ASPIE HUSBAND: WHY AM I SO ANGRY?

He’s a Cruel Bastard

 

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Oh man I realize this title is going to piss off a lot of people!  John read it and asked why I was spreading hateful words about him.  I then explained to him that the purpose of my blog is to be raw and honest.  I told him that over the last five years words like that are what desperate women married to Aspies inevitably find themselves typing into the search engines… after every nice phrase yielded no assistance in their search for hope.  I told him that I have typed, “Why is my Aspie husband such a cruel bastard” on more than one occasion and felt it appropriate to thus title a post on anger in such a seemingly hateful way.

There is a reason we are so filled with anger.

Love is the most powerful feeling in existence and I firmly believe that the opposing term of “hate” is not actually opposing at all.  I think that in order to hate someone you must first truly love them and therefore, “indifferent” may be a better opposing term to use when discussing love and what the opposite of it actually means.

My husband is one of the most incredible men I have ever met.  He is brilliant, talented, funny, strong, attractive, and can be the gentlest man imaginable.  My husband inspires me, he fascinates me, he educates me, he motivates me, and he is the most fun person I have ever had the fortune of being around and I truly love him.

My husband is also one of the cruelest men I have ever come in contact with and there is a very big part of me that hates him.

I do not believe my husband is actually a cruel bastard, or that he has ever maliciously set out to cause me any degree of pain.  I believe my husband loves me very much, perhaps more than he ever imagined he could love someone.  I believe my husband behaves in horrifically ruthless ways because he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Hear me out

In no way do I think AS causes an individual to be a bad person.   I believe the challenges associated with it and the development of a man who does not know he has it, causes negative defensive coping mechanisms so extreme they serve to completely overshadow all of the good inside of him by the time he attempts to form an intimate relationship in his future.  While I will cover how these defensive coping mechanisms actually begin to develop more in-depth in other posts (See: WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY?), I would like to share with you the very worst way they can present themselves in a marriage.

I have long believed that I am married to one of the most extreme examples of what happens to an Asperger male when he does not receive a diagnosis until he is well-into adulthood (32 for John).  Because I submit that my husband is probably an example of the “worst case scenario” some of the things I say will sound terribly awful even to those NT women married to a difficult Aspie husband.  John is not an exception because of an absence of love or compassion from his family growing up, as they are probably the most empathetic, loving, and accepting people I have ever been around. 

I cannot honestly say why my husband developed such extreme defensive mechanisms, but I can say without question that it initially presented itself in the form of Oppositional Defiant Disorder when he was a child and that presentation morphed into the same defiance as an adult.

See… no one talks about what it is really like to love a man with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Sure, people will tell you how to make the best of it, they will highlight all of the (many) positive aspects of loving a man with AS.  People who are not in a marriage with an Aspie will give you evidenced-based therapeutic advice shown to promote “some” progress with this kind of marriage.  People will also write (in great length) all about the horrific side of their marriage.  The rage (meltdowns), anger, the cold behavior, ignoring, needing their way all of the time, lack of initiative, childish behaviors, never apologizing, repeating the same mistakes that hurt you over and over and STILL not “getting it” and of course… feeling more like a mother than a wife.

But still, no one really talks about what it feels like to have hope that things will get better… day after day, and have it dissipate before your eyes (over and over again)…  No one tells you what it feels like to STILL wake up every day and find the strength to develop MORE hope in the face of so many failures… and have that also turn out to be unrealized.

No one explains to you what it is really like to have one little word… one little cognitive process that is so inherent in your everyday life you do not even appreciate or realize how important it is… to have that one little word… EMPATHY… be the reason you are in so much pain.  No one tells you how that one little word can adversely affect everything in your marriage to the extent that it cannot survive without it.

No one tells you what it is like to lie next to the man you love and have committed your life to at night and go to bed praying that tomorrow he will show some sign that he actually appreciates you or comprehends how much pain you have endured to love him.  No one tells you that you will spend many mornings, and afternoons, and evenings, and nights just hoping that he will turn to you and tell you that you mean everything to him.  That he will tell you he is so sorry for the pain you are in.  Not just that he is sorry, but that you will hear him actually articulate WHY he is sorry.  That someday, just once he will express meaningful words that make you realize he understands the true impact of his behaviors on your soul and he will tell you how very thankful he is to have you in his life.  That someday he will come upon the same interaction that left you in tears previously, and choose to NOT behave in the EXACT SAME MANNER the next time the opportunity arises.  No one tells you what it is like to hope for these things (that are so trivial and common in a healthy and “normal” relationship) and never have them occur.  Not once, not in a month, year, or half a decade waiting for it… that they simply will not happen.  No one tells you what THAT feels like.

No one tells you that all the hope and support and love you could muster in the entire world… will not make this happen.

So many nights I cried (audibly) only to hear my husband holler from the bedroom that I was “annoying” and to “stop being a drama queen” while I spent the night on the sofa and awoke to swollen eyes and a sinking feeling in my gut.

I waited… for those words, that sentence, that touch, that show of affection every NT desperately craves… and they never came.

No amount of crying, yelling, begging, waiting, hoping, praying, avoiding, bargaining, guiding, encouraging, demanding, manipulating, empathizing, lying, bullying, pleasing, accommodating, sympathizing, patronizing, supporting, coaching, confronting, comforting, or loving has or ever will make my husband treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

I know

I have tried it all

I once read a quote that said, “She is standing on the line between giving up and seeing how much more she can take.”

That is how I have felt for five years of my adult life since I came to live with John because no one talks about how deflated and demoralized you will feel when you are breaking inside and barely able to function… and you watch the man responsible for your pain fall asleep peacefully because he feels no remorse, regret, or sadness for you.

And there is no one there to tell you that your heart will hurt… actually hurt as though someone is stabbing you directly through it and you are so devastated you find yourself reaching out for anything that will numb the pain.  No one tells you how you will feel when you give so much of yourself, day after day, always clinging to the hope that tomorrow could be the day your life changes for the better and he “gets it” even if it is just a small amount of it… but you will fall asleep tomorrow night knowing your effort and faith was all in vain because he noticed NONE of it.

No one tells you about the anger and rage YOU will feel inside or that the absence of emotional reciprocity will have you replaying every single thing he ever did to hurt you that went unacknowledged… and that you will come to know a degree of hatred that you never thought possible.

No one tells you that NOTHING you are doing is going to work… ever.

The only thing that will ever work, that could EVER work… is if he had a life-altering epiphany that he did not want to lose the only woman who ever believed in him… and he chose to seek education.

But no one tells you that your adult Aspie husband has ZERO interest in EVER DOING THIS.

No one tells you that sooner or later…

You will have to choose yourself or your Aspie husband.

If you are reading this post and saddened that you can truly empathize with my words, then the letter I wrote John two months ago will likely resonate with you…

 

Dear John,

Although I am done allowing myself to be a victim; from being used, manipulated, or bullied….I still hold out hope you will someday open your eyes and realize what you have done to lose a woman who loved you so very much.

For that I hope you read extensively about Asperger’s Syndrome (AS); Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and spousal bullying.

I know exactly why you behave the way you do, and I could have helped you rid yourself of negative behaviors that prevented us from having a loving relationship.  You never opened the door to change, you never listened to the advice I was giving you.  The sad fact is, I had no choice but to leave the man I loved because he made it clear to me that I would either have to choose him, or myself.

What is written below is the last you will ever hear from me about the reasons we failed.  I write it only to know that I tried my VERY best to articulate what I had been begging you to read about for all of these years.  I write it because I hope if you ever accept the challenges you have and the responsibility you own for my broken heart, that you will be able to look back and realize I was never against you.  I hope you may someday see that all I ever asked for was to be loved and treated with respect, and to have a friend that I could talk to about anything, who would talk to me about anything.  A man who chose my happiness over his own and realized that if I was happy, he would be also.

I could never get past the gate with you

Maybe it was because you never trusted me enough to open up and be real….be the man you are inside on the outside for me to see….I don’t know.  Maybe you just are a horrible person and you don’t have any real rationale for anything, you’re just an empty, cold, negative man.  I hope it is not the latter, and I am sad I never had the chance to show you that you would still be loved and accepted if you had just TALKED to me and let me in.  If you put the guard down and did that, you would have learned who your wife really was too.  Maybe if you ever really knew me… you would appreciate me enough to never allow me to hurt again.

Unfortunately all of your defenses that kept a wall impenetrable to communication, also caused you to be abusive and destructive to the woman (and child) who loved you the most.  You can’t ask me to sacrifice myself and child any further for a man who refused to try.

What I know (and has been confirmed by professionals)

Aspergers syndrome is the reason behind why you have had the challenges you had in your child and early adult years.  With those around you being unaware of the reason behind your behavior, and having no access to the right education, counseling, and support, you were forced to adapt with some coping mechanisms.  Unfortunately, most of your coping mechanisms were negative and have become debilitating into your adulthood and ability to have a healthy relationship.

While it is NOT your fault that your brain works differently than the majority of this world and no one’s brain is “right” or “better,” you had to adapt to fit into the majority to function at all with social expectations.  Having no understanding of why you were different and no one to explain the way those around you perceived the same world you were looking at, your personal adaptations were created.  While none of the behaviors or negative actions were necessarily your fault growing up, it has been YOUR fault for the last 3 years that you have had a diagnosis and refused to do anything positive with it.  You have remained locked into your own perceptions and chose not to learn about those around you, particularly your wife and stepdaughter.  It was never expected after this many years that you would easily grasp any of the “other” view of reality, but it was expected you would try.  I am not convinced you even see another view that is equally right (and often opposite) of your own and that you deem all those who verbalize an opposing view to you as wrong and stupid.

You are right that everyone thinks “their” opinion is the right one (obviously).  The difference is, when you love someone, a typical person will be able to appreciate the other person’s opinion despite having an opposing one and they will not sacrifice that person’s well-being to prove their own point.

My seeking the Asperger diagnosis (which I already KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt was correct) was so that YOU could have someone other than me telling you that your reality is not at all accurate to the reality of those around you.  My goal was to get YOU answers and was to get you to see as much of my perspective as you were able, to enable you to finally trust me when I gave you advice or recommendations for how to navigate through the “neurotypical” world of your loved ones.  I was hoping to be your friend and partner as you as you opened your mind up to this often confusing world.  You HAD to try to adapt to the neurotypical world in a positive way if you were ever going to be a successful husband and father and accomplish all that you were put here to achieve.   Your willingness to do this, and learn everything you possibly could about Aspergers and the other end of the spectrum (my world) was so that you and I could have a happy relationship with open communication.  I had hope we would be able to respect and appreciate each other’s perspective.  My hope was that we would learn from one another to develop an understanding of people and society in a way few could… and that we would be able to strengthen each other along the way.   That was why I always said together we COULD be an unstoppable force, but that cannot happen when one person is so closed-minded.  You were supposed to be my Yin.

I never intended to change the way you think, or show you that your thought process was wrong.  I never wanted to change any of the wonderful things that made you John, and made me love you.  I did want you to change the negative behaviors, mostly because they no longer served a purpose once you understood why you were so different.  I also did believe you could never really know me or love me for who I am if you didn’t understand me at all.  You took that diagnosis, you reluctantly went to a few counseling sessions (only because of your parents push I now believe) and you never EVER looked at a damn thing beyond that….with the exception of the few pages you have read after fighting to even do that much.

Because of your refusal, you do not know me.  Because of your refusal, you cannot communicate with me even a little about anything other than leisure-related things.  You have fought me and bullied me away from ALL forms of communication that normal couples have and left me feeling deprived of love respect, affection, and a real marriage.

You have rejected my push to communicate with a level of DEFIANCE that is so profound I do not think most people would believe it unless there were cameras in our home.  In fact, you are defiant about nearly EVERYTHING that veers from your own perspective.

This defiance is something diagnosed in children (as it was with you) called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and is not even a diagnosis used in adulthood.  It is my strong belief after years of research that no one sees this level of behavior once a child is grown because so few adults with Aspergers ever set foot in a mental health office.  When a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder displays similar characteristics as an adult they call it Antisocial Personality Disorder, or even Sociopathic Personality Disorder.  These kids with ODD either “grow out of it” or become progressively more destructive with criminal or abusive behavior and rarely exhibit the EXACT SAME characteristics of childhood ODD (or they end up isolated and alone).

When you were diagnosed with Aspergers, the differential diagnosis (or the alternate possible diagnosis that “could” be what you were displaying via your testing and one on one with the psychiatrist) WAS Antisocial Personality Disorder.  If you do not believe me, go back and read your diagnostic paperwork.  To me, this was highlighted because as an adult, you still fell 100% into the EXACT same behavior pattern as a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder…but again, this is something no one in the mental health field acknowledges for adults.  I would bet my life if there was a study of adult males with Asperger’s syndrome/Disorder who were both single and unemployed, they would find that the vast majority of them still suffer tremendously with the behaviors from their childhood diagnosis of ODD, and that this ODD is the sole reason behind their failure to be successful in relationships or employment.

Why is any of this important and why should you keep reading about the stupid shit I am rambling about in here???

Because you are NOT educated about your own disorder and limitations and without education or knowledge you are paralyzed to ever do a damn thing to stop the negative effect it has on you and those that love you.  You may not want to know, which can be assumed from your defiant personality, but you SHOULD KNOW.  You should know because it is the foundation you will need to drastically change if you are EVER crawling out of the hole you are about to crawl back into after losing your wife and family.

Asperger’s syndrome is your real, and ONLY appropriate diagnosis, Tourette’s (your tics), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and ADHD are symptoms of Aspergers (at least they were prior to the new DSM-5 destroying reality for people).  So too is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) for you. You have accepted that you have some OCD tendencies openly (light switches, etc.).  You have accepted your ADHD symptoms (readily willing to argue if someone told you that you do not need Adderall).  You have had no choice but to accept the Tourette’s (because they are physical manifestations you can’t deny, despite trying to).  So perhaps you should consider what I am about to write about ODD.  If you accept those other “symptoms” of your Asperger’s Disorder diagnosis, there is little reason to not consider that ODD may also be a “symptom” of it (and again I will point out that you were previously diagnosed by a professional with such).

Perhaps it would be important for you to know that your ASD, ADHD, OCD, and Tourette’s are NOT directly causing your marriage to end.

Your ODD IS!

OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER (ODD)

 Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a childhood disorder that is characterized by negative, defiant, disobedient and often hostile behavior toward adults and authority figures primarily. In order to be diagnosed, the behaviors must occur for at least a period of 6 months.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is characterized by the frequent occurrence of at least four of the following behaviors: losing temper, arguing with adults, actively defying or refusing to comply with the requests or rules of adults, deliberately doing things that will annoy other people, blaming others for his or her own mistakes or misbehavior, being touchy or easily annoyed by others, being angry and resentful, or being spiteful or vindictive.

 Negativistic and defiant behaviors are expressed by persistent stubbornness, resistance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers; refuses to accept requests or rules:

 You are this way each day, every day, with nearly ALL COMMUNICATION that veers from superficial chatting about objects or topics that contain zero emotional context.

You will argue nearly anything the moment an opinion or request is vocalized in your direction.  You are ONLY this way with those closest to you and appear to not react this way in casual conversations with acquaintances until you know them very well.  It does not matter what B, myself, or anyone in your family is discussing, you automatically come at us with an argumentative tone.  You correct people, you tell them they are wrong, you refuse to hear their point of view and you will go out of your way to defy any degree of authority in your life.  Particularly with me; a simple request to hang a curtain will become a purposeful act of defiance, by which you will REFUSE to do until you are acting in a manipulative way (see bullying below).  You have actually told me on many occasions that the reason you will not do something I asked is “because you told me to.”  The problem is that you also see me “asking” you to do things as “telling” you to… leaving me unable to ever expect anything from you by way of partnership.

There is ZERO compromise with you, zero consideration of alternatives to your point of view, and complete disregard for the feelings you hurt by this rigid and self-centered behavior.  I could point this behavior out to you countless times in the course of any given day with you, and I have tolerated it for a very long time trying to understand it.  Your refusal to negotiate or comply with rules has left you unemployed, and very soon… divorced.

You treated me like I was an authority figure and my desire to “talk to you” and “communicate with my husband” was a dictator-like demand being unfairly placed on you….by which you whole-heartedly refused to comply.  No tears, kindness, or begging has ever been able to break through your ODD foundation.  While all I ever wanted was an open relationship to communicate like EVERY MARRIED COUPLE EXPECTS and is required for success, you saw this not as a wonderful thing to have with someone, but as a demand you would not conform to…under ANY circumstances.  Instead of treating me like your wife and equal, you treated me like a dominating parent that you must fight off with every ounce of your being.  It is this very behavior that has prompted my frequent complaint that I feel like I am raising a defiant teenager rather than living with a loving husband and partner.

 Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits, usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds.

While it is known that you have been wrong and you have hurt B and me many times, you NEVER apologize or accept blame for your actions.  You have yelled “I’m sorry, is that what you want to hear?!?!? Fine, THEN I AM SORRY!?!?” But that non-apology is the closest thing you have ever come to accepting real blame.  While you say you accept blame, I waited a really long time to hear you accept blame for specific things you have done, none of which I have ever heard.  You fight that tooth and nail, and something you should readily do when you cause pain unto someone else (purposeful or not) you deliberately refuse to do.  You ignore and you test the limits in every way possible.  You persistently test me to see how much I will let you get away with (sleeping all day despite telling you it hurts me, refusing to educate yourself about your own disorder, only doing the bare minimum around the house to keep me quiet, picking at B, etc.).

Hostility can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others or by verbal aggression (usually without the more serious physical aggression seen in Conduct Disorder).

You are verbally aggressive and it became so bad and frequent that it WAS abuse.  You deliberately annoy and taunt B and then refuse to acknowledge you are doing it and justify your behavior (“I am just joking around” or “You two are too sensitive!”) and if I continue to tell you how it is upsetting me, or her…you get more aggressive until someone is crying, arguing back, or trying to get far away from you.  Even when I give you tips on how to talk to her (something you KNOW you do not know how to do) you tell me there are no issues with the two of you.  You argue that you both communicate fine and you deny the very tension I see on a daily basis….just to fight me.  No good can come from the fighting, and nothing will ever get better, but despite knowing this….you remain defiant.

 Manifestations of the disorder are almost invariably present in the home setting, but may not be evident at school or in the community. Symptoms of the disorder are typically more evident in interactions with adults or peers whom the individual knows well, and thus may not be apparent during clinical examination. Usually individuals with this disorder do not regard themselves as oppositional or defiant, but justify their behavior as a response to unreasonable demands or circumstances.

Specific manifestations also include: is often touchy or easily annoyed by others; is often angry and resentful; is often spiteful or vindictive.  The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

I don’t know what to say other than… this is how you behave much of the time in our home.

This description of ODD is the description of how you, my husband, have behaved toward my daughter and me the entire time we have been together, and how I saw you behave in front of your immediate family.  While I had always believed this behavior was not reflective of the man that was inside that I loved, I never got to see the other side and that is terribly tragic.

This behavior has devastated your parents and sisters your whole life and caused them horrible pain and suffering the same as it has done to B and I.  I know this because I have heard it from all of them…unsolicited and individually many times.

There is a reason your sister called me an “Angel from Heaven” at our wedding.  Your family wanted so desperately to believe that someone FINALLY broke through the hostile angry and defiant John.  While they love the good side of you and see it as I have, they literally felt blessed that someone came into their son/brother’s life that made him not so negative and defiant of a person.  They thought I was lucky enough to live with a man who does not behave this way so frequently it continues to cause pain in his loved one’s lives.  They wanted so desperately to believe that you did not hurt me every day the way they assumed, and that through our separations and move overseas that I finally was able to get you to open up and stop fighting everything.  They wanted to believe the lie I told that you treated me well and I was so lucky to be loved by you.

Truth is, I never felt loved by you (maybe after reading all of this you will finally grasp why.)  I never had the heart to tell them I was still waiting to find that same man as well.  I certainly don’t have the heart to tell them that I can no longer take your defiance and that I am essentially failing everyone.

 I believe you developed Oppositional Defiant Disorder for two reasons:  first is nature: it is a developmental delay in the same area of the brain that causes Aspergers and can often be visualized via MRI scanning of children diagnosed with either (OBVIOUSLY if you have Asperger’s you would experience the same delay in cognitive function that creates ODD).  This delay in moderating behavior appropriately is usually just that…a delay.  Most children with ODD “grow out of it” as their brain develops further and they learn positive reinforcement from social interactions with their family and peers.

With your brain likely not developing further with regard to social interaction, you were never going to simply “grow out of it.”  You would have required therapy to teach you positive reinforcement in school…something that you were not afforded at the time because you got the raw deal of being born before anyone knew what Asperger’s was and just deemed those kids and adults to be a$$holes.

The second reason is nurture:  I believe your inability to understand those around you created a profound defensive mechanism of arguing and fighting in your childhood.  I believe that when you argued or got verbally aggressive, people left you alone or avoided you.  This is positive reinforcement for someone who does not handle communication well.  If you never knew what to say, how to act accordingly in social situations, or constantly feared you would say the wrong thing, it would seem a better option to a child to just argue everything and try to force the person to go away.  If they went away, you didn’t have to constantly live in the anxiety of a social world you didn’t “get” and you could stop the stress of communicating altogether when you sensed an uncomfortable interaction arising.

I also believe that you were frequently blamed for things that you did not intentionally or knowingly do when you were a child and that you would deny fault in having done something to “hurt someone” especially considering you could not empathize with their feelings…and this also became a learned behavior.  So you learned to argue and you learned to not accept blame and you learned that the adults and authority figures in your life and your peers treated you unfairly, and misjudged you.  You learned that if you were verbally aggressive, most of them would leave you alone and stop trying to effectively communicate with you in the future.

Since you were cognitively incapable of grasping the communication from adults and authority figures in your life (because they likely came at you from an emotional perspective and tried to get you to empathize with the feelings your behaviors caused others) you were pretty much taught to defy their logic from the start (I mean damn, if you don’t get empathy and you’re a kid…you MUST HAVE THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL STUPID).

So… Just like that, your childhood caused a tragic domino effect of a horribly NEGATIVE and terrible behavior pattern that you found effective at that time and you managed to take them with you into adulthood.

Only… the very thing needed for a marriage is negated by that type of behavior.

So now you are a grown man who refuses to even acknowledge the desperate need for understanding the mechanism behind your past and present difficulties.  Without the desire to understand this (what I have longed to see from you all these years) you do not see the behavior changes required to make our marriage succeed.

For whatever reason you developed ODD; being the intelligent man that you are and having the strong will that you do….you have allowed this way of behaving to COMPLETELY DOMINATE your personality to the point that no one can ever really be close to you.  You argue SO MUCH that I do not have any idea what you are thinking or who the hell you really even are.

You do not talk about your past, your feelings, experiences that shaped your current world…you do not openly respond to questions that have anything to do with behavior, emotions, love, sadness, guilt, hopes, dreams, love….etc.

When I met you I thought I was sharing my life with someone.  You do not share.  When I share, I am denied or argued with.

It is incredibly sad I have desperately wanted you to get drunk like you would get when we first met because it was the ONLY time I had ever seen you let your guard down and those ODD behaviors disappear.  It is the ONLY time you ever express words that give me a glimpse into who you are.  It is the ONLY time you ever tell me anything good about me, or how you perceive me that makes me feel loved.  It is because of our alcohol intake when we first met and that first year we were together that I fell in love with you.  It was because of the alcohol (that let me see you and not this impenetrable exterior) that I always chose to believe there was a different man in the shadows than the nasty, cold, argumentative jerk who I live with on a daily basis.

Your ODD caused an insurmountable wall in being able to effectively communicate with you.  For so long it was the focus of my personal research as I strived to finds tactics, tools, and advice on penetrating that wall.  Your defiant or closed off behavior toward me always fueled my desire to get you to “talk” to me.  I wanted so badly to clear up the incessant need to argue that you had.  I wanted so badly to understand why you wouldn’t do things that seemed so simple and basic.

Your negative behavior to protect yourself (even if that is no longer why you do it) has caused all of the “attacks” on you through the years.  You always say I am attacking you when I am simply begging you to talk to me.  When you deny me, I am justifiably angry and hurt.  This continues to happen constantly; the times you see it the least are when I am en route to work shortly and do not have the energy to fight you or don’t want to be humiliated again when I show up to work with puffy eyes from crying… so I do not attempt to communicate with you at all.  It is sad that all I really want to do is get to know you, feel loved and known BY YOU.  All I ever wanted was to have a good relationship with my husband…but that means communicating.  To this day, when I try to talk to you about any of this… you bully me.

 I know you despise the term “bully” and any time I have utilized it you fly off the deep end and I end up on the floor sobbing.

Here is the reason I call you a Bully:

BULLYING

http://nobullying.com/victim-spouse-bullying/

As you make the decision who you will marry, you do so with the idea that you love this person and he or she loves you right back. While this is the way marriage is supposed to work, it isn’t always the case when one spouse is a bully. No marriage is going to be positive and happy 100 percent of the time. However, it is important to keep an eye out for red flags that your spouse may be a bully, rather than simply having a bad day. One of the most common ways in which one spouse may bully the other is by putting him or her down. Emotionally attacking another person makes them more vulnerable and is often done to make the bully feel better.

Examples of Spouse Bullying: Manipulative Behavior

When most people think of bullying, they think of the behavior that occurs between children, either at school, in the neighborhood or through the computer. While this is the most common type of bullying, there are other types of bullying that do exist. For instance, spouse bullying is a real problem in many marriages. Learning to recognize the signs of this type of bullying can help you either repair your marriage or make the decision to move onIn many marriage situations where one spouse is a bully, manipulative behavior is all part of the game. The individual who is doing the bullying often exhibits one of several types of manipulation to get the spouse to do things his or her way instead of their own. While a marriage is supposed to be a partnership, the bullying spouse often wants the ultimate control. Some examples of these manipulation tactics include:

  • Name Calling: Fu**ing bit*h, mental midget, doom and gloom, insane, crazy, out of your fu**ing mind, mentally ill, delusional, so sensitive it’s insane; so insane you make things up in your own head, dramatic, emotionally unstable, your mind is your own worst enemy, you think you’re so perfect… (Unfortunately, the list goes on and on).

John, this is how you frequently choose to bully me right off the bat when I want to talk about ANYTHING you do not feel like addressing.  You will almost always make some comment to let me know you have no interest in continuing on in the direction I am seeking to go and if I attempt to continue despite your defiance, you simply start calling me names or saying things like I wrote above (and those are mentioned because they tend to be the ones I hear the most frequently, with “Mental Midget” being your favorite degrading label. 

  • Temper-Tantrums: Normally after many, many failed attempts of trying in nice non-threatening ways to approach you the way I “learned” after reading all of the Asperger books and articles and trying to be sensitive to your disorder, you would come at me with some form of a temper tantrum.  If ever I did not stop pressing you to engage in a conversation with me to address something that was causing me to be unhappy or I found incredibly important… it almost always ended in you screaming at me, threatening me, yelling so loud that others would hear (in an attempt to intimidate me to go away), throwing or breaking things, or parroting my words back at me with condescending tones while getting closer and closer to my face.  This was and has always been your favorite tactic when you are caught in a lie and do not want to continue to deal with it, or you are not getting the response you want out of a conversation you personally initiate.

 You have learned that if you aggressively come at me I am going to back down because I don’t want B to hear, or the neighbors.  I feel incredibly embarrassed, humiliated, and degraded when you do this.

You have often cited my use of alcohol (drinking two or more glasses of wine) as the reason for every one of our worst verbal exchanges.  You have actually cited this “cause” many times in the past despite 90% of these experiences occurring when I had not touched a single drink (yet your recollection always fails to recognize this).  You never seemed to notice the link between alcohol and your temper tantrums and I think I know why you continue to cite my drinking (I still drink 3-6 glasses of wine a week on average) as the sole excuse for any terribly aggressive fight we have ever had.

The reason is that whenever we got into a conversation that would insight a temper tantrum on your behalf and I had alcohol on board… I refused to back down to your bullying and would fight back.  The more I fought back, the more aggressive you became.  The difference has never been me starting fights because I drank, it was always because you were being a bully and having a temper tantrum in an attempt to regain control and stop a conversation you did not like.  This may sound like an excuse by me and others might consider there was merit to me drinking alcohol and our fighting perhaps being caused by me (as I will agree alcohol and emotions rarely go well together) but that link is discounted when you (or anyone else) stops to consider how we fell in love in the first place.  To this day, if you and I drink alcohol together (which rarely occurs because you have chosen to blame that on all of our fighting) you are incredibly kind and gentle toward me and we have unbelievable fun together, laugh together, behave like silly teenagers together, and normally end up in bed passionately making out with one another.  Pretty difficult to see a link or pattern of alcohol causing ME to behave poorly when the exact opposite happens when you join me in drinking, isn’t it?

  • The Silent Treatment: I lived with this each and every time you were upset about something and refused to talk openly, or in response to me wanting to talk about something you found unimportant.  If you are not name calling or throwing a temper tantrum, and often times you still do those things just before) you are giving me the silent treatment.  I doubt you see it as a purposeful act, since in reality, I believe you choose to be silent because you have no vested interest in resolving anything and you do not think twice about any hurt feelings I may have.  It appears to me (at this point) that during your silent treatment (stonewalling) you are actually replaying any and all of the negative words I used to justify your own behavior and are waiting for me to apologize for my actions that caused you hurt.  It appears this way because even after the cruelest behavior toward me and days of not speaking to one another, you inevitably end up verbalizing how you were wronged and I am the A$$HOLE in whatever occurred.  You often cling to one mean thing I said (even if it was hours after you initiated the viciousness of the fight) and hang on to that as the reason for the fight in the first place and your subsequent refusal to acknowledge my existence in the days that follow.  The silent treatment has always been the most common way in which you have bullied me.
  • Guilt Trips: What have you ever done for me?” All of the times you said you CAN’T look for work because of pay, or the unfairness of the hiring process on the island, or that I was “just a student” when we were in Florida and if you worked we would have had no time together.  You willingly and wantonly let me work both full and part time when I was a full time nursing student (while you did NOTHING… not even regular housework) because I “would make 5 times the amount you could.”  You used your diagnosis (the only time you ever spoke of it) for why you couldn’t work on things that required you to function like a grown adult (like getting your driver’s license fully reinstated).  More times than I could ever begin to count you have told me that you “didn’t sleep at all” the previous night in an attempt to justify why you slept past noon every day.  You have told me so often that you have a debilitating headache and can’t talk, pretend you are sick, or go on and on about how you did so much around our home and B had done something to sabotage it.  Guilt trips recently began coming over the past year via text message when I was at work and unable to respond to your texts.  Guilt trips have always been a favorite response after having thrown temper tantrums, calling me names, and ignoring me for long periods of time.

 You always loved to ONLY do things I had previously begged and pleaded or asked nicely for you to do after using all of the other tactics appeared to fail (ie., when I refused to speak to you for exceptionally long periods of time or you became concerned I might actually leave you).  You would clean the car, mow the lawn, clean the kitchen, or some other task I had been requesting for a long time ONLY after emotionally beating me down with the other tactics the night or days prior.  You always failed to see that doing nice things after emotionally abusing me was just another form of bullying by leaving me feeling guilty after you “worked so hard for me” or did something “really thoughtful” for me.  You succeeded in this guilt-trip-tactic every time because I ended up feeling guilty and would not press the issue that started the entire manipulative game for you in the first place.  You would ALWAYS win, because in the end, you would no longer have to address any real or important issues that we needed to talk about in our marriage.  One way or another, the conversations never occurred and neither did any compounding discussion necessary over the horrific fight we just had.

So again, WHY do I call you a BULLY?

You are a bully because you used one or a combination of these bullying behaviors damn near every time I tried to address any communication issue, responsibility issue, or otherwise important topic that had anything to do with YOUR role in our relationship and how very unfair it was for me.

Because of your Oppositional Defiant Disorder you will bully to the max extent to get your point across or to avoid having to engage in any degree of a meaningful conversation with your spouse.

Your unwillingness to learn and help yourself has led to you being a verbally and emotionally abusive husband.

I never once thought you set out to hurt me, or that you intended to be a dominating spouse or control me with some underhanded manipulative skill set.  I have always known that you behaved this way because of your sheer desire to avoid topics that make you uncomfortable, not because you are a sociopath.  Regardless of your reason, the resulting effect it has had on me is no different than if you were a sociopath and purposeful abuser.

 I don’t want to stick around any longer to hear you tell me you “get it this time” only to have you go right back to the same behavior you have had all these years.  I have heard you tell me you get it, you’re going to try harder…etc. but you have never have followed through and nothing has ever gotten better.  You evidently never “got it” or you would stop immediately, and also try to reconcile all of the pain you have caused me over the years.  This has never happened, and therefore, this will never change.

I don’t want B to grow up and think that it is acceptable for a man to ever treat a woman this way.  I don’t want B to grow up thinking her mother is a doormat and allows her husband to degrade her and make her feel so terrible all of the time.  I cannot fathom how a child could have a mother who is a successful career-driven individual, who has overcome great adversity, and still chose to marry a man who did not work or even treat her well… and stay with him.  I cannot imagine what a confusing and awful message this has and will be to her.  Shall I tell her to be a strong woman and go after her dreams (as I have) because she too… will succeed… and then tell her I willfully married a man who never had anything to offer me once he moved in other than pain?  Shall I attempt to explain why a strong and independent woman would allow a man to degrade and use her so terribly when they have no children together, he does not provide for her… and really she hasn’t any reason to stay and tolerate it?  I don’t want to look back on my life and hate myself for staying with a man who never loved me enough to WANT to stop my pain and was never even willing to read one single book, or article…or anything… about how a man, a HUSBAND should treat his wife.  I already regret giving five years of my time, money, and emotional well-being to a man who never once expressed true appreciation for a single bit of it… and rather than behave humbly for all that she gave him… tells her she has never given or done sh*t for him and that she isn’t worthy of any degree of respect because of her “mouth.”

Despite the fact that I have little good to say about anything you ever did for me (beyond the first year of our long distance romance), I still know this could get better.  I have zero doubt in my mind that you and I stand the potential of being very happy with one another in our future.  I know this could only happen if you were willing and wanting to learn about yourself, what Asperger’s Syndrome truly means for you and your family, and you began diligently striving to replace your negative ODD behaviors with mature, loving, and positive ones.

I do not know why I am still here… perhaps there is still a desperate shred of hope you will suddenly open your eyes before it is too late?

 

 

John never read this. 

In fact, he crumpled it up into a little ball and threw it at me.

 

THAT, MY FRIENDS…

IS A REAL BASTARD.

 

 

UPDATES

April 2016: Only he is not… John is not a bastard and nothing I spoke of in this post were reflective of the man he wanted or intended to be.  He simply did not know how to break free from the defensive coping mechanisms that served to protect him in his youth…  

All of those years John felt he was being “bullied” by me when I tried to force communication with him.  He truly did not see the same thing I did, he only felt like he was constantly having his character attacked and being accused of purposefully cruel behavior (when he KNEW nothing I claimed was done purposely).  

That was how he felt; that was how I felt.  

I stuck it out.  I figured out how to get him to look through my eyes long enough to make some changes, and it was NOT through this letter (although it took me being ready and wanting to leave to get to that point).  It took me changing my own perspective, educating myself with the right information, and changing my own behavior toward my husband before he began to drop some of his defenses.

I no longer feel bullied, and while he still goes to ODD behavior instinctively and we still have our intermittent exchanges similar to those mentioned above… they are not as painful or long-lasting as they were.  We are growing as a couple and we are finding a love I had begun to believe was impossible.

For recent and future updates on what’s become of my “cruel” husband’s behaviors CLICK HERE.

Let’s just say…

I’m not angry anymore. 

PLEASE, Don’t leave this blog until you have read through the post I still consider to be the most important when it comes to easing the anger you feel right now:

WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY: Aspie vs. Antisocial Personality Disorder


76 Responses to ASPIE HUSBAND: WHY AM I SO ANGRY?

  1. Avatar marcie
    marcie says:

    Thanks for this. It’s my life…except for your better ending. I hate my aspie husband, 17 yearsof this torture and gaslighting by this pathetic excuse for a human. I finally chose me, gave up all hope…and am trying to ride it out till my daughter is in college mainly for financial reasons. I made a poor choice in getting married as all the f’d up signs were there…I had no idea a seemingly reasonable person was capable of such inhumanity, selfishness and cruelty. I can’t wait till he’s out of my life…hell yes I’m angry. No one could bargain for this. THANK YOU for letting me rant! xxoo

  2. Avatar Bran
    Bran says:

    I would like to tell you Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I needed the confirmation that affirms the truth about spouses with aspergers. The way you articulated your honest conditions about your life with John articulates my heart story to the exact same conditions I have recently become fully aware of. Thank you for stepping out here for the greater understanding that I am not going to loose myself, and hope can be found still tomorrow.
    I thought I was alone out here on my quest to picking up what I felt I lost along the way to compensate for someone who was unavailable to ever understand. I catch your drift on every plane to feeling finally heard and seen for what you have gone through also to find it. I look at my approach as being outside of a sphere looking towards the middle being my husband in every which way possible I could reach him encompassing every point externally to penetrate a understanding. I am at the point of walking and not looking back, but I have two sons with this man, one who will now share his condition. This has been a heartbreak realization after 15 plus years, but I’m grateful to see minimal progresss. Progress is progress and life from their world isn’t ideal either. I guess I just really want to express my thanks. Thank you for writing this💕

  3. Avatar Kelly
    Kelly says:

    This is exactly my situation and the ODD too. It feels so strange to see you think and witness exactly what i did. This is almost identical to what i have written my ex…sadly he started dating 2 days after our break up so there is no going back for me. Im broken, feel worthless,and now feel he never loved me. Its so painful. Thank you for sharing and you’re so lucky you kept the man you love

  4. Avatar Danielle Hinkle
    Danielle Hinkle says:

    After 10 years I am ready to pack and leave. I can’t take it anymore. Good Luck.

  5. Avatar Tracey Robertson
    Tracey Robertson says:

    It’s sad to see you love him so very much. You just stay and stay. He is not cognitively high functioning enough to make the choices you think he can make. He is simply trying to follow your instructions so you lecture will end. At the end of the day you just had a giant fit. He knows you’ll calm down and stay. He just waits for you to get over it. He couldn’t have internalized that letter had he read it anyhow. He can’t understand emotions let alone read all that and get any of it. You are still just as lonely as ever. I’m so sorry! But he’s just happy your still hanging around so he’s not alone. Leave him a dog on your way out the door and don’t look back! You feel sorry for him you feel obligated to be there for him. You are a kind, loving person. It’s normal. He is not. He’s not feeling those things. He simply can’t. Your refusal to admit that, is as strong as his inability to have true feeling for you. You know it. He’ll go to bed afyer your next lecture and sleep like a baby because he has no residual feeling good once you stop. For him done is done. The excuses from his childhood don’t matter. He is not ok. Never will be. If you die tomorrow he’ll find another mommy
    It’s terrible to know but you already do. Run while you still can. Best of luck and sorry for the honesty. Had I known own earlier I wouldn’t have stayed 18 years. I could’ve written that long gone ass letter myself…word for word. I’m so happy now! Get out! Who cares if he acts sad. It’s not because he’s in love. It’s because he doesn’t handle changes well and you are his mommy. You need a partner. A grown man who can give love naturally. Do you really want to spent your life begging for it, lecturing get for fake and learned behavior? God no you don’t!

    • Tracey,

      I appreciate and love your honesty. Your words will certainly be the turning point for many NT women (and men) and will cause them to say they have had enough and are ready to pack their bags for good. While I definitely agree that leaving this kind of relationship will enable an NT to rediscover themselves and likely find the peace and happiness they had hoped for in their marriage/relationship to an Aspie partner… it doesn’t have to go this way.

      I write this blog (granted.. I have been on a forced-break for WAY TOO LONG), because I know (personally) that the hopelessness you endured is not the ultimate end for all those in such a relationship.

      You are 100% correct that as long as an NT is being a “mommy” and remaining in a relationship where they compromise their own sense of self… that WILL REMAIN THE CONSTANT NORM.

      No amount of crying, no letter-writing, no screaming, begging, threatening, pleading, or compromise is going to awaken insight in their Aspie partner (to their own cognitive-deficit). The reason is that they are not willing or ready to accept that EVERYTHING THEY EVER KNEW TO BE TRUE ABOUT THE WORLD AND THOSE AROUND THEM IS NOT ENTIRELY TRUE! What a horrific reality for anyone to face… no doubt I would have been as defiant as my husband when the information presented itself initially (and for years after).

      We cannot “change” our Aspie partner. That is NOT the goal though. I never wanted to change my husband, I wanted him to treat me well. Yes, I initially wanted him to look through my eyes… something he was cognitively incapable of doing. I did not realize that the first step was to try to alter my own perception of reality and attempt to truly look through his. Upon doing this… I learned a ton. Primarily… I learned how fu#*ing hard this is to do!

      This is not enough.

      Most of the time… the NT has to establish boundaries and stick to them. The first boundary is to clearly identify what behavior is intolerable, unacceptable, and a definitive deal-breaker. It doesn’t matter if the NT partner feels like they are talking to the wall when they vocalize or write down these non-negotiable things.

      Once established… the NT has to be willing to get up and walk out the moment the Aspie partner crosses that line in the sand.

      Upon doing so, they must make their reason clear. That they have established these non-negotiable things and due to the violation of them… they are leaving. This is where most NT women fail. They establish these lines… allow them to be crossed… and then sit back and feel betrayed and emotionally damaged while NOT packing their bags (or his) and saying “GOODBYE!”

      PEOPLE TREAT YOU THE WAY YOU ALLOW THEM TO!

      I may be wrong, but it sounds like (in your case)… by the time you were willing to mark that line in the sand… you were leaving permanently the moment it was crossed.

      There is nothing wrong with this.

      For those who who still have hope…

      When the line in the sand is crossed… (and IT WILL BE)

      Stand by your word, follow through, and be willing to leave for good. But don’t lose hope, and do not call it the end. Take that time to find yourself and strength, talk to your spouse/boyfriend, be honest and be clear about what is acceptable and what is not. Decline to allow them back into your life on a daily basis until they have truly begun to acknowledge that they have unintentionally hurt you (and be willing to listen to and respond to the way you have hurt them).

      Each person will find this part a unique challenge to their own situation and I will write about it more after I get all the back-logged comments posted. There is a hell of a lot that follows this hard decision that I cannot begin to cover in this response.

      I do not agree with running unless you have been left with no other option for your own mental/physical safety. I also do not believe (not even for a split second) that my husband does not love me, or is (was) incapable of showing me that love. My husband (and those with legit AS), have the same emotions we do. The message traffic is jammed up… that is it.

      We all need an equally committed and mature partner and we all deserve it. Those with Aspergers are more than capable of providing this the same as an NT partner. Yeah… there is going to be a learning curve and a hell of a lot of patience on behalf of both partners. This is not going to be easy, but if you have two people who love one another enough to fight through it… it is worth it! When the roads begin to merge, I promise it does not take as long as people think to be traveling down the same path together.

      So, I thank you for your honesty. I thank you for sharing your painful journey, and I also thank you for giving insight into what it feels like to leave an Aspie/NT marriage and feel happy on the other end. While I think this may assist many others to find the strength to leave an otherwise intolerable relationship, I would be remiss if I did not ask you this very important question…

      If you are truly happy now, what brought you to my website?

      I understand this sounds patronizing, and I am not intending to come across this way. After many years of listening to those who told me to “run while you can!” I found myself utterly confused why they were still frequenting websites dedicated to those in the midst of an Aspie/NT union. I was truly conflicted with the messages I was getting vice the inherent knowledge that something seemed off when I read advice from those who “have been there” before. If leaving my Aspie husband was the right thing to do (as so many suggested), why were those who left still emotionally suffering enough to take the time to write on these blogs/websites? It occurred to me (pretty early on), that the emotional pain did not end when an NT left their relationship in search of “peace.” It seems that most still feel conflicted about their choice to leave and still live with an underlying sense of confusion, guilt, and regret that they could not make sense of something that once seemed so good (but ended so badly).

      Again, I understand that you may have left your comment as a means to advocate for those who suffer as you have, with nothing more than the intention to share your experience and advice in the hope of preventing others from enduring unnecessary emotional pain. If that is 100% your reason, again, I thank you. That is admirable and appreciated.

      After believing once that John and I were doomed, that my husband did not and could not love me… and finding myself in the marriage I am today…

      I simply cannot endorse the hopelessness of those who tell us all to run away.

  6. I have had this ‘letter’ pinned to the screen of my iPhone for weeks now because it is the closest I have ever felt to feeling ‘understood’. The thing is I have an autistic step daughter and I have Asperger’s and I work in the field but still nothing prepared me for the empty empty anger that makes my brain feel likes it is bleeding with blunt trauma. Why can’t he get any of this? Of course, I KNOW why but I am so angry with him. He had a hip replacement the other day and I fantasised about him dying and the blissful freedom I would have. I am so bored with trying to explain basic emotional needs. I am so drained with being the ‘strong one’ and yet being told ‘I am weak and fragile and a half wit’. I’m the Asperger’s expert if he wants to hide from responsibility but if I try and explain he is missing something, I apparently know nothing. He can be so loyal and – no, that’s about it – but he does my soul in. It is s marriage bereft of anything really but dependency. Where would he go? Some days I pray he will die. He cannot begin to see how contradictory he is – were he NT, he would be a huge hypocrite – but instead, he’s just a bully and stubborn and possessive. Writing this I feel like stepping in front of a train. He doesn’t mean to harm me but he does just that. Part of me would love him to hit me so I could legit have him removed. My only hope is that I’m ten years younger and probably a bit fitter. I’m losing my children and my sanity. This isn’t life. It is far worse than my previous marriage which was physically abusive. I hate myself for dreaming I could make things ok. Love to you all x

    • Ok, first… your comment is going to make some people uncomfortable… so I am going to get that out of the way. There is a very real truth to wishing someone (or something) else could just magically intervene and make our misery go away. Unfortunately, with the raw emotions and anger that often presents in an Aspie/NT union… we feel so trapped we tend to fantasize about negative means to make this happen (albeit, without “us” actually playing a role, as if to absolve the guilt of thinking such horrific things). I do not think it is abnormal to have these kind of intrusive thoughts that lean on the side of “evil” because we feel so abused we subconsciously deem our partner as evil. There is a sick-twisted sense of justification to our thoughts and they are grounded in real-life experience whereby we feel as though we have been victimized relentlessly.

      The simple fact is this…

      If you are having these thoughts…

      it is time to go.

      You are not in a place where you can rationalize the difference in your brain cognition and your partners at this time. The only way to get back to such a place… where it holds the potential of actually getting through… is if you step away from it altogether.

      I know people don’t like to think this is a viable option because they convince themselves that there are a billion +1 reasons why this will cause a catastrophic upheaval in their daily functioning that equates to their ultimate demise as a human.

      This is not true.

      You are already at your lowest and yet… you are writing on here. This suggests that you still have some degree of hope in your heart that a communication bridge can be built. I believe… correction… I KNOW… that is is possible. Unfortunately, it cannot ever occur until you take a gigantic leap back and work on YOU first. Once you do this, you will be in a far more stable and clear state to try to express what is in your heart and mind without the underlying resentment and anger you currently find yourself in.

      I apologize if this is blunt and seemingly uncaring, but raw truth is the only thing that helps once you find yourself in the dynamic you seem to be in.

      Fact is: you would be devastated if something tragic happened to your partner. You would be guilt-ridden, and it would hurt. You have the strength and human-capacity to function without your loved one and you need to embrace that.

      Feel the fear… and do it anyway.

      When you are hurting this badly, you haven’t much to lose by taking a break to rediscover yourself. We lose ourselves in this Aspie/NT dynamic… both sides. Until we get that back… we are never going to open our mind and heart up enough to bridge the communication gaps.

      Sending all love and support your way.

      • This right here is EVERYTHING….and brilliantly said. You spoke to my sould. Every single word. Truth hurts but denial is even more painful and costly.

  7. Avatar Danielle
    Danielle says:

    I understand and can completely relate. I am there as well. I am trying to hang on until my 14 year old is off to college. I am taking care of my financial end during that time to be secure. Also, since we have only been legally married for 7 years, in my state if I can make it to 9 I can get maximum alimony. A small price I say for all the nights of crying myself to sleep, while he snored or played video games ignoring me. It may sound selfish, cruel or rude to some people the scheme it up for 4 years, but to those people I say,”Buzz off”. I have lived an emotional and sexual isolation for nearly 2 decades. Tell anyone who disagrees to live it and then judge.

  8. Ive just learned my husband has aspergers! I dont know rather to cry , scream or run as fast as i can. We’ve been married 22 years. I knew something just wasnt right but i was determined to stay….why , i dont know…i now have to decide do i put me 1st or him. Its a living hell