Love is blind & You’re defective
As I have shared in my previous posts about how we came to be, you know that John and I did not simply run into one another at a random Starbucks by chance. We met under very unique circumstances that may not be so unique if we were to survey NT/Aspie couples in existence today.
If you have read the highly regarded book, The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband(Finch, 2012), you will see that David Finch and his wife Kristen also came together after she had suffered a devastating loss when the man she loved died suddenly. I do not think it is coincidence that they share a similar foundation to myself and John, as it seems those occurrences in life create a perfect breeding ground for an NT woman to fall for an Aspie partner.
Most outsiders look at the online venting of an NT woman and feel justified pointing out that “they knew what they were getting into” when they moved in with, had children with, or married their Aspie partner and should therefore stop complaining or whining. These same snarky “do-gooders” who troll the internet to comment on a subject they know nothing about, are always quick to point out that it is the obnoxious ramblings of these NT women who give Asperger adults a bad rap. They proclaim that these desperate and exhausted women are the obvious problem and that it is clearly their doing that creates an unhappy marriage, especially since it unarguably began so well.
What these ignorant people (be them angry trollers or Aspies themselves) do not understand is how these relationships usually develop in the first place. If this was addressed by professionals more, or the NT spouse could articulate why they are searching, writing, or commenting on articles and posts with such passion; perhaps the “slanderous comments” about adults with Aspergers could be avoided and true progress made.
There is a reason NT women feel so inundated with frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, confusion, and feelings of betrayal months, or even years after entering into a relationship with an Aspie mate. The very qualities that made him seem so perfect for the NT woman initially, become the light bulb that illuminates to tell her something is terribly wrong months or years later.
It has ZERO do with this woman being blind or consciously ignoring the warning signs or true character of her chosen partner in the beginning; it has EVERYTHING to do with the dynamic between two defective individuals on polar opposite ends of the empathy continuum and the misinterpretations of reality that originally exists because of this.
I know that everyone loves being referred to as “defective” especially those with Aspergers who have been attempting to fight the general feeling that people view them in this light their entire lives. I consciously utilize this term and will continue to do so throughout my posts in the future to highlight exactly what “defective” means to the rest of the world and why it is not a bad thing to be defective against society’s norm all the time.
The general definition of defective is: Falling below the norm in structure or in mental and physical form; imperfect in form or function. I think we can all agree that Aspies fall below the norm in regard to empathetic function (if you disagree you will probably want to leave my blog altogether now). Has anyone stopped to consider that an NT-e (See: HAM TERMS) also falls into the defective category since their excessive use of empathetic function is imperfect in the way it adversely affects their lives? I think defective can rapidly equate to “broken” if it is not understood and embraced. Right now, many NT-e and Aspie couples are broken and therefore their defect is negative. Repairing the break ultimately alters the meaning of the term and the impact it will have on our marriages.
John is an incredibly brilliant man (as I will repeatedly say) and one of the things he has always managed to entertain and amuse me with are his random facts about defective things and the financial reward one can reap by recognizing them. Huh? John looks at coins. He got me looking at coins. The most valuable pieces a collector seeks are often ones that have a defect in them, coins especially. There are coins with defective mint marks or stampings that are worth millions of dollars. There are a ton of defective products out there that would be disregarded or disposed of by the average person that a collector would be overjoyed to own because they are so profoundly valuable.
Malaria has been a longstanding killer of children worldwide for many decades. The same genetic defect that causes sickle-cell disease in certain populations including those who simply carry the trait, has also provided a natural immunity to malaria, saving countless lives in malaria-stricken parts of the world. An excessive buildup of cholesterol in blood vessels kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. There exists individuals who are lacking working copies of a gene known as PCSK9 (a genetic defect) who are absolutely immune to the adverse effect the over consumption of cholesterol would cause in a “normal” person. Some people have a genetic defect that disables their copies of the CCR5 protein making them entirely resistant to developing HIV. Indigenous Siberians have a genetic defect that makes their basal metabolic rate 50% higher than the “norm” as well as fewer sweat glands on their body (and more on their face) enabling them to comfortably exist in sub-zero temperature climates that would rapidly kill the “normal” population of the world. Some people have a mutated DEC2 gene that allows them to gain more intense REM sleep states than the “norm.” This defect enables them to thrive with minimal amounts of sleep that would render the “normal” person useless and so cognitively impaired they would be unable to complete even the simplest task requiring coordinated motor function.
So you tell me, does “defective” always mean “bad”?
Going back to how an NT and Aspie come to co-exist and gravitate toward one another when logic suggests they should be inclined to do the opposite… it is important to look at the initial state of mind of the NT partner. Again, consider first that most women who marry a man with undiagnosed Aspergers are defective with their excessive amount of empathetic functioning.
There frequently exists a history of intense grief in the NT woman’s past prior to meeting her Aspie mate. It is not until the NT partner’s grief truly begins to subside (which could be years) that she will find herself looking at the man she now shares a bed with and wondering, “Who the f**k is this guy?!?” or “What was I thinking?!?!?”
I think this can be said of women who have been in abusive relationships prior to meeting their Aspie husband as well. There is something about the extremely-empathetic NT after suffering a trauma through death, abuse, or abandonment that makes her acutely vulnerable to her own emotions and in danger of emotional collapse (or so she thinks).
It is the absence of empathy and emotionally charged behaviors that causes her to gravitate toward her Aspie partner. It is not that she is aware he is devoid of the cognitive processing paramount in her life (for I assure you, she is not) it is that he seems to “be keeping it together” and putting things in a rational perspective for her while she is struggling to function from day to day.
For the Aspie partner, finding a woman who is not coming at him with flurries of emotionally-charged chatter every second (that he cannot process and will do anything to avoid) feels like a godsend. He is able to utilize the small bits of affective/emotional empathy he does possess with her because the cognitive empathy he lacks is not a huge factor in the beginning.
The NT has no reason to doubt anything and (being an NT-e) is likely able to pick up on the small bits of emotional empathy he shows, so no alarm bells sound. She is in a fragile state of mind, and he becomes the glue keeping her together.
This makes her feel grounded and safe.
A woman in this state of mind (which again, can last many years) is often subconsciously seeking that Yin of opposing forces to stabilize her Yang. The last thing she can withstand is someone dumping more emotional baggage on her. Without realizing it, she decides that this man is the very thing she so desperately needs in her life.
I have noticed a familiarity in the women similar to myself who initially say their Aspie partner was funny and made them laugh, and that his sense of humor was particularly needed by her at the time she met him (something the text books want you to think Aspies lack). These women also cite his childlike innocence and profound intelligence as major draws to him when the relationship first began. Dr. Attwood pays mention to this in his book, The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome (Attwood, 2007), whereby he points out very appropriately why an NT woman would initially choose her Aspie mate. He also speaks of an often overlooked quality that the majority of Aspie men have that mistakenly causes an NT women to perceive him as an ideal companion: limited past relationships. NT women see this as an endearing and positive attribute that causes a misperception of a kind and gentle man who will not use or mistreat her. Considering there is a high likelihood the NT woman is vulnerable, be it from a loss or having been in an emotionally or physically abusive previous relationship, there could not be a more “perfect” quality to display to her than a man who is the opposite of a womanizer. Because Aspie men do not communicate on the same frequency as an NT woman, nor do they view the world through the same eyes, the NT woman also begins to see his apparent “difference” in behavior as mysterious.
At this point, the NT woman has found herself drawn to a man who is gentle, humorous, intelligent, innocent, and intriguing. He has chosen to give her his time and attention when he had obviously not found many other women worthy of this in his past… this makes her feel particularly important and special. It will later be discovered that maybe he was not “withholding” himself from other females prior to meeting her, perhaps he was not “hiding” his profound emotions waiting for trust to develop before he opened up, and he might not be the gentle giant she first perceived afterall.
The man she fell in love with has Asperger’s Syndrome. The emotional collapse she was seeking to avoid by choosing him will suddenly become the reason she can no longer stomach loving him.
…Let the internet searches begin…
LET’S TALK DEFECTIVE…
An Asperger husband is defective
He lacks the cognitive ability to put himself in another person’s shoes the way others can, has little to no self-awareness, and is unable to tap into the important and necessary executive functioning of Theory of Mind (ToM). Although the majority of the population has this ability, there are varying levels of how pronounced ToM (or empathy) is in their lives and interpersonal relationships. For the Asperger man ToM appears to be completely and utterly non-existent and therefore… a defect.
You (the NT partner) are equally defective
Most individuals have the ability to be empathetic toward others and fall somewhere in the middle of the empathy-continuum. An average NT possess Theory of Mind functioning skills, but it does not cause notable amounts of chaos in their everyday existence.
The NT woman who marries an Aspie man… more often than not falls on the extreme end of the empathy continuum and possesses such an acute level of self-awareness, they unintentionally tap into their use of Theory of Mind more than they can emotionally withstand. For these individuals, empathy becomes the root cause of life choices that they retrospectively identify as mistakes. Their extreme empathetic ability is an equal defect to that of their Aspie partner’s absent one. These women are “NT-e.”
It is important to identify who I am typically referring to in my posts and understand that I am predominantly discussing NT-e’s and Aspies… the two defective subgroups in society who do not realize how defective and disabled they are until they attempt to coexist.
This does not have to be disabling.
It is often suggested that the more empathetic an individual, the more deserving they are of being regarded as superior members of society. By this account, the NT-e members of our world are profoundly more important than the Aspies, right?
It is also suggested that some of the most significant persons of all time who changed the world with their brilliance… were completely lacking in ToM abilities. So then the Aspies are more important in the grand scheme of things then?
Let me clarify by using an article published by TIME magazine called, Who’s Biggest: The 100 Most Significant Figures in History (Skiena & Ward, 2013). In this article, the contributors utilized notable means of breaking down who the western world considers to be the most substantial people of all time by using varying methods to extract data throughout history to compile a list of names (an interesting read).
Even if you are unaware of the personal accomplishments of each individual or disagree, the majority of names that comprise the whole will be familiar to you and you will be able to immediately pick out some NT-e and Aspie suspects throughout our history. This list is obviously not the only one of its kind and if you glance at others you will see names like Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Florence Nightingale, Oprah Winfrey, Harriett Beecher Stowe, and “the” Dalai Lama being offered up as historical examples of NT-e people who changed the world with their empathetic influence. It is not a challenge to find equal lists of this kind with names like Thomas Jefferson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates being named as suspected Aspies who profoundly altered our world in positive ways (of note that there are few women in history on this list).
What Does This Mean?
Jesus was the ultimate empathetic leader and advocated for peace, forgiveness, and following the word of God according to Christian historical accounts.
Mohammed was the most compassionate leader and prophet who advocated for peace, forgiveness, and following the word of Allah according to Islamic historical accounts.
Mother Teresa’s missionary work saved the lives and mental health of the impoverished and abused across 25 countries by the time she died in 1997. She dedicated her life and soul to altruistic acts for humanity in lieu of herself.
The list goes on and on…
It is in thanks to the highly empathetic leaders in our past that I can appreciate the world we live in today and believe in a better tomorrow. Awesome!
Thinking of all the love harnessed from such amazing spiritual guides makes me feel hopeful for our future as a civilization. Makes me happy to be one of the defective few with extreme empathy.
Feels like driving in my truck down an open highway on a windy and sunny day toward a vacation I have longed for my whole life!
Stop the truck.
If I am correct (after hours of attempting to accumulate accurate statistical data… which I concede may be entirely flawed) there have been over 15-35 million deaths in the name of Christianity and 2-19 million lives abolished in the name of Islam since the turn of the century?
Didn’t Mother Teresa vehemently condemn abortion and contraception? Haven’t over 47,000 women died this year alone from trying to have an abortion under unsafe conditions in areas where the majority condemn the practice? Aren’t Anti-Abortion extremists a top threat to national security right now in the United States? Didn’t we recently discover that over 3,000 Catholic priests have been accused of raping children (between the age of 3 and 14) over the last 50 years?!? Oh dear “God” something feels misaligned here…
So Empathetic leaders have not ultimately paved the way toward a compassionate and peaceful society?
Reverse the truck, let’s try a different route….
Asperger’s Syndrome was here for only a short moment in time before it was whisked away into oblivion and lumped into Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is not unreasonable with the limited time frame existing to give an official diagnosis that a professional on the subject matter could look at historical figures and posthumously agree upon which ones likely had AS. In review of who the subject-matter-experts now believe warranted the diagnosis of Aspergers, we come upon some of the most prolific individuals in all of history.
Tesla for example; imagine the millions of lives that would not exist today without the use of light (that he enabled harnessing and distribution of), or the use of modern X-rays, robotics, and lasers in health care (among so many other contributions to society he made). Imagine our world without the brilliance of Henry Ford or Bill Gates.
Seriously, just try for a moment.
Humanity has been connected, hardships realized, and empathy thrown into full view to acknowledge and respond to… all because of the unity created by innovators like these men. We have answers and assistance at our fingertips; a telephone call, internet search, car, plane, train, or boat ride away… and we have Aspies to thank for this!
Ok, great! I feel better now. Cruising along on my new path toward serenity knowing that Aspies rock and have truly made our world what it is today!
HITLER WAS A FU**ING ASPIE!!!
Over 11 million….ELEVEN MILLION people were HORRIFICALLY MURDERED under the direction of ONE MAN believed to have Asperger’s syndrome!! (I don’t like it either, but the Aspie-experts all seem to agree on this).
I am out of the truck on my knees in nausea trying to figure out where the good people are in this world that I am supposed to look toward for direction!
This road trip is over.
Time to focus on what really matters in lieu of the overwhelming big picture
You can spin yourself in a million directions trying to make sense of how you came to live with a man who can often make you feel so horrible… that you could not possibly be more different from. You can go back and forth trying to make sense in your head of whether or not you are the better human compared to your husband, or which one of you has the “right” perception of reality. You can continue to fall down these rabbit holes (like I just purposely took you down) as I have so many times, or you can accept the simplicity of it all.
There are three types of people in this world (excluding severe mental/developmental health diagnoses and disorders):
- Extremely Empathetic people (NT-e)
- Zero-Empathy people (Aspies) or (Psychopaths) <—not AND/or… OR (Aspies are NOT psychopaths!)
- Those who fall somewhere in between
Being in the middle of the continuum would be ideal. It would feel amazing to just “be normal” for once, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that what you want? Don’t you think that’s what your husband wants?
You are not normal & neither
is your Aspie husband
Although I understand how you came to be, and how I came to be with John, I still struggle to make sense of it. I still struggle every day to come up with one good reason why our magnetically opposing lives make sense together.
I do not have the answer just yet, but I believe it is something more than chance that leads us here (for those that have stayed after fully comprehending what we are up against). I believe it lies somewhere in the reality of who we are individually.
We were not born normal, we were both born defective by all of societal norms.
There is no legitimate argument anyone can make for why an Aspie is better than an NT-e as a whole, or vice versa. However, one argument I will unequivocally attest to (fight me if you want) is this…
If you go in search of ANY compilation of human beings in history who have dramatically changed the world with their individual accomplishments
Good or Bad…
You are going to find an Aspie or NT-e.
I AM SORRY THAT YOU ARE NOT NORMAL.
ONLY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER IF THIS DEFECT MAKES YOU STUPID!
IT IS TIME TO DECIDE…
IS YOUR DEFECT A
When you can answer this…