After thinking about some of these things that have truly “connected” in my brain this time around, I decided to revisit another book Aspergirls by Rudy Simone. I touched on the chapters titled “Marriage and Cohabitation” and “Burning Bridges” this evening. I did go over several others as well, but these two stuck out to me. First the marriage and cohabitation topic. I went back over this because it helped me remember that I am not the only one. The thing about my memory, which seems to be a common thread with Aspie’s, is that my long-term memory is insanely accurate and easy to retrieve through my senses or other triggers. My short-term memory is not as easy to retrieve and I forget a lot. I thought that there was something seriously wrong with my brain at times because my short-term memory was so bad. After reading this post “The Aspie Memory” I felt great comfort.
The terms “filmographic” instead of photographic and the “mysterious disappearing short-term memory” made me smile and say: “Thank you!”
One purpose for me writing all of these connecting factors is to create a deep-rooted memory. I am trying to get that long-term memory movie that plays and can be infused by my senses and series of events to ensure that I DO NOT FORGET. I know I will if I do not. I digress! In the chapter about marriage and cohabitation she has some very insightful things to say. First an aspergirls home is very important. It needs to be safe, we have control over all of our sensory input and needs in our home. She said: “If we have enough money to live in our choice environment, home is heaven on earth.” What a lovely thought! Oh, when my home is in perfect order, the perfect temperature, the perfect lighting, on and on I am the happiest person in the world. When my closet is straight and pantry is organized all neat and orderly, while everything else is a mess, I can find a little solace looking at them. Ok, sometimes I have plopped down in the middle of my closet and just smiled when everything is the way I want it.
I did it again…order makes me get dazed and giddy.
She commented on how having someone in our life can be a benefit. Having someone helps us to not fall into complete solitary habits creating routines that we can become very rigid with. Also, that having another person in our life can bring challenges and help us to grow. She said: “Marriage is difficult; it is a series of exchanges, compromises, and conversations. It means sharing your physical space, meals, having less alone time.” Ok, I know that most people know this, but when you are actually living it, it can be much more difficult to grasp. For me I would say the conversation part can be the most challenging. Sometimes I just do not want to talk or cannot from the intense sensory/social things that I have experienced. I am not trying to be rude, I just need quiet.
Another thing that really popped out at me was this:
“For us, it really takes a special kind of person to be in it for the long haul.”
I know that I am difficult. I know that I can be frustrating with my questions and constant fixations that I get so incredibly excited about. I know that I am intense and many times TOO honest, I have tried to stop me, but I just can’t. I think David may be happier if I wasn’t so honest at times. If I keep it to myself though, I get sick and can get depressed. I really got a lot out of reading this chapter again because it helped me feel accepting of myself and realize that I do not have isolated issues or feelings. I will share some more quotes that I thought were good.
“I need a partner to keep me sane! He knows more about AS than me and he’s very aware about how to handle my meltdowns or upsets.” (Sarah)
“I chose my Aspie husband because he was uncomplicated, straightforward, honest, and strong in areas that I am weak. We connected on a non-verbal level. I knew he understood me and I understood him.” (Jen)
She said before the next quote:
“Because we don’t like the whole dating process, and because there may have been few men whom we had a romantic connection to, some of us jump very quickly into marriage. Aspergirls like myself have married because we were at a certain age; we didn’t know what love was, we just thought it was the right time.”
“I have married twice, both times quickly without dating, and at the insistence of the other. I would not recommend this; both men ended up abusive. Now I love my solitude!” (Widders)
I found what she said and this last quote to be very helpful with my own feelings of “I should have known” for just getting into relationships and not dating or questioning why the person just ended up in my life. It seems to be another area where some Aspie’s fall into and that helps me not feel so stupid to be honest. She goes on to talk about how we are innocent and believe people at their word and believe that they will keep their words to us. Speaking about her own marriages, she felt lonely in both and they criticized her. I am going to share some other quotes she wrote because I think that they are important and empowering.
“It’s really important that a person with Asperger’s is not criticized. That only makes us curl up into a ball. We need positive reinforcement for the good things we do, and then we will strive to do more of that. It takes a very special partner to understand this.”
“Some of us, because of the social criticisms and isolation we have had to endure, may have internalized that we don’t “deserve” a truly wonderful partner; that being lonely might be the price we pay for being flawed. The right partner will look at those same attributes with a very different perspective than the wrong one.”
“Meltdowns and depression can take on mammoth proportions for an Aspergirl and it takes a special man not to run away in the face of our emotional storms.”
The last one about meltdowns and depression are a pretty big deal. Though I understand many of my triggers and sensory/social issues that can cause me to have my moments they can feel random and all of a sudden. I have not had deep depression or major meltdowns in a long time because of the progression of awareness and understanding I have gained about myself. They can happen if I am pushed (figuratively) into talking or requested to express myself when I do not have the words or understanding of things. If I have social confusion or sensory overload I can meltdown or shut down. Sometimes I am just dizzy, feel nauseous, and have no words, those are the times not to ask me questions or force me to talk.
Last quote from this chapter:
“A person married to an Aspergirl has to be nurturing, patient, and he has to read–for if he doesn’t read about AS, he’ll never get you.”
The “Burning Bridges” chapter.
OH! I am notorious for burning bridges. When I am done with someone I am done. It takes a lot to get me to the point of getting rid of a person entirely in my life, but when I hit my wall that is it. I do not have what my mom has, the ability to forget their existence. Sometimes I wish I did. I tend to fixate on them for a while until I have resolved completely that I am done. I realize that this is not good, but I am not sure how to stop it. I have done this with jobs as well. When I discovered that a couple of places that I worked for were dishonest in their practices I could not force myself to go. I HAD to quit. I did not give notice and that left gaps in my resume. There are certain things that in my mind trump other things, such as, I felt it was just to up and leave those places without notice because they were liars and thieves.
That trumped my irresponsible behavior by not giving notice and not having another job lined up.
I am glad to see that I am not the only one that has some pretty erratic behavior. In the chapter many of the women share similar stories that they did in their own life. I am one who has randomly decided that it was time to pack up and move and start over on several occasions. This type of behavior seems odd for an Aspie since we do like routine and constant. However, when “burning bridges” we are the one in control. It has always been MY decision to make the choice to leave a relationship (any type) or employment and never looking back, while in burning bridges mode. I confess it has felt good to make those decisions and walk away and say ‘Screw you!” BUT then I have been left with the consequences. Those are always painful and hard to deal with. I do not suggest always burning bridges because in my experiences they come back to burn me again.
I have had to humble myself and apologize on several occasions because of this behavior.
I have learned my lesson after so many years of doing it and I have decided that it is much better to think through things and not make those decisions based on “being done” with people or being in a meltdown mode. In some cases it was the best thing for me to do. I do think that being a mom and being older has changed this behavior in me quite a bit. When I was single and younger I could just pack up and go and never look back, I cannot do that now there is a lot more at stake. There have been several reasons for my burning bridges. Mostly it was because I felt trapped. I felt like I was in a bad situation and needed to get out. Some of them were and it was good that I got out. Others I did out of anger or hurt. Those are the ones that have always come back for me to deal with.
I will share some more quotes from this chapter and then sign off.
If you have not read this book I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks that they may be an Aspergirl or someone who loves an Aspergirl and wants to understand her better. It is a great resource for parents. This is just my opinion I do not get anything for saying all of that, I really think that it is a great book. It has been very helpful to me anyway.
“If I do not like a situation it’s so much easier to just walk away, avoid it and never look back. Usually it’s just a relief but then if I’m avoiding someone I have to worry about running into them so it can add some stress too. I have a really bad memory so after some time has passed, if I run into someone, I’m just like nothing ever happened.” (Nikki)
“My life is a series of burned bridges. At the time, it feels as if I am right and that I am standing up for what I believe in. Often I am. I have, however, learned in the past decade that I can be very black and white in my thinking.” (Camilla)
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