Parents still talk to me like a child

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Korvan
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03 Sep 2016, 5:17 am

Even despite having a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, living on my own and being 27 years old my parents still talk to me like I am a 'ten year old with attitude problems'. They don't talk to me like a normal adult, get angry at me for not being able to deal with my arachnophobia and how my autism causes me to avoid rooms completely if there is one inside it as I do not have the co-ordination skills to know how to get a glass over the bigger ones.

Everytime I try to strike up a conversation it's always:

'I'm too busy.'
'I'm on the computer right now.'
'Don't talk to me like that.' (If they have said something offensive and I've tried to tell them it's hurt my feelings).
'Your house should be like x, y, z.'
'You speak too loud.'
'You are talking too loud.'
'you shouldn't go to college, you should stay on benefits.'

Having a normal conversation with them has never been the case. Growing up with them I was left in the corner to figure out and do things on my own and I was often the product of insults and until my long lost cousin came along, the black sheep of the family. Even long before everyone knew I had autism everyone around me still spoke to me like a child and I never developed that skill to have two way conversations.

It feels dehumanising and I just want to get on with my life and take up things I want to do like, diving and maybe going to university within the next five years, but my family are so unsupportive. They probably couldn't even tell a stranger what my favourite band is or what video game I'm currently playing, or who my other five friends are.

Has anyone else been in a simular situation?



postcards57
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03 Sep 2016, 6:39 pm

I'm sorry to hear this.

It sounds as though your parents don't understand what intellectual and emotional level you are at. Sometimes it is hard to tell with people on the spectrum, because their emotional and intellectual "ages" don't match. I think it's a parent's responsibility to figure out how to speak with respect and how to ensure mutual understanding. This can be tough if the parent doesn't have the empathy required to "read" people, or are depressed or stressed.

Do they treat others the same way they treat you? If so, they may have very weak social skills. Have you ever tried to talk to them about how they feel about their own lives?

Anyway, congratulations on being out on your own! That's admirable when you didn't have much support or role modeling. I have a 17-year-old on the spectrumand hope she will be able to manage independently in a few years. We also have other kids who are older, and one of them has not moved out yet. That's fine with us; we are happy to have them in our home, but I want them to be able to do well when they get sick of us. :-)



somanyspoons
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06 Sep 2016, 7:34 pm

Have you considered that your parents might be autistic too? They might have no idea how to talk to their adult child. There is little modeling around this for them to copy. So, they might be using the only thing they know - talking to you as if you were a child.

Most humans have to negotiate some difficulties dealing with their parents as adults. When we are grown, we have to parent ourselves - meaning that we have to protect our own integrity. Treat your parents with respect, but also protect yourself from abuse. This isn't something that you do just once. You'll be working on this for the rest of your life.



Korvan
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07 Sep 2016, 10:18 am

Thanks for the replies. I'm going through a fallout with them at the moment but I expect this to be temporary. I have tried chatting with them but it's the same way of responding - I'm either 'looking for an argument' or 'looking to pick fault'. I've decided to leave them to it. I've made my feelings known about being treated like cotton wool and not being invited out to family gatherings. I'm kind of enjoying the space to myself to breathe and think as being in their company for too long makes me feel isolated and irritable.

I have suspected autism in my dad. Some of the things he explains is simular to the way I think and he picks up cues wrong all the time. He is usually quiet and gets on with things but when he's not picking up cues he gets aggressive, starts finger pointing and before you know it he's made up a story about what's going on in your head before anything has even happened. He's more passive aggressive. He does have a black and white way of thinking, but can also see the grey area defending on the situation and on occasion will get upset at the loss of a relative but like myself I don't think he understands grief or the grieving process. He seems to bottle his emotions and I have only seen him cry twice.

My mum is more aggressive and can easily read cues but manipulates situations to how she wants it. She is dead set in her thinking. No grey area, completely black and white. Jumps straight to conclusions and is quick to blame her mistakes or setbacks on others. It's never her fault. It's always something else or somebody else.



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07 Sep 2016, 10:44 am

Korvan wrote:
'you shouldn't go to college, you should stay on benefits.'


Sounds like they don’t want you to be independent, let alone successful, perhaps so they can keep talking down to you among other things. Congrats for not letting them ruin you for life.


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somanyspoons
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07 Sep 2016, 2:40 pm

Korvan wrote:
Thanks for the replies. I'm going through a fallout with them at the moment but I expect this to be temporary. I have tried chatting with them but it's the same way of responding - I'm either 'looking for an argument' or 'looking to pick fault'. I've decided to leave them to it. I've made my feelings known about being treated like cotton wool and not being invited out to family gatherings. I'm kind of enjoying the space to myself to breathe and think as being in their company for too long makes me feel isolated and irritable.

I have suspected autism in my dad. Some of the things he explains is simular to the way I think and he picks up cues wrong all the time. He is usually quiet and gets on with things but when he's not picking up cues he gets aggressive, starts finger pointing and before you know it he's made up a story about what's going on in your head before anything has even happened. He's more passive aggressive. He does have a black and white way of thinking, but can also see the grey area defending on the situation and on occasion will get upset at the loss of a relative but like myself I don't think he understands grief or the grieving process. He seems to bottle his emotions and I have only seen him cry twice.

My mum is more aggressive and can easily read cues but manipulates situations to how she wants it. She is dead set in her thinking. No grey area, completely black and white. Jumps straight to conclusions and is quick to blame her mistakes or setbacks on others. It's never her fault. It's always something else or somebody else.


Neither of those sound like a really fun way to go through life. Now that you've identified the things you don't want to copy from your parents, you can go about finding a models for other ways of behaving. Maybe something with a little more listening and a little less assuming? That's been a big lesson for me, too. I assume I know what people are thinking, but of course I don't. And sometimes there are factors I don't understand.



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10 Sep 2016, 11:04 am

If I am to be completely honest, the day that I found peace was the day that I accepted my parents for who they are, as they are. This mostly applies to my dad, who I believe is on the spectrum and who was a very difficult person to grow up with. I found that when I stopped wishing/expecting them to be someone who they are not, a lot of...well...crap just melted away. For example, my father is going to be quick to judgement and is going to have black and white thinking by default. He is frequently going to have a "tone" to his voice, and he is not going to easily accept that someone can have a completely different opinion than him and still be "right." These things will never truly change. Once I accepted that, I experienced peace. And it allowed me to appreciate the "good" in them. For example, my dad taught me to be an ethical person, to not back down on my values, and probably made me stronger.

And when I finally accepted these things, I was finally free to live my life. Sure, I will always care what my parents think, but I am not driven by it. I take their feedback into consideration as a piece of the bigger picture, but my decision will be mine. And I am not bound by the way they treat me. When my dad's voice gets condescending, I see it as a part of who he is and not a reflection on me. It washes over me without affecting me. It is him. Not me. There is no point in being angry or resentful. It just is what it is.

I don't know if any of this makes sense to you. I just found that at a certain point, I had to stop wishing for the parents that I thought I should have and just accepting the parents I have. They are humans with faults, just like me. And I had to acknowledge that, let go of it, and move on.

I don't mean to minimize your experience at all, btw, so please don't read this to be that. There is just sometimes strength in surrender.


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greezly90
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17 Jul 2020, 9:11 am

its okey, it doesn’t matter if u are 6, or 20 years old, for your parents you’ll always be for them a child :roll:



KimD
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18 Jul 2020, 11:37 pm

I'm sorry your parents aren't kinder or more respectful of you. :heart:

Telling a young adult child how to live their lives can be a continuation of controlling habits/personalities, but it's also common in parents whose children are navigating their way into independence. Even the most caring-but-not-hovering parents, with healthy relationships with their kids, can have a hard time cutting those last few ties as their kids leave the house. You may be dealing with a one-two punch, so to speak. I know it won't make a difference in the real world, but I'm cheering for you.