About Sarah Meyer Noel

I am the middle-aged daughter of a mother with Aspergers Syndrome. Writing about what it is like to be the child of a mother on the autistic spectrum is one way I try to understand her and myself.

Both my mother and I were raised before Aspergers became recognized as a distinct condition in the 1990s. Discovering this framework for understanding our unusual mother has helped my siblings and me see why she is the way she is. It does not erase the effects of having a mother who lacks empathy and has limited interest in her children.

I am the married mother of two sons, one just out of college and the other about to start his junior year. In the accepted parlance of the Autism Disorder vocabulary, we are all neuro-typical. One of my brother’s sons has Aspergers, and that diagnosis in 2001 is how we were led to the information that revealed a certain logic that explained our mother’s behavior patterns, which had always seemed so hard to fathom

I started writing about my mother a few years ago, often interrupted by work in software marketing. I recently quit my job and am focusing on writing. I know some of what I say about my mother seems harsh, especially if you have nurturing parents and cannot imagine any other kind. I appreciate comments and hope you can forgive my lapses in compassion.

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12 thoughts on “About Sarah Meyer Noel

  1. The Elephant in the Room

    This is a fantastic idea for a blog! I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when I was 22 and I had such a feeling of relief to hear that! it really explained a lot about my personality that I hadn’t understood before. So, I’m looking forward to reading your blog and experiencing Aspergers syndrome from another point of view!

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  2. Pauline

    Hi Sarah. I’m glad you started this blog. I’m the adult daughter of an alcoholic father who had every symptom of AS and my manipulative sociopath mother who latched onto him. My AS father died recently at age 90. My mother is still alive, but I have no contact with her (I actually hide from her and my 2 older siblings for my own sanity and safety). I’m in my late 30s.

    As far as dealing with disordered parents and all the issues that go along with it……I get it. I grew up in a very fear-based, abusive, isolated, tightly controlled environment and it affected every part of my life.

    If what you write is “harsh” its because the reality of being raised by a disordered parent it harsh. I think its important to raise awareness of the damage that these parents can do to their kids. We live in a culture that bows down to parents and that punishes children when they criticize parents or speak out about abuse.

    Sharing stories, examples of what happened to us is a great way of educating people and finding peace and healing for ourselves.

    Good for you for telling the truth!

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  3. joetherandom

    Woman…you just became my hero!!!! Thank you…thank you…thank you. I was just about to give up on searching for a new site for us and after many google pages of the same ol’ results,.. you appeared!! I too am a middle-aged daughter of an AS mother but I only have one son and he’s about to head off to college, and no brothers, but 2 older sisters…the oldest is the carbon-copy of our mom, Aspie and all. My childhood was…well, lets just say I’m pretty confident in feeling how much we understand each other…on probably many twisted crazy levels. Ok, I’m sounding like a lunatic at this point, so gonna stop myself and just end with saying how much I needed to find this connection after the past few Asperger filled, difficult, and limit-pushing days I’ve had….and now I shall take a nap…finally. You rock!!!

    And inspire…thanks again,
    Stacey

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    1. sarahmeyernoel Post author

      Stacey,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I can’t tell you how much the affirmation means to me. It’s easy to feel isolated in our shared experience.

      I just found an interesting book, Bring in the Idiots, written by a man on the spectrum who seems to have what is to me a more realistic portrayal of this condition than I find in most books.

      Take are of yourself. I know that’s not easy for me, so I suspect it isn’t easy for you.

      Sarah

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  4. joetherandom

    Hi Sarah,
    How you been? I’m having one of those sleepless nights…again. Just thought I’d drop you a note and see if you might want to chat one on one some. No pressure, just want to put it out there because it would be nice to bounce some things off of a person who can truly relate and maybe you’ve gotten through things I’m still struggling with or done research, etc that I haven’t come across. So, here’s my email and if you feel ok with it, send me a note and we will go from there…baby steps 🙂

    Take care,
    Stacey
    davogels@cox.net

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  5. thedeannaelizabeth

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.
    I’m the adult daughter of two Aspie parents – in Dad the condition is pronounced, Mum exhibits a mild case – and have been SCOURING the internet for stories like mine. It is a profound relief to know that there are other people like me ‘out there’.
    Thank you and be Blessed,
    Deanna

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  6. Linda Griffin

    Hi Sarah,

    I just found your blog through Huffington Post. Our personal histories have much in common and I could relate to almost everything you wrote. I think both my parents had ASD to some degree (narcissism too?) and they also had four children. I am probably the most neurotypical of my siblings and while we all complain/laugh about my mother and father (died 5 years ago), my take on them is the harshest because I probably was most conscious of their lack of empathy. People always talk about how they finally came to appreciate their parents when they had their own children. After I my children were born I just thought WTF were my parents thinking (or not thinking)! My parent’s and especially my mother’s fears centered around money although we were well off (my father was a pathologist). We children endured many unnecessary deprivations and indignities because of my mother’s obsession with not spending any money/getting the better of any transaction/being the most efficient (which was to them the most important thing to teach their children). My father would spend money but mainly on himself and his hobbies and my mother saved money by scrimping on food and clothing for us to invest in the stock market. I think shallowness of feelings for others was a very apt description and hit home for me. They didn’t teach us anything about caring for others and set a very bad example in that regard. I too never went to my parents for advice or emotional support because there simply was nothing there that was ever really loving or helpful to me. I spent my childhood wishing I had parents like the Brady Bunch and couldn’t wait to go off to college and onward to try to create the life and relationships for myself that I missed in my childhood. It is sad though that you and I, even though we still have one living parent, never had or will have that connection to a parent that every child needs. A few years ago a friend’s 95 year-old father past away and when she told me about it she started crying. She said even though she is in her sixties she will miss everyday having someone that knew her as a child and all her life cared about everything she did and felt. I felt so envious of her because when my father died I felt nothing–maybe a bit angry that I couldn’t feel anything. Well, I just wanted to thank you for your blog (maybe some other time I will share my ridiculous wedding story!).

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    1. sarahmeyernoel Post author

      Linda,

      Thank you for your comment and your support. Knowing that other people understand – and don’t think I’m being mean – is very encouraging.

      The parallels in your life and mine are so close. My father spent on his hobby (racing cars) and ignored us. My mother, who was raised in a wealthy family (and from whom she inherited a lot of money over 20 years ago), was and still is extremely cheap with her children. But it’s really the cheapness of feeling, the lack in interest in us and our kids, that hurts.

      All the best. You deserve it.

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  7. Linda Griffin

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks! It’s nice to have your blog and the community you are creating by writing about your experience. I will dutifully call my mother every couple of weeks (I am in California and she is in Florida) and she will often forget to ask about her grandsons!

    Best wishes,

    Linda

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