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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.