The refrigerator mother theory
By F. Guzzardi
Origins of theory
In his 1943 paper that first identified autism, Leo Kanner called attention to what appeared to him as a lack of warmth among the mothers of autistic children. In a 1949 paper, Kanner suggested autism may be related to a “genuine lack of maternal warmth”, noted that fathers rarely stepped down to indulge in children’s play, and observed that children were exposed from “the beginning to parental coldness, obsessiveness, and a mechanical type of attention to material needs only…. They were left neatly in refrigerators which did not defrost.
This theory, which I personally fully agree with, was abandoned even after several protests from parental associations who felt guilty of Kanner’s claims. Later, the genetic factor was seriously considered, which still seems to be the most credible way. But in my personal experience (I am not a scientist) matured with autistic son and pathological narcissistic women, borderline or otherwise in emotional disorder, I can clearly that the way of Kanner, does not absolutely exclude the genetic factor. To be clear and with today’s knowledge, the “refrigerator mother” of Dr. Kennel can easily be identified in the pathological narcissistic subject, this does not mean that the autism of the child is caused by the cold behavior of the mother but by the genetic factor of a pathological Narcissistic mother, it seems obvious to me.
However, in my life I have had the opportunity to meet enough families with autistic children and also women with pathological narcissistic disorders. I can deduce from this that, if it is true (as I believe) that all autistic people have a narcissistic mother or with such problems, not all naricisistic women have autistic children. In reality, the children vary with percentages that I would not be able to indicate now, from “normal”, affective narcissists, pathological Narcissist or autistic.
The fact that no doctor or specialist calls into question the mother in the study of the autistic child is simply due to the fact that a pathological narcissist will never ask for help from a specialist precisely because of his being narcissistic and the doctor will not turn never his attentions to the mother for questions I would dare to die “ethical” If we add this to the fact that the specialists know a very little about the narcissistic subjects, just for that impossible to submit to therapies. And if anyone does, they will try to cheat the psychologist with false claims.
Now my question is still the same after long years of personal research: Why doesn’t anyone pay attention to the mothers of autistic subjects?
And again, why is the genetic factor superimposed on Kennel’s theory instead of complementing it?