Aspie obsessions.


One of the most pervasive and common behaviors of people with Aspergers is their tendency to focus intensely on one or two narrow subjects at a time. Aspies become obsessed with a topic and when their knowledge about it is sated, they move on to the next obsession. This obsession could take the form of a hobby, an intense scientific or artistic interest, or an intellectual interest in something weird or obscure (Aspie obsessions aren’t usually about “normal” things), or even interest in a person.

I really hate it when people tell me they’re worried about me because of my obsessiveness. I know the concern is meant well and I appreciate it, but it makes me feel embarrassed and self conscious. It makes me question and second guess myself and makes me worry that other people might think I’m crazy. I’m really not that crazy. I have my share of mental issues (mostly caused by my abusers), but I’m not about to jump off a bridge or start raving about the FBI or thinking I’m Napoleon. I’m just an obsessive Aspie. I can’t help being this way, and for me, it’s perfectly normal. I’m comfortable with it. I wish neurotypicals could be comfortable with it too, and realize it’s not a bad thing or something to worry about.

I’ve always had a lot of obsessions, about a lot of things which have little to do with each other (though sometimes one can lead to another), and none of them have ever killed me. I mostly enjoy my obsessions as long as they last. My brain is wired differently than a neurotypical brain, so the way we think can seem alien, weird, or even crazy to someone who does not have Aspergers.

I’m also a Myers-Briggs INFJ (introverted-iNtuitive-feeling-judging) which means my normally intellectual obsessions sometimes take on an emotional aspect. I think that’s the part that bothers people. But again, this is normal for my INFJ personality type and I never let it get out of control. I developed a pretty good braking mechanism.

So please stop worrying about me. Concern over my grip on reality or whatever makes me feel crazier than any of my obsessions ever have.

I think all my followers and commenters are amazing people. Please don’t take this rant personally; it applies to people offline too. If you have said it to me I understand and appreciate your concern. I know you mean well, but please just stop worrying.

21 thoughts on “Aspie obsessions.

  1. I love your Aspie insights. I have suspected for some time, that my 8 year old might be living the Aspie life. He will be tested next month. I see him in this post. His therapist has commented on the intense OCD that he displays. Mostly, it is pretty cool living with him…but not always easy.

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    • We are pretty cool I think 🙂 Be proud of your son being Aspie–I know that sounds weird but there are a lot of cool things about it–you may even remember the article I wrote about how it’s a blessing in a lot of ways. It really should be considered a variation instead of a disorder/disability. It’s the world that needs to adjust to US, not the other way around!
      OCD is a common misdiagnosis of Aspergers, and it’s also often comorbid with it. OCD is a little different though, because the obsessions are unpleasant and cause the patient anxiety, unlike the intense mental and sometimes emotional focusing that people with Aspergers do.

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  2. I have just recently done the personality test and I am ISFP which does explain a lot to me .I am convinced I have a.d.d something my doctor isn’t Intrested in and would rather treat me for depression and anxiety which also have but it is very frustrating and iv been looking into other ways to help myself because I’m not getting anywhere with my doctor . my son is currently being assessed to see if he has asperger and a.d.h.d as he is showing a lot of traits and his dad is an aspie which he was diagnosed just a few year ago after struggling throughout his school life and our relationship ended because it got impossible . looking back my relationship with an aspie was a walk in the park compared to the current personality disordered adhd partner I’m dealing with now ..what that saying “out of the frying pan into the fire” true !

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    • Aspies can be difficult to deal with, because they way they think is alien to neurotyicals. Because most aspies don’t talk a whole lot (or some talk too much) they probably won’t be telling you how they feel. (That’s one reason why Aspies have a reputation of having no empathy — but that’s not true)

      In what way is your current partner disordered– is he a Borderline, a narc, or does he have ASPD (antisocial personalty disorder)? Is he psychopathic? All character disordered people can be hell to live with. I have never lived with another Aspie but going by what I’ve heard, it’s better to live with 100 Aspies than one narcissist. Borderlines at least have a conscience when they can stop freaking out about everything all the time (it’s okay for me to say that because I was diagnosed Borderline in 1996–I don’t believe I am anymore but I could very well be.)
      I hope everything works out for you and your son. Right now it sounds like you want to get a lot of your questions answered, and that’s a great step. Keep reading as much as you can . ADHD can be controlled with drugs and behavioral therapy, and a lot of kids outgrow it. Aspies can’t be treated with drugs but can also learn tools for coping with behavior therapy.

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      • my ex who was an aspie had a lot of trouble communicating with me but talked too much to strangers which he later said was nerves
        .He didn’t show empathy much but he was a softy at heart and got quite emotional at times I now realise he did have quite a bit of empathy he just struggled with expressing his feelings and got frustrated and angry something my son is having a lot of trouble with at the moment and hopefully he will get sorted soon .I’m not sure whether my current partner of 5 years is a borderline or a narc I am very confused between the 2 and keep going back an forth .I don’t live with him at the moment as I had to leave him and go back to my own place because I thought I was losing my own mind at one point and I got quite ill .The day I left my mother took me to the supermarket to get something to make a meal that night and I just stood there blank and couldn’t pick one thing or decide on anything . since then he has seen a therapist or so he says and I have seen what I believe is genuine emotions and remorse but I think it might be because he got to a very low point and he has shown signs of healing and change .only time will tell though and It is very hard and often painful as you will know .I just reading as much as I can at the moment and I am glad I came across your blog I have spent the last few nights reading it from the beginning .keep up the good work you really are helping as lot of people understand these disorders .

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  3. I have an autistic granddaughter and I think she’s very cool. I know autism is much higher on the spectrum, but its the same spectrum. However, she remains non communicative. But I can see her obsessions and if you give her some dry cheerios she’ll build things with them. And remain on task for hours, not like a normal seven year old.

    Unfortunately, it does have its downside. When she got a dollhouse for Christmas, everything had to be perfect in it, and when something was misplaced she would cry for hours, we had to put it away. We keep that dollhouse away from her now, its just too hard.

    So I can see Aspberger’s being very obsessive and still you can remain communicative. Its like the best of both worlds. I wish I could be obsessive over one thing. I remain scattered. Or scatter brained lol.

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    • Is your grandaughter an Aspie or autistic (lower down the spectrum)?

      All autistic people (including Aspies) like repetition. In an Aspie, this takes the form of obsession over a single subject, or getting frustrated and grumpy when forced to multitask which they don’t like to do (but can do if they must). A lower functioning person with autism might throw a tantrum and fight back physically and have to be restrained if their routine is interrupted. Some get so focused on a single subject that fascinates them they are lost to the world and cannot engage at all with you or anything else. They will get very upset and act out if removed from or interrupted during whatever activity they are engaged in.

      Aspies,being higher functioning, can disengage with what they are focused on and interact with others if they have to, they just don’t like to.

      I bet your grandaughter is extremely cool. Kids with autism can be a blast even if they sometimes drive you crazy.


      • She is diagnosed with Classic Autism on the Severe side of the spectrum. She does have a temper, and you can’t reach her when the temper is flared, but only through distraction can she be reached and calmed down. She can’t hold a conversation, she is totally in her own world. But it is interesting to watch her draw or make crafts, which she does things above her age level.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as an adult. I have an 11 year-old son who is an Aspie and it’s strangely comforting to see your adult insights being an Aspie. He is obsessive about different topics and I was just sitting here thinking about what they have been over the years. Peter Pan (the Disney movie) he would recite it endlessly at 2 1/2; Thomas Edison and all his improvements and inventions; and now Disney World and Star Wars. Hmmm, I wonder where his interests will take him next.

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    • I’m glad my article was able to give you a bit of clarity about your son.
      He sounds cool–it will be interesting for you to watch him grow up and see where his interests take him. Neither of my children have Aspergers so I’m not sure how best to raise one, but I think patience with their obsessiveness and their dislike of sudden changes of routine is good advice. Also patience with the fact they dislike boisterous social situations like parties . Be prepared for him to get at least some bullying, because most Aspies are bullied a lot as kids. If he isn’t bullied or bullied only a little, consider yourself (and him) lucky! Try to engage him in things like martial arts or some solitary sport like hiking, those can give him confidence, because the bullying does tend to deflate Aspie self esteem. Be aware they are also magnets for narcs.

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      • Thank you! We have been lucky so far with bullying. There was a bit at his old school but now that we have moved to the Midwest his classmates have embraced him as he is “The Kid that Knows Everything.” He doesn’t have friends but he is perfectly happy in solitary things. He loves to play his cello, build with Legos and read. It used to bother us that he wanted to play alone but we finally came to the conclusion being social makes us happy, not him. We are worried about him in the future finding a partner in life. We hope he finds someone who will balance him out and not dominate him (which we could easily see happening). Thanks for the advice!

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        • As they get older, some Aspie kids develop a sort of “coolness” just by being different, and usually smarter than other kids too. They become the intellectuals, the math and science nerds, computer geeks, art geeks, and dark poetry writing introverts.
          My son didn’t have Aspergers but he was always very introverted and shy as a child. He is also an HSP (highly sensitive person–which I am too) so his shyness combined with his sensitivity got him a lot of bullying. As he got into his mid-teens though, his talent with computers and technology got him sent to an adjunct school that specialized in computer technology, and his confidence grew a little because he could relate to the kids there better and them to him. Later on he took Kung Fu lessons and stuck with that for several years and got halfway to black belt. That did wonders for his confidence. For his 8th grade graduation he went on an Outward Bound trip with his class. It’s not a “fun” thing, but you learn survival skills and confidence during their wilderness expeditions. When he returned after 4 days, he was like a different person.

          He’s 23 now, has a ton of friends, most of them “hipsters” like himself, does an Internet pop music review show, makes films, and taught himself urban dancing (he came in 2nd in the last competition he was in, with 51 entrants) . I’m using him as an example even though he is not an Aspie, but Aspies would benefit from the sort of activities and opportunities my son got.

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  5. Fascinating issue and you explain yourself very well. Now I’m fighting the feeling that I have some aspie, but I’m sure it’s just that I’m an introvert. Like you, though, I get obsessed with things…Of course, I tell myself I’m incredibly focused. Sounds to me like you have a better grip than those who worry about you.

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    • Introversion could make you a little obsessive too. Most of the ones I know are. Not usually to the same degree as an Aspie, but they obsess over stuff. Being focused is a better way to put this than “obsessive”–which is a more positive way to say the same thing. Of course some obsessions are unhealthy, but what annoys me is people (usually neurotypicals and extroverts) who think that just because my obsession is strange or unusual that there’s something wrong and it’s unhealthy.
      There’s a lot of things far more unhealthy than obsessing over strange things, like doing hard drugs, drinking too much, gambling, having unprotected sex with many partners, cutting, cheating on your spouse, or abusing your children or pets. It’s better than sitting around being depressed and in a bad mood all day too. So I’d like to know how a weird obsession is unhealthy.

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      • You’re so right. Here’s my reply to what Mom called ‘neb-nosers’–people who know nothing of your struggles but are sure they know what’s best for you: “de gustibus non est disputandum.” An old Latin phrase an old professor used to trot out to make a point. Roughly, it means “there’s no accounting for taste.” For added flavor, I add, “said the man as he kissed the mule.” Feel free to borrow it.

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  6. Being a aspie with adhd I know that obsessive side of interest as it is also a way to heal from past abuse. My own interest are not that usual for most and I don’t care as those interest are mine . The neurotypical around me love the way I can get some accurate info and stats out so fast or how I notice some obscure pattern concerning pediatric cancer vs pain management. (My mini got a cancer and still have quite a while of treatement to go) she is doing ok and yep she is a mini aspie. So obsessive specific interest I know way too well how i ended up explain cancer is acting like nazi to a not even 8yo as WWII was one of her interest alredy so to this day she still traumatized the onco clinic with her love for metal music

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