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The last post here was written a few years ago however they are still applicable to me. The effects of being raised with an Aspie father and having an aspie sister has lasted me a lifetime. I understand that many Aspie parents have responded that they are offended by this article. Parents of aspie children read these experiences and feel defensive and protective of their aspie children. No one likes to be stereotyped. Not every aspie parent demonstrates the same traits or behaviors. The benefits that many of the Aspies and/or Aspie parents responding to this article is that they have self identified or been diagnosed with this difference, this challenge. Parents of Aspies can rest assured that their children will not have to become these stereotypes. Why? Because they have support, they have techniques or methods to help cope, adapt or to simply accept their differences. My father nor sister were given this gift.

It is very hurtful to discount the feelings ~ experiences of the child of an Aspie just as it is hurtful for an Aspie to hear these testaments of common feelings and experiences. However everyone deserves a chance to heal. And sometimes the only way to get there is by sharing your story and knowing that you are not alone.

There are countless studies and research on the importance of father/daughter relationships. Any time that this relationship is strained or damaged both child/parent will suffer. I know my father loves me. I know that he has done the best he can. It provides some comfort however it has not corrected the damage that has occurred. Being able to identify some of the common attributes of an Aspie and realizing that there is a trend of behavior that can't always be helped (especially when there is no diagnosis therefore no assistance or explanation can be provided). Remember the "NT" child was just that...a child. One who needed to be loved, validated and cared for by both parents.

My father and sister were emotionally inaccessible. I am not going to state that I am NT. I am not really sure I am entirely an NT. Sometimes I wonder about the nature/nurture in my situation. How much of my is inherited nature and how much is learned (from my parents or learned from trying to cope alone). All I know is that I was constantly defending my sister and father in public while secretly wondering why we couldn't be like other families. Wondering if I was adopted or was misplaced in a socially awkward family.

As a child I did not notice the difference much. The only indication of our "oddness" was my mother's depression/chronic illness and my father's lack of affection. At about 11 I started to notice that my father was unkind, impatient and insensitive to my mother. As we became a teenagers, my sister's lack of friendship and the cruelty of other became glaringly obvious. I was asked to take my sister to friends' houses, to parties and other activities despite being the younger sister. My sister often made others uncomfortable and in process I became particularly conscience of my every movement. I became obsessed with good manners and behavior out of fear of not being accepted and fear of calling attention to myself by some faux pas. In many ways I took on some aspie traits. With one large difference, I had many friends and made connections outside my family that helped me cope and learn social behaviors. To complicate matters, I was raised in a strict religious household. My mother compensating for the lack of affection in her relationship with my dad with lots of prayer and trite religious quotes. She had a "we must carry on" martyr attitude.
My sister was placed in special ed classes early on for reading disabilities which she really didn't have. But in the 70's there wasn't much in public schools for children who were "different". She never had a close friend, she didn't date, she didn't marry and she passed away at 37 of an asthma attack. When she passed I was extremely angry and grieved. I was mad she didn't take care of herself. When she passed dad made rather callous remarks such as "I lost a daughter but gained another bedroom". The man at the funeral home looked at me just shocked. I told him "his attempt at humor is his way of coping". I knew he loved my sister, in fact they were so much a like and shared many common interests (collecting old books, cats and ordering things through catalogs).
My dad says he is "eccentric". He was an aerospace engineer. Read math books for "the fun of it". He has several collections. Most of which remain in boxes stored away. He also never had friends over and often if someone came by the house they would get caught in his web of interests. And despite obvious signs like looking at their watch Dad never understood the clues that others were not interested...

Once my sister passed I brought my parents to live close to me. Once I moved them close I realized something was very wrong with mom. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Dad had not saved any money over the years despite having had a good paying job. He had not bought a home nor did he really have any assets. I am now 41 and caring for both of them. I often feel it is ironic that they are living with me. I was so desperate to move out as a young adult. To get away from dad's insensitivity and mom's over sensitivity. Mom is now apathetic with Alzheimer's. Dad has shown more concern for her, but always in his own unique way. The relationship with my dad has affected my relationships and has caused some very real self esteem issues. Which I am working through. Though it has been very hard due to lack of life skills that I was taught.
When my sister passed, I was devastated by the loss and so very angry that my sister's life seemed to be valued by so few. Someone even had the gall the mention that it was the smallest turn out at a funeral that they had ever seen. I sought out therapy after my sister passed away. The therapist suggested my sister was an aspie and my father too. I have been able to put the pieces of the puzzle together which has helped heal some of the frustration and hurt.

April 19, 2013 - 10:39pm


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