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Esperanza
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05 Jun 2007, 6:42 pm

nirrti_rachelle wrote:
We all, on this board, have scarily similar stories about bullying and rejection.


Indeed. I think most "normal" people would be absolutely astounded if they found out how mean people- especially kids- can be if they think they can get away with it. I first considered suicide at seven years old. There have been threads about that on this forum before, and I have come to understand that my experience was not atypical. What normal child would know what suicide is at such a young age- let alone consider doing it??



Esperanza
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05 Jun 2007, 7:08 pm

I mean really. How many times before you were even ten years old did other kids shove your head in the toilet, spit on you, make up rumours that you're a slut or a junkie, push you into foul-smelling puddles, beat the crap out of you, throw rocks and other things at you, pull down your pants, shove snow and ice down your shirt, threaten to kill you, tell you your parents didn't love you and wanted you to die, laugh at you for no apparent reason every time you said something, tell you everyone hated you and you'd never have friends, trick you into eating things they had spat on or wiped all over a toilet seat, or steal your belongings and make a game of keep-away?

Then when you bring your problems to an adult, the adult seems not to believe you, or tells you to learn to work out your issues with other kids yourself, tells you to "just walk away," admonishes you for "tattling" or "whining", or even just plain laughs.

When you have AS, those things happen every single day.

What do you think those things feel like when you don't understand what you've done wrong and you haven't got a single friend to turn to for support or comfort?



Last edited by Esperanza on 05 Jun 2007, 7:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

SteveK
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05 Jun 2007, 7:09 pm

AspieBrother,

I hate to say it, but your experience with your brother seems VERY familiar! Do AS people have the ability to feel grateful? OF COURSE!! !! Do YOU understand what that is? Maybe not!

You apparently, like many probably, hurt him. You have probably NEVER really apologized, and he would see it as too late now anyway. And he remembers it like it was YESTERDAY! There are some that wronged me DECADES ago that I remember.

SO, would YOU be grateful if someone paid you $100,000? OF COURSE, WHO WOULDN'T, RIGHT? Well, there are ones that could pay me a MILLION and I wouldn't be grateful. If a person steals a million from you, and pays you $100,000, did they REALLY give you anything?

Steve



AspieBrother
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05 Jun 2007, 7:23 pm

Esperanza wrote:
I mean really. How many times before you were even ten years old did other kids shove your head in the toilet, spit on you, make up rumours that you're a slut or a junkie, push you into foul-smelling puddles, beat the crap out of you, throw rocks and other things at you, pull down your pants, shove snow and ice down your shirt, threaten to kill you, tell you your parents didn't love you and wanted you to die, laugh at you for no apparent reason every time you said something, tell you everyone hated you and you'd never have friends, trick you into eating things they had spit on or wiped all over a toilet seat, or steal your belongings and make a game of keep-away?

Then when you bring your problems to an adult, the adult seems not to believe you, or tells you to learn to work out your issues with other kids yourself, tells you to "just walk away," admonishes you for "tattling" or "whining", or even just plain laughs.

When you have AS, those things happen every single day.

What do you think those things feel like when you don't understand what you've done wrong and you haven't got a single friend to turn to for support or comfort?


I dunno - it's hard for me to relate. Like everyone says - everyone has their own unique experiences.

For example, I was really fat kid growing up. Do I remember jeering and rejection every day? Absolutely. I remember having food thrown at me. I remember having kids singing "hungry hungry hippo" at me. I remember that continuing on for the bulk of my life - rarely ever ceasing.

That lasted throughout my teenage years. I remember into my 20's, driving down the street, and turning to see the kid in the car next to me blow up his face to emulate how big and fat he thought mine was. I remember at 24 years old going to an amusement park - and getting off of a ride to find my friends getting into a fight with a few other people - because they apparently had singled me out on the ride and were laughing about how I looked on it.

That lasted the bulk of my life. It sucked.

Finally when I was 28 years old - I simply had enough of that - and adjusted my behavior in ways that I thought previously were impossible. I dumped all of the excess weight, and was done with the problem.

I suppose most people will jump on the fact that I changed my situation - and see that as the difference...and maybe that's a discussion for another time...but what I'm getting at is this... Despite an entire lifetime of it really sucking ass...and constant condemnation (go out and read testimonials of what it's like to be an obese person growing up - you'll read about people hiding in bathrooms during lunchtime because it sucks so bad) - I dunno - I didn't ever get a hatred for the world.

That's the part that's hard for me to understand.



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05 Jun 2007, 7:24 pm

SteveK wrote:
AspieBrother,

I hate to say it, but your experience with your brother seems VERY familiar! Do AS people have the ability to feel grateful? OF COURSE!! !! Do YOU understand what that is? Maybe not!

You apparently, like many probably, hurt him. You have probably NEVER really apologized, and he would see it as too late now anyway. And he remembers it like it was YESTERDAY! There are some that wronged me DECADES ago that I remember.

SO, would YOU be grateful if someone paid you $100,000? OF COURSE, WHO WOULDN'T, RIGHT? Well, there are ones that could pay me a MILLION and I wouldn't be grateful. If a person steals a million from you, and pays you $100,000, did they REALLY give you anything?

Steve


Actually, I have apologized - sincerely - and to the best of my recollection about what went on. I've also left the door open - in case there were hurts that I cannot recall. :)



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05 Jun 2007, 7:59 pm

AspieBrother wrote:
I suppose most people will jump on the fact that I changed my situation - and see that as the difference...and maybe that's a discussion for another time...but what I'm getting at is this... Despite an entire lifetime of it really sucking ass...and constant condemnation (go out and read testimonials of what it's like to be an obese person growing up - you'll read about people hiding in bathrooms during lunchtime because it sucks so bad) - I dunno - I didn't ever get a hatred for the world.

That's the part that's hard for me to understand.


This is an interesting thread.

I'm not sure what the difference is. I doubt that it's just that you were able to change your situation. I think that if there is a difference it's probably a matter of being able to cope with it.

For example, I venture to guess that if an average kid were told at eight years old that his parents hated him and wanted him to die, he would have the common sense and social awareness to realize it wasn't true. (I might be wrong on that one.)

I also think that it's a great comfort to have friends who will stick up for you or at least make you feel that someone likes you.

Most of all, I think it makes a difference that you knew why kids were mean to you. You weren't so confused about what it was that made them hate you that you thought everything was wrong with you. I learned to be deeply ashamed of everything about myself, including my family, my voice, my hair, my skin, my clothes, my ideas, my possessions and my interests.

Eventually I just turned that around and learned to hate everyone else before they got a chance to hate me. It hurts less.

When I was 10, if a new kid came up to me with a smile on his face and asked me what my name was, I wanted to cry. I was afraid to answer. I was afraid he would hate my name and my voice. Even if I had been aware of the smile, I wouldn't have known whether or not it was sincere.

On the other hand, my husband had experiences similar to yours growing up, and he sometimes is bitter and has difficulty trusting people too. But he always had a lot of friends.

Maybe it's a matter of personality or luck. Maybe it's a matter of choice. Maybe it's a fundamental difference between growing up fat and growing up autistic. Maybe it's a mix of all those things.



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05 Jun 2007, 8:04 pm

SteveK wrote:
AspieBrother,

I hate to say it, but your experience with your brother seems VERY familiar! Do AS people have the ability to feel grateful? OF COURSE!! !! Do YOU understand what that is? Maybe not!

You apparently, like many probably, hurt him. You have probably NEVER really apologized, and he would see it as too late now anyway. And he remembers it like it was YESTERDAY! There are some that wronged me DECADES ago that I remember.

SO, would YOU be grateful if someone paid you $100,000? OF COURSE, WHO WOULDN'T, RIGHT? Well, there are ones that could pay me a MILLION and I wouldn't be grateful. If a person steals a million from you, and pays you $100,000, did they REALLY give you anything?

Steve


Actually... I have seen him apologize. He has had to apologize many times, actually... some of their conversations have been private of course... but many times, BIL for whatever reason... brings up how horrible a person my husband is to me -- in front of him. Makes no sense -- I mean who else (besides your mother) loves you like no other? Your spouse :lol:

I have had conversations with BIL alone also -- talking to him about how much his brother cares about him and that sibling rivalry is very common... nothing that BIL complains about is beyind normal sibling rivalry and nothing that my husband has "done to him" beyond the age of 16 or so has hurt BIL... how many times does a person have to sincerely apologize for things they did "wrong" (which don't even really seem so wrong) 20 years ago?

I figure some people here may be right -- it wasn't the music playing or my husband sneaking out of the house that BIL thought were so "wrong" -- maybe it was that the music kept him up... or that the sneaking out as a teenager caused his sleep to be upset...

I addressed that with BIL also -- I asked him what specifically had caused him the distress... and he did say at that time that his sleeping was interrupted.

Thing is... BIL has a habit (every day) of setting his alarm for 3:00 a.m. and he gets up, eats some food (which someone else has to clean up) and takes showers and grooms himself with the radio on -- in the bathroom, right across from the room my husband slept -- his sleeping was "interrupted" regularly as well. When I was there for 3 months -- it was the same thing and I'm a light sleeper to begin with.

Did we look at BIL and demand that he was "wrong" and owed us an apology? No... he was doing what he wanted to do regardless of how it effected anyone else. Yet... 20 years ago, a teen ager sneaks out his window to hang out with his buddies and it interrupted the sleep of his brother.

:roll:

What is good for the goose, is good for the gander. BIL has been extremely disrespectful, hurtful, verbally abusive, etc to his brother, to his parents -- to random kids at school -- I'm sorry, but AS doesn't give him a "get out of jail free card". It doesn't give him ammunition to hang on to old hurts for more than half his lifetime (because of AS) and never be held accountable or apologize for his own actions (due to AS).

I can't apologize for the world... regarding the cruelty of children -- but let me make it clear -- 90% of us, AS or not, did not escape that. I won't go into the things I have endured -- but even the descriptions I have seen here don't even come close. I'm not going to play the "who's life sucks worse" game.

Bottom line is -- we all have crosses to bear. And it reminds me of a quote (can't recall the author) -- "Remember, you are a completely unique individual, with completely unique experiences -- just like every other human being on the planet."

We all (AS or not) wake up to a new day -- every day. We are responsible for our actions and reactions. Things do not "happen to you" -- they happen because of the as*hole who did it -- it is their problem, that's their cross to bear. thats for them to live with.

Does it hurt at the time? Absolutely -- do we have to cling to it forever -- no, that's where our choice comes in. Do we have to lump people together and generalize? No -- if we did -- so far, the outlook (from where I am standing) on AS individuals isn't very positive. The majority have been pretty foul to me -- NOT all, but more than 50% -- so should I judge? Make assumptions? Should I assume the next post to me will be hateful? Or should I assume that it really all depends on the specific individual?



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05 Jun 2007, 8:19 pm

I dunno either... I just can't help but think, through my own experiences, that what happens in childhood is rarely indicative of what happens in adulthood. Sometimes people see patterns that on a prima fascia level might look like perpetuations of "the same" but in reality aren't. Children have an inherent need to bond and clique together - and due to immaturity correlate that to a need to ostracize those that don't "fit". They form bonds with each other that continue on throughout the years - and since the social dynamic rarely changes - the pattern rarely changes.

How does that appear to the one that doesn't "fit"? It's just more of the same. The pattern is seen as perpetuating upon itself.

Into adulthood, what happens when the one that doesn't "fit" goes on? Those kids are gone...but the anticipation remains. The behaviors that singled them out as being "different" (and the defense mechanisms) continue...thereby signifying them as being "different" to people that have no other basis to know the individual from. Little things are askew... The person who was persecuted as a kid behaves in the defensive manner - the "new" person sees this and recognizes the signs - and is uncomfortable. The person who was persecuted sees the discomfort as just being more of the same - only tempered by adulthood and the necessary restrictions on action that adults accept.

...and so it becomes a self-fulfilling cyclical pattern. The beliefs of the "persecuted" are constantly in a state of re-affirmation because they don't see acceptance as ever coming. The ones that don't accept - in reality - aren't given a real chance to accept - because they're being made uncomfortable by the defensive (and understandable) actions of the one who was hurt.

...and so on it goes...forever.

I don't know how to resolve that...how does one get past a lifetime of wondering about where it comes from? How does one get past year after year of disliking your name, your hair, your voice, etc... I'm not sure.

But maybe it's like this.. Is your name really Esperanza? If so, that's a pretty name. :)

One down? How many to go? lol



SteveK
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05 Jun 2007, 9:18 pm

Well Aspie brother/sister.... I have to say that I DID get up very early when I was young. SOME here may wonder how I made it through boarding school. Well, I got up around 5 or 6 and got ready for the day early. In the year, I was only caught like 3 times, by the security guard making his rounds. I never woke anyone up.

If he is as inconsiderate as you say, I understand what you are talking about. Understand we aren't ALL like that. I was the OPPOSITE! HECK, I have done some things TIRINGLY slow and inefficient just to be quiet and safe.

Steve



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05 Jun 2007, 9:19 pm

After reading this thread, I am intrigued - is there anything you'd care to tell us about the parents? Because unless there's a lot going on that isn't coming out in the two perspectives we've seen so far, I'm left leaning toward the idea that Li'l Bro is a jerk of the first water.

(No, I'm not including the shopping expedition - he probably felt stressed by being around all those people, and the fluorescent lights [which can flicker at a rate some autistics find painful], and had no clue which answer you wanted to hear. And if there's one thing that gets drilled into us, until we either absorb it or consciously reject it, it's that you'd better not say what someone doesn't want to hear. It leads to unpleasantness - if you're lucky. I'll cut him a break on the shopping thing.)

On the other hand, I think it would be interesting to hear from Li'l Bro too. Do you think you could get him to post here?

As a total aside, I found the linked story fascinating. I know that looking people in the eye is physically painful, excepting only my wife and our two children - next time I try with someone else, I'll have to monitor my reactions, and see if my anxiety levels increase noticeably as well.


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05 Jun 2007, 10:22 pm

DeaconBlues wrote:
After reading this thread, I am intrigued - is there anything you'd care to tell us about the parents? Because unless there's a lot going on that isn't coming out in the two perspectives we've seen so far, I'm left leaning toward the idea that Li'l Bro is a jerk of the first water.

(No, I'm not including the shopping expedition - he probably felt stressed by being around all those people, and the fluorescent lights [which can flicker at a rate some autistics find painful], and had no clue which answer you wanted to hear. And if there's one thing that gets drilled into us, until we either absorb it or consciously reject it, it's that you'd better not say what someone doesn't want to hear. It leads to unpleasantness - if you're lucky. I'll cut him a break on the shopping thing.)

On the other hand, I think it would be interesting to hear from Li'l Bro too. Do you think you could get him to post here?

As a total aside, I found the linked story fascinating. I know that looking people in the eye is physically painful, excepting only my wife and our two children - next time I try with someone else, I'll have to monitor my reactions, and see if my anxiety levels increase noticeably as well.


Honestly, as much as it might seem like I'm railing on my brother, I dunno if I'd say that he's a jerk of the first water...I just think that he's extremely emotionally under-developed...and the biggest problem that we have is in his apparent un-willingness to do anything about it. He *can* be sweet, he *can* be nice, but there are just so many things that are out of whack.

As for the family - here's a brief synopsis... Mom was genuinely loving - but had problems with boundaries on when to "let go". She was fearful of consequences almost to the point of paranoia. As a result - she attempted to control and monitor every aspect of our lives growing up. She refused to give responsibility to us, because she believed that whatever mistakes we might make would lead to disasterous consequences. This was incredibly pervasive..

A good example I like to give is this... I tend to wake up really early in the morning and eat breakfast. After I eat breakfast, I go back to bed. I've always done this. Throughout all my time growing up - every time I'd go into the kitchen and grab a bowl to make breakfast - out of nowhere mom would pop to grab the bowl from my hand...put it back where I got it...and replace it with the "right" bowl. Never was any explanation given as to why the bowl I was choosing was the "wrong" one...it just was. lol Even as an adult - when I'd be over there - she'd do that. I'd be a 30 year old man with my mom flying out of the woodwork at 4am to grab the bowl out of my hand.

This type of control was in *every* aspect of life...and it's hard to adequately describe it. Everything had some underlying potentially catastrophic consequence behind it...and her job was to protect us from that.

When I was a teenager - I flipped out over this and made my parent's life a living hell for a number of years. My brother went the opposite route and tried to appease. One of the biggest things he holds against me is the grief I gave my parents as a teenager.

Dad - well - he as pretty much uninvolved. He had a traditional view of fatherhood. His job was to go out and make the money for the home, and ask us around report card time "are you giving them hell????" It's only in my late 20's that I started to really get to know my dad as a person.

The only time he really got involved was when we would fight with mom. His overwhelming goal was to protect mom - and rarely was interested in the specifics of what was actually happening.

There's a quick overview.



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05 Jun 2007, 11:24 pm

Quote:

Into adulthood, what happens when the one that doesn't "fit" goes on? Those kids are gone...but the anticipation remains. The behaviors that singled them out as being "different" (and the defense mechanisms) continue...thereby signifying them as being "different" to people that have no other basis to know the individual from. Little things are askew... The person who was persecuted as a kid behaves in the defensive manner - the "new" person sees this and recognizes the signs - and is uncomfortable. The person who was persecuted sees the discomfort as just being more of the same - only tempered by adulthood and the necessary restrictions on action that adults accept.

...and so it becomes a self-fulfilling cyclical pattern. The beliefs of the "persecuted" are constantly in a state of re-affirmation because they don't see acceptance as ever coming. The ones that don't accept - in reality - aren't given a real chance to accept - because they're being made uncomfortable by the defensive (and understandable) actions of the one who was hurt.

...and so on it goes...forever.




AB, this is an extremely insightful and well written description of how we internalize and perpetuate our outsider status. It's given me a lot to think about. Bravo! :D



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05 Jun 2007, 11:30 pm

beautifulspam wrote:
Quote:

Into adulthood, what happens when the one that doesn't "fit" goes on? Those kids are gone...but the anticipation remains. The behaviors that singled them out as being "different" (and the defense mechanisms) continue...thereby signifying them as being "different" to people that have no other basis to know the individual from. Little things are askew... The person who was persecuted as a kid behaves in the defensive manner - the "new" person sees this and recognizes the signs - and is uncomfortable. The person who was persecuted sees the discomfort as just being more of the same - only tempered by adulthood and the necessary restrictions on action that adults accept.

...and so it becomes a self-fulfilling cyclical pattern. The beliefs of the "persecuted" are constantly in a state of re-affirmation because they don't see acceptance as ever coming. The ones that don't accept - in reality - aren't given a real chance to accept - because they're being made uncomfortable by the defensive (and understandable) actions of the one who was hurt.

...and so on it goes...forever.





AB, this is an extremely insightful and well written description of how we internalize and perpetuate our outsider status. It's given me a lot to think about. Bravo! :D


:)



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05 Jun 2007, 11:31 pm

DeaconBlues wrote:
After reading this thread, I am intrigued - is there anything you'd care to tell us about the parents? Because unless there's a lot going on that isn't coming out in the two perspectives we've seen so far, I'm left leaning toward the idea that Li'l Bro is a jerk of the first water.

On the other hand, I think it would be interesting to hear from Li'l Bro too. Do you think you could get him to post here?




I'll post also... as far as BIL (brother in law) being a jerk... well, occasionally, he absolutely is :lol: He is also one of the most endearing and sweet people I know... some of his negative qualities are certainly because of miscommunication due to the lack of understanding regarding Asperger's. What I mean is -- there are sometimes he may have come off as a jerk -- but really was not at all intending to, only without anyone ever knowing or hearing of AS, it was basically viewed as... 'this is *how he is*" and it wasn't good.

With the AS diagnosis and the learning about it that followed -- many things began to make sense. Only it doesn't really account for everything. That's where mom comes in. I never understood it at all -- when my husband tried to explain or even give examples -- I never understood -- he can't explain it and neither can I. It was only after meeting her that I began to understand -- and then when cleaning her home after she passed away -- THAT was a huge microscope into her life. I was never allowed in the home while she was alive -- no one was except for my husband and his half-sister.

It is a difficult subject... she passed away less than a year ago and being critical of her is hurtful -- it doesn't seem right. Truth be told -- she was a wonderful lady in many aspects... but she was also very sick. Never diagnosed, but sick none the less... OCD, hoarding, paranoia, etc.

When you take someone with AS... someone who "knows they are different"... add that to what many of you can attest to as far as how your childhood was... add on top of that an overwhelmingly protective, yet judgmental mother as your primary source of "how people should be"... add to that the isolation one tends to gravitate toward when they have AS... and there it is -- he basically confined himself to the inside of his home for all of his life.

He was "different"; mom was protective. She was obsessive and compulsive; he was unable to "just know" how to do many things; she got sick of trying to teach him, so she simply did everything for him -- she liked it better that way because she was controlling and also obsessed about the way everything ought to be done -- he liked it because that meant he was basically catered to and didn't have to do much beyond exist. They played off of each other. He protected her -- she protected him. Everything she did that to the outside world would seem "strange" he embraced and basically worshiped her because she was the only one who protected him -- the more he worshipped, the more she protected, and there was the ugly cycle. They became companions. They stopped having a mother/son relationship and became confidons. Dad sat back and as long as the house was quiet and seemingly peaceful -- he never took an interest or became involved -- as far as he was concerned, his wife walked on water -- whatever made her happy, made him happy -- no matter how askew it may be.

She wanted kids, he gave her kids -- it was made clear those were "her kids" so he never got involved -- he worked, he provided, and of course he loved them in the sense that he wished no ill on them -- but he never really knew them until they were adults. In fact -- he doesn't really even know BIL now -- he simply depends on him because he is elderly and BIL clings to him and is there to be a companion now that they both lost their primary companion -- mom.

Meanwhile -- husband never really fit into this dynamic -- saw deeply that it was abnormal -- had no idea about Asberger's or OCD or anything else (talking about when he was a child/young teen) and he simply rebelled against this situation and ended up moving out as soon as he could after he was 18 and made an effort to distance himself from the drama -- there was always drama.

It continued to play out -- and there it is.

Soooo... many of the characteristics BIL has are due to AS, many are due to his sole rolemodel being unable to provide any realistic model of life. Now he has lost said role model and is about to lose the father he never really knew in the first place -- along with his home and all he has is a brother he deeply resents.

This is really a tough one -- something that goes far beyond learning about AS. After 39 years -- we're pretty sure that some of the way he is will never, ever change. But we don't want to give up on him -- sometimes it seems he wants to give up on us though.



Last edited by AspieSister on 05 Jun 2007, 11:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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05 Jun 2007, 11:32 pm

Oh my goodness. There is a layer of dysfunctional family dynamics on top of having AS in the family. I know. I was the youngest in a family with generational alcoholism and a mother in some respects similar to your mother. I came out of it super independent, moderately successful, solitary, with a bushel of hurtful memories that I stash away. None of us siblings are close. None of them know I have AS. Probably none of them would be much interested to know either, though I may chose to say something.

When I found out I had AS a few years, I realized that a lot of the totally incomprehensible garbage I got from my family was in part because I'm so profoundly different, and that difference was interpreted as rebellious, wilfull disobediance, antagonism, 'acting smart', 'thinking you know it all', being selfish, and so forth. So - I've learned to cut them some slack, and realize that I was incomprehensible to them as they were to me. It works both ways. And I've forgiven them for much of the garbage too. No one knew back then about AS.

If your brother is motivated to learn about AS (read Tony Attwood's books for example) and engage with other people on the spectrum, he will likely reciprocate more than he has. He could grow up some that's for sure.

One thing more I want to say. It is remarkable to me that you try very hard to get through to your brother. I mean you use the word 'love' and I think that you mean it. You come here and take some heat to get some answers. That impresses me. What Fraya especially and others have said in this thread describes what it is like having AS better than any thing I've read. I hope you and your brother can get close. Best wishes and keep on.



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05 Jun 2007, 11:35 pm

AspieBrother wrote:
I don't know how to resolve that...how does one get past a lifetime of wondering about where it comes from? How does one get past year after year of disliking your name, your hair, your voice, etc... I'm not sure.

But maybe it's like this.. Is your name really Esperanza? If so, that's a pretty name. :)

One down? How many to go? lol


ha ha :) I don't know; that might be the way out of it. (That's very sweet of you, too. It's not my real name, but thank you for the compliment.) :)

DeaconBlues wrote:
As a total aside, I found the linked story fascinating.


I just read it and I found it fascinating too. It might actually shed a lot of light on what we're talking about. It looks like it's just one study, and there are current conversations in other threads about what we think of the way reporters interpret research findings ( :roll: ) , but if autistics simply perceive threatening behaviour where there is none, and that is a fundamental trait of autistics, then that might explain why the BIL is so abrasive and I'm such a bitter person.