Atypical female Aspergers presentation?

Hi everyone,

I posted a few days back querying the organisational skills of autistic females, which @endymion kindly responded to.

I'm the father of a nine-year-old daughter diagnosed with PDA, with some other autism and ADHD traits on my side of the family, but I'm writing to see if anyone can help with some further insight as feel like my wife has been skirting around the subject of some of her own autistic traits (eg, identifying with some of the behaviour in the recent Chris Packham documentary, commenting that some Aspergers traits sound more like herself than our daughter), but that I have been quite dismissive of it whenever the opportunity to discuss it has arisen over the last couple of years.

We are both approaching 40. I was hoping I could anonymously (sorry if it sounds like I have depersonalised her as a result) share some things about her and see if anyone had any thoughts/recognised common ground. Sorry, it's a long list - just pouring from my fingers really:

  • Super-organised, excellent working memory and time-keeping
  • Fastidious to the point of obsessiveness, especially about our home
  • Excellent self care in terms of hygiene
  • Generally good social skills with new people/acquaintances (eg school gates). Very polite (has worked in customer care roles professionally), rarely mis-steps in formal social situations - good student in school and well behaved at home as a child/teenager.
  • Analyses in intense detail social interactions
  • Seems to sometimes misread between the lines/struggles to understand if people/friends like her if they are not entirely reciprocal/reliable with interactions
  • Good, strong relationship with parents and one sibling
  • Kind, caring nature (intense interests in childhood focused on pets, continued into adulthood - not necessarily desiring pets, but obsessive when it comes to their care)
  • Finds it very hard to switch off. Keeps physically active to point of exhaustion/detriment to health
  • Very black and white thinking
  • Some food sensitivities
  • Affected greatly by PMS
  • Difficulty handling anger
  • Very controlling of environment - eg, complains of having to undertake housework but housework of others is not often up to her standards; upset by mess; if home not exactly how she wants it
  • Sleeps with childhood soft toy as security comforter
  • Hyper critical of self (and close family)
  • Worked in office environment in animal welfare for much of professional life - difficulty with several managers, but no report of things like sensory issues (eg, light, furnishings, patterns, etc) although has suffered from migraines and intense visual migraines
  • Can be unforgiving - often doesn't feel she has done anything wrong/worthy of an apology unless behaviour is pointed out
  • Emotional outbursts/impact of emotions can last whole days or longer
  • Can be demand avoidant
  • Poor sleeper when anxious
  • Perfectionist
  • Hates surprises and change, especially if unexpected
  • Rarely instigates affection
  • Can seem cold, emotionally (towards me), although I know she loves me deeply; questions whether we should be together, mostly because of worrying about impact of her own behaviour/friction/anger, I believe
  • Very defensive when similarities to some of daughter's emotional behaviour/aggression are pointed out
  • Incredibly high levels of anxiety/plagued by near-constant worry
  • Has struggled greatly to accept and often to relate to our daughter being different to her expectations (daughter can be quite extroverted (in family of introverts), offensive, using inappropriate language, mean to younger brother, etc)
  • Doesn't seem to recognise my constant peacemaking efforts/contribution to keeping the ship of our family afloat - instead seems resentful that she cannot handle situations in the same way I do.
  • Suffers with depression - some self harming as a teenager, occasional suicidal thoughts (when under immense pressure) as an adult
  • Doesn't seem to notice impact of own emotional expression/words on others unless these are pointed out to her clearly and specifically and she has time to reflect on them - but even the most gentle, constructive criticism is often viewed as a personal attack on her, even if caveated with the point that it isn't.
  • Very gentle nature, but has kicked and hit me on occasion when experiencing emotional trauma, and has also kicked through a door
  • Frequent martyr-like behaviour - wants and needs help, but rejects offers of help or respite
  • Some self-soothing behaviour: hair fiddling, finger biting, heel-picking, housework, ice-crunching - OCD-like traits not a result of OCD (eg, she does them to feel better, not to avoid bad things happening)
  • Tomboy when a child - two older brothers, closest of which she would observe playing with toys; close friend in primary school was a boy; flitted between social groups in secondary education (girls' school) but no reports of significant difficulty with peers
  • Very creative - excellent artist/illustrator, but dropped out of art college due to pressures and pursued career in animal welfare instead

Phew. I should stop. I was trying to compile a list that was a mix of the traits she has I see as traditionally viewed as autistic, and some less so, like her social ability. Be very interested in any responses, especially from any autistic women, or relations of diagnosed women who can relate to the above list.

Thanks for your time.