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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having trouble diagnosing my 12-year old male cousin. I babysit him and his brother very frequently and am having a lot of difficulties. Please help!
I'm going to give LOTS of information so you can help me with an accurate type diagnosis, bear with me!

His father has OCPD (but no one in our family talks about this :dry: ) and I see many of those tendencies within him:
- A need for power over one's environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency (one christmas he decided to run a 'talent show', and if one thing didn't go completely according to plan, e.g. people telling him to hurry up (because it went for HOURS and we had dinner waiting), or someone not sitting in the seat he wanted them to, he got extremely anxious and in this sort of tunnel vision state where all he could think of was getting the show back on track. He exhibits this in conversation as well - if he is interrupted or someone says anything at all (like 'yeah me too'), he completely loses his track and gets incredibly frustrated. He can only talk in monologues.
- Although unlike OCPD individuals, he is incredibly slack with his planning and doesn't plan things at all. Very 'perceiving' in that regard. Although other things that he is obsessional about he does plan down to the last second sometimes.
- He has an obsessional nature in general. Like his father, he becomes interested in one thing and is absolutely obsessed with it. Spends every second of the day looking at it. However he can't understand when other people don't share the same passion, or don't know things that he knows (because he spends every second of the day researching it). This was also demonstrated in the 'talent show', he was extremely, obsessionally passionate about this show, and couldn't understand it when some people didn't show as much interest or didn't prepare a performance (what working adults have time to plan a performance at one of the busiest times of the year? - it didn't even cross his mind)


We have a history of OCD in the family, and this boy exhibits some obsessions/compulsions
- Both his grandparents passed away about 2 years ago and (and although he or his family is not religious), he feels terrible guilt unless he 'prays' to them every single night and talks to them. He has not missed a single night since their death and keeps their photos above his bed. Honestly they were quite close but not close enough to warrant that kind of behaviour.
- This is more obsessional than OCD (doesn't really have a compulsion?), but we are from australia (where the legal drinking age is 18, but i don't know a single person who waited until then - most started drinking occasionally when they were 16), and he has decided (out of no influence of parents or anything) that drinking alcohol underage is the most horrible thing ever. When I tell him that it's okay to drink a little bit safely at parties once you've left school (just trying to make him more balanced), he completely tunes out and says he's listening but he's clearly not. He says he is going to wait till 21 to drink (?????????????? I have never heard of this ever) because it's "bad" and your brain hasn't fully developed. I don't know where he got this from as everyone in our family only socially drinks a few wines at dinner parties. It's like he doesn't think an opinion through fully before taking it on. He has done no research or anything (it's pretty universally accepted that it's fine to drink small amounts after 18), just he heard one time that your brain doesn't fully develop until you're 21 (pretty sure it's actually almost 30...!), and hasn't looked into it at all, but takes an extreme stance against drinking. This got taken to the next level when for the national school testing, he wrote all his essays on how the legal drinking age should be raised to 21. He is also EXTREMELY against drugs.


Eating disorder
- He has very unusual eating habits
- He has no idea when he's hungry and gets INCREDIBLY rude and grumpy
- He eats basically nothing all day (always skips lunch) and then gets to be extremely grumpy and still refuses to eat, even though he is a completely different person after he eats.
- Obsessed with being healthy - but doesn't really enforce it. E.g. he will call his brother a "fatty bum" for putting butter on his toast, but will then go eat some cake.
- Admitted (after I tried for weeks) that he had some body image insecurities and thought that drinking juice all day would help him look better
- Refused to eat his birthday cake and told his brother he was fat for having some (they are both normal weight)
- He is an avid cyclist (like his father), but when he went on holiday (and obviously couldn't cycle), he got so anxious when he got back about how his calves were losing muscle from his lack of practice, and went on and on about it incredibly obsessionally

Autism Spectrum qualities
- Unusually intense or focused interests. And he cannot understand when others don't share the same passion. He is obsessed with a particular comedian on youtube. I have told him I don't find the videos funny at all, yet he still tries to show me and refuses to think that i don't like them. He keeps showing them to me as though I'll finally laugh and love the comedian too.
- He has a bit of an issue not sticking to routine but it's not really a major issue
- Insists in doing something in the same order that he's always done it, even if it may be incredibly inefficient (and might actually mean that he doesn't get to hand in his assignment on time)
- Learning difficulties - definitely not an academically bright child, takes a very very long time to grasp concepts and apply them
- Limited use and understanding of non-verbal communication such as eye gaze, facial expression and gesture (only understands something if he is explicitly told in words. Often has no idea that I am mad at him unless I specifically say "I am mad". Has no idea he's done anything wrong either.
- Difficulties with social and emotional responsiveness
- Delayed language development - has extreme difficulty (even at 12) recounting a story from the day's events. He will leave out important information (doesn't realise I am not in his head and I have no idea who 'Joe' is), start the story again, stop, lose concentration, stop talking without realising, and if i utter a single word or look away he completely loses it and can't tell the story anymore.
- He has no idea at all about social cues and the social states of people around him. His brother is very emotionally aware and can understand everyone's state in a situation, and is often the mediator when adults fight (like me - I am constantly aware of other people's state in the conversation or social situation). But the boy in question will do things like sit in someone else's chair when it is very clear that someone else is using it, who just stood up to greet him.
- He has little eye contact, and hardly ever greets people. Often ignores people without realising
- He uses his iPad on loud when I am studying in the same room. Even when I ask him to turn the sound off or use headphones, he often forgets. For me, it just seems so obvious to not make loud noises when someone else is trying to concentrate, but he would've never even considered it.
- If I were to ask him "is it rude to not greet people when you walk through the door", he would say "yes", but he can't apply it in context. He repeatedly does it, I then get upset, and he says "have i done something wrong?" - after I've literally told him every single day after school when he walks in the door that he is being incredibly rude.
- One of the most interesting examples is when he was obsessed with a particular song. He asked if he could use my phone to "shazam" it (an iPhone application that listens to the song and figures out what it is), so I had a record of it on my phone, and then he proceeded to play it on repeat for the entire afternoon. Then the next day he said "come listen to this song" and I told him i'd obviously already heard it, and he was absolutely dumbfounded. He couldn't understand it.


We used to get along so well but now he has just been SO ridiculously rude to be that our relationship is becoming ruined. I have explained his behaviour to him in every way possible multiple times (calmly talking, directly asking, praising good behaviour, having consequences for bad behaviour, ignoring it, very firmly asking him to stop, even shouting), and nothing has worked.


Other points:
- I have had OCD in the past (finally over it, woohoo!), and I always tried to mask it. It was very obvious to me that others would notice if I was acting weird. But he doesn't do this. It's almost as though he is trying to imitate an obsessional person as a joke. He has absolutely no idea that other people would notice that he clearly has eating insecurities or other weird behaviours.

- He is literally glued to his iPad

- Listens to an extreme amount of that hardcore dubstep / electronic music.

- I find it incredibly difficult to stimulate a deep and meaningful conversation with him. Although he likes to ask me things, it's nearly impossible to get anything out of him. I have never judged him and have been extremely supportive whenever he has confided in me so he has no reason to be quiet because of me.

- He has a terrible temper, and lashes out at his brother, swearing, throwing things around, smashing things, and pinning his brother down and repeatedly kicking him until he cries.

- He leaves his homework to the absolute last minute. He is not proactive at all. He can truly sit on his iPad, ignoring the world and all he is supposed to be doing, for days. However he is also concerned socially. He is usually in the popular group, girls love him (he's quite sensitive and gentle around them. Also very good looking), and cares so so so much about how many instagram followers he has. He uses his iPad as an inlet to remain in the social world, whilst socially isolating himself physically.

- He is fairly entrepreneurial, but could never succeed with it. He does stuff like buys bulk packs of lollies and then sells them at school to make money - but never follows through with it for very long - he is into "fads", they usually don't last for long. Also he won't admit that he'll probably be over the current fad soon, and swears on his life that it'll be his passion forever... and then has nothing to do with it 2 weeks later.

All of these qualities have only really become apparent in the past year. Last year he was a pretty normal child with a few obsessional qualities (that I observed). These qualities have become extremely apparent at the beginning of this year, when he started high school. He has also become very teenager-ish, but that can't be the only factor inducing this behaviour. I initially just thought he was becoming a grumpy teenager, but it's definitely more than that!


Anyone who has read this entire post is absolutely AMAZING!!!!! I am truly ever so grateful for anyone that can help me with this, thankyou so so so much :wink::wink::wink:
 

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Probably a very unhealthy ISFJ. Don't take my advice to seriously, I'm not a therapist or anything, just a bored teen, but if you want to help him try to talk with his parents and see how they treat their kids. If they treat them a different way then you and they respond in a positive manner, try acting more like the parents would and see if that changes the kids behavior. If not, I think you should try to get him some help, if he doesn't already have a person to talk to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thankyou so much. It is now so obvious that both him and his father are ISTJs. Makes sense why everything he does frustrates me!!! We have the complete opposite function orders. I've helped as much as I can, but unfortunately his father views all his incredibly unhealthy traits as amazing things he needs to harness. Anyway - I'll always be there for him to talk to... Although it is incredibly, incredibly, incredibly challenging! Oh well, no family can be perfect!! Thanks again :)
 

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Why do you want to type him when it's obvious he has SEVERE autism? A proper type description isn't going to make dealing with him any easier, he requires special needs education. And badly so from the sounds of it.

It's cold to say, but I think you should have a seriously candid conversation with your uncle, then run away from this situation. I know telling an INFJ not to help is usually futile, but eh, try to think about yourself here :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting, do you really think he has severe autism? I wanted to type him because I thought it could help me understand his behaviour more - which it has.

I am confused re autism because he definitely exhibits a lot of autistic traits but most of these traits are also those of ISTJs. Additionally my aunty (from the other side of the family - not related) was his preschool teacher and she always said he was such an easy child, but I guess a lot of traits change in adolescence. He achieves in school quite well though... he's definitely one of those consistently slightly above average students - not brilliant, but never requires much help. I think it's more the autistic social aspect that would need help/that really frustrates me. I don't know. You seem to know more about this than me, I've never really experienced autism before. Can you share anything that would help?

Haha! Yeah, part of me wants to help but the other part wins over and says it's not worth it to get involved. My family is everything and I'd rather stay on great terms with them than start this awkward thing. Although I want to help... I seriously wonder how much help raising this issue would actually do and it would for sure at least partly destroy my relationship with him and his parents. Not worth it at this stage, but I do feel bad for saying that...
 

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Well you said he has autism, and some of the behaviors you described, like beating down his brother cuz of a temper problem, inability to communicate meaningfully and the talent show fiasco are not described by a type fitting of ISTJ. ISTJs have a need for control and what not, but it doesn't look like this. That Christmas talent show thing has autism written all over it BTW. who does such a self-centered, demanding thing on CHRISTMAS? Someone who doesn't "get it", that's who. A "neuro-typical" ISTJ would understand that's not an appropriate demand for such a special day. ISTJs don't take things to the extent your cousin does - they don't like to impose in such a manner. They might need control and certainty but your cousin takes it to absurd extremes.

I could share things about my family and autism but I won't in a public thread, I really don't like talking about it, all I wanna say is when someone has moderate to severe autism, communicating meaningfully with them is almost impossible. That's NOT an ISTJ feature, even with a N/S divide that you two have.

As far as getting them to see what's going on, it can be difficult. People will rationalize almost anything in any way before admitting there is a problem with themselves or a loved one. Denial is powerful. You need to get your cousin to see a professional because that's probably the only person they'd listen to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'd never had a relationship with any other ISTJs before so had no experience - thanks for explaining that. Obviously despite being a definite ISTJ his autistic tendencies take it to a new level. It's great to see that you agree and think it's a serious issue though - I'm used to that side of the family sweeping everything under the rug and pretending there's nothing wrong. Obviously not a healthy strategy. It's funny though how my mother and I were the only ones who seemed to think the christmas/talent thing was odd (dad's side of the family). But very very odd it was
I just have to figure out how to get his family to understand without upsetting anyone
 

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Now, has this kid actually been diagnosed with any of these disorders? Or are you merely speculating? Nowadays I am skeptical when I hear a psychiatrist has diagnosed someone with a disorder, let alone someone else, or god forbid a "self-diagnosis." Some of it could easily just be him being a self-absorbed, bratty kid, and he may mature in due time and grow out of it. I'm not discounting the very real possibility that he may have some kind of disorder, especially if there is family history, but I would be hesitant to start throwing labels on him so quickly. Watch him and if things don't improve and you seriously think his daily functioning is impaired, I would seek professional help for him. Typing him with the MBTI online won't cut it.

But nonetheless, I have read somewhere that the ISTJ type is indeed correlated with OCPD, and I have also read a couple of reports indicating that autistic behavior most closely matches ISTJ. These findings make a lot of sense to me given that both are described as highly routined, very literal, unimaginative and concrete, detailed, unempathetic, and asocial. So if what you say about this kid is accurate, I am not surprised that you typed him as ISTJ, and it is the first thing that came to my mind upon reading the title of this thread.

However, it is very important to note that while many or even most OCPD/autistics may be ISTJs, the vast majority of ISTJs do not have a disorder. Indeed, ISTJ is the most common type among all males - something that also fits with recent findings suggesting autism may be linked to an overload of male hormones and theories that autism is "the male brain on steroids." But that "on steroids" part is very important. Autism is like ISTJ behavior pumped up to the most extreme it could possibly be. It's like if ONLY the sensing and thinking sides were ever developed to the max with no intuition or feeling at all to balance it out. All yang, no yin, and that's why many see autistics as "robots" or Vulcans. They simply cannot comprehend abstract things like emotions and cannot stand to break programmed routines. If you have seen The Big Bang Theory, and the character of Sheldon Cooper, you know what I mean. I believe he is definitely ISTJ, definitely OCPD, and quite possibly autistic. If you watch the show and find this kid is very similar to him, you may well be on to something.

Still, I would wait to see if he "gets over" this behavior before making any definitive judgments. Considering he is so young and because you said you used to get along well (implying he wasn't always like this?), and because he seems to be ISTJ, it may be possible he is just going through a bad personality phase and will eventually soften his behavior as he matures and develops a bit more. He may not be ISTJ, OCPD, or autistic, or he may be some combination of the three or something else entirely. At any rate, I would keep an eye on him and try to seek help if you really think it's getting very bad, to the point where he cannot function in society, assuming the rest of the family isn't in the way.

Oh, and one more thing. Just remember that autism IS a cognitive disorder that fundamentally impairs two key aspects of cognition: Cognitive empathy (the ability to read facial expressions, body language, place yourself in another's shoes, etc.) and theory of mind (the ability to understand that others exist separate from yourself and do not have all the knowledge you have.) It is not just a collection of personality traits and behaviors grouped together like a personality disorder or MBTI type. And while general trends arise in personality from those cognitive failings in autism, it can sometimes manifest in different behaviors. Based on what you said, you seem to think he struggles with cognitive empathy and theory of mind, but to be sure I would try to test him. Read up on the works of Dr. Simon Baron Cohen and, if you can get the kid to take these tests, do it:

Test your social intelligence

(Baron-Cohen's cognitive empathy test)

Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test

(Tests for behaviors that are common in autistics.)

If he fails them, it just might be enough to persuade the family to look into the issue further.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow such a great post thankyou so much

Now, has this kid actually been diagnosed with any of these disorders? Or are you merely speculating? Nowadays I am skeptical when I hear a psychiatrist has diagnosed someone with a disorder, let alone someone else, or god forbid a "self-diagnosis." Some of it could easily just be him being a self-absorbed, bratty kid, and he may mature in due time and grow out of it. I'm not discounting the very real possibility that he may have some kind of disorder, especially if there is family history, but I would be hesitant to start throwing labels on him so quickly.
I completely agree. That's one of the main reasons for starting this thread. I am very reluctant to throw labels around, and I think often a label is not that useful - people can have problems without being a specific disorder. I think one of the main questions I was asking in this thread was whether these behaviours are indeed unhealthy and indicative of a disorder (and whether these disorders are related), or if my frustration of him can be explained by our type differences (or just bratty behaviour). Certainly there is an argument for both. But he doesn’t seem to be representative of a healthy ISTJ by any means.

But nonetheless, I have read somewhere that the ISTJ type is indeed correlated with OCPD, and I have also read a couple of reports indicating that autistic behavior most closely matches ISTJ.
Thankyou, this is also something I wanted to know. They do seem interrelated to some degree.

However, it is very important to note that while many or even most OCPD/autistics may be ISTJs, the vast majority of ISTJs do not have a disorder. Indeed, ISTJ is the most common type among all males - something that also fits with recent findings suggesting autism may be linked to an overload of male hormones and theories that autism is "the male brain on steroids." But that "on steroids" part is very important. Autism is like ISTJ behavior pumped up to the most extreme it could possibly be. It's like if ONLY the sensing and thinking sides were ever developed to the max with no intuition or feeling at all to balance it out. All yang, no yin, and that's why many see autistics as "robots" or Vulcans. They simply cannot comprehend abstract things like emotions and cannot stand to break programmed routines. If you have seen The Big Bang Theory, and the character of Sheldon Cooper, you know what I mean. I believe he is definitely ISTJ, definitely OCPD, and quite possibly autistic. If you watch the show and find this kid is very similar to him, you may well be on to something.
This is really one of the things I wanted to hear the most, the "ISTJ on steroids" part. This is what I'm feeling. His behaviours are characteristic of an ISTJ, but taken to the extreme. I see how I would have some difficulty having a close relationship with an ISTJ, but I also didn't think all ISTJs were 'this bad', or 'this extreme'. My mother (also an INFJ) always thought it was comical how robotic this boy and his father are. And how they had no idea their behaviours were comical. But they also do have a deep well of empathy somewhere. I think they just fail to show it properly.
And yes, Sheldon is quite the interesting character! This boy definitely has some qualities of Sheldon, but the contradictory argument is his outgoing friendliness he exhibits around his friends. This behaviour seems completely opposite to what an autistic/ISTP/Sheldon-like character would be. The boy I experience when he comes home from school and can’t communicate properly or organise his afternoon without extreme frustration is a completely different boy to the one I see when he is performing or with his friends. Although, still, when he is performing around his family (doing a magic trick, telling a story etc), he fails to see that all audience members have different definitions of humour and that not everyone will share the same passion of this particular joke or people might have seen the trick before, or the way he did it might be obvious. I just don’t see how this sort of behaviour could bring you friends or popularity… maybe all the girls just see past this because he is so good-looking? And because all the girls like him then the boys consider him popular? I don’t know. He’s so contradictory in some ways.

At any rate, I would keep an eye on him and try to seek help if you really think it's getting very bad, to the point where he cannot function in society, assuming the rest of the family isn't in the way.
This is the basis for my counter argument to the autism. He seems to function fine in society. He seems happy within himself, he has a lot of friends, always in the popular group, loves performing (in drama, doing magic tricks, telling jokes in front of his friends etc), has heaps of girls who are obsessed with him and always has a girlfriend (at age 12... haha), does fine in school... etcetcetc. He actually acts very friendly and extraverted around his friends, but as a person I'm sure he's an introvert. I obviously don't see him interact with his friends without me being there, so I don't really know what happens, but surely he can't be as horrible around them as he is with his family, or he would have no friends. Around his family, I can't even describe how rude he is. And he's mean too. And highly competitive. But as soon as you let him know he's being rude, he acts like he has no idea.
I should also mention that he has suddenly hit teenage-hood. He is exhibiting bratty teenager behaviours that I didn’t show until I was 15. Last year he was a kind-hearted child, now he is a mean, arrogant, know-it-all, ‘the world owes me everything’, teenager.

Oh, and one more thing. Just remember that autism IS a cognitive disorder that fundamentally impairs two key aspects of cognition: Cognitive empathy (the ability to read facial expressions, body language, place yourself in another's shoes, etc.) and theory of mind (the ability to understand that others exist separate from yourself and do not have all the knowledge you have.)
Yeah he definitely struggles with both of these, at least around family... or does he just not try around family? Like he values popularity and 'number of friends' a lot, so does he just try really hard to be fun and likeable at school? But not around us? I don't know.
His line of thinking is just so different to mine. He is always starting competitions with his brother (who is exactly me but in younger and boy version) as to who has more friends, and I’m always like….. “what?”…… I laugh. I don’t know. It just seems so stupid to me. When I tell him that the number of friends I have isn’t important to me, and that I’d rather have one best friend than 500 fake friends, he doesn’t understand and refuses to change his argument. Ughhhhhhh so annoying! Once he’s on a particular wavelength he cannot, cannot, cannot change direction even if you provide a perfect argument! Sorry for that rant!

Thanks so much for the test/reading suggestion. I'll look into it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Distort

Haha sorry! He does have some good points, (last year we got along so so well and even though he's my little cousin I considered him to be one of my closest friends). But I guess all those kind things he used to be have just been covered up by this fairly sudden change in behaviour. Which I think was primarily driven by hormones/teenagehood/highschool.

And I think because we used to be so close, and I give literally all the love and care I have into a relationship (especially a family one), his change in behaviour has just hurt me so much and is a bit of a let-down in general. I miss our old relationship! So yeah, sorry I'm so negative about him, he's not a bad kid, but it is really difficult to see him in a positive light. When his mother comes home and she and I chat, she is just always ranting about how he's just so so mean. He gives his family members about 5% love and 95% anguish and frustration.
 

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I am actually driven to consider xSFP. If I consider someone like Joffrey Baratheon (and I apologize, because this is the most horrible comparison I can ever make), some of the ways you describe the boy kinda remind me of him, especially the constant desire for control. ISTJs should come off as fairly passive individuals overall. Si-dominance is not aggressive. I'm not at all inclined to ISTJ for this boy. He actually seems driven by this constant feeling of weakness, which could come down to inferior-Te. I imagine SPs feel it in general, but xSFPs are blunter on the matter.
 
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