Friday, January 10, 2014

My Asperger Parent

Although undiagnosed, my father was a classic Asperger male who had a terrible time invoking his social rank as The Father. He made attempts to use his status to make me “do what I was told,” but this effort usually fell apart, because deep down he didn’t believe that this was a valid reason for a child to comply with a parent’s wishes. Our relationship wasn’t perfect, but it was thoroughly Asperger.
We developed a deep friendship precisely because he felt it necessary to explain that his requests and concerns had a rational basis such as safety or efficiency, or to quell worry on his part that I would make a mistake or a poor choice. His appeals to my practical good sense usually worked, but I never felt that I had to obey him just because he was my father. This encouraged me to make my own choices, good and bad, and to recover from my mistakes, a task that is infinitely difficult for a perfection-loving Asperger child. Honest exchange sometimes drove us apart, but I never doubted his affection or that he would be there when I needed help. He could and would set personal judgment aside. He wasn’t warm, emotional or full of praise. At times, overcome by frustration and anger at a social world he didn’t understand, he would vanish into the comforting order of nature and science. His knowledge base was phenomenal and he was never too busy to answer my limitless questions, sometimes imparting far more detail than I could possibly absorb. Best of all, he was like me and I was like him, but not exactly.
Each Aspergerger individual has his or her own personality and is affected differently by social constraints. Girls and women have traditionally been excluded from diagnosis and instead have been diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses, a situation that is improving. Females being overlooked as Aspergers can be partly explained by the traditional view that being female is in itself a disorder or defect in many religions and cultures, a social barrier that has been imposed as part of The Pyramid. Women are on the bottom by virtue of their 'crazy' gender.

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