A Change of Plans Causes Issues

I don’t know about anybody else but I have a big problem when events fail to turn out the way I expect. It’s one reason I try not to plan what I’m going to do in advance. Take what happened yesterday for example – I knew there was mince in the fridge that needed using along with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and carrots. So I thought, “Pasta sauce!”

And then I got home and my wife had somehow managed to cook me a chilli despite her feeling so ill. Did I react with gratitude? I’m sorry to say I didn’t. I was knocked off-balance because some of the ingredients I had been going to use for my pasta sauce had been used instead to make this chilli. I managed not to get angry or melt down – took some self-control – but I did complain. I knew my reaction was upsetting my wife but I couldn’t stop myself. I tried to explain that it was the fact that my plan had been scuppered that had stressed me but the damage had been done.

I must say that I ate the chilli and enjoyed it very much. But. It. Wasn’t. Pasta. Sauce! How do you explain this kind of feeling to somebody who can handle change? That despite appreciating the effort she had gone to, I was unable to get past this clash – this discrepancy with my mental image of myself cooking a different dish. It’s my normal reaction to change – I try not to respond in this way because it hurts or offends people I care about but it causes me stress and I find it very difficult to hide. That would be the same as lying which I also find very difficult, even to save people’s feelings.

In this case I got over the worst of the feeling quite quickly and apologised – this kind of thing has happened numerous times before so my long-suffering wife is sadly used to it by now – but I’ve still got a little lingering disquiet that things didn’t happen as I expected. And I feel bad about not showing my gratitude from the outset. I know it’s a shabby way to treat somebody who’s made an effort to do something for me but I really don’t know how to get past the intense disappointment and stress I feel in these situations – the feeling is so intense that it swamps any other, more rational, thoughts I may have.

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6 thoughts on “A Change of Plans Causes Issues

  1. Can you buy some of those ingredients again to make your pasta sauce? ;)I just found your blog.This post is interesting to me because I feel like it kind of explains how my husband might feel about some things. (He has Aspergers, too.) I like to know how people with Aspergers might feel and think about things and prefer to learn to understand it rather than seek support for from other wives of Aspie husbands. All that I've found out there is miserable people complaining and feeling overwhelmingly alone. It's depressing and no way to build a happy marriage! :)Wishing you and your wife all the best!Julie

  2. Hi Julie. Thanks for your kind wishes. I'm glad you found this post interesting – this kind of difficulty handling change, whether it's events not turning out as planned or disruption to established, familiar routines, causes stress to many people with Aspergers and more generally on the Autism Spectrum.People react differently to this – some really can't handle it at all and will overload and possibly meltdown; others won't appear to be affected but it will stay on their minds until some other trigger, perhaps even days or weeks later, tips them over the edge.There is a difference for me between something failing to meet my expectations and a change to my normal routine. With the former I am aware that I can come across like a spoilt child who hasn't got his own way – petulant and sulky. I see myself behaving in this manner and hate it; I do try not to react like that but it takes a heck of a lot of self-control which I find very tiring.On a different note, my wife and I are approaching our eighth wedding anniversary and although there have been difficulties along the way – the majority unconnected to my Aspergers; just the general spanners life throws into the works – we remain strong together. I'll finish by saying that while there are times I feel low they are more than compensated for by the good times and I hope you and your husband will have many good times of your own.

  3. Too familiar. And the worst part of me is being a spectator to my own behaviour and seeing how unreasonable and unnecessary my upset is, and how it is bothering others, and still not being able to stop it.

  4. Yes, one does feel powerless. My son is also like this, and he is still so young and less in control of his reactions. When something changes I almost always know exactly what his reaction will be, and predict how eg my husband will feel about it, and I get so stressed, knowing what will happen and I cannot do anything about it. I understand him so well, but cannot help him, I can't even help myself with this.

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