I have been fortunate enough to have almost everyone in my life say the right words and support me since finding out that I have Asperger’s. However, my father has said a few hurtful things and seems to be unaware of how his words impact me.
When I told him, his initial reaction was “what the fuck?” This brought up memories of the day when I told him that I’m gay. His response was to cry and then try to tell me that I couldn’t be gay.
Even though the first thing that came out of his mouth about Asperger’s was less than supportive, he went on to say things everyone in my position wants to hear. Things such as “this doesn’t change anything,” “I’m there for you,” etc.
Unfortunately, his actions didn’t live up to those words, and it took more than two months to get him to have another conversation with me about everything. During which, he spent most of the time talking about the issues in his life that made him mostly unresponsive for 8+ weeks.
I would have been understanding of his difficulties and been more or less willing to move forward with no hurt feelings if he hadn’t said one key thing. When telling me about another person he met with Asperger’s many years ago, he said that he knew “something was wrong with him right away.” Um, what? He was talking to his daughter with Asperger’s and tried to relate by saying the word “wrong” in relation to another Aspie?
Later in the conversation, I tried to educate him about all of the strengths associated with Asperger’s and how much it has impacted who I am as a person. He seemed surprised to know that there were strengths, even though I sent him information about this topic two months ago.
This is disappointing, infuriating and heartbreaking behavior. First, he basically blew me off for two months, and then he made his ignorance about the topic very clear. There is nothing “wrong” with me. I tried to explain that it’s like having a different operating system (the Mac instead of PC analogy), but I honestly don’t know if that really reached him or made sense to him.
Sigh. I understand that everyone has to figure things out for themselves and that there can be some emotional adjustments necessary after finding something like this out, but I wish he would have done some of that work during the past two months. I also wish he would have been thoughtful enough to not refer to someone else’s Asperger’s as something that was “wrong” with them.