larger volume of comments on the previous article. I have read them all and feel transformed, clear, supported and validated.

Another thing that has touched be hugely has been your (Jody's) firm but gentle comments when a very few commentators wish to stop the NT children sharing their experiences. It feels like someone has stepped into the room when as a child I was being stripped to the bone and said 'this is not fair, please stop'. The hurt child in me appreciates your intervention very much!

I have asked to join a couple of facebook groups - and hope they get back to me. There really is shockingly little out there about this issue.

Thank you again to everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) who has posted here.

With love,

C.

May 31, 2016 - 7:24am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hello C,

I'm very happy to have helped to make a difference and to help clear some baggage and pain for you. Coming out of the isolation that we so often grow up in can be life-changing. Being able to see things more clearly as they are and to have some of the puzzlement and confusion removed makes living easier.

Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts and experience with me, with us.

Jody

June 2, 2016 - 5:16am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I didn't know for 28 years of my life, and now that I do I feel so much relief, but at the same time this newfound knowledge is pushing me to reassess many buried memories with new perspective. It's been very hard and emotionally draining, but its given me a sense of purpose to reach out to NT children like myself and support them, speak at conferences, go to meetings, anything at all. I wish so badly there was a resource for me and those out there like me, I'm sure many of which don't even know their parents are on the spectrum. I didn't. I look forward to more research and support in the future, I'll be the first one to sign up.

May 30, 2016 - 6:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I'll be signing up right there with you - I also just found out after 38 years

September 9, 2016 - 4:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thank you so much for your hard work. I've recently realized how my major depression and issues with relationships (romantic and otherwise) tie in to my childhood; my father has Asperger's and my mother is a neurotypical.

Looking forward to checking out your links. :) Cheers!

March 4, 2016 - 10:55am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Seeing the connection between present problems and things from your past can make a big difference for the future. Good luck with your sorting, sifting, and exploring.

One of our readers had a problem with one of my links, the type of site was not what I had thought it was, and I removed it.

As far as I know, the rest of the links should be good, may be helpful. I can't guarantee it, though, so tread wisely.

Thanks for writing.

March 4, 2016 - 6:09pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thank you for doing this research and bringing relief to those who have needed it all these years. I'm interested to see what new research emerges in the next 10-20 years on the topic. And whatever support groups open up locally I will support and join. I value hearing the stories and reading the qualitative studies because it reminds me that I have overcome so many years of neglect and mental abuse.

December 31, 2015 - 1:39pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

I'm glad to hear that you found the article to be beneficial. Much healing to you.

December 31, 2015 - 3:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am so furious right now. I went to one of the links you gave https://aspar.wordpress.com/response-to-critics and looked at their page. They have a group you can join for private support if you fill out a very personal and private questionnaire. I did this. Now I find out the group with that name which was a yahoo group is closed. Someone has started a group with that name. So now I've given a stranger my extremely personal information.

Completely irresponsible. They could have taken that page down instead of just leaving it there. I am livid. I wish I knew how to contact them. Please people, if you go to that link, READ ONLY. Do NOT try to join.

October 26, 2015 - 10:13pm
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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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