Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Marriage with an Aspie - what you have to look forward to.
What's it like being married to an Aspie? It's maddening.
Don't let the sites you're reading tell you, "With just a little more love and patience, all will be well." Nope, not for an Aspie. No matter how much love and patience you give them, they want more. So you give a little more. Then they want more. So you give just a little more. And they want even more. This goes on for the duration of your marriage. Aspies are always raising the bar until you get to the point you simply can't reach any higher or do any more, then they start yelling at you constantly, they berate you, they call you names, sometimes they'll even hit you and throw things at you, not because they raised the bar to unattainable levels, but because you just don't love them enough to keep jumping through hoops for them.
The reality is, roughly 80% of Aspie-NT (neuro-typical, which is the name given to the non-Aspie partner) marriages end in divorce. I've looked high and low for a link to back this up and can't find one, but it's been referenced several times online from "a Relate leaflet", in p42 of 'Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships', by Ashley Stanford.
All this being said, these are some basic truths I've come up with due to my interactions with other NTs married to Aspies. I should say, these are my personal observations and aren't based on anything scientific in any way. It was these characteristics of their NT/AS marriages that led my STBE and I to his diagnosis from our marriage counselor that he is, indeed, an Aspie. It was his therapist at the VA who came up with the Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD) diagnosis. It was another VA therapist who seems to have told him he didn't need an Asperger's diagnosis because it would just make his marriage worse. I don't know WHAT he's been telling them at the VA, but based on past history, it probably wasn't good.
I want to note, I'll eventually expand on these "truths" as a separate post, and as I create them, I'll try to remember to link back to them and vice versa.
1. If you've married an Aspie, it'll make an appearance within the first two years of your marriage - Some go longer, some go shorter if kids come along, but it seems two years seems to be the limit for their ability to keep it all under wraps. Also, whether you dated 10 days or 10 years, or somewhere in between, you'll have seen NO signs of them being an Aspie. Every spouse I've talked to tells me they saw nothing that sent up any red flags while they dated their spouses. My own STBE Aspie finally admitted to me he knew he had these issues, mental illness and emotional problems before he even met me but he hid them from me out of fear I'd leave him.
2. Aspies don't want kids - Aspies are EXTREMELY needy people. Kids take your attention away from them. There's more, but this is the gist of it. If you're married to an Aspie, you WILL be the primary caregiver and they don't reciprocate. It's like having another child, seriously.
3. Aspies are loners - but they don't want to be alone. More on that later.
4. Aspies will always make it about them - no matter what. If you're lying in the middle of the road, having just been run over by a car, they won't call 9-1-1 until you have a full understanding of just "why" this is so difficult for them.
5. Aspies WILL lie to you - everything you read about Asperger's tells you Aspies are extremely honest people. This must have been something an Aspie tried to convince everyone of because I've yet to meet the spouse of an Aspie who hasn't told me their spouse lied constantly, even when the truth wouldn't hurt them.
6. They'll cheat on you - and they'll do it more than once, if you stay with them after the first affair. Another misnomer about Aspies is - they're extremely loyal. Loyalty and faithfulness are two different words in the dictionary and they are two different words to an Aspie. Every single NT spouse I've interacted with, and it's been dozens (over 100, at least) has told me their Aspie spouse cheated on them at least once, most of them more than once. I cover this in the posting I did about #5, Aspies WILL lie to you.
7. Aspies are huge pornography fans - Every single NT spouse of an Aspie told me and the groups their spouse was addicted to pornography, bar none. Every. Single. One.
8. Aspies aren't huge fans of sex - Except with themselves. Once again, every single NT spouse I've talked to - every single one - tells me their Aspie spouse refuses to have sex with them 99.9% of the time, generally once or twice a year, with most of them sharing they'd not had sex with their Aspie in years. However, Aspies DO like to masturbate; apparently a great deal. I'm still scratching my head on this one.
9. Aspies are the masters of manipulation - If you're married to an Aspie, you'll spend your entire life with them trying to stay one step ahead of their circuitous thinking. It's exhausting, to say the least. (See #10)
10. Aspies are the most literal people you'll ever meet - and while they can't help this, they also use it to their advantage. For over a year, I'd suspected my STBE Aspie was having an affair with someone he worked with. There was overtime not showing up on his paycheck, he was suddenly not available when I called, he wasn't saying, "I love you" to me on the phone much anymore and he'd started neglecting things around the house, such as mowing the lawn. For a year, I'd been saying to him, "Are you having an affair with someone at work?" For a year, he was answering me with, "No, I'm not." When the slut he was sleeping with was finally caught by her husband, who ended up being someone I'd grown up with, and he called me about it, I'd said to my STBE Aspie, "How could you look me in the eye and lie to me about cheating with your co-worker?" His response? Typical Aspie - That's not what you asked me. You asked me if I was cheating with someone at work. We never did anything at work.
11. Aspies are abusive - In a variety of ways. Mentally, emotionally, physically and verbally abusive, sometimes all at the same time. And if you raise kids with them, they'll become abusive, too.
12. Aspies are gas lighters - Gas lighting is a psychological term coined from the 1944 movie "Gas Light" starring Ingrid Bergman. Gas lighting is one of the single most damaging personality "quirks" an Aspie has. It's the one that'll drive you to the brink of insanity and it's the one that will have you running, screaming out the door for the divorce attorney. Seriously. It's that bad.
13. Aspies are NEVER at fault - They will do this dance a hundred different ways to deflect the blame off themselves and will say or do anything to keep the smell off of themselves, even blaming loved ones who had nothing to do with it and weren't even in the room at the time.
14. Aspies will use the children against you - Aspies make lousy parents. I joke that it's because they can't stand the competition, but it's not too far from the truth. However, they will say horrible things about you to the kids. They will undermine you every chance they get. They will be the "good" parent while you are forced to be the "bad" parent simply because the Aspie doesn't really parent at all, unless it's an opportunity to elevate themselves in some way.
15. Aspies need to be liked by everyone - Aspies are generally socially inept. As such, their need to be liked is all-prevailing and they're able to be whomever you need them to be. They are very chameleon-like in their personality and can turn it off and on at will. This relates to #14 because they do this to the kids. You WILL become their scapegoat in all matters pertaining to them, both good and bad.
16. Aspies are indecisive - to the point of being crippling to a relationship. Aspies are SO terrified of being wrong, thus "not liked", they have a difficult time deciding which way to go when a major (or minor) decision needs to be made. And if you can pin them down to a decision, most times they'll come back six months later and say, "I didn't really want to do it that way, I just through that's what you wanted to hear or for me to say" or "I though that's what you wanted me to say." Unless it's a GOOD decision and then they'll take all the credit.
17. Aspies seem to have "food issues" - I'm still working on this one in my head, but I've yet to come across an Aspie spouse who DIDN'T have some sort of issues with food.
18. Aspies will self-medicate - Whether it's drugs or alcohol, they'll do it, even when they know it could cost them their jobs, marriages and kids.
19. Aspies are narcissists - Aspies are simply unable to imagine anyone's feelings or needs beyond their own. Period. Nacissism, Bipolar Disorder and Asperger's are often misdiagnosed, one for the other, so often because they're so much alike. If you're marrying an Aspie, get ready to never have your feelings count for anything ever again.
20. Aspies may also have an underlying mental illness - This isn't to say Asperger's is a mental illness, it's not. BUT - it's not uncommon for an Aspie to have an additional mental illness or two. Generally, the mental illness with be Bi-Polar Disorder, schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or severe depression and anxiety. While the depression, anxiety and panic disorders ARE pretty prevalent in most people with Asperger's, it's also suggested that perhaps Asperger's has many of the same symptoms as several mental illnesses and they aren't part of the mix. It's also not uncommon for a diagnosis to be given of Asperger's that's actually a mental illness of some kind, and vice versa.
21. Aspies don't have the ability to empathize - What this means is, if you're going through a major life crisis, such as the death of a parent or other loved one, you'll go through it alone, unless you have a supportive circle of friends. I can look back on every major difficulty in my life and equate it to when my STBE had an affair. He simply can't handle my paying attention to anyone BUT him, even if that "anyone" was a dead loved one. My heartache at the loss of a loved one was an annoyance to him.
22. Don't expect to have many friends - Whether it's because they take your time away from the Aspie, or it's your Aspie's odd behavior (and they can get really odd), your circle of friends will grow smaller and smaller with each passing year, until you're completely alone with your Aspie, which is exactly where he wants you. If there's no one else in your life, you can devote ALL your spare time to taking care of your Aspie.
23. You will be separated from your family - Because Aspie's are abusive, they will separate you from your family as most abusers do. It will be so subtle and so pervasive, you won't even see it happening until it's happened - and the kids are fair game to them. Anyone who is in a position to help you, anyone you trust implicitly, anyone who could possibly see things from your point of view is a threat to the Aspie way of life and they MUST get them out of your world. They will say and do anything to separate you from your family. I learned this one the hard way.
24. Everything they loved about you when they married you is now hated - Was it your ready smile that drew them to you? Your fierce independence? Your ability to make people laugh? Was it the way you could work a room at any party? It could have been one of these things or all of these things that they LOVED about you when they met and married you. And, yes, they loved them all. But as time passes, they will work, diligently, to remove these parts of your personality and they'll do it with a surgical precision that would leave even Dr. Ben Carson in awe.
25. Aspies hate Neurotypicals - we are the person they want to be and when it's they who fail, we carry the blame.
26. They will wish for your death, almost daily - We, the spouses of these Aspies, know them better than anyone else because we live with them day in and day out. As the people who know them best, we're the people with the greatest capacity to hurt them and they hate this about us. They hate us for knowing them so well and they hate us for being realistic about them and their shortcomings. Because of this, they want us to die. They might even write in their journals about it. They might even refuse to take us to the doctor for a serious illness because they want us to die so much. This isn't to say they don't love us, they just want us to die.
27. They will want you to love them for who they are - Sounds good, right? Unconditional love? Who doesn't want that. Except they don't operate in that way. Their love is completely conditional on you pleasing them. If you displease them, they won't tell you, they'll just shut you out entirely. No talking, no acknowledgement, no attention at all. They won't stop this until you apologize. For what you ask? No one but the Aspie knows and they're not telling. But apologize you will.
28. If you come to your senses and decide to divorce the Aspie - Get ready for the fight of your life. Most high-conflict divorces are the result of an Aspie being left. They truly see themselves as the ideal spouse and parent when, in fact, the opposite is true. Because of this, they simply can't understand why you'd leave such a prize and this leaves them angry. Also, remember back to #13 and #19? It's never their fault and they refuse to accept that the needs of anyone but them matters. This makes for some rough courtroom time. They'll say and do anything, even lying to do it, to maintain the status quo. Aspies and narcissists need a victim to keep their egos at a healthy level (healthy for them, not for anyone else) and if they don't have someone to dump on, they can't stand it.
29. You will start to look crazy yourself - I can remember when my STBE and I saw marriage counselor #37 or so. I remember telling her, "I feel as though I'm always being manipulated" to which she replied, "That's a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder". She was trying to tell me I had BPD. I couldn't get her to understand I WAS being manipulated all the time! My STBE wouldn't come to me to talk about something, such as, "You know, honey, I think I need some new jeans and would like to go get some. Can we afford that this payday?" No, no, no... That would be too easy. Instead, what he'd do is start "talking" about jeans, never actually committing to the "want" or "need" part, just kind of talking about them, much like a child would hint at what they wanted for Christmas. It would be days and weeks of his "hinting" at something with me giving a non-committal response. I wasn't AWARE he wanted new jeans because he wasn't telling me! This would go on for quite a while before I'd finally snap and say, "Oh, for the love of God and all that's holy, just go get the DAMN JEANS!" Once he got what he wanted, he would move onto the next "want", not by asking, but by "hinting". To the Aspie, it's all about getting what they want through manipulations, lies and outright trickery. I "appeared" crazy because of what I was living with at home. I "felt" like I was being manipulated because I WAS being manipulated - ALL THE TIME!
30. You will be alone in this marriage - on several levels. You will be ignored, you will be treated as an accessory, you will NOT be treated as a person who matters. Also, once the reality of what you're living with hits you, you'll want to go to counseling. Most likely, the Aspie spouse will go, but it's only so the counselor will give them backup for just how "crazy" you are (see Gas lighting). You will be the only person working on the marriage at all times. The Aspie might put in the token effort, but when it gets too hard, they turn their back on you.
31. Asperger's and Marriage - Or, "What the hell am I dealing with?" - If you've read other posts on this blog, you'll know I was married to an Aspie/Narcissist/Sociopath/Bipolar for 21 years. For a long, long time, I had no idea what I was dealing with in the marriage, I just knew "something" wasn't right. I was also told for 21 years, the only problems the marriage had were mine to solve, that it was entirely my fault and that "Il Douche" (yes, I know it should be "Il Duce"...) was perfect in every way, shape or form, and this is what he told anyone who would listen. If you remember only one thing I say in all these postings, remember this one - You're not crazy!
32. Marriage to an Aspie - You'll always be wrong - Did you go into your marriage or relationship with an Aspie with solid self-esteeem and a good ego? Don't expect to hang on to that for very long. This is the first thing Aspies/Narcissists/Sociopaths attack when the moment they marry you. Most Aspies suffer from low self-esteem, which is what's behind ALL their behavior towards you. Rather than seek help to develop better self-esteem, they drag you down to their level. Part of this is always disagreeing with you, no matter what you say or what opinion you hold (and your opinions will ALWAYS be wrong).
This seems to be about all I can come up with for now. As other items occur to me, I'll add them here. And as I said previously, I'm going to try to create a post about all of these, linking back if I can remember to do so. If I don't do it right away, I'm sure I'll remember w/n a day or two or three.