Why do I even try to talk to this man? I ask myself that after I kick myself for even trying, each time. No matter what comment I make, I get a blank stare, eyes don’t blink and I hear, What? Let’s not forget the lack of facial expressions, there is no joy… ever.
At times I say never mind when he says “What” and then at times I repeat what I had just said but in a slow robotic voice. Simple or detailed, it does not matter. If I say it slow enough and make my point quick, it will be repeated back to me (insert banging head against the wall, here).
The processing of his mind is on slo-mo with me. Frustration to the max. Overwhelmed on his end and zoned out, even with small sentences I may say. So why do I even think I have a chance of having a conversation with this stranger that I married. How is it that he can work, be involved with work calls and process but completely, and totally braindead with me? Perhaps it is the routine, coding and the numbers in the details of his job that makes this man tick. Actually, it is.
A suggestion from a counselor many years ago to hang a keyboard around my neck to spark life into this man. Trust me, I considered such but knew I would get that blank stare of confusion from his beady eyes, as he processes why I have a keyboard hanging around my neck, wearing nothing else. Forget that, in order to seduce him. He would not get it although wonder if the keyboard was an old one not used or if I took it from his desk. What spark? Fizzle!
My energy is depleted after all of these years to even try to communicate, forget the other. Different wavelengths, different floors, different life.
Explaining this life of mine to counselors up until recently was like unlocking my own padded cell to walk in and throw away the keys. They did not understand but advising me to leave. I could not in my right mind, of what was left of it, to leave our boys in his care. As they grew up and to be in their teenage years, they would run this man over and he would not see it coming or care. What? I had to stick it out and deal with the craziness it brought between the both of us and the grieving of a marriage that I will never have with this man, just a business partner.
The boys were finally in college, empty nesters we were, existing under one roof. At this point, I was beaten down to nothing left within me to fight. It felt as though I could only mumble, “Lord, please help me” in desperation. Thinking, “Lord, I know you know my name and I know you know where I am.” Otherwise, I was slowly dying within.
I knew I had to get an upper hand on my life and for living if I was to survive. Little by little, progress but healing of my spirit, soul and body was needed to take place. I decided in 2014 after having a major surgery and hearing cancer but it was found early, I think gave me the push I needed. I was going to give it one more shot with a counselor. Otherwise, I am done, stick a fork in me.
After much research, narrowing my choice of counselors down to two, I kept returning to one and that one, I made contact to meet. First meeting, I will never forget sitting down and looking at this woman and saying when she asked why I was there, which was “I think I am going crazy.”
You cannot tell me that the Lord did not put her in my path for this period in my life. The first three months, as we began to know one another, with me describing what this life and marriage was and is like, she had a clue. I was unsure, thinking it was a child issue, which was Aspergers (AS). How could that be? Still, she was convincing enough that this truly described this man. I began my research on Aspergers. This explains the craziness I was experiencing. Finally, I had a spark of hope, at least.
I found one book that seemed like a good fit for me to read and that I did. I underlined, marked it up with highlights and made notes all throughout this book. It looked like my Bible, all marked up, etc. Actually, this book felt like a Bible to me in the sense of describing this man that I married in 1989.
The lightbulb moment and understanding the craziness I have felt and relief that I am not crazy. Although, at times those thoughts come and I still wonder. I will not let these thoughts torment me any longer. Also, understanding why he did this or that and why the ‘keyboard moments’ made no spark fly. The spark or even trying to spark was out and done. Now, I just want to survive and get healthy within myself and I have been doing just that. He will never change and he has not and does not care to change. There is no working on us as I tried numerous times early on, only to be looked at in a blank stare. Sooner or later, you give up and get the help you need and let the other remain, as is.
Still today, even though we are still under one roof but on different floors, it works as we have our own interests and routines. There might be days that we may not see one another, or only in passing. Thank God, when we moved into this house, we remodeled the lower level as an apartment. Thinking this was for the kids the whole time, if needed when they got older, or perhaps used as an in-law suite. Never to think until just a few years ago, it was for us. Tell me that is not God. In that, back when we moved in, back in 1999, and I was planning the layout for this remodeling. I remember laying on the floor and counting how many drop ceiling tiles and brackets we would need, drywall sheets per room, etc. I had a lot of supplies delivered to the garage before even having a handyman. Crazy enough, this one handyman called me saying he never calls people but felt he needed to reach out to me. I will never forget that call and how surprised but also increasing my faith. Only the Lord knew of what I had done and what I needed. Interesting, actually mindblowing. Talk about faith increasing. It was when Bill worked and had this lower level all completed and then he asked me how I knew how much product to order that was needed. We had one box of ceiling tile left over and it was perfect to have for damage through the years. But God!
Aspergers is exhausting for the spouse. Whether it be the husband in my case or the wife. It’s a different world and the Neurotypical (NT) spouse must be a part of it. I have heard too many state the same thing in support groups. While there are some good traits, which is the only reason sanity remains, it is possible to exist. The good outweighs the bad and you feel as if you can stick it out a little longer and then there are those times when you are lucky to know your own name. Knowing early on in a relationship, there is an advantage of knowing your spouse has Aspergers. Later on, not so much. I have found that in life when we realize others deal with same circumstances, as in the Aspergers support group, we don’t feel so alone. We are not crazy. A spark of hope outweighs the monotone voice of the word, What?
If you would like to know more about Aspergers, just look up Aspergers on Google, etc., and you will find plenty. Perhaps this will help just one other spouse to know, you are not crazy.