• Resolving Problems

Abused by autistic friend

Published: April 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
An autistic woman writes that her autistic friend is abusive to her.


Hi Irene,

I am separated because of domestic abuse and started to date after six months. Yes, I am in therapy and my best friend that I once lived with has become more abusive than normal. He has been oddly nasty and rude. I am sorry he has social problems. I do, too.

We are both autistic. My mom always said there is no excuse for abuse. He has done this many times before but he seems to enjoy going out of his way three times a week to be nasty, and complaining that he wants to cook dinner for himself.

When I limit my time to twice a month, he is pleasant but if we hang out more than that, he gets very mean. Can older people have a porn problem? I think he is agitated when he doesn’t do this daily.

I’m going through a hard time. This behavior is why we broke up. He is very sad and collects pictures of 20-somethings in very small bikinis. He also chases very young 19- to 20-year-old women, young enough to be his granddaughter and they all take his money and run with sunglasses and perfumes he buys for them.

Signed, Faith


Hi Faith,

You seem like a very understanding and compassionate person. I know it can be challenging for someone with autism to make friends so I understand your reluctance to let go of this long-time friendship. But your decision to separate from this abusive behavior was a good one.

It’s great that you are in therapy and have someone to help you get through this breakup. A counselor can help you better understand what happened and what is happening now.

Unfortunately, if a friend or lover is abusive and engaging in inappropriate behavior to you and others, there is little YOU can do to change that person’s behavior. Your friend needs treatment and support from a trained professional.

Your mom is right; your foremost concern has to be your physical and emotional safety. You deserve a friendship with someone who doesn’t abuse you or act nastily. If you continue to spend more time with this person, you will limit your opportunities to forge healthier relationships. I think you need to stick to your decision to separate.

I hope this helps you a bit.

My best, Irene

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Comments (5)

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  1. Sel says:


    I’m on the Autism Spectrum as well and your mother is absolutely correct, there is no excuse for abuse of any kind however the way you would handle this situation is sometimes quite different to how two people without ASD would handle because there is generally a unique set of problems in an ASD/ASD friendship that others don’t always understand and those problems need to be looked at closely and addressed.

    You need to tell your friend clearly that while you understand the social challenges he experiences abusive behaviour of any kind is inappropriate and unacceptable and that it has to stop otherwise you will have to take time away from the friendship or even end it altogether.

    My advice would be to go an ASD trained Counsellor or other such professional for further advice and I say that it must be an ASD trained person, not just any old professional as you may not get the right advice.

    Going to a support group for ASD might also be a good idea if you have such a group in your area.

    I wish you the best of luck xx

  2. Cyndi says:

    I have a son with Autism and abuse by no means is excusable whether the person is Autistic or not, However, I do not want anyone to think that this is a familiar trait with Autistic children, teens and adults. It is apparent by your writing that you are high on the spectrum, My son is on the low end of the spectrum and is by no means violent. He has been taught boundaries and consequences for his actions. At some point your husband has not learned anything about boundaries or consequences. You both come from an era where there were no services provided for people who disabilities. You must do what ever it takes to protect yourself. I feel for you, the schooling and the types of services my son receives were not around years ago and many had not heard of Autism or Asperger Syndrome,it is only in the past 10-15 years that we have heard more and more about Autism. There are many who are still not educated, I am constantly asked it my son is violent and I politely tell them no he is not. There are many stereotypes when it comes to Autism, there still needs to be education. I hope you take all the measures needed to protect yourself and to get the help you need.

  3. Amy F says:

    Your mom is absolutely right. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE. You deserve to be treated with respect 100%. There is a concept called “fair fighting” says people can and should disagree in a way that is polite and respectful. Your counselor can explain more about this.
    Anyone can have a porn or other addiction problem and while not having access to the drug or behavior can cause anxiety, it’s no excuse for treating others poorly.
    As much as we’d like to sometimes, we can’t chsnge other people, only our response. When you spend time with someone who is abusive, even some of the time, it’s like saying the behavior is okay.
    I’m really glad you’re in therapy. Sometimes group therapy is helpful for people with issues such as yours. Under the guidance of a trained counselor yiu can learn how to address social skills and difficulties in relationships such as you’re having with your friend.
    You might also meet healthier friends participating in activities you enjoy like joining a book club or exercise class.
    Remember you deserve to be around people who treat you well 100% of the time, even when they’re having a bad day, even when they’re angry at you.

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