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Marilyn Monroe and Aspergers Syndrome?

Marilyn the Screen icon

Marilyn the Screen icon

Were they Marilyn's downfall?

Were they Marilyn's downfall?

Was Marilyn Norma Jeans Neurotypical face?

Was Marilyn Norma Jeans Neurotypical face?

Aspie trait?

Aspie trait?

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 Bi-Polar Disorder 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.

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Marilyn had the look


AngelaReins on November 17, 2018:

Yes, it would certainly fit - Marilyn's high I.Q., depression, social anxiety, ability to mimic to fit in etc etc. Asperger's is only just becoming well-known in the 21stC, with many women still unaware they even have it - I wasn't diagnosed until 51, & only by chance, no thanks to 30 years of Drs & Psychologists - Imagine how bad it was in Marilyn's day, no real help, how alone she must've felt; heart-breaking.

Anne on January 10, 2017:

Fascinating. I just realized recently that I'm probably an aspie. It's a hell of a thing to realize at 35. I was married to a narcissist who may have also been bipolar. It's been hard to get close to anyone since. I feel like all the dominos are falling in place now that I understand this about myself. I'm currently unemployed and I think I finally understand why most jobs have been awful for me. Sometimes I don't understand what I'm feeling or how I should express it. Makes dating extra complicated.

Valene from Missouri on September 28, 2016:

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I never would have guessed Marilyn had Aspergers. Thanks for sharing this information, it is very helpful for those on the spectrum.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on July 08, 2014:

Thanks for your comment flowergirl. I don't know anything about Brittany Murphy so I must look her up. There are a lot of diverse types of the Aspergers female out there definitely.

flowergirl on July 08, 2014:

I agree with you about Marilyn Monroe. I always felt connected to her and now I know why. I see some similarities between her and Brittany Murphy who I also suspect was on the Autistic spectrum.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 20, 2014:

Thank you for that explanation! I will certainly check out the link and hope you do write a hub on those.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on June 20, 2014:

Hi Jackie yeah I have taken the sociopath test too but I don't qualify thankfully. Sociopaths are intent on being malicious and have no empathy at all for anyone. People with Aspergers on the other hand do have empathy its just they often don't know how to express it appropriately. Some huge upset may be suppressed because the Aspergers person just doesn't instinctively know how to feel grief like others do, so often the feelings are initially suppressed only to then build up inside until it later spews out as a meltdown i.e. a release of pent of emotions be they positive or negative. A trigger for a meltdown can be minor in comparison to the event that triggered it i.e. it could be something minor like having no milk for your cereal a week after a really emotional funeral that you didn't know how to grieve about at the time. Also Sociopaths don't feel remorse, guilt or shame whereas us AS people certainly do when we recognize our social inadequacies. Also Sociopaths are incapable of love whereas us Aspergers people usually feel it intently even if we haven't a clue how to show it. Also you can't reason with a sociopath they will always be right no matter what whereas I anyway like to learn from my mistakes and always think about whether the other person has a valid winning argument.

As for the difference between a Narcissist and a Sociopath that's a lot harder to define definitely i.e. they are very similar in a lot of ways and now that you mention it I may feel a Hub coming on how to more clearly compare and contrast those two disorders. Here's a link to a website that gives some insight to begin with anyway

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 20, 2014:

This is really interesting. A person I assumed to be sociopath may be Narcissist? And how someone with Aspergers can realize it I find fascinating. If you model yourself from others to know how to act is also a sociopath trait isn't it? I need to study this out for I may be more confused than ever. Do you have feelings for people or do you have to assume how to feel? I don't mean to be rude; I just really want to know; since you admit the other. It seems so hopeful that you can talk about this.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on January 16, 2014:

Hi Marina, thanks for reading. All the reasons I give are explained in the article above. If you want me to explain any part of it or give you more info about a particular point then that's no problem just let me know which part you want more details about? I agree too Marilyn was a fascinating woman with many persona's.

Marina Carlini from Pisa, Italy on January 15, 2014:

Hi writingowl, I am very interested to Marilyn's personality. Could u tell me which are the carachteristics that made u say that Marilyn was affected by Asperger? Thank u very much!

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on October 14, 2013:

Thank you for your comment Sherie and I will certainly watch the documentary, Marilyn in Manhatten, this evening.

Sherie Weil on October 14, 2013:

I agree. I am watching Marilyn In Manhattan and it struck me so much as to search Marilyn Monroe and Asperger. She is child like, a bit naïve, a little unsure, smart, you can clearly see she has a high IQ, but socially she isn't confident. On a stage yes, one on one with Milton Greene, who understood her, yes. And Lee Strasberg understood her too. But in groups of people or when being questioned she is honest, candid to a fault, and generally sweet. I work with Autism Support of Kent County. I would be interested in knowing if anyone else spots this in this documentary. This Netflix documentary is great...

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on October 08, 2013:

You are welcome SC.

SandCastles on October 08, 2013:

"It is only in some instances that may totally lack empathy"--I agree with this thewritingowl; some Asperger people are jerks because people are people with their own personalities.

"endlessly fascinating to listen or read about how the Narcissist tries to justify themselves no matter what they have done"---and they'll even deny it and change the entire story.

Letting it go is the best advice. You're right. It is easy to become bitter and then the jerk has power again.

Sam Vaknin makes a lot of videos on narcissism and I believe he has one on counselling. The problem with counselling with a N is they won't admit anything, so what's the point?

Thanks for the dialogue,


Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on October 08, 2013:

Thanks very much Sandcastles for your very comprehensive reply. I totally agree with you in most of what you say. I too believe that more often than not people with Aspergers too have loads of empathy and as you right say Tony Attwood does discuss this too. His books are great aren't they? It is only in some instances that may totally lack empathy and when this happens, on the surface it can appear like a very similar issue (but not the same as) to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Also, once again I agree with you too that Narcissistic people do insult other people intentionally and use this ill will as another source of narcissistic supply. Also from my own personal experience of having being diagnosed with AS you are also correct in saying we do become obsessed about certain things sometimes and can also find it hard to let go. Especially when those closest to us get caught up in the Narcissists web of deceit and lies. I know that I have been driven into meltdown mode by one such Narcissist on one occasion, and even then unbelievably the Narcissist still had no capacity to understand that they may have done something to precipitate my feelings.

Yes indeed NPD people have awful difficulty in letting other people go. Whereas Aspergers people can get counseling (which I have always found very beneficial), and then hopefully in time can put the pain and hurt behind them. They can even forgive the other person and bare them no ill will when they understand their issues more fully. On the other hand what makes the Narcissist stand out is that no matter what they will still go on protesting their complete innocence even when even the dogs on the street know this is just not so. Typically the NPD person will still go on saying they have been verbally abused by their poor victim who just picked on them for no reason and attacked them. Why you might ask? Typically the NPD person will come out with statements like 'because they are an evil person with nothing better to be doing with their time other tormenting poor innocent me.' Conveniently the NPD person never remembers that they started the whole thing with their web of lies and deceit to begin with. Typically a Narcissist never has any ability to remember that they themselves set out to destroy innocent peoples reputations and caused great hurt just to achieve some goal that only they are aware of. So it is fascinating to then watch how this person will go on continuing to insist that they are the aggrieved party long after anybody else can even remember what they are on about.

That is where the Narcissist goes wrong in their manipulation plans i.e. they can't predict how other people will react to their lies because they have no capacity to step into someone else's shoes and figure out what they might be thinking in their minds. Even if they could they probably wouldn't bother because the Narcissist has no time or interest in caring about what anybody else is thinking anyway. Of course that is because it is still simply all about them.

So once again Sandcastles I agree emphatically with you when you say that Narcissists are the biggest hypocrites going. Whereas people with Aspergers and empathy abhor pretense and falseness. Life is too short and what's the point? Yes indeed there is no better spin doctor than a Narcissist and it is endlessly fascinating to listen or read about not the Narcissist tries to justify themselves no matter what they have done.

Once again when you say 'Aspergers people do not have to welcome any abusive person back into their life...To be around a narcissist, someone who is cruel, who lies, who manipulates, who twists facts, who slanders; it is a horrible experience, especially when the Narcissist won't leave the Aspergers person alone...' You hit the nail on the head there definitely. As the former victim of a Narcissist (at least one but probably a couple I would think), I could not agree with you any more.

I too know the pain and suffering the Narcissist can cause, not just to me but the collateral damage it also caused to other caring family members was terrible to see. Yet the Narcissist hurt everyone around them and then in classic NPD style asked, 'why am I the victim of this horrible person?' It is not an experience I want to relive either, ever.

Instead I am quite happy to take the advice of my counselor who gave me the best advice ever in coping with a Narcissist in your life i.e. 'Let it go. You have no control or cannot predict what this person does. If they slander you or your family, if they are vindictive towards you or mock you then just step back, wish them well and then just keep this manipulative person away from yourself and your family.' I was also advised that at the end of the day protecting my own family should be my number one priority.

Just finally in the course of my research I have never come across and research or information about a Narcissist and their victim going to see a counselor together. It sounds like an intriguing concept. Could you direct me to any literature about this. I would find going for counseling with my NPD person to be something I am very open to doing as I am sure it would be a very unique and certainly not a boring experience. Take care Sandcastles, and I hope my reply has now clarified your queries.

SandCastles on October 07, 2013:

thewriting owl, if you read Tony Attwood's books, he talks about empathy and compassion among Asperger people. While Asperger people may not understand certain social dynamics, they are usually very compassionate, to the point of being more compassionate than most. Narcissists have cold empathy; they understand completely when they insult someone but they don't care and often the do it deliberately to get narcissistic supply. Being feared is a form of supply too.

Asperger people do tend to obsess on things and it isn't always easy to let things go, especially when they've been hurt repeatedly by someone and they are trying to understand why. They might keep revisiting a situation to try to understand it and they can become stuck but Asperger people can delve into other their special interests. Normally, it is the Narcissist that won't let the Asperger person go; they keep hounding them.

It is very typical for Narcissists to be extremely petty while they accuse others of being petty. When someone is trying to work out why they were hurt, the narcissist will demand, "get over it!" but they will harbor their own grudges. They are very hypocritical.

Sometimes narcissists welcome counselling actually, if they can get their victim to go with them. They avoid individual counselling but welcome group because they are good manipulators and will try to manipulate the therapist; it becomes a form of narcissitic supply, "aren't they clever". Narcissists are very good manipulators and spin doctors.

"Whereas with guidance and explaining why, the Aspergers person will be able to let go and move on in time"; it depends what you mean by letting go. Asperger people do not have to welcome any abusive people back into their life. As I wrote before, Asperger people have their special interests and they might spend time focusing on something like narcissim to understand it. To be around a narcissist, someone who is cruel, who lies, who manipulates, who twists facts, who slanders; it is a horrible experience, especially when the narcissist won't leave the Asperger person alone. Aspergers are also righters of wrongs and will write about topics like Narcissism to help others so that they won't fall prey to the narcissist.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on October 07, 2013:

That's interesting Sandcastles but research (and my own personal observations) do tend to verify that Aspergers and Narcissism can be very similar sometimes but of course as you say they are different conditions.

Yet sometimes people with Aspergers may seem very Narcissistic, mostly because in some cases like the Narcissist they completely lack empathy for other people. An important diagnostic distinction made in the diagnosis of Aspergers or Autism Spectrum Disorder is does the person being diagnosed have empathy for others? Often AS people do have empathy for other people (and huge amounts of it) but sometimes they have none at all. That's where for me and others the comparison with Narcissistic Personality Disorder comes in. The autistic person without empathy for other people can cause many people great pain and even wreck a whole family and yet they do not have any feelings for anyone else, only themselves. This is what is referred to as mind blindness i.e. the Aspergers/Narcissistic person has no capacity to put themselves into someone else's shoes and view their damage from someone else's mind.

Instead they are completely devoid of feelings for everyone else except themselves (that is definitely a very Narcissistic way of living). Others look at them and wonder how they can consistently and continuously be so lacking in empathy for everyone around them.

Non-typical behaviour like this is what makes it such an interesting exercise to try to figure out what the difference is between a person with Aspergers without empathy for others and a Narcissistic person. I suppose as you say the AS person is probably less interested (sometimes) in material possessions, being social and having a large circle of acquaintances whereas the Narcissistic person usually craves the adoration of others. When they can no longer have the adoration of others (because they have become wise to them) then they are quite happy to be considered notorious by them instead. Because ignoring them and ridiculing them still means the Narcissistic person is getting attention for their actions and however pathetic that may seem that is the most important thing to the Narcissist i.e. ' if I can't get you to love me because I am precious then I will make a big deal out of you having wronged me instead.' The Narcissist will keep this up long after everybody else has even forgotten why they are still doing it i.e. years or even a lifetime. That to me seems like an awful waste of mental energy when they could just let go and move on. The Aspergers person who is capable of having feelings for others could rationalize this out and will usually eventually move on. But the Narcissistic person just cannot. It is always all about them and they just don't have a capacity to think about a situation from another persons point of view. Instead they will wallow in their petty grudges forever because that is the biggest pitfall of being Narcissistic. It's a terrible way to be but there is no way out of this behaviour for them. Counseling is rarely a help for the Narcissistic person because they always assume that they are more knowledgeable (naturally they believe that nobody is actually as intellectual or superior as they themselves are) than their therapist. So personally I think it is a tough way to be and ultimately they will end up alone when others can no longer deal with their continuous emotional demands. That once again is because they just haven't got the capacity to think i.e. 'perhaps emotionally I need to give something back to a person,' Or 'perhaps in life sometimes I must learn to let go of my pettiness and move on for others sake.' No, unfortunately the Narcissistic person cannot do this, it just isn't in their nature. You may as well be banging your head off a brick wall as suggesting it to them. Whereas with guidance and explaining why, the Aspergers person will be able to let go and move on in time.

To me that's the huge difference between the two. That's the point as you say that they are at opposite ends of the Spectrum. But often up close (without deep analysis) the Narcissistic person and a person that is devoid of all empathy for others can appear very similar.

This is a link to a book which is considered to be the bible of Narcissistic Personality Disorder i.e. Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited. The writer of the book is a self professed Narcissist and he talks about the similarities and differences of of AS and NPD in the book too.

SandCastles on October 06, 2013:

Many Asperger people are often misdiagnosed but Asperger's and Narcissism are entirely different. Narcissists are predators; Asperger people are naïve and are usually the targets of predators. If Marilyn had Asperger's she might have allowed herself to being pushed into playing the sex kitten role because she didn't have the boundaries to define herself and that is why she came across as vulnerable. Also, not all Asperger women are mimics either, where they copy other women. Many escape into a books or nature. They tend to be loners or they have a few friends, not a big social group. But the most important point I am making is that Aspergers is nothing like narcissism; they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on October 06, 2013:

Thanks Sandcastles, they are great comments. Its quite a while since I read any literature on AS or NPD for this article but when I get a chance I will root out that research for you, wherever it may be at this stage.

SandCastles on October 06, 2013:

Good job thewriting owl. Often women with Asperger's can appear neurotypical in short spurts (until people get to know them) then people often remark that the person is a bit odd or different; that they walk to the beat of a different drummer.

Aspergers can look like narcissism but normally Asperger people are not competitive. They are usually not threatened by other people's talents; they just want to pursue their interests without people being threatened by them. And Asperger people are not political whereas narcissists are very political (they know who to suck up to and they know who they can bully). Asperger people don't hunt for people to dominate but they often find themselves paired up with narcissists and bullies who are attracted to them because the Asperger person doesn't seem threatening. The narcissist ends up hating the Asperger person though because the Aspie isn't good at flattery so the narcissist gets their narcissistic supply from trying to bully the Asperger person.

Could you site the recent literature that indicates that 50% of adults who have never received a diagnosis for their Aspergers Syndrome by adulthood will develop a personality disorder? It would be an interesting read. I bet people who are undiagnosed end up wondering what is wrong with them and this in itself could lead to problems.

But people with Aspergers can learn and improve too. They can learn to be more savy. They can learn to set boundaries. It comes down to self-acceptance. Asperger people can be good friends but unfortunately they end up in bad relationships because Asperger people can be very passive. People end up choosing them and they push themselves into the Asperger person's life. When the Asperger person realizes that they have choices, they can avoid exploitive relationships.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on July 25, 2013:

Thanks for comment Flourish Anyway and she certainly was.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 25, 2013:

Fascinating hub and so very well written. Marilyn Monroe was such a troubled, beautiful enigma.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on June 20, 2013:

Thanks for your comments lavenderholly. Its always great to get others views so thank you so much for sharing. Have you written any articles on the subject of Marilyn Monroe yourself as I would love to read more. Its all supposition at this stage of course because none of us can really know for sure, we can but speculate. I am so glad you found the article interesting too.

Victoria Raquel from Tejas on June 20, 2013:

To begin with, you do realize that the quote at the top, "Imperfection is beauty" was completely made up? She never actually said that at all. Marilyn was an unmitigated perfectionist so that's completely illogical that she would say that imperfection was beauty. Also, "madness is genius"? Her mother had a mental illness and as a result wasn't a good mother to Marilyn at all, and that's something she would never forget. Madness to her wasn't genius, it was the reason why her childhood was so absolutely terrible. I hope this doesn't come off as rude, but that quote is quite irritating as I see it everywhere and self-proclaimed fans of Marilyn don't even realize what a farce it is.

Taken from one of my favorite Marilynettes on the internet (alwaysmarilynmonroe on Tumblr) as to why Summers book was illegitimate: "In Goddess Summers ignored and/ or frequently misrepresented those he claims to have interviewed. On the matter of Marilyn’d supposed despondency over the end of her “affair” with Robert Kennedy, for example, he quotes her publicist’s widow, Natalie Trundy Jacobs: “Arthur and I would stay at her house till five or six in the morning talking to her, trying to stop her drinking or taking pills.” But Natalie Jacobs has consistently denied ever making such a statement to Summers; on the contrary, her account has never varied. She met Marilyn once only, at Arthur’s hone for dinner and a film screening. Similarly, Ralph Roberts and Rupert Allan (to name only two more) were outraged at Summer’s manipulation and misuse of their comments to him." So if that book is the entire premise of your article I would recommend reconsidering. But other than that, I found this quite interesting.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on May 18, 2013:

Thanks & you too.

elle64 from Scandinavia on May 18, 2013:

Wery well -good info ,thanks for visiting mine-have a good day.

jerhugs on March 25, 2013:

I was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe in my early 20s. (And I consider myself to have aspergers but did not think that at the time, of course.) I read several biographies and watched all her films. When reading about her I noticed some seemingly trivial things that I had in common with her -- for instance one book said that she did not have any real interest in jewelry. Now I was an actress myself at the time and would shy away from playing actual people because it felt fake to me (because if I couldn't seem like someone 100% it wasn't good enough) but I did land the role of Marilyn in a show once. Now while I pale in comparison to Marilyn Monroe, I got excellent reviews for my performance. One woman who had a business of Marilyn impersonators for many, many years, said I was the best she had ever seen. I know this seems like I'm bragging (and I guess I am, so please excuse me), and believe me, I have not said this to other people (except my husband). I bring it up because at the time I was surprised that I could play her so well, and then later, after I suspected myself of having aspergers, and then reading that Marilyn may have had it, too, it made so much sense.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on March 21, 2013:

Thanks to you too for your lovely comments. Since I was a child I was always drawn to Marilyn Monroe. She was a fascinating woman and it is very unfortunate that she never really got the help she needed because it wasn't really there then anyway.

Kelly A Burnett from United States on March 21, 2013:


My husband and I watched the Marilyn Monroe show last night - "My Week with Marilyn Monroe". The facts you highlighted were all in this show.

This is a wonderful tribute to a great actress and a helpful playbook showcasing the fragile mental state many of us and our families are faced with.

I read a beautiful quote the other day from Gandhi - "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."

You did a wonderful job of presenting this complex personality and her frailties. We look at her life and admire her talent and beauty with awe and yet we sadly exploit the trauma in her life without explaining the trauma to help others.

Voted up and beautiful. What a truly wonderful piece to help humanity. Thank you!

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on November 03, 2012:

Thanks for your comment Heavenleigh.

I have read a lot of Professor Tony Attwood's work and he specializes in studying women with Aspergers Syndrome. He says that the Aspergers female can often present very differently to men with Aspergers and are always the greatest actresses ever. From a young age they study other girls and mimic all their mannerisms very well so often they can and do socialize a lot. Yet inside they are still totally insecure and unsure of themselves this is what leads many of them to develop eating disorder, addictions and personality disorders i.e. as a coping mechanism for their Aspergers and the constant confusion they feel inside.

My thoughts about Marilyn when writing this article was that it could have been the effort of always putting on Norma Jeans great act i.e. the Marilyn persona that led to her many psychological insecurities as well as her addiction to prescription drugs. Many people with Aspergers (myself included) do also suffer from depression or Bi-Polar as well as OCD also because they are autistic and they find the world so confusing and hard to manage but many do adapt very well in the longer term. Then again though I could be wrong and it could absolutely have been Bi-polar we can only speculate now. Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks too to Miss Mimi for your input. Back in Marilyn's era getting a diagnosis was impossible as Aspergers only became recognized in 1994 and before that many people with Aspergers were diagnosed with Schizophrenia or Bi-Polar which other family members in Marilyns's family (including her mother) were diagnosed with.

Miss Mimi from On the road again on November 03, 2012:

Wow, really interesting article. I've never heard these theories about Marilyn before, but I have heard a lot about the tragic events of her later life and career. I can imagine that if she had an undiagnosed condition, like Asperger Syndrome or Bi-Polar, that it would be frustrating and eventually worsen. Nicely written, voted up.

Heaven L Burkes from The Invincible Heart of Neverland on November 03, 2012:

midget38 - "Guess diagnosis is tricky because many conditions mirror each other!" This is a wonderful point!

Dear WritingOwl,

My father was diagnosed later in life with Bi-Polar issues, which explained a lot that had been misunderstood throughout his life. He may have had some aspects of Asperger Syndrome as well, was a brilliant artist and easily "obsessed" about certain things that were of interest to him. Understanding our parents can help us understand ourselves, but I hesitate to put labels on people that they may not be able to overcome, even if they have been mislabeled.

Marilyn doubted herself so much, and had a terrible childhood, in many ways, but she also had a warmth about her and an ease around people and in social situations that is not indicative of Asperger. She was however very prone to high highs and low lows emotionally, which suggests Bi-Polar.

Very interesting points, though, and thoughtfully done. :) Thank you so much for this article. It gives us a lot to think about.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on November 03, 2012:

Thank you all for your comments. Midget 38 yes agree I have Aspergers myself but only found out because my son has autism although I always knew I was a bit different and was delighted to find out why finally..

Yes Angie Jardine it is an ongoing never ending debate as to whether some so called 'labels,' help or hinder in my case I think not knowing I had Aspergers definitely hindered me as I spent a lot of my life searching for answers and it was only when I finally got it that I realized why so many things had been difficult for me so personally I do hope my son being diagnosed young will benefit him in the longer term.

Thanks for your praise Thundermama.

Thanks too JoanCA it is not widely specualted that Marilyn had AS but I had heard it before and after researching her life she ticked a lot of the boxes for both Aspergers Syndrome and Narcissistic Personality Disorder but who knows I could be wrong, we can't know for sure now.

JoanCA on November 03, 2012:

Marilyn Monroe is a hugely interesting figure. I hadn't heard about this before but it is possible she had some kinds of mental issues. Which shouldn't really be surprising given her background.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on November 03, 2012:

This was a really well written and interesting hub. Will definitely be sharing.

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on November 03, 2012:

I sometimes wonder about all these names the experts give to different personality traits … do they help or do they hinder?

To me surely we are all just a bunch of different aspects of humanity … some of us are more complex than others, is all.

Interesting hub, owl … certainly got me thinking.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on November 03, 2012:

A lot of conditions relating to mental health are not obvious so left undiagnosed until later. I have ADHD that was only diagnosed one or two years ago. Guess diagnosis is also tricky because many conditions mirror each other! Thanks for sharing, and I share as well.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on August 11, 2012:

Apparently many AS women become interested in psychology! Wish I had known this in college as it would have been a perfect career for me maybe in a few years I might be able to go back to studying, who knows! Thanks for your comment Tiffany.

Tiffany on August 11, 2012:

I agree thewritingowl. I would have never known that I was an aspie 'till my son turned 3 and was diagnosed with autism. I am also, a psychology major so after he had his diagnoses, I was very intrigued and started looking into Autism Spectrum Disorders and that is when I read about Aspergers. Described me to a T! When I was a teen, I was also, diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but I never thought it described me all that well. Now I am 28 and Aspergers is the only thing that make sense to me. Rudy Simmone also, says in her book "Aspie Girls" that it is very comman for a woman these days to receive the AS diagnoses after her son (more noticable in boys) receives a ASD diagnoses.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on August 04, 2012:

Thanks for your comment. So many people were misdiagnosed in the past. I was only diagnosed with AS myself a year ago although I was diagnosed with depression many years ago and that was when I became interested in psychology. I always felt there was more to it than just that. I never would have suspected Aspergers Syndrome though as I knew absolutely nothing about it until my son started to have problems and was later diagnosed with Autism.

Princesshmc12 on August 04, 2012:

I have ASD, was diagnosed at 39 after being diagnosed with the standard Bi polar. I can see my mother had ASD and she had been mis diagnosed wit Bi polar. I saw a film of Marylin Monroe and her life and thought absolutlely , that she and her mother were autistic.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on June 28, 2012:

Thanks very much.

Heaven L Burkes from The Invincible Heart of Neverland on June 28, 2012:

Very interesting. Thank you for your insights.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on June 24, 2012:

Thanks there are more in the pipeline. Watch this Hub.

Skarlet from California on June 24, 2012:

Fascinating! I would love to see more articles on this subject.

Mary Kelly Godley (author) from Ireland on June 21, 2012:

Yes I am thinking of writing some more articles about famous people who potentially were or are on the spectrum. We all known that many brilliant Engineers, Scientists, Architects and computer whizzes (and lets hope there's room for a few more famous autistic writers) are autistic and without them the world would not be nearly as interesting or diverse as it is. To me being autistic is just another way of being and I don't believe it makes me any less a person than anyone else just a person who sees things in another way a lot of the time.

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on June 21, 2012:

I've heard that Tom Hanks probably has it. It's interesting to read about these stars and their offscreen issues they deal with. We so often think of them as perfect but they have skeletons in the closet just like the rest of us.

L M Reid from Ireland on June 21, 2012:

Very interesting hub about Marilyn Monroe. I do not know much about her life but it is easy for those who have Aspergers Syndrome to spot it in others.

A lot of famous scientists, inventors etc have AS and if they did not have it they would not have had the patience and determination to discover and learn what they did.

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