I didn’t know which name I wanted to title this post, so I gave you both. This post is about how my Aspie traits allow me to almost totally block out the world for hours at a time.Read more
From my “Introduction to Journalism” class I took in college I learned that the headline is the primary reason most stop and read an article. I learned that lesson well it seems. 😏 I’m not saying that having Aspie traits is awful, in fact I think they have enriched my life in more ways than they have hurt. But I am saying that another condition combined with Aspie traits makes life almost impossible at times. That is what this post is all about.Read more
It used to be that your word was your reputation. If you break your word you suffer the consequences. But for the words in the title above, the majority of us break our word. Oh, we have all the intentions of honoring them when we say them but then things change for whatever reason.
I think my Aspie characteristics play a part in my response to these words. Most of the time I take things literally. When I say I will be there at 1pm that doesn’t mean 1:05pm. When I said “till death do us part” I meant it literally and still do. With this prologue complete, I want to get to the topic at hand and that is marriage, particularly when it involves someone with Aspie characteristics.
I know it is a fact that 90% of those with moderate or severe Aspie traits never marry and those who do divorce more than the norm. I dreamed but never considered it a possible reality that I would get married. I just never did very well with interactions with the opposite sex. My mother, who abandoned me when I was ten years old, was like the current Oval Office occupant, an extreme narcissist. Everything was always about her, she had little room in her life for anyone or anything else. I never learned much of anything useful from her except that I didn’t want to be like her.
My dating history was plainly speaking a catastrophe. I seldom had more than three dates with anyone. When my future wife asked me out on a date I had pretty much given up on the thought of marriage. For some reason, she liked what she saw and as a result, we were married six months later.
I know being married to someone with Aspie traits is not easy. Here are some words about that from Psychology Today: (helpful hint AS=Aspie, NT=neurotypical)
- An individual with AS has challenges understanding or predicting the consequences of his/her behavior on others. Therefore, the Aspergers partner may see the NT partner as irrational or illogical.
- NT women especially tend to want their partners to understand them and their feelings. However, they need to realize that this is something they may not be able to get from their AS partner. Some change may be possible, but..
- The most basic elements of speaking and hearing are the most important issues that AS-NT couples may have. AS adults often may have a very difficult time hearing negative emotions expressed by their partner. They may refuse to communicate, but then end up lashing out in a very hurtful way later on.
To some degree, I can see myself in all three scenarios above. We have been married going on 32 years now so I guess we overcame these obstacles to one degree or another. Our marriage hasn’t always been “happily ever after” but that is as it is. When I discovered that many of my characteristics have a name it helped me to understand some previous stumbling blocks in my married life. It helps me to realize that my wife and I are likely to see the same thing very differently. It helps me to keep my vow of “till death do us part”. It helped me to realize what an amazing person I have been married to…
It has been a while since I talked about my Aspie traits. I have decided I won’t call myself an Aspie but will state that I have many of the characteristics of one. Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum and the breadth of the syndrome is wide indeed. Some, like myself live a pretty normal life while others struggle with day to day activities.
At least to me and I expect many others who are more knowledgeable of the Syndrome recognize that the traits are spread between assets and liabilities. In this and future posts in this category I want to talk about both sides. So here goes:
Asset – We Are Forthright Simply stated we speak our mind where others might hold back. That has always seemed a natural state to me, especially in the last decade or so. I still can’t understand why people don’t speak forthrightly, but I do understand how it can cause you to get into trouble. When I was a member of an LCMS Lutheran church I used to regularly attend Bible Study classes after the service. When something didn’t make sense to me I spoke up. The more I did the more the pastor seem to get upset. Especially when he couldn’t answer the question. It wasn’t long before I was told I couldn’t be a Lutheran anymore as I didn’t believe the “right” things. Too much forthrightness got me in trouble. When we were asked to leave my wife blurted out “Why couldn’t you keep your mouth shut!!” She still doesn’t understand that is just the way I am.
Liability – We have difficulty accepting criticism This liability has given me trouble throughout my married life. I can’t help it but it seems that my wife is constantly criticizing me for one thing or another. Everything in the world seems to be my fault to one degree or another. I sometimes get the feeling that she doesn’t think I can flush a toilet without screwing it up. I guess other married guys can take this in stride but I have constant trouble in dealing with it. Sometimes it results in some rather serious verbal spats. I know I should not be so upset by criticism but that fact doesn’t help when I boil over because of it.
Understanding body language, things like facial expressions and tone of voice are important for social interactions. But many of us Aspies are just not very good at those type things. To us, it is a strange and mysterious thing so we often tend to misinterpret what is actually being communicated.
Without recognizing these things our response to some conversations seems inappropriate. We generally take many things literally and based on the facts in front of us instead of as they may be intended.
Of course, I have a more difficult time of tone of language than most Aspies since I don’t hear any tone. Being deaf makes that impossible and that is compounded when I am reading sign language as my primary input. While signing most often gets the basic point across, it just doesn’t help with nuances at all. One sign can often mean many different things and it is up to each of us to discern which meaning is the most appropriate for a given thought. That alone makes for some confusing dialogs. Put together it makes some social interactions almost impossible.
This week’s Aspie trait is one that is powerful for me. I have always been a good writer. In high school and college, I almost effortlessly got A’s in all my composition classes. Writing just came easily for me. If I add up all the posts I have written in the last ten years on the various blogs I have started, the number likely exceeds 10,000 posts. I discovered I have hyperlexia which means that my comprehension for reading, writing and typing far exceeds my verbal comprehension.
Public speaking is just difficult for me along with many other types of social interactions. Although I have managed to do a significant amount of public speaking, I am not very good at it. I am always approaching a panic mode, especially on topics I am not passionate about.
Getting back to writing, I am seldom satisfied with what I write the first time around. It never seems to have just the right words to adequately express what I want to say. I often go through several edits before I am satisfied with the words. That is just my nature that I have come to accept.
We Aspies are usually brutally honest and speak our mind. Our allegiance is to the truth, not people’s feelings. Most people learn not to tell the truth all the time. Sometimes white lies need to be said so as not to hurt friends’ feelings. But white lies just seem immoral or at least illogical to many of us Aspies.
Of course, being brutally honest is not the way to make friends at least at a casual level so many of us lack those kinds of friendship growing up. I realize that I sometimes hurt people’s feeling here on RJsCorner by what I post. But usually, that is a secondary thought that only comes until after the post is written. Honesty to me is almost everything. I have come to realize that is one of the things that is making our current times, especially inside the Beltway Loony Bin almost intolerable to me. I just can’t fathom someone being celebrated for telling “alternative facts” that they know are untruthful.
One of those areas where being honest is lacking is in today’s religious establishments. I was asked to leave a Missouri Lutheran congregation because I openly said that I couldn’t accept that the earth is only 6,000 years old just because an old Jewish document written by hundreds, if not thousands of different people dated it with their counting the generations after the Adam and Eve story. That got me in trouble, but perhaps even more so that I just couldn’t make any sense of how current Christian practices changed so drastically from the words of their founder. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
Being honest is considered an asset by most in our society, but not in every circumstance. That is the part we Aspies can’t understand…