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Any women with high functioning autism/aspergers and bullying partners?

(19 Posts)
thatsnotmynamereally Fri 17-Jul-15 08:04:08

I've posted at length about my problems with emotionally abusive H and am going through intensive counselling to try to get the balls courage and support to leave him. He doesn't realise he is abusive and doesn't want to divorce. I know it's not his choice and if I want to end the relationship I can, but sometimes it all just seems too much hassle. I am fairly competent but have no confidence in my ability to support myself and hold down a job long-term which is why I'm terrified to lose his financial support.

I've been fairly convinced for a long time that I've got some aspergers do we all, I'm sure...but when I look back at my childhood it was screaming obvious, won't go into detail. But I got through, if fact, at 17/18 years old I remember getting lots of praise by relatives, other parents, etc about how normal I'd become (implication I'd been a total oddball before, true). Anyway, even though I am 'normal' now I am sure I'm covering up some very reclusive tendencies, I am very happy in lots of aspects of my life and I don't want to beat myself up if I'm different in an Aspergers sort of way. Plus I have many good friends, I socialise when H lets me But, I think it's really holding me back in 2 ways: 1) work. I cannot do office politics and I'm clearly wallowing in a pit of low self esteem (even though colleagues like me and I do good work, but I'm in a low position and am better qualified than my 'boss' but always happily do the grunt work and let them take the credit) 2) my crap relationship. H clearly feels entitled to bully me and I feel I've created this situation by not having stood up for myself over the past 20 years.

And now I'm in tears because I've been all over the Internet and I can't find any information about links between aspergers and abusive marriages. I'm sure my H (a bully at heart) realised he'd struck gold when he met me as I was so unsure of what was/is normal, he has taken on the role of educating me in what normal is and of course that means he's written his own agenda. I've been 'blaming', in counselling, my mother for a lot of things, ie low self esteem, but I don't think it's all down to her. No real diagnosis of aspergers but I have discussed it with GP.

This current angst was triggered by watching the programme on TV the other night, about girls with autism, and the shock of recognition of some of those (lovely) girls. I feel so sorry for my younger self. And even now, I do a lot of socially inappropriate things (bore people!) and will hurt for days afterwards if I look back and realise I've made a fool of myself.

I don't need to be told to LTB, am trying, but was just wondering if anyone had any similar stories or could point me in a direction? I'm tied up in knots trying to understand why I feel I couldn't cope on my own without this strong bully figure in my life. Hope that makes sense.

And thanks thanks so much to all who've posted on my previous threads, still trying to make the break, I've made some tremendous progress and all is ok at the moment.

turbonerd Fri 17-Jul-15 08:31:21

Didnt Want to just read and run. I dont know whether the way I am Would fall in under an autism diagnosis. But my young daughter is autistic, and reading up on it all made me think a lot about my own Odd behaviour.
Å lot of what you say resonnates, and I was also in an abusive relationship.
However, though I relapse because I have to be in contact with him for thechildren, being out of the rrelationship Has made my quirks a lot more manageable.
Extricate yourself from the nasty moron and Then it may be easier to see that you have not played into his hands.
Autistic or not, after an abusive relationship I found books on healthy relationships for aspie girls very useful.

Nolim Fri 17-Jul-15 08:42:17

No advise here op but good for you for making steeps to understand yourself better and get out of an abusive relationship. flowers

Whodathink1t Fri 17-Jul-15 09:03:14

I watched that programme and I'm now worried for those girls & their future relationships. it brought it home to me how vulnerable people can be & how easily they could be exploited. sad I am also sad for the generations of women who have not been diagnosed in the past. I hope you are able to move on with your life & things become better for you now that you have started to realise that how you feel about things isn't wrong.


YesItsANewNameForThis Fri 17-Jul-15 12:17:28

I read once that women with aspergers find it very difficult to end relationships. Certainly a lot of what you have said does resonate with me. I am two years into what seems like the longest two years of my life.

Two years ago I asked DP to leave, and he is still here. His controlling comes out in various ways, but mostly in trying to "look after me" I have been told I am a genius, (I'm quirky and bright, I am not off the scale clever, seeing my situation laid out, I feel stupid!) therefore I need someone to look after the the day to day and mundane aspects of my life, I am easily bored (yes I am) I wouldn't cope on my own, he even refers to past mishaps to illustrate these points.

He ignores simple requests, has taken over almost all household tasks, continues to try and monopolise childcare, and I haven't a clue about household bills or finances. Despite the fact I have run several businesses, held down a job that paid twice his salary, lived on my own at one point and know how to file a tax return.

So, objectively I know I could cope very well emotionally and financially. So why have I been allowing this? I haven't a clue really. I admit that I prefer my life ordered and rational, having time to pursue only the things that interest me, and that financial security is important to me. On the flip side I feel overwhelmed by his need for constant physical proximity, his emotional needs and his ability to invade both my physical and mental space with his need to talk about crap. So yeah, I probably do have aspergers traits, and yes he is controlling.

But this year I am out. By September it will be just me and my children, and I am counting down the days. When I finally reconciled myself to happy uncertainty I danced, rang all my friends, went shopping for shoes and landed myself a date with the most gorgeous man. If I can do it, you can too x

ponygirlcurtis Fri 17-Jul-15 13:14:35

Sending you a big hug thats - I've been thinking about you and wondering if you were ok. It sounds like your thinking on this has rocked you - is it something you can discuss with your counsellor?

thatsnotmynamereally Fri 17-Jul-15 13:42:38

Yes I found myself nodding in vigorous agreement with your situation, I'm so pleased for your resolve and (upcoming) happy ending. I'd never heard about the difficulties in ending relationships being related. My situation isn't all bad, we've got two great DC's and I count my blessings every day but OMG he sucks all the life and joy out of everything, DCs (grown up) agree. I've presented H with a divorce petition which he tore up... says he'll do anything to avoid divorce but hasn't come up with the goods so I am determined to proceed but I can't stand hurting his feelings. Hence all the counselling, but it's only this week that I've made a connection with my (possible? probable) aspergers. I know the outcome is the same (ie LTB) but I need to be totally strong about it or I'll get hoovered back in, it's happened a few times already, and short of leaving the country, which I've considered, cannot see how I can get away from him. Somehow the 'penny dropping' of connecting my inability to act with aspergers has given me more mental fortitude, and also made me look at my own actions differently, more compassionately perhaps.

Turbonerd so glad you can support your DD, I hope all is OK. I'm going to look into those books, glad that someone is making efforts to deal with that issue. I felt very destabilised after watching that programme the other day, I'm glad that the specific problems of girls with autism is getting recognition, I really feel that identifying the problem is half the battle, then you can concetrate on the positives rather than constantly feeling like everything is wrong!

thatsnotmynamereally Fri 17-Jul-15 13:50:04

Hi pony! Yes I've been here, but hiding under a rock rather than admitting I'm still with him...utter frustration with myself. I'm thinking about discussing this next week with (expensive) counsellor but wondering if she'll agree or just think it's a red herring. Which it may be, I don't want to think I am looking for excuses but somehow I'm thinking that it may be part of the reason I can't let go.

Hope you are well flowers flowers

turbonerd Fri 17-Jul-15 14:44:18

Ooh, I did not know the inability to end dysfunctional (or Any) relationships is aspie too. In that case; check.
Will find the titles tonight, it was immensely helpful to have things spelled out. One I remember is Leanne Holladay, How to såve a perfectly good (aspie) woman. Or something similar. Supergood.
I read them secretly, as not sure If I qualify for å diagnosis, but they made much sense to me!
If he saps your soul it is definitely time to leave. You only have one go, you are not obliged to waste it on a miserable git!
I manage quite well, despite being told I Would never manage. Disorganised, yes. Quickly bored, yes. But doing things my way and even becoming financially independent for the first time ever!

Go for it!

CherryPicking Fri 17-Jul-15 17:17:17

I think it's,not we'll documented for much of the same reasons that asd in women and girls generally is poorly understood and hardly recognised in medical terms.

I didn't see the programme but will have to do a watch again. Your post really resonated with me. I ended my abusive marriage a year ago. Ex even had a derogatory name for me based on his,theory that I had aspergers. Tosser. Looking back I think he realised I didn't know enough about normal relationships that he could behave appallingly then blame it on me for 'not understanding social conventions'. If you think about it, it's,a disability like any other and unfortunately statistically anyone with a disability is more likely to fall prey to an abuser. Really sorry for what you've been through. X

hedgehogsdontbite Fri 17-Jul-15 19:24:54

I think women with AS are more susceptible to abusive relationships for a variety of reasons.

They'll have had a lifetime of loneliness and isolation so there's a desperation for love and affirmation. They'll have had a lifetime of being told how they're feeling and how they want to respond is wrong so gut instinct is suppressed. They won't pick up on the warning signs the way someone else might. They probably won't have a history of boyfriends so haven't had the opportunity to practise being in a relationship.

When it comes to leaving the biggest problem I think will be transitioning. People with AS have big problems stopping one behaviour/activity and moving to a different one, even if the new thing is what they want. My OT once described it as being like a car with faulty spark plugs, you just can't fire yourself up enough to act.

On a tangent, the thing that struck me most from your OP was this:

Plus I have many good friends, I socialise when H lets me

As an adult with AS I don't understand how that goes together with thinking you have AS. I know quite a few people with AS but I don't know one who has any friends let alone many.

Galvanised Fri 17-Jul-15 21:43:17

hedgehog, plenty of people with AS have friends. Some might have fewer than others, some might have more than average.
AS presents differently in different people.

thatsnotmynamereally Fri 17-Jul-15 22:41:21

Aargh. Not 100% sure I'm AS, as a 'for example' I consider these friends to be good ones, we mainly chat via internet but I had them to visit last weekend, I loved the preparations and imagining what we'd do together, but the reality of being responsible for the evening was stressful to the point that I was glad when they'd left (had some nice smiley pics on FB so a successful evening!) but what really makes me feel I'm affected is my behaviour as a child. I think I grew out of it by learning to behave normally but I carry so much guilt and shame about how I was as a child. I probably need to address that separately but I'm wondering how it makes me more susceptible to bullying.

I'm spending the evening with H....this 'issue' is on my mind, I'm on the brink of blurting it out, I can see how he's being abusive but have no response other than trying to placate him, I've challenged him on a few things tonight and he's gone off in a huff, all I can think to do is to try to get him to be 'nice' again...I hate myself for being like this! smile but at least I can recognise that in myself.

rosierainbows Sat 18-Jul-15 06:13:46

Of course you can have as and have friends hmm

YesItsANewNameForThis Sat 18-Jul-15 17:01:42

I have friends and family, I have been in three long relationships. I have never been single, so I think it is entirely possible for some women with AS or at least with AS traits to have fairly good friendships and not to have experienced loneliness. Several of my very good friends do tell me i'm "quirky" and I am aware that many think I am a weird mixture of aloof and intense. Depending on my mood, level of comfort, and confidence I can be quite outgoing, I start conversations with strangers, smile at people and make friends. I'm perceived as a "bit odd" so what. I am now surrounded by academic odd bods, I feel quite at home. They may be brighter and have more knowledge, but geez are some of them strange!

thats like you and like many women with AS I people watch and learn, it just takes longer, is perhaps harder work and maybe seems counter intuitive to how I would naturally behave. It is exhausting to be around people sometimes.

I have also done the husband pleasing routine to keep the peace. I can't live with the uncertainty of nastiness and bad feeling. I feel anxious in the extreme and feel that under stress DP is less predictable. Facing uncertain multiple possibilities is hugely draining. I tried so many times to start conversations, or to simply just say I have had enough. I really do empathise (yes that is possible too)

I think in the end what worked for me is the realisation that DP knew this, and he played upon it. He knows I struggle with change, with sudden emotional outbursts or with having to read his intentions. This enabled him to manipulate me.

If you can overcome the fear of uncertainty and start the ball rolling, what becomes clearer is the extent to which you can then take back control of your short, it all becomes far more certain and predictable and within your power to direct.

rogueantimatter Sat 18-Jul-15 17:14:52

I didn't realise I have aspergers until I was in my mid forties! I don't have a diagnosis - what would be the point - but I'm pretty sure I do; sensitivity to noise, can't cope with hustle and bustle for long or with being in a group, intense and ranty but can be outgoing. Frequently put my foot in it. Generally over-sensitive and overly analytical. Not good at chit-chat (though I try)

thatsnotmynamereally Sun 02-Aug-15 21:41:06

Sorry for dragging this up again. I've found a website which seems to 'get' what I was trying to say, Many autistic people find themselves in bullying or otherwise abusive relationships, whether with a partner, a family member, a colleague, a “friend”, or the woman down the road… Many more don’t realise, or struggle to accept, their situations could be abusive, and can’t work out what’s going on. Abusers will make much of your autism (or any other disability), blaming you for his or her own behaviour (e.g. “I’m only like this because you’re impossible to live with”). This leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-worth, anxiety, and depression.

Autistic people are particularly vulnerable to abuse: we don’t instinctively understand “normal” social interaction; we often don’t understand that other people think differently; we can be poor judges of character; we often feel ostracised and isolated by society; we spend our lives being told we’re “wrong” even by people who love us – so we’ve given up listening by the time we’re warned about an abuser; we’re often seen as fussy and oversensitive – so people don’t listen when we ask for help; we are often already suffering depression/anxiety; we often have cripplingly low self-esteem; we are very often needy and desperate for approval. This all makes us prime candidates for manipulation.

Interestingly the help sections refer to The Freedom Program, reinforcing my thought that the action required (ie LTB) is the same whether one has autism or not.

thatsnotmynamereally Sun 02-Aug-15 21:49:45 apologies, link fail above!

thatsnotmynamereally Sun 02-Aug-15 21:51:17

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