As we saw in Coping with an adult with Asperger’s (1), dealing with a person with this condition can be extremely difficult at times, particularly when the person has yet to be diagnosed with the disorder. When diagnosis of the adult Asperger occurs, it is often as a result of a child or grandchild being assessed with the disorder. It then becomes apparent to other family members that the undiagnosed adult they have struggled for so long to understand or relate to also possesses the disorder.
When an adult is diagnosed with Asperger’s as a result of a child within the extended family being diagnosed, it can come as a “double whammy” to the family. This is particularly the case when a child and a spouse are diagnosed, since the remaining member of the family group is now in the position of dealing with two Asperger’s in the one home.
Similarly, the diagnosis of a child may make the parent twig that Mom or Dad had the disorder too. This also causes intense personal suffering for the person concerned, since finding out that one’s parent has the disorder will open as many wounds as it will explain.
The problems in dealing with adult Asperger’s sufferers can be numerous, and include:
- Failure to understand why the person cannot relate to you in a “normal” manner
- A sense of hopelessness that the person doesn’t love you
- A sense of frustration that you cannot “get through” to this person
- Feeling overly responsible for the person; feeling a need to constantly explain their inappropriate behaviors and comments to others. A feeling of trepidation due to the effect of this constant vigilance
- Lack of intimacy in the relationship and a failure to have your own needs met
Lack of emotional support from family and friends who do not understand the condition
- If the adult Asperger is a marriage partner, concerns over whether to stay in the relationship are at times overwhelming
- Difficulties accepting that the partner has the condition
- Depression related to the knowledge that the individual won’t get better.
Next blog, we will look at more clues about living with adult Asperger’s.
Contact Beth McHugh for further information or assistance with this issue.