Autism

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qwezrty

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Autism
« on: June 27, 2021, 06:58:45 AM »
Hi,

I haven't posted in a long while and have drafted a post a few times over the months but always ended up not posting! I feel very stuck and confused. For a long time I have thought my mother has uNBPD, however she has recently been diagnosed with ASD. Whilst it validates her experiences it is completely invalidating mine. She is 'using' her diagnosis to explain away everything that has happened, she has said that at least she knows she isn't a horrible person but has ASD, and that this is why everyone has left her. It very much feels like she has painted a perfect picture for the healthcare professionals to diagnose. Lots of it sounds like lies to me, it is almost like she has seen the list of symptoms and is finding ways to evidence them. She did this mildly before when she she saw a programme about bipolar, she kept saying how she was feeling 'frantic' and had 'lots of energy' etc. The healthcare professionals only see the portion of her that she wants to show. They do not see the lies, the manipulation, the changeable moods, and so on. I really cannot stand it. Our relationship has been better over the last year (perhaps due to lockdown and restrictions) but I am struggling a lot with this recent situation. She is angry that she hasn't been diagnosed earlier (she is in her 60s now), but she never went to the doctors with any ASD-type symptoms. I think I would have noticed over my life if she was showing signs of being on the spectrum. From the books and posts on here I have read, and the feedback I have had on my posts, I really do think she has NBPD. It makes me feel so frustrated.

Thank you for reading this :)

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Sidney37

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Re: Autism
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2021, 10:41:20 AM »
My mom, aunt and grandmother are all likely PD.  I came here because of that.  But after coming OOTF, I began to see traits in my MIL.  I struggled and struggled to figure out if she was NPD or OCPD so we (DH and I) could determine how to react. 

Visits with her were terrible for me.  DH kept insisting that she wasnít intentionally manipulative like my mom and aunt.  He insisted that she had a cognitive issue. She definitely did, but with a mean streak. 

I did a lot of reading about Aspergers (a term no longer used, but it was helpful when researching ASD), PD and how they were similar/different.  I also know that women have different symptoms and characteristics of Aspergers than men do. 

I found some of the comparisons interesting. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.goodtherapy.org/blog/narcissism-vs-aspergers-how-can-i-tell-the-difference-1114174/amp/

https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/malignant-self-love/misdiagnosing-personality-disorders-as-aspergers-disorder

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201511/narcissism-or-aspergers-how-would-you-diagnose-these-cases%3famp


In the end, we really think my MIL has ASD.  Several other relatives on her side of the family had similar ASD traits with a serious lack of empathy.  I will say that the symptoms of ASD and PD overlap.  They can be misdiagnosed.  I will also say that I had to medium chill and gray rock my MIL at times, too, to protect myself from her insults.  She has no clue that the things she says are hurtful, but she continues to repeat mean things about me and her son-in-law because she gets something stuck in her head and insists that itís true when it isnít.  Itís a serious lack of empathy and a complete misunderstanding of social norms.

In some ways, the diagnosis doesnít matter.  We have to protect ourselves no matter the cause. 

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JustKeepTrying

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Re: Autism
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2021, 12:58:30 PM »
 :yeahthat:  in regards to protecting yourself no matter what

I am the ex-wife of OCPDh and the mother of a DS with ASD.  My middle daughter also has dyslexia.

There are distinct neurological differences.  ASD and dyslexia are due to an overgrowth of the visual part of the brain and depressing the language/emotion reading center.  This is due to a over-spurt in a hormone at about 8-15 months.  Originally the difference between Aspergers and autism was if language was used before age 3.  A few years ago they did away Aspergers and now it's all a spectrum.

But that doesn't mean that a diagnosis for adult ASD should not contain the question - Did your mother have language before age 3?  That is definitely a marker for professionals in the field.

I do not know if PDs are neurological or environmental.  I see definite streaks of both ASD and PD in all four sets of grandparents when I look at my son.

What this can mean to your mom is help though.  There are behavioral therapies that will address some of those core deficits of autism.  If she is willing to do the work at her age.  It could mean a more empathic person.  My son, while autistic, is incredibly empathic.  My ex is not - oh, he portrays to be but in private he is not.  While my son is the opposite.  I think that is the real core difference.

I worked with my son to gain empathy or to at least remove the issues that expose what I knew was inside - empathy.  He is incredible now and will attend college (living on campus) in the fall.

I was in couples counseling with more than three couples therapists and my ex never changed.  One face in public and another in private.  That's not my son.

She could be floundering and reaching for anything that will explain her issues.  I know that while in the fog I was not the best mother - I did what I thought was right at the time - but now, with hindsight 20/20 - was not good for my kids at all.  If she is ASD, then she is doing the same. 

My advice, give her space, time, and support from afar while protecting yourself.

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Autism
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2021, 01:49:12 PM »
The healthcare professionals only see the portion of her that she wants to show. They do not see the lies, the manipulation, the changeable moods, and so on.

This is one of the reasons diagnosing PDs can be so difficult... and that's if you even get them to see someone in the first place. Most of them won't.

Also, there are plenty of examples of people getting a PD diagnosis and doing the exact same thing. "It's not my fault! I have BPD!" And then, when called out on their behavior, "You're not being very sympathetic to the fact that I have BPD! You have to accept me for who I am!" The Cluster B disorders will use ANYTHING as a weapon or tool to gain sympathy or enforce obligations or to lay guilt trips, including their diagnosis (however accurate or inaccurate it may be).

Like Sidney said, what matters at the end of the day is the effect her behavior has on you. No matter what her diagnosis is, it doesn't excuse abusive behavior.

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Dandelion

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Re: Autism
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2021, 03:42:54 PM »
Hi Queztry.

Only speaking from my own thoughts and experience here - I believe there is probably some kind of link between Autism and PDs, though I am not clear exactly what it is. My mother is clearly narcissistic and I suspect my teenage son has PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance), which is a subset of autism.  They are very different, but also some similarities.   Maybe there is co-morbidity in some cases?  Neither of them have been formally diagnosed, nor would either of them choose to go down that route.  I believe a few narcissists and PDA-sufferers do get diagnosed but most do not. 

Even though I've read tonnes of books and internet articles on narcissism and PDA, at the end of the day I do not know everything there is to know on these conditions, and I never will.  There are more things in heaven and earth than we can fully, cognitively understand.

But at the same time, it seems to me, I just have to protect myself from people who are abusing me or I can't help anyway, or those that I have got to the end of the line with.   I think labels and diagnoses can help because they put a "name" to something, especially something that we cannot easily describe or make sense of.  But it is only a shorthand and cannot embrace all the variants.  Personally, I have struggled to understand my son and my mother for so many years.  It has helped to get more intellectual or cognitive understanding, but regardless it has all really taken its toll.  It seems to me there is a point at which engaging either at all, or beyond that which you can reasonably do, doesn't help anyone or achieve anything.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Autism
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2021, 03:56:39 PM »
I just have to protect myself from people who are abusing me or I can't help anyway, or those that I have got to the end of the line with.   I think labels and diagnoses can help because they put a "name" to something, especially something that we cannot easily describe or make sense of.  But it is only a shorthand and cannot embrace all the variants.

I think Dandelion nailed it. My version:

You are walking down the sidewalk when you see a van careening towards you. It matters not at all whether the driver is an old man suffering a medical emergency or a terrorist bent on destruction. What you know is that you will reliably and predictably suffer if you do not take action to avoid it.

This is our situation: the people we come here about maybe "have" this or that condition. In addition, they may display a patterned set of behaviors consistent with what we label as a PD. These are analogous to being in that van. It tells us nothing, and only philosophy or religion could, about their moral culpability or whatever.

But we have an experience with them. We know how they have behaved, and we have these labels that we attached to behavior patterns. That's us being on the sidewalk: we know where we've been and where we are headed.

And it is for us to decide what to do about that van.

I clearly lack Dandelion's concision: labels are helpful, because come here to talk about "these people," and they come in a handful of recognizable flavors. BPD? Oh that kind of person. Narcissist? I know what you mean. But these aren't conditions like a broken arm or the flu, for which you can test or see a cause and effect. We have to (1) take care of ourselves first, using the active tactics from our Toolkit, or reducing or managing contact, and (2) remain loving and kind, to ensure we are not scarred and lowered by this interaction.

And loving and kindness is a state of mind: it does not mean accommodating, suffering, or accepting abuse. Not ever. You wouldn't be angry at the man behind the wheel, suffering a heart attack....but you'd still run!

We don't always have to run from PDs. Sometimes other tactics work better to preserve our peace. But none of it -- the choices we make or our claim to moral appropriateness -- hangs on any diagnosis.

That's my jam.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2021, 04:03:04 PM by Starboard Song »
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Dandelion

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Re: Autism
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2021, 05:39:27 PM »
^^^ Yes indeed Starboard.   

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The Inner Light

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Re: Autism
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2021, 03:43:29 AM »
I'm a new member to this forum.  I'm autistic.  If it's not inappropriate, I would like to comment on the common perception that autistic people have a complete lack of empathy.  This is not true.  In fact, autistic people can exhibit hyper-empathy.  From my own experiences I can say that I have difficulty identifying with certain experiences of others if I myself have not had the same experience or something similar.  However, if I have had the same experience and it was painful, traumatic, etc I often will have hyper-empathy (ie extremely intense empathy or "over-empathy" compared to most people) for the person.

It's not that autistic people don't have empathy (we do).  It's that we generally need more information, answers  or details about a person's situation before we can understand it.

Thank you all for being here.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Autism
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2021, 03:47:20 PM »
1. Thank you, Inner Light, for sharing your story. That was a brave thing to do, and you no doubt enlightened many of us with your perspective.

2. Everyone else: tread lightly, and with great respect. This perennial topic always sails close to the wind, and our guidelines about generalization and diagnosis.

We will not and need not resolve deep psychological or clinical mysteries on this board. But we certainly can and will help each other apply reliable tactics to our self-preservation or self-healing.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward