Friday, April 22, 2016

Darned if I Do / Darned if I Don't

Okay dokey. That dead mouse had now grown another coat of hair. It had been left in the mousetrap in the basement behind my laundryroom door that long. Why didn't I remove it myself? Because I immediately start projectile vomiting the moment my latex gloved hands reach for the trap. I can clean up dog poop, change nasty diapers, and deal with the middle of the night kid vomit across bunk beds. I can't do dead critters.

My Asperger husband is suppose to check the traps every morning and every night as he takes our dogs' large water bowl into the laundryroom to fill with fresh water. For some odd reason, after twenty some years in this home, he often forgets. Now I'm really in a quandary.

Herein lies the rub. If I remind Steve, he will become angry with me for "nagging" him. If I don't remind him, he becomes angry that I didn't remind him.

How do I win?

I've tried to gauge his mood first. That is hard when his stoic face is unchanging. I've tried watching his body language for stress, frustration, anger, or tiredness, but that can be deceiving as sometimes he stomps around for no other reason than he likes planting his feet "firmly upon the floor". I guess that he doesn't want to fall off. If the Hubster is dwelling on a specific train of thought, he will become oblivious to the world around himself and become angry at being interrupted. His world is as confusing to me as the NT world is to him.

What to do?

As I was perusing the net on AS forgetfulness, I ran across this thread in Wrong Planet. Extreme Forgetfulness

Whoa Nellie! That's my spouse! One of the comments mentions the term 'executive-function impairment'. I don't remember reading about this before. (Ha! Now look who's forgetting!)

In The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, Tony Attwood defines executive function as a term that includes the following skills:

* Organizational and planning abilities
* Working memory
* Inhibition and impulse control
* Self-reflection and self-monitoring
* Time management and prioritizing
* Understanding complex or abstract concepts
* Using new strategies

Attwood goes on to say that most people with Asperger’s Syndrome have some level of executive-function impairment (Attwood, 234).

This is it! I can ask Steve if I can assist with his executive-functioning! No accusations about his forgetting something, just an offer to help. No wondering if he is purposely trying to upset me, or is trying to hurt me in some way (I can sometimes take his actions or lack of actions as personal slights, allowing myself to become hurt at his "insensitivity". Since I am in control of my reactions, I can choose to not take things personally.)

Now that I possess this knowledge, I am anxious to discuss this with my esteemed mate.

Hopefully I will pick a good time/day to do so, and the traps will be empty!


  1. I'be rushed to grab my copy and turned to page 234 and yep, this is exactly what i was talking about with Aspie son a few moments before. They do interupt all the time and my son does tell me that he must tell me NOW, so he doesnt forget. I havent picked up this book for a while. I guess i need to refresh my understanding.

    Thanks for the heads up and good luck with mouse. Cover it with a cloth and pick up so you cant see it or feel it. Use a thick rag (cut up towel) and throw the whole thing in the bin.

    1. brilliant, my dear! thank you for keeping my world balanced - cheers!

  2. This question is for NT partners married to an Aspie spouse - what are the reason(s) to stay with them?

    Below is a bit about my wife and I and why I am asking.
    I ask this because I seem to "have" Aspergers, and I see the pain my wife goes through. As I continue to gain a deeper understanding (albeit a conceptual understanding) of what it means to be in a relationship as an NT, the sadder it seems. It appears to me that if the goal of the relationship is partnership it cannot be found with someone with Aspergers. We do not have children, we have no deeply functional reason to be together other than love and partnership. I very much like and appreciate this about our relationship, but she appears to be a better partner and seems like she is getting short changed in a sense. To an outside observer, I imagine that I appear like a good partner. I support her goals, I respect her in multiple ways, I encourage her to do things that make her happy, I don't care about social norms, I happen to make a substantial income relative to most people and therefore pay for everything so she doesn't have to work, happy to help out and do the chores and whatever else is helpful, I am loving towards out cats, people see us and consistently tell her "he loves you so much". Etc. Etc.
    But I don't know how to respond to her emotions (on multiple occasions, I have walked away from her while she was crying), I seem to really only understand what she is saying when it is laid out in an argumentative/logical format (and even then I rarely seem to feel what she is saying), I don't communicate well, I don't listen well, I am often swirling around in my own head (sometimes during serious conversations I will trace geometrical shapes in my head when we talk - and the more I try to stop it the stronger it goes). To stop the rambling on my part, I read this article, and it sounded fairly descriptive of some deep challenges I have,

    I love my wife - I care for her and I want her to be happy. However, after several years of trying to change, I see that she is now looking for happiness in changing her expectations of a partner. Perhaps this is the "appropriate" thing to do, but logically I cannot understand why. It seems the proposition is to spend a life with someone that cannot deliver emotional understanding and comfort and in exchange one receives...? I want her to be happy, and I would like for that to be with me, but I worry that I am holding her back from finding a person who can make her happy (or be alone, but not with someone who consistently disappoints her).

    Thank you for any insights you may be willing to share.

    1. first, please forgive the lateness in publishing this - it went into my spam folder

      second, my husband is so wonderful in many unique ways - he has a good sense of humor (most of the time), he's brilliant in his engineering sort of way, he's learning to travel with me, he loves food so we eat out a lot, he's able to zone out at will (great quality when bored to death at one of my many social functions), and he puts up with me - oh, and he needs me!

      when i become frustrated, i remind myself that my hubby isn't suffering from pts, isn't disabled by a stroke or disease, makes a very good living, and (he says) loves me - there are so many cultural differences around the world that if he were native to a totally different culture i wouldn't think twice about his seemingly "odd" behaviors or mindsets

      life isn't always about happiness, but i find that keeping some humor in annoying parts helps me feel satisfied - i pray that you and your wife can find the nuggets of gold that makes your lives together continue to be of value