An archtypical story

Lisa’s story

I believe my father has AS while my mother has aspects of AS as does my older sister.

We “discovered” AS in the family as a result of all the behavioral problems my nephew was having in primary school, and after a great deal of confusion and testing found that he was diagnosed with AS. In observing my nephew’s traits, my younger sister and I realized that there was a lot of AS in the family.

My father is a retired professor of [science subject] and my mother is a retired professor of [social science subject]. My father, apropos of nothing, will launch into long discourses at the dinner table about the history of his science, detailing scientists’ names and dates, which the rest of the family must “sit through” in its entirety or he will either fly into a rage or sulk.

My mother acts as if this is perfectly normal. However, she also will recite in excruciating detail, terrible stories about tragedies that happened to people she has known in her life or go into “professor mode” about some topic. If we then change the subject, my father will just “zone out” or go into a funk until we talk about something that interests him.

I should mention that my parents are both immigrants who are currently 80–for 40 years, I thought their behavior was due to their immigrant heritage, but reading your website (at which I found myself “laughing out loud” in recognition) has convinced me that it really has been AS all these years.

My parents are completely isolated, they have no friends and rarely ever talk about their families in their homeland. For instance, about 8 years ago my mother mentioned that her mother had turned 99. I did not even know that the woman was still alive! However, three months later, I was informed that my grandmother died!!.

My parents have always had very rigid routines for eating, sleeping, going to the store, etc.

They have a tendency in public to rub people the wrong way. They pick fights with waiters about where to sit in a restaurant, they argue with salespeople over tiny discrepancies, and they can be physically pushy.

At the same time, reality and truth are relative concepts–my parents openly lie about the most trivial things and for years I thought I must have a “bad memory” because I couldn’t seem to keep straight what the current “reality” was. It was not until I was dating my husband and he was astonished by one of their minor lies that I realized that they had routinely lied all my life!

In arguments, they must always be right–if I began by talking about some misunderstanding or slight by them, they would immediately turn the argument against me saying that I was being “disrespectful” and should apologise for even bringing anything up. Then they would launch into all the “bad behavior” I had ever done over the last ten years (much of it “made up” or “twisted”) to prove that they deserved an apology instead of me. But they never apologise for anything if they can help it.

My parents never hugged us and barely ever touched us as we were growing up and they rarely played with us–my father’s idea of playing with me was to give me addition and subtraction problems to do (at age 5!)!

How has this affected my family? I came across your site after having had another huge fight with my parents (who said some really prejudiced things about people from my husbands ethnic background in front of my husband) during a dinner.

Almost all the holidays, birthdays, and other celebratory events in my family have been marred in one way or another by my parents’ bad behavior. They picked fights with all of us right before our graduations (they did not even go to some of my younger sister’s); birthdays were either treated matter-of-factly or devolved into fights; Holidays were opportunities to either “lecture” or rage or sulk. They refused to come to my bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner for my wedding (embarassing me in front of my soon-to-be in-laws) and threatened not to come to the wedding the week before it took place (to which I just said “fine”–they relented and came when they realized I meant it).

As a result, about 15 years ago, I stopped talking to them for about three years. After a lot of therapy, I have been able to cobble together a “relationship” of sorts with them–though I am not talking to them at the current time. … My older sister tries to spend as little time as possible with my parents when she comes and there have been numerous times when she has visited and left precipitously in a rage.

My sisters are not currently speaking to each other. So AS has had a very detrimental effect on my family.

What do I hope to get our of ASpar? The knowledge that there are other families like mine that have suffered (that I am not alone)–and the hope that other people can suggest ways of dealing with an ASpar parent. I do think that AS has a strong genetic component.

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3 thoughts on “An archtypical story

  1. Hi Judy,
    Thank you for your story. It sounds so much like mine, too. I have never had therapy but just tried to be happy and understand why simple things like loving each other and spending time together are so difficult. I hope you can find happiness in your own way with your husband. That’s what I am trying to do.
    S

  2. Goodness me, this is so like my family it is astounding! I am engaged to a man i think has AS and in reading about it have seen that both my parents and my sister probably have AS too. Your family life sounds just like mine was, even with all the trivial lying going on that could never be addressed.
    My partner, luckily, is a lot calmer than my parents and i am hoping that with the use of good resourses I can support him and our children. thank you so much for sharing your story.
    Sarah xxx

  3. I can’t believe how much your family resembles mine. I am at present having therapy after a lifetime of trying to ‘figure it all out.’ It has been so painful. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you aren’t alone and I hope you find the strength to be happy with yourself.

    xxx
    Carol

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