I’m not sure why I didn’t see it? I’m a carer for my husband who’s had a nervous breakdown and my four children who all suffer with Dyslexia and Aspergers syndrome and for years I’ve just muddled through on what seems like an eternal treadmill.
I was talking to my primary care worker on Thursday and suddenly it hit me like a brick!
After an exhausting day repairing my vehicle, (Drive belt, petrol filter, oil filter and oil change) because I have no money to take it to a mechanic, I came in from under the car and informed my husband I had hurt my back trying to disengage the belt tensioner. I have degenerative disc disease and struggle with arthritis, but I do my best.
I asked my son to run me a bath and he also fetched me some pain killers and a hot water bottle for my back once I’d bathed. I was completely exhausted and in agony, but managed to drift off to sleep on the settee once the painkillers had taken affect. I’d been asleep no more than 20 mins when my husband woke me, to ask what I was going to cook for dinner!
I absolutely hit the roof. If I’d been physically able I would have jumped off that settee and decked him. (I’m not a violent individual incidentally and have never hit my husband before, but fortunately for him, he was well out of range.)
Earlier; before getting under the car, I had stupidly made the suggestion that we might cook together that evening, why could he not have seen that those plans had now changed, due to my injury?
My husband has frequently come across as selfish and thoughtless and I’ve struggled over the years to help him understand how insensitive his comments can be and cold hearted he comes across. Trying to get compassion or understanding out of him, has been like trying to get blood out of a stone.
As I lay and explained my predicament to him it was clear he just couldn’t grasp what was wrong. He’s more than capable of cooking, but all he kept saying is the kids want to know when dinner is and what we are cooking for them. I burst into tears and subsequently an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness descended over me.
I’m exhausted mentally and physically, mainly because I do it all! No respite, little support. I’m the sole carer for them all and it falls at my feet to meet their needs 24/7.
As I sat last Thursday with the care worker and explained my utter contempt and frustration over the situation that had occurred with my husband, she said, ‘You do know that people with Aspergers can’t read social situations or deal well with changes to plans, don’t you?’
What an Idiot I felt!
And frankly ashamed of myself!
It’s been staring me in the face and I haven’t acknowledged it! Why have I been in such denial? After all, where did I think my children had inherited their condition from?
The lack of compassion, understanding and selfish behaviour, the seemingly rude or inappropriate comments, the failure to be able to plan or organize himself or others, his inability to be able to budget or handle money, to manage time, the emotional and verbal abuse he vents toward me and others, the drifting off into his own world, the talking to himself, the emotional outbursts when he becomes overwhelmed, the inability to be able to communicate clearly or deal with change and his auditory processing problems. All characteristics my children display as part of their condition, so why didn’t I see it in him?
I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, but I feel such a fool!
For years I have lived in a bubble of just existing, but how could I have been so blind?
I’m torn apart with emotions just now.
On the one hand, I’m relieved that I understand that my husband’s behaviour toward me is not just born of some malicious hatred, but more likely because of a neurological deficit he has no control over.
On the other hand, I feel a deep sense of guilt because it shouldn’t even have crossed my mind to consider hitting my husband. After all I don’t hit my children and they have the condition! Also if I’d allowed myself to see the situation, perhaps I could have got him some support in the same way I‘ve helped the children.
Another part of me is deeply bereft. The clear realization that the love, support and affection I’ve held out hope for, is never likely to materialize, has left me completely devastated.
The fact remains that I’ve felt isolated, alone and deeply unhappy for some time. I’m so starved of human interaction I feel I’m becoming a social leper myself and I’m clearly incapable of seeing what is staring me in the face! I just exist to my family. I’m just there. I just do.
Just a Mum, Wife, Carer, Cleaner, Cook, Mechanic, PA.
I hadn’t spoken to him about it for fear of an outburst from him, but over the weekend he came to me and said; out of the blue, “I think I may have Aspergers.” When I asked him how he’d come to that realization, he said, “I’ve been reading that book you bought to help with our son’s behaviour and I can see I have most of the traits.” This revelation rocked me somewhat and I remember thinking for a moment, ‘Is this a turning point for him, Is there hope?’
I suggested he talk with his Councillor about it and the possibility of being assessed for the condition, which he did, but she suggested that it may cause him further mental anguish if he were to discover he had it. So he’s abandoned the idea.
I’ve asked for help from the GP and the nurse practitioner in the past and explained that something was not right with my husband’s behaviour, but I’ve always been made to feel like I’m wasting their time. He was tested some years back for dementia because of his inappropriate and sometimes overtly sexual comments to people, but obviously that was eliminated as the cause. Embarrassed by the realization that this behaviour was not normal, he announced to the practitioner that he did it deliberately to shock people.
His resistance to help or acceptance of his situation has compounds things over the years and ultimately this led to his nervous breakdown, however, I can only think that this ‘head in the sand’ method of dealing with his condition is making things worse for him and others.
So where do I go from here?