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. 

4 thoughts on “How Sandra’s father chose to become a doctor

  1. I strongly identify with your circumstances having been raised as the third son of five with an autistic pediatrician. As a sleep walker and intense intuitive, my father referred to me as the only abnormal child, stating constantly that 4 out of 5 son’s succeeding wasn’t that bad. All my brothers acted out of fear, and pursed a course demanded by my father. I alone rebelled, pursing a non-scientific course (English, then Law School) against his will. It of course is ranked equivalent to the refuse employee (which is a valueable person in my eyes), far below the scientific ventures )(PhD’s) of my brothers. However, I must admit, I now view the experience as a blessing, as I have learned the value of self-reliance, and trusting my own choices and opinions without the approval, and in fact with the disapproval of, significant others like my father. He was, and still is, very abusive and untrustworthy, breaking every promise ever make whenever it is time for him to perform. I has taken my years to get this paradigm out of my system.

    What has assisted me is drafting a short story about an imaginative kingdom about my family of origin, where my father is the ruler, and I am to be the successor, and I address the unspoken paradigms, or “rules” which I demand the king address for the health and survival of the futher kingdom. For example, one unwritten rule is that: “Father promises what he wishes; but he has the unequivocal right to renig on that promise at will without penalty whatsoever.” The new rule is: “Anyone relying on Father’s promise is foolish, and personally chooses to receive non-performance.” In this manner, I take control.

    Another important paradigm in my family, unwritten and unspoken, is: “Mistakes are unacceptable and a sign of character flaws, emotional instability, and grounds for rejection of an individual and withholding of love and affection.” The new paradigm shall be: “There is no such thing as a “mistake” in the kingdom; there are only experiences and events, which are neither good nor bad. From these experiences and events, life teaches us our lessons.” The only real tragedy in life is that we make no mistakes, for we learn much more from our mistakes than otherwise.

    By this method, I have identified all of the mistruths which my father’s denial ensconced his artificial social structure supporting his existance.

    I finally concluded that love is giving another the freedom to choose, by their free will, a course of action, and further giving them the freedom of experienceing the consequences of their actions. I cannot control nor change my father, only myself. I do love him a Soul. He is still mean; and has always been. I can only take small doses of him, and this is a consequence of his choice. He is denied my presence but for short visits, after long periods of absence. That is for my well being, which is my choice. But I give him the freedom to make his choices, and love him as he is.

    Please do not misunderstand me; this has been a long, hard and very difficult road, where I have had many, many dark nights of Soul. But for now, this is wher I am on my journey.


    J. Patrick

  2. Sandra,

    You have my sympathy because of the teasing that you received on account of the bedwetting. I remember reading in Loise Hay’s book (which links all sickness to a mental or emotional condition) that bedwetting was related to “fear of the father”.

    I was a chronic bedwetter too until about the age of 13. I went to boarding school from the age of 6 and so it was always a source of great shame for me when we had to change our sheets. I was terrified in case someone else saw my stained sheets (we had a single new sheet once a week and moved the top sheet to the bottom).

    Most holidays I stayed at friends or relatives homes instead of going home. I always left behind a stained mattress and sheets. Also scout camp was real problem because my whole sleeping bag would get wet and stink.

    Kids can be cruel but it’s 10 times worse for a child when the cruel person is your own father.

  3. Bush and the Republicans were not protecting us on 9-11, and we aren’t a lot safer now. We may be more afraid due to george bush, but are we safer? Being fearful does not necessarily make one safer. Fear can cause people to hide and cower. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
    the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

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