Composer's Syndrome?

This will be about the autistic spectrum and NPD but I gotta spit first, sorry.  I am in my sixties and sick and freakin tired of being beaten by those who are less able, less intelligent, less sensitive and altogether less brilliant than me MY WHOLE LIFE.  I thought I was going to be a - dunno really, superstar, concert pianist, composer, celebrated person talking to the media... I have experienced what I now know is autism burn-out a couple of years ago.

I am hurt right now because I have just been rejected (that word!!) by an educational establishment, a conservatory, to study for a master's degree in composition.  It was something I sorely wanted to do to get my life back on track.  Because the truth is that I have spent my whole life playing keyboards, writing music, and quite often, talking to the media, the national media. I got quite near to something but couldn't grasp it.  And I think that is to do with autism.  I can't play people in the way I can now see that others do.  That's something to do with not knowing what I "want" or need as well as problematic socialising.

I didn't get any higher education because my father blocked my wishes to study art and my teachers had never recognised my intelligence, ASD not known about then. I left school and started writing music for a heavy rock fusion band, like any good autistic muso kid. Boom!  Dark depressing music.  The important factor here is my father.  He was also a musician, a capable singer but he chose security in a regular job. His father was a musician and his father before.  My father, grandfather and great grandfather once all sang in the same choir.  I am sure my father was autistic and there is diagnosed autism now elsewhere in my family. But I think it may be a particular kind of autism which I haven't seen identified which is linked to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Dad was, in my opinion, classic NPD.  I think I am.  A striking promo photograph of my grandfather is overly posed - he sought professional work.  I think Dad didn't want me to study because he didn't like the idea of me succeeding. I think he was the only person who actually knew how well I understood music from a very early age, I know he did.

There are interesting posts on other forums about Asperger's and NPD, some about very successful people.  I suppose that if I were to say there are certain traits in my family they would include high IQ, a successful narrow field of focus somehow coupled with a pressing need to perform.  My Dad was a very busy amateur, and a very real Agamemnon.  I love the stage but I think my strength is composing.  I do have NPD type traits, disturbingly identical to my fathers but I know that I don't have to be seen to be appreciated.  Asperger's is a self-centred condition and to some extent everyone will exhibit these traits, according to other blogs and I agree.  But I think I am particularly difficult. I have a couple of friends but no peers.  That's what I am looking for in trying to get into a conservatory.  There is something in me that could turn into Marilyn Manson but I have the musical brains that means I can write for large ensembles.  No one ever taught me a thing.  It scores little it seems.

I was going to write some fantastic stormy music dealing with challenging themes - autism for one. I wonder what number of the graduate students that beat me will still be writing music in forty years?  Grrrrrrrrrrr!

NB to NAS:  NPD or Narcissism is not on the available tag list

Parents
  • I think that autism and narcissism are quite different things.  In my experience, narcissists are psychopathic.  They don't really care who they hurt as long as they get their way.  Their status is very important to them and they will manipulate situations in their own favour.  I know many autistic people and am autistic myself.  I could never behave like a narcissist and neither would these people.  They are really the only people I trust.  You said that you can't play people in they way you see others do, so it doesn't sound like you're narcissistic to me.  There's a big difference to being self-centred or self-absorbed (autism comes from the Greek 'autos', meaning self) and being a narcissist concerned only with themselves and bent on damaging other people.  I hope you can do something with your music.  I myself suffered a major burnout a few years ago when my career ambitions fell apart around me, and I was incredulous as to how my performance talents could be overlooked in favour of less talented people.  I don't think it's all about talent, though.  Talent will out eventually is what they say, but it hasn't been my experience.  Lots of people seem to succeed with very little talent at all.  I keep plodding on though and don't let it deter me.

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  • I think that autism and narcissism are quite different things.  In my experience, narcissists are psychopathic.  They don't really care who they hurt as long as they get their way.  Their status is very important to them and they will manipulate situations in their own favour.  I know many autistic people and am autistic myself.  I could never behave like a narcissist and neither would these people.  They are really the only people I trust.  You said that you can't play people in they way you see others do, so it doesn't sound like you're narcissistic to me.  There's a big difference to being self-centred or self-absorbed (autism comes from the Greek 'autos', meaning self) and being a narcissist concerned only with themselves and bent on damaging other people.  I hope you can do something with your music.  I myself suffered a major burnout a few years ago when my career ambitions fell apart around me, and I was incredulous as to how my performance talents could be overlooked in favour of less talented people.  I don't think it's all about talent, though.  Talent will out eventually is what they say, but it hasn't been my experience.  Lots of people seem to succeed with very little talent at all.  I keep plodding on though and don't let it deter me.

Children