Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My confrontation with Aspie Dad

Yesterday as I am in the bathroom confronting my oldest child, Max, on his lack of ‘cleaning up after himself’ skills, I notice that he has a hard nodule on the back of his neck. “Is this a lymph node?” I think to myself. After a quick neck rub down, I conclude that it might be swollen lymph node; yet I need to know the cause. So I am fast and furiously searching the net for the symptoms, “hard nodule on back of neck”. I get everything from a pulled neck muscle to lymphoma. Why did I have to read about that last one? Now, I am upset, crying, angry, cursing…why me God? I managed to calm myself down and settle with the idea that it is probably a swollen lymph node, and my son is actively fighting off something. Besides, he said that his throat did hurt a little. I figure, it still needs to be checked out even if we are currently in the land of no insurance. So, I have Max tell his father to take him to the doctor; I am tired of being the sole manager of my kids’ healthcare. It was much easier when all I had to worry about was whether or not I had the $25 co pay for an office visit. Now, I have to make sure we have funds on any available credit card just in case partial payment at the ER is required up front.  I think it’s time for Aspie Dad to get a taste of this. So, after Max relays the message that he needs to see a doctor, Aspie Dad comes to me to verify. In the meantime, I discover Max scratching what appears to be eczema or some other skin condition that recently appeared on his leg. I apply ointment to the "rash" and warn Max not to scratch it again because it was already inflamed and could get infected.  “This too needs to be addressed by the doctor, make sure you tell your dad.” Max said that he already showed his dad, and his dad said that it was just a rash. I explain to Aspie Dad, that Max skin ailment was not a ‘normal rash’. It needed to be checked out by a doctor. Aspie Dad isn’t convinced. Later that night, I hear Aspie Dad talking with his mom, making light of the fact that his child needs to see a doctor. He describes Max’s symptoms; I hear him say, “It’s not that serious, he doesn’t need to go to the ER.” Then he implies that I am over reacting; and he’s probably gonna get a $600 bill for the doctor to say that nothing is wrong with Max. Wow, what a way to minimize the importance of your first-born’s health.  His mom is probably just as concerned as I am, so she encourages Aspie Dad to take Max to the doctor as soon as possible; she also tells him to call his cousin, the physician.

I overhear him talking with his cousin. This time he downplays the symptoms and theorizes that it’s probably just a pulled tendon in his neck and the ‘rash’ was probably from Max playing golf in the cold the other day.  His cousin must have told him to take Max to the doctor because Aspie Dad replies that he will just take Max to his regular physician tomorrow. Before he ends the conversation he tells his cousin that he and I are not exactly on speaking terms, and I was supposed to be leaving 4 years ago, but probably won’t leave until Marty is 7. And he doesn’t know what my problem is because he didn’t do anything wrong.  Perhaps his cousin asked what was my problem [with Aspie Dad], or whatever because Aspie Dad replies, “Like I told my dad, she’s just a Crazy Bitch.” Well, it took all the faith and tolerance that I could summon up to keep me from calling that man out of his name.  I was indignant; how dare he belittle my intelligence, make my concerns about my child seem unwarranted , and then call me a crazy bitch all because I chose not to give him the time of day [for good reason, I might add]. When Aspie Dad gets off the phone with his cousin, I go off. I explain to him that I was not the ‘crazy one’ and I didn’t have a psychologist tell me that I had a serious mental problem.  “That’s what they [psychologist] are paid to say,” Aspie Dad says. I respond, “So nine years in school learning to be an expert in mental health matters means nothing when it comes to figuring out what’s going on with you.” OK, so we are playing the denial (I mean delusional) card again.

At this point, I am just feed up. Here I am trying to have compassion for a man with serious cognitive differences and major trouble understanding deep/complex topics, and he could care less about how I feel. He doesn’t ever want to know how I feel or put him-self in my shoes. Besides, in his mind he did everything right. I am the one that never loved him to begin with; therefore everything is my fault. I rejected him, tried to give him a ‘label’, and now I am confronting him on not providing health insurance for his kids. Who the hell do I think I am? Nobody has ever told him that he had mental issues [cause the psychologist] doesn’t matter. Aspie Dad goes on his rant about how if I were a better disciplinarian that Marty wouldn’t have his problems…I am just a lousy permissive parent. At that moment, I realized that I had allowed myself to suffer this abuse for years believing that this man, “didn’t know any better, or he didn’t understand.” I remained in an emotionally and mentally unstable relationship under the pretense that Aspie Dad would do better if he was capable of doing better. I felt sorry for this man, when I should have been feeling sorry for myself. Even if he had no idea how his words and poor treatment of me hurt, his actions still fostered pain in my life and deeply affected my personal well being and self esteem.  At that moment, to hear him describe me as a “crazy bitch” gave me insight on the depth of his cognitive issues and his minimum ability to empathize with me. He would much rather focus on his needs to have his ego stroked then consider my realistic fears for my son’s health or understand my earnest need for sympathy.

That night, I asked Aspie Dad if he would just leave the house to me and the boys [and our beloved animals] and move out. I have a job now; I can make it on my own. Aspie Dad replies, “No, I am not the one that asked for the divorce.” WTH! So, now it’s more important for him to have the 3 bedroom house to himself because “he didn’t do anything wrong” then to help his children have more stability and remain in the house they grew up in during the divorce process.  Aspie Dad feels that he should not have to leave the house if he did not ask for a divorce…he wants to remain married in spite of my unhappiness. He thinks that I am just an unhappy person. Fine, I will leave. Well, Aspie Dad doesn’t want us to leave. I stress that, at this point, this situation is not healthy, and it is best for the boys if we separate. So, I agree to move out. Aspie Dad appears shaken. I really don’t give a rat’s a@#. I am still thinking about how I sacrificed years of my life accommodating a man that could not possibly ever love me the way I want and deserve to be love.  I tried to be his friend, help him realize his true self, and all I get is a “Crazy Bitch” title. Then to think that he has been telling his family members this shi#. The same family members that he rarely takes interest in unless it is to converse about one of his pursuits: football statistics, history, or golf. The same family members that receive greeting cards from me and my boys on their respective birthdays and holidays when Aspie Dad could care less if he acknowledges anyone’s birthday.  Heck, Aspie Dad doesn’t even think to call or send a card to his own nieces and nephews in exchange for their faithful birthday cards to him.  Yet, this is also the Aspie Dad that thinks it is impossible for him to have Aspergers because, “he has friends.” Friends that have yet to visit our home in the 10 years we have been here, friends that my children have never met, and friends that never invite him over their homes or anywhere to just hang out. Or perhaps he means his pseudo facebook friends and second-life avatar buddies. Right, he’s a social-butterfly.  I guess his mom created a social-monster.  I admit it was very hard for me to have compassion for Aspie Dad last night. Years of putting up with his non-sense has left me bitter, resentful -  but I began to think about how difficult and confusing it must be to have cognitive impairments that keep him from relating and understanding simple human needs of acceptance, reassurance, appreciation, and love.  To think that his idea of ‘love and marriage’ has nothing to do with compatibility, affection,  growth, and reciprocation but everything to do with following rules and keeping up the appearance of being normal.  Sad.

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