Questions about Aspergers and Domestic Violence

This could be a long post as I have a fair to say/ask about this topic so you may want to get a cup of tea. If you read through it I’ll write a funny story at the end of the post about how awesome my little brother is. Firstly, I come from a family of 6 where 50% of the family (3 people) have some degree of aspergers. My youngest brother is the most obvious, but another of my brothers and my dad also have signs of mild aspergers. If you aren’t too sure about Aspergers, take a look at the Wikipedia site Aspergers Syndrome for a good overview.
In the last year, my mum has become involved with a support group for neurotypical (NTs – this basically means non-Aspergers people) partners of people with aspergers (Aspies). A few months ago, after being asked by mum, I went along to the group support with her to see what the group was about and hear some of the other stories. The group meets monthly and the members come from far and wide (some members travel up to 120km/75miles to attend). On the day that I went about 15 women (aged between 30 – 70ish) were in attendance.

I work in the domestic violence field and my role revolves around training, education and generally getting out into the community. I wasn’t going to mention this at the meeting, but when I was being introduced to the group, someone asked me what I did for a living so I just briefly mentioned my job and what it entails. A silent, somewhat unnerving hush came over the group. After a moment, one woman started to talk about her experience of living with her Aspie husband and how that often it played out like an abusive relationship. The majority of the other women in group agreed that elements of their relationships did indeed constitute elements of domestic violence. Over the course of the meeting, fairly unanimous disclosures of abuse (particularly FINANCIAL, VERBAL, EMOTIONAL and SOCIAL – more subtle forms of abuse and control) were made. A number of these stories were shared experiences and, from my understanding of domestic violence, (that one partner uses behaviour which makes the other partner fearful thus having power and control in the relationship) these experiences did indeed seem to constitute abuse.
Common stories and experiences were:
• Isolating, or not letting the NT partner contact friends/family
• Not letting the NT partner having their own time or interests
• Irrational blame of the NT partner if things don’t go right
• Aggressive/abusive/frightening behaviour until the Aspie partner gets their own way (my way is the only way)
• Put downs and lack of emotional support
• Reckless financial decision making and not letting the NT partner have a say OR not giving the NT partner access to money/saving every penny (it appeared to be one extreme or the other)
• Problems with controlling emotions (esp anger/frustration – often marked with sudden outbursts) and taking it out on the partner
• Threats/Fear if the NT partner wanted to leave the relationship
• Lying/manipulative behaviour
• Consistently crossing boundaries and not accepting no as an answer
• Abuse or neglect of children
I know that from my experience living with my family, and from talking with mum, being in a relationship with someone with Aspergers is difficult (I also think it’s pretty difficult and confusing for Aspies too). The group had a guest speaker, a woman who has Aspergers and is a relationship counsellor. In her talk she raised a really interesting point that aspergers doesn’t make people nasty or controlling, it makes them different, but not abusive. This caused a bit of a reaction from some of the women who were having a particularly tough time in their relationships, but I think it’s an important point to consider.
Now I realise that this was a small group of women, but it was astounding that the majority of them had had remarkably similar abusive experiences. Many of the women in the group were hurting and were exhausted from their relationships. One woman had been married for 26 years and had been in counselling for 20 years just to survive the relationship and make sure that her sense of self wasn’t eroded. My understanding of domestic violence is based in a feminist framework where the cultural and societal norms around socialisation, gender norms and expectations underpin the believed right to control. However, after listening to these women I was pretty confused. While I am completely against abuse and domestic violence, I wonder if the intent behind the behaviour was misguided or perhaps a misunderstanding of what are and aren’t acceptable behaviours in a romantic relationship? Could some of these behaviours be an unacceptable response to a situation that the Aspie partner didn’t know how to deal with? I think that some of these behaviours are intended to control or manipulate, but I wonder if the lack of social understanding, which is a marker of aspergers, accounts for some of this behaviour. But then where does the line stop? I personally don’t accept the excuse of stress, alcohol, drugs, (most) mental illness as the CAUSE or REASON for domestic violence, so how is this different? I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about it, and it’s starting to do my head in. I thought I’d share my thoughts with the feministing community and particularly the feminist Aspergers community to see what other people think and if maybe other people’s opinions can help to make sense of what I heard and witnessed.
From the reading I’ve done, the main suggestion seems to be educational interventions (for both parties?) which influence adult behaviour and enhance understanding in intimate relationships. As part of raising my youngest brother, my family has been trying to teach him about other people and how they feel, what certain facial expressions mean and lots of other things like what it means if they turn around and walk away when you’re talking to them (No, it doesn’t mean that follow them around and keep talking about Star Wars. It means they don’t want to listen to you anymore and that they have probably been giving you signs of that for a while). On a personal level I am worried about the relationships that my youngest brother will form. At times in our family environment he demonstrates some of the above mentioned behaviours to get his own way or if he doesn’t understand what’s going on. And to be honest, although not common, when it does occur, it can be scary.
I know that there is debate around accepting Aspergers as a different point of view rather than looking for a cure, and I would like to think that I support this position. Aspies have made excellent progress in many different fields. This entry isn’t meant to be an exercise in Aspergers bashing or anything like that. I’m interested in the prevalence of domestic violence or abusive/manipulative/controlling behaviour and whether, if this is common, anything can be done to promote understanding (in all parties) and change behaviour. Aspergers is starting to get some more attention and is being recognised more and more in different areas of our society. There have even been a few notable movies about aspergers in the last few years (e.g. Adam, The Black Balloon). However, I think it’s still a relative unknown to many people.
Thank you for taking to read this entry. It’s been a long haul and I’ve had a lot to write, and some of it hasn’t been that easy to get down. I would love to hear your thoughts and your comments.
Also, as promised, the story:
I took my youngest brother (13) to see the Wolverine movie (no major spoilers ahead). He loves action movies and particularly super hero fantasy movies. Sometimes he doesn’t understand what’s going in movies – particularly when it’s an emotional part of the movie or when the filmmakers are relying on body language and facial expressions to convey what’s happening. Anyway, at the start of the movie Wolverine is in a special government group which goes around doing nasty, secretive and questionable business for the government and generally killing lots of innocent people for mineral resources and political power. Watching the facial expressions and picking up on the body language I could tell that Wolverine was feeling pretty awful about his part in killing so many people. So when he finally left the group I could understand why. My brother however leant over and asked “How come Wolverine’s leaving?” I said it was because he was sad that they were killing so many innocent people. He was happy with that response. A little later in the movie, Wolverine becomes a lumberjack and so they show him working in a plantation of pine trees for a little bit. After a little while my brother leant over to me and asked “How come he’s not upset about killing so many innocent trees?” This question completely threw me. I think I answered something like “Oh, they grow the trees so they can specifically cut them down to use.” To which he replied “Oh, ok. So, would it be ok to do that with people if they grew people on purpose?” I wasn’t too sure how to explain the different sides of scientific, moral, ethical and potentially legal elements of this idea to a 13 year old in a cinema full of people watching Wolverine, so I think I just said that I didn’t know and that we could talk about it after the movie. However, whenever I think of this incident, I’m amazed at the different views of the world we have and how he keeps me on my toes; and it makes me love him just that little bit more.

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  1. katemoore
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    You want my response? I’m stunned. I’m fucking stunned. I’ve read a lot of horrible stuff on the Internet, but this takes the cake. Comparing being in a relationship with someone with Asperger’s to domestic violence manages to be offensive to people with Asperger’s, people who have experience domestic violence, and humanity in general, all in one fell trifecta swoop of stunning ignorance.
    The woman who brought that up needs to do the world a favor and remove herself from all relationships, forever. Maybe then she’ll see how it feels.

  2. tooimpurenangel
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the Cassandra Phenomenon.
    Yeah, usually the abuse is directed at Aspergians by NT’s.
    Asperger’s has nothing to do with domestic violence. Abusers will abuse, Aspergian or NT.

  3. S.P. Burke
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I have Asperger’s syndrome and I’ve never raised a hand or my voice to any woman I’ve been in a relationship with >:(

  4. Synna
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree in general, however one of the core features of Asperger’s is social communication difficulties, also lack of ability to verbalise feelings. I suppose that this could look like emotional abuse at times (YMMV).
    My partner has Asperger’s and my word it’s frustrating trying to get him to understand feelings at times (usually when he is stressed already). In fact, if you were outside looking in and didn’t know he had Asperger’s you might say he has no empathy or that the way he talks could be abusive. What’s really going on is he can’t process information in the same way as us NT’s and he gets overwhelmed easier, which can come out as yelling. So I tell him to pull his head in and go away, cool down and think about it. This works for us.
    Having said that, people with Asperger’s can be abusive just like NT’s can be abusive.

  5. Nettle Syrup
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Can you or someone else explain in their own words how it is to have aspergers? My brother was told he might have it, and I’ve read articles about it, but I still don’t really understand. I need to hear a first hand perspective of what it’s like to have it, cause my brother seems pretty normal to me most of the time.

  6. tooimpurenangel
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    He’s probably really blunt, right? Yeah, I guess I could see someone misunderstanding those characteristics.
    The thing about having Asperger’s for me is that a lot of the things NT’s just deal with and accept as a normal facet of life are incredibly assaulting and invasive, so there’s dealing with that (obnoxious voice, itchy clothing) and then not being able to express yourself in a way that’s easily understood, it’s frustrating! I can honestly say I have NEVER been abusive to my husband or my daughter.

  7. FrumiousB
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The majority of the other women in group agreed that elements of their relationships did indeed constitute elements of domestic violence.
    Did the men in the group speak up? If so, what were their experiences?

  8. KatieChaos
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Dear Kate (and other posters),
    I am extremely sorry if I have caused offence with my post. It certainly wasn’t my intention. I realise that domestic violence can be perpetrated in a range of situations by a range of different people. I wasn’t under the belief that there was a correlation between domestic violence and Aspergers. However, after attending the group, I was pretty amazed at the amount of disclosures. I did nothing too encourage the disclosures, the women in attendance were just talking. I am very sorry if my post came across as Aspergers=domestic violence. I understand that this is not the case.
    I am very interested by the comments which talk about abuse being perpetrated by NTs. I will definitely do more reading around to topic so to educate myself further.
    I did put the post up to get opinions about what I had witnessed and I guess I’m getting my answers.
    Thank you for taking time to read the article, even if you found it offensive and insensitive.
    Once again, I am extremely sorry for any offence cause by my post.

  9. katemoore
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t referring to you. Sorry if it came across that way.

  10. Icy Bear
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Hm, I am very interested in this post. My ex-boyfriend was emotionally abusive, and there was also some reason to believe he had Asperger’s (I don’t know if any diagnosis was made, but there was discussion about it around the time that I stopped communicating with him). It was a lot of the same things you mention – lying and manipulative behaviour, irrational blame, insisting on getting his way and hurling abuse at me if he didn’t. But I could never tell what was going on in his mind… on one hand, it seemed like pure sadism, that he wanted control of me and wanted to hurt me. But on the other hand, it often seemed like he didn’t know what he was doing, like he somehow didn’t understand how he was supposed to act or see why what he was doing was abusive.
    If he did have Asperger’s, I could imagine that the lack of understanding I perceived might have actually been part of the problem – I am highly sensitive, and raised in an environment where politeness is a direct indication of how much you value other people, and I can see that might be a problem in relating to someone with Asperger’s (although I have not had trouble with the other people I have known!).
    Whatever the case, there is no question in my mind that it was an abusive relationship, and although it sounds much too simplistic, I think abusive behaviour should be judged only by its effect on the victim, and nothing else.

  11. Brianna G
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s very hard to be in a relationship with anyone who is not neurotypical and communicates differently. My fiance has bipolar disorder, OCD, and anxiety, and thus he misinterprets situations a lot and this results in high stress for me and some situations that might be considered abusive (never physical). The combination of stressors that comes from a relationship with anyone who isn’t looking at the world through the same lens as you can sometimes feel like you’re being abused.
    For me, the thing to remember is, when my fiance acts in those ways, I remember it’s just a problem of understanding, and NOT abusive. I talk to him and explain myself. I point out the problem as rationally as I can and we talk about it until he understands.
    It’s NOT abuse to see the world differently, to put high demands on your spouse through your own misunderstanding, or to have trouble communicating your needs. The trouble is, all such relationships require the neurotypical person to be willing to invest a little extra in the communication, and accept that their partner may deal with some frustration and anger when they feel they are not being understood– as anyone would! They must also accept that if they and their partner don’t communicate in the same ways, they may very well fight. If they truly cannot offer that, they need to reconsider if they are in the right relationship (obviously easier early on).
    I absolutely believe that it can be very hard to have a partner who doesn’t communicate in the same way, but it is NOT abuse, it’s just hard and stressful– abuse implies some level of malice that simply is not present in these situations. Even cases of neglect are probably better explained by the Aspie not understanding something they are expected to do, not actual lack of caring.
    Obviously, physical abuse is a real problem, but I doubt it’s actually connected to the Aspberger’s.

  12. KatieChaos
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Brianna. I really like your post. What you’ve written really matches my thoughts. I was pretty confused after attending that meeting, but I think writing this and reading other people’s comments is a good way of sorting through that confusion. It was great to hear your thoughts. This post echoes my sentiments, so thank you very much.

  13. Icy Bear
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    This freaks me out, and is seriously triggering.
    I really, really hope this is not your intent, but your comment comes across as “if you are in a relationship with a non-neurotypical person, just deal with any emotionally or verbally abusive behaviour.” As in, abuse is not a legitimate concern unless it is physical abuse or it comes from a neurotypical person.
    This is a very sensitive issue for me, so I recognize I may misinterpret things. Please tell me this was not what you meant.

  14. S.P. Burke
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Well, more accurately I have Hyperlexia, which is on the same spectrum of High-Functioning Autism (or HFA) that Asperger’s Syndrome is. You know how Dyslexics have trouble reading? Well, Hyperlexics are able to read all too well. I myself was able to read by the time I was two, and retained the information surprisingly well. The thing is talent like this often comes at the price of one’s social skills.
    I was fortunate enough to have been diagnosed before I hit kindergarten. According to my parents I exhibited the kind of compulsive behavior usually seen in full on autistics (ex: if I didn’t sit in a certain spot at a certain time of day I’d freak out). Traits are usually strongest at a young age, but with proper conditioning it’s sometimes barely noticeable the older you get (almost no one guesses I have AS now that I’m an adult).
    Usually Aspie’s are noticeable by lack of social skills, extremely intense and specific interests, great verbosity, and physical clumsiness. There’s no specific treatment, but behavior therapy to learn how to talk to people and break certain mental cycles helps do the trick. There’s no specific medication that helps, but some Aspies take anti-depressants to cope with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

  15. Edgy1004
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    What I am hearing so far sounds a lot like “gray” abuse. I guess, as an advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors am not comfortable with the whole “I know it may seem like abuse but my perpetrator has problems that you don’t understand so it is okay.”
    Brianna G made a good point that if you “can’t handle that” you should probably not be in that type of relationship but what if the perpetrator wants you to stay? Part of DV is that the perpetrator makes the victim feel like they can’t leave. If Asperger syndrome is an excuse for abusive behavior (and I think we all need to recognize that abusive behavior is actually abuse) then why is alcoholism not an excuse, or low self esteem, or his or her own history of abuse.
    In conclusions: Abusive behavior = abuse, there is not excuse for domestic abuse.

  16. Synna
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Yup yup yup

  17. Nettle Syrup
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks for replying. Sounds a lot like my brother, although he’s not hyperlexic. He’s actually got dysgraphia, which is a difficulty with writing. It makes me angry to see the level of hate directed at aspies.

  18. KatieChaos
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Icy Bear,
    I thought it might help if I shared my interpretation of what Brianna G wrote. Brianna might have a different meaning, to what I understood, but I think if it’s triggering for you, then I’d like to clarify what I took from her repsonse.
    Generally, I took the point that being a NT in a relationship with someone who is not NT takes a lot of patience, understanding and a bit more effort with communication. I certainly didn’t read that emotional or verbal abuse is ok from a non NT partner, or that you should ‘just put up with it’. I personally think that any kind of abuse if abhorrent and is not ok. I like the point you make about “I think abusive behaviour should be judged only by its effect on the victim, and nothing else.” If you feel that relationship you were in was abusive and not right, then I certainly wouldn’t advocate for someone to ‘just put up with it’.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you don’t feel that your experience is not validated through this discussion and that my post is helpful for you.

  19. Rachel
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    It’s very difficult to be not-neurotypical and in a relationship. You misunderstand things, you don’t seem to be able to do or say anything right, you struggle to communicate. Your partner gets endless sympathy for their struggles, and they are heaped with praise for being compassionate enough to be in a relationship with someone as strange as you.
    You hear about what a problem you are, and how difficult it is to be with you. You are always wrong, and your partner is always right, because they have normality on their side, and if billions of people act a certain way, or relate to people in a certain way, it must be the only right way.

  20. Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Edgy, really, that depends on how you define ‘abusive behavior.’
    I have some sensory issues about touch. Cuddling is really nice for a while, then it’s hard to tolerate, too intense, nearly pain, all my nerves jangling. I started a medication that helps with some of my Aspergers-related stuff. One thing it did was make it so I no longer lie awake all night entangled in my cuddling partner with my teeth gritted. I’d get up and go sleep on the couch. She had hurt feelings about that.
    Online support group for partners of AS people informed me that I was being abusive, with this ‘withholding of affection’ and ‘neglect of emotional needs’ etc. I thought I was just trying to get some sleep. In fact I thought the abusive behavior was my wife’s, as she was trying to guilt-trip me back into being uncomfortable all night.
    I’ve looked at several such groups and the stuff katieChaos lists is repeated on them. But a bit of prying and some guessing based on my own and other aspie’s experiences one gets translations:
    “Isolating, or not letting the NT partner contact friends/family” = not joining in on the NT partner’s social life, and not wanting it to take place at the shared home.
    “Not letting the NT partner having their own time or interests” = not encouraging NT’s interests.
    “Aggressive/abusive/frightening behaviour until the Aspie partner gets their own way (my way is the only way)” = having an autistic meltdown
    I don’t think my wife is doing some controlling thing and isolating me from seafood because she doesn’t like it, so we never have it for dinner or go out to seafood restaurants together. A lot of these people are self-isolating. It is a commonality among those who figure out how to make their relationships work that they start to socialize on their own initiative and stop with the ‘do everything as a couple’ thing.
    If having a meltdown is abuse, so is having a seizure. Both frighten people and might break objects or hurt somebody. Neither is voluntary.
    The ‘put downs’ and ‘manipulation’ stuff, well, autistics are not typically skilled at either, it is largely an error of interpretation.
    I’m sure there are abusive autists out there, but I think most of the accusations of it are inappropriate. We are troublesome and upsetting people because too much of what we do isn’t about other people, but that’s not abuse. — I look after this group, for AS people and NT partners of AS people to advise one another.

  21. 0=1
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Hi I’m on the spectrum. I thought I would make some clarifications. I personally don’t have a problem with this entry at all. However I was referred from somebody who was offended. It is easy to assume that a correlation is implied, and that you are under attack.
    Note that ASD people are often victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. They can be particularly susceptible to it.
    It is non obvious what may cause someone to be become abusive. However I think the same basic things apply to anyone. The potential is there in anyone.
    Personally I think that the empathy issue is not the most likely reason why it might happen. Partly because this is not all that clear cut and it has not been my experience that this on its own it wouldn’t pose major issues with most. Most of the complaints in this area are about expectations in relationships and that the partner might be somehow withholding emotional support. I think that the problem there is poor choice of relationship and different emotional needs. There is the suggestion that these opposites might seek each other out and they think they might complement each other, when in fact they are too different. I think the blame game is unhelpful in these situations.
    The whole empathy issue is controversial, some are suggesting that we feel too much, and it is too overwhelming to be able to process. The fact is it is all theory, and empathy itself is not al that well understood or defined. Humans use empathy highly selectively, and it is not something you could explain based on morality.
    I think it is far more likely that someone can be involve in abuse because they have had past trauma, poor coping strategies, are in an unsuitable environment, or have unsuitable social life. But I think these acts as catalysts and it can snowball from there.
    I have no problem with early awareness. It is not early intervention because we are potential abusers. I see no evidence that we are more likely to be potential abusers or criminals. However I think that being can be a lifesaver in so many ways.
    I need only a shot glass of social commitments, other may need a bucket. I have more than a shot glass I can’t cope. I wouldn’t enter a relationship where there wasn’t a high degree of independence for that reason.
    ASD is a spectral condition, so I have heard some really disturbing ways of thinking and behaviours. However the vast majority are good people. People on the spectrum can have the same metal illness, and personality disorders people who are Neurotypical.
    It is far more likely that you are being controlled by someone with generalised anxiety than narcissistic personality. Granted you have to set pretty high bar for clinical narcissism. Self centeredness is not the same as narcissism, there is a lot more to it.
    Passive aggressive behaviour is also non obvious. The term stems from the Vietnam War. It was used by army physiatrists to describe various types of non compliance including ‘fragging’ but not exclusively. However many soldiers suffer from PTSD. In the old days deserters and those who couldn’t fight due to shell shock would be shot at dawn. I think anyone has the capacity to use non compliance; however it doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong for doing it. It is very much a relative thing. There are cycles of behaviour such as I push your button, you push mine sort of thing.

  22. 0=1
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Grafton made an interesting point, which I already brushed on.
    “Withholding” something shouldn’t automatically be deemed abuse, especially not if it is part of your being. I may not make for a compatible relationship but that is a different matter.
    There is a difference between emotional and other needs/wants being met and abuse. There is no guarantee that needs/wants will be met solely though a relationship and this should not be the expectation.
    They may well feel bad as a result, however if the other is forced to do something against their wishes they could feel just as unwell.

  23. Edgy1004
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    No Grafton, your wife is not isolating you from seafood if she doesn’t give it to you (and thank you for the trivializing comparison to Domestic violence, we love that)but if she we to say to you that you can never eat it even by yourself and if she were to interrogate you after you go out about what you ate and if you did eat seafood and then she were to punish you then that would be abuse.
    You are not abusing your wife by not sleeping in a bed with here but if you turn withholding kindness into a punishment for no behaving the way you want her too that is psychological abuse.
    I am sorry that you need a clarification what domestic violence and abuse are. Here is a link to the Domestic Violence Hotline page for “Are you being abused?”
    Here is a link to “Are you abusing others?”

  24. James
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    RE: katieChaos
    Of the 11 points you list under ‘common stories & experiences’ not a single one applies to me, yet 8 of them apply to my father (also an Aspie).
    You really need to separate the core (actual) Asperger traits from those of other ‘comorbid’ conditions; AS is not all encompassing. As with being Neurotypical (NT), just because someone has Asperger’s does not preclude them from other problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar or personality disorders. Recently I read about a study, of 37 Aspies, which attempted to show a propensity for violence. The study clearly stated that around half of these people had comorbid personality disorders, such as Antisocial (AsPD) and Narcissistic personality disorders (NPD), yet incongruously still tried to blame the their violent behaviour on their AS. This is like saying a NT serial killer murders people because he is Neurotypical, not because he is a psychopath (AsPD).
    Also; we must question if many of the “Aspies” you refer to have AS at all. In this country (Australia) some well meaning doctors label people with conditions like ADD/ADHD as having Asperger’s because better medical and education services are available to people with AS. In some countries the reverse is done for similar reasons.
    I personally know about 30 people diagnosed (by reputable psychologists) with Asperger’s and few, if any, are remotely like the picture you’ve painted. There are normally only 2 times when these people relate stories of violence; when they themselves have been bullied or assaulted such as at school when they were younger (they’re all adults) or at rare times of ‘autistic meltdown.’ These meltdowns are completely involuntary and are normally directed against inanimate objects only, in an attempt, as in my case, to escape a situation providing me with great physical, mental or sensory pain.
    Asperger’s is the core of my being, but my psyche is altered by social phobia. My father, on the other hand, at his core is an Aspie but his mind has been altered by childhood neglect and abuse so that narcissism has become his coping strategy. Asperger’s is a lifelong genetic condition which is present at birth; monsters are created, not born.
    Much like Feminism, our aim should be equality for all decent people irrespective of colour, race, religion or gender. Bigotry against my kind is disappointing, particularly when it’s based on misunderstanding, misinformation and disreputable quasi-science. The Nazi’s murdered millions because they were born different. Would you consign me to a similar fate, for a condition I had neither choice nor design in its making, based on such a misunderstanding?

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