Monday, March 9, 2009

Realization of Asperger's---Too Many Years Too Late?

All this time while we have been doing the evaluations and testing for MJ, the doctors and psychologists kept on asking questions about my husband. They kept looking at each other with these knowing glances like they knew a hidden secret or they shared some inside joke. It slowly came out---MJ had all these issues with AS, but they were all directly similar to the way my husband acted and thought. And true, as I read all these pamplets and books about Asperger's, maybe the traits didn't fit MJ so much, but they sure fit my husband. It had to be true---my husband was the one with Asperger's and MJ had somewhat genetically inherited it too.

As the doctors said, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". This was their confirmation to me that my husband probably had it too.

Now, I had been telling this to him for some time after the initial testings and diagnosis for MJ, but he still didn't really believe it or accept any of it. I think he felt it was somewhat of a disease or something and he didn't want anything to be wrong with him.

Slowly I got him to read some different articles and I introduced him to some other Asperger blogs to show him how much these other Aspies talked and acted like him, and slowly I think he began to see it.

One day he came across one of the blogs on my blogroll written by an Aspie guy who has a lot of great insight. On it he had a link to an online Asperger/NT kind of rating thing. One of them was http://aq.server8.org and another one was at http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php . He went ahead and took a couple of these online quizes and was surprised when he scored right into the Aspie range. Still skeptical, he asked that I take them. When I came out so dramatically opposite to his Aspie scores, I think he finally began to accept he was a part of it.

So, yeah, he has never been officially diagnosed, but the doctors and psychologists treating MJ seem to agree, and all these tests point to it, and most of the things we read seem to match right up, what else could it be?

Actually it has been almost a relief to my husband following his recent acceptance. His whole life growing up he felt stupid or like something was wrong with him. It's different if you know you have Asperger's growing up. Then you know there is a reason for your differences or odd behavior. But if you grow up being odd and weird and don't know there is a reason, then you grow up feeling stupid and wrong just because it is your own fault and you just can't do anything right. This is how my husband felt. His parents ridiculed him daily and always let him feel he wasn't good enough. His siblings laughed and made fun of him behind his back. What a terrible way to grow up. If only they had this realization back then, I think his life would have been happier and he would have felt like a better person.

As far as being married to an Aspie, well, I'll tell you it helped our relationship out in huge amounts. When I was first married, the first years were so hard. I couldn't understand how he couldn't see the need to do all these important things. How could he not notice this or that? How could he not think of anything spontaneous on his own? Why did he absolutely hate surprises? Why couldn't he get anything done? Why couldn't he remember things? Why couldn't he talk to people? Why was he so afraid to call people on the phone or ask people for things? Why did he get so upset about little things that didn't seem to be a big deal for me?

We would have weekly fights over all of this. Why couldn't he change? Why was he so obsessed with the computer and how could he lose track of so much time so easily?! Was our marriage doomed? Was I going to have to be more of a mother that a wife?

When we began learning about Asperger's it all began to make sense. I began learning how to redirect my sentences or be more direct in the way I talked. I learned how he didn't know what I was saying when I made little comments about, gee how I wish this would be done, or I made huge sighing noises or faces. If I wanted his help, I needed to be direct and ask for it. If we were going to do something or go somewhere different, I needed to tell him ahead of time. If I was going to paint something different or rearrange the furniture, I needed to give him a heads up.

I do love my husband, and I do not in any way think there is anything wrong with him. I realize and accept his Aspieness and am thankful for the realization to give us a better understanding of one another. I am greatful for his insight when it comes to communicating with my son.

If anything, there are so many benefits to being an Aspie. I know different Aspies have different traits. I don't know about those that seem to lack human affection or sensitivity. If anything, my boys show so much more sensitivity and care for others. They might not know the best way to communicate and they might seem awkward in any conversation, but they truly love and care for others. They just don't always know how to do it properly. Maybe they don't care how they dress or understand why it matters to match clothes, but they are so smart, and really open my eyes to all their insights. I will never be upset that I married an Aspie, or that any of my children inherit it, but I will cherish them and every part of them that makes them the unique person they are.

2 comments:

Juliet said...

Very interesting...

It's funny. I drop hints and make faces, sounds, etc....and Brody never catches on either...if I need/want something I have to come right out and say it...or he will never pick up on my hints.

The Emery's said...

I sooo understand! I honestly think Jon should be professionally evaluated. Sometimes I have to tell myself he does have Asperger's because if he doesn't and was just choosing to be so different I wouldn't know how to stay married to him. That sounded bad, didn't it?