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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Lessons in Aspergers for a neuro-typical #3 - Don't apply the same rules!

Fell off the waggon a bit last week with my rant over Ethan's rigid rules keeping me awake half the night.
Am very conscious that I'm meant to be writing a series of posts on lessons I'm learning for effective living with an Aspergers spouse. Also, that I was meant to be giving up criticising Ethan for Lent. Suffice to say, my Lenten ideals aren't living up to the harsh realities of life!
So, to get back to where I'm meant to be, this week's lesson that I'm repeating to myself, mantra-style, is to not expect the same level of social skills, connectivity, understanding and conversation from Ethan as I expect, generally, from others.
It might seem obvious but judging his words and actions by my standards and my social outlook is something that I constantly find myself subconsciously doing. And it's damaging for us both.
When Ethan does say something harsh, insensitive, ignorant (e.g. to me: 'I could see you were losing control of them so I had to step in' as his explanation for bellowing at the kids in front of two leisure centre staff as we were clearing up from Ava's party - a party in which I had done all the socialising with parents and all the jolly banter with the kids, including spending fifty minutes in the swimming pool clambering over a large inflatable octopus with all the little darlings. Anyhow, I digress...) ...when he says such things, I'm learning not to take it on board or to harbour resentment. I need to point out to him that it's an insensitive, unfair, unacceptable thing to say while, at the same time, detaching myself from the statement. What I definitely shouldn't do is take it to heart.
Sometimes he'll just be venting and using me to direct his frustration onto - which isn't nice but, when I've pointed this out, he'll say sorry and tell me he didn't mean what he said.
On other occasions he does, utterly, mean what he says but, even in those times, I'm learning to detach myself and not feel battered down, inadequate, angry or victimised by Ethan's comments but to let them roll off my back. This is, after all, a reaction based on how Ethan sees things - which is very different to how most of the world would see things. Ethan's comments are more to do with him and his frustration, misunderstandings and overwhelmed-ness (I know it's not an actual word) rather than anything to do with me.
When I can step away from feeling personally attacked and instead, recognise that Ethan's words are symptoms of him struggling, then I'm in a much better place to help myself and him.

3 comments:

  1. Hi LLaura, this is very helpful,what you've written. Not that having a mature andobjective mindset makes this kind of marriage relationship more. Enjoyable or easier or fun? Great to red your blogs, keep it up- and remain standing!

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  2. Laura, I am a mother to 3 daughters ages 12, 5, and 2. My husband was diagnosed with Asperger's about 11 months ago. Your blog has been a lifeline for me. My husband and I are both 42. I'm in North Carolina. I would love to connect. Your story is painfully familiar in so many ways. Thank you for sharing our reality. Warmly, Bess

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  3. Bess, thanks so much for your message - it's so encouraging to read that my blogs are helping people as I sometimes feel that I'm just venting - or that the post is written in such a rush that it barely makes sense. I've also got 3 kids (as you probably know) and, in the chaos of life with young children and a partner with Aspergers, it's so hard to find space for yourself. But I find that writing the blog is a kind of therapy and I think that things have improved between myself and my husband since I've started writing it. It forces me to step back and gain some perspective on things. Maybe, even if not a blog, writing down your thoughts or even just a series of events that has happened that is troubling you that you can then look at objectively, could help you?
    Really sending you lots of love and support - I know how hard it can be. And I do hope that you and your partner are able to work through things together. Laura x

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