|Aspies are chameleons, taking on the|
personality and persona of the person
they're with or want to attract.
(Image: flickr.com CC)
I'm starting to feel more and more I should be using the term "Narcissist" in all of this. Aspies and Narcissists are extremely similar and Narcissism is one of the main qualities of being an Aspie.
As much as Aspies and the mental health community would have us believe Aspies are warm, fuzzy kittens all the time, they're not.
Aspies need to be liked SO much, they'll run you down in the process. They simply don't understand people really CAN like more than one person.
Over the years, the STBE would run into people at work who just didn't like him. There was really no reason for it, they just didn't like him. We all have people like that in our lives and it's nothing wrong with you OR them. Some people just don't like you for whatever reason. I've never been someone bothered by this but the STBE? Oh, man, this would make him absolutely CRAZY! He would try to talk to the person to show them what a wonderful person he is. If they didn't go for it then, he'd start inviting them to lunch, or for a coffee, or whatever, but if someone doesn't like you, nothing you do will change their mind.
I used to tell the STBE, "Oh my gosh, just let it go! Not everyone has to like you and there really are people out there in the world who will never like you. It's nothing to do with you and it's really not personal. There's just something about you they don't like and it could be something personal to them. That happens in life, some times."
But he could never let it go. It would actually keep him up at night. It was maddening to not just him but me, too, because I was the one who was always required to listen to him talk about it endlessly and it wouldn't end until the person either told him, "Okay, FINE, I like you!" or they left the company or moved to another location.
All of these are things my STBE has said to me at one time or another, in his nicer moments (far and few between), so I know he believes them to be true. But he's always hated me for these things because he wasn't able to incorporate them into his life. Aspies choose mates who have the character and personality traits they wish they had. But these very traits become a reason to hate you down the road.
The Aspie husband, though, is bothered by these parts of my personality/character. Using the above examples, this is how an Aspie husband handles these items:
My wife is a good cook: For an Aspie, he's more likely to tell people something along the lines of, "My wife makes SUCH fattening foods, I swear she's trying to kill me". And always with just the right amount of derision (and based on them making this statement, they might actually come to believe you ARE trying to kill them - Aspies are incredibly paranoid). Now the kids, both his and ours, would tell anyone who would listen I was a good cook. At least they used to. Now they say nothing because that's what Dad trained them to do. This is called "Abuse by Proxy" or "Proxy Recruitment", because they actually teach the kids to become abusive towards you.
My wife takes good care of the children: For the Aspie, kids take away attention from THEM, so this is a major, major resentment on their part. Aspies are more likely to start making it look to the kids as though you pay TOO much attention to them. He might start calling you a "helicopter mom" or working to convince them you're invasive in their lives. After a long enough time, they start to resent your presence in their lives as anything more than a source for money, clothes or whatever...
My wife has a great memory for detail: This is another source of angst for the Aspie because they can't remember ANYTHING that has to do with anyone but them. Tell them one of the kids has a special event and they'll forget, forcing you to remind them over and over. They resent you for this and can be heard saying, "I swear my wife doesn't forget ANYTHING. It drives me nuts how she's always bringing something up that happened days/weeks/months/years ago." Aspies tend to forget they have a running list in their heads of everything "horrible" thing you've ever done to them, real or imagined, and they aren't afraid to whip it out in any and all arguments.
My wife always gets great gifts for people at Christmas: My STBE was one of those people who would save his Christmas shopping for the very last minute. He gave no thought to it the other 364 days a year, outside of giving people a list of what HE wanted, so he was never very good at gift buying. I remember one year I got a shower head for Christmas while he got a really nice sweater, something I knew he needed. The STBE asked me once, "How is it you always get exactly the right gift for all of us every year?" I told him, "I pay attention to them when they talk." He never understood this - this whole paying attention to people.
She makes a big deal out of birthdays: I've always made a huge deal out of birthdays. I feel we live in a cold world, sometimes, and that everyone should be made to feel special on their birthday. It's their day and I do everything I can to make it thus. The birthday person gets to choose dinner that night, whether it's dining out or eating in, makes no difference. They choose their birthday cake, and Elias would always choose that I make his. I would sit down with him and have him choose the cake he wanted. Too difficult? I didn't care. I made it because it's what he wanted for his birthday. Aspies tend to not remember birthdays that aren't theirs. If I had a nickel for every time I had to remind the STBE it was someone's birthday and he needed to call them, I'd be able to buy an island. My last birthday before I filed for divorce was forgotten by every single person in the family. And no one could understand why my feelings were so hurt. Even my STBE stepdaughter went so far as to say, "But it's okay that we forgot her birthday. We're Dickinson's, after all." In their mind, being a Dickinson is synonymous with being thoughtless, and they're okay with that.
Now, all this being said... Aspies need others to dislike you so they can feel better about themselves. See? So-and-so doesn't like you at all but they like ME so I must be a better person. They use this to chip away at your self-esteem (and Narcissists do this, too) and make you feel badly about yourself. It's a really subtle thing and usually an off-hand remark made after a company dinner or picnic, after a get-together either at your house or someone else's. Yeah, Aspies need people to hate you, or at least have you think they hate you.
Why do they do this? Because Aspies have incredibly low self-esteem. They know they're different, and instead of embracing being different and "quirky", they try to make those around them look bad so they can look good by comparison.
Also, Aspies tend to hide who they are when starting a relationship. They will take on the personality of the person they're with at the time and become extremely agreeable people. You'll think you've found the perfect mate when the truth of the matter is, they're extremely chameleon-like, taking on the likes and dislikes of the person they're courting (this is also called love-bombing). They will inundate you with flattery, gifts, be agreeable to whatever you suggest and will be SO likable AND lovable! They will be the PERFECT boyfriend. (And as a side note: my STBE told me not long before I filed for divorce, "I knew I had these problems before we got married, but I never told you because I was afraid you'd leave me" - How nice for him. He got what he wanted, but he made me and several children miserable in the process, abusing us all. But wasn't that fun for him?)
They NEED you to like them to prove to themselves they ARE likable, conveniently forgetting it's them changing into what the other person might need or want, rather than being who they are. When dating, you ask:
You: Do you feel like a movie tonight?
Him: Sure, that sounds good.
You: What would you like to see?
Him: You pick one. I want to see whatever you want to see. OR I don't care, so long as I'm with you.
So you pick something. What they never tell you afterward is, they never wanted to see that movie and they hated every minute of it. And so the resentment towards you starts. Only they'll never TELL you they resent you for this, at least not for a long time. They're still in the "love bombing" stage, winning you over.
But once you're in a committed relationship with them, it all stops. They've won you over so there's no need to continue with being "the chameleon".
I can remember the first thing my STBE said to me the moment we were married (literally - the moment we were married). He turned to me, held my hands in his, looked at me with a tremendous amount of excitement in his eyes and said, "I'm SO glad I married you!" (and right about then in my head, I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, what a wonderful thing to say!") but then he followed it up with, "I now have a hot wife!"
Talk about popping your balloon, right?
Nope, once they have you, they have you, and they're not letting go easily. And so begins life with an Aspie/Narcissist/Sociopath.
The process of love bombing me, getting me to like him, is now over.
Good luck with the rest of your life with them because it's all downhill from here.