Families of Adults Affected
by Asperger's Syndrome
Case History 6
I feel it is of the utmost importance that the following revelations are scrutinized very carefully in order for something to be done to help all the other carers and me to live with this situation. I am encountering terrible problems, but more to the point is what these problems are doing to our young and very vulnerable children.
My husband is now 60 years old, we had our family later in our lives. Whilst there have always been problems I mistakenly thought that through having a much wanted family things would alter and he would settle down. Unfortunately it didn’t work like that and he cannot handle the normal problems and emotions that arise with daily life.
X has had a lot of mental problems over many years including several minor breakdowns but 3 years ago he suffered a serious mental breakdown and he spent 10 months in hospitals. He was diagnosed as a manic-depressive. When he finally came out of hospital he was still very ill and I nursed him back to “normality”. He became for a while very well, even tempered, good humored, and he enjoyed life to a reasonable degree. However last April for no apparent reason things started to go terribly wrong.
He changed into a different person. His reactions to the most minor problem are now very aggressive. He is abusive and swears terribly at the children, blaming them for teaching him bad language (in the past he never swore). He is obsessional, particularly with the television, it’s never off. He refuses to help me or back me up with the children.
There is a terrible “blame syndrome” whereby he blames me constantly for putting him into the hospital (I had no option). He is erratic, indecisive and very inconsistent. He refuses to bathe or change his clothes for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. He displays indifference if the children or I are ill but expects to be totally pampered if he is ill. He also undermines everything I say and do and taunts and mocks me.
X is, on the positive side, a very gifted man, an excellent artist and an academic but he also has a vicious temper and has on many occasions hit me. Mostly he is a silent bully preferring to turn the children against me with his hatred by telling them what a terrible woman I am..
I have stood by him through all of his illnesses and problems, and have never flinched from my duty but he has an overpowering hatred of me because I bad to put him in the hospital, but it was too dangerous to have him at home, my children were 6 and 8 years old then. It’s like a huge chip on his shoulder and every time he turns his head, he sees it. The hatred gets worse every day.
He has always admitted that our eldest son was his favorite, but now aged 11 1/2 years he is very sensible and can see what his father is doing so he tries to protect me. X seeing that has changed his affections to our youngest son who having craved love from his father for many years and never received it, now delights in the situation (unwittingly so), because at the age of 9 years he obviously doesn’t understand the full implications of the problems.
He is very rude to me saying many of the things that he hears his father say to me, like shut up, don’t speak, I can’t stand you, etc, etc, he is becoming so mixed up.
X lives on another planet, he can be very withdrawn, depressed, and if I speak I do not receive answers, his mind is elsewhere, he switches on and off at will. He can be utterly charming to other people and they think what a lovely couple we are, but at home the mask comes off and he returns to being verbally vicious and vindictive.
He will throw his food in the bin, perfectly adequate food that be has eaten and enjoyed on previous occasions, and will go down the road and buy chips. He only wants the children to eat burgers and chips, when I cook perfectly good food.
He told me on many occasions that when he knows something is wrong he will do it even if it is detrimental to family life, be will thwart me in every way and will never present a united front to the children.
I have been told by our (now retired) GP that he is psychologically disturbed and also told by a psychologist that there is a chemical imbalance, but then I did not associate it with Asperger’s syndrome because I did not know about it, now the pieces of the puzzle fit. However, X does not want help, he refuses to see anyone who might be able to help him.
I list the main characteristics that X displays and some of the problems that they cause: Indifference; one-sides interaction; talks incessantly about one subject (football); inappropriate laughing or giggling; bizarre behavior; lack of eye contact; variety not spice of life; obsessional; imbalance of chemicals in brain; clever – therefore will twist and lie to get own way; severe mood swings (associated more with mental problems), how this affects Asperger’s I do not know.
These are some of the problems that the characteristics can cause:
One of the main ones is indifference, particularly to other people’s illnesses. If I am ill, I do not matter, if the children are ill he allows them to play football, when they have a temperature he sends them outside without a coat. He refuses to get prescriptions.
One-sided interaction – my point of view is considered useless, I am told I know nothing and am only fit to be a barmaid or cleaner. (My job was university secretary for many years.)
Talks on one subject (football) – at home, in car, out of house non-stop for hours, no other conversation allowed.
Inappropriate laughing and giggling – this is a dreadful problem, whereby it can incorporate rude jokes and hysteria. He will break wind loudly in front of the children, and he will then start to laugh, the laughter will turn to non-stop giggling which then turns to hysteria which if I try to stop him he turns into nasty aggression.
Bizarre behavior – this can take many forms. Swearing profusely, speaking strange words (not English or know languages). Speaking of death and how he has ruined everyone, how the children are not growing properly, more recently threatening to kill me on several occasions.
Lack of eye contact – he has a dislike of confrontation so looks away and tells me constantly to go away, go away I hate you. This is said mostly in front of the children.
Variety – does not like new places or driving in new places.
Obsessional – be is obsessed with the television and football. If I switch the television off so that the children can go to bed he will switch it on again 5 or 6 times. He also insults me in front of other people and then twists it round saying that I treat him badly. My eldest son told me to shut up and X said very meekly “don’t say that”. My son turned to his father and said, “Why not Dad, you say it to Mum all the time, you are a hypocrite” and X didn’t like the truth at all. He will not allow me to chastise the children at all telling me to “be quiet”, so my youngest son has now got into the habit of saying those same words to me.
X cannot negotiate, he refuses, neither can he work as part of a team, essential when bringing up children. He was a teacher and was re-deployed several times because he could not enforce the necessary rules of the schools. Women are a complete mystery to X, he finds it impossible to keep a relationship going.
X is a very inadequate person so he uses bullying tactics on me. He knows I cannot leave, I have no money and no family to take us in and he plays on that fact. By being inadequate he needs to boost himself in other ways, so putting me down constantly until I am drained physically and mentally is his favorite method of gaining power and control.
I am trying against all odds to bring up my children as decent, respectable, caring people, but am being denied the right to carry out that responsibility by someone who has a dislike of that word and its meaning.
Some of the problems I write about may seem trivial but in a family environment they are very damaging, particularly when one’s husband undermines and mocks and threatens everything that one is trying to teach ones children, including homework and music tuition, whereby he discourages learning and encourages the watching of the television, switching it on after I have turned it off in front of the children, so they then learn to disobey.
I do know that my eldest son is desperately unhappy with the present situation. He is entering a stage of change now, being 11½ and starting secondary school has problems enough but to have all this as well is too much and he has voiced this opinion to me many times lately and that worries me, but not his father at all.
X refuses to see anyone who could possibly help him. I am fairly sure if his medication were to be changed it would help the situation (not cure it), it has happened in the past. However he refuses to change the medication and is also now drinking alcohol. The doctors say it is up to him, if he doesn’t want help that’s it, it is his prerogative.
The medical profession ignore all my cries for help and they cannot understand the terrible effect all these problems are having on our children. Nobody will listen.
I would like someone to diagnose X’s condition and to then write to our GP, or his psychiatrist, informing them of the condition found, in order for the medication to at least be changed, that would at least be a start.
As X is the patient with “rights”, I apparently do not have any say in the matter, but I need one, even if I have to go to a Court of Law.
I hope that someone will read this letter who has the authority to get things moving so that a conclusion may be reached before it is too late to put right.