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Not Fair!
A struggle with Asperger's

Copyright © 2008, Paul LutusMessage Page

Not Fair I | Not Fair II | Not Fair III

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  Not Fair I
Hi I am a 25-year old recently diagnosed with Asperger's. You seem like an extremely smart person and I agree with a lot of things you have said. I liked the part where you have criticized the psychology field [ ... ] But my point to you is, why are you so focused on narcissim as an absolute category of people with such negative undertones and not Asperger's? Because narcissists, unlike Aspies, are in perpetual denial, extremely resistant to change and are sometimes dangerous. None of these is true for Aspies, with rare exception. Asperger's diagnosis accepts that there are weaknesses with certain personality types, but what's so wrong with Aspies trying to find famous people to relate to that have had similar personality traits? Nothing at all, but my point in the article is that Asperger's is an appealing diagnosis, consequently it gets assigned far too often, sometimes to people who are simply bright, not Aspies at all. This is not just my view, but that of many practitioners in the field of psychology, as the reading list shows. So what if it's a coping mechanism of being ostracized by the psychiatric and psychological fields with such a bad category? If it's helping people to cope with their conditions (and yes, genetics plays a large part in a lot of these behaviors), then what's so terrible about that? I actually found asperger's hard to deal with until I found out other famous people had it and then I thought maybe my personality isn't such a socially unacceptable thing. But that is not remotely the point I make in my article. My article discusses the problem of overdiagnosis, not the facts surrounding Asperger's itself. Anyway, I know you have some personal issues against asperger's ... No, that is false. My issue is not with Asperger's, it is with the exploitation of Asperger's as a dodge by parents and a way to assure job security for psychologists. ... but I don't think you're seeing the big picture. To get to this viewpoint, you cannot have read the article very carefully. Overdiagnosis and exploitation is the big picture, Asperger's is a minor theme.
Not Fair II
But I can't imagine that anyone would actually want their kid to be diagnosed with Asperger's. Well, hard to believe, but plenty do. Some parents, once they see how their children are turning out, want a mental diagnosis because it relieves them of responsibility. A misbehaving youngster might result from bad parenting, but an illness isn't anyone's fault, and that becomes a motivation for an insecure parent to get the diagnosis. For instance, like my mom went into denial when I got the Asperger's diagnosis and she got really upset. She said I was just fine even though I had been suffering for years and teachers had requested that I go to a doctor since I was a kid. Maybe your mom objected because she didn't think the diagnosis would change anything except to put a label on it. There is some truth to that. But I will say that getting the diagnosis hasn't helped me much. That's because there isn't any substantive treatment. And some will argue that it isn't even a mental illness in a conventional sense. I still have most of the same problems even though they're trying to help. Like twirling out my hair at night and rocking. It's funny that they would try to deal with that, as though changing some outward sign would make a difference to the basic reality. It's as though they believe modifying the symptoms modifies the underlying reality. But at this stage, not enough is known about Asperger's to do anything besides treat symptoms. I actually think that probably more people have Asperger's that need to be treated for it and diagnosed and haven't than that have chosen to get it for the fun of it. Possibly, hard to say. But I hope you realize there isn't actually any treatment. What clinical psychologists call "treatments" are simply common-sense suggestions to deal with it, not to cure or ameliorate it.

In any case, as you may be aware having read my article, there are plenty of very successful Aspies. It isn't as though it stands in the way of personal success.
I just can't see that as happening but you could very well be right because I only know my own family's situation, I haven't seen others.....But I can't even imagine that someone would want it if they didn't have it. It actually makes you feel more insecure in some ways.....nobody really wants to be different... No, not at your age. But as you become older, being different is less of a stigma. Such issues as what you can accomplish becomes more important than how you fit in with your peer group. Aspies accomplish plenty. ... and some of these things aren't easy to control...most of the time when I'm twirling out my hair or rocking I'm spaced out and not even paying attention to the fact that I'm doing it....My neurologist said it's a short-term memory problem but I don't know all the specifications. Believe me, neither does he. Whatever you do, don't assume the "specialists" have a recipe to fix you, or even that you are broken, or that an Asperger's diagnosis means your subjective experience is not valid.

Nature made you the way you are, and nature is smarter than us. Before you go to sleep at night, just say, "Bill Gates is an Aspie."
Not Fair III
I re-read your article and think it makes sense. I don't think I have a disability either. I just have different strengths and weaknesses than the "average" or "normal" person. Good for you. At the present level of psychological understanding, your personal evaluation is wise, and it shows you are willing to accept personal responsibility for your life's direction, rather than leave it in the hands of "experts."

I believe an honest, candid clinical psychologist would tell you to do exactly what you've decided to do on your own — evaluate the evidence and choose you own path. As to the rest, well, that's why I wrote the article.
I think overall the Asperger's label is not helpful to anybody and I can't comprehend that a woman would actually want her child to be known as "developmentally-delayed." The story is presented as fiction to conceal the identities of the persons involved, but the essential facts are there, and that is one of the facts, amazing as it sounds. It just brings shock and horror to me because I thought moms wanted to do anything so that their children were happy and felt like they fit in. Over and over again, I couldn't believe "Joan" would do what she did, until she did it. I still find some of her actions hard to believe. I quickly wished I hadn't been so gullible as to get involved in the situation, and ended up doing all I could to minimize the harm this woman could do to her children. At least that's how my mom is. I feel sick thinking somebody had to live with a mom that was really that way. And I won't lie, I wanted to doubt your story because it's almost too sick to fathom. I wrote the article as a cautionary tale — there really are people like that. I wouldn't have believed the story if I hadn't experienced it firsthand, and until then I had been rather naïve about the motivations of parents who ask me to mentor their kids. Therefore I felt the public interest was served by telling the story, but without any real names or identifying details. So you said that just because you gave him confidence and made him feel good about himself she wouldn't let him see you anymore because it was taking away her sort of "control" of the situation right? There were several issues, that was one of them. Another is that I argued against her use of clinical psychology as a way to control her kids. We ended up disagreeing about virtually everything, then her histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders kicked in and she repeated a vile accusation of wrongdoing she had used against another person in her life. This tactic had worked for her before, but with me it didn't work so well — I was willing to defend myself, and I guess she hadn't expected that.

Without revealing some details that must remain private, the person she had accused before had more to lose by vigorously defending himself, but I realized if someone didn't expose her, she would repeat the same behavior again and again. It's my hope that her public humiliation will prevent her from falsely accusing anyone else. But I have to remember she really doesn't live in the same reality as the rest of us, so it's not easy to predict her behavior. It's certainly not behavior that does her any good.
I'm upset because humans are overpopulating the planet and destroying everything in their paths to the point there's no respect for other animals and now people are having kids that are just going to turn out dangerous because they shouldn't have kids in the first place! That's an easy problem to state, but not so easy to solve. I think there should never be a policy that decides particular people are unfit to be parents. The risk is too great that, with such a policy in place, someone like my young friend, a very smart person with admirable values, might never be born.

Also if such a policy existed, it would necessarily be in the hands of a government, and history proves no government can be trusted to carry it out. So I guess we'll have to put our trust in nature.
I really have never met anyone with a personality disorder. Actually, you have probably met many people with one or another personality disorder, but I doubt you've met anyone as extreme as "Joan." I was in my sixties, a seasoned world traveler, but I had never seen a case as extreme as that.

"Joan" simply couldn't understand why people who heard her description of reality quickly saw through her — witnesses, various mental health professionals, and a judge — and it was at that point that I realized she lived in a world almost completely divorced from reality.
I heard psychologists talk about such things like it's black-and-white but I still haven't met one. But that definitely sounded like one. That's an interesting way of putting it — black and white. Real life is rarely black and white, but that story is an exception. Problem is, it's so true that it doesn't make very good fiction.

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