Families of Adults Affected
by Asperger's Syndrome
Case History 7
I don’t know where to start. I am sure my husband is suffering from some form of autism but have had no one to talk to about it. He doesn’t seem to think there is anything wrong with him even if I mention some of his annoying attributes, even though he has an autistic son. Unfortunately, we are separated at present but he visits the children at the weekend and one day during the week to relieve me so that I can go and play tennis in the evening.
I was only alerted to it, or recognized it when I visited an autistic unit and the principal there asked me if my husband has any particular habits. And listening to others talking about adults with autism it seemed to make sense. But by then I was so fed up with his attitude that I just didn’t want him around me. He was really stressing me out. All day I would spend reminding him of jobs that needed to be done. He said he would do them and months come and go without any effort being made. Then he’d come out with every conceivable and sometimes pathetic excuse as to why he couldn’t do it. The excuses may change every time. Simple directives given at the time would be forgotten by the next week. He is totally absorbed by the television to the point of distraction, often neglecting the children in the process. It doesn’t matter what is on TV as soon as he walks in the room he is transfixed. He wouldn’t even know the children were saying “;hello”, or he may pick them up, kiss them and gently lower them again while watching the television.
He cannot run his finances to save his life, not just slightly overdrawn but major amounts that need loans to set it right.
He plays badminton for a couple of clubs and occasional county standard and could recount all sorts of scores and matches. He has his rackets re-strung and everything ready come match day and will travel all over the country to play even if there is no financial reward at the end of the day. But ask him to buy something in the shops that we use fairly frequently and he hasn’t a clue. He’ll bring back something completely different.
His worst trait is lack of communication that was the main cause for our separation. He never talks to me. I give him every opportunity to say what’s on his mind but he doesn’t say a word. I end up having to spell things out to him as hints goes over his head. Even when his visits have been restricted he will still ask if he can come home as if nothing is wrong. When I tell him what he needs to do to resolve the situation it lasts for about 48 hours and reverts right back to how it was before. He’ll say we need to talk but never actually do it.
He cannot understand what I am trying to say, he talks back to front and often states the extremely obvious. As well as doing whatever I’m doing I have to remember to remind him of what he could be doing, i.e. getting the children their dinner ready. His order of importance is the least important first and most important last, and leaving things to the last minute if at all.
If someone kept getting hints about the marriage and then told that if they didn’t “pull their socks up” the marriage could end, on a regular basis, it would prompt someone to take action either way. If they decided that they wanted it to work they would put in a huge amount of effort to do so. But he carries on like everything is OK. I’ve even left books about divorce in view to make him see that I was serious but nothing has changed.
A person reading this may think that all men are like this but he takes things to extremes. It’s like having four children instead of three children and an adult. Every day I have a go at him for one thing or another. I don’t want to run his life but I feel I am doing that and at times he’s happy to do that when it suits him. I do everything for the home, the children and the finances/everything else. He won’t try to make any effort. His excuse is that he “was just going to do it” when you know full well he wasn’t.
It didn’t seem to matter when it was just the two of us but when the children came along you assume a responsibility. But he carried on as normal, playing badminton every weekend and even during the week, with little help for me. Many members of the family and close friends have tried talking to him but he takes it as an insult as opposed to constructive criticism.
I am constantly angry with him, fed up with him, resentful as he has had many opportunities to travel and has taken them gladly and doesn’t do anything in return, and only call him to complain about something he was supposed to do or has done wrong.
There is so much to say I would be writing forever. I feel bad because my son will grow to be like him, but I can cope with him and am more than willing to do so, but I can’t deal with my husband because at the time I felt he should know better and make an effort. Like I mentioned, by the time I realized what was going on I had already deep-rooted resentment for my husband to deal with it.