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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have a friend who is a man 44, he comes from a big

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I have a friend who is a man 44, he comes from a big drinking family, he has been drinking since 16. He has been in rehabs since 2007 in and out, his mother constantly makes appointments for him drs etc, and is in contact all the time, he has never actually ever left home, always kept his address at home has had 4 girlfriends. He has never married or had children, his Mum and Dad do everything for him. He asks for there advise for everything. He seems to need there appoval for everything hiding girlfriends from his family he is very quite around them changes when away. I've heard his father call him usless, this man of 44 has told me he dislikes his father, the father drinks everynight in front of his son who has been made to go to rehab by his parents, cause of his drinking, then when he gets drunk he gets into alot of trouble. I have watched his mother follow every move before rehab want let him out of her sight. He cant stand any constructive critisim. I asked him once does he think he is emotionally retarded through his mother over mothering him. he told me his mothers, mother over mother her. I went with him once to a phycharist and he said he has social Phobia. His mother makes excuses for any bad behaviour using he has mild asbergers, diagnosed 2007 when he lost his job being admitted to rehah after going to a work function and drinking vodca and ended up in intensive care with a split head and could not be woken. so they thought he has aspbergers, as there grandchild has obvious aspbergers. I have observered this man of 44 even attending rehah several times, his father and mother saying he can drink tonight cause its his Dads birthday I am concerned for my friend and was wondering if you have any theary on this. He is like a child in a mans body. He has held a job for 21 years for the government and had to be home for dinner at a certain time as he told me and the pressure was hugh.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You seem to be a normal person with normal expectations of what adult life should be like. You are describing, though, in your friend someone who does not appear to be normal and who does not have the ability to have a normal view of what adult life would be like. And to further complicate this, he has parents who are enabling a dysfunctional view.

I cannot, of course, diagnose in a forum of this type based on information presented here. That he was diagnosed with mild Aspereger Syndrome (AS) helps tremendously in giving a framework for understanding your friend's pattern of behavior. Especially his tendency to use people for needs rather than to form true reciprocal relationships, which accounts for the first diagnosis of social phobia. With AS, it is not social phobia, it is part of the disorder that there is an inability to form proper social relationships. As the AS gets worse, the symptoms get worse. Some people with AS can't look at people in the eye, for example, or can't sustain a meaningful conversation. That can be interpreted as social phobia at first.

That he's high functioning at work is very consistent with mild AS. When there are tasks that require non-emotional skills, AS people can perform very well. But when it comes to people skills, they have a very hard time and they tend to not do well in those jobs or those aspects of jobs.

But there is another factor here that is tragic: his mother's enabling. If you want to have a more detailed understanding of this, I recommend doing a Google search on "enabling". I recall doing that once for someone and the top entries seemed useful for a general knowledge.

Now, in his mother's defense, with AS it is very hard to raise a kid once they get a little older because that's when they stop being "normal" in social ways. And the mother most likely didn't have a clue how to handle this. She just knew probably that her son was having difficulties so she tried to be helpful. As he got older, when he didn't get any better, she just got used to doing things for him and it became part of her life and something natural. But it is enabling.

And it fed into the father's alcohol issues. That's where her enabling really became probelmatic because the father also enables him as it lets the father defend his own problems. So the three of them have created a web of entanglement based on enabling. Not at all healthy.

I don't know if you want to take the time to read more about AS. But if so, let's start with a very brief synopsis of AS by one of the top experts in AS, Tony Attwood:

If that made you want to learn more, you can continue with one of these two more scholarly discussions. This first one has an AS quiz at the end. Scroll down to it and just read the questions and see informally whether a lot of these apply to him. No need to formally try to use the quiz at all:

Or instead (or in addition if you have the patience) here is a US government article on AS with the diagnostic criteria that may be easier to navigate through than the quiz above:

So, again, once you said he was diagnosed with AS the picture became much more clear and in focus. And the enabling of the parents made sense more as I could imagine them dealing, when he was younger, with his lack of social skills and abilities and his lack of understanding how to be with people in good and healthy ways. Unfortunately, they enabled his lack of skills rather than helping him gain those skills.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thankyou so much this all makes alot of sense to me know.

You're so welcome and I wish you the very best!

Dr. Mark