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Beanicer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:32 am    Post subject: Raised by Aspergers parent Reply with quote

Moderator Note: This thread discusses issues mostly NT adult children have had with parents they are now realizing were on the spectrum. The reading can get intense for a young parent who is on the spectrum and looking for clues on what to avoid, or for anyone considering what ASD could mean to the future. ASD readers might also consider that expressing anger can be part of the healing process and it may be in everyone's best interests, long run, to point someone forward instead of dwelling on what was said in anger.

I am delighted to find this discussion site and am a brand new member.

I am an adult non-asperger, raised by an asperger father. My upbringing was certainly different from all of my friends. I have never spoken to or heard from anybody else raised by an aspie parent. What were other peoples experiences? I would love to discuss and see if we have any similarities. Or can anyone direct me to a discussion along these lines if one exists?
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Apatura
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad has many autistic traits, though never diagnosed... the worst were the meltdowns and his inability to tolerate any noise (something I inherited!). The good parts were his intelligence and devotion.
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ouinon
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apatura wrote:
My dad has many autistic traits, though never diagnosed... the worst were the meltdowns and his inability to tolerate any noise (something I inherited!). The good parts were his intelligence and devotion.

Ditto, except for devotion read conscientiousness. And on the down side there was also his intolerance of different opinions on anything, and pernickety pedanticism about language use.

I think that my mother has some traits too; she used to love our holidays in germany with her german family but be exhausted afterwards by the socialising. Some OCD tendencies too, like me.

But I was the family scapegoat; my sister never disagreed about anything, and was thoughtful, considerate, quiet and studious, and eager to please, whereas I was "contrary", questioning, critical, "lazy", "selfish", "greedy" according to them. My AS, ( undiagnosed, like my father's ), made me completely unconscious of other's viewpoints, need lots of downtime after school, etc.

And they thought, as I also did for years, that I was "extravert", ( noisy, "superficial", exciteable, etc, etc, not introvert like them ). It was only after my breakdown aged 27-29, and cutting out gluten, ( to which I was addicted because of intolerance to it ), that I began to discover the "introvert"/AS me which I had covered over with a performance, ( which took increasing amounts of alcohol to maintain ).

My parents were very strict, ( my mother always in agreement with my father ), with rigid routines, incredibly tidy, with very monochrome interior decoration tastes, ( many shades of cream and brown and beige ), and almost no ornaments. My mother didn't use any cosmetics at all, or wear high heels or jewellery, and she cut her own and our hair. We had to go to bed very early compared to everyone else I knew.

TV was black and white long after everyone else had colour, and was restricted to an hour a day. The house was full of books, wall to wall in the dining room. We had maps on the walls instead of pictures.

Holidays, ( other than those visiting the family in germany ), were two weeks of walking, walking, walking, across fields, along coastlines, etc, eating minimalist packed lunches, striding at great speed to catch last buses, and missing them sometimes, and getting lost in marshes. We never had a car.

Mealtimes were tense affairs, ( to me, until I got into the habit of daydreaming concentratedly through them, as I did on holidays too to while away the hours of walking etc ), with high standards about use of cutlery, position of elbows, and attention paid to chewing, with my father insisting on total silence while he listened to deathly tedious news and discussion programmes on the radio.

I intensely disliked/hated and feared my father for most of my teens, and my mother was almost invisible to me. My father's eyes would become like glowing coals when he was angry. Very scary.

I do wonder what my own AS/PDD son, now 9, will say and think about me, his AS mother, when he is older.
.


Last edited by ouinon on Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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cataspie
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My son told me yesterday that he was glad i was different from other parents because other parents wouldn't be playing on the ice outside like me Embarassed Laughing .
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DW_a_mom
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After my son was diagnosed, I quickly came to the conclusion that my father had been AS, as well. And, he was a good father. Not a perfect one - perfect parents don't exist. And maybe not one of the best. But he cared a lot and really did his best. He stuck firmly all his life to what he thought was right, and while he couldn't handle criticism or disagreement, he did act with honor.

Harder than his AS, really, were the emotional issues he had because of his difficult childhood. This would be what may have caused negative effects on us kids, but we also always knew it didn't come from us, that it came from a place he himself couldn't understand. Somehow I learned to accept it early on and was able to dissassociate from that. But it did cause me to look for the wrong things in relationships with men. Well, heck, everyone carries baggage. And that wasn't the AS as much as the result of being AS in an inflexible world. It's the one thing I feel I can really change for my son, and so far it looks like we're succeeding with that. My son has a confidence my father was denied early on in his life. I hope to keep it that way.

Otherwise, what is left from the AS are a few funny stories. My father absolutely refused to "trouble" others with things like special orders, even after restaurants like Burger King began advertising that special orders were welcome. All I ever wanted was to get my hamburger without condiments, and the fast food places would have happilly done that, but the idea of asking made my dad uncomfortable, and he never would do it. That the taste was left in the bun after you scraped off as much as you could didn't sway him.

And he always insisted on making up the beds in a hotel before leaving the room, even after learning that this actually made the maid's jobs more difficult.

There definitely is a genetic component to AS, so even as a mostly NT daughter, the odds increased that I would have an AS child. Understanding my dad helps me raise my child. And raising my child gives me new insights and respect for my father. Funny how life is like that.
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eristocrat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad is loud, stubborn and perseverative. He doesn't seem to hear anything I say. If you asked him to describe what kind of person I am, he couldn't. He thought I did everything on purpose just to annoy him when actually I had LDs and executive dysfunction. His emotions are few and simple, and he is incredibly naive yet cannot comprehend when he is wrong about something, which was a bad combination. He had no concept of child behavior and called me lazy, ungrateful, shameless, stubborn, ornery, wanton, perverse, self-absorbed, histrionic, frigid, delinquent, immoral, and irresponsible. My first memory of him is how he would lecture me every day for being "stubborn and ornery" as a toddler.

My mom is just paranoid and has the occaisional meltdown. Unfortunately neither of my parents had any friends and tended to monopolize me and isolate me out of jealousy. And my dad took on "improving me" as one of his projects and gave me exercise regimens and tried to "teach" me how to walk, stand, and eat properly.

So yeah, good times...
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Beanicer
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is wonderful and fascinating to hear of other peoples experiences! I think there is a lot of common ground. Here are some ways to describe my own father to a tee, taken pretty much straight from everyone else's posts.....

Inability to tolerate noise (and able to hear the slightest sound!), Intelligent, Devoted, Meltdowns, Pedantic about language use, Incredibly tidy (obsessively so), Love of maps, Enjoys silence while listening to tedious news & discussion programs on radio, Good father who had own difficult childhood, Disliked my father for most of teens (makes me very sad to think that now : ( We have great relationship these days).

I am also interested in how people feel their asperger's parents manner affected them growing up. Did it affect your relationships? Self esteem? We were not a 'social' family like a lot of my friends which I think affected my confidence & self esteem when I was younger. However on the other hand I think study/school was really considered important in our home which was positive. Other people's thoughts?
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DW_a_mom
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad didn't have much self-esteem so he didn't know how to teach it or develop it. But my mom filled in. There was a good yin and yang between my AS father and my NT mother. Still, some kids simply don't come by self-esteem naturally, and I was one of them. I think parents can destroy it, but they can't always create it. I see that so clearly with my two children: one has complete confidence, and the other has very little. I'm the same mom and my husband is the same dad; the difference isn't us, it's born into them.

My dad had a minor "obsession" that ending up being a social gift to the family: he loved boats and water. When I was 4 or 5 years old he purchased a ski boat, and all summer long, every other weekend (like clockwork Smile ) we packed up the boat and the camping gear and went to the lake. Sometimes he would invite neighbor families to join us; as we got older he allowed us to bring one friend each, in turn. I have the most amazing memories of those weekends. We all loved the water, the boat, and water skiing. Except for mom, lol - we took her to a beach, parked her with lots of comforts, and then went out on the lake. My poor mother couldn't swim, but she saw how much these weekends brought to the rest of the family. Like I said in the first paragraph, there was a good yin and yang between my mother and father.

Which is kind of funny, because my mom and dad spent a lot of time fighting. But that was part of their rhythm, part of how they worked things out, and it helped me learn that every relationship has it's own dynamics, and there is no right or wrong to it, as long as each partner gets his or her share of the balance in the end.

As my relationships .... well ... that is complicated. AS wasn't the only potentially limiting dynamic in my family, there was also a history of depression coming from my dad's side. We weren't a very social family - my mom may be NT but she is very much a product of her foreign upbringing, and doesn't reach out too far beyond family - but we weren't isolated, either. And it's not like I WANTED more socializing; even though I believe I'm more NT than AS, I find it exhausting to do too much of it. I had many years before marriage to turn my life on it's head, and I did at times, but ultimately found myself most comfortable with a less hectic social life. I did have a few issues about relationships, but I don't know how much of that was because of the stresses I saw in my parent's marriage, my own depression, or the simple fact that I grew up without brothers and totally didn't understand boys or men until a much older age. I think so many many things come into play here; the AS of my father is only a very small piece.
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Nan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Raised by Aspergers parent Reply with quote

Beanicer wrote:
I am delighted to find this discussion site and am a brand new member.

I am an adult non-asperger, raised by an asperger father. My upbringing was certainly different from all of my friends. I have never spoken to or heard from anybody else raised by an aspie parent. What were other peoples experiences? I would love to discuss and see if we have any similarities. Or can anyone direct me to a discussion along these lines if one exists?


Hello. I haven't seen a specific discussion for NTs who have Aspie parents, but I've seen a few threads here asking for input from parents of Aspies who are also Aspie.

My dad was definitely on the spectrum, although not formally diagnosed as the label came too late for him. Autism Spectrum disorders run in my family - I lost two uncles in institutions, had a "rather odd" grandmother (who had a "rather odd" mother).... from all the family lore and stories (and the two officially diagnosed, well, it's easy to see where my father's came from and then where mine did as well.

Can't really discuss how my experiences were as compared to yours as all you've given me to work with is "different from all my friends" - which fits. Can you provide a bit more?
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Nan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really have GOT to learn to read all the thread before responding. And now it's too late in the evening to do so. Looks like we have things in common, so I'll be back (insert Terminator Voice there) Wink
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misswoofalot
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI...I'm an aspie mother of an aspie son...he thinks I'm crazy and strange ( mostly due to me singing when I'm happy) ...but since I was diagnosed last week he's been really pleased because he says it explains everything, why I am such a weird mum, and I'm more like a dad.

Even though he is embarrassed of me...lol...I have given him a great life and he is doing really well at school and has friends, ( although he is too embarrassed to bring them home) and I love him very much.

It's very comforting he now knows that I understand what he goes through. And it's great we have the same interests that we can both enjoy together!!! manga, anime etc that NT's don't normally get so involved in! Very Happy Very Happy
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RightGalaxy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experiences were bad with both parents. My father was detached and uninterested until I was about 12 and I learned that he had only pedophilic interest in me. My mother still to this day is in denial of this. My mother was and still is (both near 70 yrs. old) a doormat to my father.
Both couldn't handle major decisions and buried themselves in mundane, low-paying jobs as if they were so important that they couldn't be replaced. These two are aspies that should have never had a child. I believe that "some aspies" really shouldn't. My mother probably would have been alright if she had left my father. I would have been better off as well. But I'll NEVER forgive her for not believing me when I complained about the ol'man. I guess it was too painful for her to accept. More comfortable "for her" to see me as a liar, but QUITE uncomfortable for me. Ah, I hate nostalgia. But I'll make it up to myself to have a good family. The best revenge is to live well!!!
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mysterious_misfit
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DW_a_mom wrote:


Otherwise, what is left from the AS are a few funny stories. My father absolutely refused to "trouble" others with things like special orders, even after restaurants like Burger King began advertising that special orders were welcome. All I ever wanted was to get my hamburger without condiments, and the fast food places would have happilly done that, but the idea of asking made my dad uncomfortable, and he never would do it. That the taste was left in the bun after you scraped off as much as you could didn't sway him.


It's uncomfortable to be noticed. Asking for something draws unwanted eye contact.
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DW_a_mom
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mysterious_misfit wrote:
DW_a_mom wrote:


Otherwise, what is left from the AS are a few funny stories. My father absolutely refused to "trouble" others with things like special orders, even after restaurants like Burger King began advertising that special orders were welcome. All I ever wanted was to get my hamburger without condiments, and the fast food places would have happilly done that, but the idea of asking made my dad uncomfortable, and he never would do it. That the taste was left in the bun after you scraped off as much as you could didn't sway him.


It's uncomfortable to be noticed. Asking for something draws unwanted eye contact.


You are right, of course. I would have happilly ordered for myself, though .... but until everyone is aware of the source of the conflict, that sort of solution isn't going to be offered. It is SO much better when everyone in the family sees and understands the AS; it gives my own family, now, a huge leg up, I think.

And I let my kids have their food anyway they want it, lol - even if it means I'm specially ordering everything and being a huge pain in the #%#@.
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Mom to an amazing AS boy (plus a non-AS daughter). Have at least a few AS genes myself, although probably more NT than AS.
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Jezabel_Starfox
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: NT Child of AS Parents Now Married to Aspie Reply with quote

I am just now discovering how growing up with parents who demonstrate a lot of aspie traits (although both are undiagnosed) has affected me. I always felt like a stranger to my own family and I really identifed with some of Tony Attwoods description of shared NT experiences growing up with AS parents. Nothing else I have ever read about describes my childhood more and I've been searching for insight for a long time. I do not hate my parents for being who they are and know they love me in their own way. They did their best and I'm glad for the opportunity to let go of some past hurts that I've held on to because I could never fully understand or appreciate their perspective until recently. When I met my husband, I felt such a strong sense of familiarity with him and now I understand why.

From Tony Attwoods book "The Complete Guide of Asperger's Syndrome"

Quote:
What are the reactions of the typical children in the family to having a parent with
Aspergerís syndrome? Each child will have his or her own way of coping. The typical
child can sometimes feel that he or she is Ďinvisibleí or a nuisance to the parent with
Aspergerís syndrome, and may feel deprived of the acceptance, reassurance, encouragement
and love that he or she expects and needs. A daughter said she never felt loved by
her father with Aspergerís syndrome. When affection is given, the feeling is that it is
Ďcoldí and may not actually be comforting. The child only feels valued for his or her
achievements, not for him- or herself. Conversations with the parent with Aspergerís
syndrome can be a prolonged monologue of the adultís own problems, with only a brief
and superficial interest in the childís problems. The child learns not to express emotions
such as distress or to expect compassion. There can also be embarrassment with regard
to how the parent affects the development of friendships. The daughter of a woman
with Aspergerís syndrome sent me the following example that illustrates many aspects
of having a parent with Aspergerís syndrome:

I almost had an Australian pen friend when I was 6 years old. I was very excited to
receive a letter from the other side of the world, long before the Internet existed. I
could hardly contain my excitement and couldnít wait to write to this new friend
and exchange my news. I had read the letter and wanted to answer her questions, but my mother had other ideas. ĎThere are spelling mistakes in this letter, first you
must correct her spelling mistakes and send the corrected letter back to her. This is
how she will learn to spellí. I donít know whether this little girl learned to spell
because I never heard from her again.


There are several coping mechanisms. The lack of affection and encouragement, and
high expectations can result in the child becoming an adult who is a high achiever, as an
attempt to eventually experience the parental adulation that was missing throughout
childhood. Another mechanism is to escape the situation, spending time with the
families of friends, and leaving home as soon as possible, preferably some distance away,
to avoid family reunions. One of the reactions can be an intense hatred of the parent
with Aspergerís syndrome for not being the parent the child needs. The child may
encourage the non-Aspergerís syndrome parent to seek a divorce, but separation is not
easy, since it is clear that the partner with Aspergerís syndrome probably could not cope,
practically or emotionally, alone.

When children become adults and recognize later in life that one of their parents
had Aspergerís syndrome, they can finally understand the personality, abilities and
motives of their mother or father. A daughter explained that, ĎI never felt loved by my
father. The diagnosis has enabled me to love and accept my family and remove their
ability to hurt me emotionally.í
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