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Thank you for writing about this and posting resources. My father went undiagnosed for 60 years, it wasn't until I attended university and started working with children on the spectrum that I put two and two together. My father is a loving father - but everything has to be "his way" and he prefers that there is no outside influences.
My mother is NT, but she came from a physically and emotionally abusive household, so she doesn't see my father's habits or quirks as odd and makes up excuses for his behaviour. My father hasn't worked since I was born, my mother is the bread winner, while my father stays home and watched tv or played on his computer.
Things like finding a parking spot turns into hour long adventures (usually with him having a tantrum or sulking in the end because he couldn't find the perfect parking spot). My mother is not allowed to have friends, because my father belittles them or my his paranoia rubs off on her and she believes that everyone is out to hurt them in some way. My sibling and I grew up extremely isolated. When we lived in a city it was easier for my brother and I to find friends, but when my dad forced us to move to a rural area we could not make any friends. My father rubbed everyone in town, especially our teachers, the wrong way - and it affected us. Teachers were harder on my brother and I, because my father is extremely pretentious would verbally belittles others he views less intelligent, so they would jump at the chance to prove to my father that we were not as intelligent as he believed us to be. I can count on one hand the number of times I had friends over (twice in my life)..all birthdays and family holidays consist of myself, my brother, and our parents. No one else. Our father pushed all our relatives away -I grew up without grandparents- he doesn't see the need to socialize and so he has never understood why I crave friendship. Sadly my brother was more affected by this. He's in his mid twenties and has never left home, he has no friends, and spends all his time with my father. Although, my father and brother barely interact, they just occupy the same space. The one girlfriend he had left him because of our father- the first time he met her he told her "You'd look beautiful if you lost that double chin."
Even now that I am married with a house and a career, he still tries to control me and my husband. I know he doesn't mean it to be malicious. But, for example- when my husband and I bought our house there was a dead fruit tree in the front yard. My father became obsessed with it and was convinced he could save it and began reading everything he could. My husband ended up by removing the tree, because it was clearly dead, and my father lost it. He showed up to our house ranting and raving that he could have saved the tree, insulted my husband's intelligence, and then disowned us. He then got my mother to call us and guilt us for removing the tree. He didn't speak to us for two months. The only reason why he started talking to us again, was because during renovations I found an old screen projector and posted it on FB - and of course my father wanted it. He is also a bit of a horder...my mother is now in her mid 60s and still working to support him because he loves spending $$ on hunting and fishing equipment that he'll never use. I suspect my father prefers to learn about a hobby and will buy the "best of the best" gadgets but that's as far as he goes. He lies and tells everyone he hunts and fishes all the time..but I've never seen him even touch his guns - other than to play around with the scope.
It's very hard for me, because he was very verbally abuse to me and while I was desperate to get away from him, he made the rest of the family dependant on him. Emotionally I am still dependant and crave his approval. This is something I'm working on. No one in the family drives - only him, my brother and I have full blown anxiety when it comes to driving because of the stress he caused us when we asked if he could teach us. My mother doesn't drive either, she too has anxiety - although she'll never admit it, and depends on him to take her everywhere. I was misdiagnosed as having autism- it turns out that my speech patterns, by inability to read social cues..and so on, were learned behaviours. I had no other influences outside my mother and father and because of that he basically turned my brother and I into "oddballs" I find myself going on long monologs - because that is one of the only ways my father communicated with us (other than yelling).
I think adults on the spectrum can be wonderful parents, but they need to be diagnosed. I have a lot of anger towards our family doctors for bushing off my complaints as "teenage rebellion" (clearly, I was the problem..) and not looking into my father's behaviours, because perhaps if there had been some sort of intervention I could have had a better childhood, more self confidence, no anxiety, and my brother could have grown up to live a normal life and not a NT version of my father.

March 14, 2017 - 9:36am


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