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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Aspergers and losing of them being my temper.

I'm premenstrual so I know that everything seems worse than it is.
But AAARRGGH. I don't know who I'm more exasperated and annoyed by: Ethan or the kids.
I worked my butt off yesterday. I was working (as in paid work rather than looking after the children work) and was premenstrual (there only seem to be a couple of weeks of the month when I'm not!) and sleep-deprived. So the day was never going to be an easy one.
In addition, you may recall, I broke my daughter Ava's clarinet earlier in the week (£30 + 2x 80-minute round trips to fix it), Ethan lost a £150 coat and a £35 tool he needed for work. And I lost my engagement ring during a particularly hellish session at the local 'fun' pool last weekend. So it's been a trying week.
After a long day yesterday of house calls, I rushed to school just in time to pick up the kids to discover that Sam (our 5-year-old) had bitten a hole the size of a 10p piece in another boy's coat (whilst pretending to be a black panther, we later discovered).
I expected to have to pay for the coat (the lovely mum of the boy has since said it doesn't matter but that's beside the point for the moment). Ethan argued with me for a while about whether we should be offering to buy a new coat but eventually crumbled and accepted that we should. At least, I thought he'd accepted it. At bath-time he came out with it: 'So, are you going to ask them for the old coat then?'
'Well,' he went on, 'How do we know they're going to buy a new coat with the money? They might just spend it on something else.'
Ignoring the fact that, when someone bumped into our car a few years ago and gave us the money to cover the repairs Ethan spent it on a new computer, how embarrassing and, just weird, can you get?
There's no way in the world I would insist that this boy's mum hand over the old coat before I would give her the money for a new one. It's just ridiculous. Especially as it's all stemmed from our son biting a hole in her son's coat to start with!
I'm sure Ethan must know, really, that what he was suggesting was extreme. And not normal. But he just can't bear to feel that we're somehow being 'taken advantage of,' or that things aren't happening exactly the way they should be (unless it's him not following the 'rules', in which case, that's OK).
The day before, I'd got home from a work call late. I'd only been paid for half an hour but the round trip to the person's house, plus the journey time, plus me staying a few minutes longer, meant that the job took me around 90 minutes. When I got in, shattered, at 10.30pm and started on the kids packed lunches for the next day (which it had never occurred to Ethan to do) he greeted me with: 'So, you're being paid for an hour then?' He knew I wasn't being paid for an hour. But he can't stand the fact that I (as part of his family) had given something for nothing. And he just can't help but point it out. It's just so negative. And selfish. No thought for what kind of a 'shift' I'd had, no 'how did it go?'' Just into confrontational attack mode straight away.
Today, I rushed back in-between a kid's party and made Ethan and I a bacon sandwich before having to rush back to the party again. While the bacon sandwich was cooking, I sorted out a play date for Ava, put the washing out and unloaded the dishwasher. When Ethan and I sat down for our sandwich, Ethan made exaggerated gestures looking around for a cup of coffee.
I snapped and called him a t**t. In front of Ava and Oliver, and Ava's friend. I couldn't hold back.
I'm having to cut this short now, because the kids want something to eat and, although Ethan's around, they're coming to me because he's pottering in the shed.
There seems to be an aspect of Aspergers which is just plain bloody selfish and self-absorbed. And it's so hard to live with. I find myself feeling hard done by and venting in front of the kids far more than I should. Then it's me that ends up feeling guilty.
Aaaaargh again. But in lower-case letters this time so maybe this blog has done something to calm my rage.


  1. Funny, you've pretty much described my 19 year old to a T. We are in every paragraph you wrote in one way or another.

    Sometimes things just so don't make sense.

    The part about being concerned that the other person would use the money to buy something other than a coat but then him using money from the car to buy a computer is okay in his mind. My son is the same way and I still don't "get it"...

    The selfish and self-absorbed, yes I do believe that. I don't believe it's a conscious selfishness or self-absorbedness so much as it's just plain a lack of realizing there's anything else going on his world, like he's lost in what he's doing.

    Have you read anything about "theory of mind"? It might help to understand a bit, maybe. It won't make the troubles with him go away but sometimes understanding what's going on in there (or not going on in there) ;) can help the caregiver (yes I would consider you a caregiver of your husband) to come to terms with it.

    There are those who believe in it and those who do not but watching my son day in and day out I totally believe in theory of mind.

    I wish you the best!

  2. In my experience people with Asp are not more selfish (actually, they can be very unselfish!) - but they maybe find it hard to be considerate - especially considerate in the way that a lot of the UK society thinks about being considerate (e.g. playing along with social niceties even when one does not really want to - incidentally in other societies e.g. where being honest and blunt is considered being considerate this is less of an issue!).

    Check out the thread below - especially the post by MJIthewriter who has Asp him/herself. Some good descriptions of the issues behind what may be perceived as selfisness, and also some good ideas for ways to resolve the every day situations.

  3. I get the theory of mind aspect. I get all the rest too. But I dont want to feel like a caregiver for the rest of my life. I want to be recognized as a wife, woman and caring other parent. I find it excrutiatingly painful inside myself when I think that this is not going to change? I don't want things the way they are. Lauren, the story of the coat... Thanks for writing about it-it's situations like those that mostly made me question my husband's "mind" over the years- and it's exactly those situations which other people could not understand when I described it. That left me feeling more alone and eventually questioning my own sanity and reasoning!