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Everyone's Autistic Nowadays (Or Are They)?

Posted: 24 Oct 2023, 14:45
by thatalex
So my brother thinks he is Autistic. He was developmentally appropriate (even precocious), a fine student, sporty growing up rather than clumsy, and used to bully a kid who'd been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at school and gloat about it at home to me and Mum.

I feel very conflicted.

If he can get help for his present difficulties, good. If it takes a diagnosis, ok. If he is equating his difficulties to my own and pretending he has the same shit going on and just deals better, HELL NO.

He had friends growing up; I was in my late teens before I had an actual friend and experienced what it was like to like someone rather than being exploited more or less subtly by them.

He claims that he must be autistic "because he lacks empathy". I think he is probably a narcissist, and relates to other people as ordinary people relate to machines or other inanimate objects with buttons to be pushed or levers to be pulled. I think his current difficulties with depression and anxiety have to do with his control issues, as in, no matter how hard he works, he can't get everyone around him to do what he says all the fucking time. Especially, he is not in control of when the clients pay his invoices. He can't stand the uncertainty of being self-employed. Nor could I, but...

He is capable, and has a business and previously a fine career as a corporate serf. Autism is defined as being socially, vocationally, and developmentally impaired. Arguably he is none of these things proportionate to his ability; he is more of an overacheiver actually. A golden-mean type of character, smarter than most but not too smart to get along. His IQ is in the 115-120 range.

AITA for feeling like he is pulling some kind of stunt on me and my family, whether he realises this or not? And AITA for feeling that - even if he DOES get a diagnosis - it would be trivial, because he never paid his fucking dues?

He doesn't know what it is like to be bullied.

He doesn't know how most women hate you when you're autistic.

He doesn't know the pain and frustration of being genuinely disabled, basically.

What should I do? So far I've just listened and aired my feelings only to my mother, who supports him fully.

Re: Everyone's Autistic Nowadays (Or Are They)?

Posted: 25 Oct 2023, 16:34
by sharoma
What someone was or achieved in the past won't really matter if they are suffering now. Depression and anxiety can hit anyone hard at anytime. They still deserve empathy. Your brother shouldn't go around diagnosing himself though. Only a doctor or healthcare professional should do that. It reduces the value of a disorder when people casually claim they are autistic or have anxiety. Yes, it's a scale but I understand what you say about 'dues'. When you really suffer, you feel it for years and it affects your entire life. When we see people 'getting on', we assume they are fine but they might be slowly unravelling inside. Perhaps he is jealous of the attention you receive for what you've been through? You're still here despite everything and that gives you a certain strength of character that no one can take away. Dealing with any disability or the effects of trauma requires fortitude. From how you describe him, it sounds like he has a lot of his life in order and functions quite well if he is self-employed and supporting himself. Again, that proves nothing. He might be really suffering inside.

His problems will never negate your own. If you have the energy to take on caring for him, then try, but if you feel you cannot, then don't. Coming up with empathy is draining and since you're not sure what's actually going on with him, I'd wait to see what his doctor says before making any judgements.

Keep listening and use your own experience to help when you can. Or, just back away completely. You have to look after yourself first and if this issue is causing you any form of suffering, I'd suggest you limit your involvement. I would recommend you don't try and minimize his feelings though. Listening and talking to your mother is a good start and also maybe all you should be doing for now.

Re: Everyone's Autistic Nowadays (Or Are They)?

Posted: 26 Oct 2023, 09:07
by thatalex
Thanks Robin. It isn't his depression or anxiety I am knocking; it is his idea that he must be autistic because of something he heard from a friend of his.

I suspect jealousy of how I am treated may have something to do with it. Maybe he'd rather be on benefits than working, but he's in too much debt since lockdown to stop earning.

I will keep listening to him and Mum and keep my opinions and feelings to myself for now.

Re: Everyone's Autistic Nowadays (Or Are They)?

Posted: 22 Jan 2024, 23:36
by Sycorax
I've never in my life met a person with autism who lacked empathy. It may be expressed slightly differently than what neurotypicals are accustomed to, sure, but different doesn't mean "bad" or "nonexistent”.

If he thinks autism is a case of "lacking empathy", then he's a thimble-headed shit-goblin. I'd be mad too.

Re: Everyone's Autistic Nowadays (Or Are They)?

Posted: 24 Jan 2024, 13:38
by Roy_Castle's_Trumpet
Sycorax wrote: 22 Jan 2024, 23:36 I've never in my life met a person with autism who lacked empathy. It may be expressed slightly differently than what neurotypicals are accustomed to, sure, but different doesn't mean "bad" or "nonexistent”.
ABSOLUTELY this 100%