How to Survive Living with a spouse or partner with Hfa

1: Speak softly and wave a huge stick at them.
2: Speak with wisdom and conviction. If they are rude, repeat and repeat: "I beg your pardon" until they either back-down or shut up.
3: ALWAYS believe yourself.
4: Get away from them, temporarily or permanently, when necessary to maintain your own sanity!
5: Talk to others with the same problems: others who will know that you are not crazy. That simple affirmation is a relief and strengthens your resolve with the other rules in this manual.
6: Never allow yourself to become isolated...there's safety and well-being in NT numbers.
7: If your Hfa partner says something and you find yourself shaking your head and thinking, "Whaaattha?" DON'T ask for clarification. You'll be buried in so many semantics, details, cross references and historical factual nightmares you will want to gouge your own eyes out. Just ignore what was said, forget it, and refer to rule 3.
8: Don't let them drive if you or anyone else is in the car: too scary. You be the driver ALWAYS.
9: If you send them on messages or for shopping (they love messages) give them a LIST and a threat if they divert from the list. They'll die trying to complete the list and will be stressed if they can't do that.
10: NEVER, EVER attempt to negotiate, compromise, make a deal or a bargain. Impossible … leave them to their own devices is a given, and they will find a way through by themselves. Just TELL them ... you keep all control or no control.
11: If you need them to be ready at a certain time to go/do something ... give them ample notice and repeat warning signals at ten/five minute intervals. They can spend hours posing and admiring themselves in front of that mirror after the shower.
12: Give yourself your own space; they don't seem to know where their bodies stop and others begin.
13: If you get ANY inkling, no matter how small, that someone has a "personality disorder". Get right away from them. Only go out with people you like.
14: Hfa truly is autism that talks! So don't try to reason with them, or find logic in what they say. There isn't any.
15: Do not make flippant off-hand remarks. Do not attempt humour, innuendo or irony. It will be misunderstood, dissected and analysed. It will be taken personally and taken as meant to insult them. And/or see rule 7.
16: Do not attempt to laugh at your own silliness. They will take it personally. Do not laugh at their silliness. They are never light-hearted. Life is far too serious.
17: If at all possible, have their car keys and wallet surgically implanted somewhere on their body so you can avoid the constant question, "Have you seen my car keys or my wallet?" AND when they then ask "Have you seen my car keys or my wallet?" even though they are sewn into their hand and behind, respectively- please refer to Rule 9 and make a list of where on their body they have been implanted. And then when they ask "Have you seen the list that reminds me where on my body my things have been implanted?” Super glue the list on their forehead: then run. Run fast and run far.
18: Follow them around, checking lids on containers with food in them. They will never push the lid completely on ... there will always be room for air to get in. Never pick up a jar from the top only because the bottom will surely fall on the floor and break.
19: They will never turn a tap fully OFF. When this is pointed out to them very LOUDLY, they will then turn the tap off so hard; it's impossible to turn back on.
20: Cleaning ... they will organise and re-organise and still have a mess. When they clean, it is either perfunctory or they will completely dismantle the bathroom and acid-wash everything before returning it to its incorrect position. Balls of fluff and hair are invisible to them and if spotted will be used for a game of checkers and moved to another spot.
21: Always check the wood stove door because it will always be left 'ajar' to let the air in to help keep the fire going even if the fire is roaring away. You must then post yourself in the house 24/7 just to make sure that the house doesn't burn down because someone has fallen asleep with the door to the wood stove ajar.
22: Always accompany said person on dog walks. Dogs are expected to stay around while said person is engaged in a stimulating conversation with a neighbour and the dog is forgotten. When owner loses dog and becomes panicked, don't panic, just look for the dog. Somehow, calling the dog never enters into the equation, apparently.
23: If they're quiet, leave it at that. Don't ask how they are, what they're thinking, if they're ok. You will likely get an answer you didn't want to hear in the first place, and spend the rest of the day upset, while they are 'fine'.
24: If they're talkative, be careful. Don’t be quick to join in. Just say, hmm, oh, nice, good, etc. Move on with your OWN day!
25: Do not accept blame, on principle, consider the source. My sister-in-law said years ago, "never ask an ASD male ‘how are you, dear’?" They'll be sure to tell you and whatever it is, it will be your entire fault.
26: Hand out complaint forms to be filled out and filed. The complaint will be against you, of course. This saves defending yourself. Walk away.
27: Keep a large supply of crossword puzzles and reading material in the powder room ... Make sure there is a lock on the inside of the door and a clock. This will enable you to escape and remain independent after handing out the complaint forms.
28: Never attempt to "fix" any problem of their making, unless it is life threatening for you. They will not appreciate your interference and will sabotage deliberately to run you in circles. Let them wallow in their own mud.
29: They will never co-operate with any initiative/suggestion/plan unless it is their idea. They will sabotage wherever possible out of resentment that you are smarter than them.
30: Develop a drill sergeant/dominatrix way of requesting things from them. If you don't ask much of them most of the time, which is wise; when you do they will take notice. Use short, sharp, clear directions; a no-nonsense way of moving and be focussed!
31: NEVER be surprised by anything that happens, no matter how unnatural and against the laws of nature, you may think it is. Anything is possible in the world we inhabit. Try to develop a sense of the ridiculous and learn to laugh at that, if you possibly can.
32: Remember: it is okay for them to be self-centred: it's not okay for you to ever be self-centred.
33: If shopping with said person in a shopping mall, leave droppings so they can find their way back to where you are.
34: If people dismiss your stories about life with AS by comments, such as, "Oh, all men are like that." Don't try to tell them anymore about your relationship. It will only cause you further rejection, hurt and psychological damage.
35: If you and your spouse become involved with medical professionals, psychiatrists, etc. be mindful and cautious that most won't know what you are referring to if you comment about Hfa in an adult. It could come back on you in a negative way.
36: There is a fine line between madness and sanity. Keep yourself safe at all times and if you feel someone pushing your madness buttons get the heck out of there.
37: (Quoted directly from his lordship) "Hfa knows right from wrong, Hfa knows when they've done wrong."
However, their version of what's right and wrong is determined by their unemotional, lack of compassion viewpoint. Self-protection and one-upmanship is their only motive. They will take not responsibility for reality or their own behaviour.
38: Don't ever expect thank you. You will not get it.
39: Believe nothing they say. Check the facts for yourself. Their reality and real reality is a whole universe apart.
40: Do NOT try to make sense of nonsense. It's nonsense. You will only end up taking blame for something that has nothing to do with you.
41: Do not correct their stories in public; it will only make YOU look bad and stupid...take a deep breath, and let them blather on.
42: Do not correct their stories in public even when you KNOW they are wrong and you are FROTHING at the mouth listening to stuff that is not true, did not happen that way and is embellished many times over. Then refer to Rule #41.
43: Don't ask questions, for explanations or why? They don't know. It's like talking to a two year old.
44: They cannot distinguish between thoughts, actions and words. All these become jumbled together. If they think something; they may insist they said it aloud. They can't unscramble or sort the sources of the various messages and cues they receive from the outside world, or from their inner world.
45: There is no natural justice with Hfa. There is no sense of fair-play. You WILL be guillotined at their whim. They'll then attempt resuscitation when they find their dinner is late.
46: Don't speak out about Hfa; don't acknowledge that you know anything about it; don't write about it; mention you live with it or stick your head out of the gopher hole because if you do, the Hfa police will shoot you down and send you to the loony-bin. If you do speak out, stand your ground and refuse to budge. You are speaking the truth no matter what anyone else says.
47: Hfa is not a friend.
It is not my friend.
It doesn't listen or hear.
It doesn't give comfort.
It won't stand up beside me or for me.
It won't support or represent my views.
It doesn't like me because I expect things from it that it cannot or does not want to give.
It presents a reasonable face to fool me into believing it's human.
It will sacrifice me to save itself.
It has no idea that I am human.
48: “An NT denies and changes themselves for love. An Aspie doesn't.” (Tony Attwood)
59: "An Aspie's idea of love is not through social relationships, but through objects". (Tony Attwood)
50: "Aspies need someone to take the role of the all-doing parent or "punching bag" so that they can download their frustrations, hurt and anger." (Tony Attwood)

Various authors © 2009