Adult Daughter with Asperger's Syndrome

Updated on April 18, 2008
C.L. asks from Palm Springs, CA
19 answers

I am interested in families that may have a daughter with a mentally compromising disorder such as Asperger's Syndrome. Specifically, because my daughter is compromised enough to make her vulnerable to predatory males, but not compromised enough to be classified as incompentent, she is now living with a very undesireable male that we discouraged from seeing (20 years her senior, bipolar disorder living on state disability) who has "promised to take care of her." He has her brainwashed against us and does not allow her to communicate with us in any way. I have not communicated with her for six months. She has lost her precious car she paid on for four years when she was living with us and had a job. She is no longer working. He advised her not to make the payments as he didn't think they would repossess it...they did. I am wondering if anyone has lived this nightmare. Any advice? Will she ever realize this guy is all talk? The only information I have gotten from her when asked why she stays with this guy is that "he pays attention to me."

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So What Happened?

I just want to thank you all for your responses. I have never been part of an internet network before so this is all new for me. My sister urged me to join Mamasource. I appreciate so much all your input; I have always felt so alone with this problem and just getting these responses, advice and connections have given me great strength and hope. Thank you all again!

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C.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.-My name is C. and I work partime for a non-profit in OC. I have a one year old daughter. I know of a O.C. Asperger Support group that may help. The contacts name is Sara Gardner and her e-mail is [email protected]____.com. I hope she can help and good luck.

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L.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi C.,

Let me start off by saying that I haven't been in your situation but I've been a young girl once who got into some relationships with what I referred to as "sub-zero men" (on a scale of 1 to 10, they are a sub-zero) in my late teens/early 20's and made some bad decisions. Luckily, by my late 20's, I had dated enough unworthy men that I was able to recognize a truly worthy guy and we have been happily together 10 years now. And although I do not have Asperger's I, do have a son who high-functioning ASD so I understand some of the roadblocks you have had to face and do feel for you.

I think that there is not much you can do to sway her back to the light, so to speak, but if you can calmly and graciously let her know every chance you can that you are there for her and will be there for her no matter what, if and when she is ready to get out this relationship, it will make it that much easier for her to leave. Don't say anything directly negative about this guy that she is with because that will only backfire on you. Instead, just passing off a casual comment that is not directed toward her per se but plants a seed that you want planted would be a better idea. Or even just telling her that you trust her to make the right decisions for herself because she is strong, even if you really don't feel this in your heart right now, can really help give her self-esteem a boost and a sense of self-empowerment that she probably really needs right now (e.g., "I believe that life is a learning process and sometimes you have to go through some rough times to know what doesn't work"). And keep telling her that she is strong and and that you trust her to make good decisions over and over because this guy could be telling her the exact opposite (either directly or indirectly) and, if that's the case, she needs to hear these positive words from you now more than ever. I was actually lucky enough to have a couple of pivotal people tell me how strong I was at a point when I really was not acting like a strong person and just really did not feel it for myself. Those words didn't change the way I was living my life right there and then but they stuck with me and influenced how I began to see myself over a period of time.

Good luck to you.

L.

1 mom found this helpful
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P.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Attention that is the word that crys out to me. This happens not only to girls that have Asperger's but to girls that have no diablities. Keep the lines of communication open to your daughter, take her shopping out to lunch anything to get her attention. Not saying one word about the person who has made her happy. Usally material things don't mean much, attention does. Perhaps her Dad could spend time with her. Give her some of the attention she craves, but only advice when asked. This is unconditional but it is a safety net, she knows you are always there, and you will be so happy that you where able to offer it. I just read your letter over and I see that he won't allow you to see her. That is really even harder. Do you know where she live? Send her cards funny loving cards. Keep in touch any way you can. Do you have friends that are close to her, or any religon? Sometimes they can intercede and help out, by just befriending her. Her boyfriend loves the control he has over her, it is most likely the only thing he has control over in his life. I have two friends who children have this disorder, each one is out going the other is quiet and shy. Both are very loving people, and in a materlist world we live in get pushed aside because they need more interaction then most people. The one girl friends son is very involved with Jehovah Witiness, they help fill the need for the extra attention he needs. I am sure there is no easy answers. But love never fails and you have much of that to give. Never give up. P.

1 mom found this helpful
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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

"He pays attention to me" sounds like a healthy reason to be with someone. If your daughter's boyfriend pays attention to her, he may have some redeeming qualities. He doesn't sound like the wisest person on the planet, though. (Not pay car payments?) Even though this guy doesn't offer your daughter sound financial advice, it you want to contact your daughter, then you are probably better off not discouraging her from seeing her boyfriend. If you try to present just the facts surrounding some of the decisions she needs to make, she might develop good decision making skiils and either come to the conclusion, on her own, that she should not be with this guy or learn how to make good decisions without his input or control.

My sister, a psychologist, works with adults who have Asperger's Syndrome. If you want me to provide info on her, please contact me at [email protected]____.com

Good luck,
Lynne

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K.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear C.,

I often wonder what happens to adults with Aspergers as I have an 8 year old with Aspergers. Do you have any legal recourse because your daughter is disabled? Does she have a therapist that she sees that might be able to help? It sounds like the guy that she is involved with is really unstable. Have you contacted his family to see if they can help you? Are there any agencies that work with adults like Regional Center or The Help Group? I know that the Help Group does have a program for young adults. My heart goes out to you. Your situation makes me realize that our Aspergers kids need help and guidance even in their adult years as they are truly disabled. Best of luck to you and your family, K.

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Though it's hard to see your child make mistakes, you need to be patient. She'll come around.

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C.S.

answers from San Diego on

Dear C.,
Although I haven't had any mental imparments--I was That
Daughter!! Brainwashed and finally beaten beyond my own Mothers recognition! The man(if you could call him that),
had me on drugs, wouldn't let me call or communicate with my family. ect. Your story just rang a bell so loud to me!
If this man is hurting your daughter, I don't think you would know it. You need to interveen! Somehow! I'm not sure as to what exactly it is you should do, BUT-GET HER HOME!!!
Possibly get Counsiling on what you can do.
You can contact me personally,
[email protected]____.com
Good Luck,
C. S.

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R.C.

answers from San Diego on

I would suggest that you contact the county as your daughter is being controlled and abused. You should be able to contact Adult Protective Services as it sounds as though she is a "prisoner" under the control of this person. I highly recommend that you document everything with timetables. This is not hopeless. Good luck.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so sorry to hear of your situation but you may have to take a page out of britney spears life and get some legal muscle behind you! Also contact non profits which deal with abusive situations and they usually give free legal advice.

If you are in the ventura county there is one agency call Coalition against Family Violence and they are out of Oxnard.

Good luck and hopes this helps!

S.

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C.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

There is a young adult social group for Asperger's in OC. Let me know if you are in the area and want the contact info. Maybe the coordinators could give you guidance about your problem. Perhaps they could convince your daughter to come to their meetings and she might eventually decide that not working isn't working for her. My daughter is only 9, but you just opened my eyes to nightmares that could lie ahead.

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D.E.

answers from Las Vegas on

My daughter, Lisa did not have Asperger's Syndrome, but she was much the same as your daughter. My heart and prayers go out to you. Lisa would hook up with an undesirable man for anywhere from six months to a couple of years. Eventually, she would realize she had made a bad choice and come home, only to repeat the pattern a few months later. It broke my heart and there were many fights and tears. I finally learned all you can do is love her and reassure her that you will always be there for your daughter no matter what. It is very hard to standby and watch, but if you want to be there for your daughter, you must bite you tongue and repeatedly tell you love her no matter what. Whatever you do, don't make her choose between you or him, it strengthens his position and she will always choose him over you.

As you may have noticed, I refer to my Lisa in the past tense. She moved to heaven about four years ago. At least I know where she is now, who she is with and that no low-life can take advantage of her anymore.

You and your lovely daughter will be in my prayers. Your other children sound wonderful. Enjoy your life, love your family and know that your daughter will come home to you when the money runs out and he gets tired of her, which is usually the case.

I hope I have given you some comfort in knowing you are not alone.

D.

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A.C.

answers from Santa Barbara on

What bothers me the most is that you have not had communication with your daughter for six months. Something is wrong and go with your gut feeling.

I'm not sure what County you live in but it's time to research all of your resources.

She may not have been deemed incompitent at the time in your care, but the situation and circumsntances have clearly changed.

I would try for "conservatorship" again, if you havn't done so already. It sounds like she is being easily manipulated for the worst, not better. Contact your local County Adult Protective Services, they can make a referral to your County Public Guardian's Office (I work in this area) for further investigation. Give them ALL details, if possible, write down timetables and events, don't leave a detail out.

You need to do whatever in your power to get her back and if that does not work, at least in your mind, you tried! There's always HOPE:)

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C.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

o

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P.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I work with kids on the spectrum and my advice is to find an attorney and GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! There is no place for her to go but down and this is only the start. PLEASE get help!!!!!!

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D.M.

answers from Lawrence on

C., I have never gone through what you are going through now, but I want you to know that I will be praying for you. God Bless you and your family

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S.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

First, I have to say that I agree with Laurie's advice. I cannot relate to ASD, but any girl with low self-esteem can get herself into the same situation your daughter is in. I've been there too. Everything Laurie said about letting your daughter know you're there for her, giving positive words and encouragement... that will all go a long way. My parents also realized at a point that if they told me what to do, I did the opposite, but once they let me feel like an adult who was capable of making good decisions, I started thinking of their advice when it was important. It didn't save some much regretted heartache and mistakes, but I learned from them and am now happily married with 3 children to the man of my dreams. There's hope!!! I hope everyone else's advice directly related to Asperger's will help you deal with that component of this situation. Best of luck to you!
S.

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K.R.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi C.,
I would suggest you look into guardianship if at all possible. Maybe you can prove she isn't competant in some ways. Also, I would suggest a support group.
Go to www.tacanow.org and see if there is a group near you. They help families just like yours find solutions to situations like this. At least they may be able to point you in a direction that makes some positive headway.

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J.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try contancting Adult Protective Services in the county where you live. It sounds like he is taking advantage of her financially and they will help with that. YOU might also want to consider whether a conservatorship is appropriate. Just because she isn't incompetent doesn't mean she shouldn't have a conservator

S.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so very sorry. I don't think there's anything drastic you can do; if she's not compromised enough to be your dependent then the state will treat her like an adult, able to make her own faulty decisions.

In the long run, though, I think you need to just try to connect with her, without saying anything about the man who's taking advantage of her. He has managed to worm his way in between, and anything you say will put her in the position of defending him. It's the same with a lot of women, btw, who choose their abuser over their family.

Try "paying attention to her." Take her to lunch. Tell her you won't say one word about where she's living or with whom. THEN DON'T. See if you can "worm" your way back in. Once you are back in, she might start coming to you to complain about him. Again, don't take the bait, don't say anything against him. Then she'll ask for advice about him, and you're in.

I wish I had better advice. I wish you the very best of luck.

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