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.
I watched this yesterday after reading about it in the forums.
I cut him and the programme makers some slack.
The title Aspergers and Me
The intention as he said was to show what it was like to be him.
it was very brave of him to do that and reveal how it is for him, leaving him open to criticism from everyone for a condition that have such effects on him.
He's opened the door for discussion and enlightenment at the risk of making himself look like an ogre and to be shot down in flames for it.
I thought it was unfair to pressure him to go to the graduation.
The programme was about Packham's Aspergers and clearly through the programme he has difficulty connecting and it seems that the dog was the conduit for the connection and greeting, maybe he was eager for that (love me, love my dog) rather than being aggressively demanding and dominating.
He's clearly had it with people, but not laboured the points of what and why, he's looking for peace and calm and luckily for him he has got a house in a remote location and is finding the control he needs for his peace and calm. Good for him. It's not possible for all Aspergers to do that, maybe not all Aspergers want that, but there is a point across that some need to have that remoteness even if they can only manage some down time in a peaceful room now and again - highlighted by his room with the blinds.
I don't have any sympathy for the two females, they've known him all those years and know the score with him, I could cynically wonder if he didn't have the fame and fortune if they would be around him now or if they'd have been gone long ago.
I would like to second Jedders' comments.
As I mentioned earlier, Chris Packham should be applauded for making the programme. Yes, he is more fortunate than most people with autism but that does not detract from the programme (particularly as he acknowledged that he is more fortunate than most).