Reality: What Do I Do Now?

By Susan

I could not put the book “No Team Player” down and finished it very late last night. It changed everything for me, brought to light what I would never have known this soon.

I've tended to think that the emotional deficit of ASD was at the root of this disorder, for without emotional understanding, there is no internal landscape from which to navigate one's way in the world, socially, physically, or in communication. This is true, however I am also now understanding that ASD also involves executive brain function which includes multiple levels of cognitive impairment. These functions are probably connected to their undeveloped emotion, but not exclusively so. They do all go together, however there are cognitive and linguistic impairments that stand out in their own right.

Confining my understanding to the emotional realm has been confusing for me because the emotional deficits do not explain everything as directly. The resulting dementia explanation fits.

I now understand more clearly why my husband picks my sentences apart, why he cannot follow abstract argument or even follow what I am physically pointing to. He criticizes my communication as if I'm being confusing. But I see that I also need to emphasize the lack of higher order thought and language development, such as the inability of the brain to think abstractly, and deficits that involve organizing thoughts, actions and thinking ahead, etc.

Understanding is my way out of the worst misery, otherwise I get caught in his web.

My knowledge that he has ASD still leaves me with grief, but overturns my belief that all of my experienced rejection was mine to own. His criticism became my self-criticism and self-doubt and this has utterly worn me out and I believe, almost destroyed me, before I realized what was going on.

For over a decade, there was so much mistreatment. I gave so much effort trying to make sense of his continuous objections to things I'd say and do. I walked on eggshells and jumped through all of the hoops that he insisted upon and justified. I took to heart the overwhelming conflict that only I attended to and now I can see that this was all just an idiotic rant on his part.

On the one hand, I am relieved to know that I am not some innate relational failure. However, I'm left with an even more hopelessly vacant marital reality, and in mourning.

My love for him left. This has never happened to me before, but I don't know how to love an object, and his internal deadness is too weird for me also.

I would leave and be done with all this, but I am approaching retirement and don't know how I'd make it.

I've hunted for therapists that specialize in ASD to help guide me along, but as many others have experienced, the experts have it all backwards.

I ignore him now, as a way of keeping him in a one down position, as ONLY this keeps him in line. I need to stay vigilant, because when I'm caring, he strikes. I need to stay vigilant because he can appear kind and generous, which fools me into connecting with him. However, as soon as I do, he hurls insults and flashes his fiery temper.

This strategy is exhausting though, and I need to develop another.

I am surprised he can even read me to the degree he does. I suppose he can understand crude social cues while still being mind-blind, for he follows rules without question, like a soldier.

I do not understand why Aspies can cry when watching something on TV for example, but NEVER for real life people or events, including themselves.

He recently cried and cried during an entire children's movie, but not at his parent's funerals, nor did he grieve after their deaths. When he cries, he never knows why. Perhaps again, emotion may discharge due to a primal stimulus but is never truly processed. Perhaps it’s a pressure release. Still, I don't quite understand this, as crying seems to involve some higher degree of social and emotional understanding. I suppose there are degrees of disability.

And because he's known as a crier, no one will ever believe me about his true condition.

Further, he comes across normally to everyone else for whom a true emotional connection is not required.

I will continue to learn about ASD and have been spared years of confusion with all of the consequences that come with it.

© 2016