Call me crazy (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence.), but I have a hard time reading a book or article about how to best associate with (e.g,. marry, date) people with Aspergers, when the authors writing the material don’t have Aspergers. I don’t know exactly how to describe this irkish-sensation…
however the scenario of a typical (non-aspie) “professional” announcing to the world how to help someone with Aspergers seems akin to an alien beaming down from a purple planet and telling me how to be more human.
Yes, I purposely did a spin on my example, as in most people’s eyes the “professional” would be the human and the aspie would be the purple-planet alien. (One-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people-eater entering mind.) But indeed, that is precisely my point; so much is written about how to help the person afflicted with Aspergers or how to get along with the person with Aspergers, but what about the articles and books that explain to the person with Aspergers how to get along with the non-aspie people?
Why is it that I, and my fellow non-aliens, are continually dissected in our ways, set apart, and then sorted by our inherent flaws, so the others can learn to live with us? I mean is this being done for other people with “special needs,” too. Or is it just us Aspies that need to come attached with a handbook?
If we changed the scenario, just a tiny bit, and turned this into cultural differences; I don’t know let’s say an entire book written by a Caucasian person about what it is like to be African American and how to adapt behaviors and implement strategies to get along with the African American, do you think maybe there might be an issue? Hmmmm.
Or how about if a Doctor of….let’s see…. How about someone who studies squids! Let’s call him Squidman. Well Squidman all of the sudden finds out there is a bunch of money to be made in writing a book about Redwood Trees (as they recently became 2% of the population of all trees!), and so seeing he has a doctorate degree in squids and all, he sets about to study up a bit on the mighty redwood. And soon Dr. Squidman becomes the leading expert on redwoods! Cha-ching, Cha-ching, and out he births book two. Redwoods of the Deep Sea.
Is this making sense, yet? I guess being aspie myself and all, I am just a bit weary when yet another book or freelance article comes out about Aspergers and not much attention is paid to the source, the credentials, and/or the personhood of the person writing the book. I’m certain this happens in all subject areas that suddenly become a hot topic and therefore a hot commodity, but when the subject is about an actual neurological condition with actual people who have the condition and are struggling to make sense of the condition, and the whole sharks-coming-out-to-feed transpires, the experience is just somewhat that much more frightening and sad.
I am a bit over sensitive I suppose (must be my lack of empathy or inability to process emotions the typical way) about trusting any “experts” in general, as they belong to the same clam (clan…sorry Dr. Squidman did the editing) who couldn’t figure out for the last twenty-years that I even had Aspergers and who couldn’t figure out my son had it either.
If I read one more time about how a person with Aspergers can’t read non-verbal cues, I am going to scream, have a huge aspie meltdown and run out the door naked! Because you know people with Aspergers do that. Every full moon they run out the door naked and yell at the Trees. They do, really (Squidman, 2013).
After fifteen years of being married to me, my husband is a leading expert of what it is like being married to a woman with Aspergers. With his help and my brains (and his brains, too; he is pretty smart), we could tell you how the whole marriage to an Aspie person works. And there ain’t no little book or one page article that will do the trick! It’s tons of work, tons of compromise, and tons of love; just like any successful marriage. There isn’t any secret trick or secret way to make it better or to make it easier.
I don’t need to come with a handbook that explains to my mate how to deal with me. He needs to come with one. He’s a man! All men need to come with one, and a woman should write it.
Every person with Aspergers is different and uniquely unique. We can’t be clustered into one type of person with a few easy steps to make life easier to get along with us. HELLO! I am a person. I am not a type. I am not Aspergers. And I am not a male with Aspergers, either. There is a difference, you know!
Of course I respect people trying to truly help other people; but it’s all the profiteering off of the new trend “Aspergers” that’s got me a bit concerned. All of the sudden everyone is claiming to be an expert, when the “experts” don’t even know what Aspergers is yet, what causes it, or how to classify it. I mean there are articles claiming brain imagining can now detect Aspergers. It can? Last time I checked it couldn’t.
People are so hungry for knowledge, which is a great thing, but it’s a time to be cautious too and to take notice of the wolves and deceit. People will regurgitate facts to push a book. People will copy works to make a dime.
People will do what they have always done: exploit a people to make a profit.
And that’s what’s so ironic; here are all these NT (neurotypical people) rushing out to claim fame through trickery, lying, stealing, or at the minimum claiming they actually understand a complex neurological disorder they have never experienced, while it is the people with the character traits of honesty, sincerity, no game-playing, and loyalty whom are being dissected and analyzed and spread out for display.
Seems to me I need a book about how to deal with the profiteering thieves!
I am by no means saying everyone who writes about Aspergers ought to have Aspergers. Some of the leading experts have done brilliant work and assisted thousands of families; but I am saying be careful of what you read and what truths you believe out there. There are many clichés being recycled, many which are not true and don’t apply to the female with Aspergers experience.
I am not a child. I am highly intelligent. And my husband doesn’t need someone else telling him how we can better get along. I am right here. Ask me! I know.
And since I mentioned it. Here’s my quick article on being married to a man. I have been married for fifteen years to one, so this makes me an expert! Also, I have a Masters Degree in Squidology.
1) He will watch sports a lot. Take time before the games to express your needs. He may seem self-absorbed and fixated during the actual game, but don’t take it personally. He may get overly emotional, sometimes shouting obscenities or displaying nervous ticks. Give him a timer and let him know after an hour it is important for you to receive his undivided attention. Suggest five minutes to start and slowly increase the time. Then in return let him express a need you can fulfill. You can use a timer for that, too.
2) Toilets might be an issue. Keep the lid down when you can. But if the toilet is continually left up by the man then give him gentle reminders. When he does remember to shut the lid consider leaving a sticky note with a smiling face. If he still doesn’t remember, give him a break, he has short term bathroom memory condition. This will affect the toilet paper roll being refilled and he may forget how long he has been sitting on the toilet. Be patient. His brain is different from yours and obviously he needs time away. Ignore the smells; they eventually dissipate.
3) As a man gains weight his snoring will increase. Also, he might be prone to binge eating and drinking, especially during social functions. This is a natural response to being around other people of his gender. Keep a bag of ice in the fridge, so he is prepared for unexpected guests. Invest in earplugs. He can’t help the snoring. And with all the fast food establishments, he isn’t to blame for the gain in weight. Hold tight. Reflect the behavior you want to see. Eat healthy in front of him and cuddle him when he snores. If all else fails take breaks on the couch and let him stretch out in bed. Remember his body is different than yours.
4) Socializing can present problems. Try to recognize his behavior does not reflect you as a person. Sit down and have a talk in a safe and calming environment. Provide him with notecards about appropriate conversation in front of your friends. Roll play scenarios and give him examples of how to build you up and compliment you in front of guests. If he already does this, you are ahead of the game. Show him what is appropriate to wear. But don’t throw out that old shirt no matter how ugly it appears; this represents a connection to the past and provides a sense of security. Now that he is married he may seem miserable, but be reassured he is not. You are.
(This is a stereotypical generalization of a gender. Kind of like a stereotypical generalization of a group of individuals who have the same neurological condition.)