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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Aspergers and rigid rules

This man is killing me. I am so very, very sleep-deprived. Not because of my work, not because of the kids, not because I stay up too late watching telly but because of him.
Either he's getting up at 03.30 for work which, granted, he can't do anything about (although he does insist on having a shower every morning at this time which often wakes up Sam as his head is basically next to the shower, with just a thin bit of plasterboard between). Or, if he's not getting up at 03.30 for work, he does what he did this morning: the second he hears the boys stirring, he jumps out of bed and checks whether suns have appeared on their alarm clocks. If not, they're ordered back to bed. This is followed ten minutes later by the same thing, then the same thing, then the same thing.
This morning it went on at about ten minute intervals from 05.55 'til 06.35 - culminating in a heated exchange between us which ruined any chance of me getting back to sleep.
The issue is that the boys have these alarm clocks which illuminate a sun when they're allowed to get up. The problem is that Ethan sticks to this rule with absolute rigidity. He doesn't make any allowances for life.
So this morning when the boys got up and Ethan saw the time and realised the boys' suns weren't on, he jumped out of bed and ordered them back into theirs. He forgot that the boys went to bed nearly an hour earlier than usual last night so were awake earlier this morning. At 06.15 when they tried to get up again, he sent them back to bed again - more angrily this time! If it occurred to him that they were wide awake, had been for twenty minutes and that all this process was doing was keeping us (me and him) awake, he didn't show it.
By 06.30, the boys had been awake for 35 minutes, they'd been in bed for 11.5 hours, they were completely, totally and unmistakably AWAKE and were being forced to lie in bed - because a picture wasn't on a clock! Ethan was unmoved: no sun, no getting up. 'It's the principle', he told me.
And I get it. I know why, from his point of view, he had to wait for the sun, even though, in practical terms, it made no sense. I know things are black and white for him. I know flexibility is verging on impossible. But life's not like that. I'm happy to stick to my guns & not back down with the kids when it's needed. But I also see the need to back down & adapt rules sometimes if circumstances demand it. Ethan doesn't. Which makes him really difficult to live with.
The off-shot of it all is that we had a row (at 6.30am!) & I've had another rubbish night of only a few hours sleep while he switched off from it all and went back to sleep until I woke him up at 07.45 with a cup of tea.
I don't mean to be a whinging old bag or be smugly superior about how perfect I am (I'm far from it) but the injustice of it all & the brain-crushing, debilitating tiredness is creating a quiet desperation inside me.
What am I going to do with this totally rigid, inflexible man who can't see common sense or adapt to circumstances?
I must add that he did say sorry when he did wake up. And, when I got home from work today, he'd cleaned the whole house - because he couldn't stand the mess. Which just goes to show, there are some benefits to being married to a man with Aspergers!

3 comments:

  1. Oh yes Laura, I know all about these rigid rules, my husband gets up at 5.30 for work, even though he doesn't need to be up until 7ish. It's what he has always done and so sees no reason to change, but of course he has to make so much noise, loud nose blowing, muttering and moaning, that he wakes me up and I can't get back to sleep. Funny how we creep about so as not to wake them, but they don't reciprocate. At the moment what keeps me sane is that he works away for 3 nights every other week and I have a lovely peaceful time, when he retires I will probably move into the spare room!
    On the up side, he does bring me coffee in bed (although I always feel that he has "scheduled it in" to his routine!)
    Hannah x

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  2. I'm a NT wife of hopefully soon-to-be diagnosed Aspie husband. I have read and researched since Oct 2012, and have tried my best to put the new info into practise in our home life. I have a feeling that wives will have empathy with my question here because I am stalling on the next step at this moment: what if my husband reacts negatively to a diagnosis and rejects it? We have been unhappily married for 18 years and have one child. After having approached and attempted every possible solution to marital strife, I went to see a psychologist in 2012 because I am out of options and my daughter and I are withdrawing from my husband out of desperation, not knowing how to cope anymore. As things are, I cannot approach my hubbie about this subject and I have been advised by the psychologist to communicate my suspicion to my husband's psychiatrist and ... wait. So, how did your hubbies react to the diagnosis? I am not being negative, but with full perspective of our history, I expect to be blamed for stigmatising him or some other blame response. Thanks for the blogs, I read a couple and hey, maybe I can contribute more positively in future.... Looking forward to hearing your responses, Karien

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  3. Hi Karien,
    Really so sorry that it's taken me so long to get back to you. and thanks so much for your really encouraging messages. It's proving hard to find the time to write the blog and sometimes I feel that what I've written is so rushed and thrown together...so it's good to know that what I write is helping people!
    To answer your question, when my husband got diagnosed, the predominant feeling was relief - for him and me. It explained so much about him and about the frustrations that had plagued our relationship for so long. From his point of view, he was more worried that if the assessment didn't diagnose Aspergers then there would be no explanation for his behaviour other than that he was a horrible person! Access to diagnosis means you can start to learn and understand what you're dealing with and discover strategies to get the best out of yourself and your relationship. Not knowing why you behave the way you do and feel the way you do and struggle with the things you do is the really difficult position to be in as there's no way to address these problems and make things better.
    Of course there was a sort of grieving time as well - for both of us. When we had to accept that Ethan would never be 'normal' and, for me, that some of the things that were problems in our relationship might never change. There's a process to go through post-diagnosis but, I think, Ethan and I have both come out stronger and more peaceful to be knowing what we're dealing with and to have understanding of why he is the way he is.
    All the best to you all...
    Laura

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