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Monday, 26 January 2015

Lost car keys and aspergerisation

I’ve lost my car keys. I keep hoping they’ll turn up – when I’m not actively looking for them (because I’ve already looked everywhere I can think of) - but it’s been two weeks and they haven’t appeared yet.

It’s a relief to be able to write it down – to tell you. Keeping niggling worries to yourself makes them worse. But I can’t tell Ethan. He’ll hit the roof. And we’ve only just recovered from horrible rows and resentment last week over an £18,000 BMW Ethan wanted to buy (yes – really, never mind that we’re overdrawn and getting more so each month, in debt on our credit card and have all our kids birthdays and my 40th in the next few months...oh, and that we can’t afford to go on holiday this year. Ethan couldn’t seem to link any of this to the fact that he wanted a BMW. He seemed reluctant, or unable, to let his desire for a BMW be influenced by the money we have (or don’t have) as a family). Anyway, we’ve just about managed to find a compromise and the tension and hopelessness that has hung over us for the last week has gone. I really don’t want to start a whole new thing with the loss of my car keys (my house keys are on the same key ring).

It’s at times like these that I mourn the fact I don’t have a husband that I can share the whole of life with. I’d love to be married to someone who I could feel confident telling I’ve lost my car/house keys, knowing that he would rib me a bit but that, overall, he’d roll with it as one of the little yet constant annoyances in life, we’d take appropriate  action and get over it. But with Ethan, I know it will lead to him being totally stressed, aggressive and frustrated with me for not putting the key in the ‘key place’ that he’s created and that the frustration and irritation will linger for days, possibly weeks.

Keeping things from him (we’ve got one of Sam’s seven-year-old friends coming for a sleepover on Friday and I’ve not plucked up the courage to tell him that yet) is one of the ways that I feel I’ve been aspergerised through living with Ethan for so long. My habits, tendencies, outlook even have been tempered by how he reacts to things. Take a couple of weeks ago when we had friends over. They’d arrived at 2pm to go for a walk and then we’d invited them back for drinks and nibbles. Both of us expected that our guests would leave by about tea-time. When at 10pm that evening they still hadn’t left, I could sense Ethan getting stressed, drying up, extracting himself from conversation (fair enough – he’d been making the effort for the last 8 hours. He had pretty much run a social marathon and needed to rest). He started conspicuously looking at the clock, he’d already put our youngest child to bed as a kind of almighty hint (unfortunately our guests had drank too much and failed to pick up on it!), he’d tidied up around us all and sighed a few times. I felt myself getting more and more stressed too – because I was worried about what he might do/say next, because I knew how desperately he needed them to leave now and partly, although it’s hard to admit it, because although I used to love drinking and chatting into the wee hours, a combination of young kids and being married to Ethan has changed me. I find that, almost by proxy, I too want my social exchanges these days to fit into a specific time-scale with a start and end point and to not go on too long. I like impulsive meet-ups or long conversations or parties that run on less and less. And then I feel frustrated with myself for feeling this way instead of just relaxing and enjoying myself. Perhaps this would have happened to me anyway as I got older and had more responsibilities and life got busier – but I think being married to Ethan and always conscious of how long he can keep going until he hits burn-out or says something rude and we need to get him out of there, has made me far less relaxed and more intolerant too.

Well, no-one’s broken into our house or stolen our car yet – perhaps I should just keep quiet about the keys and hope Ethan never notices...

6 comments:

  1. I can relate, Laura. Even though I hate feeling like I'm keeping things from my husband, sometimes I just don't bring up the petty little annoyances of life that I know will make him aggressive or difficult. Cowardly, I know, but I often feel I'm already trying to manage everyone's emotions around his outbursts, that I can only handle so much.

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  3. Yep Laura (and Diana),
    it's like walking on eggshells sometimes, and so hard trying to manage what is almost like a secret life. I don't want to keep secrets either, but it's easier than dealing with the fallout if I confess to the heinous crime of mislaying something! I do dream sometimes of having a "normal" relationship, where we are equals, partners and friends, as well as lovers.

    Hannah x

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  4. Oh Laura, my heart goes out to you. How many times have I lived with this same AS induced anxiety and fear of simply speaking out about ordinary worries or difficulties that visit everyone's life at times. I'm filled with concern for you and also can see my own situation more clearly through your own words. You deserve more, we all do. No disrespect to our partners but it honestly is a damaging situation to live in. It is painful to acknowledge this but at some point we must find the courage and self compassion to look at this. You are in my Thoughts. Look after yourself,
    X x x

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  5. Thanks, Laura and Hannah- I found both of your blogs last year and it has been such a sanity lifeline-no matter how much I try to explain the situation to people(and I've kind of stopped trying too much) no one really understands unless they've lived long term with an Aspie. You start to question your perception of life and how you act. So thank you for articulating our kind of life and encouraging me, knowing there are other lovely people out there dealing with the same thing.

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  6. I can totally understand what you are going through about the keys. I was walking home from the beach and she dropped the keys over the boardwalk. The keys were gone forever, but luckily I was walking distance to a hardware store that had a locksmith service. Key problem solved. I think if you are crafty, Ethan will never know the difference. My wife never found out.

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