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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Aspies and kids - not a good combination

Image: 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 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: - 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: - 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.