Friday, June 22, 2012

But Is It Rational?

“Quick! Close the door!” I called to Steve as he entered the house.
“Why?” was his response as he stood just inside the doorway with his foot now holding the door open.
“Because of the wasps!” I answered. “Pah-leeeeze shut the door!” I could hear myself getting shrill. I ran from the kitchen towards the front door. I tried to push the door shut but Steve was still blocking the way.
“What wasps?” quizzed my rationale-dependent mate.
By now I am tugging his arm to pull him away from the door. I moved him enough that I was able to accomplish my task. I listened closely but heard no telltale buzzing.
Turning Dear Hubby, I pointed at the window next to our door to direct Steve’s attention to a huge paper wasp nest hanging under the eaves. We could see wasps flying around and crawling in and out of the nest.
“Why did they build that there?” continued my puzzled husband. His Aspergers was in full tilt mode.
Psychologist Mark Hutten addresses the issue of Rationale-Dependent children in his blog at:

These things are equally applicable to my Aspie hubby, so I shall share them. The inserted words are solely mine; I only intend to point out the traits.

[Aspies] are simply not comfortable with things that don’t make sense to them. [Those] who are “rationale-dependent,” are largely focused on logic. They need to know the reasons for the rules in order to avoid both confusion and anxiety. 

Blindly accepting the rules is not the way the rationale-dependent [Aspie] functions. [They] need to understand the reasons behind others’ actions, why something is done a particular way, and it has to make sense…. Since [the Aspie] is over-analytical, [they] often behave inappropriately because [they] never get past the “analysis stage” to the “action stage.” 

Such is Steve’s life. If something doesn’t make sense to him, or he hasn’t experience the situation before, his life comes to a grinding halt until he can ‘figure it out’.
The rationale-dependent[’s] coping strategy is to try to make sense of the world through logic and reasoning. In order to minimize emotional stress, [they] need the world to be a place with order and symmetry to it. Thus, [they] may ask lots of questions about how a particular thing works. Using [their] well-developed, analytical brain, [they] eventually make sense of things and come to an acceptable understanding of what is going on. [People] will most likely need to explain why something needs to be done - or why it can't be done - before they get compliance [from the Aspie].
In many instances Steve’s inaction may have no direct consequences in our lives, other than mild irritation at having to spend the time explaining the whys and wherefores of something. If the inaction or failure to react happens while he is driving, however, the direct consequence can be an accident. If in a meeting at work it can result in anger or criticism from a boss or co-worker. Steve doesn’t take kindly to these things.
Sometimes I do laugh and say things like “Inquiring minds want to know”.
Sometimes, however, I am short tempered and irritated. Sorry Sweetie. I hope you will forgive me.
Now please shut the stupid door!


  1. I love reading your posts, thank you so much!

    Since running into your blog accidentally through Googling something the other day, I've been hooked! I find it not only inspirational (that I'm not alone with my disease) but shows that there are understanding people out there as well.

    My "boo boo" often found it very hard to relate with me in the beginning- and now, 2 years later, I find myself reading your blog through his eyes. I find it tremendously helpful. Thank you for your openness and sharing with the world on how you and your husband not only relate but interact!

    You are right, laughing really does help!

    1. and i thank you, nate, for your sharing and encouragement - i have found that putting pen to paper (whoops! make that pounding the keyboard) has been so therapeutic for me - i think that the hardest thing for me to accept was the fact that steve's behaviors were not directed 'slights' towards me, but just his aspie thinking and reactions - we have both learned a lot...