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Home » Discuss » DU Groups » Health & Disability » Asperger's/PDD Group Donate to DU
 
Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:28 PM
Original message
I'm so glad I found you...I need advice
I've been seeing a man on and off for about a year (I've known him for a many years). I totally adore him, but it's been a very bizarre and baffling relationship.

A couple months ago, I learned about Asperger's. The more I read about it, the more I see AS characteristics in my friend. He says his brain functions differently than other people's and he's told me he has a very bad case of ADD. But I suspect he may have Asperger's. I want to tell him about AS so he can ask a therapist about it. My friends tell me I should MYOB.

What does this group think? He trusts me and he listens to me. Should I bring it up? I think I should, but I wanted to ask those who know how he feels.

Advice?

Thank you! :hug:

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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. He's already raised what might be a related issue, as to ADD, eh?
What might be gained? Others here might help.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. I understand that Asperger's is commonly
misdiagnosed as ADD. That certainly was the case with my son.

It's hard to know what to suggest in this case, as you're not really saying all that much about him or your relationship. As well you shouldn't on a public board like this. Is there some kind of an Asperger's support group where you live? How comfortable is he talking about things like feelings and emotions? Probably not, if he's typical Asperger's.

My oldest son (age 27) has AS, and while he's aware of it, mainly because I've talked to him about it many times since he was diagnosed, he's completely comfortable with the way he is, knows he's a little different from others, but would not want to be any different.

The other thing with Asperger's is that there's no medication for it, and no cure, although an Aspie can certainly learn certain strategies to deal with the rest of us. From their point of view we're the weirdos.

If you can find a way to bring up the topic of high-functioning autism and Asperger's, do so. You then might say, as if you've JUST noticed, that gosh, he's a lot like that.

Thank you for being such a good friend to this man, by the way. I keep on wishing some woman would notice how nice my son really is, as odd and socially awkward as he is, and pursue him. Maybe someday, but so far my son seems reasonably content with his life.
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thank you
Edited on Sat Sep-11-10 07:57 PM by Sweet Freedom
He's totally uncomfortable talking about his feelings. Even with me. He tries, but it takes him days to sort out his emotions and respond appropriately (or inappropriately). But he knows all of his relationships have been failures and he's terrified to get close to someone. (He always says he's going to die alone :(. ) I know he really cares about me, but he keeps pushing me away saying he's afraid he's going to ruin our relationship and lose me as a friend. I think I'm the only friend left that sticks around through the good and the bad, so I promised him I wouldn't abandon him. I just want to help him.

I appreciate you sharing your story. I hope your son finds someone wonderful! :hug:

Edited to add: The scenario you suggest about telling him is pretty close to how I thought I would handle it.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. The feeling thing sounds exactly like me!
It's not that I don't have feelings, of course I do, I have extremely intense, sometimes debilitating floods of emotion. My problem is that I have great trouble expressing them verbally. I have the same issues with relationships.
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-14-10 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. Good to know, thank you.
I can't tell you how confusing this relationship has been for me. Sometimes, I think this guy is totally head over heels for me. And then just when I think we're on track, full-steam ahead, he pulls away. So I think, "he just not that into you". Then I tell him I want him to be happy and he should go find someone he's truly crazy about (because obviously, it's not me) and then he tells me I'm nuts. :)

He just can't tell me how he feels, so I never know. It's a rollercoaster.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Speaking mainly about what I've learned from my son,
people with Asperger's are often described as having a flat affect, or not experiencing emotions. I used to think that my son didn't really experience emotions, certainly not the way I do, but I've gradually learned that he does, it's just that he doesn't show it they way the rest of us do. And that's so much of what befuddles us neuro-typicals in regard to the Aspies. They don't show their emotions in the same way, they don't talk about them, even worse than the average guy :D , but they do have emotions.

His talking that he's going to die alone is a real clue about how he really feels. I'm making up that he's afraid of dying alone, he's afraid of being alone while he's alive, but really doesn't know how do behave in a way that would get him close to others. I am so glad that you are sticking with him, because it's got to be tough.
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes, I think it's very tough for him.
I discovered early on that one of the few ways I was able to communicate my emotions to him (and not overwhelm him) was via e-mail. That works okay because he can read it several times and take days to process. Once in a blue moon, he can write about his emotions. His writings are very short, but straight to the point. And yes, I know for a fact he's extremely emotional, but no matter what, he always presents that same poker face in public. :)
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I often find with my son that I need
to preface various statements with, This is a joke, or This is serious, or something else that directly tells him what the next sentence is about. He doesn't get nuance, he doesn't get indirect references. He's one of the most wonderful people I know, but I've learned that I must tell him exactly what is going on, or he just doesn't get it.

Several years ago when he was in college and living in a dorm, I asked him if some of the guys on his floor (he was an engineering student, living in a dorm for engineering students) if he ever heard his dorm-mates refer to a girl friend as being high maintenance. Yes, he was familiar with that idea. I said, think of all of the rest of us as being high maintenance. I could see the lights go off behind his eyes, and suddenly those of us who aren't Aspies made sense to him.

I do think it matters that we not simply see the Aspies as different, but that we understand that to someone with Aspergers, he is normal, and we are the different ones.

I cannot begin to express how much I truly love my son who has Aspergers, how much he has opened a way of understanding the world to me. I treasure those differences. I realize that there is not just one way of looking at things. Plus, of course, he has his own particular areas of knowledge. I often phone him when I have questions about astronomy or cosmology, and I love it that he can answer my questions.
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-14-10 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. I just figured out in the past 2 weeks
my friend does not take hints. Often in conversation or e-mail, if I'm hinting about something, he won't respond the "right" way (in my head, I'm thinking, "he's not supposed to say that, he's supposed to say this.")

And your post made me realize, he often asks me if I'm being sarcastic. He likes sarcasm, but he's not always sure if he recognizes it.

Thank you. This helps. :)
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. I was misdiagnosed with ADHD until I was finally diagnosed with Asperger's at age 15.
So I would not be surprised if he was an Aspie. I would ask him.
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I will.
So now my challenge is to actually get him to talk to me about general relationship/emotional issues, so I can bring this up. I hope I get the opportunity soon.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. present it as an intellectual topic
not a "personal" nor an "emotional" one.

Let him make the connection from the information gleaned about the TOPIC of Asperger's - maybe a book or a newstory could be the subject to focus the conversation

a couple of fiction pieces - if you read that sort of thing - that you could just happen to "be reading" The Speed of Dark or The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Okay, I will try. /nt
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-10 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
11. Thank you so much for your caring and concern
for this man. Too many people would bail or not want to deal with it. My son (now 19) is an aspie, diagnosed at seven years old. I was fortunate in that his pediatric neurologist was European and had received his medical degree in England; Europe has recognized Asperger's since 1954, so it was very well-known there. It has only been recognized in this country since 1994, however, and most professionals had never heard of it or knew very little about it at the time of his diagnosis. We would have experienced a lot of frustration in getting him a diagnosis had he not had that particular doctor.

I suggest talking about it with him in a calm, normal manner and not as if you consider it to be anything "wrong" with him, because, really, there's nothing inherently "wrong" with aspies, they simply have different perspectives and a different way of perceiving and communicating. It doesn't, by any means, mean they don't have emotions or empathy or that they don't experience the same emotions we do, it's just in a different way. Many aspies actually are greatly relieved upon a diagnosis, because they now have an idea of what is happening with them, why they feel and seem so "different" and why they so often have such trouble. They are relieved to know that they are not "crazy". And if they get the right doctor and the right therapist, they will be able to learn effective ways to communicate, perceive and read social cues better and their lives will be easier. It doesn't change who they are fundamentally ( I would NEVER want my son to change who he is or not be an aspie, he is a wonderful, unique young man), but it helps in navigating the world of "neurotypicals", as aspies refer to those who are not ASD.

The key word, however, is RIGHT therapist. DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, see anyone who does not have SPECIFIC training in AS and/or anyone who has a negative view of AS and tries to "cure" him, or who puts all blame and all the onus on HIM to "change" and none on those around him to also try to understand him better and modify their communications and interactions with him in a manner he better understands and responds to. Such therapists without specific training and knowledge and with such attitudes can, and often do, do TREMENDOUS damage to the AS so that they're worse off than before.

It is also vitally important that any therapist NOT have ANYTHING to do with FAAAS, (Families of Adults Affected by Asperger's Syndrome-it used to be "afflicted" until ASAN, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, rightfully campaigned for them to change it). FAAAS is nothing more than a hate group that promotes and propogates misperception and misinformation regarding AS and actively works to promote discrimination against aspies in family law, custody situations, employment, and society in general. It is a VERY negative, anti-aspie group, that is doing tremendous damage to aspies. My son even asked me once "why do they hate me so much when they don't even know me?" Indeed, very good question. Frankly, they need to be shut down. In fact, the whole "Cassandra Affective Disorder" is total horseshit, as it has NEVER been submitted for scientific peer review and confirmation, and its symptoms were basically lifted from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The "therapist" who came up with it had NO training in AS, she simply saw a gravy train and jumped on it.

My husband's ex-wife is convinced he's an aspie and is a FAAAS "devotee", but he is assuredly NOT an aspie. I raised one, I interacted with a lot of aspies while raising one, and I know them. Hubby isn't an aspie. But it wouldn't matter to me if he were, however, and it wouldn't be a problem for me.

Good luck to you and your friend, and thank you again for what you are doing for him!!!
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Sweet Freedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-14-10 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. You're second paragraph is exactly the reason
I want to tell him. I think it will bring him some relief. And then I hope he would like me to learn how I could better understand and communicate with him.

Hadn't heard of FAAAS; noted. Thank you.
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