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If you suspected an adult had aspergers or similar, would you tell them?

(75 Posts)
MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 13:18:10

I have thought for a while that a friend of mine has some sort of autistic spectrum condition, albeit a high-functioning one.

She is repeatedly alienating people with her increasingly inappropriate reactions to things. In the past the biggest dilemma for our group of friends was what to wear on Saturday night or whether the hot guy from the gym was going to call, and her outbursts and tantrums did not cause such a stir back then. Nowadays we're dealing with and trying to support each other (sadly sad) through divorces, bereavements, miscarriages and other serious issues, and her behaviour is akin to that of a spoilt demanding two year old.

She displays no empathy or natural response to anything, will never admit she is wrong or apologise, never acts appropriately in new situations (in fact often calling up others to ask what would be the right thing to say/do), and most of her behaviour is robotic and seems rehearsed or overthought. She will fly off the handle and say horrible things, and awful things have been said back to her by many, but the following day she is back to normal and it's all forgotten - while everyone else is left reeling in shock. She can never take any kind of criticism or blame although she's happy to dish it out, and she never ever seems to think of consequences before she acts. She finds it very difficult to share anything, from food to friends.

On the other hand she displays lots of intelligence with heaps of talent for other non-social skills, including a freakily accurate memory and an incredible ability to learn new subjects very quickly. She is eager to help with anything (mainly I think for brownie points <cynic>) and can be fun and nice company on occasion (usually in shallow situations like during a chat about shopping), but it all seems overshadowed by the bad points.

Sadly, because of her behaviour and the upset she has caused, the majority of our mutual friends are shying away from her without any explanation, they are just totally sick of her behaviour and want to concentrate their energies on less draining friendships, writing her off as a spoilt brat.

I've thought for a long time that she may be autistic to some level, I'm not an expert on this kind of thing but it makes sense from what I do know. Would a diagnosis help her if this were the case? I really feel that she has little control over her natural instincts and I think it's sad that she may be left with no-one when it might not be her fault, IYSWIM.

Or maybe she is just a spoilt brat and I'm just a soft sap sad


frumpygrumpy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:25:07

Sounds like a girl I used to work with. She sapped all my energy until one day I realised I was being her friend because I felt sorry for her. I don't mean that to sound as bad as it looks. Can you afford to remain her friend?

mumblechum Thu 17-Sep-09 13:25:24

I'm not really sure that there would be any point in a diagnosis of Aspergers as, so far as I know, there's no funding for any treatment for adults anyway.

And that's assuming that you somehow got her to agree to be assessed.

It sounds as though she's just one of those people who, before Aspergers became widely recognised, would generally be thought of as a bit of an oddball/socially inept.

I'd just keep her at arms length, if you're not getting anything positive out of the relationship.

frumpygrumpy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:26:10

And in answer to your questions, I'm not sure I could tell them. Depends on circumstance I suppose....but I think I'd rather say they had an odour problem. This would be beyond me to say I think.

Jujubean77 Thu 17-Sep-09 13:30:35

I tell my husband I think he is on the aspergers/ autistic spectrum all the time - he tell me he categorically does not, he just has absolutely no interest in empathising or emotionally connecting with most people hmm

Twinsmommy Thu 17-Sep-09 13:32:20

Have you ever thought that perhaps she may already have had a diagnosis and thinks she is integrating well with society.

I think, if you were to say anything to her, you would need to tread very, very, very carefully, not only to keep your friendship intact, but also, possibly, so as not to set her progress, and self-confidence, back years and years.

I would be inclined not to say anything, but also, would probably try and get closer to her, especially as others are shying away.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 13:39:43

I do feel sorry for her, because if it is something like aspergers then she doesn't have complete control over how she acts

And I suppose even if she did consider my suggestion without backlash (which is unlikely) and she went and got a diagnosis, how would that even help if there is little help for newly-diagnosed autistic adults?

I try to just have light hearted conversations with her, because if we talk about anything deeper than handbags she can come out with the most awful opinions and I find it hard to bite my tongue sometimes.

comewhinewithme Thu 17-Sep-09 13:41:38

She sounds just like my Mum, whom I have suspected has some sort of ASD for a while now.
I can’t tell her though as she would fly off the handle or tell everyone I was been evil to her .

For example she put the phone down on me two days ago after telling me to f off because I couldn’t harvest her bloody crops in Farmville and her pc was down she actually screeched “emergency” to me down the phone! And then got angry because I was doing bedtimes and feeding dd. She than rang the next day as though nothing had happened.
It sounds funny but when you have to live with the constant rudeness and displays of rage year after year it wears you down.

I don’t think it would actually help telling your friend you think she has asd but you could mention it to your circle of friends so they could all be a bit more understanding next time she displays this behaviour.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 13:53:26

I really don't think she already has a diagnosis as knowing her she would tell everyone as an explanation/excuse/whatever for her behaviour. We have been very close since we were small children but my natural urge more and more now is to move away from her rather than closer to her as I find it very strained when I'm with her, especially when it's undiluted by other company.

I think the fact that she just cannot see and understand and apologise when she has seriously hugely upset people (which seems to be happening more frequently) is what gets to me most.

I am torn between fighting the urge to slap her in the face for the horrendous things she has done, and feeling very very sad that I feel like that and hoping there is some help or solution for her before she alienates everybody.

comewhinewithme Thu 17-Sep-09 14:00:08

Madre: I know exactly how you feel I am sometimes itching to slap my Mum then I feel sorry for her again almost instantly L.

She has said and done some vile things and also isolated herself as she refuses to accept she is ever in the wrong.

She came with me when I had dd, 3 months ago she told me to stop moaning or she was leaving and then when dd was born and she left as she was walking out the door leaving me and dp to spend some time with our new baby she said to dp “don’t forget you owe some money for the car park”!!

She is also very blunt with my dsis who is going through IVF atm she has been known to call her an attention seeker.

There are only a few things you can do really either cut her out of your life but she will always consider you to be in the wrong, put up with it or pull her up on it which isn’t that useful.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 14:14:36

"cut her out of your life... but she will always consider you to be in the wrong, put up with it or pull her up on it"

CWWM - that is exactly where I am at the moment

cut her out - not completely possible as we have so many mutual friends we would often cross paths, but yes it's always me in the wrong, I am to picky and critical, etc. I would probably be sad to say she was not my friend any more, but I don't know if that's just duty calling as we've been friends for so long. I've tried to wean her off a little but it's hard as she does not understand that I don't have time to speak to/email/text her EVERY day and starts demanding explanations as to why she is not prioritised above everyone else

put up with it - I'm not sure if I can any more, I feel so drained by it. I think sometimes 'better out than in' and if I put up and shut up for a time it will just end up exploding enormously at a later date

pull her up on it - this is where I am really, but if ever I express how I feel to her she just turns it into me having issues and too high standards. Which is why I'm leaning so much towards blurting out the ASD theory (but I'm trying very hard not to as I don't think there'll be a kind way to say it)

<big sigh>

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 14:26:39

Hmm, intresting

Firstly in manya reas there is no x services for adults with asd at levels where they are HFA- so there may be no way of getting the answer anyhow.

But having a Dx does not necessarily mean you can't use the approaches IYSWIM.

I ahve 2 spectrum boys- one fairly amreked but the toher AS / HFA; I also could get a dx myself if there were services available (but as I know there's no need, iyswim?)- i'm not rude but I am so shy that it has become an irrelevance anyway, I tend not to talk much.

It may be that having an answer would be enough to help you deal with her- have a look at the NAS Triad of impairments guide (google nas triad), to see if she seems to fit.

There is no reason you have to maintain your friendship, these evolve and some end naturally Hoewever if you do end up convinced she an ASD, blaming her and using emotoive phrasesd like horrible is cruel- DS1 has a tendency to make comments that can be quite hurtful at times but he has no ability to recognise things; it is in many ways the equivalent of blaming a blind eprson for tripping over a randomly placed object.

you may find that you can learn to change your speech if you want to by understanding about literal speech, AS traits such as flat voice etc- but that's a decision you have to make for yourselves. I do know that whether something is intended as hurtful isn't the only factor in causing that hurt.

Perhaps you could steer clear when thingsa re really tough and focus on the lighter aspects with her?

The last line amde me a bit sad- hopepeople don't think I am a spoiled brat becuase I am so shy. Probably they do though.

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 14:29:38

BTW if you do need to say about the ASD- just becuase she seems so unaware does not in any way mean she is, chances are she knows well that she is a bit different or isn't quite liked or whatever. The clues will be there, just not the answer.

Have a fictional charcter to mention- child you ment at the park who was talking odd and behaving <<insert soemthing you know she does>> and you thought she was spoiled but you got vchatting to Mumand she mentioned she had something called Aspergers, and you felt rally embarassed ors oemthing like that.

Less direct.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 14:58:49

Most of our mutual friends don't think so deeply about it, they simple think that she's more trouble than she's worth and so steer away from her.

I didn't mean to sound harsh, but she does behave like a spoilt brat, so I can see why others find it hard to feel for her at all. Mainly because she is intelligent and functions pretty much normally I don't think many people would even think of any kind of ASD. I want to believe she is kind at heart and I don't think there is any intended malice in the things she does, but it doesn't make the things she says any less hurtful to the receiver.

I would like to think that if she was 'officially' ASD (as opposed to just speculation) then perhaps people would cut her some slack as I really think she doesn't understand why she gets grief from people when she hasn't meant to be mean. She knows she is different and often says how other people are better at social things than her, but then when she upsets someone she usually blames the situation on the other person's over-sensitivity or their incorrect interpretation.

Will take a look at the NAS Triad info, thanks BethNoire

Twinsmommy Thu 17-Sep-09 15:25:10

Do you know what star-sign she is?

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 15:37:02

Yes, what significance would start sign have though?

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 15:37:15

grrr STAR sign

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 15:37:31

It'sa rewuirement of being diagnosed with high Fnctioning Autism or Aspergers to be of average or higher intelligence- I am doing a Masters.

wheniwishuponastar Thu 17-Sep-09 15:39:25

have you talked to her about it?? not the suggesting that she is aspergers, but just about her behaviour and that people tend to think it is rude. what would she say?

branflake81 Thu 17-Sep-09 15:41:36

My colleague, an academic who specialises in learning difficulties and autism, told me that after "close observation" of me she thinks I am dyspraxic.

I was not quite sure what to say in response to that and (don't flame me) am not quite sure it makes any difference so have chosen to ignore it.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 15:44:44

I would definitely say she is of very high intelligence, in all aspects apart from socially

I have tried talking to her, as have others, subtley and bluntly, but it always falls on deaf ears and ends up being everyone else's fault - eg we expect too much of her, we misunderstood what she said, we're always critical of her, etc

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 15:46:23

Bran I don't think it always does, esp. by the time we'readults

It needs intervention if the child / adult is beinga ffected negatively by the potential dx- otherwise it's down to preference. DS2 has probable dyspraxia (being investiogated) and we only decided to pursue with the school when they raised concerns.

Interesting comment from colleague LOL! Any chance he's in the field for a reason? wink- saying as I am about tostart my MA in Autism...

wheniwishuponastar Thu 17-Sep-09 15:50:38

can you contact the aspergers association to see what they recommend?

Reallytired Thu 17-Sep-09 15:52:24

This thread makes me sad. It is obvious that you see autism as an insult rather than a medical condition.

MadreInglese Thu 17-Sep-09 15:53:31

I don't know if it would make any difference, or have any effect if I mentioned my ASD theory to her

Maybe it would just make me feel better to get it off my chest, and that's not really fair is it

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