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Author Topic: COMPARISON: Aspergers/autism spectrum disorder vs BPD  (Read 6747 times)
T2H
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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2011, 02:36:54 AM »

The independent Australian film Mary & Max is about a girl who seems like she could have BPD, and an Aspie.

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sarah1234
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2011, 06:17:54 AM »

I have an adult friend who is diagnosed Aspergers who I have known for about 18 months. She is quite difficult to be friends with at times. She has a lot of love for her friends, but she struggles with boundaries sometimes. She also speaks what comes into her head without thought to consequences. For instance, she tells me quite a lot that I am overweight and she is not (stating as a fact) and that she is glad she is not overweight. Now I do not take offence to this because I know she is an Aspie (but other people have, and don't like her for this), but if you are not firm with her, she will keep repeating it. I tell her that it hurts my feelings, so she is doing it less and less. I would call her blunt but lovely 

She also had a 2 hour long hysterical tantrum on holiday with my other friend when the animal she was trying to photograph would not turn around  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post). My other friend had to spend quite a long time trying to calm her down and reasoning that she could not get the animal to turn around.

When I first met her, I really thought she had traits of BPD, as she can be quite manipulative and is a game player. I think that because she has yet to form a solid relationship with a man (she is 30), this does affect her in some ways but not in the same way it would me.
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2011, 09:32:54 AM »

Another key difference I thought of---

A pwBPD can predict another person's emotional responses, an Aspie lacks the emotional awareness to do so.

As such, a pwBPD will engage in certain behaviors to elicit a particular response from their partner.  An Aspie will seem more unaware of how their behavior or language affects another person, and they appear not to care.  What I have learned is that untreated, a pwBPD will get worse with age as they get more intermittent reinforcement for their behavior, but an Aspie will learn to imitate others or learn from other's reactions and therefore seem to fit in better, socially, with age.
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seeking balance
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2011, 11:17:49 AM »

From studies that I had read regarding brain function - the area of the brain is the same for both. If I recall correctly, the amydala being larger in kids w/ autism and the function of the amydala is at question with BPD also.

I would imagine an undiagnosed/higher performing asperger kid or one in an invalidating environment may learn coping skills that are dysfunctional as pwBPD tend to do - so it could be a logical hypothesis.  I doubt there will ever be funding made available to study this, however.

interesting concept
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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2011, 11:33:00 AM »

These are not related in any way.
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2011, 11:56:20 AM »

My stepson has aspergers, and it is soo far off from his father with BPD.  Stepson is not affected by other people's emotions and generally, ( moreso than our other children) has a positive outlook on life.  He is socially unaware, and definitely not highly emotional and charged in most situations. 

Plus, hes obsessed with rules( you will never catch him breaking the law), and his father breaks most rules and some laws.
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2011, 09:30:56 PM »

No. Aspie kids grow up to be aspie adults. Such as myself.

The underlying cognitive processes that lead to aspie behavior are so dissimilar to what BPD experts and people with BPD describe that the two may as well be polar opposites.
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Zena321
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2011, 12:25:47 AM »

I would say Asperger kids are not the saame or grow into borderline adults. As a mother of a 22 year old son with Aspergers and wife to a husband not his dad (so no genetics involved ) very clear difference. My son as someone said clearly follows the laws he would be upset and tell you its breaking the law if you burned a copy of your cd for a friend for instance. Where as if my husband thought a cop was wrong he would have no problem telling him to F off even though he has avoided somehow not being arrested so far . My son doesn't get social cues,if anyone even raises their voices even joking he thinks we are arguing and retreats it overwhelms him ,where as my husband would have no problem raging and getting loud,smashing things into walls over "whatever".My son feels physical pain to his body,opposite seems to be true with my husband.My son has to see something to believe its true example he would never believe in God he cant see him,where as husband could believe in things he percieves is true in his mind whether real or imagined its "his truth".
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We Seek Goals in the start of our Life's Journies,we hit a dead end, we need find a new road.Some take the Hwy,some get lost and panic & give up.My life no short cuts or hwys.Always the " SCENIC RT".Sometimes I stay in unkown places way to long than most.It is ME,somehow I manage to live thru HOPE.
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2011, 01:28:25 PM »

Zena 321- Very good explanation.  I too see these same differences in husband and son.
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argyle
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2011, 02:38:52 PM »

From my experience, I'd second Mahari's writing. BPD and Asperger's are separate disorders and can coexist in the same person. An (over)simplified perspective is that Asperger's is wiring-related and BPD is program-related. (Disclaimer: I'm not a mental health professional at all.)

My wife and I spent a long time wondering if she had BPD or Asperger's.  The correct conclusion, as far as I can tell, was both.

On the bright side, from reading these forums, A+BPD may be somewhat less toxic than straight BPD because of the enormous number of missed social cues/lack of ability with duplicity.  On the other hand, the poor, poor emotional processing and recognition may result (and has, in our case) in extreme occasional volatility.

That said, everyone is different. I'm probably at least a bit Aspie and my wife and I joke that we've divided the symptoms from the typical Asperger's book between us pretty much exclusively.

--Argyle
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2011, 08:07:51 PM »

 Welcome! Argyle.   Hi!

The fact that your wife is discussing this with you, and is open to plural possibilities without getting violent, is itself a WONDERFUL prognosis, IMO.  Just committing to treatment is usually the biggest factor in recovering.  Also, and I know it's irresponsible to comment with so little information, but from what you've written, I think we're already seeing some of the strengths of Asperger's.  If, and it's a big if, your wife is truly co-morbid, and receiving appropriate treatment - I think her recovery will be AWESOME.  I hope you keep us posted. 

Here's my reasoning: much of what keeps BPD's from getting and staying in appropriate treatment stems from an inability to accept fault or acknowledge wrongdoing.  Anything that isn't perfect about them is perceived as a character attack, and that keeps them from owning and learning from their mistakes.  They act a lot like toddlers, complete with the tantrums.  They may not mean to, but it's the only truly reliable tool they feel they have to keep the people they so desperately need around them.  The overloads are going to happen either way, but BPD's have learned to use them to manipulate the people around them.  The ability to do that, for someone with Asperger's, is evidence of both an investment (albeit destructive) in interpersonal relationships, and necessarily dependent on a willingness and ability to read, however inaccurately, the signals of interaction.  Back when I worked with kids with autism, I used to ask for the oppositional cases - I liked the ones that spit the gummy bears I offered them into my hair, and tore pages out of my notebook when they felt ignored.  They are INVESTED.  They WANT to be empowered.  There I was, taking even more of it from them by telling them what to do, stuff that was deliberately hard, and they had the smarts and spunk to rebel.  There is vitality in every attempt at control.  All you need to do to turn a battle between two people into a partnered campaign of evolution is win trust.  And guess what?  These guys are paying attention.  Obviously I'm being a little simplistic.  Trust is hard.  It's not a switch that gets turned on and off for anyone, but for these guys, it's a daily process.  They've gotta trust your motives, your abilities, your commitment, or you're going to have a power struggle.  At the same time, treatment requires that they be provoked so they'll improve, so you can't give them the power, either.  Your wife has a genetic condition.  Her social difficulties are not her fault.  This is biology, baby; she doesn't need to carry shame for it.  They are, however, her responsibility.  It sounds like she's taking that seriously.  I know she blows fuses easier than we do, but her frustration tolerance level is pretty high if she can discuss this, with you, and stay rational.  Even if it's only sometimes, that's a huge platform to build on.  The BPD might be helping her make connections that would be harder for non-BPD's with Asperger's.  BPD has its strengths.  Her drive for intimacy and connection, the intensity of your marriage, those seem to mitigate some of the isolating aspects of Asperger's.  She's got a reason to work hard at this; she has you.  That's a very good sign.

That doesn't mean there's not a lot of work to be done; there is.  With Asperger's though, it's a well-worn path with plenty of fellow wayfarers.  You've got maps, literally and metaphorically, and a community that's unusually tolerant and supportive.  There are tons of books with very concrete techniques the two of you can practice together, and a suitable therapist is more likely than most to give your wife homework, but a lot of it is going to be about the irrationality of human society, as opposed to figuring out how what happened twenty-five years ago is giving you a panic attack now.  (That would be my therapy, I sheepishly type.)  Someone with Asperger's is going to be able to remember and apply, and then self-evaluate and refine, very specific techniques and skill-sets quicker than those of us who mostly intuit things, and have trouble with pinpointing what is coming from where in terms of stress.  Theoretically, anyway.  At the same time, she will be learning a LOT about other people and how to respond to their reactions better.  If she also has BPD, you could get played.  Be patient but not too pliable, ok?  Make sure you're getting support too.  You can always come here if you need some, but it really helps to have someone with sympathetic eyes that you can talk to up close, you know?  Are you taking good care of YOU?    if it's ok.
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« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2011, 11:53:11 AM »

My guess is that BPD and Asperger's are distinct disorders. Asperger's tends to manifest as an inability to process certain emotional cues/stimuli - probably related to differences in brain function. BPDs often have normal brain function, they manifest a range of negative reinforcing behaviors, centered around fear of abandonment.

I suspect some BPDs are co-morbid with Asperger's, but I believe most are not. I don't know if Asperger's is a risk factor for BPD. I would guess that, absent childhood abuse, it is not.  Given childhood abuse, I could make a reasonable argument either way. I'm not a mental health professional in any way. (Couldn't find any references...)

That said, I suspect that co-morbid Asperger's and BPD may be associated with dangerous levels of violence.

--Argyle
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Zena321
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2011, 08:44:08 PM »

I would also like to comment on BPD verses Aspergers from my own personal observation ..it has been said people with BPD have a deep seated fear of abandonment where as I believe with Aspergers emotions are rather neutral thats their disability if you may,they could be alone in their room or thousands of miles away and feel the same where as I would miss being away from family if I were alone in a strange place for any amoun of time and call and see how things wsere at home.

My son on the other hand has just up and went on road trips in the middle of winter his first stop Ohio,then Buffalo then down to Miami then back home to MA. Mind you he was driving in blizzard conditions to start etc. did all this driving alone meeting "internet friends"and didn't understand why I wanted him to at least call and tell me if he made it to his states at least if he was OK it was to him like he was going to the store 10 minutes away.

He did this again last montgh up and went to Niagra Falls because he had never been and told me today he is going to NYC.

I asked him to please call and leave me names of hotels so I at least know where and when he gets places and is heading home. I put it in a way to say wouldn't you be a little worried if I took off to meet some man I didn't know hundreds of miles away and never called ...he somehow got that concept about me ..

Where as I believe someone with BPD would be extremely angry and would leave with a purpose not as my son did not thinking or feeling it was any big deal.
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We Seek Goals in the start of our Life's Journies,we hit a dead end, we need find a new road.Some take the Hwy,some get lost and panic & give up.My life no short cuts or hwys.Always the " SCENIC RT".Sometimes I stay in unkown places way to long than most.It is ME,somehow I manage to live thru HOPE.
argyle
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« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2011, 12:06:25 PM »

Actually, I did a bit of web search. My summary would be:

Asperger's and BPD are different disorders that can look alike.  In particular, the endless energy BPDs spend on their issues can result in Asperger's-like social issues, particularly lack of empathy. However, their origins and treatment are different. Aspies have differences in brain function and tend to learn mitigation strategies that help them work around their issues. (Eg, adopting the rule...bathe daily.) BPDs have poor coping strategies and need to unlearn those strategies and replace them with more effective strategies. (Eg., distract themselves instead of endlessly rehashing a conversation.)

However, the sticky part is that Asperger's has been found to be, in some cases, a risk factor for BPD.  The rationale is that the world for an Aspie is often quite scary, and may involve substantial abuse by childhood peers or parents. In addition, Aspies often have trouble processing emotions, which is also a root issue for BPD. It also appears that the symptoms of BPD are somewhat different in Aspies.

So, Asperger's and BPD are different. But, it wouldn't be too surprising to find that your husband also had Asperger's.  If you encounter frequent 'no comprehension' incidents when he is unstressed, the probability is higher.

--Argyle


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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2011, 04:56:39 PM »

Hi Argyle,

              Actually it is my sons stepdad that has BPD but on a different note his father is definately ADD of course at 53 back when he was a kid nothing was known about ADD but it definately is not outgrown. We were married 14 years and had 4 sons 2 which are also very ADD  .
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We Seek Goals in the start of our Life's Journies,we hit a dead end, we need find a new road.Some take the Hwy,some get lost and panic & give up.My life no short cuts or hwys.Always the " SCENIC RT".Sometimes I stay in unkown places way to long than most.It is ME,somehow I manage to live thru HOPE.
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« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2011, 06:27:09 PM »

I, too, am a teacher of special needs children who has worked with children on all aspects of the autism spectrum. I do believe that aspies and pwBPD are completely different. Yes, they do share some similar broad characteristics: social issues and communication issues. In my experience with my daughter, her social issues stem more from paranoia and fear (ex.other people are talking about her, even people who she does not know and don't know her), rather than an inability to know how to conduct herself in a social situation. Also, apies can be taught to communicate their needs, wants and feelings verbally while my daughter communicates by inappropriate use of language and physical aggression.Just my thoughts...
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« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2011, 09:22:02 AM »

[quote author=LW1968 link=topic=143298.msg1396236#msg1396236 date=1302297262

A pwBPD lacks empathy for others because of extreme pain and the need to care for the self first, above all others, much to the pain of those around them.[/quote]
All the people with BPD I've known have gone above and beyond to care for those around them, maybe when they are in deep depression they are not so eager to help care for those around them but I don't think this is because of a lack of empathy but more because of the lack of energy and feelings of helplessness both to their situation and to how to help those around them.
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argyle
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« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2011, 09:55:53 AM »

I'll second this...my BPDw has extreme empathy for people around her - excepting her husband.  OTOH, she usually has too many emotional issues to exercise that empathy.

--Argyle
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just_think
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« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2011, 11:08:02 AM »

All the people with BPD I've known have gone above and beyond to care for those around them, maybe when they are in deep depression they are not so eager to help care for those around them but I don't think this is because of a lack of empathy but more because of the lack of energy and feelings of helplessness both to their situation and to how to help those around them.

I always felt that it was a false empathy with my ex.  She cared for people she had nothing to do with to promote an image that she was a good person, but for those closest to her in her life, she had none. 

How you treat those closest to you is who you are. One cannot describe themselves as empathetic if they abuse those who really know them without being a hypocrite.   
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« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2011, 11:37:43 AM »

One cannot describe themselves as empathetic if they abuse those who really know them without being a hypocrite.  

Abuse and empathy are not mutually exclusive. Especially when it is the type of abuse that is not cold-hearted and planned but rather an attempt to show the other how they really feel though obviously not in the healthy loving way. Also the people I know with BPD are not really that abusive, I mean sure they may get really angry if someone challenges them and they may lash out with a comment, but I do not think this necessarily makes them un-empathetic, I mean sure it's painful when they do lash out but I don't think that makes them un-empathetic or a hypocrite. Maybe you're experience is different.
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argyle
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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2011, 12:10:58 PM »

I dunno.  My BPDw has been highly abusive towards me.  There - she really lacks in empathy.  'So, I was beating you about the head...how would I know that hurt you?Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)'

However, I also believe that the compassion she shows towards others is genuine.  She worries about our preschool teacher, her family, her friends, random strangers on the street.  And still cries over a woman she met in prison who can't find her son. She has very strong emotions - and lacks many of the defenses I'd expect.

I suspect that my BPDw is a highly compassionate person.  Unfortunately, in intimate relationships, her fears of abandonment/anxiety/rejection, combined with a history of childhood abuse - result in not treating her husband well at all.  But, mostly, she savages me when she panics - not out of planned cruelty.

So - my observations, at least, are that some BPDs are highly compassionate.  I have also seen others who seemed to be more calculating in their displays of empathy. But, I've never been sure of the division between BPD/NPD.

--Argyle

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« Reply #46 on: July 05, 2011, 11:52:31 PM »

There are always going to be people who lack empathy but I do not think it should be generalized to include all pwBPD. BPD and NPD are pretty different, in regards to lack of empathy, this is not in the diagnostic criteria in the dsm for BPD but in NPD one of the diagnostic criteria is "Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others".

I'm sorry that your wife lacks empathy towards you, that must be really hard, but I don't think that pwBPD should be overgeneralized.
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« Reply #47 on: July 06, 2011, 11:26:34 AM »

I'd say that people with BPD don't lack empathy at all. They lash out and are hurtful because they hurt. They've actually got very good powers of 'reading' people and can find emotional 'buttons' with uncanny accuracy. They can also punch those buttons strategically to powerful (and painful) effect. They may not be consciously aware of it, but they're emotionally manipulative. I think it's more out of desperation than meanness. If they could figure out how to get what they need without hurting people they probably would, but then they probably wouldn't have BPD.

Aspies don't read people very well at all and if they find your emotional buttons it's probably by accident and if they punch them it's probably because they are unaware that they're hurting you. If you say that they're hurting you they may not care because it doesn't make sense and is thus hard to believe or put meaning to.

When I was a child I had to be taught, explicitly, that other people's feelings matter even when they don't make sense. I do hurt people's feelings and often I don't notice, and often if I do notice I don't know what caused it, or if it was even me. dBPD MiL is very in tune with people's feelings and, when she chooses, can make people feel very good about themselves, or very bad. She can make friends quite easily and that seems to work in quite the opposite way as it does for me -- people love her at first and gradually start to find her creepy and unpleasant.
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« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2012, 11:40:55 AM »

Does anyone have experience with asbergers?  My uBPDh's nieces son seems to have asbergers, and it got me thinking about my H.  He has some physical traits that seem to be common with asbergers ( clumsy, walks oddly) and he can have narrow interests and social problems like talking over people and seeming self centered.  On the other hand he can be pretty gregarious and make friends easily. 

But here's an interesting revelation for me.  I love H's nephew and have watched him grow up.  I know he has problems but would not judge him for those.  However, I am pretty judgmental with my H for some of the same tendencies.
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« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2012, 11:53:27 AM »

My son is an aspie; his father-my exhusband, we "believe" to be an aspergers though he has not been diagnosed. He was very OC; uOCPD, I believe.

I do not recall seeing very much similarity between my BPDh's behavior and an aspergers though aspies CAN exhibit SOME impulsive and explosive behavior but it does NOT have the long duration of de-escalation that BPDs seem to have.

My son and his father are both very bright and intelligent but no where near as much as my BPDh. I see my BPDhs behavior as being an emotional dysregulation disorder and Aspergers as being more of a social ineptness. Both can lack empathy but I believe it is for different reasons and from different sources. Their depth of emotion seems to be VERY different.

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