Opinions on the Raised by an Aspergers Parent discussion?

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thirteenboats
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17 Jun 2014, 12:55 pm

I'm talking about this thread:

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postx87678-570-0.html

This is the original post:

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?


By now it's full of scathing descriptions of AS parents who were either abusive or perceived to be so. They tend to be sprinkled liberally with below the belt or ableist insults.

This is a recent example:
Quote:
...My dad is just an awkward person in general. He's tone deaf, and has weird faces, gestures, and posture. I find it embarrassing to go out in public with him or bring him to go public gatherings.


further down in the same post:
Quote:
I believe that my grandfather has AS as well, and I am scared that my children will have it.



There's also a trend where people make long lists of abusive behavior then follow that up with "and I know that he couldn't help a lot of this due to his aspergers" or something like that. (It probably wasn't just aspergers???) Should this be moderated more thoroughly?

I know that a lot of these people are in pain but does that make it ok to come into a space that's designed for autistic people and make cruel jabs about anyone's dyspraxic tendencies, for instance?

As a person who grew up with an AS dad and a mother who used "it doesn't look like your dad has a lot of regard for you", pointing out autistic behavior as proof, as a tactic of abuse, I wonder how many of those parents were actually abusive and how many are victims of character assasination .(Although, to be fair my dad was also abusive.) There are also a good number of people in my extended family who are undiagnosed but probably on the spectrum who have been easily made into scapegoats within their households (abuse runs in families).

*edited last paragraph two paragraphs because I didn't think they were easily understood



Last edited by thirteenboats on 17 Jun 2014, 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hurtloam
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17 Jun 2014, 2:15 pm

I think that it is a way of rationalizing and coming to terms with parental abuse. We generally expect our parents to look out for us and love us, but some of us had parents that just dropped the ball on certain things that were blatantly obvious to other parents. Blaming aspergers is a way to come to terms with why those things happened to us and a way of forgiving the parent because "they didn't mean to be abusive" and "they couldn't help it".

If they couldn't help not caring for me the way other parents looked after and provided for their children then it is easier to deal with, easier to forgive, because they weren't deliberately making my life more difficult. They just didn't understand and that was simply through a lack of theory of mind rather than through malice.



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17 Jun 2014, 3:16 pm

I hate that thread. Are many aspies really like that? Are aspie parents who are good parents the minority? Are we just offended with the truth?


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hurtloam
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17 Jun 2014, 3:40 pm

League_Girl wrote:
I hate that thread. Are many aspies really like that? Are aspie parents who are good parents the minority? Are we just offended with the truth?


No I don't think they are in the minority. People with good parents don't need to find somewhere to discuss their upbringing with strangers on the internet to help them try and make sense of their life, so you will probably hear mostly negative stories from people just looking for someone else that can relate to them because all their life they felt alone with no one who understood their unique life.

There are definately good things about aspie parents. My parents are very interested in nature and learning stuff so me and my siblings were taken on lots of outdoor trips and to museums. I met a woman last year who had never in her life been to a museum and I thought, wow, I had good parents who cared about teaching me things and doing fun things with me. My siblings and I agree that the quality time we spent with our parents is amazing compared to the lives of kids with parents who just coope them up inside for fear of them getting hurt.



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17 Jun 2014, 3:43 pm

It is difficult to read all the disparaging remarks people are making about family members who, despite having to grow up AS and undiagnosed, raised a family and then are considered to be abusive because of their intrinsic Aspie traits. The few posts I read showed me that overly emotional people can be harsh, critical and unappreciative...and vindictive....from the safety of their internet.

I wonder how many of those people have dared discuss those very same things with their parents.


It's a shameful display of what makes it difficult for those of us on the spectrum to function in NT society.

I hope that thread is removed. It is insulting to the very people this forum is here to support.



hurtloam
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17 Jun 2014, 4:10 pm

Shall we just pretend that actions have no consequences then? Will we pretend that no one is ever hurt unintentionally by others?

If it helps people understand how others feel about their actions how can that be a bad thing? Maybe it will help others not make the same mistakes.

Maybe some of these children will find comfort in the fact that they are not alone, they are not the only one dealing with a parent who doesn't understand social skills.

Will pretend that everything is always rosy?



MaKin
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17 Jun 2014, 4:34 pm

hurtloam wrote:
Shall we just pretend that actions have no consequences then? Will we pretend that no one is ever hurt unintentionally by others?

If it helps people understand how others feel about their actions how can that be a bad thing? Maybe it will help others not make the same mistakes.

Maybe some of these children will find comfort in the fact that they are not alone, they are not the only one dealing with a parent who doesn't understand social skills.

Will pretend that everything is always rosy?



I don't think it's helping anyone understand how to not make mistakes. It seems to be much venting and blaming, and that is all.

Aspies are not the only ones who make mistakes in parenting. NT parents raised me, and I won't disparage them for their mistakes or misunderstandings. Mud slinging isn't helpful, even if it's sole purpose is to be a beacon to let others know there are others who've "survived" parents who've made mistakes.

I'm a parent. I'm an Aspie. I come to this forum to feel safe and to be able to open up about sensitive matters which only other Aspies can understand. Now, I don't feel that safety and security, knowing there are NTs reading this forum who hold such terrible feelings towards Aspies. (If they feel that way about their very own parents, how much more do they hold any Aspies in contempt or with disdain.) Do they really want to understand their parents, and how AS shaped them and therefore their childhood? or do they want to use their knowledge to wallow in their self pity?

Rosy? I think not.



thirteenboats
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17 Jun 2014, 4:43 pm

I wanted to add this, I have met people in the past who immediately took a dislike to me, who, when at some point in our interactions, some of my aspie traits became apparent, took it upon themselves to explain my behavior to others. It was never in a positive light, at best it was pitying. It always turned out to be that she had a weird relative who "was like that" too. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I don't know if this was due to them detecting my autism or some other thing that made me strange (mental illnesses?) Either way it makes me wonder if we are generally actually that horrible or just tend to be targets of bullying, even within our families and our infamy gets carried over into the outside world :(



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18 Jun 2014, 12:23 am

thirteenboats wrote:
I wanted to add this, I have met people in the past who immediately took a dislike to me, who, when at some point in our interactions, some of my aspie traits became apparent, took it upon themselves to explain my behavior to others. It was never in a positive light, at best it was pitying. It always turned out to be that she had a weird relative who "was like that" too. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I don't know if this was due to them detecting my autism or some other thing that made me strange (mental illnesses?) Either way it makes me wonder if we are generally actually that horrible or just tend to be targets of bullying, even within our families and our infamy gets carried over into the outside world :(


We are not horrible as a whole. We are different, though, and NTs instinctively shun what is different. That trait used to be beneficial, anthropologically speaking, because in tribal times what looked different, spake differently, ate differently or dressed differently was a potential threat. That instinctual trait still persists to this day, and although people claim they are not bigoted, biased or discriminatory, they still succumb to their baser instincts.

NTs are also more inclined to be motivated by social status than Aspies...and if they perceive us, with our Aspie traits, as weak or not useful to them in some way, they react in their individual ways. Some try to rationalize the traits as something they can relate to, such as "the weird relative", but some truly try to see past our traits and learn who we are and about our perceptions of the world as one might do when meeting a person from a foreign culture. I somewhat consider NTs as another culture which I happen to live amongst, and so tend to study them and their ways.



ConfusedAlot
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18 Jun 2014, 1:25 am

I agree with hurtloam. NTs and Aspies are both equally capable of hurting and damaging their children. People don't often bring up how wonderful their parents were on forums, they bring up how their parents hurt them or how they damaged them. Forums are a great way to seek advice and commiserate with people who have had the same experiences, which does mean that yes, there will be a lot of negativity, but this is often not the reality of any disorder, whether Asperger's/Autism or something else.

There is a difference between discussing a problem issue that may relate to people on the spectrum, and becoming abusive towards ALL people on the spectrum.

I have parents who were both on the spectrum who were quite neglectful and abusive - does that mean I think all people on the spectrum are neglectful and abusive? No! My nephew is on the spectrum and I love him to bits - he is the kindest, warmest little boy I know, and I find is odd behaviour and quirkiness not in the slightest off-putting or weird. I find it unique and beautiful. I think that if he continues on this path, he could one day be a very loving father and husband, regardless of his short-comings from being Autistic.

If you deny the NT children access to converse with loving, warm Aspie parents online, when they had the opposite, you run the risk of causing albeism, not helping it. If these poor souls wander around believing all Aspies are like their horrendous parents, they will meet nice ones and assume they are the same.

NTs aren't stupid - they know that there are things such as generalisations and bullying based on something you can't help. NT children that are angry with their Aspie parents may be misguided, but they should not be shut out.

I have posted a similar post on this forum and I will answer your question about speaking to my parents about these issues (not misunderstandings or mistakes - it was beyond that) - yes I have and I'm sure many NT and Aspie children have spoken to their abusive NT and Aspie parents about their issues. The problem is abusive/neglectful people are in denial! They don't want to believe they could be acting cruel or mean, so they shove it under the rug. Luckily after many years of trying to talk to my parents, one of my parents is finally seeking help, but many children like me aren't so lucky.

I can understand your concern though and do understand that there must be many young Aspie parents out there seeking guidance and advice. In a perfect world, they'd find a site full of only great things to say about Aspies, but this is not a perfect world. Like NTs, Aspies are human, make mistakes, can be abusive and can even hurt their own children. I would like to say though that I doubt that Aspie parents believe this is true for all parents and it's likely that they will know whether they are included in the "abusive" pile or just in the "I'm human and make mistakes pile."



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18 Jun 2014, 4:11 am

ConfusedAlot wrote:
I have posted a similar post on this forum and I will answer your question about speaking to my parents about these issues (not misunderstandings or mistakes - it was beyond that) - yes I have and I'm sure many NT and Aspie children have spoken to their abusive NT and Aspie parents about their issues. The problem is abusive/neglectful people are in denial! They don't want to believe they could be acting cruel or mean, so they shove it under the rug. Luckily after many years of trying to talk to my parents, one of my parents is finally seeking help, but many children like me aren't so lucky.


I have a similar experience. At first it was denial. "I'm not like that." When I was in my late 20s my Mum apologised to me and I forgave her. She only did the best she could under the circumstances. And I understand that.

My biggest problem is that I worry about my parents. I hope they are looking after themselves. I don't live near them now, so I can't keep a close eye on them. It concerns me. As long as they are happy, they can be as quirky as they like, but it's when they get into problems with family and friends that I want to step in and smooth things over, but I am not sure how involved to be. I am the child, not the parent. It is unusual compared to my friend's relationships with their parents.

It took me a long time to get to this place of understanding and I really do think this forum has helped me.



UDG
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18 Jun 2014, 6:08 am

hurtloam it is not strange to worry about the wellbeing of people you love and care about.



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18 Jun 2014, 7:38 pm

Yes, it's not unusual at all. I worry about my parents too. They are both on the Spectrum and can both be very cruel to one another about their behaviour relating to being on the Spectrum.

Unfortunately I find it hard to forgive them still as their abuse was of a neglectful nature and they still have my younger siblings under their care. Often it related to their drinking problems (getting us children to fetch their alcohol, which actually resulted in a few of us drinking said alcohol at a young age), doing irresponsible things live driving us home when drunk, and sometimes it was as simple as not really caring or loving us enough (or being too self-absorbed with their own problems) to want to know what was going on with our lives. They were also the complete opposite at times, being full of authority and asking us not to question them, having unrelenting punishments for any perceived bad behaviour (sometimes relating to their own children's Aspie traits!) - in effect they were either Authoritarian or Uninvolved parents.

None of this could really be related to them being Aspies though, it related to their comorbid problems such as Clinical Depression, PTSD and anxiety, but never the less, sometimes it was hard to deal with their Aspie related issues, when some of us kids had to also deal with our Aspie related issues in addition to them not being there for us. I do sympathise with this, as I know what they must have gone through as I'm struggling with mental health as well, but at the same time, us kids came first and they refused to seek help.

My little brother had to go for surgery when he was 3 after my mother did not brush his teeth, causing all his teeth to rot away. Of course she felt bad. She cried. I cried. We all felt bad. But did she stop this kind of neglectful behaviour? No. She blamed others for it. I sometimes wish I could take my younger siblings away from her, but then I'm not in a good position to parent either, despite her often having depended upon me to be a sort of parent to her.

You are right though. It is hard. You want to be there for them, but parenting your parents isn't exactly a good thing. You sometimes wish they were more capable to parent you, and in my case, my siblings as well.

I'm hoping now that my mother is seeking help that she will begin to treat my younger brothers with more diligence and respect and in turn get them the help they need. Maybe then I can begin the forgiving process.

I think for a time, I sort of blamed the Aspie traits too, but in reality, this was just to make myself feel better, to tell myself they did try but couldn't help it. In the end though you have to realise that it was their fault - yes they may have been trying - but everyone has problems and they can't use that as an excuse for abusive or neglectful parenting. Aspie parents are capable of much love, as I have seen on this very forum, and blaming Aspie traits on the fact that my parents had problems isn't fair to other Aspies.

So yes, those kinds of discussions are misguided, but I can understand why they happen.



pddtwinmom
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19 Jun 2014, 8:46 pm

I'm an NT parent to two high-functioning ASD toddlers, and I come here to learn more about autism, in all its complexity. I read all of the venting here by ASD adults about their non-understanding NT parents, in the hope that I can learn the pitfalls in advance so that I don't replicate them. In addition, I go to parenting sites, and frequently Google "toddler development milestones" and "accidental toddler death" (horror stories that keep me vigilant), to name a few, to do research in my attempt to be as knowledgeable as I can as I try to be the best parent I can be. These ASD parenting "horror stories" may actually help prospective and current ASD parents to stay vigilant about their own behavior, even if their behavior is not to the degree mentioned in the thread. That's the same way that this site, the parenting sites and "accidental toddler death" horror stories help me stay vigilant about mine.

Also, if people are posting in the "safe for NT section" on WrongPlanet, they are likely not only trying to vent, but also searching for answers. Children always look to untie their childhood experiences - I've seen ASD adults in many different forums on here looking for answers. That means the NT kid posting in the ASD parents section are probably reading other forums on here as well, and working to parse out what aspects of their parents were due to ASD v what were solely attributable to them being sucky people. It is a good thing! If what they say doesn't apply to you, then don't take it personally, unless they are broadly generalizing. Otherwise, their presence here is building bridges.



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17 May 2022, 10:59 pm

hurtloam wrote:
I think that it is a way of rationalizing and coming to terms with parental abuse. We generally expect our parents to look out for us and love us, but some of us had parents that just dropped the ball on certain things that were blatantly obvious to other parents. Blaming aspergers is a way to come to terms with why those things happened to us and a way of forgiving the parent because "they didn't mean to be abusive" and "they couldn't help it".

If they couldn't help not caring for me the way other parents looked after and provided for their children then it is easier to deal with, easier to forgive, because they weren't deliberately making my life more difficult. They just didn't understand and that was simply through a lack of theory of mind rather than through malice.


Exactly, this is it. With an ASD parent, we must accept they are wired differently, and this is what they know. The truly don't mean harm because manipulation does not come rather easy to them. If anything, they are vulnerable.

It's sad to think their lives are lead in ways they don't quite fit in - and take the parents who are undiagnosed, or refused to be labelled as ASD. My parent is undiagnosed and also refuses to take the label. IF anything, she flipped it back to me and said I am autistic.

You'd think logic works with them, but it doesn't in most cases. There are some behaviors I've done that would have warranted a talking to or a punishment, but these behaviors escaped her. This, to me, is the ultimate downside of being raised by an ASD - and still having to parent the parent. I eyerolled at her when she kept asking questions and, like a child, told me she spilled my pet's water bowl - I was overwhelmed and frustrated handling 5 things at once - and ASD parents do not know you are busy - they just butt in. So I eye rolled - and she didn't point that out. I actually felt VERY bad after the fact - because if somebody eyerolled me, I'd mention it!

I'm proud of myself for learning so much through life by observation, trial and error, and losing many friends because - I just didn't know better myself. Because these things weren't disciplined in me. However, the things that WERE disciplined in me were the "can't see the forest for the trees" type - very much situational oriented and contextual. Standards weren't high - they were unrealistic. For example, me breaking up with a partner - was difficult for me. ASD parent was just like, it's simple! You just tell them. I wasn't able to discuss the nuance, my fears, my concerns. How do I just "SAY IT". And when I did, she wanted to know every detail then blamed me for the delivery. So I had to feel bad, alone, as if I didn't feel bad enough already.

She has successful relations - though, with business people - when the beams are unbalanced - she the customer, they the seller. Of course the seller wants to suck up to her, chat with her, and she tells them the sweetest things - I feel that they are her surrogate daughters - full time job, moving up the ladder, successful, living well and by well I mean in spotless apartments - in other words, they are the top 10% I would say. So in her eyes, my standards aren't high enough. She then subtly compares me to them. Which, I have developed a thick skin, but man, I wish I could just have an honest heart to heart with her.
I've told her about this, she doesn't see the concern. She thinks I'm the blocked one - emotionally, I don't share how I feel any more. I always explain things. I've turned into an explainer. Because in daily life she needs someone to guide her. Tell her what a latte is. How to go through a drive through. Some things in daily life she just hasn't been exposed to because of fear. She analyses people so deeply that all our conversations are now monologues on some stranger I have never met - these are the people who sell her clothes, cut her hair, or provide customer service to her on the phone.

So, all in all, at the end of the day - none of this is deliberate by her. By golly if it was, it surely has created many a problem. Problem is she doesn't see it as a problem. And you know what they say - if they don't see it, it's not a problem.
So I just have to cut myself some love and gracefully accept that she means well, this is her best, this is her, and that I, must continue raising myself, generate self-love, support, validation, and ask my closest dearest friends for advice - or much less, just be around them in daily adult situations that I can read, and that can also verify what I'd truly be doing.



hurtloam
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18 May 2022, 3:38 am

Quote:
She analyses people so deeply that all our conversations are now monologues on some stranger I have never met.


I relate to that. But she overanalyses and reads too much between the lines and it's turning into paranoia. I just listen because that's what she wants.

Have you seen The Lost Daughter. It's very strangely written. The characters don't talk like real people would. It's like listening to my Mum telling me what people have said to her and what she thinks they mean rather than what they've said. The irony is Maggie Gylenhall wanted this to be dead serious, but all I see is an unreliable narrator. It only dawned on me at the end.