Aspies and our parents

I know that John has posted extensively about his complex and turbulent relationship with his parents, so I thought I should go into my own situation.

My parents could hardly be any more different from each other.  I figure they got together through sheer physical attraction.  My mom is very emotional but also closed off.  She reacts very strongly to things, but she keeps a lot to herself.  I think she is the main reason my sisters and I went to church when we were kids.  She’s one of those “spiritual but not religious” people with a mishmash of beliefs that are based on whatever makes her feel like she understands reality, though in actual reality she understands very little, and it’s impossible to have a conversation or debate with her about it.  Back when I was as superstitious as her, if I said something she found interesting, she would say “that’s deep” in a sort of mocking tone that didn’t encourage me to really go on.  Now that I’m more sensible, all of my points are met with “you have too much time to think” or “science is a religion”.  We get along ok most of the time because she likes to pretend that everything is ok when it really isn’t.

My dad is probably an aspie himself, though he hasn’t been tested and never will be.  I get the impression that he thinks things like asperger’s syndrome are just excuses not to do things.  He worked hard to get through school and get a job, so he expects me to do the same, and because I don’t, he’s disappointed.  Fortunately, I don’t care because I can see what walking the well paved path of conformity has done for him.  He keeps himself amused through various engineering, computer, or carpentry projects, but he’s basically not a happy guy.  When my sisters and I were little, he would hit us with his belt when we made him angry.  I remember the way he would snap it when he threatened us with it.  He was a monster, but he has become more of a human being when we became old enough to realize what he was doing was wrong.  It left us all with emotional scars that have yet to be healed completely.  He was one of 10 kids in a very catholic family, so you can imagine what the abuse was like for him.  His parents are both dead now, and he’s almost 62 now, so he’s probably as healed right now as he’ll ever get.  It’s pretty sad, especially because even to this day he thinks child abuse is sometimes justified.  He never touches his grandkids like that though.  He knows that would cause them to be removed from his life.  Despite all this, he and I have a lot in common, and we talk about computers a lot.  I have a lot of good memories of talking to him when I was little.

I don’t feel like either of my parents understand me or want to understand me.  They both just want me to conform and get a job and be miserable like everybody else.  I thought parents were supposed to want their kids to have better lives than they have.  Oh well.  I feel no obligation to work for their approval.  They have a long way to go before they get mine, but until then, relations will remain cordial.

4 thoughts on “Aspies and our parents

  1. Great post, glad someone is getting down to the background stories, rather than blaming autism for bad parenting. The only thing I would suggest revising, is saying that your dad “became more human.” No matter how cold and violent he may have been in the past, that does not make him not human, but it does make him abusive.

    • It was an exaggeration for the sake of expressing what I felt as I wrote this post. He could have been much worse, but he left us all with emotional scars. He wasn’t actually so much a monster as he behaved like a monster. I have a lot of good memories with him too though.

      • I’m not by any means defending your father nor the horrible choices that be made. Like i said, this is a great post and it really gets down to the reasoning behind aggression in autistics, without blaming the autism, nor excusing he violence. I have no doubt that the push for conformity has dangerous effects on an autistic person, and it has been showing in Issy Stapleton. I have a few posts on her case if you are curious, but the is a trigger warning for the discussion of murder.

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