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Monday, 12 January 2015

Aspergers and the details of life

On the one hand, my Aspergers husband is tuned in to the fine details of life - the exact shade of green in a spring meadow, what someone is saying on the other side of a crowded, noisy pub, the type of moulding on a kitchen knife that a person is using to chop salad when we go round for dinner...

On the other hand, details that are actually important completely pass him by. A couple of weeks ago, in a bid to find enough snow to sledge on, we drove into the countryside. The road we stopped on was fairly narrow and the curb was high - definitely a 'park two wheels on the pavement' job. There were two points at which Ethan could have driven up a drop curb onto the path (which I pointed out twice - once for each drop curb). Yet he completely ignored me (he said later he didn't hear me - although I was speaking loud and clear. The reality was that he was aware I was speaking but wasn't actually listening to what I was saying - a too frequent, very frustrating pattern). He rammed the car up the full curb, too fast, and burst our car tyre (the £150 car tyre that had been fitted a month earlier). I was adamant the kids should at least get a go with their sledge out of the whole sorry incident - but it was no fun. I was hugely p****d off, he was grumpy and distant and, although they gave it their best shot, it was hard for the kids to have unhindered fun in-between two frosty parents.

In his defence (because, of course, that's the approach he took. A man with Aspergers, at least my man with Aspergers, finds it so hard to accept responsibility and say he's sorry) Ethan says that he didn't realise the curb was so high. And yet he works in facts and practicalities. I'm not car aware at all and even I could see that the curb was flipin' huge! And anyway I TOLD HIM! If only he'd listen.

The second incident, and I know I just sound like a frustrated wife moaning about her husband that he threw away my year planner. Fair enough, you may think, since 2014 is well and truly over. But this was a September to September year planner. And it was covered in my scrawl highlighting important dates, deadlines, when I'm away with work, etc. It wasn't his fault though (of course it wasn't) because he didn't realise it ran until September (is there a theme emerging here?!) That's OK then. Although it did say, in very large bold letters across the top: Year planner: 2014-2015. But it's unreasonable of me to expect him to actually read what something says - or, indeed, to simply ask me if I want to keep what's mine. Silly thought.


  1. So frustrating Laura, I think our husbands are cut from the same cloth. Mr H would probably have fired off a vitriolic email to the council by now, complaining about the damage their kerb did to his car - not his responsibility at all! And as for throwing stuff away, when we moved here, he took a box of beautiful bits of fabric, that I had been saving for craft activities, to the tip, despite the fact it was labelled "spare room" in huge letters, because he thought it was "a load of rags". Didn't bother to ask me, didn't appear to wonder why I would be saving a box of rags.
    Hannah x

  2. ha, ha! I'm sorry for you but it's so refreshing to read that other people too have husbands whose favourite pastime is writing complaint letters to the council and who dodges responsibility for their actions like other people dodge the rain!
    Stick in there - there are some good qualities we can focus on if we dig deep enough!

  3. Hi Laura,

    I have read your entire blog over the last week or so and just wanted to say thank you. You have helped me look at both my husbands and my behaviour in a different way. I am really trying to stand back and think before reacting and causing nothing but grief!

    My husband has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers, add that to Anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress disorder and a tendency to self medicate with alcohol and life is not easy, especially when you throw a nearly 1 year old in the mix as well...
    We are about to celebrate her birthday at Center Parcs.. Wish me luck!!!

  4. Hi Nellie,
    Really nice to hear from you - and I'm really glad my blog has helped you in your situation. It's so difficult to see things from their point of view, to see the world and situations from their eyes, and sometimes I just plain don't want to (I worry sometimes that sympathising too much will make me like him!) but I am trying not to take his moods and shut-downs too personally, to see them coming and to work with him to either avoid them or get over them as quickly and smoothly as we can. It's hard. Particularly when there are kids in the mix as well. Although I moan a lot in my blog (it's therapy for me too!) I'm lucky that Ethan is very self-aware and, in the main, does want to get better at engaging/being more cheerful/being sociable - for our sake as well as his own.
    So we just keep muddling through - and I think we're heading in the right direction!
    It's worth mentioning that, when I read about your husband, it was like reading a biography of my own. Ethan too has had depression and anxiety (and still struggles with these things from time to time) and he's inclined to self-diagnose with alcohol. This came to a head a few years ago in a spectacular fashion involving police and a near break up for our marriage. Thankfully we came through it and, although Ethan still does use alcohol as an escape, I don't think he would let things get as bad again as they were. Not sure what the answer is but at least I can relate to what you're living with.
    Really hope your time in Centreparcs went well. Laura x

  5. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. I am lucky in the fact that my husband is totally open to support and we have been seeking it out for years. We currently have the most we have ever had and I think that is down to us now having a daughter.

    All good at Center Parcs. Just hope his mind doesn't over flow when we get home to reality! I find being away is always are best times!