Asperger’s

Why I Struggle to Let Go of Richard; Also, Musings on NVLD/Asperger’s

 

Why I Struggle to Let Go of Richard

Others may not understand but it’s all quite simple, really.  My struggle to let go is because a huge part of me does not want to.

I have no trouble letting go of Tracy; if it were just about her, I would no longer struggle with anything.  I have long since processed what she did, seen that her behavior was not my fault and nothing I deserved, and that it’s all her problem and not mine.

I am so happy to have her out of my life that if it were just about her, I’d have been feeling free and happy for the past couple of years.

Seeing her try to get into it again with another nasty e-mail and nasty behavior and trying to intimidate and stalk me–well, I expect that out of her, and it only confirms my decision was correct.

I could never be friends with someone who thinks behavior like hers is somehow okay and justified, who deliberately hurts people.

Such behavior–ripping someone apart and then laughing at their pain or if misfortune befalls them–is disgusting and reminds me of the mean girls and other bullies from elementary/middle school.  And yes, it’s just as mature as elementary school.

My part is to have nothing to do with her and treat her like a tax collector and heathen.  Because even after getting a full account from me of what she had done to me, how she made me feel, and the truth of what had happened and what had been happening, she laughed, and demonstrated a clear lack of regard for the truth or my feelings, or for anything but destroying me.

This is, in fact, exactly how “Edna” on a now-defunct blog claims to have been treated by an abuser:

A few days later, we were summoned to a meeting with B** where I was chastised very harshly and talked to as if all of his assumptions/assessments were right.

When I tried to speak up to let him know what had transpired, I was quickly hushed and told not to speak. He instead spoke AT me, and told ME what had “happened” and what HE supposed out of all of it.

To him, what he was saying was fact and therefore, I needed to listen and just agree that he was right in his assumptions. I was not allowed to share anything regarding the matter.

I have never, ever been treated this way by a secular boss, let alone a Pastor. I just sat there and cried, as my husband squeezed my leg to let me know to be quiet. That was hard.

So, I just sat there and and listened to his version of how he believed the situation had occurred, what he believed the motives were, and it was like B** was the Judge and Jury: case closed. At the end, I was told to drop it and never bring it up again.

Tracy threatened, intimidated, verbally abused yet again, and began to stalk me.  That proved her to have no interest in anything but hurting me deliberately, something which she had already done many times to me.  So I have no interest in having her around.

God (or karma, if you prefer) will deal with her.

Amazing how such people will treat you in such a fashion, then threaten you away from telling about it.  That shows they do realize their behavior is wrong, and don’t want anyone else to know what they’ve done.

Not only did she try to threaten me into silence several months ago, but she tried to threaten me into silence two years ago as well, telling me not to tell my husband about all the nasty things she had been saying and doing to me that morning.

Then she switched into “reasonable, mature mode” (just as she did with Todd when she ripped into him then told the rest of the forum her version of what was going on), and used that to write an e-mail to my husband.

Obviously she wanted to get to him first.  Same as she apparently wanted to get to my priest before I did.  That’s a way to make everyone else think the victim is the crazy one.  Smearing you to others and threatening you if you tell, is called isolating your victim, and is a common abuse tactic.

There’s also the question of, if you think your victim’s pain is so funny, then why do you feel the need to threaten your victim into silence?

I witnessed her smearing all the time: Richard would tell me things she was telling him about me, or I overheard things she told her mother on the phone about me, things that were lies, exaggerations or cuts on my character.

These smears drove a wedge between Richard and me, and I’m sure it was on purpose; meanwhile, I was forced to be friends with her even though I saw all this going on.  I saw her smear Todd, telling everyone on the game forum lies which I could document and trace, because I had it all printed out.

Then there is what she posted on Facebook right after she sent me those vicious e-mails, about how she was having a GREAT day because she finally was allowed to tell somebody things she’s wanted to tell her for a long time–even though her accusations of me were all false.

I know she smeared me to her friend “Chia,” the flying monkey she sent several months ago to spy on my Facebook, because Chia had something in her profile about standing up for her friends when they’re attacked.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she also smeared me to my priest that same day, when I saw them up there talking with him for quite some time.  Probably telling him I was a liar, crazy, and who knows what else.

Smearers adopt the attitudes and behaviors of legitimate abuse victims, making it hard for the hearer to know the difference, because of course people want to help abuse victims.  But the difference is that smearers are lying and distorting, while legitimate abuse victims are telling the truth.

(You will note that I use fake names, and after long reflection and advice from others, reported my concerns to Social Services, long before my story was posted.)

Tracy even falsely accused me yet again, not just in the many e-mails she sent me between 7/1 and 8/4/10 which severely distorted the truth and did not allow me to protest, but in the e-mail she sent me several months ago.

It falsely accused me of threats I never made, and then threatened to smear me as high as the court system if I did not give in to her demands not to tell my story!  A “Christian” threatening another Christian with a lawsuit for telling how she’s been abused!  (See Now I’m Being Stalked for the e-mail and a fuller explanation.)

Because her tactics are so obvious and juvenile, at this point she’s become nothing more than a fly buzzing around the house: just wave it off on occasion.

She can’t touch me, can’t harm me.  I have strengthened my will and my self-esteem, strengthened myself against her, put up a wall against her attacks, so that it no longer bugs me to see them reading my blog, so that she can no longer scare me. She has no more power over me, no control over my healing.  She cannot and does not define me.

She has no business telling me my “faults” until she stops blaming others for her own temper tantrums.  Everything she accused me of, was false.  Every criticism she made of me, was false.  I am not that person she tried to convince Richard I was.

She tried to break my will, but it did not work.  She’s welcome to come here and learn about her abusive behaviors, so she can abandon them.  She’s also welcome to close her eyes to the truth and ignore my blog–and me–completely.  As long as she keeps coming here, I will keep holding her accountable for the damage she has done.

Though my husband and I are both very puzzled why they’re so interested, why they don’t just shrug their shoulders and leave it alone.  They do realize that this counts as contacting me, right?

I’m not contacting them; I do not go to their church or church functions; I do not try to find out what they’re saying on the Net; I avoid online games or IRC chat rooms where they could be; I did not tell them the blog posts were there; but they’re contacting me, repeatedly, by checking my blog all the time.

Okay, they know my version of events and how I feel about them; what else is there for them to look at?  I’ve already stated that I have no interest in using real names here.  Maybe they enjoy reading my rambles, then.  Wouldn’t they soon tire of poking me, since they know I know they’re reading?

What kind of sick game is this, anyway?  Do they get off on the attention, even negative?  Are they trying to annoy me?  They do realize I took off all the IP blockers and it’s no challenge, right?  Is Richard using me as the subject of a psychology thesis?

It’s actually kind of funny because they were never so interested in my point of view about this before…. Could he, by any small, far-off chance, be actually, finally trying to understand my point of view?

So hey, give the readers what they want!  Please my fans!  It increases my blog hits!

Musings on NVLD/Asperger’s

At this point, these blogs are mostly a combination of catharsis and a ministry to others in my situation.  And it’s also a combination of Asperger and introvert traits:

We tend to mull over things quite a bit, and from what I’ve read about Aspies, they can mull over things much longer than other people do.  Here is a conversation on Wrong Planet about this subject.  Here is an article about Aspie rumination over hurtful things that have happened.

Part of it is our long, detailed memories of events and conversations.  They also have certain favorite subjects which they can learn and talk about incessantly, and keep diving into, or perseveration.

Aspies are analytical; I need to analyze it from every angle, just as I do with NVLD, Asperger’s, Orthodoxy, previous abusive relationships, or whatever else is my current special/obsessive interest.

And those interests change, sometimes returning later, sometimes not.  I used to be obsessively interested in Goth for at least four years, for example, but that’s died down since I had a child and couldn’t fit into the clothes anymore.

Over the past 10 years, I have repeatedly, and still repeatedly, analyze whether or not I have NVLD at some times, Asperger’s at others (since I have no resources for an official diagnosis).

I analyzed Orthodoxy for a year before I started going to an Orthodox church, filling a box with Web printouts on the subject (yes, I read them all), and continued analyzing it for two and a half more years before finally making a decision whether to be chrismated Orthodox.

As written in the blog I linked above,

There’s no doubt that vivid memories (trauma) are remembered both by animals and people. There’s also little doubt that these memories, both negative and positive affect our future actions. Where I think the aspie differs is that key memories don’t necessarily need to be large or traumatic in order to be “vivid”.

“Can’t move on” is a phrase that is often associated with Aspergers. In fact, I’m sure it appears somewhere in the official criteria.

The inability to move on is due to a number of factors including; change resistance, routine, insecurity and memory.

Children with aspergers seem to take things in like sponges and retain them forever. They revisit those memories over and over again and after a time, even the smallest and least traumatic of them can become a major influence on their lives.

As is written here,

  • Inability to get over it.
    I blame the long term aspie memory for this. Many of my present actions are shaped by my past experiences. I find the past very difficult to let go of and it permeates into everything I do.

I’m terrified to let people near my stuff because of something that happened when I was in year 5 at school.

I’m difficult and resentful in certain situations at work because of a problem that happened four years ago (that everyone else has forgotten).

It’s even becoming something of a catchphrase of my wife’s; “Get over it!”. Of course, that’s just the point… I can’t.

As is written here,

The Aspie however, with their long term memory often has perfect recall of past events and conversations.

They will spend hours analyzing a conversation that occurred years ago and will often take negative feedback on board even if it was provided in the heat of the moment.

The long term memory of the Aspie therefore can be their worst enemy for dredging up guilt and other negative emotions…..

And here:

Guilt or Regret over Past Actions

There is some truth to the phrase “this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you”. When an Aspie is stirred to the point of outburst and/or meltdown, they can temporarily lose control.

When this happens, invariably something is broken, or something best left unsaid is said. At worst, someone may get hurt or a friendship may be damaged.

The aspie will agonize over this for a long period, often years after the event. The event does not have to be particularly nasty or even large to warrant long term Aspie guilt.

often, I will continue to blame myself for conflicts which others, particularly the victims or aggressors, have long forgotten. It is quite a surprise to me that they no longer think about the event however it still usually isn’t enough to make me lose the guilt.

Carrying an ever increasing amount of guilt around constantly is a fast road to depression.

Heck, ten years after the breakup with Peter back in college, I was still mulling over his behavior vs. my behavior, who was right, who was wrong, did I do anything wrong, etc. etc.  Still talking about it at times with the Hubby.

Then I finished my college memoirs, and–started making edits to them as I kept mulling things over more.  I still go back from time to time.

And not just with Peter, but also with Shawn and with the biggest abusive relationship I was ever in (before Tracy came along, that is), Phil.

Years later, I still revisit those issues on occasion.  I will read about abuse in magazines or on the Web.  I will edit my memoirs, which basically means I’ll put something in or take something out of the public version, or make a new observation in the private one.

I’ll make a comment about Phil on a forum in a thread about abuse or spiritual marriages.  I used to tell Richard about Phil, so he’d know where I came from.

I’ve long since healed from these situations, but because they were so major in my life, I want to write about them.  They go into my fiction as well, in various disguised forms, as all writers do with their experiences.

Though I’m not sure how to fictionalize this experience, because it seems like whatever I could do with it, I’ve already done in previous stories.  Maybe I’ll just let it stand as this nonfiction version.

The more I learn about abuse, the more I reflect on my past experiences, and realize what was going on.  Now, I’m looking back and wondering if Peter or Shawn were narcissists; maybe, maybe not, but Phil was one for sure.

Extroverts and non-Aspies may not understand, but this is just the way my brain works.  I don’t want to change this about myself, either, for several reasons:

  1. It’s the way I am, the way I’ve always been, something about my brain chemistry.
  2. It allows me to continuously reflect on my own behavior and make improvements, while also learning how to recognize abusers sooner.  Because of this, I recognized Tracy’s abusive behaviors right away; I only kept interacting with her because Richard kept forcing me to.  If allowed to follow my own inclinations, I would have severely limited my interactions with her, long before she caused me so much harm.
  3. It allows me to connect with and give validation and comfort to others who have been abused.
  4. It gives me good material for my fiction, makes it more authentic.
  5. It keeps me from sinking into that nostalgia that causes others to reconnect with old boyfriends and then have affairs with them.  No, I do NOT want these guys back as more than friends, even when I do find them on e-mail or Facebook.

It could also be simply what happens when people are abused, because it is traumatic, because many of us are naturally very sensitive, because it’s not what is supposed to happen in loving relationships.

I find so many blogs from others who have been abused and do the same thing, even years later, still reading about abuse, still writing about it, still processing what happened to them and trying to make sense of it, even though they’ve said nothing about Asperger’s.

“Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation.” —Aspergers Traits (Women, Females, Girls)

Part of it is because this is so unfathomable to me, how anyone can be so cruel and abusive to someone who had gone out of her way time and again, had put herself out, to help these people, people who are not even family, but whom I had “adopted” as family.

To someone who has always been described as “kind and caring,” “sweet,” not the kind to hurt others intentionally.

To someone who had been so loving and intensely loyal to my best friend, a best friend who seemed to return my regard.

I certainly could not understand how my best friend could suddenly turn on me.  I remember wanting to scream “WHY?” at him over and over.  The whole day was just so baffling and mystifying.  But then, I have been informed that

They complained about the food you were giving them while they were staying at your house and you helped them with their bills? wow. That’s some kind of arrogance, Nyssa. Real opportunists and users without an ounce of gratitude. Always always watch for “gratitude and remorse.”

Sounds like they used up your resources and instead of expressing gratitude for your generosity, they Put You Down.

They looked for reasons why your gifts weren’t good enough, or why you were mean, or whatever reasons they could find to diminish your generosity.

When people are narcissistic, they resist being seen as needy or dependent. So they “devalue” whatever people have done or given to them and then they don’t feel weak or dependent anymore. —CZBZ

I have to agree with a couple of Aspie bloggers–Aspergers Child [update: link no longer exists] and Woman With Aspergers–about the misunderstandings that arise from saying Aspies lack empathy.

The same is also said about psychopaths and narcissists, so–as I see just from doing Google searches–people keep confusing Aspies with narcissists.  They think we’re dangerous because we “lack empathy” and so do narcissists.

But that’s not it at all.  People “with empathy”–ie, neurotypicals–abuse and bully and misunderstand Aspies all the time.  Sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists are supposedly “without empathy,” when actually they know how we’re feeling–it helps them manipulate us–they just don’t care.

While Aspies may not understand from your nonverbal cues what you’re feeling or why, but once explained, they can greatly empathize with your struggles and pain.

I remember one of my friends in college got upset with me because I did not say “I’m sorry” to her when her cousin died.  I had no idea she was upset with me until weeks later when another friend told me.

My reason for saying nothing was not at all narcissistic or self-absorbed: I cared a great deal for all my friends, and did not want any of them to suffer.  No, I just had no clue I was supposed to say anything.

And, well, men often have trouble knowing how to deal with sad, crying wives; does that mean they lack empathy?  No, I do not lack empathy.

Neither does Tracy seem to lack empathy; she just doesn’t care that her actions and words continually hurt me, and it even obviously brings her pleasure.

(It’s pretty obvious when she writes, “I’m having a GREAT day!” on Facebook, basically smearing you to her family and friends over something you didn’t even do, because she’s just been ripping into you and cyber-screaming at you and now you’re upset and crying and devastated.

(It’s pretty obvious when she writes that “we had a good laugh” at your chronicle of all the fear and anger and pain they put you through.  With her own words, she has pegged herself a sociopath.)

This is why I will never let her back into my life, no matter how much she accuses me of needing to “grow up” and accept her behavior as deserved, no matter how much she says I can’t be friends with Richard without being friends with her.  I will only be friends with Richard, or with neither of them. 

And I will not let Richard back in, either, unless and until he admits that what Tracy did to me was wrong, cruel and undeserved, rather than dismissing it as “a few harsh words” like he did. 

I am so frickin’ disgusted by the way Richard treated me during this whole thing, too, that I’m not sure why I don’t hate his guts like my husband does.  I should, I really should. 

It’s extremely hypocritical of Tracy to treat me the way she has done for speaking up in anger, after the way she treated me, me whose only “crime” was to be shy, quiet, and frightened of a bully.

I felt like poison was being spewed at me but at the same time, I was surprised how calm and rational I was able to remain. I refused to accept the abuse and told them as much.

I was able to stand up for myself in a way that I never could have before I began to heal. I could see that what they were doing to me wasn’t my problem.

I didn’t ask for it or deserve it. I was just the current target but, they soon discovered, no longer an easy one. As difficult as it is to realize that some people can no longer be in my life, if they can’t give me the basic respect that I deserve as a human being—they don’t belong there. —Standing Up For Myself: Reclaiming My Self-Worth

I could swear I’m regressing into old behaviors.  I’m escaping into special interests and spend most of my free time with them as they cycle from one to another.

The special interests don’t expect me to talk when I have nothing to say; I can speak when I wish, and I have much to say on those special interests.  I used to chat with friends a lot more on Facebook; now I barely speak to anyone.

Orthodoxy had waned because of the breach with Richard making it all remind me of him, until I found a friend at church who brought it back out again.  I would speak with this new friend on Facebook about Orthodoxy and remember again why I loved it.  But now I barely even say anything to him.

It reminds me of when I was in school, before I went to college.  Even my mother noticed that I was far more relaxed in the summertime.  During the school year, I’d have to deal with social issues every single day, which was very taxing.

During the summer, I stayed at home all day, away from the mean people, where it was safe–after my bully brother left home, that is.  This retreat is basically a very old means I’ve used to get away from the stress of socializing.

I struggle even more with eye contact even with my own husband.  It used to be fairly normal with him, except when he’s angry and I’m too scared to look at him.  But lately I can barely look at him even when he’s speaking in a normal conversation.

My eye contact is regressing to old ways, when I could barely look at anybody at all.  It was highly unusual that I could hold eye contact for so long with Richard, which is probably why I–back in 2007/2008–felt I could “read” him so well.  I could hold eye contact so well with him, more like a “normal” person, while with most people it’s a struggle.

I have to remind myself to look.  I recall back around 2000, reading an article about how to properly hold eye contact, since I knew I had a severe problem with that long before I ever heard of NVLD or Asperger’s.

I used my newfound knowledge while discussing each day’s task list with my boss (I was a secretary).  I was so proud of myself for holding eye contact with him, but without staring: You have to break it once in a while so you don’t freak out the other person.

With Richard, I still would usually look away while speaking so I could concentrate on thinking of what to say and saying it, then look at him as he spoke.  But I’ve read this is how people normally do it.

Struggle with how Richard and Tracy treated me because of my NVLD/Asperger’s/Selective Mutism

Another thing that was different with Richard, was that somehow, my selective mutism vanished with him.  When we first met in person, my usual chattiness on the phone froze up, but a day or two later, he broke through my reserve and we could talk normally again.

He got me going on music, then all of a sudden we just looked at each other like, “Whoa.  We broke the ice.”

My give-and-take in conversation was perfectly normal with him, is perfectly normal with my husband.  If I could talk to a guy on a first date, I considered him a keeper.

For me to talk with normal give-and-take with anyone, tells me I’m with a kindred spirit.  It doesn’t happen often, you see.  It’s a huge relief, and I want to be with that person a lot, whether it’s a friend or a boyfriend, because I can talk to him/her.

And Richard enjoyed the conversations as much as I did.  It was like a miracle.

Which is one reason that Tracy’s wall-like refusal to allow me to have selective mutism around her, was so frustrating.  Not only did her angry insistence and constant punishments and bullying of my silence cause me to freeze up even more from the pressure and the resentment it caused in me….

But she seemed to think that because I could do normal give-and-take conversation with her husband, who shared most of my special interests and much of my background and seemed sweet and gentle to me, that of course I must be capable of doing it with her.  But I was not.

Normally I can warm up to people over time, while still being generally quiet in a group of even close friends, but she was far more frightening than your average person.  Back in school, I had avoided girls like her, making friends among the nice, sweet, gentle kids of both sexes.

She had no appreciation or understanding for the fact that by forcing me to be friends with her or I lose Richard, that I could only be friends with him on her good pleasure, she was taking away the most precious, most “normal” friendship I had with anyone since college graduation scattered my friends around the state.

She was taking away the one person in my city, besides my husband, to whom I could talk normally.

(Even my college friend Catherine in the next county, despite our years of friendship, I never could speak to with such fluidity.  My college friends to whom I could talk like that, had moved far away.

(My other local friends, though I e-mailed them on occasion, had drifted away around 2002, probably because I refused to shun another friend they had trouble with, and kept inviting him to parties and games.  I used to make fellow local geek friends easily through local online BBS’s, but those vanished with the rise of the Internet.)

It was so ludicrous as to be ridiculous that Richard and Tracy would refuse to believe I had NVLD or Asperger’s, that I was anything but stubborn, simply because Richard could pull out the “normal” side of me.

The side that was so normal that I could not only manage to talk to him on the phone, I would willingly call him wanting to talk for hours, and would actually often make arrangements with him for get-togethers!

You realize how extremely rare it is for me to easily talk on the phone with anyone, even longtime friends? to call someone regularly to make arrangements for anything?  Did they really think that the way I was with Richard, was somehow “normal” for me?

(In high school, just calling to order a pizza was beyond me!  In college I finally was able to do this, but imagine how hard it was to use the phone at my jobs: school library, first clerical job, second clerical job!  For routine calls, I soon got used to it, but if I was dealing with an unusual situation, the old terror began to creep in again.)

Richard also seemed blinded by the common assumption that to have Asperger’s you have to be a severe Sheldon-type, to have visible autistic behaviors, when researchers are now finding that Asperger’s in females presents very differently than in males (I identify with a majority of the traits on the lists on that site).

Females are more socially adept and their obsessive behaviors more diverse and “normal” (ie, a mix of unicorns and fairies and other “girly” things, rather than being obsessively fixated only on trains).

I also took that Baron-Cohen Autism-Spectrum Quotient test in August 2010, and scored 33–much higher than neurotypicals are supposed to.

As the results read, “32-50 is very high: Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 35.”  “Average” was 11-22, with most women scoring 15.  Above average was 23-31.  In fact, NVLD and female Asperger’s sound so similar that I often wonder if they’re related.

In my teens, I did have the occasional girlfriend who would tell me some tip, such as that I needed to say thank you after she gave me a ride, or point out my lack of eye contact, clues which would help me start to do better.

But for me, being told by my psychologist (who also gave me social tips) in 6th grade to “have a slumber party,” made me think, “And who am I supposed to ask?”

This list of female Asperger traits fits extremely well with me: I match a large number of points in each section.  For example, “Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything continually.”  My results are A–90%, B–100%, C–85%, D–62.5%, E–76%, F–78.6%, G–90%, H–78.6%, Exec–25%.

Teachers called me “unique.”  Having Asperger’s/NVLD is not an unwelcome label for me; it’s far more welcome than “weird,” which I got labeled with in school.

It helps me understand why I act differently than others, that I’m not “weird,” just wired differently, and helps me recognize the many gifts that come with Asperger’s/NVLD.  It’s not “dysfunction,” it’s just Linux rather than Windows.

The funny thing, the poetic justice, is that despite all Richard and Tracy’s pooh-poohing of the NVLD/Asperger’s, my webpage on NVLD is getting hits practically every day–people who will spend quite a bit of time on it, look at it several times in a day, then come back again and again in following days to the same page, either bookmarked or typing things in Google such as “nvld site:webpages.charter.net,” so I know they’re looking specifically for it…..

Obviously people are connecting with it and finding it very helpful.  It gives me the same thrill as seeing keywords like “hobbitholes blog” for my blog, showing that people are connecting with things I post here.

So the struggle is not about Tracy, but about Richard

No, my struggle to let go is not about Tracy.  It’s about feeling forced to break off a special, important, golden friendship with my best friend for the one mere fact that he’s married to Tracy, and Tracy’s behavior had become intolerable.

The break wasn’t about him.  His friendship was far too special and important to me to want to lose for any reason.

In fact, the arguments arose during a time when I was trying my dangdest to fix the friendship with him because he was suddenly being mean to me and I didn’t know why.  I would try to talk to him, spend hours late at night talking to him or reading books trying to understand why males behave the ways they do, hoping that it could be fixed.

I had no clue why Richard was being so mean to me lately, just that it had been going on for weeks when I’d thought all our past problems had long since been resolved (including Tracy’s issues with me), and made me doubt our friendship, made me say to Hubby, “Are they really my friends or is it all just a facade?”  (This article on gaslighting might explain things somewhat.)

No, the friendship with him was only broken because of Tracy’s rule that friends with Richard must hang out with and be best buds with her, too, and she was just not the sort of person I wanted in my life.

She was ruining my self-esteem and peace with her constant little snarks at me and deliberately mean treatment of me and of others, my loyalty to Richard would flare up when I saw her bully him, my love of the children would burn when I saw her doing things like smacking them on the head, and I could not have her around anymore.

So you could say the friendship with Richard was only broken out of respect for Tracy and her rules.  If it hadn’t been for her rules, we only would have broken relations with Tracy.

So that’s why I can’t let go of Richard: Because he was not, was never, the one I wanted to let go of.

No, if I felt I had the option, I would have continued to fight to restore the friendship with him.  I had no clue why he was being so mean to me lately, and it seemed that we were finally getting to the point where things between us were back to how they used to be.

The morning Tracy spewed her venom all over me and crowed in orgasmic pleasure over it on her Facebook wall because of a misunderstanding which she refused to believe was not what she wanted to think it was, I had only just been ecstatic because it seemed Richard and I had finally patched up our problems.

But no, this was a huge WTF moment, her pleasure over my mistake and all the vicious crap she pulled that day and afterwards, a moment when I looked evil full in the face.

For two years I have cherished a hope that one day, things would be different, and Richard would come to my husband and me looking for reconciliation.  Why should I do any different?  He was not the reason we broke off the friendship, though his behavior that day, and the threatening e-mail a few days prior, contributed to it.

I had no desire to end the friendship with my best friend and spiritual mentor.  We had been close friends for five years!  I had no reason to think that the breach between him and us had to be permanent; he was the collateral damage.

It’s perfectly normal for friends to miss each other even long after a breach and want it to be repaired.  It just means that you cared that much.  I’m also aware of old girlfriends coming back to him years later.  He has that effect on people, whether male or female, platonic or romantic, of getting a tight hold on their hearts.

I’d like to go to him, always wanted to, but I can’t.  Before, I couldn’t because Tracy was so insistent on being right and getting her way and not allowing me to even tell her she had it all wrong, that she wouldn’t even allow me to talk to him unless I allowed her to rant and rave and verbally abuse me even more than she already had, without letting me have a say.

(Yes, extremely controlling behavior–and exactly like the shunning that many abusive churches use to “discipline” members who speak out and/or leave.  Such as Beaverton Grace Bible Church.)

I was sure that if I did try to repair things with Richard, she would hit me with a restraining order.

Now, I can’t go to him because he has shown no signs of repentance or remorse for the things he himself did, and no signs whatsoever that he has any compassion at all for me for how Tracy continues to treat me.  He has to show those signs before any reconciliation would even be possible.

So basically, he has to be the one to make the move, or I will just be set up for more abuse.  You’re better off alone than with friends who abuse you.  This repayment for my many kindnesses to them, makes me want to hold my purse strings much tighter and not let anyone crash at our house.

I tried very hard to forget him.  His own betrayal of me was both shocking and angering.  Then his criminal case after the breakup, and his behavior several months ago, were very disappointing, very angering, showing that maybe I had been deceived in his character for the five years I knew him.

(He had admitted to abusing the kids, but he said it was in the past, that he didn’t do that anymore, that he was now protecting the children.

(Though it is true that when his friend Chris complained about his own wife smacking his kid on the head, Richard and Tracy both began joking about smacking kids on the head being “normal” discipline, which gave me pause, especially since I saw a teeny girl being smacked and then Tracy said she does this to her all the time!

(And especially comparing the enormous size and strength of the father compared to those young children!

(Just because some people in some cultures have abused their kids in the past out of ignorance of what it does to the kids, doesn’t mean modern generations should copy them.  Lucy asked on Room With a View how Italians can be so kind but so violent.  I suspect it’s because their mothers smack them on the heads!  Violence breeds violence.

(I discovered from an episode of Donna Reed that even back in the 60s, they knew fear is no way to discipline children: Their son Jeff complained, did they really want him to start jumping to do what he’s told the first time he’s told?  He said the kids he knew who did that, were afraid of their parents.  This is not how Donna and Alex Stone wanted to raise their children, in fear.

(Also, the common response that “I was abused/belted/got my brains smacked around, and I turned out fine,” or “I deserved it,” is actually Stockholm Syndrome, and not the truth.  Not only is it Stockholm Syndrome carrying on abuse to the next generation to scar it as well, but no, you did not turn out fine.  You turned into a mean, selfish person who bullies people much smaller than you are, to get your way.)

How can you know a guy so well for five years and still not know him?  It is hard to imagine.  It’s also hard to imagine why someone who hates me for being a whistleblower, would–for the last several months–be reading my posts which have absolutely nothing to do with the situation between us and them.

Why would he care what my politics are?  Why would he care that Thanksgiving went well, or that my son broke his wrist, or how my birthday went?  Why would he care that I finally found out the titles of some shows I watched in childhood (which I had asked him about)?  Why is he so interested in my story about Shawn from 20 years ago?

It brings me hope again, hope that maybe somewhere in his heart he recognizes I got shafted.  That I was mistreated and abused.  That it’s hypocritical of him to expect me to just take whatever Tracy throws at me, but I’m not allowed to be hurt or offended or angry or tell her to leave me alone.

That I’m telling the truth and never made the supposed “threats” Tracy accused me of.  That I had no intentions of revealing their names on my blog.  That anyone would react the way I did to the criminal case.  That I did the right thing in order to protect him and his children.

It brings me hope again that he wants to find peace with my husband and me one day.

I don’t know how else to take it, because I clearly mark those posts as having nothing to do with them…..

Why is he showing so much interest in my life?  (Not that I can be absolutely certain that it’s him, but I can’t imagine Tracy being at all interested in those posts.)  I hope it’s because he still cares.  If so, I hope he will soon try to make things right with us.

But if not, if he’s not at all the kind of person I used to think he was, if he’s actually heartless and evil and violent and vindictive, then I hope that he goes away, because it’s cruel to keep me hanging on, to keep me connected to him, cruel to keep me imagining that he is a good person when he’s not.

Stalking like this is one thing narcissists do to their prey; I see this happen to other abuse bloggers all the time.

I suppose it’s like so many parishioners or congregants who hear that their beloved priest/pastor is a molester, or abused his children, or is spiritually abusive, or is dipping into the funds: They don’t want to believe it, and instead turn on the whistleblower as being an evil gossip who wants vengeance, or money, or whatever.

I see this in two ways: as Richard’s response to me, and as my response to Richard.  Richard turning on me, the whistleblower, as an evil gossip.  Me having a hard time believing that Richard is actually evil, even when a mountain of evidence stares me in the face.

Such as when he came to my church right after being convicted, and I watched close for any signs that he might have repented of nearly killing his daughter, and be working on changing his abusive ways.

Because even though several times I thought for sure he was out of my heart, even though that day last October I hated him severely for choking his kid, reacted the way anyone of any decency reacts to someone doing such a horrid thing–just seeing him brought the grief back again.

Even though his behavior these past several months, going along with his wife’s revenge schemes and displaying sociopathic tendencies, made me so furious with him that I thought for sure he was out of my heart for good, a few months later the grief came back.  After trying so many times to root out any philia I still felt for him, I finally just gave into it.

The question, of course, is what I should do about this.  I really don’t know.  One thing, of course, is to get more active about trying to get together with friends and chat with them on Facebook, as tempting as it is to dive into yet another website about Asperger’s or whatever I’m obsessing over at the moment.  We are planning on getting more social with a couple we really like, one of them an old friend whom we lost track of for a while.

But giving up hope of Richard one day realizing just what he’s done and that I was a kind, sweet, loyal, giving friend who deserved absolutely none of his or Tracy’s nasty treatment? of him remembering just how good and kind of friends we were, that we went far beyond the norm in helping his family, and realizing how he screwed it up and then kept stabbing in the knife?  I don’t think I can, nor do I want to.

(I mean, come on, I’m just writing stories of my life and what I’m going through, no different from when I or Richard or anybody else would post on a forum about life or problems.  It’s also no different from an autobiography or abuse memoir, just on the Web instead of in a book.)

Even my old high school bullies and abusive exes have apologized to me eventually and restored some sort of amiability.  If they can do it, so can he.  And I also know some things about his history that show he does occasionally try to make peace with ex-friends or girlfriends.

So it could still happen…eventually.  My husband is a huge pessimist, but I’m an optimist, and don’t ever want to become a pessimist.

It is comforting to read more about Asperger’s and find that not only do I most likely have it along with NVLD, but it also explains why I–for my entire life–have ruminated over past abuses, traumas and breakups so long that others start getting annoyed with me.

It’s comforting to find that no, there’s nothing “crazy” about this, there’s nothing “wrong” with me or my character, it’s simply one of the natural drawbacks to having Asperger’s.  And writing has always helped me, especially writing which is meant for others to read, such as my college memoirs and little bits of my life which I stuck into my fiction.

I see his interest in my life in what he reads, things which he must know, from the title, have nothing to do with him.  If Richard really wants to lay down his arms and make peace with my husband and me, he’s welcome to do so any time. 

We can talk it out and work things out if he wishes.  Then he won’t have to stalk my blog to find out what’s going on in our lives. 

If not, then I wish he’d just leave me alone to heal in peace, so I can recognize his true nature and forget about him.

We adopted our dog from a shelter.  He’d been abused as a puppy.  He adjusted well into our family, but it took time and love.  He still is nervous if a stick is held near him or if someone touches his tail.  He can’t forgive and forget. —Asperger’s Child: I can’t just forgive and forget [link no longer exists]

One of the most troublesome aspects of autism and Asperger’s can be the tendency toward repetitive thoughts, also referred to as stuck thoughts or ruminations.

While this trait is probably tied to the ability toward extreme focus that can be such a strength for those on the spectrum, it’s a problem when individuals can’t shift away from thinking about things that are not of their choosing.

Often, individuals get caught up in worries, dwelling on past slights from others or their own mistakes or have problems letting go of past traumas. —Repetitive Thinking and the Autism Spectrum

2) We are innocent, naive, and honest. Do we lie? Yes. Do we like to lie? No. Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation.

Are we easily fooled and conned, particularly before we grow wiser to the ways of the world? Absolutely, yes.

Confusion, feeling misplaced, isolated, overwhelmed, and simply plopped down on the wrong universe, are all parts of the Aspie experience. Can we learn to adapt? Yes. Is it always hard to fit in at some level? Yes. Can we out grow our character traits? No….

We may have sought out answers to why we seemed to see the world differently than others we knew, only to be told we were attention seekers, paranoid, hypochondriacs, or too focused on diagnoses and labels.

Our personhood was challenged on the sole basis that we “knew” we were different but couldn’t prove it to the world and/or our personhood was oppressed as we attempted to be and act like someone we were not….

We may hold grudges and feel pain from a situation years later, but at the same time find it easier to forgive than hold a grudge. We might feel sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt us. —Asperger’s Traits (Women, Females, Girls)

Support groups, especially in anonymous weblogs, are the first step to diffusing the power of abusers. Others who have experienced covert abuse, know the truth. We share experiences and validate each others’ stories.

Abusers expect their victims to keep the secret of the abuse, colluding with them to hide the truth. They know that hiding the victimization gives more power to a shameful experience.

By hiding the abuse, the victim takes the shame of being abused, owns it, and becomes ashamed. Conversely, unveiling shame gives it right back to the perpetrator, where it belongs.

Of course, abusers will try to scapegoat the victim and portray themselves as the injured party, sometimes successfully. That’s why it’s so important to understand the scapegoat mechanism,to recognize it in all its disguises….

It helps to ruminate over the experience and turn those WTF? moments into AHA! moments. Once you understand the basics of shame and envy, you remember each memory from a different perspective.

The lies are revealed and the life you thought you had lived is reinterpreted. Memories become a new experience, filled with new meaning. Reality gives you back those years you had lost to lies.

The blog community, again, is a great source for triggering memories and helping to separate the truth from the lies you once believed….

Perhaps what psychopaths envy most, is our connection to God and community. Competition and rivalry is what they understand, but how do you appropriate someone’s ability to trust?

Psychopaths have a solution for that: If they can’t have it, nobody can. They plot to disconnect us from our ability to trust: in God and in humanity. They understand that if they can take away our faith, we become as alienated and soulless as they are. That’s their goal. —Steps to Healing From Domestic Abuse [Psychopaths]

Here’s a very helpful comment, from SlimOne, to the above quoted blog post:

I find it interesting that after so many years (about 5) I continue to think about the sociopath that gave me the reality slap. I am OK with it. And find, as you describe, that reframing continues to take place.

Initially I tried to keep myself from thinking about him. I worried that my rehashing was crazy and obsessive, and an indication that he was ‘winning’ and I was, conversely, losing.

Plus, in the beginning it was SO painful. But over time I found myself in a therapeutic place with it and many of the puzzling and WTF? moments WERE transformed into Aha’s!

I like that you included this as part of the healing path. It can often be overlooked, or seen as self-inflicted pain, that is simply ‘not getting over it’, and obsessing over the loss. And don’t get me wrong, it FEELS that way, initially. But with more knowledge about these pathologies, it takes on a different function.

Yelling and Swearing at Children is Emotional Child Abuse

 

Why I keep my blog up despite threats

You can start a blog tomorrow entitled “**** is a big, ugly jerk”, and devote that entire blog to expounding upon your belief that I am a shiathead, asshole, and motherf**ker.

But unless you actually say I did something bad that I didn’t do, and I can prove you knew it was false, and that your intent was malicious, and that I was harmed – I have no case against you. —Comment from Fark article about lawsuit against Julie Ann Smith

Exactly.  This is why I’m safe: I don’t go spreading lies about people.  I certainly don’t go posting lies on my blog.  I also don’t go naming people even though what I say is true.  If that’s what they’re looking for, they’ll never find anything, so they might as well quit.

For an abuser to actually win such a case would have a chilling effect on abuse bloggers all over the Net–and on free speech itself.  No, we need to keep speaking out on what’s happened to us.

From Recovering Grace, a blog about abuse, addressing the question bloggers often get, “Why don’t you just move on and stop being a victim?”

 Sound familiar? What I want to know is this: Who says that those of us who write against spiritual abuse, using our own pasts, aren’t moving on?

Do they think that writing about what happened, about our own stories, means that we’re still stuck in that place? -That we cannot “get past it?” Why does it have to be either/or?…

Think about it…

How can you write about healing without first talking about brokenness?

How can you proclaim victory without first speaking of defeat?

How can you claim freedom without first describing bondage?

How can I “comfort those who are in trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” if I cannot speak of how God has comforted me?

How can I speak of salvation without talking about what I was saved from?

How I praise God for His forgiveness if I cannot remember for what I was forgiven?

I cannot. It just doesn’t work that way. —My Personal Response to Why Don’t You Just Move On?

Justice suffers from flashbacks.  Sometimes Justice would read a story from my blog and it would trigger his/her own memories from the past.  Justice would re-live what had happened to him/her all over again.

Sometimes it would take days to get rid of the memories so that the day could begin fresh.  This has happened time and again since reading my blog.

It’s hard, but it’s pushing him/her one more step to healing.  As time goes by, the flashbacks will diminish and be replaced with a calm peace with only a distant memory of the pain.  But at least the pain will not overwhelm anymore.

When you have experienced emotional trauma in your life, one of the most scary feelings is the sense of being alone.

The cycle of triggering memories and re-living the pain has been difficult, but it was very helpful to finally realize that while Justice had once felt alone in these memories, reading the stories of others made him/her realize that he/she was not going crazy and imagining these situations.

These experiences he/she read about really did happen to others and it made Justice realize he/she was not alone.  Even though the stories I have posted may not have occurred at the same time as Justice’s experiences, there was an emotional connection with the person in the story….

That is what this blog is about and I have been wonderfully thrilled to have a small part in this “gathering” place and discuss what was never, ever to be discussed.

People, if you have never experienced spiritual abuse, you need to really get this part of the picture – the emotional scars of spiritual abuse can take years and years to heal and only prolong in silence.  In order for healing, the truth must be exposed and the heart needs to feel safe to heal. —Justice: Becoming Free

It’s true: Reading abuse/narcissism blogs and even just living my daily life, hearing a song, hearing a phrase, will bring flashbacks to the horrible experiences with Richard and Tracy.

But at the same time, as Julie Anne wrote, it’s leading to healing.  Repression keeps you stuck; pushing through the pain eventually leads to healing.  It happened with my past abuse experiences.

Or is it just normal after narcissistic abuse, and not NVLD/Asperger’s?

But here’s a blog by someone who has been in my place with a former narcissistic friend, and three years later, is finally in a place of not caring anymore: Missing Pretend Guy

From reading that and the comments, maybe it’s not about Asperger’s at all, but simply what happens when you’ve befriended a narcissist.  They’re a lot harder to get out of your system than a “normal” person, because, as the writer put it in a comment,

I appreciate your friends telling you to get on with life…but what they don’t realize is that the N has sucked the life out of you, it is hard to know where to start.

It is like when the Dementors (a Harry Potter analogy here) suck the life out of a victim. No, this was no normal relationship, and the break ups keep happening.

It is certainly true that I feel the life was sucked out of me.  Before Richard came, I was in a period of loneliness and isolation, having left my job to take care of my child, and all the people I knew there.

We also changed churches because my husband felt spiritually abused, and the doctrine had turned very Calvinistic.  Nobody contacted us afterwards.

My husband had a falling-out with one of our friends, her husband stopped coming to D&D games, and my husband struggled to keep a game going with the couple who was left.  We struggled to make friends at our new church.

Yet in general, my psyche was in a fairly normal state.  I had my usual hobbies and household tasks keeping me busy and contented.  I had a new obsession, Orthodoxy, and Richard and I had become great friends over the phone; I would tell him about my new Orthodox church and the experiences I had in the process of converting.

I began to make friends at my new church, because of the way coffee hours are done there, making it easier for introverts.  I was getting better at body language and conversation, though I was still quiet.

Then Richard moved in, and everything seemed absolutely wonderful, because now I had a close friend who would be living right here in my town!  It had been many years since that happened.

But at the same time, the constant dramas in his life put me on an emotional roller coaster.  I was very empathetic, crying when he cried, listening to his many complaints of being abused, not just then but while he lived with his wife and family.

He also started criticizing little things that were simply the way we do things in our house, or little things about me, things that were none of his business.  Then Tracy moved in and the drama stopped being outside of my house, and now all came into my house.

It was all very draining.  Yet when he moved out three and a half months later, I cried and felt like I’d lost a huge part of what made my house a home.  I couldn’t stand to watch TV, couldn’t stand to go online, just wanted him here with me, to talk with.

Over time that got better, but I still felt constantly drawn to be with him, like a magnet.  I thought it was because he was such an awesome person and we were two peas in a pod, drawn to each other, close and dear friends, like brother and sister.

But then he began to act–different.  He didn’t seem to treat our friendship as quite so important as he used to.  Little things made me paranoid.  He became more cutting and critical.

In 2009 or 2010, he complained about having to “pamper” me and began telling me things I did not know about him before, say there were things he’d want to say but not say.  It made me really begin to wonder who he really was.

And when the friendship breakup came as a result of Tracy’s verbal abuse, I felt lost and alone.  I was devastated; nothing could make me happy; I was torn to pieces, and questioning everything about myself and about our decision to end the friendship.

I’d read about Orthodox forgiveness, and it sounded like I was supposed to repent and beg for forgiveness even though I had done nothing wrong, even though it’s very wrong to require the victim of abuse to debase herself to her abuser.

Everything I saw, everything I did, every movie, every song, even my faith, reminded me of Richard or of Tracy’s accusations, so I could not get away from them.

The slightest trigger would send my brain into a constant spinning of wheels, like a mechanized track it had to follow until it worked its way back out again to a conclusion; I had to remember, ponder, figure out.

I think it took about a year for these tracks to stop, probably around the time I finished writing my account of what happened and could just re-read it if I started on a track again, and again find the conclusion I found before.

I trusted only the people I already knew, constantly afraid to make new friends, because they might turn out to be just like Tracy, or rip out my heart as Richard did.  I even had terrible migraines that didn’t go away.

As they say, I felt like the life had been sucked out of me and nothing was left to keep me going.  And it wasn’t just because of him, since I had two narcissists preying on me, him and Tracy.  It’s no wonder I’m still processing it two years later.

Often you read about escaping a narcissistic lover or family, but here, finally, is an account of escaping a narcissistic friend.  She suffered just as I suffer, but now the suffering is over.  So it can happen, given time.

Like one of her commenters, I often wonder if I only suspect my ex-friend of narcissism to make myself feel better, if he really is what I thought he was, sweet and gentle and loving and such, but he’s got Stockholm Syndrome so that’s why he’s been acting the way he has.

But then, it’s often noted that a narcissist, in the “honeymoon period” of your relationship (romantic, platonic or work-based), will mirror yourself back at you, which hooks you.

I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt–if he ever asks for it.  But be more watchful and careful after that–and not allow either one of them to watch my child again.  Tracy, on the other hand, I have no doubts to be a malignant narcissist, so she would never get a second chance with me.

Shrink4Men on the removal of the Psycho Ex-Wife blog:

One of the things abusive bullies, high-conflict people (HCP) — whatever you want to refer to them as — fear most is exposure. They will fight tooth and nail against having their misbehavior exposed.

These types equally fear the loss of control. PEW probably represents both fears for Ms Morelli; exposure and loss of control.

Imagine the rage if your abusive ex, wife or girlfriend discovered that you read Shrink4Men and posting comments describing her toxic behavior here.

Kaboom.

Who knows, maybe the flashes of pain and sadness and grief over Richard, rather than anger, are actually part of a process of forgiveness.  As Christina Enevoldsen writes:

I continued to write and talk about my anger, fear and pain. One day, after months and months of processing, I woke up and actually wanted to forgive my mom and dad. I was shocked. The day before, I hadn’t felt anywhere near being able to forgive. Suddenly, I was prepared to drop of the baggage of offense.

Once I made that decision, I felt lighter, freer. I wouldn’t have believed how much of a difference it made.

Forgiveness didn’t mean the end of my pain. Actually, once I forgave them, I felt the most intense pain of my journey so far. Forgiveness opened my heart to compassion and understanding of them (not excuses for their behavior) and a view of them in a more balanced way.

In my anger and hatred, I only saw them as evil people without any redeeming qualities. Since nobody is all good or all bad, that was one of the lies I used to try to protect myself.

Once I admitted to myself that my parents actually do have good qualities, I started missing them terribly. I really wanted my mommy! This is a journey of finding the truth, so even though the truth brought pain, I welcomed it since it also brings healing.

I’ve worked through that pain now and I know the forgiveness brought me more strength. I don’t feel tied to the abuse like I used to. I always had the knowledge that I was stronger than the abuse, but the forgiveness process left me actually feeling stronger than it.

 

Sexual Relations with Shawn (sexual user): The Downward Spiral to a Crash; Counseling–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–February 1993, Part 2

Sexual Relations with Shawn: The Downward Spiral to a Crash 

I discovered in February that the leader of our S– Nazarene church wasn’t actually a pastor.  He and his wife had full-time jobs, so trying to run the church was getting too taxing.  They closed the metaphorical doors of that church, so that was the end of my churchgoing for a while.

****

Around this time, Shawn asked for a wakeup call.  So I said, “This is your wake-up call, Shawn.  Do not, I repeat, do not roll over and go back to sleep, or you will die a horrible death, suspended by a string and by your fingernails over a pool of piranhas.–And with your weight, the string will immediately break.”

…So he rolled over and went back to sleep.  When I found out, I told him, “You know what I’m going to have to do to you now.”  As he talked with Frank, I said to Shawn, “I guess I’ll have to take you down to the lagoon–as soon as I get a string and some piranhas.”  He smiled, and Frank cracked up.

****

On the late night of the 6th, Shawn called me over to watch TV.  We played with each other for a while, then were enflamed with passion and did all sorts of things we shouldn’t have, oughtn’t have done.

In fact, when I read what had been going through our heads for the past several weeks, and what all we did do, which did qualify as sexual relations, what astounds me is what we didn’t do that night: go all the way.  I’m sure that one word from me, and it would have been done.

And our lives could have been irrevocably changed.  According to my calendar, I was probably not fertile, but–Pregnancy, change in life plans, married to someone who wanted to change everything about me, him dealing with this and his brother’s illness/eventual death at the same time….

Or if not pregnancy, then would he have hated me afterwards?  Or would he have fallen for me?  Who knows.  But if nothing else changed, then the end of the year still would have been that much harder to deal with.  And, as you will see, it already became excruciatingly painful to part because of the things we did do, because of the contempt he felt for me because of them.

Eventually we fell asleep in each other’s arms, and it was sweet.  But then he woke up around 5am, got angry with me for still being there, and unceremoniously tossed me out into the cold.  I hoped he was just cranky from being tired.

There was no “talk” afterwards this time, however.  In the days following, there was none of the usual tenseness when we saw each other around campus.

I felt good when he looked at me–which he did a lot–and his eyes showed so much tenderness, and some kind of love, though I wasn’t sure what kind.  Then on the 8th, we sat across from each other in Bible Study.  Not what you usually expect to be between two people sitting in Bible study….

Even Clarissa noticed something different about him.  He seemed happy and hyper when in my view, but Clarissa saw him walking with his head down a little.  She thought she saw something there that she didn’t see before.

He sat at my table a lot and also gave me little things, like red-hot candies or a certain picture.  I thought that, for sure, he must be in love with me now.

On Valentine’s Day, we were together in his room.  As we made out I thought he really meant it this time, that we were finally a “couple.”  But then, while I was still basking in the glow of my happiness, he told me he wasn’t attracted to me and I wasn’t what he was looking for, though he didn’t know what that was.  (Flashback to Ned and Catherine!)

This got me so upset that I decided to start seeing the campus counselor, someone older whom I could talk to.

Monday of the next week was intense.  The thing I did not want him to do to me during the scary scold session in January, he did now, suddenly and forcefully from what I recall, taking away my innocence and filling me with thoughts I could barely control.

(Not what is clinically called “coitus,” but another thing which I do not want to name on the Internet.)  And even though he himself had similar thoughts and told me about them, he judged me for mine when I confessed them to him.

My diary entries for late February and mid-March show that I felt as if demons had taken hold of my thoughts.  After Bible study one night, I confessed them to Pearl.  We prayed about it, and I confessed my thoughts to Shawn.  As if I’d snapped my fingers, the darkness flew away.

But this was the last time Shawn and I did anything physical for a while, to help me get those thoughts out of my head.  Sometimes we did spend time together and talk on the phone, but he started sitting elsewhere at meals.

People got mad at him for not being nice to me, but I didn’t agree and was indignant at them (probably Stockholm Syndrome).  He didn’t understand why they thought that.  For example, one of my friends was mad at him, and he complained to me about it.  I referred to this at a meal one day, so she got mad at him again for not keeping her opinion between them.

Counseling

I first met with the school counselor on February 23.

After Shawn had pulled so much crap with me over the past few months, as a sexual user:

He played with my head and my body,

took my innocence and led me into sexual experiences that I should not have done and convinced me they were not sinful and then spoke to me like I was a slut,

asked or begged me to do things that were consensual and enjoyable but then scolded me for doing them and made me feel like he was just doing it to humor me,

insisted or even coerced me into some things so I had to stop him or felt I could not stop him,

wanted to coerce me into more,

lusted after me and said he had fantasies about me yet told me he was not attracted to me,

led me on and tore me down over and over again–

So I became a wreck, and decided that only a counselor could help me get my life back together now.

Things he had said about me, and things he would say later on (in March, which I address in this paragraph, too), haunted me for years, even though all my friends and my counselor assured me they were not true.

I could not understand why he would accuse me of them.  They became some of the main bases for me to consider NVLD as a possibility, because those very things were listed as signs and misunderstandings of people with NVLD.

Such as, people with NVLD/Asperger’s are very concerned with accuracy, which sometimes exasperates others, makes them think we have to be right, when no, we just want to be helpful and keep you out of error.

We don’t understand why this upsets others, and become mystified when they get angry and accuse us of having to be right.  We think, Don’t you want to be accurate?

It’s also an introvert thing, since I have to think before I speak, and oftentimes need far more time to prepare a response than I get.  So I’ll think of something later on and say it.

To me this is perfectly valid, but apparently extroverts get annoyed by it at times.  But extroverts need to deal with it, because otherwise we introverts aren’t capable of giving them the responses and ideas they want.

It was one of the many things Shawn said he hated, that I took too long to respond to his questions.  But this was nothing I could help, and he needed to be more accommodating and patient.

Or, as Pearl did say, the time I didn’t ask Sharon how she was doing after her cousin died, but this was not because I didn’t care or was selfish (I did very much care about my friends and how they were feeling), but because I missed the social cues and did not realize I was supposed to say anything.  Until Pearl said something, I had no clue I had even offended Sharon!

I tried so hard to be nice and sweet to people, but again and again I’d be misunderstood and accused of things that were not in my mind; Shawn did plenty of this.  NVLD/Asperger’s explains why on earth people would think such things of me, and also why I had so much trouble understanding these social cues that others know instinctively.

The constant criticisms from Shawn haunted me years later when another best friend, Richard, did the same thing to me, telling me everything I did was wrong in some way, from what food I ate to how I socialized.

And I would have no way of knowing for sure if I was really as bad as these critics made me sound, or if there was something in them that made them find fault in others to an excessive, abusive degree.

Starting in January 1993, as I have shown, and continuing through May 1993, as I will show, I witnessed various outbursts from Shawn which scared or upset me greatly.  He increasingly said hurtful things.

I also noted during that time that he even criticized how I kissed him (while Peter said I was a great kisser, an expert, told Phil this, and Phil agreed); I wrote that if he didn’t like it, then teach me how to do it better, don’t cut me down.

There were also things related to his Winterim class which were serious and which I have not described, that caused him stress.

It’s also very possible that his brother’s health was deteriorating.  Could Shawn have been heading to another nervous breakdown and taking me along with his precarious mental state?

It was possible, especially with what happened in May 1993, and how it affected him.  But I had no way of knowing with my limited knowledge, could only think he was doing these things on purpose to hurt me.

I see from my day planner that I planned to ask the counselor the question, What in the world is making me depressed all the time?!  Shawn might say I wanted to be, but no, it was because of what was going on in my life freshman and sophomore year.

I had six counseling sessions free before my parents would have to pay for it, so I decided to take advantage of this.  It seems we only had 20 minutes to talk on the 23rd, but she called me that night to talk some more.

The first little session took care of things like insurance and stuff, and didn’t get into what I really wanted to talk about.  So on the phone, I told her my problems: the Shawn situation, as I called it, and the Peter situation.

She asked how often I thought of Peter still, and I said at least once a day.  She said that was a lot and we’d have to talk about that, too–but I neglected to say that I thought about him that often because I was praying for him every night.  These prayers were for his soul, not for our old relationship.

The counselor kept talking about shyness and how to break free of it, but this wasn’t my problem.  I kept trying to get the discussion back to the situation with Shawn.

All sorts of Christian denominations, from Orthodoxy to Baptist, say that Christians should only marry Christians.  Youth advisers naturally extended that to serious dating, and sometimes even casual dating.  The counselor said that part of my problem may have been that I didn’t have much of a pool to choose from (something I, ironically, had tried to avoid by going to a Christian college).

She didn’t suggest I change my beliefs; rather, she looked through the phone book and suggested some churches I could try going to.  However, they sounded very different from my own church, such as Baptist and Dutch Reformed.  S– doesn’t have a huge variety of churches, such as you might find in South Bend.

Though at times I wondered if they helped at all, in the end (April 6) I decided these counseling sessions had done me a world of good.  More on this later.

****

One day, I told Shawn that Peter never said anything to me, not even hi.

Shawn said, “Maybe he’s waiting for you to say it.”

That shocked me, since I had tried to start up a friendship with Peter a couple of times already, only to be spurned.  But I tried it anyway.

On the 19th, I saw us about to pass each other outside.  I didn’t know if I could do it, if he’d hear me, or if he’d even answer, but I looked back as we passed, and said hi.

For a moment I expected nothing, but then I heard, “Hi.”  Another time, he even said, “Hey, how ya doin’?”

****

On snow days (and on days when the water went out), paper cups, bowls, plates and utensils were used.  The RA’s helped in Food Service because the cooks and other non-student workers couldn’t make it to the campus.

On one snow day, Rachel helped us clean up in Food Service.  She stood next to me and said,

“Some people think you’ve gained some weight, but I don’t think so.”

“Nope,” I said, tugging on the leg of my pants.  I had been wearing them since I came to Roanoke; they now billowed around me.  Roanoke had made me 120 pounds, the perfect weight for a small-boned woman of barely 5’5.

I had no idea Rachel was testing me out.  I later discovered that, because I wrote a poem about a pregnant girl and usually wrote about my own life, people thought I was pregnant by Shawn.

Despite the things we did do, Shawn and I had done nothing to cause pregnancy, so it was funny.  And here I’d been afraid people would think my poem was about another girl on campus, who really was pregnant.

****

A Zulu dance group, Shikisha, performed in the Bradley in February.  They did African dances and original songs.  The first hour was just Shikisha (3 women) and their male drummer.

After the intermission, a rock band, with black members from such places as France, the U.S. and Nigeria, joined them, and we got a rock concert for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I got so caught up in it that I felt sorry for people who didn’t come, and I had to get a tape of them.  I kept thinking of the PBS miniseries Shaka Zulu, especially with the way they were dressed.

Afterwards, I found Anna, Latosha and an exchange student from Nigeria.  Latosha wanted a tape for, as she called it, “my kid.”  That’s when Latosha told me she was pregnant by E—, the guy who had caused her so much grief freshman year.  I said I wanted a tape, but they’d already cleared them away.

Latosha said, “We can go backstage and get one.”

She led us back, and we got to meet all the performers–once they were dressed in normal clothes.  I got a tape, and the drummer said, “Don’t you want any more, for your family?”

“I can’t afford it,” I said.

“She can dub it,” Latosha said.

“Ohhh!” he said.

We met the three dancers a few minutes later, and they autographed our tapes.  We talked with them for a while, and found out the youngest one, who looked 12, was 19.

One dancer had a shirt in the first act that was cut differently from those of the other dancers; it kept slipping dangerously during the dances.  (They dressed in traditional Zulu clothes, so she didn’t wear a bra.)  Anna or Latosha said she was quick about pushing it back up.

The oldest dancer had long hair, maybe waist-length, put in tiny braids.  The youngest one asked for our names and made a little song out of them.

****

On the 27th, Shawn and I visited a student from Cambodia, S–, to play with his Sega.  Shawn and I beat up street thugs for a while, then S– and I watched Shawn get beat up by a gorilla in “Spiderman.”  Shawn insisted he used to be good at it.

Then he showed me Sonic The Hedgehog 2.  I did terribly at it, during a race against Shawn, since I had never played the game before.  “Two-year-olds play this better than you!” he said.  (I was playing with dolls at two.)

But, hey, I’ve never been adept at video games.  I think the whole coordination thing gets me, probably because of NVLD.

So obviously Shawn and I were still hanging out from time to time, still friends, despite everything.  I also wrote a long list of things to talk to him about, probably to do what we originally were going to do–back away from the physical and learn more about each other as people, not lovers.

****

Sometime that semester, the women of the campus were shaken up by stories of a rapist loose in S–.  Cindy said her mom saw him in the laundromat late one night, that he knew her and was after her for some reason.  I think he had kind of a Hitler-look, maybe with his hair.

There were rumors of him being spotted on campus, based on people seeing a guy who looked like him but was just some innocent husband of a non-trad.  He never actually did step foot on our campus, as far as we knew.

But the fear of him inspired warnings that we women shouldn’t go anywhere alone at night, and I would have Clarissa go with me just to do my laundry at night.

This may have been when the dorms were now locked up at all times, accessible only by key, meaning that I could no longer go from the suites to Krueger’s side door to get snacks or see people whenever I wanted to.

Mom had always worried that I would get raped at college, so I never did tell her about this rapist.  I told Dad, but with strict orders not to tell Mom or else she would be a nervous wreck.

I found a rapist warning in the school paper for April 30, and I don’t believe I found one any earlier.  But I keep thinking it was in February.  The May 7 paper explains that a “suspect,” though heavier and with glasses, in the rape cases was confronted in the Roanoke College library on May 5; this is probably the guy who was just somebody’s innocent husband.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

My Mental/Visual/Touch Stimming: Could it be Asperger’s?

To me, NVLD and/or Asperger’s is a fascinating look into the differences in how our brains work.  I find the differences awesome, and hope that one day they will be accepted, not labeled “disorders” which must be “fixed.”

They also explain many things about myself that never made sense before, make me “normal” among people who have these same “abnormalities.”  It makes me okay the way I am.  They’re also not related to introversion, so can’t be explained away that way.

NVLD/Asperger’s quickly became, back in 2000, one of my many long-term, obsessive interests, because finally I had a reason for why I do the things I do, why my brain works the way it does, why others don’t do these things that seem perfectly normal and logical to me, or which I’ve always done but not known why.

For example, I have various little things I do which I’ve done since childhood, but they’re so subtle that I doubt anybody notices but myself.  They seem to increase when I’m going through anxious periods.

For example, sometimes I’ll feel my heel strike a crack in the sidewalk, and I don’t feel right until the opposite heel strikes a crack in the sidewalk as well.  I’ll stare at tiles and find patterns.  I alphabetize my music and movies.  I’ll stare into space, or my eyes will cross, as a form of relaxation when visuals are getting a bit overwhelming.

If I’m folding laundry and a sock or towel hits my leg, oftentimes I won’t feel right until I hit one against the other leg as well.  I do the same thing with my fingers.  I keep nibbling on the inside of my mouth without realizing it.

It doesn’t always happen, but as I noted, seems to increase in times of anxiety.  For the past 2 years, while dealing with a very emotionally traumatic situation, I’ve been doing these things more often, and added a couple of new ones.  Now my eyes vaguely cross a lot, intentionally.  Not sure why.  I try to stop it because it gives me a headache, but do it anyway.

I recall, as a kid, one day just looking at the ceiling and deciding I would start doing one of my stims, which I have never stopped doing: counting, looking for even numbers in things, such as tiles on the ceiling.

I count letters in words in titles or signs, hoping for even numbers of letters or words as my eyes sweep back and forth over the word in various patterns, doing this until it “feels finished.”  I look for symmetry.

I prefer round letters and numbers because they make easier patterns; I’ll even make a pattern with an individual letter or number.  As a child, my favorite number was 8 and numbers related to 8, such as 16–because 8 is a round number.

I’ll do the same thing with letters or numbers or pictures or other objects, my eyes sweeping over an object back and forth an even number of times to form an even pattern.

I do it to titles on books, to words on a page I’m reading, to tiles on the floor, to the iconostasis (wall with all the icons) at church, to the golden objects (crosses, etc.) on the altar, to the incense holders hanging.

I count them, see there’s this number on one side, this number on the other, back and forth, until finally the service begins.

I see a line or a word and think of the capital letters opposite other capital letters, the lowercase letters in contrast, try to form a pattern with the capitals on the outside.

An embedded web video stuck on an endless loop (such as in forum avatars or on page 3 of the below-linked forum discussion) can drive me crazy, as I start wanting to see it go through the loop a certain number of times before I turn it off.  I don’t even know how many times; just until it “feels finished.”

I’ll often look at a word or phrase again and again after having just read it, until I’m “done.”

And my brain has done these things for as long as I can remember.  It’s usually not at all related to anxiety, though anxiety can increase the frequency of some of them.

Riding in a car also sometimes drives me crazy as I start forming patterns with every sign and wire I see.

Sometimes I will sit and stare, a kind of “rest,” or just let my eyes go unfocused (crossing them, apparently) because it’s restful.

As a child in Kindergarten, and even now, I see numbers as male or female.  Male: 0, 1, 4, 5, 7.  Female: 2, 3, 6, 8, 9.  Yet 16 is female, and so is 20, even though they are mixed.

It’s something about the way they look.  I’m not sure what, exactly, because 0 and 5 are round, same as 3, 8 and 9, and 2 has a straight line just as most of the “male” numbers do.

Thoughts will circle in my head until they’re said in just the right way or I feel them in my throat the right number of times (something about, I haven’t really “thought” it unless I can feel the word in my throat).

Certain phrases will go through my head again and again and again until they interfere with other thoughts and activities and seem about to drive me crazy.  (These are not “voices in my head,” but my own thought-voice.)

It’s words I hear or read, or a few near-constant stock phrases which have been with me for years/decades (such as “Lord have mercy” since I became Orthodox, and “please forgive me” before that).

(In fact, Orthodoxy encourages stimming on “Lord have mercy” as a spiritual exercise.)  Sometimes I’ll start humming to get an unpleasant thought out of my head.

Up until now, no one has known about these mental/visual/tactile stims which I have done all my life.  Because they’re mostly in my head, nobody knows they’re going on.  Only recently have I told my husband these things go on in my head constantly.

I’m not sure if NLD has traits like these, but Asperger’s does; a quick Google search on “mental stimming” brings up a forum discussion on this very thing.

Some of these things will go endlessly through my head so much that I barely notice it, or they die down for a while, but start up again in periods of depression or anxiety or deep thought.

A blogger with Asperger’s describes stimming here, and one of his commenters described my thing with sidewalk cracks here:

However, I do the crack thing, I have to step on the cracks, or i have to step on a crack with my left foot, then step over the next crack with my left foot so that my right foot touches the next crack. I must say, you’re right about looking insane when walking. I have jumped to get to the next crack, and every time I walk it’s different. Sometimes it is not stepping on the cracks, sometimes it’s stepping near the cracks. It’s very calming.

Apparently people with normal brains stim too, so I don’t know what the difference is between “normal” and “Asperger’s” stimming.  Needs more research….If what I do is normal, then NLD is more likely, as it’s more mild than Asperger’s.

Everybody stims, Aspies and NTs alike and usually they’re unaware of it.

Aspies tend to stim more often than NTs and it tends to be more for stress/anxiety relief.

Most aspies won’t be aware that it’s a relief mechanism, they’ll probably just tell you that it feels good.

Virtually any kind of repetitive behaviour without a specific point other than “feel-good” can be a stim. The difficulty involved in stopping the stim and the frequency at which it occurs is what distinguishes an aspie stim from a neurotypical stim. –Gavin Bollard’s comment, Life With Aspergers: What is Stimming

 

Here a blogger, who after her children were diagnosed realized she herself had grown up undiagnosed with Asperger’s, writes that she can never stand still.  She shifts her weight back and forth from one foot to another.  She was sure lots of people do this, until she started watching, and saw almost nobody doing it.

I do this in church.  Since I go to a liturgical church, I can say with certainty that I’m not moving to upbeat praise and worship music (which tends to make me want to avoid swaying, anyway, in defiance at musical manipulation).

When I’m not in church, but standing at a corner waiting to cross the street, or standing in line, I rock back and forth on my feet.  I just can’t stand still without a lot of effort.

My husband does this too, so the question arises: is this common or isn’t it?  Some comments I find on blogs are that everybody stims; it’s just a question of how socially acceptable the stimming behavior is: making strange noises vs. tapping your pencil, for example.

Here the same blogger goes into detail about stimming and where she thinks the line is drawn between “normal” and autistic/Asperger’s stimming.

I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve done most of these stims since childhood.  I am getting some new ones, however, due to excessive anxiety, which is quite annoying.

Threads on this from the Asperger’s Wrong Planet forum, with which I identify so strongly that I keep saying, “Yes!  Yes!”:
Mental Repetition of Phrases/Words?
Mental Stimming

I started watching Mozart and the Whale and I realized that the guy in the movie, Donald, when he is looking around he notices things and makes combinations and associations in his mind, which is also what I do.

I do it at home and also when I am sitting somewhere in public. While seeing him in the movie, I realize that when I am doing this my eyes must be moving in a way that must come across as very bizarre to other people.

…Anyway, do u have the same thing? do you look around and make combinations all the time and observe lines, numbers,colors etc —How do you move your eyes?

Why, yes, yes, I do.  Yes, I trace things with my eyes, as well.  From that same thread, I also identify with this:

For instance, looking at a sentence on a billboard, I end up counting the letters and spaces so I can find the figure or space that is the middle of the sentence, the fulcrum of symmetry if you will.

Or if say a sentence has an odd number of words, like 3 or 5, i cut the sentence in half and count how many letters I’d have to add to one side or the other to make them symmetrical.

In case you didn’t notice, I have huge issues with symmetry and constantly striving to achieve it in everything I observe.

You’ll note these threads also comment on perseveration, which is related to the same things going around in your head all the time, or a child with Asperger’s getting so latched onto a subject/interest that you can’t get him off it.

I do that constantly, whenever I’m going through some emotional issue, or I’ve gotten interested in some new thing, such as ancient Egypt when I was 12 (or re-interested in some old thing, such as my curiosity in NVLD/Asperger’s taking a rest for months and then popping up again and I have to do more research on it), or I’m so deeply interested in a writing project that I think about it while doing other things.  It keeps going whether I want it to or not.

It’s always been this way.  No matter what it is–perseveration, or mental stimming, or visual stimming–my mind is constantly very busy.  It makes it hard to fall asleep sometimes.

Perseveration is the reason I would research as much as I could into whatever I was writing about; of course, before the Internet exploded, it was hard to find good materials.  Now, I have them at my fingertips.  It’s a perseverator’s dream!

When I got curious about Orthodoxy in 2005, I became so obsessed with it that I bought books, printed hundreds of website pages, went on forums, spent months–maybe a year–researching it heavily before visiting the local Orthodox church in November 2006.  My research filled a whole box when it became far too thick for its accordion file.

Related to perseveration and thoughts constantly replaying in the head:

Inability to get over it.
I blame the long term aspie memory for this. Many of my present actions are shaped by my past experiences. I find the past very difficult to let go of and it permeates into everything I do.

I’m terrified to let people near my stuff because of something that happened when I was in year 5 at school.  I’m difficult and resentful in certain situations at work because of a problem that happened four years ago (that everyone else has forgotten).

It’s even becoming something of a catchphrase of my wife’s; “Get over it!”. Of course, that’s just the point… I can’t. —Life With Asperger’s

One of the most effective coping mechanisms I employ is “conversation recording” where I attempt to remember an event in its entirety for later analysis.

In aspies with particularly well-developed coping mechanisms (typically, older aspies), event recording is virtually “second nature”. It often occurs without any conscious decision on our part.

When an event is “recorded”, a lot of things, particularly tone and body language which are not accessible at the time are retained.

The funny thing about this type of retention is that although a lot of input is captured, it usually isn’t available to me until I review the “recording”. Something I may not do until hours or days later – and often, unless I have a reason to do so, not at all.

I’m in the habit of reviewing “recordings” whenever I get an unexpected response from people or whenever I deem that a conversation is important and could be carrying more information than is immediately obvious. —Life With Asperger’s

Yep, I do that.

A lot of things come back to the aspie memory. Aspies often have very clear memories of events and quotations.

In conversation, they may drop a remark which links back to a particular memory but even if the NT was present at that event, it could have been years ago, or the particular part of the event to which the Aspie is referring may not form a large part of their memory. —Life With Asperger’s

There’s no doubt that vivid memories (trauma) are remembered both by animals and people. There’s also little doubt that these memories, both negative and positive affect our future actions.

Where I think the aspie differs is that key memories don’t necessarily need to be large or traumatic in order to be “vivid”.

“Can’t move on” is a phrase that is often associated with Aspergers. In fact, I’m sure it appears somewhere in the official criteria.

The inability to move on is due to a number of factors including; change resistance, routine, insecurity and memory.

Children with aspergers seem to take things in like sponges and retain them forever. They revisit those memories over and over again and after a time, even the smallest and least traumatic of them can become a major influence on their lives. —Life With Asperger’s

How can a having a good long-term memory be responsible for depression?

The key to understanding this is to approach it from the point of view of an NT [neurotypical, or “normal” brain].

Most of the time, it seems to me that detailed memories just aren’t available for NTs without external assistance. By external assistance, I mean the use of video cameras or photo albums.

In the movie One Hour Photo, Robin William’s character says, while looking at birthday snaps, “Nobody takes a picture of something they want to forget”. I think that this is particularly relevant to the issue because it means that NT’s tend only to remember the good things in any detail.

The Aspie however, with their long term memory often has perfect recall of past events and conversations. They will spend hours analyzing a conversation that occurred years ago and will often take negative feedback on board even if it was provided in the heat of the moment.

The long term memory of the Aspie therefore can be their worst enemy for dredging up guilt and other negative emotions.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not entirely where the lines are drawn between Asperger’s and Obsessive Compulsion. It is obvious that people can suffer from Obsessive Compulsion without having Asperger’s Syndrome but I’m not convinced that it works the other way around.

To be specific, I think that the Asperger’s condition carries with it certain obsessive compulsive influences which manifest themselves in different ways. —Life With Asperger’s

Blogs by People with NVLD or Asperger’s

NVLD:
Musings of Someone With NLD
I am learning disabled

Asperger’s:
Life With Asperger’s
Asperger’s and the Alien

Here are blog posts by an Aspie about perseveration.  I also agree with her about transitions: I would deal with it because I had to.  But when I was at work and the phone rang while I was hard at work on something, it was very annoying and shattering to my brain.  Also, my mom noted to teachers that it was hard to pull me from one activity to another.

Here Amy Murphy writes about selective mutism in a post which, all of it together, sounds extremely familiar:

Don’t call it a disorder..I’m really starting to frown on this whole, this is a disorder and thus and thus needs treatment and bullsh**…f**k it. Life should not be this much conscious work. This is who I am and what I am so suck it up or shut up.

Being an introvert, combined with all these other things, has always made social situations extremely difficult to navigate.  There are various things I deal with which are normal for introverts, but I believe they’ve been intensified because of the issues of NVLD as well.

I know other introverts who don’t seem to have a lot of the issues I do.  Such as, they muse about things, but don’t perseverate to the extent I do.

I list here both NVLD and Asperger’s blogs because there is overlap between the two.  The two are not the same thing–Asperger’s has issues NVLD does not, being on the autistic spectrum–but they do share many similar characteristics and challenges.

The more I learn about Asperger’s, the less I identify with it, but the more I learn about NVLD, the more I identify with that.  But I do identify with Asperger’s issues such as mental stims, perseveration and selective mutism (which was far worse when I was a kid, but still exists).  From my NVLD page:

 

This is me to a T: “Perseveration and the Broken Record.”  [This blog post by Aspie Teacher no longer exists, but I think it may have been moved here.]  Pertinent quote:

I especially have trouble derailing myself when I am having trouble processing something. This can cause me great stress. I can feel that I have gotten stuck in a feedback loop.

My husband has been known to get very irritated with me when this happens. This only makes it worse, because I end up feeling guilty, stupid, and helpless that I can’t do anything to break the feedback loop.

Since receiving my official diagnosis over a year ago, my husband has tried to think of better ways of helping my brain switch gears when it gets stuck. Usually I just need to talk and have him listen without him judging me or trying to solve any problems.

I have come to realize that verbalizing what in in my head helps me process it, but this is not always an easy thing for me. I can’t always find the words to convey what I need to say.

Writing has become my voice. It helps me process the chaos that can develop in my brain. I also have found that what I need is understanding and encouragement. These two actions can do so much for a person.

Another blog post by someone diagnosed with perseveration:

Sometimes it happens when I am trying to diagnose a problem and I keep barking up the same solution.  Other times, it happens  emotionally.

My brain can get stuck on something emotionally and I keep going over it again and again.  Ruminating over past incidents becomes a bit of a tape that gets played over and over again.  I find I can ruminate over unhappy or unfair things a bit excessively. –Carol Ng, The Broken Record of Perseveration

I have the words and phrases that keep going through my head over and over again.  I have the recurring obsessions over various special interests, though not to the level (or strangeness) of an Aspie.  And I have the emotional upsets that keep going around and around in my head even months or years after the incident that triggered it.

You could ask anyone who’s been around me during tough times of my life–parents, college friends, college acquaintances, old roommates, my husband–and they’d tell you how I go over and over things again and again and again.

I’d hear of people wanting to go inside themselves and not talk after a difficult incident, and their loved ones trying hard to pull them out so they’ll feel better–and I’d wonder how anybody would want to keep that inside.  I, on the other hand, want to talk about my problems, far more than anyone wants to listen.

I had no idea I did this until my first big heartbreak in college.  I’d been heartbroken many times during my childhood and adolescence, since I was boy-crazy from a young age but it was usually unrequited.  It would bug me for a while, but I would deal with it, maybe cry once or twice.

But I was not prepared for what it felt like to have a guy love you back (or at least say he did), promise he would marry you, tell you you were meant to be together, and then break up with you.  I was devastated, and had no idea what to do or how to get relief, or how to get him back.

I talked to anyone who would listen: acquaintances, friends, roommate, suitemates, Mom, Dad, best friend back home.  I wrote a few letters to the guy to try to change his mind, pouring out my feelings and argumenta (not a typo) for why we should get back together, but they didn’t work the way I expected, so I stopped doing that.

I had no idea that my discussions of the guy with other people had gotten to be too much for them until one of my friends told me so one day, that they were tired of hearing about him.  It just never occurred to me that I could be talking about him too much.

So after that I went within myself, because even though I stopped talking about the matter, I didn’t stop thinking about it.  I couldn’t stop.  I filled diaries with my thoughts about it.  I wrote it into stories.

This perseveration happens again and again with various issues in my life.  Years later, something will trigger a memory and I’ll start wondering again: How could I have done that?  How could they have said that?  How embarrassing!  How infuriating!

Being upset over a breakup may be long past because I don’t want those guys anymore and am happily married.  But I’ll still remember the nasty things a guy did or said.  One reason why I keep a record of my life is to get these thoughts on paper and–I hope–leave them there.

I try to limit how much I talk about something to keep from annoying people, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone from my mind.  Normally, it’s constantly present until my mind finally moves on to something else.  And apparently I still talk about things enough that my husband starts to talk about me “going around and around.”

…I have various little things I do which resemble OCD, which I’ve done since childhood, but they’re so subtle that I doubt anybody notices but myself.  They seem to increase when I’m going through anxious periods.

For example, sometimes I’ll feel my heel strike a crack in the sidewalk, and I don’t feel right until the opposite heel strikes a crack in the sidewalk as well.

I’ll stare at tiles and find patterns.  I’ll stare into space, or my eyes will cross, as a form of relaxation when visuals are getting a bit overwhelming.

If I’m folding laundry and a sock or towel hits my leg, oftentimes I won’t feel right until I hit one against the other leg as well.

It doesn’t always happen, but as I noted, seems to increase in times of anxiety.  For the past 6 months, while dealing with a very emotionally traumatic situation, I’ve been doing these things quite a bit [this part was probably written around February 2011].

I count letters in words, hoping for even numbers of letters as my eyes sweep back and forth over the word in various patterns.

I’ll do the same thing with letters or numbers or pictures, my eyes sweeping over an object back and forth an even number of times to form an even pattern.

A web video stuck on an endless loop (such as in avatars or page 3 of the below-linked forum discussion) can drive me crazy, as I start wanting to see it go through the loop a certain number of times before I turn it off.

Sometimes I will sit and stare, a kind of “rest,” or just let my eyes go unfocused (crossing them, apparently) because it’s restful.

Thoughts will circle in my head until they’re said in just the right way or I feel them in my throat the right number of times.  Certain phrases will go through my head again and again and again until they interfere with other thoughts and activities and seem about to drive me crazy.  (These are not “voices in my head,” but my own thought-voice.)

I also tend to chew the inside of my mouth, absent-mindedly.  It hasn’t caused major problems, though occasionally I bite myself.  ?

I’m not sure if NLD has traits like these, but Asperger’s does; a quick Google search on “mental stimming” brings up a forum discussion on this very thing.

Some of these things will go endlessly through my head so much that I barely notice it, or die down for a while, but start up again in periods of depression or anxiety or deep thought.

A blogger with Asperger’s describes stimming here, and one of his commenters described my thing with sidewalk cracks here.  Apparently people with normal brains stim too, so I don’t know what the difference is between “normal” and “Asperger’s” stimming.  Needs more research….If what I do is normal, then NLD is more likely, as it’s more mild than Asperger’s.

 

From Is it NVLD or Asperger’s?:

In keeping with autistic symptoms, children with Asperger’s Syndrome often become fixated on repetitive behaviors and compulsive organization in keeping their routines, as well as intense focus on discussing a particular topic repeatedly (a behavior known as perseveration).

The Relief of Being With Friends Who Do Not Abuse You

After the trauma of being bullied for more than two years for being shy and quiet, of being hounded for it–

treated as if I had nefarious motives–

punished by withholding me from my best friend–

screamed at via e-mail in vicious, foul language–

and even turned on and blamed for this abuse by my own best friend–

then ridiculed by them both for being traumatized by this and not wanting to see either of them again–

then intimidated by them by sending me a nasty message and stalking my blog after being banned from it for malicious behavior–

then intimidated into silence through threats if I dare to tell my priest what they’ve been doing–

It is a balm to my soul every time I am with my friends, every time I am with nice people.  At church, I’m accepted as I am.  I am an introvert, mixed in with elements of selective mutism and nonverbal learning disorder, so I sit quietly as others around me at church chat with each other; yet they still smile at me and accept me as I am.

When I am with friends, real friends, good friends, such as I was yesterday for July 4, they accept me as I am.  I sit there quietly most of the time, listening to the conversation, contributing if I have something to say on the subject, but mostly just listening.

This is the way introverts are; it’s the way our brains work; it’s the way we were born to be.  And my true friends accept this.

I was with a friend of 20 years yesterday; she and my husband spoke far more than she did with me, but it was all okay.  She’s an extrovert, but she knows I am this way, always have been, always will be.

There was a time when some extroverted friends tried to get me to talk more, even to strangers, but they were gentle about it, just made a couple of comments they saw as helpful, and now they just know it’s the way I am.

Years ago, at my last job before becoming a housewife, one of the secretaries made some snarky comment about my quietness to the other secretaries.  I didn’t hear it, but I certainly heard of it, as all the other secretaries were incensed with her for what she said about me, as they considered me a sweet person who didn’t deserve it.

So even though there might be the occasional person like Tracy, bullying me for being quiet, most of the adults I’ve known since leaving school, have been far nicer about it.

The emotional trauma of being bullied for so long and so viciously is still with me, still affecting me every day.  But every time I am with people at church or my real friends, it is a huge help.

It reminds me that not everyone is like Richard and Tracy, that most people I know are not like Richard and Tracy, that most people, period, are not like Richard and Tracy.

This reminder helps a little in drawing me a bit out of that shell that’s been around me ever since they emotionally eviscerated me for being shy and quiet.

Why Are Women So Mean to Each Other?
Female Bullying
The Medium is the Message
Bullying in the Female World
Cyberbullying: The New Female Terrorism