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Topic for 1/23/2013 meeting: The Dilemma of Love and Dependency

January 10, 2013

Today we discussed the dilemma of the parent child relationship when autistic spectrum adults are dependent on their caretakers. How does the dependent avoid discrimination. How does one encourage an adult adult relationship.

We first defined the types of love

eros: romantic

philia: love of family

Agape: unconditional and universal love

We then talked about a parent, especially a father may have difficulty discriminating himself from his son. Why encourage my son, why go to his graduation, he is me. The concept is blurred between we and he. The father does not see the son as an individual and is not loving him in an unconditional universal way (agape). The father is seeing the son as part of himself and his family (philia). This can be especially troublesome if the father does not like himself!

It is probably easier to teach a parent to enter an adult adult conversation with their grown dependent. When the dependent autistic spectrum adult dependent engages the parent in a conversation, the parent can simply answer with a question, “Why don’t you think about a solution. You are smart. I  am sure you will come up with something. Then we can discuss it.”

Barring that, the best way to counter the parent child interaction as the dependent is to act like an adult. If you are being talked down to, let your parent know how it makes you feel and if heard at an emotional level offer a suggestion on how to be spoken to without pushing your buttons.

The interaction may be more complex than just words. Parents give money, parents expect certain behavior. The adult dependent values other model behaviors. A conversation will need to take place again at the feeling level between child and parent but at an even adult adult level; not one down, one up.


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