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Hi all, My name is Graham, I have signed up, and write this introduction on behalf of my partner Mandy who has Asperger Syndrome, Mandy is 57 , she has had what I would describe as an unfortunate life , diagnosed with "problems" her parents were told she may never walk, and would have severe mental problems , however Mandy from a very young age was a "livewire" and always on the go , however it was evident from the beginning , she was encountering difficulties in understanding , and was treated as if she was a problem child, that no one seemed to want to help, her Mum and Dad spent most of the time running pubs , and so Mandy was on her own ,often locked in a small room for her own "safety" .

things did not improve when she started school , and was either used or blamed by others, as Mandy's inability to understand so much that most of us take for granted made her a target for bullies, it soon became clear that Mandy just did not fit in, at school , as I am sure most of you are aware that in those days Asperger Syndrome was not recognised by the medical profession , Mandy feels that whenever something bad happened in school the other girls would often point the finger at her ,knowing that no one would believe Mandy. at 10 Mandy was sent to a boarding school for young ladies with "special needs", unfortunately anyone with a problem even naughty children were included , and Mandy soon fell in with the wrong type and found herself in "hot water" on many occasions.

During Mandy's time at school , she recalls being caned many times being made to sit on the "naughty chair " or stand in the corner with a dunces hat on, on a couple of occasions she says she was plunged head first into freezing cold water (by the teachers) to "calm" her down.

Mandy is a lovely girl (now woman) who craves friendship, but cannot seem to work out exactly how to accept that not everyone thinks as she does and Mandy can be very obsessive about friendships, not only wanting to keep in touch daily, but even bang on the same times of day , not realizing that most people don't want that sort of commitment and often are too busy at a given time . every aspect of Mandy's Day has to be in the form of routine , any noticeably change and "Meltdown" a scene no one will ever forget ,it can be highly distressing and leave an unforgettable mark on any one that witnesses one of Mandy's meltdowns. a nice mannered woman can turn into a monster with the most vile language one will ever hear , however the Meltdown is highly distressing for Mandy too , and here only impulse is to get out of the situation she is in and be on her own to calm down ,afterwards she is full of remorse and I have learned over the years to let this whole process run its course and just be there for her afterwards .

Mandy's behaviour can change in an instant though its usually a number of factors that have been "bottling up" that explode into fury at a seemingly small irritation or annoyance, that most people would simply turn and walk away from.

I met Mandy about 12 years ago , after a Marriage to an abusive thug of a man who abused and terrorized Mandy both mentally and physically , Mandy was again living on her own ,she had been placed in a sheltered accommodation, but it was doomed from the start, and there were lots of problems between Mandy and the other residents , we met via a pen pal website and after meeting up a month later , we had a rocky first few years , Mandy's regular meltdowns and inability to empathize caused great distress for both of us ,and I must confess I came pretty close to giving up a few times, its been a long haul but finally we have both settled into a combined routine that pretty much works , and after years of not getting any support Mandy is finally hungry to learn new things again and life is slowly getting easier .

I thought that if I could find a forum where she could communicate with others who may understand more about how life is for her, it may help even more, I will await (hopefully ) for some replies before unleashing Mandy (LOL) onto your forum.


thanks to those of you that managed to get this far without falling asleep.

gratefully yours, Graham


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Hi Graham


It sounds like Mandy could have complex PTSD alongside her autism. Despite what some MH authorities try to say you can have autism/aspergers and complex trauma at the same time.

Although you are trying to help your friend, i don't appreciate the label 'naughty children'. They could have been abused, autistic, neglected or something else. Emotional Behavioural Disorders (EBD) is the politer term. I've had bullies and EBD kids pick on me at school as well. The cold water dumping is to stimulate the vague nerve as it slows the heart rate down. However using it as a punishment is really nasty.

I've had really bad meltdowns in the past, some of these have been helped with medication (low therapeutic dose of Risperdal as other types of medication tend to trigger off my anger), some with EMDR (a form of treatment for CPTSD which is expensive and a nightmare to obtain on the NHS), others by avoiding gluten, dairy and benzoates (took a year to get out my system with nasty but worthwhile side effects) and also physical pain medication and physiotherapy.

I still have problems such as rejecting any form of pressure from people including folk who i have felt supportive in the past. Regaining trust after mine (and also in Mandy's case) experiences can be a lifelong process. Your way of handling her meltdowns is the best way it is really difficult to snap me out of mine at times. But they're are much lesser because a) my main abuser is dead B) i have a CPTSD diagnosis and c) i have a treatment plan which i keep prodding the NHS to take responsibility for implementing.

It is a myth that people on the autism spectrum are unable to empathise, we do empathise it just doesn't work properly or as well as so called normal people. The thirst for knowledge in trauma survivors can be never ending and I hope you can continue to support and help her.


As a moderator i am asking how are readers going to know if Graham is posting or Mandy is posting? it would be preferable for you both to have separate accounts on here.

Hope my post makes sense, feel free to ask if there is anything you don't understand.

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Dear Graham and Mandy.

I've only joined this forum (the first one I've ever joined) about 2 days ago, so please bear with me. I stumbled across your post and it struck a chord with me. Judging by what you've written, Graham, it's evident that Mandy has had a really tough life. Mandy is only about six years older than me, and so there is much about the kind of punitive environment which she describes growing up in that feels very familiar in many ways, though in others it's fair to say that I've probably been more fortunate.

I was born in 1965 and had a working class upbringing in the London borough of Haringey. After being told I was profoundly autistic and would probably end up in an institution, my parents were more or less sent on their way; autism was not, at that time, widely understood and so, understandably I suppose, my parents didn't really know what to do with me. Throughout childhood from when I was about two and a half, I was prodded, poked, tested, and generally regarded as a curiosity by expert personnel but all throughout I was pretty much left to fend for myself in the bearpit environment of mainstream education, because I 'miraculously' began to talk when I was about four years old.

Like Mandy, I was a target for bullies throughout, partly because until I was 9 I was placed in classes with children a year or two younger than myself. A big factor is that like Mandy, perhaps, there were, and still are, so many things which other people are able to grasp just 'like that', as if by osmosis, which I either failed to understand or was simply 'blind' to the information coming in and how to process it. What I was never blind to, however, was how impatient people could become with me, or their derision, however well they thought they were concealing it (often they didn't bother). I was a very timid child, always afraid and on the alert for punishment. This was probably because the adults tended to be inconsistent; all sympathy for a grazed knee, but unable to cope with my 'over'sensitivity, so that I was always being told to toughen up. I never knew from one minute to the next what was about to happen. At school, the bullying was mainly verbal and psychological, though I was forced to commit humiliating acts always under threat of violence, or that they would tell certain things about me to the whole school. At home, I was regularly told I wasn't normal, and taught to feel that the bullying was my fault. It was an environment in which my weaknesses and failures were noticed more than my strengths.

The bullying has continued throughout my life, in work, and even during a 2013 stay in hospital. The awful thing is that because it is often so difficult to translate feelings into words, and because experiences such as Mandy's, and mine too, are so very different from those of most people it's almost like we're trying to communicate something for which there is no common language anyway. There is also the very real frustration of knowing that one's verbal description of any given thing is generally far below our comprehension, and that most people tend not to make allowances.

I know for my part the kind of explosions of temper which causes suffering to both me and my husband is due to frustration, and usually occurs when I've become saturated with too many things having gone wrong over the course of a day, on top of all the failures and traumatic incidences of my life. I hate this because I know it hurts my husband who is the one person who has stayed by my side, through thick and thin, and really tried to walk a mile in my shoes. My casual observation here is that you seem to be doing the same for Mandy. I feel glad for her, as it seems that at last there is a good person in her life, to give her the support, understanding and friendship that she deserves, and who can see her for who she really is.

Take care, Mandy and Graham. Hope that this might be of some help to you. Needless to say, Hope to talk with you again.

Kindest regards - Jo

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