I would like to ask for an opinion on whether or not my father might have Aspergers syndrome based on what I describe. I myself am absolutely convinced he does and would only think otherwise if told by a doctor. To start with my father and I are not close. He seems very cold and indifferent to me and when I was a child he exhibited an extremely bad temper often beating me over very little — such as playing too loud or even when I was badly behaved. Other people have noticed my father seems indifferent too, so I know I’m not imagining it. I have read about Asperger’s and my father seems to display many of the symptoms. He has no friends and never has, he doesn’t like social situations such as party’s, weddings, Christmas or New Year. He is highly sensitive to sound and light and often complains about things being too loud and too bright. On occasion he also exhibits hand flapping and finger twisting. He has throughout his entire life shown little interest in me or my brother, in fact all he shows is anger. Furthermore I have noticed that he feels very awkward and uncomfortable around children, even his own grandchildren and at one point wouldn’t even go near them, talk to them or hold them when they were babies. And when in social situations such as parties or family gatherings he seems vacant — aloof at times and can become very clumsy, knocking things over. He misses the punchline of jokes and often fails to understand conversations by saying things another person has already said or talking about something completely unrelated.
Overall he doesn’t go out very much or do anything. He prefers to sit and watch the 24hr news channel and factual programmes on tv. He doesn’t like going to places where there are crowds of people and seems to be happier and sharper when by himself. He will even walk out the house without saying goodbye to me or telling me he is going somewhere. My relationship with my father has caused me a lot of pain and I feel he is totally indifferent to me. He just doesn’t care. If you could give me your thoughts as to whether or not I may be correct about him possibly having Asperger’s I would be very grateful. Thank you. (age 31, from United Kingdom)Could My Father Have Asperger’s Syndrome?
Could My Father Have Asperger’s Syndrome?
I of course cannot offer an official diagnosis over the internet, but based on what you are describing it seems like he does meet many of the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome (now called Autism Spectrum Disorder). The only thing I feel doesn’t quite fit is the anger and temper that you have witnessed, not that it can’t be a part of the picture, but it’s not common.
My other thought would be the possibility of a personality disorder, such as Schizoid or Avoidant. You can read more about those on this site.
I’m sorry that you and your father aren’t close and that he has hurt you in the past. If he doesn’t feel that there is an issue, he is unlikely to get help, but you can. Seeing a therapist might help you better accept him for who he is but also help you learn how to not let his limitations hurt you anymore. You are an adult and can find your self-worth without the help of your parents.
All the best
Dr. Holly Counts