Autism or Narcissism – How Can You Tell?

Autism and Narcissism have something in common. They are both empathy disorders, the result of the individual not having a Theory of Mind. What this means is that they don’t recognize that another person has beliefs, desires, intentions, feelings and perspectives that differ from their own. Empathy is a complex system that requires the brain to connect Emotional Empathy and Cognitive Empathy.

Since Narcissism and Autism display similar traits, how can you tell the difference between Narcissism and Asperger’s?

  • First, Autism is a diagnosis and narcissism is only a trait of many disorders.
  • Second, not all Autistics are the same since it is a spectrum disorder.
  • Third, all Autistics are narcissistic since a defining characteristic of Autism is lack of empathy.

It’s important to know that it isn’t narcissism per se that defines the Autistic. It is how the Autistic works with their tendency toward narcissism, self-absorption and lack of empathy. If the Autistic takes responsibility for their narcissism and truly wants to repair the rifts that their unempathic behavior creates, then there’s hope for the relationship.

On the other hand, if the Autistic believes that their singular narcissistic worldview is all that matters, then it’s probably irrelevant that they’re diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). This person tips toward narcissism and that’s how they need to be treated.

If you’ve wasted too much of your precious life trying to accommodate an ASD narcissist, whether it’s a family member, coworker or neighbor, then I invite you to join our Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Meetup. We have monthly discussions that will help you deal with this crazy making life.

Our next free international teleconference: How is Autism different than Narcissim? will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 2:30 PM. You’ll find out how to distinguish whether it’s narcissism or Autism that you’re dealing with. That makes all the difference in how you’ll respond.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and you need some 1-on-1 with me to discuss your situation privately, please feel free to contact my office and we’ll schedule an appointment to discuss ways to improve your situation.

22 Replies to “Autism or Narcissism – How Can You Tell?”

    1. Thanks for your question. Empathy is a difficult subject to discuss with regard to Autism. Technically autistics do lack empathy, by the very definition of autism. However, this does not mean that autistics lack heart, or compassion, or sensitivity. It’s just that empathy is a social skill which allows us to know ourself in relation to others. For the narcissist this knowing is to accomplish their one sided goal, without concern for how this affects others. For autistics there may be caring for how they affect others, but they may not always get it right. I realize that you may still not agree with me, but empathy is a neutral skill, and it is well documented in the research that it is not a strength of autistics.

      1. As a late diagnosed ASD ADHD female I have a few observations regarding your article. following a backstory and many segways are likely yet I feel relevant to narcissism and empathy deficiency and how it may appear that way to others. I’m going to info dump on this subject so I apologise In advance if it comes across as an assault on your eyeballs but I hope it offers a different perspective and some takeaway and some helpful bits at at the end if someone has a child on the spectrum.

        I was diagnosed at 40, had completed a traumatic yet successful military career spanning 2 decades. I did this because I was clever enough at 16 and years of abuse and trauma from age 5 to know the only way I would survive the adult world was if there was a rule book and structure to follow in a controlled environment.

        Autism in girls wasn’t a thing back then so it was sunk or swim!

        I stuck it out not through enjoyment but through self preservation – understanding that I was different but not knowing why.

        I didn’t know that I was experiencing the world from a completely different lens yet knew outside it would have been worse I just felt thick in areas that most found easy yet stupidly efficient in areas most found difficult.

        I felt like a disappointment my whole life! I can’t begin to imagine how it feels for those who don’t work.

        As the years progressed my masking did too with each rank I made I levelled up, mimicking others, mostly men as I was in a male environment – no one would know just how much extra effort working through the night I had to do to keep up just to stay afloat at work through fear of humiliation. The anxiety associated with the fear of humiliation and criticism alone welcomed OCD tendencies and perfectionism.

        I turned to people pleasing, going to work early so I could avoid being watched and criticised, often manipulated by men that I trusted, it never stopped and socially I was confused so I stopped socialising for my own safety – I didn’t know why.

        I didn’t know how to explain to my own family what had happened to me as I felt it was my fault and it was too traumatic to say out loud I held a lot of resentment for them too and with the distance communication was non existent.

        They couldn’t understand and I couldn’t explain in a way that they could understand so I felt invalidated . I was also so stressed keeping up appearances with work that I didn’t have the spoons to do both either but I still visited sent presents home and the usual commercial stuff as that’s all I knew how to do.

        Isolation and poor social skills is expensive!! .

        I worked alongside my abusers
        I was constantly outcast from social groups , Manipulated, bullied and assaulted both verbally and physically in and out of work, Suffered narcissistic abuse many times. It seems we have a beacon for it.

        To say this was traumatic is an understatement!

        For years I had no idea that everyone lied for their own self interest – it never occurred to me at all.

        I had no idea I was masking – why would I? But I constantly changed every part of myself thinking that’s what everyone must do.

        I had no idea that honesty and integrity are a fallacy and I only learned this when I was promoted into a contracts where it was evidently a social game. I started to see how social status is used to gain kickbacks and niceties among upper echelons. It made me ill!

        When I left my only remaining mask was regimented and black and white, I had no new material after completely switching off my emotions I was like a robot – existing with a really dark sense of humour.

        Ive read a lot of things about ASD and Narcissism and I can understand why it may come across that way as a result of my own emotional blunting due to scripting errors and mind blindness.

        What I can say is that the experience looking out was and still is traumatic, confusing, demoralising, batters self esteem and identity and made me question my own judgement and isolate myself completely for 4 years.

        The narcissists still pop up but I’m so done with it I can’t let anyone in anymore.

        We are not narcissists but develop coping mechanisms over years of trauma which makes us appear that way is my only guess.

        I have such strong empathy with others that I can’t ask for help – I may not be able to put myself in someone else’s shoes so to speak but I do sense attitudes towards me and study others routines to make a logical assessment.

        I don’t have the dopamine reserves for inauthentic people it’s not through choice, I just don’t have it and find it exhausting trying so keep my reserves for those few I have love for and are good to me.

        I can feel what people don’t say which is often a curse as it’s overwhelming which leaves me to isolate further. I can feel a room – how is that? I know when someone’s lying to me but I don’t know how to respond/help them. It’s a different type of empathy altogether.

        I can offer practical advice and help but I still don’t understand what people want from me and I’m still learning now after years of adjusting my true self.

        We often feel….
        Lonely in a room full of people
        Misunderstood
        Mute/overexplaining
        Traumatised
        Invisible
        Isolated

        I still don’t get the social game – I’m like a dog, I have no idea whats going on but want to be included anyway.

        I sometimes forget that I don’t like it as I over share or go mute, make it weird so go off grid to process and self loathe.

        I can make friends but don’t know how to keep them – the few I do have deserve a medal.

        I can’t stand gossip (seems to be most females side job) so can’t converse on anything less than functional and become uncomfortable when chit chat develops although I do like femininity and fashion so that’s always a good conversation starter which I think confuses others and makes me a target.

        I’m only learning now that my body language is off! I’ve probably been flirting and having eye sex with people, displaying arrogance, intimidating others unintentionally, overstepping boundaries for years and wouldn’t know it.

        I’d sometimes have an epiphany 4 years later that I hadn’t noticed I was being flirted with!

        Take home points –

        1. Explain to your children Why they mustn’t do something and not only the consequences but the whys, be very specific and use visuals and role play. 2. Fully educate them on how the capitalistic world works so they can understand it – saying “stop that” or “quiet” is not helpful and results in mutism! Use visuals YouTube “RSA Events” – it’s life changing!!

        3. Socialising, body language and emotional intelligence is often missing from the hard drive it can be developed through constant practice but it needs updating with age! (I’m not suggesting masking as it’s dangerous – yet the ability to be social with a tool box when needed can be a godsend especially for girls) there’s a really good descriptive mood wheel online. Most of my life I’ve only recognised confusion, overwhelm, sad, uncomfortable, fear, humiliation and on the rare occasion excitement and there are so many more to explore introspection and moods.

        Explain feelings to them and help them feel, understand and know what to do to change them and sitting with them.

        Personally I have a knack of sitting on one miserable thought usually trauma and get stuck in a loop I’ve been on the same thought for over a year now – which is dangerous as my scripting is faulty, I have no other perspective and lack identity self worth which adds to the problem.

        a. Use role play, read about body language and facial expressions regularly, play games, teach hidden meanings, verbal and non verbal body language.

        Confirmation bias is soul sucking!

        b. Ask your child what they’re thinking and explore new perspectives with them, people watch and ask them what they think a passer by might be thinking and why. Get away from tell and create experiences so they can see and hear it!

        C. Read to your kids and get them to question everything early! Celebrate with them, recognise the good in them and don’t berate them.

        Teach them what is ok in public and why, not just theory but do it with them, what’s ok to talk about at home and why, what’s ok at school and why – also what’s not acceptable and why! Give examples of potential outcomes good and bad.

        Teach them safety and why and others perspectives positive and negative and why people lie.

        Just Telling them off is not sufficient!

        No child should ever have to suffer in this way.

        Is it any wonder that we come across as narcissists with such faulty scripts from trauma, trauma, trauma?

        An ASD child’s brain is constantly creating rules throughout life – take the opportunity to explain the most effective rules and how to love and respect themselves.

        We have to see it with our own eyes and hear it with our own ears to believe it.

        If your child embarrasses you in public, don’t humiliate them take the time to sit with them and role play perspective of others. You can replace most discipline by using teaching opportunities when appropriate.

        Selective mutism comes from anxiety, trauma, fear of saying the wrong thing, upsetting the listener etc and if the listener uses words such as “what’s wrong with you?”
        “You look like you just don’t care”
        “You’ll never be happy”

        You isolate and avoid that person too.

        I can’t begin to tell you the horrible things family have said to me in the past and I still could t stand up to them regardless as I felt having someone was better than no-one!!

        Explain social hierarchy

        You will have to listen with more than just your ears and eyes!!

        Teach yourself and them about how amazing their neurology is and focus on their strengths.

        We can be pretty amazing!

        It’s lonely being the 1% but it’s also the differences that can make such an impact on the world!!

        That is all

        I know I’m Not a narcissist and I don’t lack empathy 😊 I may not have NT empathy but I have my own.

        1. Hi Trisha. It is so kind of you to be vulnerable and share your story. Your comments show me that opening up my blog and my websites is paying off. We need to hear more stories like yours, to fully understand the range of human experience — and human suffering. In your case, it appears after years of confusing masking and living through abuse, you have found the energy to help others. Bravo! No one should have to go it alone with ASD. I hope more people find this post and take heart in our advice. Thank you.

          1. You’re welcome. I see so many posts and articles about autism and narcissism and it’s really hurtful to read as it’s a blanket statement.

            Narcissists come from both tribes – conditioning, environment and being dismissed and shut down by care givers plays a huge role in it.

            It’s so important to understand the neurology of your children rather than dismissing them if they’re not meeting your expectations – Education and awareness is key. Love and support absolutely crucial!

          2. I just saw the trailer for the new movie about Mr. Rogers. It made me think about how easy it could be to see the best in everyone.

        2. Wow, excellent post and my eyeballs are just fine! I do want to thank you for your honest and thoughtful reply. I’m a 60 year old woman who’s has been living with/raising Aspie boys and men my entire life. At first, I couldn’t attach lack of empathy to any of the men in my life. I now see it as some aspects of empathy that aren’t present. They are all pleasant, generous and loving men.
          As a mom, I’ve reviewed your take home points several times. I’m even more convinced I have done everything humanly possible to raise emotionally healthy sons. My husband and I are quite bright and were always told our kids would be brilliant. Following my father’s lead, in 1986, I began my quest of emotional healing and realized that would be a greater attribute to model for our children vs expectations of pretenses and test scores. I’ve been a staunch mama bear and at times a mommy bird pushing them to fly. Prior to motherhood I worked with 100’s of other people’s teenagers, including most of the at-risk kids. I was told I had a natural ability to see and touch who they really were. I wasn’t prepared to feel woefully inadequate as a Mom and suffocate under crippling maternal guilt.
          I am still processing the harsh reality that our oldest son (26) isn’t going to change and I’m powerless. If he gets off disability at some point that will be up to him. I didn’t realize that his condition would worsen after high school and continue throughout his 20s. He’s indicated that maybe he would’ve ended up being more productive if we had just been crappier parents. Two minutes later he’ll be angry because we didn’t move to Finland when he was young so that he could have what he perceives to be a better life. We will always love him unconditionally and I hope that he will continue to drop his phone in my hands after saying “Oh here, talk to my Mom she’s really cool everyone loves her.” Despite his brilliance, he won’t be going to college or abiding by the social graces that come naturally to others. My deceased, retired judge, father asked us not to repeat his mistakes from his younger years as a parent. Your post reminded me that though I’m imperfect I kept my promise to our sons-thank you so much for your input.
          As another woman, I identify with much of what you said. In 1974, in a small town, I was emphatically refused when I requested to take wood shop. I received the same response in high school when I wanted to take auto mechanics. Consequently I taught myself how to fix cars. Then I taught myself to sew. I wanted a prom dress and combined 3 different patterns to get just what I wanted-OCD much? I loved cars but I was still a girl and liked pretty things. Even after my counselor told me to major in engineering I graduated high school believing I was stupid.
          For years I seemingly had “Me Too” moments daily and several that were more server. Once I figured out why I stood up for myself and lost my job. That propelled me into a new life expectation of respect. I was very fortunate to have a supportive father through all of that. I still feel lonely at times though. It’s difficult to find other multifaceted women. I’ve confused many people over the years with the dichotomy that is Teresa😊
          So here are my take home points for you:
          1) If you’re like a dog, I love you already!
          2) The OCD behavior I will never “release” are my anal retentive ethics.
          3) I wish I could rewrite the message on your heart that believes your friends should be monetarily rewarded
          4) Self confidence does not equal narcissism
          5) Whether it’s online or in person you’ll always find what you’re looking for, so look for something positive
          6) You’re darn right, Aspie’s can be pretty amazing!
          7) My personal favorite is “I may not have NT empathy but I have my own!”
          Thank you again, I’m touched by everything you wrote💝

          1. Trisha and Teresa, wouldn’t it be amazing to work together to bring this awareness and peace to others? The peace created by two women (one ASD and one NT) who are both human beings struggling through life and continually taking the high road. What gracious healing power your life stories offer.

          2. “He’s indicated that maybe he would’ve ended up being more productive if we had just been crappier parents” – this is a difficult one as I now know with age that my parents intentions were good yet I could sense thier frustration with me always and I didn’t know why and felt responsible by doing everything to please them when in fact we were speaking completely different languages. I think had they not been that way I may not have had the career, travel and finance that career affords me now yet the faulty trauma scripts I’ve implemented from experiences are so ingrained from survival that hyper vigilance is permanently with me as are flashbacks.

            Singing was always my special interest . constant anxiety and fear and knowing I would not survive outside kept me where I was..

            You have a gift in your understanding and patience – I hope that he finds a special interest that serves him financially as they are out there, my experience with boys is that they have a small advantage in that if they can earn, be practically useful and learn some social skills and etiquette it improves their chance dramatically I have more on this which I’m happy to share with you as it may help his motivation too.

            he has a whole life ahead of him to seek his passion and can not afford to sit still for too long reflecting on his differences as he will suffer for a lot longer than he deserves.

            Social awkwardness is often overseen as a cultural difference in other countries – I found on my travels I was very much accepted which felt good.

            You can’t possibly be all things as a parents. His ability to tell you his thoughts and opinions is a testament to you allowing him the space when he’s frustrated with himself to be honest with his thoughts. It fluctuates at times doesn’t it?

            I resented mine for decades but I had to consider the reality that it was a different era and as an adult understand their intentions were not intentionally harmful.
            We are all a product of our own beliefs, upbringings and environments and do our best as we know how.

            You sound like a wonderful and resilient human!! I’d be happy for Kathy to pass on my email address to you should you wish to get in touch xx

            Thank you for sharing your experience xx

        3. Thank you Trisha, I apologize for my delayed response! I’m accustomed to getting alerts in other formats. You are absolutely welcome to get my e-mail from Kathy.
          “I may not have NT empathy but I have my own.” is posted on our kitchen cupboard so I owe you a copyright fee😆

          1. As a short aside Teresa, you can be notified of responses to your posts, if you click the box to receive notifications.

        4. Trisha,

          I went through a traumatic 20 year marriage to a person I knew to be empathetic at times, but cruel, inflexible and unable to start or finish tasks. I held together our family until I finally had enough of him, who could never see my perspective, was constantly critical, and blamed everyone around him for his shortcomings and failures. He suffered long bouts of depression and self-loathing, as you alluded to in your post. I also had no doubt that he was a narcissist–until I started investigating just how much that narcissistic behavior is consistent with high functioning ASD individuals.

          After my dearest friend’s daughter was diagnosed with ASD at age 13, she said to me when I complained about how impossible it was to be married to a man who could never achieve anything, yet blame others (mostly, me, his wife) for his shortcomings and failures, she said very matter-of-factly, “Maybe he’s on the spectrum.” She made me aware of the facts she learned from her daughter’s doctors and therapists. I was finally able to breath a sigh of relief and make some sense of the man who said he loved me but at the same time did his best to destroy my life.

          This was over six years ago. I never believed he was evil, but assumed for a long time that he was a narcissist and that he latched on to me because I was so highly functional, social and capable. Now I do believe that he was attracted to me because I provided all the things he was never able to do because of being on the spectrum. In effect, I was the “face” of everything that made it possible for him to be functional.

          When I had had enough of the stress of having to hold our family together in every way, I filed for divorce. His swift, cruel assault was funded by his rich parents who always enabled his dysfunction. (Bless their hearts, they didn’t know what else to do with/for him.) It destroyed our family and forced me to move thousands of miles away to escape that assault.

          Funny, as soon as I was no longer nearby, his assault stopped. My eldest adult daughter had always said that what he did was all he knew how to do because it was the only way he could deal with me “taking myself away from him.” His response was all he knew how to do to cope with the fear and self-loathing he was faced with while realizing he was all alone in life in his 50s without me there to take care of everything.

          Now my story–and his symptoms–are very different from what you described of yourself, but there are similarities too.

          Thank you so much for sharing, as I truly do not believe my former husband is a narcissist, just a guy doing his best to cope with a tortured existence (much like your description of your own). Knowing this doesn’t make it easier to forgive the horror he inflicted on my and my daughters’ lives, who are more connected to him now than they are to me because they understand how much more he needs them than I do.

          Again, thanks so much for shedding a light on how it feels to be ASD, and how others can view ASD behavior as narcissism. This realization makes it easier to get closer to forgiveness that hopefully I will feel for him eventually.

  1. Narcissism is not a defining trait of ASD and lack of empathy is not included in the definition of autism. Baron-Cohen states that people with ASD are at level 0+ regarding cognitive empathy) whereas the narcissistic and borderline personality are 0-. 0+ means (presumed)deficits in cognitive empathy (correlated with a different Theory of Mind) compensated with high moral standards that protect against acting-out on this presumed deficit. Research shows that people with ASD score high on affective empathy. The hypothesis is that affective empathy can be so high that it overwhelms the autistic person, hindering an appropriately modulated response. Latest researh points inthe direction of better empathy between ASD folks, and between non-ASD people, and worse empathy from both sides (!) between mixed communication (ASD/non-ASD). Non-ASD people lack Theory of Autistic Mind, thereby disabling their empathy towards ASD people.

    1. Hi Janis. There is a frequent misunderstanding that empathy can be parsed into cognitive and emotional empathy, and that somehow if you have one or the other type of empathy, or a fragment of each, that constitutes some empathy. I don’t think of it that way at all. “Aspies” do not integrate the multiple aspects of empathy, and therefore lose the drift of the meaning in a conversation. Plus I don’t think it helps anyone to support the idea that those on the Autism Spectrum have empathy. His leaves both the NT and the “Aspie” without any tools to compensate.

  2. I have a child who is at the very high functioning end of the spectrum. I cannot say for every person with a similar condition, but narcissism is absolutely a defining characteristic of his personality. He genuinely believes that other people are inferior to him in every way, even when he is presented with proof that they are not. He behaves as if others should be subservient to him, and that rules that apply to others should not apply to him. He will often tattle on other kids who break rules, but ignores those same rules completely, always coming up with some justification as to why it’s okay for him.
    The contact information I provide to post this comment will be fake. I just wanted to share my anecdote without signing up for anything.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. And your need for privacy is quite common in this group. Narcissists can be harmful, even if they are your child. Protect yourself.

  3. I am just coming out of a very long term relationship with someone with HFA. His ability to manipulate, control through intimidation; rage, gas-lighting, need to be right, blame everyone but himself,; inabilty to view other peoples perspectives. If anything threatened his world view then violence and damage would ensue, he uses magical thinking in the real sense, thinking he is better than all and can use magik to control his and other peoples lives. The list could go on and on. I thank you Kathy for posting this, there appears to be a greater number of professionals coming out and having the confidence to stand up for us , the NT partners, parents and care takers.

    The Autistic community get massive amounts of support and constantly deny the NT view and experience of them. Pages and pages of autistic people complaining that the world should understand them better, it is not their fault. Some of these people argue on one hand they are autistic, yet on the other that their autism does not have devastating and permanent impacts on other’s health and mental welbeing. The defining characteristic of Autism is a lack of TOM, yet some will shout down any NT who argues that it is their lack of TOM that truly impacts their understanding of other people’s experiences of them. Some talk about how those with HFA have deep empathy. I find this insulting to those of us behind closed doors who watch as they play the intellectual empathy game in the outside world, but show none indoors. Having an intellectual understanding of empathy does not then equate to having it; if you do not really know what empathy feels like, how do you know you have it or not? I am not explaining myself very well.

    After years of research into HFA ; personal change, bending constantly to his will I have realised my recent ex embraced the narcissistic part of himself, it is what kept him safe. I suffered years of abuse at the hands of someone I believed was simply HFA, but I did not exist, only his needs did. I tried to work with him, getting him HFA life coaches, showing him I understood. None of this ever mattered, was recognised,. it just filled his need to be the center of others attention, his needs and desires been fulfilled by yet more people feeling sorry for him. He used his HFA and uses it to be viewed as a victim, to get his needs met, but he is a bottomless pit, he will never be filled and is toxic.

    Sorry for my rant but I plead with all NT’s in a relationship with someone who is HFA and finds themselves having to change too much, losing themselves, their identity, having to put up with behavior that you would not put up with with anyone else. Please seek help, get in touch with a councilor, local women’s domestic violence group, get help to figure out if this behavior is simply HFA or something more. Some HFA people will compromise, work with you, recognise their impact, if they will not then there is something more and possibly harmful going on. If the way you are being treated is something in any other relationship you would call abuse then it probably is.

    Take care of yourselfs

    1. Sara, this is such a powerful post. Contrary to your statement that you are “. . . not explaining yourself very well, you have hit several key points on dealing with an “Aspie” who has “. . . embraced the narcissistic part of himself.”

      1. Listen to your inner voice. If it feels like abuse, it may be abuse.
      2. If an NT has encouraged as much professional help for her ASD spouse as Sara has —- and the ASD spouse still resists change —- they have embraced the narcissism that is inherent in a disorder that lacks empathy (a Theory of Mind is necessary to develop empathy).
      3. Narcissistic “Aspies” are just as toxic as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
      4. If your therapist does not recognize the narcissism in your ASD partner, ditch the therapist, since they may align with the narcissist and cause more damage.

      Lastly, Sara asks for the rest of us to realize what is going on and talk about it. This is one of the reasons I launched the website ASPERGER SYNDROME & Relationships (www.ASD-NTrelationships.com).

      Wake up and take back your life if your “Aspie” has embraced their narcissism. But be very careful about confronting the “elephant in the room.” Narcissists never like being wrong, or humiliated, or made responsible for their actions. They can go to the ends of the earth for revenge.
      You will need more than moral support to get free of a narcissist or a narcissistic “Aspie.”

      1. Kathy,

        Thank you for validating what happened to me when I left my Narcissistic Aspie. He did go to the ends of the earth for revenge! When he was arguing with me about staying married even though our relationship was toxic and becoming dangerous, I asked him why we should remain married. He very calmly and matter-of-factly and said, “Well, I FORGIVE you every day!” And he added, if you don’t (he inserted a long list of demands) I will destroy you, emotionally, personally, financially, and you’ll lose your daughters.” It was that moment when I began my plan to get far, far away as quickly as possible. It took an additional two an a half years of enduring his cruelty and legal assault to escape. Leaving most certainly saved my life in countless ways!

        1. Catherine, you have described very well the devastation that can be caused when an “Aspie” embraces their narcissism. Like you I was also threatened with destruction if I didn’t back off from the divorce. Unfortunately, I didn’t get free for 12 years. It is no small matter to identify the narcissism and find a way to escape.

          1. Kathy,
            Thanks for the validation. When my ASD husband and I went to counseling (as we did many times), the focus was always on if I was complying with the “rules.” At the time I had no idea he was on the spectrum, only that I loved him and wanted to “fix” what was wrong. The result was if I didn’t follow the rules as outlined by the therapist (but defined by him in his context), HE never had to comply with them.

            I sympathize with my best friend who has suffered with her daughter’s ASD, but without her insight, I might never have recognized that I was in danger and had to leave. Sadly, I don’t believe that he knows he is “embracing” his narcissism. I just know that he “thinks he’s right.” Always. And there is no way anyone, even outlining facts the way he demanded we accept his, can convince him that he is wrong.

            Like I said, I hope my forgiveness for him might eventually surface!

          2. Forgive yourself first, for not knowing earlier about his disorder. Forgiveness of him will follow.

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