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Learning that you had Asperger help you in your life?
No, I would have preferred to know nothing about it 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
It didn't change anything 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, but I kept this secret 40%  40%  [ 2 ]
Yes, but only my loved ones know 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, and anybody knows that I'm an Aspie 60%  60%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 5

JohnPhillips
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Joined: 11 Jan 2009
Age: 38
Gender: Male
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13 Aug 2010, 8:00 am

Hello,

This is my first post although I'm a frequent visitor of WP forums. Sorry for my bad English but Iive in Europe and I usually speak french...

I discovered about 1-2 years ago that I might have Asperger (self diagnosed with wikipedia so I may be wrong)... Anyway, this finding helped me somehow to understand myself, and also to improve my relations with other people.

I would like to consult the Aspie community about a question concerning my parents. Since I discovered Asperger Syndrom, I suspect my father to have Asperger as well (which is not surprising given the genetic link). Since a long time, my mother and my father have regular dispute, usually provoked by awkward behaviors of my father. As time goes by, my mother became more and more frustrated by my father, and the reason is mostly due to his behavior which I think is related to Asperger. The fact that my mother doesn't understand how my father behave might worsen the situation... Now, my mother seems a little depressed and she is talking seriously about divorce... For information, I'm 27 and my father is 55 years old.

According to you, should I talk to my mother about the Asperger syndrome and could this improve their relationship. Should I talk my father first, or should I keep this secret. How would my father react if I talk about this. He may refuse to admit, or be angry, or feel disrespected...

Another fact is that if I talk to my mother about this, she will probably tell it to her friends, family, and so on (women can't keep a secret ;-). And finaly, she will also understand that I may have Asperger too. In my country, Autism is still considered with some shame and it is not well understood by people in general.

Has anyone any advice? Feel free to ask for more precision...



DW_a_mom
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Age: 61
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13 Aug 2010, 2:58 pm

I can't really condense this into a "poll" answer, as you'll see when your read my answer below.

I also want to note that you cannot generalize that just because your mom is a woman, she will tell everyone. Not all women are bad at confidentiality. If you do decide to talk to her, and want it confidential, the first way to help that happen will be to tell her so.

ANYWAY, what I can tell you is how this was handled in my own family, and our reasons for it.

When my son was diagnosed with AS, it didn't take me long to decide that there was a genetic link through my father. To me, it answered a LOT. By that time, however, my father had suffered a stroke and there really was no point in bringing it up with him, and I kind of doubt I would have regardless, but my suspicions about my father did come up when I talked to my mother about my son's diagnosis. Given that I do firmly believe it is genetic, one can't really talk about it without acknowledging the potential history. But, the focus in talking to my mom was never really on my assessment of my father because, while I mentioned that was where I thought it came from, I also quickly pointed out that at his age he'd obviously long ago learned to compensate for the worst of whatever impairments he might have had, and that it would be impossilbe to ever know for sure, as well as pointless (it's not like we're going to get services for our parents based on their autism). At the time my mom kind of shrugged. She asked a lot of questions about my son, she wasn't that comfortable with the term, but she took it all in and it wasn't really talked about after that.

Some 6 or so years down the road, and with my father now deceased, I think my mother has come to agree with my assessment, even though I don't think she's delved into it all that far, and we haven't had long conversations about it; it's just my impression. I think she's used that information to help understand some of the more difficult things from her life with my dad and their marriage, and to reach more of a sense of peace with it. There were areas where she always wondered what could have been different if she had "just done X, instead of Y," and I think realizing that my dad was probably on the spectrum has allowed her to let go of that, and better accept that he was who he was and she never was in a position to change that. One of those areas is my father's happiness, because he simply never was all that happy. He had happy moments, but he lived with a lot of frustration (which is a pretty natural side effect of not being like everyone else, not being able to read social cues, and not knowing why you are different), and a wife is going to feel responsible for it. I've noticed she has started to let go, and feel better about having done the best by him she - or anyone else - could have. They didn't have a dream marriage, and my dad really picked at her that last decade or so, but they did love each other, and she really misses him.


_________________
Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).