Short-takes on AS fathers

Julie

My father has said that he wishes people were more like computers, in that computers make sense and people do not. When I was growing up, he was constantly angry with me, and whenever I displayed normal childlike (i.e. spontaneous) behavior, I was punished, I think because he viewed me as a machine that was malfunctioning, as he had not asked me to behave in this way and therefore was unable to make sense of my actions. To this day, he claims that I was a very troubled child, as whenever he “talked” to me I would begin crying.

Ellen

He toe-walked, paced, had no friends, was completely without affection for his children had no ability to relate to children, had difficulty with his temper, difficulty with changes in his regime, very self-centered. Very bright and verbal, was a prominent neurosurgeon. Had difficulty with empathy or seeing anything from anyone’s viewpoint but his own. We were terrified of him.

Felicity

He has never been able to show affection, say he loves you or give you a cuddle, when he takes my children out i worry about whether he will remember he has them. He has no sense of anyone else at all, how they feel or how his behaviour can make them feel. He is very focused on his hobbies and persues them with obessive tendencies. I used to think he was very selfish, he just seems unaware of the world around him.

Janet

 … his obsessions with a very few subjects, which he turns all conversations back to, to the point it’s often impossible to hold conversations with him about anything else. – the difficult insistence on adherence to routine, the inability to understand or manage emotional reciprocity, the general sense of something always just being off somehow in interactions with him.

Bridget

high verbal skills but poor writing, inability to understand other people’s emotions, dependence on routine, emotional coldness/distance, inability to express or understand normal emotions, difficulty making normal eye contact, incredible disorganization, obsessive “collecting” tendencies, obsessive tendencies to follow a certain pursuit or pastime without deviation (and then drop it just as suddenly), and others

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One thought on “Short-takes on AS fathers

  1. (Please excuse that I posted this as a comment elsewhere too)
    Do you recognise my dad?
    Dad is someone who takes his own emotional response to things and behaves towards others as if theirs is the same. But it goes much further than that. Very often the emotion he ascribes to others is fear, uncertainty, anxiety. Very often his fearful anxious reaction is occasioned by some event happening to, or invited by, another near person, say a member of his family. He reacts as if it is him facing the same situation, and then he gives that person his entire world of fear about it, simply by behaving towards them (in speech and action) as if the fear and anxiety is all theirs. He takes up the position of someone in authority, declaring the negative consequence of doing X or the reason why Y should not be done, simultaneously pushing away the threatening unfamiliar and frightening experience and giving himself the “strong” feeling of being one for whom such an experience (the other’s experience) is neither needed, nor wanted, or is a matter of complete indifference. The other is left full of his fear and anxiety, feeling completely nullified, as if there is nothing to him, or his experience, that is of any value. This is how dad exercised control over others in his family. No-one small or inexperienced hearing him talk with such certainty of tone would ever doubt that he was right (so one will not do X, Y or Z) or ever suspect that of what he was talking about he was completely ignorant. His rank in the world, and his limited, specialised learning (engineering) only served to reinforce in him, and in those small, inexperienced others, the feeling that he was well qualified to talk in such a tone about anything, thereby safely dismissing it, or otherwise making of it a non-issue both for him and for oneself. Anyone recognising this pattern might be interested to read Ortega-y-Gasset’s account of “learned ignorance” in his 1930 book, Revolt Of The Masses.

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