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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.