First: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being patient with me during my extended break from writing. As many now know, I am a nurse in the United States Navy and spent the last three years working a demanding schedule on the island of Guam. Since I never imagined my blog would reach the number of people it did, I was ill-prepared to keep up with my posts the way I should have (to not leave you all hanging).
I am settled in to my new location and have finally come to a place where my free time is truly my free time… which means I can begin writing again!
Thank you all for your patience and for holding on to hope that I had not vanished because my marriage failed (as some suggested). I was just taking a mental health pause to ensure my home/career foundation was solid before I dug back in to share the insanity and wonderment of my Aspie/NT-e marriage with all of you!
John and I are still going strong and I am still very in love with my Aspie husband. I am still 100% optimistic and motivated to share every bit of positive insight I can with those who care to read. Our world is not now, nor will it ever be, sunshine and roses… we struggle in the same ways neurotypical couples do and we struggle daily to maintain and extend our bridge of communication. While our NT-e/Aspie union is unique to couples like us, we are also unique in the sense that we are both committed to the personal changes required to live a happy life with one another. Some days are awesome and some days suck royally! I will share it all with you… so get ready for some extended reading because I have a ton of posts that just need a bit of editing before they get put up!
I continue to be humbled by your support, your willingness to share your own deeply personal struggles and successes, and your desire to learn everything you can to understand your spouse, self, and our society better!
I have to address the elephant in the living room first…
While I anticipate some rapid-fire posts in the next few months, I have got to address a pressing topic that is refusing to vacate my mind (until I publicly acknowledge it with all of you). The elephant I speak of is our new president and the fact that the whole stinkin’ nation is suffering from a mental-chaos we NT-e wives know all too well!
Has the world gone mad?
Nope… they’re just experiencing the Cassandra Phenomenon!
A while back I put this post up suggesting that President Trump had undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. Being an active service member, I felt exceedingly uncomfortable writing about my Commander in Chief in a manner by which others could misinterpret as negative. Since this presidency has caused such an emotional response, I felt intimidated that my words could be twisted, or that some might misunderstand my motives for writing about Mr. Trump. Being that I respect those appointed over me with the highest regard, I was fearful that I could be overstepping my professional obligation to my Chain of Command by sharing my personal beliefs, so I took the post down.
For nearly five months, I waged an unnecessary battle in my mind over this topic imagining the worst possible responses and repercussions for sharing my thoughts. The longer I delayed my desire to point out the obvious, the more frustrated I became with the hysterical rhetoric all around me. As mentioned, I am not a politically outspoken individual and I never have been. I have a professional obligation to never allow personal views to conflict with my military duties and the oath I swore to live by; for this reason, I have always exercised great caution in putting my political opinions out on display. Being that I am also highly opinionated and inherently outspoken in every other aspect of my waking days… I historically found great success in limiting my exposure to the propaganda and “news” found on social media and other outlets. This tactic worked flawlessly for nearly 15 years of military service…
This tactic is impossible to implement now that the whole nation has lost their damn mind!
From day #1 of the presidential campaign, I have looked at Mr. Trump and thought… “Well he is obviously an undiagnosed Aspie!”
As time progressed, I found it really odd that no one else was talking about this seemingly obvious rationale for why he says some of the “inappropriate” things he does. I could not wrap my head around why no one was identifying why he appeared so focused on trivial things to the exclusion of things deemed socially important. Why didn’t everyone else realize that he was chronically lobbying for social acceptance even though his behaviors and words were having an opposing (alienating) outcome… an outcome he always seemed dumbfounded to come upon. It was beyond apparent to me why Mr. Trump continuously acted out in a defiant and aggressive manner the moment he suspected his character was under attack and it was remarkably familiar to watch him preemptively lash out in defense the moment he perceived a potential threat on the horizon. It was also (almost) comical to me that he was in the running with my husband for the world’s WORST “liar.”
I could not comprehend why people kept referring to him as a sociopath when I was watching a man who clearly did not notice how and why his words were continuously being perceived as malicious and negative. Every time I heard him contradict himself or repeat the same points ad nauseam without picking up on the shit-storm they elicited from the press… I just thought to myself; “Well, duh! That’s what happens when you are blind to cognitive empathy!” All of the unnatural facial expressions, the off-beat tone and pitch by which he spoke, the juvenile-seeming words he chose, the missteps in body language cues, the filter-less verbalization of internal dialog, and every other social faux pas he exhibited… all made for easy box-checking under the list of undiagnosed adult male Aspie behaviors… but no one else appeared to be privy to the same list of common sense explanations I was. The more time progressed, the clearer the explanation became in my mind. The clearer it became for myself, the more distorted it was becoming for those around me until eventually the general consensus was that our 45th president was a narcissistic sociopath hell-bent on destroying the country!
The saddest part of this entirely paranoid (and incorrect) conclusion about President Trump was that it was promulgated by the very people who should have been educating the masses on the exact opposite. I watched countless mental health professionals diagnose Mr. Trump (on air) with personality disorders and miss the very obvious diagnosis he unquestionably warrants (in my mind).
The most ironic part of this hostile character assassination of the president is that the people demonstratively shouting that he lacks empathy are the very members of society who claim to be the most empathetic! While I do not agree with the financially motivated bullshit diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (I will refrain from going off on this rant), society has accepted this spectrum to include those with Asperger’s syndrome. In a disturbing twist of justice and acceptance, the masses (who passionately hate President Trump) are too blinded by their own self-righteousness to see they are literally “shaming” and bullying a member of our society who, by current diagnostic criteria, has AUTISM!
If that is not irony, I don’t know what is!
I keep wondering what would happen if President Trump received an official diagnosis of ASD. Would those that hate him suddenly shift and regret their incessant attempts to bash him as a human? In my heart, I know they would never accept such a simple explanation because it does not fit in with the narrative that has been created and it most definitely does not fit in with the misunderstandings society has about Asperger’s syndrome (or ASD) in general!
The Defiant Aspie Husband
Struggling to see my perspective on this topic?
Not all adult men with undiagnosed Aspergers are defiant or aggressive in nature. I think at this point, most of the readers who spend time on this website are either Aspies themselves (accused of behaving this way), or NT-e’s who are struggling to function in a relationship with a spouse who comes across as such. As stereotypes go, the more docile and meek an adult Aspie (undiagnosed), the less likely they are to marry an emotionally-charged NT-e. So… for the sake of my readers who predominantly fall into the above mentioned dynamic… I have some pressing questions for you. If you are having trouble considering my conclusions about a man who has inadvertently created mass hysteria in our country, let me ask you this:
What would happen if you took your defiant Aspie husband and allowed him to be raised with financial power and privilege? What if your husband grew up in a world that did not make sense to him, felt alienated by society overall, could not understand why his best efforts still left people criticizing his character and assigning fault and malicious intention where he innocently never intended it to exist? What if you gave your husband great wealth and surrounded him with people who were too intimidated by his “power” that they never put him in check, rarely disagreed with him, appeased his socially-unacceptable behaviors, or (worse), praised him for being successful without any degree of critique for how he acted in the process of obtaining each success? What if he learned (like my husband did), that the louder, blunter, or more aggressive he became with those he did not understand… the faster he could silence their disapproval or make their incomprehensible and confusing emotional dialog disappear?
What would you be left with if your husband had been raised in that kind of environment?
Would he look a little like President Trump?
I know I cannot make sense of this to the general public… but I have a sneaking suspicion that those NT-e wives out their who reside with a defiant Aspie husband; those who know the devastation of experiencing the Cassandra Phenomenon first hand… I believe you may be able to see the same thing I am. I also believe that if you really stop to consider why the media and society has responded to President Trump the way they have, you will quickly realize they are enduring the Cassandra Phenomenon themselves! How’s that for a bizarre twist in the Aspie/NT-e dynamic no one else could ever comprehend?
To those who still find my simple explanation for our President’s demeanor too forgiving and cannot let go of the idea that he is a narcissistic sociopath:
Do you really think Mr. Trump is a skilled manipulator? Sociopaths are. Remember, those with Antisocial Personality Disorder have exceptional cognitive empathy (but zero emotional/affective empathy). These people are tuned in to how a person is feeling based on the non-verbal dialog taking place (they just don’t care). It is this intuitive ability to read nonverbal language that enables those with APD to manipulate a person and play on their emotions and empathy to get what they want out of them.
Does the president appear to be playing a game of chess with the public, appeasing to their empathetic nature in a manipulative manner? Or, does the president appear to be shooting from the hip every time he opens his mouth or posts another tweet that seems to be anything BUT well-thought out?
Does the president appear to be a socially-skilled and articulate man who commands attention and a desire to please? Or, does he appear to be so socially awkward he misses the simplest cue to shake someone’s hand appropriately or even follow the basic rhythm of socially acceptable dialog?
Does the president seem to take pleasure in the pain his behavior causes? Or, does he seem completely oblivious that he bears any responsibility in causing anyone else’s personal distress? Does he respond in a cold manner towards humanity by carrying out cruel acts? Or, does he spout off seemingly callous words and then lack the follow through once he identifies the actual human repercussion his suggested actions might pose on real people?
If you’re tracking right now, you may be noticing that this narcissistic sociopath is anything but a smooth manipulator and a whole lot closer to a man who is blind to cognitive empathy but also lacks the boundaries those like him have in their immediate environment.
Are you considering that maybe he does have emotional empathy but lacks the ability to implement it… simply because he is chronically missing the cognitive empathy/nonverbal messages required for a person to identify when a situation calls for it?
Look at our First Lady. Look at Mr. Trumps family. Do you really believe this man is an evil narcissist, or do you think maybe his friends and family know a side of him that we are not seeing, a side that elicits the words they have shared to defend him as a good man?
Please tell me I am not THE ONLY PERSON who VERY CLEARLY sees that our new Commander in Chief is an Aspie?!?!?
Just because I think President Trump is an undiagnosed Aspie does not mean I automatically like, approve of, agree with, or want to defend him as a person (nor am I denying that I do). There are no cookie-cutter individuals with Asperger’s syndrome, just as there are not definitive criteria for deeming someone a neurotypical. There are phenomenal Aspies out there and there are real crappy ones.
While no two people are alike, there are defining characteristics that are overwhelmingly present for those with Asperger’s syndrome; particularly adult men who have never been diagnosed. From my perspective, President Trump possesses all of these defining characteristics. These characteristics have been and continue to be so apparent to me that I am chronically disappointed no one else is pointing them out in lieu of demonizing him each day. In a sad way, I see constant similarities between my husband and Mr. Trump. I find this sad because I feel empathy for him each time he seems to miss social-norms and I listen to the cruel backlash the media spews at him without missing a beat. The more immature and mean-spirited the media becomes, the more I think about my husband and other adult men with undiagnosed/diagnosed Aspergers and how unfairly judged they have been throughout their lives. I think about how I know what a good man my husband is despite being able to see how others miss this truth when he behaves in socially inappropriate ways or says things without considering how others might perceive his words.
Yes, it does sadden me to think about how cruel our society is towards President Trump and while I can also understand how his behavior often triggers such responses… I am disappointed in how quickly the masses jump on the negative bandwagon and launch attacks on his character without pausing to consider any other perspective. Sometimes I see Mr. Trump come under attack for innocent missteps (and I will submit that not all are)… but when I put those behaviors in the context of an individual living with the struggle of AS, my heart breaks a little for his/their pain.
If I am correct about President Trump having undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome, then we are all witnessing the completely disgusting way that our Aspie partner has been treated in his life on a grand scale. Since I have held this belief from the start of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, I have grown tired of the mean-spirited way society has behaved and I am growing more offended each day that we reside with such ignorance… not just from the general public, but from the mental health professionals out there who should have picked up on this by now!
I just cannot make sense of the professional ignorance
How are the mental health professionals and Autism advocates missing this poignant representation of how ASD may present itself in an older adult and at least considering this to be true of President Trump?
Don’t these mental health professionals (deeming him a sociopath) even realize the degree of skill a true sociopath has to manipulate people? Since this man has proven to show success in business, he is educated and intelligent enough to prove if he were a sociopath… he would never say the random, blunt, and often inappropriate things he does. If he was so narcissistic… don’t you think he would be the last person vehemently arguing and defending his character against anyone who he perceives as a hostile threat to his sense of self? If he was not lacking cognitive empathy, wouldn’t he be able to tell how his own facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice was being perceived by those around him? If he had cognitive empathy, wouldn’t he prevent himself from coming across this way to others who oppose him so he could get the upper hand on the people he is “trying to control”?
All I see is an undiagnosed adult Aspie who is still preoccupied with wanting to prove he is a good man and bitterly and heart-brokenly devastated that some people question that… to the point that he acts out in a childish, hostile, and defensive attack mode against anyone he perceives as a threat. Doesn’t this sound familiar to any of the NT-e wives out there? I see insecurity and fear; I see a lack of comprehension for “why” people are unfairly judging him. I see an absence of comprehension for what words/comments/suggestions he lets out causing the backlash they do. I see a man who is accustomed to being criticized for things he does not understand to the point he no longer tries to apologize and has learned to just aggressively stand his ground regardless of how trivial an issue or simple it would be to try to make “nice” with others… because he never learned (or had to learn) how to accomplish this juvenile conflict-resolution skill.
Please tell me what you are seeing… for your opinion truly does matter to me.
I do not see a skilled manipulator and I do not see an evil man.
Now, I have mentioned before that both Putan and Hitler have been “unofficially” thought to have / have had Asperger’s syndrome by some leading experts in the field. Obviously, having Asperger’s alone would not negate the potential for having a comorbid (coexisting) personality defect and I certainly question if Hitler was just an evil sociopath undeserving of an Aspie title. With that being said, I do think there are so many men walking around among us with undiagnosed AS. If I am correct that there is a very large population of adults out there just like my husband or Mr. Trump… it stands to reason that many of his supporters also find it hard to grasp why so many are making a big deal out of things they are also not seeing in his behavior, right?
I watch his facial expressions and they remind me of how my own husband looks in the mirror and seems to be “practicing” how to make his facial expressions come across in a good way. Sometimes my husband says the most inappropriate things… sometimes he even makes racist comments or spews out seemingly insensitive things about women and other cultures or generalizes people into lumped categories. Whenever I give him a hard time about it, I become aware that he is either joking (and his words did not appear as such), or he is making blanket comments that popped into his head and then sharing them out loud before he has a moment to consider how they may be perceived. 99% of the time, my husband and I agree on political and social issues despite the initial appearance (via his blunt and offensive comments) and it takes a serious discussion to realize he doesn’t actually believe or think the silly things that spew out of his mouth unintentionally. Aspies don’t always comprehend the balance associated with making politically incorrect jokes and/or when they go a little too far because they fail to pick up on the nonverbal language that tells them they are making someone uncomfortable or offending them.
Sometimes I think about the inappropriate thoughts I have that are fleeting and not actually how I perceive individuals. I often think to myself, “Damn man, if the random thoughts I have were said out loud… people would hate me!”
People don’t generally hate me because I was raised with exceptionally keen cognitive empathy skills and have learned the art of tact.
But consider an Aspie who never learned this degree of tact, a person in the public eye who has been raised with enough privilege to say whatever is on his mind without the backlash a typical person might get (because they have wealth and power to prevent those from combating him openly). Consider if this man never learned to shut his mouth and think about the things he truly felt vice the random fleeting thoughts he had in his mind… before they came out as audible sounds.
Maybe Mr. Trump is not as scary as some might think. I mean… if every political leader just said what they were thinking without implementing tact and utilizing cognitive empathy…. I bet they would seem a WHOLE LOT WORSE than Mr. Trump does.
If every bad thought he has makes its way out of his mouth (and it unfortunately appears to a lot)… at least we know where he stands even with his innermost evil human thought processes. Again, we are human and we all possess such thought processes intermittently, we were just lucky in our youth and learned (via cognitive empathy), how to appropriately keep these things to ourselves. All of this easily explains why President Trump says stupid, rude, insensitive things and then goes back and denies saying them. Not because he didn’t say them… but because he didn’t think before he spoke and doesn’t “really” think those bad things. To him, they were just words and not what he actually “felt” or “believed” and without cognitive empathy… he would just assume that everyone else should have enough sense to know this about him.
Just like you and I might have an instinctual response to the bred-in racism/sexism/ageism/every-other-ism from time to time and then get upset with ourselves for thinking such things (because we don’t actually believe them in our core), the president appears to do this as well. The difference is… we have an internal dialog that tells us to not allow those thoughts to invade our beliefs about humans and we are able to internally work out why we would allow societal prejudices to invade our minds when we don’t actually believe in them. It is very apparent (to me) that President Trump… well… his internal dialog is broken because he grew up without cognitive empathy.
Now that the elephant is out and I have beat the horse to death…
I do hold out the right to not share my opinion of what an undiagnosed Aspie in such an important position means for our future as a nation… because such unfiltered words can instigate unnecessary hate and negativity…. (as if you haven’t already realized this).
I do hope our President will make rational and logical choices when push comes to shove and that he has the presidential insight we are not privy to. I do pray someone else recognizes he has a cognitive empathy deficit and is able to stand by his side to mitigate some of the things he says in the future to prevent unnecessary conflict that (I do believe) he wants to avoid as the President of our great nation.
It is a great nation still. Just because we are seeing the ugly side of ignorance (from whichever perspective you hold), does not mean this is hopeless or we should cease to consider alternate perspectives.
What if I am right?
What if this is our chance to be vocal and to be true advocates? What if the most prominent figure in our society has Asperger’s syndrome and we are the only ones to bring this to light? What if this is our opportunity to actually educate the world about a diagnosis so prevalent, yet so unacknowledged… to help people understand how it truly presents itself? What if we had the power to start shifting the way we judge people and better the lives of those with AS (and those who love them)?
Work with me on this guys… think about what I am saying. I cannot imagine that an NT-e wife married to an adult Aspie man is not seeing familiar behavior patterns that don’t at least cause you to pause and consider it. If President Trump is an Aspie, then we have an incredible opportunity to begin educating society on something the mental health professionals dropped the ball on long ago.