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My elderly mother has Aspergers. This article captures many of the struggles my siblings and I have faced - and continue to deal with even though we finally understand why she is so full of stress and fear and so oblivious to our needs and feelings. She has always treated us as little more than extensions of her needs.

As my sister once said, our mother's view is that nothing is too much trouble for us, and everything is too much trouble for her. And when she decides she needs something - no matter how outrageous - she is relentless until we give in. One example: she insisted I do her laundry on my wedding day. If you knew how she behaves if she doesn't get her way, you'd understand why I washed her clothes. We have always had to serve as her care-givers even as she avoided caring for us.

I know there is a cliche that people on the spectrum are not emotional. My mother, however, is quite emotional. It's just that all the emotion is directed to herself. Her emotions for all other people are quite shallow. When I miscarried my first pregnancy, she was insistent about knowing the gender because for some reason (despite having two daughters), she was obsessed with having a granddaughter. She kept telling me she was sure it was a girl. So instead of expressing sympathy, she made me feel like I'd failed to meet her need. She did the same thing when my sister-in-law miscarried.

As this article points out, kids aren't equipped to understand the lack of love from their mother. We always tried to project onto her what we needed from her, and we felt worthless and heart-broken that she was so unavailable and uncaring.

I occasionally post on my blog about my experiences. The comments I get from readers are either thankful to have found someone who understands their experience or angry that I am expressing this story. I know my story hard to hear if you have ASD or have a child with ASD. I've had people tell me I'm wrong to say my mother lacks empathy, and that saying so is hurtful to people with ASD. Kind of a bitter irony to be shamed for speaking up since my mother's lack of empathy has hurt me all my life. I'm used to being emotionally bullied and neglected. But I'm not going to deny my truth.

April 2, 2017 - 12:07pm


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