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I believe my dad has aspergers - would it help him to know about it?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by AlexWonderland, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. AlexWonderland

    AlexWonderland New Member

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    Hello everyone!
    I strongly believe my father has aspergers (or is somehow on the autistic spectrum). My sister's therapist is the one who first mentioned the idea, following that I did a lot of research for months, and everything suddenly clicked. We found the courage to talk about it to my mum and she thinks it makes sense also, but won't talk about it to him. She is also peculiar in her own way and so is their relationship. They met in the church of scientology, and even though they both left it my dad still believes in most of their philosophy. For that reason he is absolutely against anything that has to do with psychology or psychiatry, and would most likely take the idea of him being aspergers as an insult. But as far as I can remember my father has been depressed, miserable, extremely negative. He has always said he belongs to another planet. It was very though growing up with him, we always had to be extremely careful about everything, not to disturb him, not to ask or to expect anything from him. Finding out about aspergers has been extremely soothing for me because it has explained so much. Yet my father has mostly been a selfish and cruel jerk, and having aspergers does not explain (or excuse) that, but not knowing who you are and being constantly in psychological pain about it could explain it. I think he's managed to survive by developing some kind of superiority syndrome, believing the whole world is just stupid and evil, and he is a god-like figure, the only one who understands it all and truly.
    He is 66 and I don't want him to be unhappy until the end of his life. I know telling him about aspergers and autism will trigger great anger from him, but maybe he needs to know? Can finding out about your autism late in life help you and soothe you? There has been so much pain in my family, if this can help at all, I'm not letting it go.
    Thank you in advance for your answers <3
     
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  2. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You are extremely kind to look for reasons for his meanness and Yes, I would ask him. Everyone on the planet knows about Aspergers (ok, mostly).....and you could say, "I am an Aspie...did you ever wonder if you are? " Focus on the GOOD points..."You are really smart and notice things...." and then he will either laugh it off or look it up. It would not hurt to plant a seed he can explore if he likes.
     
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  3. Lastbutnotleast

    Lastbutnotleast New Member

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    Autism is not really a subject matter of mental health only. It is more complex than that. Autism is a chronic condition like diabetes. Not believing in psychology doesn't make autism non-existent. Nobody likes to be diagnosed with anything. Upsetting or not, facts are facts.

    As for telling him...you need to know him very well to determine what would be better. What if he has always wondered about why he is different? On the other hand, he must be set in his ways at 66 so not much improvement can be expected even if he tried hard but I don't know if it would help him understand himself better. I found out at 30, which is very different from finding out at 66. It made a big positive difference but everybody is different.

    Some of those traits you described could be typical of any person. It could be a personality disorder or something else. Autism manifests itself in many forms. I personally don't really have any of the traits you described. There are bitter people with no autism too. Autism doesn't only affect one's personality. I have sensory issues (auditory processing), anxiety (not social anxiety) comorbid with autism so it's not easy to get diagnosed as an adult unless your problems severely affect your life in multiple ways. What I am trying to say is that only a pro.can diagnose autism because its symptoms can be similar to OCD, personality disorders or even schizophrenia. Based on what you said, he probably has multiple coexisting conditions.

    Your dad is right about the world being a harsh place. Take a look around. Everything is about looks, money, making corporate leaders rich and powerful. I am not saying being negative is good but those are facts of life. Realistic thoughts, not pessimism. There are good things in life but those are usually things that not many people practice.
     
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  4. AlexWonderland

    AlexWonderland New Member

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    Thank you already for your answers. It's true I didn't really explain what makes me believe he has aspergers, as I'm pretty certain about it and it isn't what worries me.
    So just for an overall image: he is super sensitive to sounds, to problems (easily overwhelmed). He doesn't seem to understand a lot of social conventions, he's very awkward. He also has a lot of empathy issues. He can ramble on for hours about his work or conspiracy theories and not realise nobody finds it interesting. Then there are loads of "details"... When someone talks to him in a certain way or accent he will start talking the same way back. And he also sometimes has a weird tic/mannerism with his hand which I now think is simply hand flapping.
    But yes, indeed, he may have a mix of many different issues, I hadn't thought of it that way.
     
  5. Lastbutnotleast

    Lastbutnotleast New Member

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    This does sound like he is likely to have autism. I think at this point the most you can expect is relief due to knowing why he is the way he is but he is unlikely to go through major changes at 66. Maybe that makes you feel a little better too: just knowing it is not your fault when he gets impatient or upset helps by itself a little. There's not much you can do about autism. I have told myself so many times everything will be different but some things just cannot change because it is a medical condition. We can't expect someone with high blood pressure not to have it either.
     
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  6. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    No.

    You can't force help on anyone, they have to seek it. If you try he will likely resist. If he managed 60 years without knowing then he has probably developed a protective and largely impenetrable shell. Telling him that "oh actually, it turns out that you just have a condition, are autistic and society marginalizes you as disabled" will likely be met with anger or a similar negative reaction. Also, aspergers speaks to his single mindedness, inability to socialize, focus, and quirks, it has nothing to do with him being selfish or cruel, that is him.

    So you have to ask yourself what it is you are trying to achieve? Do you want him to be happy? In which case buy him beer. Do you want him to be nicer to you? That probably won't happen. Do you want to help the people around him understand him better? So send them stuff to read. Of course you can mention it to him in passing but the chances are that it won't make much difference and will probably upset the already rickety apple cart.
     
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  7. cath

    cath New Member

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    Hey Alex,

    I know its been awhile since you posted this, but I have recently begun to think my father also has asbergers. I havent had the courage to talk to my mother about it, but my sister defintely agrees with me and we too have found it a way to help us reconcile some of his behaviour that causes us emotional issues growing up. My mum too has a very peculiar relationship with him, meeting in a very conservative, almost cult-like church. They have left the church and go to a more relaxed one but he has also retained many of those beliefs, unlike my mum. They are still together however. He is very against pscyhology, and also experienced a very neglectful childhood - thus it may have gone under the rug. Dad also developed a very God-like superiority perplex to him, and gets very obsessive about strange things and has social deficits i could never put my finger on until I thought he might have asbergers. He wasn't particular about things, but he always got angry tryingto explain simple things to us, and when we didn't get it, he would get so angry. Like for example, when he triedto teach me pool. Or at his neices and nephews parties would go into other rooms to read the newspaper and not realise his family thought that was rude. But yea he always seemed like he was from another world- and did not understand how offensive he was.

    My dad is 69, and I think he's happy in his life - and he's done pretty well for himself. I think it was just super healing for me to work this out that his behaviour makes sense now.

    love to hearfrom ya, your experience sounds so much like my own.
     
  8. Mary Anne

    Mary Anne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have to disagree. The great majority of society has NO awareness of aspergers, what it is, what it means. The word “autism” conjures up the very most extreme stereotypes at either end of spectrum to most. Even those of us in the mental health field are not trained enough to know about it without special coursework. It was not touched on at all, in my training.
     
  9. Mary Anne

    Mary Anne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A lot of older people (I am 61) might not appreciate a young person pointing out something like this. He could become extremely angry! I wonder if in some way, you could go backwards in the approach. Start in a relaxed jokingly POSITIVE way with “Hey Dad, you are really smart and notice things. You also have low patience and struggle socially. Lis nicely a few more things and then say, these are all traits of Aspergers. Did you know tha I have Aspergers? It is pass d down genetically, so maybe you have that too?”

    He might get very mad at first, but will think about it for long afterwards.