How Sandra’s father chose to become a doctor

[Ed: Our experience is that many people with AS are drawn to medicine and especially psychiatry.  Often they have been bullied and despised, yet their high IQ in science opens for them the door to the highest status profession of all.  They chose psychiatry because they hope it will give them insight into human nature, into their own exclusion, and sometimes, because it will give them power over the people who formerly lorded it over them]

My father was a paediatrician and medical researcher, respected within his profession, but his behaviour in social and personal situations is peculiar to say the least.       He drove my poor mother crazy with his
literalness and rigidity and completely inability to relate to her on an emotional level.

5 or 6 years ago, I happened to ask Dad what had led him to a career in medicine.
In response he told me a remarkable story. He said that, when he was about ten or eleven years old, his mother said to him one day, ‘The trouble with you is that you have no empathy for other people.’
This remark troubled him for a long time, he told me, and he puzzled over what he might do about it. Eventually, at about fifteen, he decided that doing medicine and becoming a doctor would teach him empathy, and that is what he did.      This story led me to begin looking into Asperger’s Syndrome, wondering if this could be what is wrong with my father. I’ve been researching Asperger’s on the internet and am becoming more and more convinced that Dad fits the profile.

Dad was extremely cruel to me in my childhood and adolescence. I was a bed-wetter as a child  and he took delight in raising the subject and teasing me about it in front of other people. I was profoundly ashamed and embarrassed about my bedwetting (which continued till I was fourteen or fifteen — you can imagine dreadful how it was for a teenager) and I went to enormous lengths to keep it a secret from my friends and relations. 

I still cannot forgive his deliberate humiliation of me over this problem especially as he was a specialist pediatrician. He, on the other hand, found this a hugely entertaining pastime. 


Tina’s summary

1. Why do you think your Mother has AS? ·             Echolalia of a type… she cannot be a passenger in a car without reading out all the signs along the way ·             Lacking in empathy ·             Intelligent but completely unable to understand sarcasm, irony and sometimes metaphor ·             Obsessive about routine – when my father had a stroke, she was totally thrown by the fact she had to go to the hospital every day, and couldn’t make her regular trip to town ·             Cannot drive to and from places without knowing the exact route in advance, preferably having been “chaperoned” the first two or three times, otherwise she gets lost. ·             Singleminded to the point of selfishness – she has her own routine and can’t understand if she stays with me she has to bend to my routine – she expects me to change to her routine, even after my father explains it to her two or three times. ·             Constantly interrupts my father when he is working but will lose her temper if he asks her a question while she is engaged in a task ·             I’ve always known she was “different”, but because she is from India I felt it was more a cultural thing.  But even though some of her sisters are very similar, I think that is probably because they have AS too.

There are lots more things, but when I sit down like this, to list them all seems petty.   2. What do you hope to get out of being a member of ASpar?  Just to talk about my feelings of guilt and anger especially about only finding this out at age 40.  Especially to help me with my feelings toward my “normal” father, who left most of the parenting to my mother even thoughshe was not a good parent – although I wasn’t abused, I was often confused.