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AIBU

husband: total lack of empathy.

(74 Posts)
52bright Sun 17-Mar-19 13:32:40

Sometimes I despair. About to leave for church this morning when my lovely Sister in Law rang. Haven't had many chats since my DB died earlier in the year she seemed to need space so was really pleased she seemed to want a chat.

Now under circumstances like that it would hardly be the end of the world to have arrived late. We are a small congregation who all know each other and plenty of times people have slipped in at the back for lesser reasons than that ...no problem..

But I was reminded of the time so often I felt so annoyed with him by the time we arrived ...only 5 minutes late ...not in the frame of mind for worship at all.

Now my husband has a thing about always doing things at the same time on same day. Time keeping essential. We have recently came to the conclusion that he has undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrom. (aged 67 ...no diagnoses of this in those days and was sent away to a state boarding school because of 'failure to thrive' in big family.) Has always held down a job, has several hobbies ext ext but always been a bit 'quirky'. I have understood him so much better and he has understood himself so much better since reading up on Aspergers.

He is in lots of ways a lovely person but in cases where human emotions should be the most important issue he can be lacking in empathy. I know I know ...maybe I should just have said to him to go on without me. Instead I tried to explain on the way there why I was a bit annoyed but he just didn't get it. This irritated me so much that I found I couldn't sit next to him in church and came out. After half an hour he came to look for me and now understands my point of view and is feeling bad. I too feel bad ...now I understand about the Aspergers I could have handled it better but I feel that I so often make the allowances and of course impacts on so many of our relationships.

The Bible tells us that to look after widows and orphans in their distress is true religion and I feel that his haste definitely didn't reflect that message. Yet he does feel deeply for my SIL and is now upset he hurried me away. Of course I too have failed this morning in a total lack of empathy towards him. Help.

Sorry for such a long post. It has helped just to write this all down. I would never share all this inRL

M0nica Mon 25-Mar-19 22:03:55

Like others the casual distributing of labels: Aspergers, ADHD etc is irritating, but there are many people who have enough knowledge, or have had to find out enough to make reasonable assessments, even though not professionally qualified.

My sister has been mother to her DH's motherless autistic child for over 20 years and she has commented that with all she has learnt about autism with her stepchild, she now looks at some of the behavioural quirks of our DF and considers that nowadays he would probably be sent for assessment for autism.

Jane10 Mon 25-Mar-19 13:08:29

Many referrals to our adult autism diagnostic service came as a result of partners urging it! We had many highly educated professionals referred who did go on to get the diagnosis. These people would never be considered 'disabled'! They might not be the life and soul of a party but they'd not be drawn into nasty office politics and cruel banter either. They were most often honest, upright people that it was a pleasure to have met.
TV presents stereotypical versions of people on the spectrum. There is one good example in a mainstream soap. - Roy Cropper.

sodapop Mon 25-Mar-19 12:32:11

I agree with some of what you say Readymeals there is a difference of course. But this doesn't mean you can live with someone who has this condition. We all have different levels of tolerance and for some couples it will help neither if they are not able to deal with the behaviours.
Too many people are quick to pin a label on others I've noticed, just because someone's behaviour is out of the ordinary they are immediately 'diagnosed' with autism, personality disorder, narcissism etc. It happens a lot on GN.

Gonegirl Mon 25-Mar-19 09:24:12

I think a diagnosis is essential in a younger person - thinking now of tools to deal with it, employment etc. But perhaps if an older couple wish to excuse the behaviour of one of them by grabbing a label , possibly off of the internet, then that's probably harmless. Unless there comes a time when the labelled person decides to disagree with his/her label. Strongly.

But if they are happy to go along with it, probably fine.

ReadyMeals Mon 25-Mar-19 09:07:51

Mycatisahacker, I think there is a moral distinction here. If the husband lacks empathy due to a disorder that he can't help, then it would be the same morally to leave him as it would be to leave someone who wasn't being a good supportive husband due to having a stroke or something. Whereas if he's just being a selfish pig then it's a different matter. Not that I would condemn anyone personally for finding love elsewhere if their partner was incapacitated to the extent they wouldn't be hurt by it.

Mycatisahacker Wed 20-Mar-19 21:27:34

The diagnosis really doesn’t matter does it?

You have one life and you deserve a loving supportive relationship. You either have it or you don’t and if you don’t you owe it to yourself to look around for better.

Aspergers or not! Who cares! Diagnosed or what who cares?

Thirdinline Wed 20-Mar-19 20:49:07

Farmor15 that is the case in USA. In UK the term Asperger Syndrome (AS) is still used for people with high functioning autism.

ReadyMeals Wed 20-Mar-19 19:20:50

I think of aspergers a bit like dyslexia but affecting a different area of the brain.

Farmor15 Wed 20-Mar-19 17:43:55

From what I understand, Asperger's is now categorised as part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which can range from severely "disabled", non-verbal and unable to look after themselves to high functioning individuals who still have some features of autism. Some of the support organisations encourage society to adopt a tolerance for neurodiversity by accepting spectrum autism as a variation in normal human functioning, rather than a "disorder" to be "cured". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum

Having taught students in a 3rd level college for years, I occasionally came across some who were "on the spectrum" . Some had been diagnosed formally and with others I learned to recognise the features of ASD, as some of you here have. It made it easier to deal with them once I'd understood that some things, like change, were more difficult for them and that they might find teamwork more challenging than other students. Also, instructions had to be clearly spelled out for them. But some of them achieved excellent results and were successfully employed, so I think putting a "disabled" label on those whose brains are wired differently is probably wrong.

Poppyred Wed 20-Mar-19 15:22:59

Much like Dementia, you don’t need an EXPERT to tell you that someone you love has this condition. If you live with it Day in day out you KNOW believe you me.

Gonegirl Wed 20-Mar-19 15:22:14

That's right. grin

Poppyred Wed 20-Mar-19 15:16:21

Obviously Gonegirl thinks that a ‘specialist’ knows better than a wife who has lived a longgggggg time with someone with this condition.🙄🙄

Gonegirl Wed 20-Mar-19 14:49:38

Didn't the word "diagnosed" give you a clue?

Lily65 Wed 20-Mar-19 14:48:15

Is there a fake Aspergers?

Gonegirl Wed 20-Mar-19 13:20:24

Real aspergers (the diagnosed kind) definitely is a disability.

Mycatisahacker Wed 20-Mar-19 13:18:12

I think if you can love along side this but insist on your own interests friends and let’s not be prissy about this the ability to develop a relationship with another man/woman that offers you what you deserve then that’s understandable.

When I said shut up I meant your partners. If they are unwilling to meet your needs then you have every right to seek solace elsewhere without necessarily moving out or divorcing.

My deepest sympathy such a relationship must be very draining and cold.

I still say look for better

Poppyred Tue 19-Mar-19 17:27:56

Thank you Fountainpen 👍

FountainPen Tue 19-Mar-19 16:35:00

Lily65 and Poppyred. It's a question of degree and where someone is on the spectrum.

Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010

You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities

Example from HM Government Office for Disabilities

A man has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He finds it hard to understand non-verbal communications such as facial expressions, and non-factual communication such as jokes. He takes everything that is said very literally. He is given verbal instructions during office banter with his manager, but his ability to understand the instruction is impaired because he is unable to isolate the instruction from the social conversation.
This has a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day communication.

Le15 Tue 19-Mar-19 16:34:41

I totally agree with mycatisahacker and have looked into a place of my own but I retired early to look after my mum with late stage dementia and cannot afford it but I have my own life and friends and hobby's my dog and dgc he is not abusive and I'm no pushover so we trundle on like sister and brother not ideal but like u say you leave or shut up

Ellie Anne Tue 19-Mar-19 14:13:16

Mycatisahacker I would love to go but there are practical and family considerations. Also my mental health after years of this is not too good. My coping strategy is keeping out of the way as much as possible and having friends and interests.

Poppyred Tue 19-Mar-19 12:59:41

Ah I beg to differ.

Lily65 Tue 19-Mar-19 12:53:19

I'm not being argumentative but Asbergers isn't a disability.

Poppyred Tue 19-Mar-19 12:22:33

Thanks for that Lily65 😂😂 but I prefer to call a spade a spade.

Lily65 Tue 19-Mar-19 11:57:15

Poppy, the jargon is neurotypical ( shortened to NT sometimes ). People don't tend to refer to a disability, more a difference. Once you get your head round that it can help.

FountainPen Tue 19-Mar-19 11:38:03

I agree with Poppyred. There may be little point in going through the process of professional diagnosis. If you visit the specialist website and forum Wrong Planet you can find some very articulate and well-argued discussions about the pros and cons of diagnosis as well as so much other interesting content.

wrongplanet.net/forums/