A look at Aspergers and control issues

Rudy Simone

As a follow up to my popular book, 22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger Syndrome I'm writing a companion book, for those in a relationship with an Aspergirl. This is a sneak peek of that, a bit from the chapter on "control issues."

Your Aspergian darling will take "control freak" to a fine art. This is pretty understandable once you realize that anxiety is the platform from which she operates. Control is her way of bringing safety and sensory comfort to an unpredictable, unsafe, uncomfortable world. She is also very particular about what stimuli gets into her brain. Perhaps you have fights about the temperature in the car that have nearly come to blows, or have duelled over what program to watch on the television. Maybe she will literally scream at times if she doesn't get her way. Spoiled brat? Probably not, she probably just came that way, straight out of the box, no assembly required.

"No wire hangers ever" We all remember the famous line maniacally uttered by the crazed Joan Crawford (played with uber camp by Faye Dunaway) in Mommie Dearest. One could wonder if Ms. Crawford might have had Aspergers. I had a similar fit the other day when the clean lines and organized shelves of my closet were decimated by my NT (neurotypical or non-autistic) male partner, with hangers at all angles and all over the floor, causing my own decibel level to exceed legal limits. Your Aspergirl might have the same tendency. Messy lines can make it hard to find things, make her dizzy. She probably has difficulty knowing where her body ends (proprioception) and may bump into stuff.

Sudden changes in either expectations or plan can and usually do, cause a "software crash" in her head, which can result in meltdowns, confusion, and exacerbate physical clumsiness and disorientation. And we take things literally. One time I landed in an airport and was told to look for a white courtesy phone to call my hotel shuttle. I wandered the large area back and forth several times befo
re finally asking someone where the courtesy phone was. He said "right there" and I turned and finally noticed the glaring sign and gigantic bank of five brown phones. Afterwards, I was so rattled by the experience I fell up the down escalator. Ah, it's fun to be an Aspergirl.

She likes neatness, or at least organized chaos. She needs to know what to expect. Even a Christmas or birthday present she didn't want or expect can make her hyperventilate, angry that you didn't understand what she wanted and that you wasted your money and time needlessly.

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