Did anyone else find the Chris Packham show (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09b1zbb/chris-packham-aspergers-and-me) worrying?
Had Chris chosen to be single, I would have applauded every aspect of this show and agreed wholeheartedly with his horror at the 'curative treatments' he witnessed in the USA / sentiment that his Aspergers was an intrinsic and positive part of his make-up.
But he isn't single, and I was horrified at how casually the show treated the dysfunction in his relationship with Charlotte.
He admitted to having difficulty in empathizing with other humans. The only feeling he expressed for Charlotte was gratitude that SHE loved HIM; he showed her no affection, avoided physical contact with her, said that he only knew how long they'd been together because she had told him (10 years), aggressively forced her to greet his dog before he otherwise acknowledged her after a significant period of time apart... for her part she acknowledged many difficulties in the relationship but the show presented her concluding that it was worth it because she so admired how his mind works. Was that just editing? Can it really be enough? Surely anyone can admire how his mind works, it doesn't mean that you have to be in an exclusive 'romantic' relationship / 'partnership' with that person to witness it.
I worry for her enormously, because I am only just now recovering from a "catastrophic" end to a relationship with a man on the Autism Spectrum. I wrote on this forum about it last year. The short version of it is that I supported him for years, and he ended our relationship a few hours after my Dad's traumatic death because HE found it too intense.
There was more too, but beyond the scope of this post. It's impossible to express the psychological impact these events have had on me, it was devastation upon devastation. That was about a year and a half ago. It has been a very tough time and although I'm starting to pull through now, my own mental health has been in the toilet for most of it.
What is a relationship for if not reciprocal intimacy and support? The show completely glossed over his really unpleasant attitude to humans in general, and Charlotte in particular. In addition, I'm concerned that the show may have given the impression that treating a partner with such disdain is acceptable. It's not.
I completely agree that Aspergers has unique potential to offer a whole other set of intellectual skills which are of enormous value to humanity, but it is my opinion that it is irresponsible for someone who does not have the capacity for human empathy to be involved in a romantic relationship.
Chris Packham has just posted a thank you which is worth reading:http://www.chrispackham.co.uk/news/aspergers-and-me-thank-you
Got emotional reading that...particularly the p.s’s
I think that a great many NTs watching the programme DID look at Charlotte, sitting there all alone, and thought they could detect her feelings being potentially neglected and hurt by aspects of her relationship...
However, I didn’t interpret CPs treatment of her to be ‘negative’ 'dysfunctional' or that of ‘disdain…’ that’s the whole point with NDness really, it’s not appropriate to interpret behaviours or intentions through an NT worldview.
Accordingly, I interpreted CPs behaviours and feelings towards Charlotte and his relationship as simply being a part of who he is; and a very frank and honest insight into exactly what he is personally prepared to do or give (and not do or give) in his relationship with her...
It is highly personal and up to us all, as individuals, (NT and/or ND) to decide exactly what we are prepared to give and do in a relationship…and our choice alone also as to what we are prepared to accept or not accept from others too?
And so I think it is really Charlottes business alone to decide what she is prepared to accept or not accept in her relationship and from CP?
One mans meat is another mans poison after all.
I am, however, really glad that you are starting to now 'pull through' what sounds like a really awful time of it.
Ps. It really is so very interesting how we do all interpret the world, people and events so differently....I interpreted CPs 'insistence' on Charlotte 'greeting the dog' as a result of him perhaps feeling embarrassed and perhaps not knowing how to manage greeting Charlotte (the initial intimacy of being face to face with one another) after having spent time apart...
Very perceptive of you.....and particularly with the added complexity of a camera crew looking on.... x