Asperger’s and the Need to Control and Instruct
People with Asperger’s often act in an egocentric manner and come across as rude or arrogant. While they may not mean to be like this, they do not pick up on the social signs that they are being offensive and may be shocked when a friend or colleague becomes angry. The tendency to be controlling manifests in various ways which include the following:
- Children with Asperger’s often show control issues from a young age. They try and control play sessions and may be shunned as they refuse to take turns or listen to the other children’s ideas.
- A person with Asperger’s often monopolizes a conversation and does not appear to be interested in the other person’s thoughts or contribution. They may go as far as to talk over the other person and disregard their attempts to join the conversation.
- Asperger’s and the need to instruct is often associated with a special interest or hobby. The person amasses specialist knowledge on a certain topic and will share this at length with anyone who will listen. This includes strangers they may meet on a train or in the workplace. Once they launch into instruction mode, it is difficult to get away from them.
- In marriage, an Asperger’s partner may make major decisions such as relocating to a new town without consulting their partner. When asked why, they are puzzled over why this is an issue.
- A rejected Asperger’s spouse may stalk their ex-partner, causing fear and grief.
Tips and Advice on Counteracting Control Related to Asperger’s
Family members, friends and colleagues of people with Asperger’s often find it difficult to deal with their controlling tendencies. Rather than ignoring the person or avoiding them, there are ways to help them overcome this problem. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- If the person with Asperger’s control issues is a child, professional play therapy can be helpful. Failing this, arrange for a sibling to play with the child and then gently correct any inappropriate behavior.
- Control is sometime prompted out of anger. This may be caused by an Asperger’s person being ignored or overlooked. If the signs of an impending anger outburst are apparent, suggest accompanying the person on a walk round the park or take them out for a coffee. This may defuse the anger and control issues.
- If a family member has Asperger’s, explain to them that a conversation has to be a two way thing. Teach them how to take turns in speaking and how to read the signs that a person may need to move on.
- Asperger's and the need to control and instruct may become apparent in an office setting. The person may give unsolicited advice to co-workers and try and tell them how to do their job. A person with Asperger’s often functions better when they have an office to themselves and this can also cut back on their instructions to others.
- Some Asperger’s people try and control everything around them to give them some sense of control over their lives in general. If parents or caregivers set up routines for daily life, this can give the person a greater sense of security and may curb their need to control.
Asperger's and the need to control and instruct often go together. While this may be a lifelong problem, people with Asperger’s can overcome the problem through appropriate therapy and also through the help of caring friends and family members.
The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007