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Aspergers and Lack of Morals?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by B-randon, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. B-randon

    B-randon Well-Known Member

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    I am the mother of a 16 year old girl who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome two years ago. In many ways hyperlexia (a division of Aspergers', for those who are unaware) read like a description of her exactly.

    However, in my research and experience there is one thing in particular that unnerves me.

    Aspies seem to be often represented as sweet but socially clueless individuals who have strong morals, even if they are bit off-color. I have raised my daughter in a devoutly Catholic home, and aside from some divorce and brief instability in her childhood, she has been taught strong faith and morals. However, she seems to be missing something, a conscience? Something human. For one thing, she lies frequently and cheats and steals without remorse or limit. Her dishonesty is frightening and does not discriminate when it comes to even close friends and family. It seems she's doing this a little bit less as she gets older, but I suspect she's just getting better at not getting caught. She's seemingly incapable of leaving the house and actually going where she says she'll be. She shoplifts ridiculously and is never caught; over the past three years I'm certain she's stolen over a thousand dollars worth of cosmetics, books, food, clothing and other trinkets. She lies to such an extent that sometimes I've read her journal and found made-up stories in there -- it's as if she lies to herself.

    A significant problem is with boys and men. My daughter has little to no social life because of her social awkwardness and also because of a lack of interest, but she is extremely pretty, tall and thin and a sharp dresser and goes through boyfriends, many much too old for her, with alarming frequency. She doesn't seem to care or have any interest in them aside from things that they can provide her with, such as money (she targets rich older men); and they always get over their initial infatuation and scram fast when they realize how "weird" she is.

    Though she doesn't have much of an interest in the opposite sex, there is one serious problem. It occurred first when she was 13, and she developed what we thought was her first "crush", and we were honestly a bit relieved. However, she didn't go to school with the boy who lived in our neighborhood and didn't know how to approach him appropriately. Without my knowledge, she invented this insane story about being part of a secret government organization and took it so far with threats and craziness over the span of several months that the boy's parents ended up calling the police on her. At 16, the awful "crush" struck again, and she developed an obsession with this gorgeous Puerto Rican kid from her new high school. Through manipulation and sneakiness she was able to secure him as her boyfriend, but I was disconcerted by the way she referred to him in her journal as "the Object" and "it" and not a human being. This kid was a happy, healthy, normal popular kid and dumped her after about a month, as usual. My daughter could not accept this and started calling/texting him dozens of times a day. She spread vicious rumors about him and slapped him in the face in public. She went to his employer and claimed he had sexually harassed her, getting him fired; discreetly ruined his car; planted hallucinogens in his car before anonymously tipping off his college (we're not sure yet whether he'll be expelled and facing charges); poisoned and killed his new litter of shih tzu puppies; stole and destroyed his iPod and phone (that's a lot of damages on top of ruining his car!!); and finally broke into his house one night after purchasing a tarantula and giant scorpion for $15 each from the local pet store and released them on his pillow with a note reading "Hell Hath No Fury Like the Woman Scorned." In an e-mail to a very unhealthy friend, she made it clear that she had planned in detail many ways in which she could murder him and was confident she could get away with it, but wouldn't do so so as not to jeopardize her future.

    Last year we sent her to boarding school with excellent security and she managed to run away. True to form, she was found two days later at the public library immersed in stacks of books. We think her time there was beneficial but I'm still worried since she's still doing these crazy things.

    My daughter is extremely intelligent. She taught herself to read at three without my knowledge; I bought her a learn-to-read book to get a headstart on kindergarten, and when I went to teach her the alphabet she astounded us by clearly reading aloud all the words in the book. I send her to retreats and religious events, and I've had deeply intelligent adults tell me they've never met someone who could dig so theologically deep and profound, especially not at her age. She devours books of all types.

    Extreme beauty and extreme brains, but there are so many dark sides. Despite her power to be intensely collected and calculating, there are times when I can't even speak to her because she explodes in temper tantrums and literally sounds like a 2-year-old, and you literally have to talk to her like she is one. She cries hysterically and pounds her head against the wall over the smallest things; completely irrational. She's obsessed with looking perfect and has that distinctly Aspergian(?) fixation with lists and schedules and rules; she can spend entire days studying complicated recipes for what type of clothing looks best with her body type and colors with skin tone and subconscious messages and such, she follows extreme beauty regimens that are planned with detail down to the minute they must be performed and precisely how many squirts of what should be used, etc. She's obsessed with the "perfect" body measurements and is never without her measuring tape to ensure that her waist doesn't expand past the specifications and the hourglass is maintained. God help you if something goes out of balance -- it's the end of the world. She has so many rules about what she has to do at what times, every day is intensely structured to the point that if we leave 10 minutes later than expected she pouts like a baby and acts ridiculous.

    She has caused me so much stress that it is nearly unbelievable, on top of two older siblings with their own slew of issues. I'm worried also because she'll be eighteen soon and has proved to have very poor judgement. I'm afraid to know what she'll do with the independence she wants so badly.

    This is all very stressful for me. I was wondering if anyone else experiences these types of symptoms/behaviours with their children.
     
  2. juffur

    juffur Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I doubt it's being an aspie that's causing her behavior. I feel sorry for her... People don't simply grow up acting a certain way, it's always an interaction between environment and genetics. My guess is this is due to environment. Don't blame her asperger's syndrome.
     
  3. salemzarves

    salemzarves Well-Known Member

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    get her to go back to the psychitrist to see if she has anything else besides aspergers, becasue in some cases i have heard that aspergers can have other comorbid mental
    illnesses such as bipolar and maybe hyperactivity, I am also saying this from experience with some comorbid issues of my own.
     
  4. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    There're lots of Aspergers traits in her behavior but I think that behavior might have been triggered by trauma. You might want to find a specialist who's qualified to deal with spectrum disorders. She would have to find balance and realize that it's OK to be different and perfection is an illusion.... I hope you find the person to help you. I didn't fall into extremes (like shoplifting) when I was younger but it was tough for me too at that age and later. My life was spinning out of control but I tried to put on a happy face for my parents. I saw tons of doctors, was on therapy with no result. And the only reason why, because none of them could realize that I had Aspergers. Your daughter has been diagnosed and hopefully she can get the right help.

    I think even if your daughter doesn't show or talk about it, she needs love, support and understanding. Things she does are not crazy - it is a cry for help. But then again I'm just judging by what you've written....
     
  5. Occasional_Demon

    Occasional_Demon Well-Known Member

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    Personally I think she needs a re-evaluation by a psychiatrist for any additional mental illness, and therapy. Lots of therapy - I think a good starting point would be dialectical behavioural therapy, which a form of therapy that teaches a person such things as mindfulness, distress tolerance, and coping mechanisms to painful events.

    I'm not a diagnostician by any stretch of the imagination, but her behaviours towards her last "crush" is indicative of some sort of personality disorder. It reminds me either borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder, and the behaviours that she engaged in when her "crush" rejected her is not typical of someone with Asperger's. That's not to say that she doesn't have Asperger's - I'm pretty sure she does, considering she's received an official diagnosis from a doctor - but it's not uncommon for someone to have Asperger's in combination with other issues.
     
  6. 142857

    142857 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have to concur with Occasional_Demon. The behavioural problems sound little like typical aspergers syndrome behaviour, and much more like another personality disorder.

    Diagnosis with some of these personality disorders is very subjective. A misdiagnosis is not out of the question by the sound of things.

    There is quite a bit of common ground between antisocial personality disorder (APD) and aspergers, but the ramifications are very different. The murder of the puppies in particular sounds very much like APD. APD used to be known as sociopathy or psychopathy. I found this site: Sociopath World very useful when I was trying to find out more about sociopathy. There is also Psychology & Mental Health Forums and Blogs which has a subforum for APD.

    Please don't blame yourself, it is far more likely that your daughter has this disorder as a result of genetics than environment. Is there a history of antisocial/violent/criminal behaviour on either side of the family?

    I am not an expert on this, my knowledge is based on google and on a few sociopaths I have known who had less severe traits than your daughter. Please do your own research on this and make your own conclusions.
     
  7. juffur

    juffur Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Genetics does not cause the behavior, it may predispose the individual towards certain behavior, but it's the interaction between environment and the predisposition that causes the behavior. The behavior is a symptom of the disorder, not the disorder itself. This is very much an environment issue. Much of the behavior exhibited by sociopaths is the result of the environment they grow up in, which has been proven very successfully to be a positive controllable situation if the parents are well aware of the condition and take proper care.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  8. 142857

    142857 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We are not going to solve the old nature vs nurture debate here. I am not even going to try.

    Aspergers is not a lifestyle choice, it is a genetic condition. The severity may be affected by environment. Based on what I have read and what I have seen sociopathy is much the same. A sociopath learns to control his or her behaviour not because of conscience or ethics or morality, but because of fear of the consequences of illegal or unacceptable behaviour.

    Just as an aspie/autistic may learn to "fit in" with neurotypicals by learning to mimic social rules that come naturally to most non-aspies, but cannot be "cured" of aspergers syndrome.

    Implying that this girl's behaviour is somehow the fault of her parents is, to me at least, akin to autism being blamed on "refrigerator mothers" back in the bad old days.
     
  9. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    One more thing. I had a childhood friend. she behaved in a very similar way. She also was incredibly beautiful and had similar attitude towards life. Now after being diagnosed and thinking back about her behavior and also about her father's behavior I must say they had to have Aspergers but the point is, for her it all worked out. Somehow by age of 21-23 she "straightened up". But it doesn't happen to all people, for some it gets worse. It's better to get help as soon as possible.
     
  10. juffur

    juffur Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Nature vs. Nurture is not a real debate. It's an interaction between genetics and environment, not one or the other...

    If you still believe Nature vs. Nurture is even worth discussing then you should read up on modern biology. I highly recommend the book "Monkeyluv" by Dr. Robert Sapolsky. It will change how you see this forever.

    Also, my take on parents being responsible. If they don't have the ability to recognize what their child is experiencing and provide proper medical care for the child, they will cause negative behavior. I'm not saying they are responsible for the disorder. That will exist regardless, but they do control whether or not their child is neglected from medical care.

    Just wanted to add more.

    There is no amount of "genetics" that will cause an individual to have socially negative behavior that is as severe as killing puppies as indicated by this poster. It simply does not exist. Genetics is simply a predisposition and if the right environment acts on that genetic disposition, then certain behavior arises. Negative behavior like this is an indication of the individual not receiving proper care when growing up, whether from negligence or ignorance, that's how this behavior arises. This is simply the result of not knowing how to raise this child. That may be harsh, but it's the truth, and hopefully this person can learn from it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2011
  11. kasmanaft08

    kasmanaft08 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Before anyone is quick to judge, I do want to point out that a lot of the description of your daughter struck me as a bit odd- I was nearly the same at age sixteen-seventeen. Not with everything in every way, but some things I will point out:

    When I was younger I did have a phase with lying quite a bit. I even went so far as to make up journal entries, which my parents ended up reading and freaking out over. I felt I wasn't normal and could never fit into society in an interesting way, so I felt it was easier to make things up than change. BUT, I will point out- the lying was generally harmless. It went away completely as soon as I realized that lying was too much work in the end, and I quit caring what my peers thought.

    My parents were rather strict growing up and my environment felt rather unstable for miscellaneous reasons so I counter acted much of it with acting out in different ways. I quite literally felt controlled and that no one understood me. If you do opt for more counseling, some family counseling may be of some benefit, so you can find a solution together.

    But I hate to say the acting from a lack of empathy, and crazy relationships were something I also experienced- but I did grow out of them quite randomly when I got older. I think those are normal things for teenagers, heightened with aspbergers. I just had to get some maturity and life experience under my belt. Neither ended up lasting that long.

    I also could reign in a pretty (and normal) guy to which he just ended up finding me weird, which is unbelievably frustrating and isolating in itself. That, I would say, ended up causing much of the reactions I had, and made me feel weirder and more alone. That, I'd say, is a 16-year old girl thing though- it took me a few years to realize thats not what I wanted anyhow.

    But I do want to point out it was a phase, and most of it was harmless (even when I look back on it, regardless of what my parents said at the time). If this was common before she was a teenager, or is getting to the point where she's getting into dangerous habits, I'd take a second look, though.

    But I would question sociopathy if you want an alternative diagnosis. Maybe look into Borderline, which is what some doctors thought about me before it was confirmed it was in fact, Aspberger's.

    Just some things to think about anyway. But if you aren't so sure about aspbergers, perhaps try Borderline Personality Disorder instead. At least before sociopathy.

    But no, we do not lack morals, as far as I'm concerned.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  12. Geordie

    Geordie Geordie

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    morals are relative... that's all i can say, i'm so sorry. (feels heartburn)
     
  13. katcha

    katcha Well-Known Member

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    Completely lacking empathy or a conscience myself, I can give some insight perhaps, but I don't relate to your daughters behaviours much. I've never learnt my morals verbally and I've never learnt anything by the facial expressions my parents make when I do something they deem to be "bad". I've learnt my morals from observing their own behaviour.

    If my mother would have read my own journal, despite having previously verbally taught me "Good morals". It would have taught me that it's okay to temporarily suspend one's morals if it benefits them to do so. If my mother then tried to claim that she only done it because she was worried about me, well? I don't understand what "worrying" about another person is, it's a foreign concept. All that teaches me is "If I am caught doing something ammoral, I can try to lessen the impact by claiming I was worried". Etc...

    Now, I'm not blaming you for any of this. But I guess I'm saying that if you want your daughter to act differently, you'll probably have to act differently yourself around her. Assuming you are correct when you say she lacks a conscience.
     
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  14. Geordie

    Geordie Geordie

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    It's possible for ASDs to develop empathy and so on, but it takes effort... and luck
     
  15. marraco

    marraco Well-Known Member

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    If she “lies” on his journal, she may be lying to you. It makes nonsense to lie on a journal, unless the writer expects for it to be read by someone. And if your daughter is so smart, se should know all you do with his journal.

    I would also freak out if I had been forced unto religion (I was to a lower level). Religion is so full of hypocrisy, lies, and so far from reason, that it only teaches to be bad people. Religious people do not behave because they are good people. They just behave to not be punished by gods, but religious lessons are deeply immoral and amoral, because they put loyalty to a god over loyalty to equals.
     
  16. Alpaca

    Alpaca Well-Known Member

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    I've always had a powerful conscience, to the point of feeling guilty for killing an insect. I've never felt comfortable lying, stealing or cheating. Manipulating someone would be neurologically impossible for me on account of, well, I suck at reading people.

    My youngest, older brother tho was a terror. He was violent and manipulative. He stole from everybody. Still to this day he seems to have no problem using people for his own purposes. I've actually worried that he may be a sociopath (can you imagine a sociopath and an aspie in the same family? can somebody track down the odds of that happening?) Basically, it didn't help my childhood any, but it made me tough as nails tho, so I agree that Environment has a WHOLE lot to do with the development of aspies. I recently got to know a young lady who scored a 24 on the AQ and was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school (peaked my curiosity). Her family, however, is really warm and inviting (from what she's told me) and were always willing to be supportive. For this reasons she does not seem anything like me. Despite having a runaway freight-train of a thought process.
     
  17. Arashi222

    Arashi222 Cuddling Vampires V.I.P Member

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    I don't know if people with AS are amoral, I know that AS is a spectrum and people can have AS and other things but what you seem to be describing B-randon is someone who is on the verge of being coming a sociopath possibly i would error on the side of getting an evaluation and making sure that it's a specialist in the field. I know for me I was able to lie but I sucked at it. Part of it is growing up, but like for me I can't understand why people cheat, or steal I don't understand the adrenaline rush that happens. But I hope you get her some help soon. We're here to support you though
     
  18. shinyedge

    shinyedge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I see that this thread was started almost a year ago, and I wonder if B-randon is still following it. The behavior described does not sound like the typical Asperger's I have read about. As others have suggested, it could be a co-morbidity with antisocial personality disorder.

    I am a little bit troubled by some of the posts that seem to blame the parents. Environment could play a role, but this sort of serious psychological disorder is not a result of a broken childhood.

    But I am even more troubled by the overall low-key tone of the responses. The acts that B-randon describes are serious crimes. I hope that she is not allowing this poor guy to go to jail over drug possession when she knows that her daughter planted them. (Although if she fears for her life I can understand why she might keep quiet about it.) And this sort of vengeance, attempt to control someone's life, killing puppies, etc. is a sign of psychopathic behavior. If you read about early signs of serial killers, the description is pretty similar. Not to say that everyone who acts this way turns into a serial killer, but it is a clear warning of future trouble. She might grow out of it, but why take the chance? She needs more than just therapy. There are clear signs that she is dangerous, and she needs to be institutionalized before she causes more harm. She has already committed enough crimes to warrant it. B-randon, if you are reading this, you need to go to the police and ask them what can be done to protect yourself and others.
     
  19. HelloDizzy

    HelloDizzy Bed-Cookie V.I.P Member

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    I find this rather interesting and I am much like the 16 year old described by the original poster.
    You are describing someone with Aspergers existing co-morbidity with Anti-Social Personality Disorder; rare in females, and hard to diagnose in most cases. Untreatable as of now.
    Most people with the under-active Amygdala (part of the brain which is the "conscience") do not end up serial killers. They just have no sense of right and wrong, and they lack morals, and they don't see other human beings as living, feeling creatures; they're just things there for their disposal and usage.

    As someone with Anti Social Personality Disorder and Aspergers, all I can say, is try to get her into cognitive behavioral therapy so she doesn't lean towards criminal behavior.
     
  20. cheetoe80

    cheetoe80 Well-Known Member

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    So you are both sociopath and aspie dizzy? I?ve never really shoplifted at all, and I would never poison someone?s dog, but I?ve wondered recently if that isn?t my problem. As a kid I used to insert lies into my arguments because I thought other people were doing it, and then with my ex I used to lie about stuff just to see if she?d call me on it and then later because I thought she was up to something and I was trying to keep her at a distance. I?ve lied a lot to my brother and mom in a similar fashion. And I?ve also done other really stupid stuff that I?ve felt guilty about afterward, and I?ve cut myself. My ex told me she thought I might be a psychopath. I don?t really know that it fits so I shrugged it off at the time, but there?s something wrong.