Thursday, April 10, 2014
This is a big one, at least it was in my marriage to my STBE.
He was SO terrified of making the wrong decision, he couldn't make a decision at all.
A few years ago, I wanted to paint one of the walls in the kitchen. Being a good wife, I asked for his input. I mean, it was his wall, too. Four months and many color swatches painted on the wall later, he STILL wouldn't help me make a choice, always telling me, "I don't like any of them".
I would ask him, "What color do you think you'd like to see on the wall?" He would respond with, "I don't know". Oh, I see. So you don't know the right answer, you just know the wrong answer. (And this is another thing with Aspies... Maybe I'll do a posting on that one.)
What it finally took for me to get a color chosen was to sit down with him, four painted swatches on the wall in front of us, and say, "Okay, which ones do you definitely dislike?" He told me, "All of them." Me: "Okay, then, let's try this route. Which one do you dislike the least?" Him: "I guess one of the green ones." (Note: They were all some shade of green - see how painful this gets?) Me: "They're all some shade of green. Can you help me a bit? Dark green? Light green? In between green? Does one of them appeal to you more in your hatred of them than the others?"
He finally settled on a lighter lime green as the "least offensive" and I painted the wall. But remember, it took me FOUR MONTHS to get to this point.
I have 21 years of this crap. His telling me he couldn't make up his mind about "something" of some importance to the household, either big or small.
The worst was when I'd try to discuss financial matters with him, such as starting a retirement plan. I'd do all sorts of research into it, I'd download documents, I'd print out articles, I'd order a prospectus from the ones I favored, I'd put everything in some sort of understandable order for him and after a couple weeks of this, I steeled myself for the conversation. See, the STBE doesn't really have a head for figures and numbers outside of a math book. Finances beyond the basic checking account register eludes him and he starts to become "confused" (his word - not mine).
After all this research, I'd explain it all to him and ask him to help me come to a decision, generally taking more than an hour or two, ending the "presentation" with, "This is what I believe we should do". After all of this, his response would be, 100% of the time, "I need to talk to so-and-so at work about it".
I could never get him to understand everyone's finances are different. Everyone makes financial choices differently and based on their personal financial standing. However, if I wanted an answer from him, I had no choice to acquiesce to his demands I allow him to discuss it with one or more people, usually the "more". Nine times out of ten, the people he'd talk to about it at work would agree with what I felt was the best course, and when that happened, he'd come back to me with, "So-and-so thinks we should do "this" one."
I'd receive no credit whatsoever in that being MY choice, too. In spite of the fact I was proven right by SO many of the people he talked to, he never trusted my thoughts or opinions on anything at all. Not ONCE was I told I was agreed with, nor would he give my thoughts or opinions on financial matters any sort of credence at all (and I have a background in accounting and finance). Nope, our entire life together was him treating me as if I hadn't a brain in my head. He also made EVERY SINGLE major family decision by talking to others about it and leaving me out of the discussion entirely.
I began to call what he did "Decision by committee". He couldn't make a decision on his own. He refused to trust my decisions. But he'd trust our major life decisions to near strangers who know no more about our life than a complete stranger walking along the street. While Asperger's isn't actually considered to be a "mental disorder" (though it was listed in the DSM up until this latest update in the DSM-V where it was grouped under general autism. It IS considered to be a personality disorder and there's a link that discusses the decision-making problems people with certain personality disorders experience.
The mental health community would have us all believe there IS hope (and there's a paragraph towards the bottom of the page I linked to in the prior paragraph) when the person with the personality disorder goes through therapy. However, what they DON'T address is just how you're supposed to GET that person into therapy? People with these personality disorders won't even recognize they have a disorder, much less go to therapy for it. Aspies in particular will take the stance, "There's nothing at all wrong with ME. You just need to go to therapy to work on your coping skills" and they demand unconditional love for them, in spite of the fact they don't give you any love at all, much less unconditional love.
To close this out, since it's gone on long enough and being an NT, you're intelligent enough to understand the gist of what I'm saying, see the similarities to your own life and apply it to your life, Aspies have one frustrating quality after another and this is one of the more frustrating ones, to be sure. Aspies have hundreds or thousands of ways to show you, daily, how unimportant you are to them and this is one of them.