Coming To Terms With A Sibling's Aspergers

My older sister has aspergers and unfortunately I wasn't fully aware of her disorder until a few years ago. My parents never really discussed it with me and for most of my life I just thought she was weird and abnormal. The only reason I now know that she has aspergers is because I asked my psychology professor about it and then did some of my own research.

My sister and I don't share the same father (her father is dead) and my dad doesn't seem to understand her disorder at all or is in complete denial. My dad acts as if he resents her and laughs at the odd things she says. Aside from living in the same house, he stays out of her life as best as he can. This puts all of the responsibility on my mom and I. My mom does an amazing job at helping my sister but she's also the one who deals with most of the temper tantrums and other negative things as well. I know that my dad's lack of understanding isn't all his fault, he's also trying to cope and is frustrated just like my mom and I, but I do think he could be more sympathetic. I think if both my parents were supportive of her and knew how to better handle someone with aspergers then my family would have less problems.

I've always wondered why my parents never talked with me about my sister's disorder. I wish they had so I could have understood her better and possibly have had a healthier relationship with her. I always thought she was just being nasty and a terrible person and didn't realize that it wasn't her fault. Growing up with was very difficult and I have always been jealous of people who have had good relationships with their siblings. The bond that supposedly exists between sisters (or siblings in general) is something I've never experienced. Being around my sister makes me depressed and I worry often about how she'll manage after my parents are gone. She's tried to go to community college but never got very far and I doubt she would ever be able to have a real job. I worry about how other people will react to what she says and how it effects how they see me. Almost every situation involving her and other people makes me extremely uncomfortable. If I'm home during one of her temper tantrums I know I'll be too depressed to do much that day.

Over the last few years I've started to think about how growing up with my sister has affected my personality. I think many of her negative qualities have contributed greatly to my own stress and have made me a much more anxious person. Many people don't know it (I'm good at hiding it) but I worry about everything and I have a ton of self doubt.

But, I do think that growing up with my sister has had a positive impact on me in some ways. I became more aware of this while working at my local public library last year. My job was mostly customer service related and, as anyone who has worked this kind of job knows, you have to deal with many different kinds of people. There was a man who has down syndrome who came in frequently to buy books from our bookstore. If I wasn't at the desk he would ask the other employees if I was available to help him because he said that I was much more patient and he felt more comfortable around me.

I went to college out of state and almost never mentioned my sister to anyone I knew there. If the subject of each others siblings did come up I would try to steer the conversation in another direction. A lot of people don't know what aspergers is and I find it hard to explain (I've also found that a lot of people have no idea how to react when I tell them and then things just get awkward). With that said its nice to have found a place where other people know what I'm talking about and can share similar stories. Thanks!
simonlemon simonlemon
22-25, F
Dec 22, 2012