Getting triggered

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Psych77, Sep 2, 2013.

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  1. Psych77

    Psych77 Well-Known Member

    Not a major trigger, just moderate, but it is upsetting me, and I wanted to talk it out here, because I feel like I can trust you guys.

    This morning, I was looking up "Aspergers" and "Abuse" on the Internet, because I know that my behavior in my marriage was abusive (let's be honest), and even though there really isn't any chance I know of that our relationship is going to be reconciled, I want to fix what went wrong, so I can feel a little better about myself.

    Since I never really wanted to be abusive, and didn't (at least consciously) want to control my wife, I was hoping I could find ways that Aspergers symptoms can contribute to abusive behaviors, and what strategies I could use to control my symptoms so I wouldn't freak out if I was upset or afraid I was being accused.

    Well, I went to a bulletin board on abuse, and what I saw there was abused women talking about how their spouse with Aspergers was just using it as an excuse - that there are plenty of people with Aspergers who are not abusive, therefore Aspergers does not cause it, and the men were abusive because they want to control their partners. Everyone seemed to agree on this, even the experts on the forum.

    I felt so tiny.

    I remembered back to the times the incidents happened between me and my wife. I remember every time she complained about something or was unhappy, believing it was an accusation against me, and being so scared she would leave me. First I would apologize, and then when she pointed out that I always apologized and things didn't change, I would start to get defensive, and then the fight would start. When that happened, I would feel so threatened, so scared, I would start to make excuses. Of course, she would call me on that, and that was when I would freak out, start lashing out verbally, screaming, and eventually banging my head against the walls. I remember wanting to do something that would impress on her how terrified I felt, so she would back off for a little bit, and stop pointing that finger at me. When I am more rational, I can explain to you that my capacity to perceive emotions is limited, so when she told me that she was angry, I automatically believed that she couldn't love me anymore. I knew rationally that this is not true - I knew what the right answer was - but it didn't seem that way to me. That was what terrified me.

    Now, I understand that not allowing her the freedom to express her own feelings, cutting off her ability to communicate what she did and did not like, put her in an abusive situation. My making excuses, repeated meaningless apologies (given out of fear rather than out of genuine intent to change) and sometimes lying to get myself "off the hook" were abusive. She was left in a situation that no one should have to live in. That's probably why she is so nasty to me now. She must feel a terrible resentment toward me, and pain for not having the marriage that she hoped for, and was probably perfectly capable of having. Only I wasn't.

    I understand all those things. But I just wanted someone to understand that I never believed I had the right to control ex because she was my wife. I never intended to be cruel to her - well, that's not entirely true; sometimes when we were in the middle of a fight, I would get shockingly angry, and then I would say things calculated to hurt her, because at the moment, I believed that she had attacked me. But afterward, I would realize what really happened, and then I would be horrified and ashamed of the way I had acted. I would sometimes be manipulative, but it never felt like controlling; it felt like protecting myself. And as our marriage went on, I felt more and more frightened that I would lose her (a self-fulfilling prophecy, no doubt), and things got worse. I only wanted people to understand that from my point of view I didn't do what I did because I wanted her "under my thumb." When I was acting that way, I felt like I was on an out-of-control freight train.

    I thought I wanted to write a post to that board, to acknowledge responsability for my behavior, but explain what my thoughts, intentions and experience were. Then I began to think that they would probably just tell me that I was trying to deny responsibility for my actions, that I was making excuses when I really was trying to dominate ex.

    Then, I began to think, as I often do, what if they are right? After all, all the experts on abuse say that men who abuse are just interested in controlling their partners, and that their actions are deliberate, although they will try to avoid responsability. Am I the kind of person who doesn't love, but only wants to control, and only wants his own needs met, not caring about anyone else? That's a mean, terrible person. I don't want to be that.

    When I started to think about writing that reply for the abuse board, I started to feel a tension in my head, and a tightness in my chest. I think I felt afraid, and maybe ashamed. I'm not sure. But it was an awful feeling of being cornered, with no defense for myself. Hopeless. Guilty. Like I needed someone, but no one would want to come to me, and if they did, I would feel too guilty accepting their company, because I didn't deserve it. I was able to recognize the feelings as what I feel as I am progressing toward being suicidal.

    And then I thought of you guys. I'm not afraid to come here, because you have shown me nothing but support and kindness, and you treat me like I am worth something. So, I decided I would tell you what I was feeling. Which is why this post is so darned long.

    Anybody have any thoughts?

    Thank you guys for being here.
  2. WildCherry

    WildCherry Staff Member ADMIN

    I'm glad you're posting, talking things out here. It's not easy, takes a lot of courage!

    Just because there are plenty of people with Asperger's who aren't abusive, doesn't mean it can't contribute to the emotions that led to your reactions. Every person is different, and what may have caused you to react in a certain way, may not for others. But that doesn't mean it's not valid or a possibility.

    One of my friends has Asperger's, and one of the things she struggles with is that her emotions don't always match the situation. It's similar to what you described; if she's approached in a certain way where she feels she's being threatened or may get hurt, she takes it as an attack. So I've learned to find other ways of approaching her, ways where I know she won't be left feeling so bad. It's something your wife could have chosen to do if she wanted to. It takes time and effort from both people involved, but it's worth it! If you, as the person with Asperger's, knows that the other person only has your best interest at heart and isn't trying to hurt you, then you'll feel safer expressing how you feel without getting so angry. And maybe that's not always possible, but it's something to consider.

    I don't believe you're the type of person who only wants to control, who thinks of your needs only. That's obvious by the fact you're out here trying to help others, and even through your making this thread to talk things out. I think there are probably strategies you could try that might be able to help, but part of that also depends on the other person you're interacting with, and whether that person is willing to be sensitive to what you need and how you feel.

    You don't have to make a post on that other board if you don't feel safe doing it. If you feel they're not going to really hear you, listen to you or take you seriously, then it's probably not worth the effort.

    Just want to make sure you know that you really are worth something... what you say, how you feel, matters. :hug:
  3. Psych77

    Psych77 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. You are always the first one to comment, and you always have something that helps. :llama: (there needs to be a "thank you" or "grateful" emoticon)
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