Can person with Asperger's learn acceptable behaviors?



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Wolfie
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:32 pm

I have an older brother who has Aspergers, diagnosed around age 56. He has always been self-centered, uncaring about our mother(who made many sacrifices for him) and only interested in people who might benefit him in some way. He has had a successful career and is admired by many for his brilliance. His only child has no feeling for him because he was totally uninterested in the child from the time he was born. My mother now attributes all his shortcomings to his having Asperger's, and blames it all on the syndrome,. My question is- could he have treated his family well had he really wanted to, and been less selfish if he had tried, or has his self-centered behavior all these years really been due to his having Aspergers? Can people overcome Asperger's traits if they make an effort?
I am having a hard time blaming it all on Aspergers, as he certainly had no trouble charming people who had something he wanted over the years.
I have looked on the internet and have not been able to find much on adult Asperger's- it is mainly focused on children- so I hope I may find some answers here.



Zyborg
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:43 pm

It is probably several reasons. One of them is AS.

But he maybe appears as more detached than he is.

Besides, what is "unacceptable behaviour"?

He is apparentlyn successful.

That means he is doing right.



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Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:46 pm

Wolfie wrote:
My question is- could he have treated his family well had he really wanted to, and been less selfish if he had tried, or has his self-centered behavior all these years really been due to his having Aspergers? Can people overcome Asperger's traits if they make an effort?.


Depends on the 'behavior' and 'traits'. And the environment. Say, talking about a subject. He can post on fan forums-he still does it but it doesn't annoy non-fans IRL.


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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:06 pm

He might have been able to modify his family behavior, but at a cost to his career... aka special interest. Has the family benefitted from his career? Did his income help? In recognizing his talents and inclinations, that may have been his gift... he knew he couldn't really do the interpersonal thing, so he poured himself into his interest and became successful and supported his family.

So, is it better to be brilliantly successful or settle for merely mediocre and constantly tormented by relational inadequacies?



pschristmas
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:13 pm

Upon reading your header, I was a little confused. "Behaviors" to me are specific actions; "appropriate" behaviors are things like table manners or waiting your turn in line, and of course people with AS can learn those things. Suggesting otherwise is a bit insulting. Upon reading further, I see you are looking for something very different.

I think what you really want to know is whether your brother could have/ can learn compassion, is that right? If so, the answer is, I don't know. I don't know your brother or his situation and neither do you, really. All you really know are a series of observed behaviors and whatever interpretation you happen to have given those behaviors based upon your own experiences -- that's all any of us really know about other people. There are a few things I can suggest based upon my own experiences, however.

No interest in others unless they're of use to him: This is an interesting perspective. Perhaps, though, he's simply not willing to be dishonest enough to feign interest that simply isn't there. I've been told time and again that I need to "network," to get to know people in my line of work just for the sake of knowing them on the off chance that they may someday be useful to me. This seems so horribly dishonest to me that I just can't bring myself to do it. Unless I have a specific need for some one, I don't like to bother them. After all, I don't like other people taking up my time just for aimless chit-chat and I truly abhor people who feign interest they don't feel for me.

No interest in child or mother: Well, that seems a bit extreme. Again, though, I suppose I could be seen that way to a certain extent from someone on the outside. I love both my mom and my daughter dearly, but I don't see why I should want to be around them constantly or hear every little detail of their lives. I figure if I don't hear from them that everything's going alright. I do hear from my daughter every couple of weeks or so and we get together from time to time. She says she doesn't feel unloved or like I don't support her and she's turned out well, so I figure all is well in her world. I trust her to tell me if it isn't.

Also, if my mother had made tremendous sacrifices for me and I knew about them, I wouldn't want to let her down by not living up to the full potential she had made possible. Again, though, there's something else here. There are those who say that I made sacrifices for my own daughter, but I don't see it that way. I was her mother and all I ever did was do the things that mothers do for their children. It was part of the job description, if you will. I don't expect her to be eternally grateful, just a good person.

Maybe this will help you look at some of your brother's observed behavior from a new perspective, or maybe not. As I say, it's just my experience. Have you actually sat down and -- calmly and non-judgementally -- asked your brother why he behaves the way he does? He may not have ever thought about it, really, or he may simply have never been asked.

Regards,

Patricia



Michjo
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:14 pm

I mean no offense when i say this, but your brother sounds narcissistic. There are many people with autism who care about their family, etc. I think your brothers personality is to blame, not his aspergers.



ptown
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:19 pm

agree about narcissism. google sam vaknin malignant self love....



AnAutisticMind
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:30 pm

Wolfie wrote:
I have an older brother who has Aspergers, diagnosed around age 56. He has always been self-centered, uncaring about our mother(who made many sacrifices for him) and only interested in people who might benefit him in some way. He has had a successful career and is admired by many for his brilliance. His only child has no feeling for him because he was totally uninterested in the child from the time he was born. My mother now attributes all his shortcomings to his having Asperger's, and blames it all on the syndrome,. My question is- could he have treated his family well had he really wanted to, and been less selfish if he had tried, or has his self-centered behavior all these years really been due to his having Aspergers? Can people overcome Asperger's traits if they make an effort?
I am having a hard time blaming it all on Aspergers, as he certainly had no trouble charming people who had something he wanted over the years.
I have looked on the internet and have not been able to find much on adult Asperger's- it is mainly focused on children- so I hope I may find some answers here.


as with anything, i think it has to do with his childhhod experiences and how he was brought up................or at least this HAS TO BE THE STARTING POINT, imho..............he is 56 now, lot of mielage in his tank


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Saguaro
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:38 pm

Michjo wrote:
I mean no offense when i say this, but your brother sounds narcissistic. There are many people with autism who care about their family, etc. I think your brothers personality is to blame, not his aspergers.


This is what I thought when I read the original post. Or your brother is just a very selfish individual. There are many of those out there. Sometimes I think the medical community should add a--hole syndrom to the DSM :!:



pschristmas
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:53 pm

Saguaro wrote:
Sometimes I think the medical community should add a--hole syndrom to the DSM :!:


:lol:

That would afflict a tremendous number of people out there.

Regards,

Patricia



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Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:54 pm

I wouldnt say he is narcissistic. That means he enjoys bothering and insulting other people for fun and has no concept of sympathy. It sounds more to me that he may be just plain self centered. And no, this isnt caused by asperger's syndrome. It is certainly possible that he is a self centered aspie, the two are not mutually exclusive.

It is also possible that you are assuming problems that arent there. It could be that he is merely a introverted person who doesn't like to interact with other people. Simply avoiding contact with other people doesnt mean that he is a selfish person. Some people have a strange notion that not interacting with somebody else like a parent or child is equivalent to mistreating them. My father had many aspie traits, and by and large didnt interact with me much. We would talk maybe once per week, but I never had a problem with that. My mother on the other hand IS a narcissist and I can assure you, she caused me many many more problems then my father did by not interacting with me. There are worse things you can do to somebody then not be outgoing.



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Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:23 pm

Doesn't sound all that much like asperger's to me..it comes off as unconcern about others, but most aspies don't have that ability to be "charming" beyond a very basic level.. and I think usually someone who knows the person well can recognize care and concern through the bad social skills. So what you're describing sounds more like the opposite of asperger's.. I could be wrong, I don't know the situation.. and especially in someone older, it could be different, like more anger and more ability to fake social skills. Personally, I hope that as I get older I at least get better at expressing that I wish I could express things better.
Heh.. I'm not sure that that made sense..



ikorack
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:09 pm

Yes people with Aspergers can learn "acceptable" behavior. but its a bit to late for him and he didnt know he had Aspergers with he was growing up so hes probably close to where he'll end up on his deathbed. besides i doubt he doesn't care about his wife or his kid.



lelia
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Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:13 pm

At 56, I'm not sure you can look for a lot of change. Could he have changed earlier? Possibly. First, he would have needed to notice there was a deficit, and then he would have needed to know how to repair the deficit, and then he would have needed to want to.



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Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:13 pm

It all sounds very strange to me. If there's anything that defines an Aspie, it's the inability to charm others for own benefit. And the loyalty. Maybe there's a misdiagnosis there, I don't know. What I do know is that you described my siblings to a Tee, and they're both as NT as they come.

It makes me cringe each time an NT comes in here assuming that the nasty personality traits are caused by Asperger's. We often get mistreated wives, among others, coming here assuming it's due to the AS. I wish to know, where on Earth did you get this idea you mention that AS makes people uncaring? I'd like to know who's spreading this false, mean reputation about us... It's commendable that you preferred to ask us and not assume that the info you had received was correct. Good for you!!


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