My Question: a friend with aspergers

Hi everyone,

I’m just reaching out for some advice. I have a friend who has aspergers syndrome and recently he has become very aggressive toward himself regarding his faith. He names himself as a demon, as a lost cause and is burning bridges between himself and his christian community. I have an ongoing discussion with him where we discuss these thoughts and I was hoping there might be some people here with resources that could help in this area. Just looking for further encouragement and appreciate all responses.

4 Likes

@ReganB, I am sorry to hear about your friend with Asperger’s experiencing a difficult time right now. Praise God for your willingness to reach out to him. Many a times Aspergers co-exists with anxiety disorders adding to the complexity of social problems. It is very possible that he has been misunderstood or experienced rejection due to difficulty in understanding social perspectives and lack in planning/organizational thinking. Considering the social and psychological difficulties of those with Aspergers, I really hope the community around him comes together to build the bridge needed as long as he is safe to be with.

I have had some exposure to understanding this condition among family and friends. Here’s a chart that shows how Aspergers can affect spiritual life I found online on Key ministry -

Getting professional counsel to ensure safety comes first which is beyond the scope of this forum. I can share what I have seen as helpful and direct you to some resources. In my experience, showing acceptance for who they are and their unique perspectives is so needed. If he has a high regard for the Bible, I would start affirming truth from scripture for every lie he utters. Satan is the father of lies and when someone is not thinking clearly, he loves to whisper lies , whether they are on the spectrum or not. Many families prefer smaller groups rather than regular church services to meet the spiritual needs of those on the autism spectrum. I think housechurch may be a great option long term.

For some practical guidance, here are some resources I have come across.

May the peace, wisdom and love of Jesus direct you as you seek to help your friend. God bless!

7 Likes

I am so sorry for what your friend is going through. Bless their heart, it must be so difficult. I am thankful for your heart in wanting to help. I am also thankful that @Lakshmismehta was here to offer some insight. I found her post very helpful and I trust you did as well. I have no insight into this, I just wanted to let you know that you and your friend as well as the community will be lifted up in prayer. Take care and please keep us posted :heart:

1 Like

Thank you, Lakshmi. I have a neighbor who has recently been coming to church where I attend. He is a mishmash of issues, one of which is some Asperger’s. I’ve known him since he was in kindergarten. He is responding to one-on-one’s with our pastor, but I don’t believe he has accepted the Lord yet. I will be meeting with him in a few weeks. I was once his godmother, but did a very poor job of being so due to my lack of understanding the role of a godmother. Water over the dam now. But, I’m trying to make up for the opportunities I missed out on. While I don’t think he has all the symptoms your chart mentions, it will definitely be helpful. Thank you so much.

1 Like

@sig, @sgewehr, glad it was helpful, you are welcome! I knew nothing about the condition until about four years ago. You are right, not all symptoms will apply to everyone as those diagnosed can be anywhere on a wide spectrum. The hidden rules of social interaction even when taught take multiple years before generalization to different contexts, because the expected response may not be spontaneous and has to be learned.Its confusing to others as they seem so normal and smart when it comes to factual information but often miss expectations in the social context. Many a times, even parents or caretakers are not able to diagnose it early and a person may get labeled as odd or miss out on appropriate treatment and learning adaptive skills. It has been good to see greater awareness slowly and thankful for that. It’s just sad though if those diagnosed internalize negative experiences and define their identity by that.

1 Like

@Lakshmismehta thanks so much for your responses. I agree that a difficult part of this is when we internalize a diagnosis and make it a defining feature of who we are. I believe that is what my friend is going through at the moment and that this is leading him to those comments of being a demon, as the diagnosis may seem like a curse to those suffering from it. Your information and responses are helpful so thank you for that. Will just keep opening up to him and praying that he doesn’t allow this to define him, but that he lets Christ alone define who he is.

3 Likes

@ReganB, just lifted up your friend in prayer. May God guide your conversations. The CCEF video by David Powlison on how to relate with the autistic also talks about this sense of feeling demonized. It presents a good outlook to have when having these conversations. May the love of Christ fill his heart.

3 Likes