Day Nine: For All the Times You Wouldn’t Hold Me (Undiagnosed Father with Aspergers)

Day Nine: For All the Times You Didn’t Hold Me  (Undiagnosed Father with Aspergers)

I first wrote this excerpt several years ago, when I was not yet diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and had no reason to look for traits in my father. The short vignette shows remarkably well the earmarks of Aspergers: the lack of affection, emotional distance, need for order, obsessive hobbies, and self-interest. I am thankful I documented my personal experience with an innocent perception. In rereading and sharing this truth, I am further healed and graced with a deep understanding of my father navigating through life the best he knew how.

For all the times you couldn’t say it: I love you, Dad.

And for all the times you wouldn’t t hold me: I forgive you.


Though I was deemed a full-fledged adult by all societal standards, the late summer day I strolled into my father’s house hauling a large plastic sack of weathered stuffed animals and my plastic piggybanks, I was still very much a child.  In the previous years, had I been afforded ample time with my father, I might very well have exuded a glowing aura of self-confidence and formidable strength, instead of the bubble of palpable vulnerability I steadily emanated…

(available in the book Everyday Aspergers)


8 thoughts on “Day Nine: For All the Times You Wouldn’t Hold Me (Undiagnosed Father with Aspergers)

  1. You are correct in that our fathers sound very alike. I used to think that if only I was smarter, or better behaved, or prettier, or talented…. or something, just anything, then he’d care more. I have tried to hint at the fact that he may have AS, hoping that nothing else it will at least give him some answers to his own why’s in life, even if he’ll never share them out loud. Don’t know if he has ever considered the notion, though.

    1. Yes.I thought they did, too. My dad actually said last month, “Hey, that sounds like me. Maybe I have it, too.” I was floored. We only talk on the phone every couple months. Now, as all these memories resurface in a different light, and can understand his behaviors (and mine) so much more. I really appreciate you taking the time to connect. I think there is a secondary-condition for females raised by Aspie dads–there is a definite void and missing. Keep in touch.

  2. Such sadness at reading this post. It says what I’ve known since my diagnosis nearly a year ago – and explains the absence of a partner in my life despite positive and lovely people – men and women – every which way I look.

    It explains my constant ache for someone to hold me and my running away from people who do just that. It explains my being a martyr to this need. And my exhaustion from a lifetime of over achieving only to then belittle whatever I manage to accomplish (climb a mountain/ get a job at the university/ have a baby/ get an M.A.) when it doesn’t get the desired reaction or response from my father.

    1. Your words are beautiful, and so filled with pain. I am sorry for this loss, and know it well. I hope you can find some peace in recognition and understanding. Much peace, I’m sending your way. ~ Sam

  3. Samantha,This resonates deeply within my soul.My father much like yours did all he knew of to do.I used to ask myself what was he doing,why he wasn’t like other dads.He had no help or diagnosis back then.I never could understand why he couldn’t show emotion,or why lack of affection came more easily to him than simple kind words,or appreciation.I have had my own journey through this Asperger’s place.I know it,I live it, and respect my father now more than I ever could. It has only been through a greater understanding of this place we both know, that I have been able to do this,and now also answer that question of worthiness with an astounding “Yes.” I DO deserve good in my life,I AM worthy of love and loving relationships,(even if I am still trying to figure out what those are).

    1. Wonderful 🙂 Thank you for sharing. Wonderful about the last part, the “worthy” part. I came to that place a few years back. Very freeing. I love me. Understanding my father has helped to heal me as well. Thank you for taking the time to comment and expand on the subject. Sam 🙂

  4. Wow. My dad too. I just recently have decided that if he won’t venture into my world, I am woman enough to stomp around and make ruckus in his for a while. I have long since forgiven him. He can’t be anything other than who he is. I think the day I realized he would always be that way something died inside. Then, the day I realized I was just me and that was okay, that part of me was ressurected.

Thank you for your comments :)

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