Marissa Mayer has just been named CEO of Yahoo. She is a powerhouse in Silicon Valley and she was on the cover of the most recent Fortune Magazine 50 Most Powerful Women issue.

Before I tell you why I think she has Asperger Syndrome, I want to tell you why I think it’s important: Aspergers is a serious disability that is very very difficult to diagnose in girls. (I know this all too well: I have Aspergers, and I was not diagnosed until I was an adult.)

Aspergers is a mental disability that primarily affects peoples’ ability to read social cues. You might think this is a small deficit, but actually social skills are essential to almost everything we do. An inability to read social cues leads to so much isolation and misunderstanding that suicide is relatively common among people with Aspergers.

Most people with Aspergers have a very high IQ. There is a lot written about men with Aspergers. The mental disorder is so common in Silicon Valley that it has been called The Geek Syndrome. Microsoft was one of the first companies to provide insurance coverage for Aspergers treatments, and the company did it because so many people at Microsoft have it, and the disability is genetic, so employees were having to pay for their kids’ therapies.

Perhaps the most elucidating fact about the seriousness of Aspergers is that a diagnosis qualifies a child for special education services which are extremely costly to the public schools but the services are considered essential because high IQ is not enough to succeed in most cases.

You know what it looks like in men: Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. They are geniuses who are socially awkward. As long as they stay in their realm where brains matter most, they are okay. They can pass. Taken out of that realm, performing social skills in an unscripted way, they look weird.

Social skills exist on a continuum. Men as a group have fewer social skills than women. So women with Aspergers will still appear to have more social skills than many men without Aspergers. Also, girls are more likely to ask for help navigating the world as they grow up, so their stumbling blocks will be less obvious.

It’s important to be able to identify Aspergers in girls so they can get the same level of help in school that the boys are getting. Kids with Aspergers need help with executive functions and pragmatic language. Often parents of girls don’t notice the deficit until the girl is depressed and functioning below grade level. And sometimes, women don’t notice they have Aspergers until late in life, as they look for an explanation for how they can be so incredibly smart and incredibly incompetent at the same time.

Identifying Mayer as having Aspergers will help women of all ages understand themselves better. And it should also give lots of women a roadmap for how to be succeesful at work if you have Aspergers. Because for most women, what Mayer has achieved is unattainable, but for women with Aspergers, and a support system, that might not be the case.

1. Mayer is a math genius.
She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford in artificial intelligence, and she has a photographic memory. Not all math geniuses have Aspergers, but Wired magazine wrote that there is strong correlation. People with Aspergers think in systems and memorize systems very well. There tends to be an inverse relationship between one’s feeling and sensitivity part of the their brain vs. their mathematical and logical part of their brain. Asperger’s is a spectrum disorder. Being good at systematic thinking is part of that spectrum.

2. Mayer focuses exclusively on work.
We know that men are good at focusing on work obsessively and women are not as interested in that type of focus. There are exceptions. For example, women who are ENTJs on the Myers Briggs scale can focus obsessively on work. But that is less than 1% of the population. In general, when there are kids involved, the careers of men remain constant, and careers of women start tanking, not because women are unambitious or incapable, but because women choose to have a multifaceted focus rather than a single focus. Mayer, on the other hand, has no problem focusing on work in the face of kids. And people with Aspergers typically have obsessive focus on whatever interests them.

3. Mayer is a black and white thinker.
She famously was in charge of the content of the home page at Google. In fact, though, the page is largely empty, and she was largely in charge of saying no. Which people with Aspergers are very good at. You find people with Aspergers in jobs where there is clearly a right answer. Or at least they think there is a right answer. So Mayer was the queen of Quality Assurance at Google, a job well suited for anyone with Aspergers. Also, she was able to turn other disciplines into black and white decision points. Like design. Designers at Google quit because Mayer was so adamant that design is a statistics exercise, with trial and error from A/B testing ad infinitium.

4. Mayer has terrible social skills at work.
Some of you will say “What about Sheryl Sandberg? She is obsessively focused on work. Does she have Aspergers?” But Sandberg’s job is, among other things, to add some competent management skills to Mark Zuckeberg’s rough edges. People love working with her. And she is likely just a top-flight ENTJ. Mayer, on the other hand, is a terror to work with. She is notoriously very very hard working and very very smart, and very very difficult to get along with. You might look at Mayer on video and say she looks fine. But you will not find Mayer in an unstructured conversation on video. Structured conversations flow more on the basis of intellect. It’s the unstructured ones that are really difficult for someone with Aspergers. Those are all social skills.

5. Mayer has a very odd laugh.
Her laugh is notable enough that someone has created a video collage of her laugh. A laugh is, in fact, a social skill. First, you need to learn when to laugh, because there are socially acceptable times to laugh. For example, it is not okay to be the only person in the room laughing. But that’s a hard thing for someone with Asperger’s to grasp. While toddlers intuitively develop their own laugh, just like they develop their own smile, people with Aspergers don’t always do that. It is common for people with Aspergers to have either a wacky smile when you tell them to smile for the camera, or a wacky laugh.

So look. You can argue if all these things add up to Aspergers or not. And it’s unlikely that Mayer will ever get herself tested. But what is undeniable is that someone with traits that typically indicate a woman with Aspergers has made it to the top of Yahoo.

If you google “famous people with Aspergers” you find almost all men. The only way to get women into the list is to start understanding and talking about what women with Aspergers look like. And they look like Marissa Mayer.

 

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  1. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    Maybe she’s an alcoholic? That laugh video could indicate a substance abuse problem. Raising awareness about females and autism is great, but there are so many people struggling to understand the autistic person in their lives that I don’t think it’s helpful to speculate on someone else. Saying publicly “I think” so and so has Aspergers is weird. Employers are struggling with it. I have a co-worker who has a son with Aspergers, and she’s constantly diagnosing other employees. It is defamatory. Some people break through and succeed, but most struggle. Many are alienated, fired, move from job to job. Slapping a label on someone to make a point doesn’t help bring clarity.

  2. Clinton
    Clinton says:

    My wife describes me as “a fish out of water who can’t find the water”.
    So, how do these extreme outliers of the normal spectrum disorder life – like Mayer, Einstein, Gates, and Zuckerberg – find the water?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Specializing. I’m convinced that for all people, adult life goes more smoothly if they have a specialty. But for people with Aspergers it’s even more essential. The better you are at what you do the more people are willing to overlook quirky behavior.

      Penelope

  3. Meena Sanyal
    Meena Sanyal says:

    Is this why they say that women are women’s worst enemies? Here we have a woman who has been super successful in her career, who comes back to work just a couple of weeks after having a baby and someone has something nasty to say about her! I am sure it broke her heart just a little bit to leave the child in the morning. But, she does have a huge responsibility at work too. Perhaps, she is doing this so women are not tagged as irresponsible towards work?

    We women should support each other, instead of throwing brick bats at each other.

    • Alm
      Alm says:

      Again, Autism/Asperger’s is not a ‘nasty’ word. It is not a disease. We need more posts like this to create more awareness about this possibly evolutionary difference in the way people’s brains work. Discussing a personality difference is not a negative or derogatory exercise!

      At any rate, kudos to Marissa Mayer for having succeeded fantastically in her life/career especially if she has an Asperger-like brain (i.e. mathematically gifted, hyper-focused and dedicated to her passions)
      Kudos to Penelope for igniting this fire that now, burning a bit out of control might shine a light on the subject of Autism, how it is viewed and misunderstood and how Aspies who’ve been hugely successful in life can be an inspiration for younger Aspies like my own wonderful, succeeding daughter.

  4. Patsy
    Patsy says:

    Regardless of the topic of this post, what a great example of the way having a voice in the media has shifted so enormously from having to be one of careful reckoned research to just ‘whatever you reckon – let’s explore it!’ I think it’s great, hurrah for free speech. But yes an interesting topic, for a mother of a daughter who is a bit uncoventional and loopy….

  5. Renee
    Renee says:

    1. How hard is it to diagnose Asperger’s? A couple weeks after first learning about it, I recognized it in one of my students who was diagnosed with it the following year, and I recognized it in Penelope after following a link to one of her business posts. After reading that post, I Googled Penelope Trunk and Aspurger’s and my suspicion was confirmed.

    2. What does Asperger’s in women look like? In some, possibly including Meyer, it’s the female version of the of the Geek Syndrome. In others, like me, it looks completely different. I have no affinity for numbers or computers or straight lines. I’m an English teacher with a lit degree and a masters in education. I can pass for normal with acquaintances, as long as everything is kept on a superficial level, but people I spend a lot of time with will notice my social awkwardness, inarticulateness in spontaneous situations, lack of close relationships outside of my family circle, and inability to pick up on the more subtle social cues that lead a conversation and relationship from superficial to deeper levels.

  6. Juliette
    Juliette says:

    How do you know Marissa Mayer doesn’t know she has Asperger’s? In any case, interesting perspective, Penelope.

  7. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I guess the thing I kept thinking is that Marissa’s life sucks in my view. I’m probably the farthest thing away from her in terms of personality type; artist, writer, entrepreneur….. and when I had my kids, then divorced the one and only thing that drove me, more than our financial survival, was that I be there for them. So, I started a business that allowed them to feel my presence while I made money. Such a different life choice……

  8. DKittleson
    DKittleson says:

    To those mentioning defamation, that requires actual harm. Penelope can no more harm Mayer than a mosquito can harm Superman. Since we’re doing speculation, I think Penelope wants Mayer to contact her. She once had a nice gig at Yahoo Finance. 11th dimensional chess networking.

  9. Joolietta
    Joolietta says:

    Did anyone notice the title of the article begins with I THINK…? It is clearly a personal opinion and I enjoyed the article. I learned a bit about Asperger’s too. Good one Penelope!

  10. david
    david says:

    Reading facial cues is difficult for everyone. That is why we have the visual arts. 80% of autistics have IQ’s less than 80. So a high functioning austistic would have an IQ of say, 123. (Standard diviations shifted leftward.) I am sure all of your examples are capable of very shrewd social behavior. Ambition can cause myopia. Aspergers is an invention of the upwardly mobile haute bourgeoisie(sp?). Which is fine. Grace is rare.

  11. Helen W
    Helen W says:

    People are WAY too sensitive these days! There is absolutely no diagnosis being offered, just opinion with facts to support her view and from someone who HAS it herself! Case closed. I don’t see what harm this post could possibly cause Ms. Mayer.

    Makes me wonder about a certain female manager I used to work with that no one liked. Brilliant and extremely detail oriented, not empathetic. She did have a nice laugh though….sad part is she eventually got fired mainly due to her social inabilities as people found it hard to work with her. I think the tech industry is probably the only one where Aspergers is not considered a liability. Agree that if more women come forward, things like this will happen less and less.

  12. Brainie
    Brainie says:

    > I think Marissa Mayer has Asperger Syndrome

    Oh, so now you’re a licensed medical professional too, in addition to blogger, trend-setter, public speaker, reality TV star, beach volleyball player, serial entrepreneur and Gen X expert?

  13. Mario Harvey
    Mario Harvey says:

    You are so so wrong. Watch the video below. She seems very comfortable and self aware. She also has a normal laugh. She is just a smart woman who applied herself and “surrounded herself with smart people” to “challenge herself”. She evens explains her fears of being unsure by the challenges she undertook but she still dove in and got her hands dirty. This success story has nothing to with a syndrome but everything to do with good old fashioned hard work, perseverance, ambition and intellectual curiosity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyvd9fyXpDM&feature=related

  14. dUSTY
    dUSTY says:

    I would tend to agree with you Mario, the linked youtube video in this article has been seriously manipulated.

  15. Katelyn
    Katelyn says:

    How do you know the difference between PTSD and Asperger’s? Both involve aversiveness to emotion and abnormal responses to social cues.

    • Rachel D.
      Rachel D. says:

      Katelyn, thank you for pointing this out. If I had to choose an appropriate “label” for myself, PTSD would be most appropriate. The similarities are obvious to me which is why I relate to Penelope and her blog so much. I’ve experienced major improvements over the last 5 to 7 years. PTSD sufferers can get better after the trauma is finally over and with lots of work. I’m not sure about Aspergers.

        • Rachel D.
          Rachel D. says:

          If I had help connecting the dots earlier, that would have helped tremendously. I did all of the research, discovery and soul-searching on my own, which I think slowed things up a bit.

          Talking and expressing myself and my feelings and healing would have been easier if I knew the cause. I found out later in life that my upbringing was not healthy or “normal”. I was maybe 35-ish. I had no idea being raised by someone who was mentally ill or that being raised around alcoholics was considered “traumatic”. I thought everyone’s life was like mine, and I was “tough”…a big girl about it…until I crumbled.

          If I knew the cause earlier, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and struggle, maybe.

          • Katelyn
            Katelyn says:

            Yeah, I can relate to pieces of that. I’m still in the tough guy stage and want to keep figuring things out myself. Do you have any suggestions within those bounds?

          • Rachel D.
            Rachel D. says:

            I’m sure professional therapists must have an easier way of doing this, so if you can afford a therapist, try that. I couldn’t afford a therapist.

            I think what I did was pretty drastic, so I can’t recommend doing this, but here’s a brief snippet of what I did:

            (Somehow, I realized I needed to save my own life because I couldn’t depend on anyone, and my health was starting to fail.)

            1. So I cut myself off from everyone in my life, leaving open lines of communication with only certain people. I cleaned house of all the bad people. This was the hardest part…realizing that my identity was not tied to anyone, but me. Then I started from scratch to rebuild myself. Got divorced. I was no longer listening to family or friends. I was, for the first time, listening to myself and my body. I was very unhealthy at this point, which is a sign you’re not living the right life.

            2. I spent the first 2 years with only myself learning what a good life is supposed to feel like. I was reading self-help, exercising, eating healthy, slowly cut out drinking and partying and everything and everyone making me crazy. Tried to talk to people that seemed normal. Found a lot of healthy, mentally sound advice on line. Learned to love myself enough to take care of myself. Forgave everybody, but did not let anyone back into my life that was not good for me.

            3. I communicated everything to someone, either by emails or talking. Talked to a therapist a few times, but mostly trusted certain people, and got everything off my chest. I still do this. Writing helps just as much as talking to someone, so I write most days.

            I still work on all of this every day, but once I let go of the guilt and knew that what I was doing was good for me, it got easier. My health issues have completely cleared up. I feel better and better every day….more courageous every day. I’m not afraid to admit the truth about my life anymore. It feels better now mostly because I have nothing to hide anymore, nothing to lose. I can be myself now, and it’s not my problem if someone doesn’t like it.

            Sorry for the long answer. I tried to make it brief :)

  16. Katelyn
    Katelyn says:

    Thanks Rachel. That’s inspiring. I think I’ll plan to

    1. Write more.
    2. Keep reading Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies. CBT looks like the most effective known treatment for a ton of emotional/mental health problems. PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse… Even some forms of autism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22435114.
    3. Communicate more.

    It can be hard to give myself permission to write, or focus to read, or find people I can trust to talk to. In theory those are all things that, as you found, are totally within one’s own control. Any tips on those practical challenges?

    • Rachel D.
      Rachel D. says:

      I haven’t read CBT for Dummies yet….but I’ve read select chunks of “Feeling Good” by Dr. Burns very recently.

      That last part I really had to think about. I put so much effort in changing my own behavior that the biggest challenge was acceptance of myself and new types of people.

      I moved. I became open to dating people I had never considered before. I hired a personal trainer just to meet someone new and get to know more people at my gym. I tried engaging more on line which ended up turning into a blog. Now people contact me through my blog if they like what I have to say. Then I was invited to join a group of women that meet every month. Everything is starting to evolve on its own as I become more comfortable.

      My judgment has gotten better. If I meet someone suspicious, I’m aware of it now.

      There are also some people that are very angry with me for changing. They are pissed off, so I’m protecting myself. So I still have a long way to go, but I couldn’t be happier about it.

      • Katelyn
        Katelyn says:

        I’ve been thinking of starting a particular sort of women’s writing group in town for a long time. I worry it would be cliquey or a waste of time. Or, like a blog CAN be, narcissistic. (Not that I think yours or this one is. Obviously not. This blog has tremendous worth, I get a lot reading it, and I’d like to read yours!)

        I’m glad you’re thriving and protecting yourself. CBT says to stop being a complete idiot by recognizing one’s cognitive errors. Which I make constantly because I’m a complete idiot. One of these errors is over-generalizing. But at the risk of over-generalizing, people suck and you have to take care of yourself. ;)

          • NAMASTEph
            NAMASTEph says:

            If you are suffering from PTSD, please look into EMDR. It will completely change your existence for the better. The key is to find a therapist specifically trained in EMDR with which you feel comfortable. My therapist and I now utilize it to deal with a myriad of issues, from stressing out behind the wheel to my resistance to folding laundry, that effect my reactions to challenges I face on a daily basis.

  17. randomideas
    randomideas says:

    –What is with the obsession with Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, tech startups, venture capital, etc. Sort of boring.

    –Is it that you want to be them? Or you want them to be you?

    –By these criteria I have Asperger’s.

  18. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    This has also freaked me out a bit, though…I’m scared I might have it. You said it’s possible to still appear socialable but have asbergers? There’s many times where ill be in a social situation like for school for instance and the whole class ill keep to myself, serious, diligent at whatever is in front of me book or paper wise. I don’t know. Other times I’m laughing (at the right times) but can still be awkward as if I’m always to myself and sort of forget I’m talking to someone and go off in my own little world

  19. Austin
    Austin says:

    It seems like she might have Asperger’s, but then I thought I had it…I was wrong. I thought I had it because I am an INTP on the Myers Briggs personality spectrum. Psychologists have noted that IN~ types have lots of personality traits in common with those who have Asperger’s. So although I’ll probably never meet Ms. Mayer, we might get along famously.

  20. Peter Simonetti
    Peter Simonetti says:

    While there are a number of near-hateful comments here, there are many excellent, thoughtful comments for this article, both for and against what Penelope wrote, which I’ve found very helpful and thought-provoking. Here’s my take on this:

    1) It *is* conjecture to give a neurological/personality profile to someone from afar; Penelope never suggests she is doing otherwise.

    2) I do agree it’s a bit odd to pinpoint a person and say, “Hey, look at that chic — she seems like an Aspie!” However, it makes an interesting focus around which the topic of Asperger’s in women can be introduced and exemplified.

    3) As Penelope explains, the topic is extremely important, because girls/women are very much under-diagnosed.

    My daughter has Asperger’s; my son is borderline, as am I. We live with this every day. It’s enormously challenging, for all of us, and certainly as a parent when I’m supposed to be the mature, organized, and responsible one. ;) My daughter also is given to severe tantrums, which makes her life very difficult, especially socially.

    However, it can also be very entertaining when you have a 12-yo daughter who loves discussing quantum physics and draws beautifully, and an 8-yo son who is better at troubleshooting problems than his old man. Not to mention that they are two of the funniest people I know.

    In short, they have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else, and contribute to society in their own important ways. Thus, as far as I’m concerned at the moment, anything that gets this topic discussed more often, and brings greater understanding to what Asperger’s is and how it affects those who have it, is OK with me.

  21. Goatessa
    Goatessa says:

    “And sometimes, women don’t notice they have Aspergers until late in life, as they look for an explanation for how they can be so incredibly smart and incredibly incompetent at the same time.”

    Wow. With that one sentence, you have given me a rainbow of hope. Thank you!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I love that she only has a nursery for herself. She doesn’t want to work with people who are paying attention to their kid instead of working. Fine. She gets to choose who she works with. If you don’t like it, don’t work for her.

      She is responsible for Yahoo’s stock price. She’s not asking anyone else to take that responsibility. So she gets perks for taking the responsibility.

      Maybe the great thing about having a woman with Aspergers in a huge CEO position is that she will cut through the crap that fills discussions about women and work.

      Penelope

  22. Dubstep
    Dubstep says:

    I’ve worked with Marissa extensively, and I’ve often thought she has Aspergers or something similar. It may be an airchair diagnosis, but I think you’re spot on.

  23. NAMASTEph
    NAMASTEph says:

    I’ve been exhaustively researching Asperger’s in women the past few days. After reading this, I looked her up and discovered that Marissa Mayer’s father was an engineer, which, not surprisingly, has been found to be the most common occupation for the fathers of women officially diagnosed with Asperger’s. I think you’re on to something…

    I realized this past week that I have Asperger’s, which some of the younger members of my family were diagnosed with many years ago. Asperger’s wasn’t an “official” diagnosis until 1994, the year I SHOULD HAVE graduated from high school. I was just gifted, awkward and couldn’t stay in school past junior high, even though my SAT scores got me into the Duke Summer program at the tender age of 12, and despite the fact that my SAT scores from my junior year led to scholarship offers. (I DID manage to go back to school several years later and, after a myriad of majors and minors, eventually graduated a mere nine years later with a degree in journalism, minoring in PR. I have often joked that I am better at Public Relations than private.)

    I was privileged enough to go to excellent public schools with honors programs that challenged me and provided me with like-minded Aspie friends, companions & classmates, as well as an advanced curriculum.

    I am, however, waiting to discuss the distinct probability that I have AS with my therapist before adding it to my C.V. I have a sneaking suspicion that she already knows, but, thankfully, she is hesitant to label people, preferring to focus on treating her patients with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EMDR.

    The awkward geek in me resonates with finally, in a way, fitting in with others that don’t fit in with others. Having a genius-level IQ, without seeming to possess the abilities necessary to accomplish all that has been expected of me by others, as well as myself, has been nothing short of disheartening, but now that I have this knowledge of myself, I have the power to navigate the daily functional challenges that I face with a renewed sense of purpose, pride and understanding.

    I find it mildly ironic that people would take issue with an individual known to have Asperger’s saying something mildly inappropriate or not “PC.” Isn’t that part of what we do – one of the only “downsides” to being absolutely off-the-charts amazing in so many ways?

  24. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Zuckerberg is a genius?! Really? By that measure I suppose the cab driver from Baltimore who won the lottery is also a genius.

  25. Mike Milton
    Mike Milton says:

    Asperger is just another made up condition used to get people hooked on therapy and drugs and to paint them in a box.

    Asperger and other made up personality disorders implies that there is a perfect human being who is supposed to act an exact way..anything that deviates from that is a “disorder”.

    Well who sets the standard? what about other cultures where a behavior may not be acceptable here but perfectly normal there. Anyway it’s said people think psychology is a science..it’s not..it’s all opinion and projection.

  26. wizard drummer
    wizard drummer says:

    The truth is Marissa Mayer STINKS at design, regardless of what disease she may or may not have!

    Google has, without question, degenerated into having the most tedious user interfaces on this planet!

    Gone is the familiar menu at the top. In order to get to maps, we have to go into a sub menu (extra click)

    In Google Images, look at the selections… where is the Small or Less than a certain size or Approximately this width by that height? Everything is a > Greater Than.

    Why do I have hover to get to the volume control?
    Why is it the scroll bar and controls appear if the mouse moves? The ONLY TIME those controls should instantly appear is when the Mouse pointer moves into that region.
    Why do I have to go to a sub menu to see the resolution? and then to another menu to see if there is a higher resolution available?

    In a GOOD design, the Volume Control would always be expanded and it would show the resolution instead of a gear something like this: 720p> indicating that the current resolution is 720p and it is the highest resolution of that video; there are resolutions below that or <240p< indicating there are resolutions below and above 240p or 144p< indicating that it's currently at the lowest resolution.

    This way, the uesr just by looking at that information can tell exactly what's going on and whether or not it's possible to change it.

    Currently, we have to press a stupid gear to see the resolution and then press that to get to a list only to find out that 480p is the highest it will go! It's just STUPID, LAZY programming.

    Marissa Mayer has done the same junk in Yahoo. The volume control that used to be visible and accessible is now in a sub menu.

    I could list 100 other things that Marissa Mayer has mucked up but it's not worth the effort. I'm a lone, frustrated voice with no impact whatsoever on anyone's thinking or with any hope of changing the way things work. If anything at all happens it will only get more tedious and cumbersome.

  27. Aspiemom
    Aspiemom says:

    I respectfully disagree with the five points you made as being the way to “diagnose” Asperger’s in a woman. I would expect that most women with Asperger’s don’t fit that mold at all. Ask her if she feels like a fraud, had chronic stress and anxiety and depression. Is she comfortable in her own skin? Does she worry that everyone thinks she’s a weirdo and struggles with what to say and when and how to say it. It’s not just outward attributes that get the diagnosis, it’s the inner turmoil of the girl or woman that sheds more light on whether they could be diagnosed with Asperger’s or not. Just because a woman does things that might fit to a male’s Asperger traits (or just a really smart sociopath) does not mean it’s on the mark. Most women and girls may never get a diagnosis. We hide it well. We wreck our insides trying to fit in, trying to figure out what to do in social situations, punishing ourselves for being dumb and unlikeable because we just don’t get how “normal” people deal with all this stuff. Be careful of gender bias in labeling people. It may be easier to find the women with Asperger’s by combing through everyone with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, IBS, the job-hoppers, failed relationships, and lack of friendships than it would be to just look at women with type-A personalities who are math geniuses and are rude to coworkers. And not every male with Asperger’s fits the typical male set of symptoms- my own brother has more traits in common with what is now being learned about women with Asperger’s. He is extremely sensitive and confused and would much rather crawl in a hole and hide than have to figure out how to survive five minutes of idle chit chat. Same as me. But my son would likely not even know chit chat was happening- he’d be off in la la land in his head with all the magical things.

  28. Mikzy
    Mikzy says:

    Just because Mayer is an oddball, doesn’t mean she has Aspergers. Some people are just odd, and there is no reason to label them with a diagnosis you are not qualified to make. It’s difficult for properly trained psychologist to make this kind of diagnosis, so it’s definitely difficult for you to make. I would love to know more about her upbringing, the type of environment, parents, schooling, time spent w/wo people to make a “proper” judgement on whether she has the condition or not. It could be that Marissa just hasn’t been around people enough or cared enough to make better social skills. However, despite all of that she is still the CEO of Yahoo. Despite what many have said of her, I imagine the rumors are exaggerated, as they always are…

  29. Aspie mom
    Aspie mom says:

    That’s B.S. It is not hard to make a diagnosis of asperger’s especially if you live with it everyday in yourself and/or in your own family. Those of us with kids and/ or parents on spectrum can spot it a block away. There are many telltale traits that actually those of us with personal experience (a lot of hours in waiting rooms commiserating with other parents and seeing other kids over many years) make us experts. I know I’ll be attacked for this but just had to say it. It’s obvious ! I’m sure Meyers-Brigg expertise is just icing on the cake of Aspie expert experience recognizing what one is loving with every day!

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