Marilyn Monroe and Aspergers Syndrome?
Marilyn Monroe had Aspergers
It has often been speculated that the legendary screen icon Marilyn Monroe had Aspergers Syndrome. As I am a female with this condition I recently decided to read, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, by Anthony Summers. My opinion after reading this very comprehensive account of Marilyn Monroe’s life is that she certainly could have had Aspergers Syndrome.
Professor Tony Attwood has a particular interest in studying the psychological make up of women with Asperger’s Syndrome. He feels that the so called Aspie female learns her social rules through observing other girls from a young age. So many females with Aspergers Syndrome can often become masters of deception.
I was well into my thirties when I received my diagnosis so I know that there are many other women out there living with undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrome. In general these females usually integrate themselves into the so called neurotypical world through observing and then copying the moves, conversations and mannerisms of their non-Aspie friends and associates. This usually makes every woman with Aspergers Syndrome an expert actress or very adept at appearing neurotypical.
When Norma Jean took on the persona of Marilyn she was creating an alter ego that is a very common female Asperger characteristic. People often remarked that when this infamous actress was away from the silver screen she was actually very insecure and even rather shy. It was only when Marilyn relinquished her true Norma Jean persona and put on her Marilyn mask that she became the character we all associate her as being.
However those that really knew the woman behind the Marilyn performance often said that undoubtedly she was a great actress because out of the limelight she was a very complex, insecure and unfortunately as the years passed she also became an increasingly psychologically disturbed woman. In the book Goddess, Marilyn’s behavior and treatment of those around her is often described as being quite Narcissistic i.e. indicating that she could quite possibly also have had a personality disorder such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
In recent literature it has been indicated that as many as 50% of adults who have never received a diagnosis for their Aspergers Syndrome will by adulthood have developed a personality disorder. The most common disorders are Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder. When you take Marilyn Monroe’s troubled childhood and her lack of parental input into account she was a prime candidate for developing such a disorder.
It is still a little known fact that Marilyn’s mother Gladys did not die when her daughter was young but in fact she actually outlived her child by many years. Gladys initially put her daughter into foster care because she decided she didn’t want to be a single mother and felt instead that she needed to earn a living. She paid the couple who initially took care of her daughter $5 per week.Marilyn was always terrified of developing her mother’s mental instability. It has often been speculated that Marilyn’s mother had paranoid schizophrenia and but could her mothers condition have been Aspergers Syndrome? As it was not a diagnosable condition until 1994 nobody can ever really say for sure. So was Marilyn Monroe really Autistic? As a woman with Aspergers Syndrome myself I definitely think so but of course I will never really know for sure. Bi-Polar Disorder
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Mary Kelly Godley – writer for hire in County Kerry, Ireland
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