Our hearts go to the families of the recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman is a mere 20 year old young adult. There were at least 20 slained victims who were children, mostly 6 and 7 years old. He gunned down all 14 pupils and their teacher, Lauren Roussea in one classroom. Then, he moved on to his next target. HE turned his weapon on himself. Reports also showed that he killed his mother prior to going to the elementary school. So far, the media is putting the pieces together. The nation is dumbfounded.
His brother had indicated that he suffers from some sort of personality disorder. It also came out that he was a “goth dresser” and had been found to be an avid video game player. He lives with his biological mother who was considered by friends and neighbors as outgoing, a typical suburban mother. The reports revealed that his mother has a passion for gun collections indicating his easy access to these weapons.
Foxnews.com reports that investigators, on conditions of anonymity, knew that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a disorder in the autism spectrum.
Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism will now be put to light as they look for clues that will possibly trigger a “madman” scenario. Though, I personally, do not believe that it is Adam Lanza’s Asperger’s Syndrome that caused him to kill these children and his mother, I like to educate our readers on what is Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. I like to briefly discuss the challenges of those with Asperger’s Syndrome, specifically in their teens and young adult world.
Asperger’s teens have an overwhelming need to fit in and make friends. In social events, they may appear quiet and aloof because they are unable to share their thoughts and feelings freely. In intimate conversations between parents and child, they are at a lost for words to explain their side. They start to explain themselves but end up with parents dominating the conversation, extracting information from them because they cannot articulate their thought process. Their perception of reality is quite different. They grow up with many wounds which begin in their early family life. They give up on their family, withdraw and retreat with a general feeling that they are misunderstood. Their interior pain, to common family problems, cannot be uttered. However, they do not forget, though they appear that they do. They learned to play along with authorities but back stab them, calling them “stupid” in arms length.
At other times, they dominate the conversation with their un-modulated voice stirring the conversation to their odd favorite topic, often the subject consuming or obsessing them at the moment.
Many Asperger’s teen have a flat, monotonous, uninterested tone of voice when they are around their family members. On the other hand, when they discover and get a semblance of acceptance from their peers, they can get overly-bubbly, highly energetic and boisterous with their so-called group of acquaintances. Their social circle is very small. In Facebook, they probably have around 198 friends compared to the average of 400 and more for this age group. This shows that they are often overlooked in social circles which they do not mind at all. They surmise that the lack of a steady stream of friends is very normal, since this is what they are accustomed to in their growing up years.
Asperger’s teen are stiff and act like young adults. They are rule-oriented. They get a high on philosophical, esoteric topics and can counter-argue anything according to their reality with much passion and depth. In the game of popularity, they lose because of their deep insecurity, they think that they are extremely bright and brilliant and often take pride with this self-assessment.
Asperger’s teen are extra sensitive to hearing and they are good eavesdroppers. Boys act out their inner disturbance, anger and frustrations by physically attacking a younger sibling, hitting a wall or a car.
In the website called quirkeyyes.com, the site tells this about Aspies, “Unaware that, to spare someone’s feelings, you wouldn’t say something that way or you wouldn’t say it at all, Aspies hurt their parents’, siblings’ and total strangers’ feelings by saying exactly what they think. To them, the truth is the truth—why shouldn’t they say it? This is very typical for our Asperger’s teens—they are purveyors of truth. Their truth. So they do not understand how bad their comments sound because it’s just the truth to them. They have no inkling of their rudeness. And it’s only after the fact that they can be made to understand how much words can hurt, which is surprising since they have been called names before and been hurt themselves.”
In the life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com, this is what it says on violent behaviors of Aspie adults: “In adults, due to social pressures, violent behaviour in public is less common. Shouting outbursts or emotional displays however can occur. More often though, it leads to depression and the Aspie simply retreats into themselves.”
Asperger’s teens are highly distractible that often times, they are brought by their parents to the psychiatrist for trouble organizing their school materials and their frequent inclinations to prioritizing “pleasure before work”. They are inconsistent with their focus and attention that sometimes, they are misdiagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They are very intolerant of mediocre tasks and ordinary homework. Teachers regard them as arrogant because they need an intellectual challenge. They have substantial delay in their motor skills which affects their handwriting and makes them very clumsy.
Many Asperger’s teens, because of their above average intelligence, are high-functioning. They have no problem getting in to the college of their choice. They have no problem with their work ethics.
Their social relationships seem deep and everlasting for them and they often wonder that their friends do not treat them in the same light. They often blame their parents for not being able to have life long friends because of frequent geographic moves.
They will easily blame their parents, school, teachers, or spiritual authority for a perceived fault rather than look at their shortcomings to certain life setbacks. It can never be their fault. Thus, Asperger’s Syndrome teens, when they reach the magic age of 18, leave their family nest because they feel controlled, manipulated and misunderstood. Their parents remind them of the hypocritical rules that they do not believe in.
On the bright side, the Asperger’s teen is genuinely trying to make his world exceptional. They feel a deep need to unite the world to a common ground. They feel very disturbed that family members cannot reconcile, friends cannot get along, the country is ruled by officials that do not hold their values. They become too outspoken that they feel that they have the “final understanding and say” in life’s problems. This gets them into trouble often with authorities in their domestic life and work. Their world is very ideal and very attainable for them. However, they do not understand the social intricacies and natures of family dynamics, conflicts and resolution. They force the puzzles to fit together for their ideal world, but they feel angry and frustrated that the perfect scenario will never happen because their loved ones and friends and authorities in their lives put their foot forward and said “No”.
Unknowingly, Asperger’s teens isolate themselves from their family members because they amplify the little social success they encounter and try to duplicate it in other areas of their life, oblivious to life’s ever changing rules. For example, an Asperger’s young adult might have problems making a young teen girl fall in love with him. He does not mind acting like a fool to get her attention. He might buy her a basket of candies costing “$50” to make an impression on how much he loves her. Unless, the girl dumps him, he continues his massive display of affection and eventually appear to stalk her. However, once an Asperger’s young adult falls in love, he falls in love with whatever the girl stands for. Her family is now his standard of family life. The girl’s religious beliefs and standards become his standard. If he was for example too religious before, he settles to becoming what his girlfriend is with regards to her faith. The girl’s belief system in settling family conflicts is now his value system. He now has a “new world” where he finds himself. He now belongs to someone. He is now successful because he has a girl that is sticking up for him and adores him.
With the new found happiness, he now gets back at his family for creating the “dysfunction” in his previous life. He remembers the social isolation, the childhood he lost, the heartbreaks of teen life, the boundaries that was set for him so he can function in society – all these were blamed to the parents or to the authorities in his life because his past was unhappy, isolated and full of despair. The challenges of his disorder led him to a childhood that was very painful. He attempts to correct the dysfunction, because in his Asperger’s mind, this is the correct intervention to do. He tries to correct his parents and their way of life and their belief system. Because he is high functioning in society, his education and his love life, he thinks there was nothing wrong with him in the first place. And, that everything in the past resulted from his poor upbringing.
The Asperger’s young adult tend to attack the most important figure in their lives, the one who raised them, nurtured them and loved them. In the case of Lanza, his Mom. This is the person who did not abandon him when their family divorced. This was the person who loved him for who he was.
In the Connecticut gunman’s life, it was his MOM who was supposed to be his hero. Where was his father? His father abandoned him and gave custody to the mother because he has “special needs” though this will never come out documented. If a father truly loves and understands his child, he knows that it is very important that he is ever-present in his child’s life. He will make sure he has equal custody if not sole. However, he was absent for certain periods in his life. Yet, his mother was the ever-present figure in his disturbed world. Whether she did good or bad, she was the one who took the responsibility to nurture this special child and give him the boundaries he needs to function in society. When he was growing up through the confusing teenage world, it was the mother who was there 7 days a week. In the news, it showed that his father have not seen him for at least a considerable time (months or even years). Thus, though it is easy to put the blame on the Mom for raising a disturbed child and not addressing his needs to prevent a monstrous act like this, we cannot discount the fact, that his Mom did her part, she showed up daily in his life.
The important point I want to make here is the MOM could only do so much for a child with a disorder. Before she gets finally blamed in this horrible evil, I want my readers to know that those who took the responsibilities to take a challenging endeavor to raise “disturbed children” undertook a heroic feat. And, they should never ever expect that their broken children will ever be grateful. The blessing they can hold on to is “they gave this child a safe home, with all its imperfections, when the other spouse chose the easy way out of their lives.”
At one point and time, these young adult Aspies must make decisions in their lives. But, to blame the parent who took responsibility to house these children, feed them, school them, and give them a semblance of normal life, bring them for psychological help, show them the path to God is not painting an accurate picture.
The question that you should ponder is: If this Mom or Dad did what the other parent did, that is, abandon them and leave them to the other parent because these children are challenging, could their lives have been different? Or much better? Could this monstrous act be prevented?
What drove Lanza to kill these children is pure evil. It is not their Asperger’s or mental illness. Lanza opened the door to a “dark world” that he only knows and can justify. This dark world could be in cyberspace. It could be a group of gamers playing role-playing violent games like Warcraft, Diablo and such. And, a vulnerable person with Asperger’s could have gotten social acceptance in this group. It now became his family. Thus, his belief and value system became misguided. This door in the dark world opened a gate, where evil can mess around with him, enough for him to blame, hate and kill the person who raised and nurtured him – his mom. This may sound unfathomable and beyond comprehension. However, this is what EVIL does – it perverts anything that is good. It destroys families which our Lord has put together. Evil points and blames everyone else, except itself.
For more articles to understand people with Personality Disorder, you may wish to read the following:
Leave a comment
No comments yet.