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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Aspies are the most literal people you'll ever meet

Flickr Creative Commons: Annie_Belle1
My STBE Aspie husband had several affairs while he was married to me.  Some were online, a couple were live and in color with co-workers (and both of them thought they were the only one.  How cute is that?) and he also dabbled (at least I think he dabbled, it could have been a raging thing with him) in going into those chat rooms where people chat each other through masturbation.  Now, my STBE SWEARS he never masturbated through those conversations.  He would have been the only one, I'm sure.  And if you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

It's this black-and-white thinking that will drive you right over the edge, mentally and emotionally.

Once my STBE's affairs with co-workers came to light, once I got phone calls from some very angry husbands, I said to him, "I've been asking you for over a year, accusing you really, about having an affair with someone at work.  You've always told me you're completely honest with me, yet you looked me in the eye and told me you weren't".

His response?  And hold on to your seat...

"That's not what you asked me.  We never did anything at work."

To an NT, this is a lie - a lie of omission.  I won't even touch on the lies of commission, knowingly telling a lie or embellishing the facts, because Aspies tend to not do that.  This is how they convince themselves they are SO honest!  To an Aspie, he WAS completely honest with you.  100%.  He answered the question you asked, not seeing any of the subtleties NTs see on a regular basis.  They do this to confuse you, really.  Leading you into a false sense of security that they really are "honest" people.  They work to make you believe it's not they who lied (a lie of omission is still a lie), but simply you who misunderstood what it was you were asking.
“Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.” ― Criss Jami
The Bible doesn't address lies of omission, but to lie is a sin.  My STBE would hold himself up as a paragon of virtue, using the bible to back him up with this assertion, since he is the son and stepson of two Episcopalian priests.  He presents himself very, very well to the outside world using this as his bedrock.

However, he's broken so many commandments, I wondered if he ever read them.  He not only cheated on me but his first wife.  But with an Aspie, they can make it all sound very correct and proper, thus the fault of their spouse.  They leave out the part where it's they who was neglecting their spouse, staying glued to the television, probably drinking to excess or using drugs as a buffer between them and the insanity that goes on inside their heads. There were red flags with the STBE while we were still dating, but I chose to overlook them.  One of the big ones was, whenever I'd ask him if he saw a certain movie, he'd tell me, "I think I did watch it at some point, but I was drunk and don't remember it."  The lie of omission takes place here.  They skew the reality of it all to make you believe they are the victim in this scenario.

But to him, and his "morality" of being the perfect Christian, he's honest, thus there was no lie, because he believes what he told me is the truth.

Here's a tip - most abusers of alcohol and/or drugs do so because of the "voices in their head".  I don't mean the voices a person might hear if they're delusional, like the Son of Sam telling people his neighbor's dog made him do it.  I mean their internal monologue that most of us have going on in our minds day-to-day.  This is the internal monologue where we work to solve problems, plan our day or evening, what to make for dinner, etc.  For most of us, we can shut this down and go on with our day.  For someone with Asperger's, Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder (which my therapist tells me is primarily women) they simply can't shut it down.

They'll take a minor event in your life together, one that drives them completely nuts every single time you do it, such as sweeping the kitchen floor every night before you go to bed.  They won't say a word to you about it, but they WILL let it fester in their head for days, weeks or months; in my STBE's case, it would be for years and decades - he only just told me about a week and a half ago how much he hated it when I would call him and ask him if he'd like to meet me for lunch while I was in town.  This is something I'd been doing for the duration of our marriage.  He literally kept it inside for over 21 years.  I even did this when we were dating!  This, to me, is a lie of omission, or sorts.  He hid from me his dislike of this rather than tell me I was doing something that bothered him.  He then made it my fault for not telling me.  In his head, he built it up to, "She'll just get pissed off at me if I tell her I don't like it and I don't want that argument".

But who's to say it would have been an argument?  I heard from him so many times, following his being caught in his latest lie of omission, "I didn't say anything because I didn't want the argument."  I would tell him, every time he would say this to me, "But how do you even KNOW it would have been an argument if you didn't give me the opportunity to address it when I first did it?"  His response was always the same, "Because I know you."

And it might seem as though I'm drifting here (and I probably am) but the basis of all this ranting is: by not telling me I was doing something that upset him, he was lying to me.  He allowed me to go on for months at a time thinking everything was okay, when the truth of the matter is, it wasn't.  He just wasn't telling me.  After several months of "not telling me", he would explode into a rant that would, at times, leave me fearing for my safety.  So now, not only am I dealing with his laundry list of complaints, I'm feeling defensive because I'm feeling as though I'm being attacked from all sides.  (I call this "Pulling the rug out from under me", something else Aspies like to do, in order to keep you off-balance and walking on eggshells waiting for when the next rant or explosion will come)  And this is his own self-fulfilling prophecy because not only am I mad that he's kept from me about 100 things I've done that upset him, I'm now being attacked (from my point of view) and defending myself.  This is all compounded with the anger I'm feeling over having the rug pulled out from under me, too.  I'm so totally confused at this point, I don't know which end is up.

Using the "fight or flight" impulse all humans have, I was in a no-win situation, too.  Were I to stand there and defend myself, I was being abusive (translation: to ALL Aspies, standing up for yourself and not giving them tacit agreement on just what a piece of shit you really are is "abuse"), if I left the scene of the crime, walked away to avoid the argument, I was being selfish and narcissistic, not caring about his feelings at all.  If I sat there and said nothing at all, agreeing with him every step of the way, the abuse would continue and only get worse as time passed, thus enabling him even more.

But to the Aspie, not telling the whole story is not a lie of omission, nor is it a lie at all.  They take no responsibility for their actions, placing the blame squarely on your shoulders.  By the time they get around to telling you the whole truth, they've already convinced themselves it was entirely your fault, forcing them to be less than completely honest.  Certainly, they'd have been a much more honest person were it not for you being SUCH an unreasonable person, not because of anything you said or did, but because of what they THOUGHT you said or did.  His rambling mind got me in more trouble with him than anything I could have done on my own.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Taking a break from the "lessons" and sharing a bit of my life

In looking at the nearly 100 posts on this blog over the past weeks/months/years, I realize I've not really shared much of my life with you.  I looked back at some older posts, sporadically put here over the time I've lived in Arizona, averaging two or three a year.  I look at the posts and see the timeline that's been my life with an Aspie.

This is me now.  Also, being a little
goofy for my friends
Back when this all started, in November 2004, about a month after I moved to Arizona - there's a photo of me in this post.  I've got a newer one now.  This was taken just a couple of weeks ago right before I had all my hair cut off, had it dyed and picked up some highlights along the way.  I've also lost a great deal of weight since this divorce started over two months ago - about 40 pounds.

Then there are two more postings about some animals we had here on the soon-to-be former homestead.  Some goats, some chickens, all gone once Mark realized owning them meant work.  I then see some posts about blue skies, rainbows and hot air balloons; pretty pictures that don't tell the whole story.

Then I see some posts about news stories and some rants of mine related to them.  Then, in 2007, I complain a bit about my high school reunion and mention 2012's reunion to plan.  2012 went off without a hitch and I don't think there's a single person who didn't have a great time!  Currently, we planning a 50th birthday party that will include a 5k to commemorate a classmate of ours who passed away from the effects of Muscular Dystrophy.  There are some more ramblings, then a posting to remember my father.  I still miss him everyday.  I still have the coonhound, Daisy, who was bitten by a rattlesnake.  She's now nearly seven years old, she hasn't been bitten by anymore rattlesnakes and she's definitely wiser.  More postings, my crazy mom manifesto and then I move on again.

Which brings us to now...

Just so you know I'm not just talking off the cuff, I've been living with the man I'm describing to you for the last 21+ years.  It's been an incredibly difficult 21+ years dealing with the baggage that comes with being married to an Aspie/narcissist.  My life has been a roller coaster of emotions, up and down, round and round in circles, advancing, retreating, hurting, loving, crying alone in the shower on the bad days, laughing aloud on the good days, and in general, just pretty confusing.

But, like Daisy, I'm no longer being bitten by a rattlesnake.  When Daisy sees a rattlesnake in the yard, now, she barks at it from a safe distance.  When I see my rattlesnake coming, I don't bark, but I do prepare myself for a possible strike.  I assume my rattlesnake is already coiled up and ready to strike.  That way, there are no surprises.

This past week was an odd one, but no surprise.  Out of the blue, Mark came to me with the suggestion we do a legal separation rather than a divorce. Seems he wants to keep me on Tricare so he doesn't have to pay for health insurance for me.  And, oh, by the way, how about we keep reconciliation on the table for some point in the future?  I won't bore you with a lot of the talk that went on between us over the week but I was wary.  I'd been so beaten down by this guy over two decades.  His lies, manipulations, half-truths, cheating, hitting, stealing money from the household funds; you name it, he did it.

What I ended up telling him was, reconciliation isn't off the table, but not now.  When, then?  I don't know.  I need some therapy and so does he.  And I would never consider reconciling if it meant things being the way they were before.  I was in desperate need of some "me time".  This was a couple Thursdays ago.  He didn't even make it a week before reverting back to his passive-aggressive, abusive self.  By this past Wednesday, he responded to a text from me with, "I'm in my cave" (which is his code for needing to be alone with his thoughts)  The following morning, he was back to his "I'm mad at you for no reason other than what I've developed in my head and I'm ignoring you again." Well, that and his attorney talked him out of being "friendly" during this divorce or legal separation or whatever it is (in my mind, a divorce).  Mark's need, though, for a narcissistic host means he'll go on paying her for so long as she'll let him, since she feeds his ego.  And so long as his dad has a pen, a checkbook and a way to mail money to Mark, she'll let him.  So long as she goes on telling him just how wonderful and right he is, he's glad to do it.  She needs hours to bill and he needs someone to tell him what an amazing, wonderful person he truly is.  All parasites need a host and I'm glad they found each other.  We'll file that one under, "Not my problem anymore".

I just shook my head when I got his nasty email.  Same shit, different day.  And I moved on.  One thing to mention is: I did let my attorney go after the first hearing after she did pretty much nothing at all.  I might as well have driven down the street tossing $2,000.00 out the car window for all the good it did me in hiring this attorney.  Just for fun, I started sending emails requesting discovery from his attorney.  She's been denying me access to Mark's financial records but she's never "said" she's denying it.  She's just not doing it. (And here's a tip - the more they want to hide something, the more you want to see it - especially if it relates to the finance)  Up until yesterday, there was really nothing that could be done.  BUT - in the flurry of emails yesterday, mine requesting discovery, hers getting longer and longer, all filled with her narcissistic rage she finally said something that the Arizona Bar is VERY interested in seeing - her telling me IN WRITING that she didn't consider his financial records to be relevant to the proceedings.  As soon as I got that one, I called the people at the Arizona Bar and they asked me to email them everything.  This is an ethics violation and it involves hiding financial resources, something they take very seriously ever since another attorney in another part of Arizona helped a client hide a great deal of money in a divorce proceeding.  He got seven years in prison.

I'm seeing two attorneys next week and one of them comes highly recommended as the one to have since Mark's attorney has the reputation of being one of the most unstable, mentally disturbed attorneys in the county.  So I guess she and Mark deserve each other.

As far as how I'm doing: I'm healing.  I guess there was some residual guilt left over from caring for a mentally/emotionally disturbed person for 21+ years.  I think that's what last week was about.  I'm here to tell you all, anyone reading this, expect the guilt.  Expect them to come back during it all.  Expect it all to fall apart very quickly again.  Again, same shit, different day.  So long as you EXPECT them to be capricious, vile, mean, apathetic, manipulative and abusive, all will be well.  Which is why I never completely let down my guard, even when he was discussing with me the possibility of his quitting his job to go back to school.  I was actually starting to fall for it a little bit; I guess old habits die hard. However, it didn't take me long to snap out of it once his true colors came out again.

This is me now, 40 lbs lighter
and looking pretty amazing!
I'm trying to figure out how to
take a selfie w/o looking like
I'm not taking a selfie!
But, I'm still healing.  I didn't get the house I wanted in my hometown that went up for auction today.  But that's okay.  It just wasn't meant to be or it would have been.  But, I'm still healing and will continue to heal with each day that the sun rises on a new one.

For anyone contemplating leaving their Aspie, it really will be okay.  Whether the relationship is a shorter one or a longer one, it will be devastating, at first.  These guys work on us DAILY to convince us we're nothing w/o them.  I can remember my STBE husband would tell anyone who would listen he couldn't possibly become an Episcopalian priest because I was such a bad person with a bad background.  I come from an incredible family who worked hard for everything we have.  My grandparents were both farmers, my mother and father were both well-educated (but didn't have any degrees) and set an excellent example for me and my siblings.  They remained married for 53 years, only ending it on the day my father died.  His family, though...  Well, that should be another blog post some day.  Trust me when I tell you - they have issues and always will because they refuse to see it's they who are nuts.  They are enablers, co-dependent, mentally ill and refuse to medicate because "Jesus will heal me".

I'm not going to lie - there were days I was positive I wouldn't be able to take the heart ache anymore.  But I got up the next morning and found I could make it through another day.  I don't know just when I stopped thinking about the pain in my heart on a continual basis but I did.  And before I knew it, I lost the "whatever" in the pit of my stomach that was omnipresent.  I was laughing again with people and looking forward to a future by myself.  I started visiting Pinterest to look for decor I liked that I could do in my new home, where ever that might be.  I'm seeing just what life CAN be like w/o having someone peering over my shoulder constantly to tell me how I'm scrambling the wrong egg.  I'm enjoying NOT hearing someone tell me just how wrong I am all the time, not correcting me in front of other people, not telling me how I've become so unattractive over the years.\If I had a nickel for each time someone told me just how beautiful I am...

Yes, that first step is scary - but, trust me, it's worth it.  And you'll come out of it okay.  I promise.

And if you need some inspiration, to know you CAN get through it, try reading One Mom's Battle Divorcing a Narcissist.  I know, I know, we're all talking about Aspies here, but Aspies are also narcissists.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Aspies are the masters of manipulation

What I'm going to write here might overlap with #10 on the listAspies are the most literal people you'll ever meet.

You can't pay enough money to... cure that feeling of being broken and confused. ~ Winona Ryder

I know this post is supposed to be about being manipulated by your Aspie, but it's important to know that they manipulate you by keeping you confused and/or angry pretty much all the time.  How do they do this?  By denying they've said something you KNOW they said.  Or denying doing something you KNOW they've done.  The thing to remember about Aspies is - they'll lie even when the truth won't hurt them.

Aspies aren't a group of people who can just come to you and say, "Honey, I'm upset about something and I'd like to discuss it with you."  

No, no, no, no, no...  That would be too easy to just come out and have open, honest communication.  

Let's say you made meatloaf for dinner and used a spice the Aspie didn't like, say...  Mint.  They won't TELL you they don't like the mint.  In fact, they'll tell you how GREAT your meatloaf is, so much so you're absolutely convinced it's their favorite meal and will make it once a week for 20 years.  What's going on during that 20 years, though, is quite different inside the head of an Aspie:

  • First time eating said meatloaf - Wow, I really don't like this spice she used in the meatloaf.  But if I tell her I don't like it, she'll be upset.  I suppose I'll just tell her how good it is.
  • Second time eating said meatloaf - I really, really don't like this spice and she's made it AGAIN!  Why would she make this?  Doesn't she know I don't like this mint?  But if I tell her I don't like it, she'll get mad at me.
  • Third time eating said meatloaf - AGAIN!  Mint in the meatloaf!  I swear she could screw up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Why is she STILL making it this way??  But if I tell her I don't like it, it'll start a big fight and I'll lose.  So I'll just have to *SIGH* tell her AGAIN how much I love it!
  • Fourth through 125th time eating said meatloaf - The Aspie hates the meatloaf every single time you make it but says nothing at all about their not liking it.  Instead, they keep it in their head, allowing their anger to grow each and every time they eat it, telling you the entire time how much they love it, leading you to believe you are the Julia Child of meatloafs.  However, by the time they've gotten to this point, they've already built up inside their heads that telling you will lead to an argument of epic proportions and aren't they the dear, dear man for sparing your feelings?  But they've also decided they hate you for not KNOWING they don't like the meatloaf.
  • After about six to twelve months of serving this meatloaf to them because they told you how much they loved it, they finally blow up at you, spend a few hours ranting at you over just how stupid you are for not knowing how much they hate mint in the meatloaf and what a horrible, selfish, narcissistic person you are for not knowing this.  When you ask them why they didn't tell you the first time they didn't like it and their response is always the same, "Because I knew you'd yell at me."
My STBE ASH would do this constantly.  I call this "pulling the rug out from under me".  I'm going along in life, thinking everything's fine and dandy, then the STBE would come along, rant at me over a variety of ills and transgressions he's imagined I committed, most of which were blown up in his head, and use the rest of his time to give you a truly good dose of "You suck and this is why".

I'm sure by now you're asking yourself - but what does this have to do with manipulation.  I'm getting there now.

By doing this often enough and regularly enough, it throws you off balance with regard to your Aspie and their moods.  You never know when or if they're going to blow up on you (often called a "meltdown" in the Aspie world) or about what.  You've also been called so many names over time that they're starting to have the desired affect on your self-esteem and you might be starting to believe them, even a little bit.  You are now ripe for manipulation by the Aspie and this is when the abuse really kicks into high gear.

From this point forward, your Aspie will hit you, maybe not really hard, but hard enough, and when you protest, they tell you, "Oh, jeez, I didn't hit you that hard at all!  In fact, it was more of a nudge and you're making to much of it!  Why are you so sensitive?"  You might have been sent flying across the room, but your Aspie will spend the next million years if they have to in order to convince you that it's not that HE hit you, it's that YOU'RE too sensitive.  Your Aspie will start saying things to you that are designed to hurt you emotionally and when you call them on this, they tell you, "Jeez Louise!  I was just kidding!  You're just SO sensitive!"  They make your hurt feelings and hurt arm YOUR fault for not understanding they're really not the jerk you think they are, it's just that YOU'RE too sensitive.  In short, it's your fault.

The bad behavior will start to escalate.  Most likely, they're now into the porn and/or cheating.  When I found out about my STBE's first affair, it was at a time when my father was dying of cancer and I had cancer myself.  His excuse for the affair?  "You weren't paying enough attention to me." No, ma'am, it's not that he's a lying, cheating prick, it's that YOU didn't pay enough attention to him while your father was dying and you were sick yourself.  It ALWAYS has to be about Le Petit Prince!

No matter what the Aspie does wrong or hurtful or painful, it's going to be your fault.  Always.  You will find yourself taking responsibility for everything wrong in the marriage and will begin researching all sorts of therapy to get into so you can do just a little bit more to make the marriage better.  Once the Aspie gets you to this point, you are his trained monkey and will do his bidding  to the point of exhaustion.  He now has "the perfect wife", one who will do anything to keep him happy (and not realizing there's no keeping an Aspie happy - these are people who aren't happy unless they're sad).  You will do all the housework, cook all the meals, wash all the clothes, take care of everything that has to do with the kids, paint the living room by yourself, build that new garage with no help - whatever he asks, his wish is your command.  It's been SO drummed into you what a horrible wife and person you are, you'll do anything to make him happy.

But the abuse doesn't stop just because you're now the equivalent of a Stepford Wife.  They have to keep up a steady stream of abuse in order to keep you under their thumb.  If you clean the entire house's carpets with a toothbrush and they'll find something wrong - perhaps you left the nap in the wrong direction or something else totally stupid and bizarre.  Aspies refuse to acknowledge you're doing anything right.  They can't have you gaining any self-esteem at all.  They won't say a word about the 1,000 things you did right. They will focus solely on the one thing you didn't do, such as wipe down the baseboards.  This is the ONLY thing they will notice, time and again until you give up and do it, just to get that external validation.  Once you submit and wipe down the baseboards, you stand back and wait for the praise.  But the praise will never come.  They'll proudly tell themselves what a good job they did in getting you to submit to their will by wiping down the baseboards and then say, "Um, you didn't do the window sills" or some other innocuous thing.  So begins the next cycle of abuse/submission.  You will NEVER get praise from them.  They only see what their next step in the manipulation/control process will be.

My advice with regard to combating this?  Get out.  Get out of the relationship.  This will never change because it's just not in their nature to change, nor do they want to.  And why should they?  By doing things the way they've been doing them up to now, they get whatever they wish.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Aspies LOVE pornography, but don't like sex with you

Pornography is literature designed to be read with one hand. ~Angela Lambert (1990)
I really get kind of tired of all these "generalizations" related to Aspies, but are they still generalizations if they're true?  Is it a stereotype if all of them do it?  Or is it a fact of Asperger's?  It seems Aspies really dig porn.  To the exclusion of a real relationship with their spouse, who would happily get naked for them.  And it would seem that Aspies would also rather masturbate than engage in sex with their spouse.

I really don't have an explanation for this that would even approach anything scientific or based on empirical evidence, just a theory.

My theory is - Aspies prefer pornography and masturbation because there's no expectation in all of it.  With your spouse, you're required to meet their needs.  You're required to talk to them.  You're required to interact.  You're required to maybe take part in a little pillow-talk afterward.  You're required to actually touch them.  Also, Aspies suffer from low self esteem.  If their partner tells them it was wonderful, that starts a whole "thing" in their head.  Did they really mean it? Were they just lying to me so as to not hurt my feelings?  Was I really awful and they're just not telling me?    Did I touch them right?  Did I touch them too much?  Did I touch them not enough?  Did I kiss okay?  Aspies over think EVERYTHING! Right down to the end.  I would imagine sex with their spouse would bring on days and days of anxiety related to just that, much less all the other crap they have going on in their head.  I remember telling a friend once that sex with my STBE was as though he'd read in a book how to do it step-by-step.

With porn and masturbation, it's just them.  They already know what they like.  They already know what it takes to get them to the end.  With porn, they can look and get turned on and the other person isn't demanding of them they make them happy, or even slightly okay with it all.

Also, some Aspies have sensory issues and don't like to be touched.  Maybe sex with someone other than themselves is simply too much touching?

Nope, porn followed by some rigorous masturbation suits them right down to the ground.  No human interaction at all, except with them.

I'm not too sure there's much more that can be said about this.  It's pretty self explanatory.  If you're married to an Aspie, be ready to be told "No" a lot to your initiating sex and be ready for them to be in front of the computer screen the entire time they're home since they gotta have that porn.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Marriage to an Aspie - Aspies WILL lie to you

Everything you read online about Asperger's is they're the single most honest people you'll ever meet - bar none.  In fact, they tell themselves and everyone else, it's their honest that gets them into the most trouble - yes, dear, those jeans DO make your butt look fat!

This is BULLSHIT!

Every single Aspie spouse I've talked to (again, dozens, if not hundreds) has shared their Aspie husbands are the biggest liars, and not just about big things.  One of the comments I'd made so many times to people about my STBE was - he'd lie even if the truth wouldn't hurt him.  And I've heard the same from other Aspie wives.  Things like - Who turned down the thermostat to 45 degrees?  Let's say it's just you and the Aspie living in the house.  Your Aspie will look at you and say, "It wasn't me.  It must have been you."

Now, you KNOW you didn't do it.  Surely you'd have remembered that, right?  It HAD to have been the Aspie.  And, really, let's just say it; it's really not THAT big a deal.  You were really just wondering, that's all.  It doesn't matter to the Aspie.  They imagine all sorts of scenarios and every single one of them ends with you being a massive bitch.  Because of this, they'll say nothing and make it your fault for not knowing just "why" they're upset with you, thus refuse to simply say, "Oh, yeah, it was me sweetheart!  I brought home a side of beef and wanted the house to be cold enough to preserve it while I cut it up for storage."

Oh, okay.  I get it now.  Moving on...

Aspies are also pretty creative when it comes to their lies, too.  As an example, let me use my own STBE and an event from our lives several years ago:

My STBE has had four separate affairs (and every single one of them believed him when he told them they were the only time he'd ever done that - HA!  Stupid fat cow bitches.  That graphic designer who was screwing him while my dad was dying?  He was seeing two other people while he had her believing "she" was the only one - honey, here's a tip...  If he's cheating on his wife, he'll cheat on you.  Seriously, get some common sense, pride and dignity) Anyway...  With that graphic designer, Fat Cow Slut Pam, I'd been telling him for a year I knew he was cheating on me with someone at work.  For months, here's how the conversation went, every time.

Me: STBE, I'm looking at your pay statement here and I'm not seeing anything about the overtime you told me you'd worked a couple days ago.

STBE Aspie: Oh, yeah, it'll be on my next check.

Me (two weeks later): I thought you told me that overtime you worked a couple weeks ago would be on this check?

STBE Aspie: No, I didn't.  And I didn't work any overtime.

Me: Yes, you did, it was on (insert date here).  STBE, I know you worked overtime!  You didn't get home on... until nearly 8 o'clock that evening.  Are you cheating on me with someone at work?

STBE Aspie: No, baby (he called us all baby - makes it easier to not yell out the wrong name while in the throes of screwing any slut with a vagina) I'm not cheating on you with anyone at work.  I SWEAR!  On a BIBLE!

Fast forward to about six months later when I started getting calls from a couple of angry husbands (he liked cheating with people who were ALSO cheating.  It added to the thrill, I suppose) I confront him with it and say, "How in the WORLD were you able to look me in the eye and lie to me about cheating on me with someone at work?"

His response?  "That's not what you asked me.  I never cheated with her at work.  We always went somewhere else."

Oh, okay, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Every Aspie Spouse I've interacted with tells me their Aspies cheated on them, too. Either with a regular person or with prostitutes.  Every. Single. One.  Didn't even matter if they were male or female. They ALL cheated.  More than once.

Every one of these affairs - he was caught with the goods.  An email, a text message, phone calls, instant messaging transcripts, you name it, he was caught every single time. Each and every time he was confronted with the evidence of this cheating, he'd get this sly smile and deny to my face, even with printouts of emails, screenshots of text messages, that I was taking "Can we meet at such-and-such hotel?" out of context and it wasn't what I thought it was.  That CLEARLY I was the person in the wrong, accusing him of something he wasn't doing and, by God, I needed to apologize to him!  He would always say this with just the right amount of righteous indignation, so that I understood he meant business!

Then there are the lies of omission.  My STBE Aspie would tell people the most horrible things about me, such as, "She's always going through my computer, tablet and cell phone looking for something".  But he wouldn't tell them he cheated like a card counter in Vegas, necessitating my snooping so much.  He would tell people I threw a glass at him, leaving out the part where I was walking to the door to see what one of the dogs was barking at with a glass in my hand, that the dog jumped up on me, knocking it out of my hand and sending it sailing about three feet, where it crashed on the floor and his foot.  He would tell people how I tried to hit him with the car, leaving out the part where I was backing out of the driveway with just my car keys, so I could get to a safe place to get away from one of his beatings and he threw himself on the hood to stop me from leaving.  He would tell people I refused to buy him cereal, conveniently leaving out the part where I'd just bought four boxes of cereal a week earlier and he ate them all in the first five days they were in the house.

Yes, Aspies are liars, through and through.

But wait, there's more!

Which brings me to gas-lighting, an aspect of this whole lying thing.  I won't go too much into it since there's a great deal about it available online (and I'll include some links), but I will say, it's the part of his lying that brought me to the brink of suicide.  It had me telling our marriage counselor, "I really think I need to be admitted to the hospital for delusions." 

And I was serious.

The term "gas lighting" is a fairly new psychological term, borrowed from the 1944 Ingrid Bergman movie "Gaslight".  In this movie, a young woman moves into her deceased aunt's home following her marriage.  She's young and in love but her husband has married her for the sole purpose of taking from her the estate she'd inherited from her aunt years earlier, including the house.  To do this, he works a plan to drive her to insanity through manipulation.  He would turn down the gas lights in the house, then when she asked about them being turned down, would tell her she'd done it and didn't remember.  He would move furniture and when she inquired, again, as to it being moved, would tell her she'd done it.  She'd protest at not remembering it, he would then work to convince her she had.  The movie goes on like this until a family friend...  Well, I won't tell you the ending.  Find it on Netflix or Amazon and watch this frightening psychological thriller. 

Gas lighting is one of the more damaging aspects of being with an Aspie.  The reason this ties into the lying is this:  Your Aspie will say or do something that's hurtful and/or abusive.  When you call them on it, as in bring up to them this being a problem in the relationship, they'll deny ever saying or doing whatever "it" was.  You will, of course, tell them you distinctly remember them saying or doing this, to which they'll work to convince you otherwise.  They'll even go so far as to tell you, "You're delusional." or "You're just too sensitive" or (following their being just a little too rough with their horseplay, which they do quite a bit) "I was only kidding.  What's wrong with you?" Aspies need to alter your reality to fit theirs so they can go on abusing you.  This is a defense mechanism of theirs in order to protect their confusing and disjointed world.  And they need you to believe everything they say, even if it means going insane yourself.

When an Aspie is gas lighting you, it's not about them being right or wrong, it's about you agreeing with them, even if it's a lie.  They do this to aid in their showing the rest of the world you're the crazy one and they're perfectly normal.

There is a book I read, once an acquaintance told me what this was - what to call it - that opened my eyes so completely I read it in one day.  I simply couldn't put it down.  This book, written by Dr. Robin Stern, is one of the BEST books you'll ever read if you're in an abusive relationship, "The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life".  Seriously, read it.  It will open your eyes like they've never been opened before.  Finally, Gas Lighters are predators, pure and simple.  They need you to be confused and off-balance.  They WANT you to be this way so they can go on abusing you.  This is part of the process of separating you from your loved ones - the very people who are in the best position to help you the most - so you're basically trapped with them, to go on being abused.

Are you being Gaslighted?
(Excerpted from Power in Relationships: Are you being Gas Lighted? - PsychologyToday.com

How do you know if you are being gaslighted? If any of the following warning signs ring true, you may be dancing the Gaslight Tango. Take care of yourself by taking another look at your relationship, talking to a trusted friend; and, begin to think about changing the dynamic of your relationship . Here are the signs: 
1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy... when talking to your gaslighter.
4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists. 
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can't do anything right.
14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.

This post has actually gone on longer than it probably should have, but the lies and gas lighting will do you in fast than anything else will.  Trust me on this one. If you even see a little bit of yourself in any of this, get out.  Get out of the relationship just as fast as you can extricate yourself safely.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Your Aspie, your narcissist - Aspies will always make it about them

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”  - Oscar Wilde

From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my son, I never made it a secret - NO EPIDURAL!  I told my STBE, I told my doctor, I told the nurses, I'd tell total strangers in an elevator.  I was dead serious about this.  I knew I was being irrational, but there ARE side effects to these and I just really didn't want to risk suffering one of them.  Fast forward to his day of birth.  It was in a military hospital in Aurora, CO, Fitzsimons Army Medical Center.  My water broke in the elevator after my seven month checkup and I was whisked into labor & delivery.  I was doing great for the first few hours (the doctor had given me pitocin to get my labor going, due to the water breaking like that and me not being in labor at all) and we played Trivial Pursuit while I went through this.  The doctors and nurses were telling me how amazing it was I was able to not only do that but win!  The STBE started stewing.  Where was HIS atta-boy?  Where were the people to tell HIM how wonderful he was doing?

Then, my labor started getting serious and I was in a lot of pain.  I'd made sure the doctor on duty, the obstetrician taking care of me, knew I didn't want an epidural, but I was really okay with morphine.  (REALLY OKAY!)  But, he went off duty and another doctor came on, a real asshole (probably an Aspie or Narcissist, too, since he felt HE knew better what was good for me than I, the patient).  He kept demanding I get an epidural, in spite of the fact my records PLAINLY said I didn't want it.  I kept refusing to sign the form and he kept getting angrier and angrier at me.  So what'd he do?  He went to my STBE and told him I was too doped up on morphine to make a clear decision about it so the STBE signed the form for me to get an epidural, knowing full good and well this went completely against my wishes!  When I asked him later why he did that, he told me, "You were in so much pain I couldn't take it any more."

I'm sorry but... WHAT?

It was my labor & delivery but my STBE made it about him, even when it meant going against my medical wishes.  For the duration of the rest of our marriage, I refused to give him my medical power of attorney and it infuriated him.  He refused to accept he'd made such a fundamental error and violated my trust at it's most basic level, my trust that he would do what was right and best for me.  I told a marriage counselor once I truly believed were I in the hospital and unable to make decisions for myself, he would order them to pull the plug, even if it wasn't warranted.

A few weeks after my youngest was born, I was exhausted.  As easy as it was with my oldest son in his first few weeks, it was that difficult in the first few weeks of my youngest sons young life.  My oldest son did everything as though he was following a set of rules in a textbook.  He slept extremely well, he ate well, he reached every milestone pretty much on the day he was supposed to do so.  But my youngest son, WOW!  He slept two hours, was awake two hours, slept to hours, was awake two hours...  He did this 24/7 and I was completely exhausted.  My STBE slept through it all, every night, and though he did take leave when my youngest was born, he did nothing to help me get some sleep, demanding I take care of the baby because he was always "busy" with something else. (And this became a pattern with him throughout our life together)

By the time I was at my six-week postpartum check up, almost as soon as I walked in the door of the doctor's office, she could tell I was wiped out and why.  Apparently, she'd seen more than one apathetic father.  She sent me to the psychiatrist immediately because I was starting to show signs of psychosis from lack of sleep and was worried about me.  I went to see the psychiatrist and told him everything, with my STBE sitting right there next to me.  He prescribed me ONE halcyon and told my STBE he had a choice; he could take about three day's leave so I could sleep after taking the halcyon, he could do nothing and let me go on being sleep deprived to the extent it was dangerous, he could take care of the baby by himself while I was in the hospital for three days or he could answer to his commander as to just why he was being so abusive to his wife.  My STBE chose to take leave.  I slept the entire three days, with only brief wake-ups to eat or go to the bathroom.

At my follow up appointment with the psychiatrist, he was asking me if I'd gotten any sleep, how I was doing, how my son was sleeping, if the STBE was taking more of an active role in parenting, etc.  After about five minutes of this, the STBE apparently couldn't take any more of the focus being on me and blurted out, "I've been thinking of killing myself!"  From that point on, I was ignored.  See, I wasn't thinking of killing myself so I didn't matter any longer.

And thus went the rest of my life with him and when my youngest was born, we'd only been married 19 months.

For years it went on like this, my being relegated to admiring fan, maid, cook, chauffeur, nanny and prostitute in his life.  About three or four years ago, his oldest son came to spend Christmas with us bringing with him his wife and three kids.  They're truly a lovely family and I adore them all so much, but the week or so they were here completely wiped me out and I ended up spending two days in bed in the midst of an RA flare up so bad I was running a fever and was incredibly sick.  I'm going to guess my stepson and his wife saw what was going on because at the end of that two days, they'd cleaned the entire house and did all the cooking.  See, what was going on was this - cooking and cleaning for eight people was rough on me.  Every time I'd ask the STBE for help with anything at all, he'd swoop up one of the kids and say, "I'm with the grandbaby!" and walk away.  He absolutely refused to help me with anything at all.  I wasn't able to sleep for much more than three or four hours a night because of all the cleaning I had to do, including laundry that had somehow piled up in the laundry room and the STBE was peacefully sleeping each night while I did this.  As the week wore on, I grew more and more resentful and I was angry.  It completely ruined Christmas for me, which was probably his goal, since he hated any holiday and Christmas was a particular dislike of his, but more on that in another post.

However, a good illustrative part of our marriage was probably one you've seen in your marriage or relationship and this one will have you nodding in agreement - the circuitous arguing, somehow managing to make it all about them.

This particular point was made to me by our marriage counselor, who brought it up in a session with him.  My guess is, he put up with it for as long as he could and finally began this particular session with this, "Mark, one thing I've noticed in all this is: when you share with Nancy something she's done that upsets you, she acknowledges it, restates it so you know she understands what it is you're saying, then has a discussion with you regarding how she can work to improve on that, thus reducing the chance of it happening again.  However, when she shares with you something you do that upsets her, you respond with how that affects you and your feelings related to her concern.  When do we address Nancy's concerns and feelings?"

Our "homework" related to that was that I would tell him a concern of mine, he was required to address what I'd said in the form of restating it and then he was to work with me on a solution that was JUST about my feelings.  When he'd respond with his feelings about what I'd just said, how much it upset him to hear it and how it affected him, I was to say, "I understand you have feelings related to this, but before we get to those, can we please address mine and come to a resolution first?"

The STBE simply couldn't do it.  He would sit there with his head in his hands, pace, stammer, you name it.  I could almost see the wheels in his head turning, his eyes nearly spinning in his head.  He simply couldn't address anyone's feelings but his own.  The more I tried to keep him on point, the worse he got.  It usually resulted in a blow up on his part, with him accusing me of being a selfish bitch with no consideration of anyone but myself.  (This would be called "projection", something Aspies do this a great deal.)

Now, I can't say it was always like this.  There was a time when I could go to the STBE with a concern of mine, he'd go on a rant about how I was such a thoughtless, selfish bitch, and then a couple of hours to a couple of days later, he'd come to me and apologize, telling me I was right and he'd work more on that.  The rant part came to be called, "Mark the asshole".  I used to beg him to bypass the asshole part of it and let us get to meaningful and healing discussion first.  That was another thing he couldn't do, bypass the asshole part.  If I had a nickel for every time he came back to me later to tell he finally thought about what I'd said and was ready to be more rational about it, I'd be a wealthy, wealthy person.

Another one of his "quirks" was he refused to listen to me when I talked.  I would try to address with him a problem in our marriage and he would go off on one of his rambling speeches about it all.  If I tried to interject anything into the conversation, he'd either talk over me or interrupt me until I'd just give up in frustration.  I started saying to him, "Well, I wasn't done talking but, yeah, you're right, your thoughts and opinions are the only ones that matter."  (And I'd only started doing this in the last couple of years or so...) He would call this "abusive" and it would send him into a tailspin, having him rushing to the internet to share with his fellow Aspies just how abusive I was.  He'd do that for a couple days to a couple weeks, then he'd be okay until the next time.

We were never able to resolve any of our problems, not in 21 years, because he simply wasn't willing to take part in the give and take, the compromise, that goes along with being married to someone who wasn't exactly like him in every way, shape and form.  I honestly think he WANTED to be able to do that, he just isn't able to.  He's so married to the idea that he's the only one with anything worth saying, he simply can't grasp that there are other opinions and ideas that might actually work.  Because of an Aspie's linear, black and white thinking, subtlety and nuance eludes them completely.  With an Aspie, there's no such thing as a "suggestion".  In addition, even were you to say outright, "I feel as though this might work..." they'll disagree with you without giving it any thought at all.  I used to tell people all the time, "If you want my husband to do something for you, tell me, I'll ask him to do the opposite and it'll be done in record time."

Briefly - the circuitous arguing is part of this.  What I'm talking about it your attempt to discuss something with your Aspie and they go round and round with you until they've brought you back to an argument you'd had a few days ago, a few weeks ago, even a few months ago.  They manage to always bring it back to their hurt feelings, their feeling slighted, they're accusing you of "something" you'd LONG forgotten about, if you'd even done it at all.  They will send you down so many rabbit holes in the argument until they've successfully gotten you off them and the discussion (to the point you're thinking to yourself, "I'd only told him I didn't like that he would toss my clean clothes on the bathroom floor.  How did we get to the time I wrecked his car seven years ago, leaving him without a car for four days?")  This circuitous arguing is a tactic of theirs to put you on the defensive, thus you find yourself defending yourself rather than talking about the issue you'd originally come to them with.  You'll know it's happening when you suddenly realize you've gotten light years away from what the original discussion was about, if you can remember what it was you'd come to them with in the first place, and are having the same argument with them you'd had already, many times over.  You'll also be incredibly confused at the end of it.

I guess to round this post out, to bring it down to the brass tacks of the Aspie and the future of your relationship with them is this:  You will never matter to them.  Not your thoughts, not your opinions, not your solutions, not the sound of your voice - nothing.  They will always find a way to make it about them, no matter what the subject.  By the time you realize this is going on, you're already well on your way to being an accessory to their life.  You're the cook, the maid, the taxi/chauffeur to the kids, the personal assistant (pick up/drop off my dry cleaning, etc.), the prostitute (who doesn't get paid because, HEY, I MAKE MORE THAN YOU!) but in none of this will you EVER be an equal partner.

Update: I found a link that explains what life's been like with me.  See, it was so hard to pin "Narcissist" on my STBE because he was always SO self deprecating, SO passive, SO full of, "I don't deserve this".  Even when he was sick, we had to do this dance.  The page's title is "The Covert Narcissist" and it explains my life to a T.

This past July, he told me at the end of the day his heart seemed to be giving him problems and that it had been going on ALL DAY!  I won't go into the explanation here but he was having tachycardia and his blood pressure was through the roof.  It took me two hours to convince him to go to the Emergency Room (it was a Sunday and even were it not, he waited to tell me until after any chance of seeing his primary care physician were out the window.  For two hours, I'm telling him, "C'mon.  Let's get you to the ER."  He would always respond with something along the lines of, "I'll be fine.  It's no big deal. We all have to die sometime."  You get the point.

What finally got him there was me sitting on the bathroom floor, crying, begging him to go, saying things like, "You're SO important to the family!  We LOVE you!  We NEED you!" More crying, more begging.

And THIS was the game to him.  He was putting me in the position of being his ego.  He didn't need an ego or self-esteem himself (and he DOES suffer from extremely low self-esteem) because he was able to manipulate ME into doing it for him.  This was the first time I'd realized this dance we'd been doing for over two decades.  After this, I stopped doing it.

He would tell me he was having a tachycardia problem and I'd say, "Perhaps you should call Dr. Coghlan and see if you can get in today?"

He'd then kick into his, "Oh, I'll be fine.  I'm 53 and this is to be expected at my age.  We all have to die sometime.  When your number's up, your number's up."

I started responding with, "Okay.  You're an adult and it's your choice."  I'd then go on with my day.

This must have infuriated him because I found notes and memos of his that showed this is when he started planning to divorce me.  In preparation for moving, I've been packing and cleaning out closets.  I've found SO many notes he made to himself, all entitled, "Reasons to hate Nancy".

Each one of them was the same, same line items, same reasons, but occasionally he'd add a new one to the list.  Number 1 was always the same, though, always in large block letters - NEVER FORGET REASONS TO DIVORCE NANCY!  (I also found a journal of his that he must have forgotten about.  It took me nearly a month to read it all because it was filled with some sick, sick stuff.  I always wondered why he and his sister seemed to have this bizarre, co-dependent relationship.  Now I know why, and it's not good at all.)

Oh, and something else I found in all the paperwork in the closet?  Copies of his medical records.  In these medical records was proof he'd been having this "heart problem" since 1998, not long before he retired from the Air Force.  Just as he'd never told me of his diagnosis early in our marriage of his Bipolar Disorder, he didn't tell me he had a heart issue.

Why was it such a big deal now?  Because I'd been making plans to leave him.  I'd seen an attorney.  I'd started hiding money.  I'd started telling a couple of close friends I thought I'd reached the end of my time with him.  I started making plans to move back home.  How did he know all this?  He had a keystroke logger on my laptop.

He needed me to stay, not because he didn't want a divorce but because HE wanted to leave ME!  So he finally pulled this rabbit out of his hat, the rabbit that had been sitting there, festering, waiting to be pulled out for just such an occasion.  He needed to stall me and he knew, with me being an empathetic and caring person, that I'd stay if he fell ill and needed taking care of.

Narcissists need to be the one to leave.  Always.  To them, it's the ultimate in "Winning".  To leave a narcissist is the ultimate narcissistic injury, in their mind.  Doing this will subject you to all sorts of abuse you never dreamed imaginable.

Leaving any marriage is never easy.  Leaving a narcissist is down-right impossible.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Asperger's in Adults or What the hell am I dealing with?

“One thing you can't hide - is when you're crippled inside.”   ― John Lennon

Being married to someone with Asperger's is the kind of marriage where you're married to someone with no emotions, no physical reaction to emotion and refuses to be anything but "logical".

According to the medical journals, DSM and other professional diagnostic books and such, Asperger's is:

Excerpted from the DSM-IV (but with the introduction of the DSM-V, Asperger's is no longer a recognized diagnosis, being placed now inside the Autism Spectrum as "High Functioning")

1.  Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

  • Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
  • Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
  • A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
  • lack of social or emotional reciprocity
2.   Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities
3.  The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
4.  There is no clinically significant general delay in language
5.  There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

Blah-Blah-Blah-Blahbity--Blah...

Let me break this down for you, using the above as a guide (And I'm not a psychiatrist, just someone who's seen many of them with my STBE ASH):

1.  They have higher than average problems with being in a social situation, and to be diagnosed with Asperger's, it should be at least two of the following:

  • Trouble with the use of the average non-verbal social actions most of us use.  Actions such as making eye contact with the person with whom they're talking, changing their facial expression to match the conversation such as laughing when something's funny, showing sadness when something's sad, etc., having a more relaxed body language - not crossing their arms over their chest, sitting with crossed legs, etc., and more relaxed gestures directed at the other person to show engagement and to facilitate the continuance of the conversation, such as a pat on the shoulder, the shaking of hands, maybe a wink to show solidarity.
  • This is all about having real friends in your age group at the same maturity level as you.  Aspies tend to make friends with people who are either older or younger than themselves, generally younger since they suffer from a frozen maturity level around that of a pre-teen or so.
  • This means sharing their lives with others, such as "Honey, I got a promotion!" or "I got an A on my final!"  Aspies tend to either not say anything at all or downplay it when they do.  They'll also fail to recognize your accomplishments, not really caring.  They're not ones to share photos of their kids or family at all and it's rare you'll actually see a photo of an Aspie, and when you do, they're tense as all get out, not smiling, not looking at the camera or wearing sunglasses.
  • This is the hardest part of living with an Aspie full-time, as a spouse, child or significant other - the lack of engagement in day-to-day life.  Not only do they not share their life with you, they don't want you to share your life with them.  Also, these are the guys who when you say, "I love you" respond with a smile, nothing at all or "Yeah, me, too."  Any conversation with them is stilted and awkward because they simply don't take part in it beyond grunts or an occasional, "uh-huh".
2.  Aspies have MAJOR focus when it comes to their "special interests".  They'll have a hobby and their whole life is about that hobby, to the detriment of everyone and everything else in their life.  They'll do this hobby in every single free minute they have.  Some Aspie might even have a tic of some kind (called a "Stim" or "Stimming", which is short for "Stimulation or Stimulator") that brings them comfort in stressful situations.  The Stimming is different and individual to the Aspie, but you'll know it when you see it.

3.  Asperger's causes them problems in most facets of their life, be it with friends, or at work, or in another environment that requires them to interact with others. ( My STBE ASH was recently challenged at work over his knowledge of a certain subject pertaining to his job.  It was a mild challenge, but a co-worker had to come into the room to prevent my STBE from slugging the poor man)

4.  They seem to have pretty normal speech patterns and such but to those of us who live with them daily, we tend to notice little "idiocyncracies", such as a slower speech pattern, saying the wrong word in certain situations, etc.  Once, my STBE was told by a psychiatrist he felt my STBE was mildly retarded because of his slow, careful, measured speech pattern.

5.  Aspies generally have higher than average IQs and if employed are generally EXTREMELY good at what they do.  This is part of why it's so hard to get people to see just what the matter is.  They can be extremely good problem solvers if you can get them to focus on the problem at hand - which is difficult to do.  Most Aspies, by the time they are adults, have honed their skills of adaptability to suit most social and external (meaning outside the home) situations.  They are very chameleon-like and can easily fool people.

Okay, all this being said, my STBE has ALL these problems, with the exception of stimming.  I don't know I ever saw him stim at all.  However, he came from an extremely dictatorial father and an apathetic and childish mother who allowed her feelings to be hurt over the slightest infraction to the extent it would send her to bed, what I've come to call the "Shrinking Violet Routine".  She's a Drama Queen to the nth degree, as is my STBE.  Anyway, the stimming - if I had to guess, it would be that his father spanked it out of him.  His dad was never strong on letting people be who they are.  It was his way or the highway.  And the STBE got spanked A LOT.  

But he hangs onto stuff longer than he should and makes it sound worse than it really was.  Unless it was him committing some sort of action that had you gasping at its violence.  Then he downplayed it completely to become the single most innocuous act known to man and wasn't I the proper fool for seeing it any other way?  My STBE had a particular fondness for being too aggressive with my dog, which he hated with a passion.  He told me once he hated her so much because she and I had similar personalities.  However, he would get pretty aggressive with her and when she reacted the way a dog would, he'd haul off and hit her either with his fist or open hand; every so often, he'd kick her.  When I'd deign to tell him what I thought of this abuse, he'd start in on me, drumming into me just how wrong I was, that I didn't see what I saw or heard what I heard.  If my dog would yelp in response to his hitting her or harming her in some way, and I'd hear it and say something, he'd start in on, "That's just how she is!  She over reacts to EVERYTHING!"  (now he's gas-lighting a dog?)

Speaking of the "hanging onto stuff longer than he should"...  My STBE is 53 years old and is STILL upset over a dirt bike his younger brother got when he was 15 and his brother was 12.  He's STILL angry and hurt about it because HE wanted a dirt bike and his parents KNEW it!

He can also give you a litany of the last 21 years of every transgression he believes I've committed against him, either real or imagined.  But, ask him to remember saying something horrible to you, like the time he told me he couldn't stand to see me without clothes on because I was so fat it made him nauseous, and he'll take to the grave with him the insistence he never said that and that I'm making it up because I need to find something wrong with him.  (Seriously, I never had to look hard - he was always doing something that was either hurtful or annoying)

I'm starting to ramble, now.  I've been forced into silence for so long, I have too much to say, all the time.  That's the reason for this blog, to get it off my chest and try to help others at the same time.  Misery loves company and all that, you know.

Be on the lookout for my next post and tell me what you think of this one.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Aspies are loners, but don't want to be alone

Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate. ~ Germaine Greer 

Usually, I put some sort of insightful, thoughtful quote here, but today, I decided to combine the image with the quote.  I think Robin Williams either has Asperger's or understands it completely.

The older a person with Asperger's gets without a diagnosis and therapy, the worse they get.  It's as though they lose their filter.  Most Aspies, though, learned at a younger age to "straighten up and fly right" in order to fit in.  These are people who are MASTER chameleons.  They are able to quickly read any social situation and immediately become the person they need to be.  However, there are signs:

He was the student who "never reached his full potential".  He's the kid who was bullied by his peers for being "odd".  He's the kid who spent ALL his time playing video games.  He's the kid who never had many friends, nor does he have them now.  He's the guy who excels at science, computers and math, which isn't to say all people good at these subjects has Asperger's, but these are also the guys who are engineers, doctors, lawyers and other highly successful careers.  These are also the guys whom as adults everyone thinks is WONDERFUL.

But they don't live with them.

They don't see the rigidity of their lifestyle.  They aren't the ones being ignored, day after day after day.  They're also not the ones who get to see the meltdowns, the temper tantrums, the extreme anxiety that comes with any emergency because they simply don't know what to do.  They're not the ones to be standing there when you've walked up behind your Aspie to given them a quick hug or peck on the back of the neck and are sent sailing across the room because they can't stand to be startled.  And while you're picking yourself up off the ground, injured, you get to listen to them rant on just how stupid, thoughtless and uncaring you are for making them hit you like they just did.  They're not the ones who are there to see him ignore you when you're sick because they can't stand the thought of taking care of another person and they'll treat you as though you have leprosy or some other communicable disease.  They're not the ones to see him hit you, giving you a black eye, because your vomiting in the middle of the night woke them up and they need their SLEEP DAMN IT!  They're no the ones to see you crammed into the back of the closet or shower stall to hide from the kids your crying your eyes out because of the pain you experience every day of your life because your Aspie has, once again, ignored you for another day.  They're not the ones who are there to watch the kids come home with some major accomplishment and see their crestfallen faces when they run to their father, excited and thrilled, sharing their big news and his response is either, "That's nice" or "You could have done better and this is how..."

Aspies really don't want to be alone.  The would VERY much like to have friends and a social life.  But they just can't.  It's not that they don't have the skills, they just don't have the confidence and self-esteem.  They're SO desperate to be liked, it terrifies them to approach a social situation, any social situation, because they've already run through all the possible scenarios in their head and the result is always the same there - they'll hate me and think I'm a dork.  Because this is the only scenario they can imagine, they refuse to engage in any relationship of any kind, even romantic ones.

With my STBE, much like what I've heard from every other Aspie wife out there, he wanted to sit next to me on the couch each evening.  He simply wanted me to do it while he sat there with the iPad in his lap, earbuds in his ears, while he watched either videos on YouTube or movies on one of our accounts.  A typical day in our house went as follows:
  1. STBE would come home from work, usually around 5:00, 
  2. give me a quick peck "Hello", 
  3. go change clothes, 
  4. eat dinner if it was ready, fix dinner if it wasn't (with my RA, I wasn't able to stand up or chop anything for long...Not much anymore), 
  5. sit at the dinner table with me and rush through eating his dinner saying absolutely nothing to me at all. If I would try to talk to him, his responses would be either hostile (as in, "I'm eating!") or monosyllabic, to the extent I'd just stop trying
  6. Put his dishes in the sink (maybe...) and precariously pile them on top of the rest because he can't be bothered to empty the dishwasher (one of his three "chores") for four or five days at a time.
  7. Walk to the den
  8. Pick up the iPad (mine, which he took over the day it came into the house)
  9. Put the earbuds in, 
  10. Find a video to watch
  11. Sit there and watch it
If I wanted or needed to say something to him, I'd touch his leg.  This would be followed by a loud sigh, his going through the exaggerated motions of pausing his video, taking his earbuds out, then looking at me with the rolling of the eyes and saying, "WHAT?"  At this point, after all the histrionics, would generally respond with, "Oh, terribly sorry for bothering you with my need for human interaction."  

Oblivious to the sarcasm, he would put his earbuds back in and turn his video back on.

If I decided I'd had enough of this and would get up to go to the bedroom to watch television or read a book, he'd do one of two things: he'd either take out his earbuds, put away the iPad and start watching TV on his own (thus sending me the message it was ME he didn't want to interact with, not the television) or he would get upset with me for leaving the room for anything more than going to the bathroom or getting something to drink in spite of the fact he's been ignoring me for a couple of hours or so.

The bottom line is, it's not that I'm really there so we can spend some time together, talk, laugh, get to know each other again after so many years of focusing too much on the business of raising a family, but because he doesn't want to be alone in the room.

And I should say, by the time I got to this point, I'd already experienced several months of trying to engage with him and being unsuccessful.  Although, to be fair, this had been going on for years, it just took me this long to really notice it.  In the beginning, when we were still in marriage counseling, I would bring this up, that I was feeling ignored, more like furniture than a person.  Mark would poo-poo this, tell me it was all in my imagination and that I was delusional (his word) and then tell me how hurtful it was for him to hear me say this to our marriage counselor and to try so hard to make him look bad, thus turning it around onto me while making it about him at the same time.  He wouldn't address my hurt, he just made it about him.  Always about him.

It didn't take me long to decide I'd had enough of that, too.

To Aspies, the people in their lives are there for a purpose and it's a purpose that's decided on by the Aspie.  And the sole reason for having this person in their life is to fulfill that purpose, whatever it is.  Whether it's to listen to their problems, do their laundry, tell them what a wonderful person they are, whatever.  But everyone is expendable and interchangeable, based on the needs of the Aspie.  Should you require anything in return from the Aspie, such as when a parent dies or you're told you have a serious illness, forget about it.  They won't engage and will, in fact, become VERY angry with you over needing them.  They will turn tail and run from you as fast as they can and when called on it by you will make it your fault they turned their back on you.  And they'll do it in some clever ways, leaving your head spinning.  And you'll also find yourself apologizing to them for having the audacity to need them to support you, for a change.

My father died in 2001 from cancer.  He'd been diagnosed about 18 months earlier and when he was diagnosed, his oncologist told us all, there's no cure for this.  The best we can do is give him chemo and offer him a few more good months.  This weighed heavily on me and it was during this 18 months I found out I had cancer, too.  In fact, my dad and I were in the same hospital at the same time having procedures done to try to improve our conditions.  I was completely alone in all of it.  My husband went with me to the hospital for the procedure, but once it was done, there as no chance for recuperation because he went back to work the next day.  I had a house full of kids to take care of.  

Also during this 18 months, we were going somewhere as a family.  By this time, my nephew was living with us and we had two of our own in the house.  Everyone had gone to the car but I had to backtrack to get something from the house.  I'd stepped into the silence of our home and was suddenly hit with it all in one fell swoop. The rush of emotions that came to me out of nowhere forced me to sit down at the kitchen table, put my head in my hands and lay them on the table, crying my eyes out like I hadn't cried in years.  At some point, my nephew came into see what was taking me so long.  I barely registered his being in the entry of the kitchen when he went outside to tell my husband, "Aunt Nancy's in the kitchen and she's crying.  I think she needs your help."  What was Mark's response to my nephew?  "What am I supposed to do?  I can't make her dad healthy again."  He never came into the house and I walked outside to the car, eyes finally free or tears but puffy and obvious I'd been crying.  He didn't say a word to me.  Everyone simply pretended it didn't happen.

Finally, the day my dad was rushed to the hospital for what was his final admittance so he could be transferred to hospice, my siblings and I rushed to the hospital, me locally, my sisters and brother from other states, to be there.  The only person who wasn't there was my STBE.  I started calling him immediately because a.) I wanted him there with me and b.) someone needed to pick up our youngest from the school bus so this seven-year-old boy didn't come home to a locked house.  For three hours I tried to get hold of Mark.  He wasn't answering his cell phone.  He wasn't at his desk. The receptionist at his workplace couldn't find him.  His supervisor was looking for him.  There were people searching the building for him and his car wasn't in the parking lot.  They were paging him every few minutes because I was a crying mess on the phone.  No one knew where he was until he seemed to have magically appeared at his desk.  To this day, he'll swear he was at his desk the entire time and people must have just been missing him whenever he got up to go to the bathroom or to get a cup of coffee (to understand this, see Gas Lighting - and once I write my tale of woe in relation to this, I'll change the link to that posting).  However, it also came out later he was in the midst of his cheating with one of his sluts.  I'm guessing he was with her during that time and was refusing to answer his cell because (and here's the strangest part of his affairs) he refused to cheat on his girlfriends (yes, multiple) with his wife but was okay cheating on his wife with his girlfriends.  Once he got to the hospital, my sister tells me all he could talk about was how inconvenient it was Daddy was dying when he was because Mark was on a project with a deadline coming up at work he needed to get back to and finish.

Just to be clear - cheating with your girlfriend during the workday is just fine and dandy.  Father-in-law dying during the workday causes major problems and is inconvenient, thus causing major stress.  Once again, it was all about him.

I found out several months later, during the last year of my father's life and the six months or so I was dealing with my own cancer, my husband was having an affair with a piece of trash he worked with, a graphics design artist named Pam. Adding insult to injury, she was also the wife of someone I grew up with, his mother being my Girl Scout leader for several years.  Once the affair was discovered by the husband of this POS, Mark's reasoning for it was, "If you hadn't ignored me so much, I wouldn't have had to find someone else."  Terribly sorry my cancer and my dad's dying got in the way of me paying attention to you, you selfish prick.

And to put the nail in the coffin that is your life, it's not enough the Aspie is ignoring you, they will work to separate you from anyone meaningful in your life.  Your friends.  Your family.  Your children.  Your job.  Anyone who might take your time, energy or attention away from them is fair game and they will work to get in between you and these people, even lying if they have to in order to make it happen.  And it happens so subtly, you don't even realize it's happening until it's too late.  You stop one day, look around you and see no one but you and the Aspie and then it'll hit you what they've been doing, all along.  And you cry.  But there's no one there to give you a shoulder or to hear your sobs.

To close, and I can't say it any simpler than this, being married to a person with Asperger's will be the loneliest months, years or decades of your life.  And you'll be told it's all your fault.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Aspies and kids - not a good combination

Image: Flickr.com- Pink Sherbet Photos
A child is not an adult, a child didn't ask to be here. Any man that doesn't take care of his responsibilities to his family and to his children, do me a favor STOP calling yourself a man..at least have the decency to admit that you're a boy. You don't know what manhood is. ~ Stephen A Smith
When I married my STBE ASH, he had two kids from his prior marriage, I had a son from my first marriage and then, later, we had our son together.  It was quite the combination and there were some jealousies and issues along the way, but overall, we did okay, I guess.  
One thing that became very evident very early on was: My STBE ASH had no interest in being a real parent.  He was much more interested in being their friend than a responsible adult.

Throughout the marriage, I was always "the bad guy", the disciplinarian.  I would try to discipline one of the kids and he'd go behind my back, telling them, "Your mom's being unreasonable.  I think it's perfectly fine that you set fire to the bathroom and here, here's some more matches.  How about that kitchen?"  I am, of course, being facetious about his not caring about a fire but, then, in thinking about it, our youngest DID set the bathroom on fire, once, playing with a lighter and a roll of toilet paper and the STBE didn't bat an eye.  Seriously, though.  He wanted the kids to like him SO much, he refused to talk to them about anything that even remotely smelled of discipline.  He would go behind my back and take them off grounding from "whatever" telling them, "Mom's being unreasonable." or "I know, I know, it's unfair, but you KNOW how Mom gets!"  Or better still, completely undermine me with them, even my son from my first marriage, whom he hated from the moment he met him when my son was 9 years old.  He couldn't stand that he lived with us and when he got out of the military, I didn't say a word to the STBE when he asked if he could move back in with us so he could go to school.  I immediately said he could and the STBE blew up on me that night so much, I really thought I was going to die by his hand.  He was LIVID!  But when my son walked in the door, the STBE treated him like the prodigal son returned.  Never in a million years would you have imagined the amount of hatred he carried towards my son.

Aspies need to be liked SO much, they throw you under the bus to do it.  And they don't care about the damage it leaves in its wake.  All they care about is that they're liked.  Period.

But I digress - the undermining me with the kids was the subject.

This son was home on leave from the military for Christmas one year.  He'd asked us if he could use the car for a date.  he told us he'd clean it up and out AND return it to us with a full tank of gas.  We said he could.  About an hour before he was supposed to pick up his date, he came to us to ask if he could borrow about $100 ( a hundred dollars!) so he could pay for his date and fill up the car.  Realizing what he'd done, manipulated us, I told him not only could he not have the money, he also couldn't use the car because of what he'd just done in an attempt to manipulate us.  As far as I was concerned, that was the end of it.  I went upstairs to shower and when I came back down about 45 minutes later, came downstairs and noticed the car was gone.  I asked the STBE about it and he told me, "Yeah, I told Stepson he could take the car."  I thought he didn't have any money?  "Oh, I gave him my debit card to pay for his date and put gas in the car."  My son ended up using $150.  From that night on, I had absolutely NO credibility with my son.  From that point on, whenever I told him "No" to something, he would say, "I'll just go to STBE and he'll let me do it."

The STBE did this with all the kids, not just my son from my first marriage.  This past summer, I learned about this for the first time just how bad it was and it was ALL the kids telling me he trashed me to them constantly.

Image: Flickr.com - Chris.Violette
There was another time I was at work, our youngest left at home with dear old Dad.  When I came home, my son was playing alone outside and was rubbing his eyes and in his own toddler way (he was around two or three at the time) was telling me they hurt.  I went inside to find the STBE ASH sitting on his fat ass watching Sunday football, oblivious to the anything around him, not even realizing I was home until I walked in the door asking him what was wrong with our son (even though my parking space is three feet from the front door and right outside the picture window on the front of the house we lived in on Keesler AFB AND the truck had a high airflow exhaust on it, thus, was louder than normal).  His answer, "Oh, yeah, he poured some brake cleaner over his head and some of it must have gotten in his eyes."  WHAT??????

I scooped up my son and took him to the emergency room and thankfully there was no permanent damage.  But who knows what might have happened had I not come home when I did?  And to leave a toddler playing outside alone like that?  Not even sitting on the porch watching him!

I have 21 years of stories like this but the bottom line is: Aspie aren't aware enough of their surroundings unless it involves their 'special interest' to be anything more than a very bad babysitter.  And because of their "slow, logical, linear thinking", they don't do well in an emergency. They don't think very well on their feet.  

When married to an Aspie, or just living with one, in case of emergency, DON'T call them.

However, I have another theory as to why Aspies don't do kids well.  They can't stand the competition.

Not all people with Asperger's are men, but the truth of the matter is, it's predominantly men, or at least it's predominantly men who are diagnosed.  Asperger's presents differently in the female of the species, which means diagnosing them is harder and different, thus leaving them undiagnosed.  So, at the risk of offending anyone (and, really, I'm not too sure I care since this IS my blog), I'll be referring to men, since that's my experience with it.

Every woman I've talked to in my various groups tells me the same thing: their husbands are childish.  They want to be taken care of.  They want their laundry done for them and they want it done a specific way with a specific detergent and softener.  They want their meals cooked and served at a certain time.  They have a bathroom routine that takes much longer than it should.  They have temper tantrums if any of these "needs" are deviated from in any way, shape or form.  (And if you ever get into researching the whole AS thing and/or getting into some forums, temper tantrum = meltdown)  In short, you're raising another kid.  And you're also doing THAT alone.

Also, given you're married to an Aspie, and odds are great, his father is/was also an Aspie, odds are also great one of your kids will have Asperger's.  Now, not only are you dealing with a child who has special needs, you're also dealing with an adult in your household who has special needs.  And guess which one is easier to manage?  if you guess the adult, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I think the single greatest advancement in the study of Asperger's is recognizing it as a diagnosis at all.  When diagnosed in a child, there's therapy, there's counseling, there's working with your child to help them grow into the amazing person you know they are and helping the rest of the world see it too.  Unfortunately, unless your husband is a mere 15 to 20 years old or so, he's of the age where he was never diagnosed.

Now, back to the kids...

No, Aspies don't like having kids around.  They're loud, they're messy, they take your time and thoughts away from HIM, they are needy little buggers and Aspies aren't good at being needed.  They are the only ones allowed to "need" and when they ARE needed, they tend to cut and run, leaving you in their wake wondering what in the hell just happened.  Like I said earlier, they don't like the competition.

When I married my STBE, the first two years or so were great.  We laughed, we enjoyed each other, we watched the same shows, we took dancing lessons, he helped me cook dinner, he shared equally in the household chores and did so gladly.  But then...  Then, our youngest son came along.  He just seemed SO uncomfortable around him.  Also, he'd started drinking more heavily.  He was always a drinker during our brief courtship, we were going to bars and having friends over, generally with a heavy dose of drinking going on.

Image: flickr.com - by Tobyotter
However, once I started trying to get pregnant, I stopped drinking any alcohol at all, even wine with dinner, and started getting serious about the business of having a baby.  The STBE, though, started going at it hot and heavy.  I didn't realize just how serious it was getting until my youngest was about four months old.  I'd come home from work, baby in my arms, and the STBE was passed out on the couch.  I put my son down in his crib and started dinner.  Suddenly, someone was knocking on the door and it was another couple we knew.  Seems Mark had invited them to dinner earlier in the afternoon when he ran into them while he was blitzed (in uniform, no less) and didn't even remember seeing them!  He was drinking so much, he was to the point of blacking out.  That night, I gave him the ultimatum, it's us or the alcohol but you can't have both.  He chose us, but God help me, knowing what I know now, I wish I'd never made him choose and just let him go on drinking because this is when all the craziness came out.  I wish I could find that web page that says Aspies can really only hold it together, at the longest, about two years, which is where we were at this point.  To this day, he would wake up in the middle of the night to steal sips of alcohol, generally whiskey, sometimes brandy (that I had in the house for cooking and never opened, yet the bottle is nearly empty now)

Seems the baby being born sent him over the edge he'd been teetering on for months, I just didn't see it.  I'd only been back to work about a month after my son's birth and should have seen it when we were interviewing babysitters for him.  At the time, Mark was working rotating shifts (which probably contributed to his getting worse - he lost his rigid schedule) and he was two weeks on days, two weeks on swings, then two weeks on mids.  Remember, I worked straight days, 6:30 AM to 2:30 AM.  After arranging a schedule with the sitter, we were walking to the car and he turned to me and said, "Who's going to watch the baby while I sleep?"  I responded with, "I guess the same person who's going to watch him while I sleep".  End of discussion.

It went downhill from there.

No, Aspies don't like having kids around.  Just a few months before I had him removed from the house and filed for divorce, he told me he never wanted any kids.  Not his kids from his first marriage.  Not the son we had together.  None.  When asked why he went ahead and did it, he said he only did it to make me and his first wife happy.  See?  No responsibility! He was just being a great guy!  He also says, "I guess I love them, but I never wanted them."  Wow...  And after his first divorce, when I got cancer and my dad died, I turned it all over to him.  The paying of the child support (as in, mail the check), the gifts, cards and phone calls...  All handed back to him.  My plate was full.  It was at that point he stopped paying his child support and his reasoning was, "The bitch only spends it on herself anyway."  Not long after that, he stopped trying to call them or acknowledge any important days in their lives.  He didn't see his oldest son for four years, his daughter for six years.  When they turned 18, the first thing they did was call me about coming to visit.  Not him.  Me.  He's managed to convince them it was their mother's fault but the truth of the matter is, they didn't see him because he put them out of his mind.  Like most Aspies, any relationship they have is quickly forgotten with, "Out of sight, out of mind".  Like most Aspies, he blamed it on someone else so he's completely w/o fault.

Once the kids become adults, things improve dramatically, but still on a scale that's shallow and more like that of an acquaintance or a "Hey guy".  My STBE has never had any kind of conversation of substance with any of his kids, even when his grandson was murdered at the age of two in Aurora, CO, after his daughter moved a guy in she barely knew who had a history of alcohol, drug and domestic violence crimes on his record.  They weren't even living together three weeks when he beat Caden to death one night.  Is it any surprise his daughter chose so poorly in her romantic life?  Also, given her own father is physically abusive, not just to me but his first wife (having picked her up and throwing her into a swimming pool.  She was pregnant with his oldest son - he told me later he was trying to get her to have a miscarriage.  This guy is pathological - but more on that later) it's also not surprising she chose a man to live with who was just like her father.  When his oldest son was in the invasion into Baghdad attached to the 3rd Infantry Division as part of C Co., 2/325 out of Fort Bragg, when he had the chance to call someone, he called me.  His first call home, all 15 seconds of it on a satellite phone his unit pooled their funds for so they could buy it from some guy on the street, he called me.  From the middle of a war zone, with bullets flying.  When he had a problem with his girlfriend while he was over there, he called me, several times since we kept getting cut off, to talk about his heartache and anger.  Not his dad.  Me.  When my STBE stepdaughter was considering having sex for the first time with her boyfriend, she called me to talk about it.  Not her mom.  Not her dad.  Me.

Even they knew which side of the bread their butter was on.  Even they understood I was the one to talk to when the rubber hit the road.  But, like their Aspie dad, I've not heard from either of them after 21 years of being their stepmother and the one they could count on in all situations.  Out of sight.  Out of mind.  Done.

No, Aspies don't want kids.  So don't have them with them.  You'll live to regret it.