Helpful Hint: Always endeavor to keep things equal. Work together and continue adopting and adapting 50-50.
So, Let’s Diablogue:
Ken: I’d like to make an addendum to the previous blog about being compelled to say the truth and always self-checking to avoid social mishaps. Most of my workarounds involve self-talk in the form of axioms continuously repeated as self-mantras. My over-arching social workaround in many situations—at least the one that works for me—is this: “There is the truth, and then there is the ‘right’ answer for the situation.” The trick is to know which is which and when to apply each.
Christina: Yes. And that’s hard to know—even I struggle sometimes.
Ken: Before we go on with this post, I wish to explain how we will continue with the blog. My sense in this diablogue so far is that I am falling victim to my Aspie nature of information dissemination and data regurgitation.
Christina: Well, if there was any falling, I fell too! My Aspie trait? (laughs). What do you mean, exactly?
Ken: In the past two posts we have offered a fun test for Aspergers, which I am glad we included. But that led me a little off course in just talking about the diagnostic criteria, which for many people is redundant information.
Christina: And which they can find on the net.
Ken: Correct. We need to return more particularly to demonstrating our very real yet rewarding struggle of adapting to each other and creating new workarounds, constantly reinventing our relationship.
Christina: It’s true. I feel we’ve drifted a little. A part of me likes data too. But I think the strength of this blog is the messy, personal, relational work we do.
Ken: Absolutely. It is a never-ending process. We also need to address a recent salient comment. We asked several specialists for feedback on the blog, and one replied. He applauded us for our “good intentions by trying to help others.” However, he urged us to avoid a tendency to define the relationship in terms of “one person as having a disability or problem and the other not.” He observed that in some of our blogs, we focus on an Aspie difference, “presenting it as a failure in social interaction and emotional understanding, and the other person trying to understand that deficit and provide corrective strategies.”
Christina: Right. That raised red flags for him about us as a couple, signaling a power imbalance. What happens, he said, is that “one person has the power or authority of knowing the right social behavior and understanding emotions, and the other does not.” That’s a smart observation. It’s an easy mindset to slip into, especially since society at large considers autism to be all–or mostly — negative. The medical model of needing to ‘fix’ it, and until it’s fixed, the job of us ‘normal’ folk isn’t done. It’s kind of like what I experienced with my middle son and his deafness. I worked hard to avoid him feeling handicapped. It took a lot of non-debilitating attitudes, words, and actions. It’s sort of the same thing here.
Ken: I wholeheartedly agree. We need to show how each of us has workarounds, not just me. That we are both creating them.
Christina: That’s the truth.
Ken: Therefore, we need to have more of a balanced conversation that is equally relevant and relatable to readers who are both autistic and non-autistic partners. We need to have equal voice because it is truly a 50-50 relationship.
Christina: And that balance is what keeps it alive. And thriving. In my opinion.
Ken: We need to demonstrate the process of encountering a problem and creating and utilizing a workaround that works. Also, to constantly keep tweaking the ones that do not work until they do. We are equally adopting, adapting, and contributing corrective strategies, and we are equally committed to doing so.
Christina: I think this change will mean that we’ll say a lot more about fewer things. Go deeper instead of skipping along from one thing to the next.
Ken: Agreed. We will continue to address the topics from the previous post—autism traits— but in a more personal and equal way. We will focus on how each of us is affected and how each of us has adapted by working together. This will bring us back to our original vision for the blog, for it to be, in part, cathartic. We wanted to use this as a voyage of discovery. To learn and to share.
Christina: I do think we’ve being doing some of that. But it’ll be good to refocus and do it more and better.
Diablogue #14: ~ “Both of our workarounds in managing the autism trait of difficulty with empathy and theory of mind.”