Rigidity of mind is a common trait of Aspergers Syndrome, as is rebellion against authority. There are also a string of less prevalent traits that, at least for my husband and I, are troublesome. Dutch researcher Paul Cooijmans’ Straight Talk About Asperger Syndrome include some of these traits:
[Asperger traits may include] the less popular negative features that are missing from the current image of Asperger, but have been observed by Hans Asperger in his original study and are known from forensic psychiatry. These include motor clumsiness, insensitivity to another's feelings, destructivity, aggression, endlessly bottled-up anger, violent outbursts…
…impaired spatial ability… hypersensitivity, rigidity (inflexibility)… and being inclined to obsessions and compulsions.
…rigidity (inflexibility) is the high end of ability to focus, to concentrate, on a subject. With too much focus it becomes difficult to switch to another subject, which is what rigidity is. And obsessions and compulsions are the high end of conscientiousness.
A general fact about genetic traits is that they become stronger as one grows older. "You become ever more like your father" is a popular expression that reflects this. For Asperger, this means that the negative aspects, such as rigidity, too will become ever more of a burden throughout life.
Steve is clumsy. He will exhibit passive/aggressive behaviors. The main reason why I won’t let him ‘help’ with dishes anymore is because he would have a different project in mind when he was asked to help, so he would end up breaking things in his rush and rage to get the unwanted chore done. His compliancy is given with a penalty. I like my dishes. Youngest son and I do them now. The dishes remain intact.
When hubby would break something, he was furious with me for being upset about my ‘stupid dish’. 'My God, who cares? What does it matter?' Insensitive, destructive.
I’m not too sure about the aggression part of the diagnosis in Steve’s case. He is definitely shy, and I would consider his behaviors to be more passive than aggressive. But this may well lead to his bottled up anger. He complies, but gets so angry about it. He keeps the anger stuffed up inside until he explodes. Violent outbursts about totally innocuous things will surprise us all. Us NeuroTypicals, that is.
Steve and I were just talking the other day about whether or not his traits have become more pronounced in recent years, or if we are just more aware of them. I’m thinking that they are indeed more pronounced. This article would substantiate that.
When we were married, we promised to love and cherish each other in sickness and health till death do us part. If Steve were to have had a debilitating accident, major stroke or heart attack, or any other live changing condition, I would love him just the same.
Steve does have Aspergers Syndrome, an inborn life-long pervasive development disorder. It makes him non-typical, amusing, weird, unusual, nerdy, irritating, challenging, unique, huggable, companionable, intellectual, loyal, literal, methodical, single focused, explorative, and just plain fun.
A cat of a different color.