Who and How to Tell? / Adult Diagnosis

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GodzillaWoman
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14 Mar 2015, 11:48 pm

I'm jumping the gun again since I have not yet had my diagnosis (my regular psychiatrist has located a clinical psychologist to do the screening but it hasn't been scheduled yet). BUT, i'm already thinking ahead to my next big question: who do I tell or do i tell anyone? I know this is a very individual question but maybe you guys could relate some of your personal "coming out as adults" stories?

My wife thinks I should tell nobody unless they are really trustworthy (like my friend that got me started on all this--she has a daughter with Asperger's). I'm torn, especially on whether to tell my Mom and brother, with whom I have a very complicated relationship. I never know how to anticipate their reactions. They were supportive when i told them about being sexually assaulted as a child, by my Dad, but have been not so good with other stuff. Mom told me she wished I was dead when i told her about my struggles with my gender identity, and said i stabbed her in the back when i wanted to change my university major from biology to art (I still don't understand that one). My brother was initially supportive of my same-sex marriage and then became very judgmental when he converted to Catholicism. He now "does not approve of my lifestyle" and we hardly talk. I have NO NO NO idea how they would take it if i told them I was diagnosed bipolar and Asperger's (I got the bipolar dx three years ago). Supportive? Angry? Disbelieving? Aha that explains everything? I don't blame them for how I am since these are at least partly genetic, and the rest could be blamed on the childhood trauma.

I really want my family to know who I really am, and i have gotten so sick to death of secrets, but I am so tired of not measuring up to their expectations and (seemingly) random rejections. :( They've always treated me as being very smart but a bit unable to take care of myself (Mom spent much of my college years warning me about campus cults that might carry me off), so i think they must know deep down that I am a bit different.

what are your thoughts? Tell them or not? for those of you with adult diagnoses, how did telling go for you?


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starkid
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15 Mar 2015, 12:17 am

I'm in the middle of an assessment and I'm not planning on telling anyone besides other doctors, regardless of what the results are. I don't think it will be helpful because most people don't know enough about Asperger's to do anything useful with the information, and what they do know may not apply to me, so it would make more sense to just tell people about my specific differences.

Also, I'm not close to my family and I don't expect any of them to care.

I suspect that some people are kind of hypocritical in the sense that, if someone just seems "weird" to them, they will dislike and mistreat the person, but when they hear that the person has some sort of disorder, they are nicer and more patient with the exact same behavior. I think that's BS. Either the "weird" behavior is acceptable or it isn't; putting a diagnostic label to it shouldn't matter. So I hope to filter out such hypocrites by not using any diagnostic labels for myself.

If I ever get close to anyone, and she asks about it directly, I will tell her the truth.



ImAnAspie
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15 Mar 2015, 2:10 am

I'll tell anyone but I don't usually have to on account of the fact that I'm usually wearing my "... Aspie ..." tshirts - even to work.

I'm no closet Aspie. I'm proud of who and what I am and I don't care who knows it!

It's up to you what you do though.


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Rocket123
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15 Mar 2015, 12:41 pm

starkid wrote:
I'm in the middle of an assessment and I'm not planning on telling anyone besides other doctors, regardless of what the results are...

Starkid, your approach makes a lot of sense to me.

Immediately after I was diagnosed, I decided to share my diagnosis (which, at the time was Asperger’s) with several people -- including my wife, parents, siblings, an uncle, a cousin, a lifelong friend and 2 former work colleagues. I was so enthralled with this new revelation and wanted to discuss it with others. Also, I wanted to gauge their reaction (because, at the time, I had some doubts). Anyways, I quickly learned that they were simply not interested in discussing the topic. So, I dropped it.



Campin_Cat
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15 Mar 2015, 6:20 pm

DON'T TELL your mother and brother----WIFE, is okay!! It's just my opinion; but, from all the posts I've read on here, regarding this very thing, and my own experience, it almost never works-out the way one wants it, to. My theory is, we tell those who have, pretty much, rejected us all our lives, thinking that now they won't reject us anymore, or that now they'll be understanding----when logic clearly dictates that that's not going to happen----and that the opposite will happen, in that they'll probably dislike you even MORE!!

Also, alot of people have experienced----myself, included----that often strangers are much more accepting, than our own family!! If you're tired of not measuring up to their expectations, I can almost guarantee that an ASD diagnosis will NOT change that----if, for no other reason, than because there's still too much of a negative opinion of it----and you already said your brother has a negative opinion of your being gay----so, why give him one more reason to have a negative opinion of you?

Another thing is, many parents don't take the news well because they want to blame themselves----OR, they think YOU are blaming them; or, that OTHERS will blame them----they're afraid people are going to look down on them, as if they caused you to be "not normal". I'm tellin' ya right now, it's almost always the people who have been ostracized by their own family who want to tell that same family----and it almost NEVER works-out----including with my own. We get very happy, some of us (I did), and want to shout it from the rooftops, that we finally have an answer----but, please don't do it----I'm afraid you'll be terribly heartbroken.....

There'll be people on here that have had a very GOOD experience----but, I think they're the minority, by FAR!!



GodzillaWoman
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15 Mar 2015, 9:19 pm

Campin_Cat wrote:
DON'T TELL your mother and brother----WIFE, is okay!! ......
Also, alot of people have experienced----myself, included----that often strangers are much more accepting, than our own family!!


That makes sense, as disappointing as it is to think about. My wife doesn't have the experience of being with me as i grew up, getting in fights, being difficult, screaming and throwing things. She just sees the better adjusted me (although still pretty odd--her nickname for me is Martian, a play on my name Marty) and she accepted me the way i am, not as the child my family was hoping to get. When i read the descriptions of ASD, her reaction was really just, "that explains a lot!!"


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izzeme
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16 Mar 2015, 4:14 am

you are still the same person, there is no need to disclose to anyone, except those that know of your upcoming assessment.

i myself keep a 'need-to-know' approach. i disclose the relevant symptoms (if any), but no more. yet if asked (because someone has some relevant knowledge, perhaps), i will admit and disclose fully.
The only people that know are my parents, (ex-)girlfriend, therapist and my 3 closest friends



Campin_Cat
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16 Mar 2015, 5:11 am

GodzillaWoman wrote:
Campin_Cat wrote:
DON'T TELL your mother and brother----WIFE, is okay!! ......
Also, alot of people have experienced----myself, included----that often strangers are much more accepting, than our own family!!


That makes sense, as disappointing as it is to think about. My wife doesn't have the experience of being with me as i grew up, getting in fights, being difficult, screaming and throwing things. She just sees the better adjusted me (although still pretty odd--her nickname for me is Martian, a play on my name Marty) and she accepted me the way i am, not as the child my family was hoping to get. When i read the descriptions of ASD, her reaction was really just, "that explains a lot!!"


I know it's disappointing----I totally get how sucky, it is----I felt the same way----but, that's what breaks us down, and makes us tell our family. We Aspies don't like keeping secrets----I think we feel like it's lying----but, unfortunately, I can almost promise you, you'll feel ALOT worse!! I know that's hard to imagine on THIS side of it, but..... We want, so desperately, to be accepted, for the first time in our lives, and we want to be able to say: "SEE----there's a REASON I'm this way----so, now that you know it's not MY fault, you can like me"----but, that's NOT what happens----that's NOT what they'll think, most-of-the-time!!

I'm so sorry that this is such a sad situation, but.....





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ImAnAspie
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16 Mar 2015, 5:36 am

I don't know if it's a cultural thing or not but as I said before, with me, everybody knows and reactions range from mild temporary interest to indifference. Either way, it's forgotten very quickly.

I find most humans are too wrapped up in their own lives to really give a toss about anyone else. And yes, I prefer honesty. Besides, whether they know or not, I still act the same and that's what they're more likely to react to.


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Andrejake
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16 Mar 2015, 6:46 am

Campin_Cat wrote:
It's just my opinion; but, from all the posts I've read on here, regarding this very thing, and my own experience, it almost never works-out the way one wants it, to


This here summarize what I think about this.
Sadly, in my opinion, there is no exact formula to how/who to to tell. It's very situational.
On a basic and very general way I would recommend you to tell to those that you feel that you should/need, but evaluate it carefully. I don't see asperger as a "secret" of myself, since it is actually pretty clear for anyone who can see the symptoms.
But the thing is, don't keep in your mind the thought that saying it will always make people accept and understand you better or make you feel more comfortable because often what happens is the extreme opposite. Everyone can react in a completely different way than you thought and this can bring a lot of disappointments and troubles to you.



ImAnAspie
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16 Mar 2015, 6:55 am

No one can make you upset. You make yourself upset. You have control over how you act and react.
Grow a backbone and if they give you sh!t over it, stand up and tell them to go to hell. Really people! How old are you?

If they want to treat you like crap over a diagnosis, they're not worth worrying about anyway.

Tell or don't tell whoever you want but don't be too scared like a little sissy about what some dumb human is going to think of you. No one's got their sh!t together enough to have an opinion of you and if they did, they wouldn't have that opinion of you. After all, who knows you better? Them or you! Be your own self. Be an individual. Stuff what they think!! !

:evil:


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dossa
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16 Mar 2015, 7:26 am

I, like ImAnAspie, am not in the closet about being on the spectrum.

The reactions I have gotten from people have been varied. My mother still thinks a dx means that I just need to find the right psyh.doc who can give me some sort of magic pill to 'fix me'. Some people are simply ignorant. My abusive ex told our children I am a liar and cannot possibly be autistic because I am not retarded. Yeah... the ignorance abounds now and then. Some people flat out refuse to believe Aspergers is a valid thing.

Other people are pleased I told them. I have been amazed how many people have used my disclosure as some sort of invite to open up to me and disclose their own oh, say anxiety issues. I have also had people tell me they are on the spectrum as well. Some people ask questions and then actually listen when I respond. It is not only neuro diverse people who are accepting of my dx, though I believe they are the ones who most appreciate me being so forthcoming about it all. Some people are simply curious. Others have an aha moment when suddenly this or that I do makes sense to them.


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nyxjord
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16 Mar 2015, 11:51 am

I was diagnosed almost a year ago (at the age of 25) and I honestly have only told those who absolutely needed to know- my sister and some individuals at the uni where I go (even though they couldn't have cared less about helping me). I have found that in my area, if you are "passable" and no one suspects otherwise, then it's not really worth it- people are very judgmental and I have had many bad reactions. Unless the individual has some conception of what it is like to be on the spectrum, then people will often have misconceptions and stereotypes that they may try to put you into. I wouldn't tell anyone unless it was necessary.


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GodzillaWoman
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16 Mar 2015, 7:41 pm

ImAnAspie and Dossa, I am really impressed and a bit envious of how strong you are about being out about your Asperger/autistic-ness. I've been out-and-proud about being gay for 20 years, and it was a scary, but very liberating experience. I have a "that's your problem, up yours" attitude about haters (even my brother, who has learned to keep his opinions to himself, and who i don't see more than once a year, if that).

I think the only person's bad reaction i would really care about is my Mom's--she can still get me in my tender emotional places. Maybe this hope of support is something to let go of: I suspect she may have Borderline personality herself, as the book "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me" seemed to be her biography. It may not be possible for her to be supportive, and i have to stop expecting her to do something she can't.


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ImAnAspie
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16 Mar 2015, 8:53 pm

You are what you are. How she takes it is entirely up to her. That's not your problem.

It sounds like she uses emotional blackmail to make/keep you how she wants you and that's not nice.


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Learn the simple joy of being satisfied with little, rather than always wanting more.