Want to help my g/f get past her fear of doing stuff, please help?

Sep 2021
2
0
Brighton England
Dear Anyone.

Hopefully this is in the right place, if not, I apologise in advance, sorry mods!

Hokay. I'm Asperger's, my g/f's been CLASSED as bipolar but I personally, though I know I don't have any training don't believe it. I think she's running scared of something but I've no idea what.

We've been seeing eachother about 10 years-ish now, it's been a pretty platonic relationship, she doesn't like being touched or anything but I love her cos she actually doesn't mind being with me. My disabilities - I've got Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus and Dyspraxia as well - make me look ugly/weird and I've had a lifetime of bad treatment from others because of it, including multiple stab wounds and a permanent leg ulcer from someone who chucked lots of boiling water over me. But she puts up with me, so I buy her all the stuff I can and look after her as well as I can.

But I want to get her over her fear of DOING stuff. Left to herself, she'll sleep most of a day away, get up, do her housework (she lives in a group home, I don't, I've my own flat) and just watch telly/talk to the other inmates. She'll go on sit'n'watch outings - sit in a steam-train, watch the countryside, sit in a bus, watch things passing - but I get her entire books of 'What's Going On in Your Area', tell her I'm prepared to try any of it with her and it doesn't matter if we both mess up, that's part of the game, and she won't do it. The staff where she lives say she's just lazy but I'm not seeing that. She puts on an air of laziness but behind that she's withdrawing into a shell faster than a jet-propelled turtle! The fun, bubbly girl becomes a Buddha-esque, expressionless statue.

I might be wrong, I'm prepared to be wrong, but I've got a FEELING if I could get her to break the ice, do something, maybe mess up, we laugh about it and she sees it really IS OK to not be perfect first time, or find something you enjoy first time and go on and try something else, she'd THEN go on to try other stuff. I THINK the problem is getting her to dip her toes in the water, realise it's not as cold as she feared, jump in and enjoy the swim. My latest effort's been to give her another 'What's On Around Here' booklet and tell her to choose anything she likes from it to do, as a birthday treat (it's her birthday this week!) It's not working. One point, she seemed happy to go to a tribute show (one of those lowish budget ones where the same performers dress up as a bunch of different bands/groups) and I was happy to take her, but then she said it would be too crowded and she wouldn't do it. I know Autistic spectrum people - and that's what I'm pretty sure she is, she is not bipolar, I've known bipolars and she's not like any of them - don't like crowds but again, to me, that felt more like an excuse.

Now I'm well and truly used to people not liking being seen out with me - I've never been out with a group of 'mates' or 'dahn the pub with friends' or anywhere WITH anyone else in my life. They all see this ugly Gawd-help-us coming towards them and band together against it. Dunno if you've seen the Elephant Man movie but literally everything that happened to him in that movie has happened to me in real life, probably on multiple occasions! So in my more scared moments, I'm wondering if it's the same with her, she just doesn't want others to see us together. Then I remember all the times we've been shopping together - I get disability allowances so I save up to get her stuff, but I DO have to wean her away from the more expensive shops! - and she hadn't seemed to mind people seeing us together then, so I don't really think that's the reason.

But I don't want our lives to just be shopping, having the occasional meal out, me seeing her home and leaving her at the gate because of the other inmates' reactions to me - I've had a bunch of that lot surrounding me and they REALLY know how to shred you! - I'd love us to do things together as well.

Would anyone here have any ideas how I could encourage her - NOT 'bully' her, I'm no way into that - to start doing things without being scared of the consequences? Just so we could try stuff out from 'What's On' books and she'd enjoy herself, not feel scared all the time like I THINK she is? Last bit.

I've no idea if this applies to her or not, but I've always found able-bodied people love Being On Top. There's a glass ceiling, able-bodied on top, looking down at the Poor Ickle Spazzy-wazzies below. The able-bodied don't want to believe we can actually do stuff they can do, so they set up all the rules to make it as hard as possible for us to do stuff - 'You've got your Carer with you? No? You've got to have a Carer, Health and Safety....' 'Power tools? I'm sorry, we can't teach you those, Health and Safety....' 'You want to be a volunteer? Really? We'll Let You Know, dear....' (Ever seen a disabled person working in a charity shop? Nope, me neither! If you HAVE, I bet it's very, very rarely...) I've been being Not Given Things to Do for getting on for 30 years now. I'm wondering if she's had the same experiences so often she just don't wanna try any more. Heck, I've just been turned down for 4 more vol. jobs for pathetic reasons! But surely they couldn't turn us away from 'What's On' advertised open events, could they?

How do I get her to give things a shot? Without looking like I'm coercing her cos if she feels that, she'll shut up shop with bulletproof shutters! Why don't I do them by myself? Because I go along and it's all groups and couples and people being together - and me. And you do it, but all the others are laughing together in groups and you achieve it and nobody even notices and you think 'What's the point?' But I'd be there with/for her.

Any ideas?

Yours respectfully

Chris.
 
Aug 2021
56
34
Austin, TX
First, I would like to congratulate you on your wonderful attitude! You sound like a truly caring person first, who does not let your health issues define you. Regarding your question, small steps may be your answer. Try to get her to just go out side with you for a few minutes. If you are successful for a few sessions, next try seeing if she will simply walk around the block with you. If your are successful here, then move to two blocks, or a quick bite out to eat. Little by little you may get her to overcome her anxieties and fears. Patience and gentleness may just get you where you want to go...
Good luck with your endeavors,
Ivery
 
Sep 2021
2
0
Brighton England
Dear Ivery.

I'm so sorry I wasn't clear enough in the original post. She'll go into a cafe, as long as it's not too crowded, it's Doing Things in a Group.

Like, when it was Brighton Festival time there was a whole massive magazine of stuff going on. Lots of it she was looking at as though she'd love to do it, so I offered to buy tickets and she'd just shrug and say it didn't appeal to her, when - remember I'm Asperger's here, so I could be misreading this - I honestly thought I was seeing she really wanted to but Something was Stopping Her.

So I bought her a laptop as a present so she could go online and choose stuff, but I can't get her to use it. She acts like she doesn't know how to, but I know she's a LOT better on computers than she generally lets on, because I got her looking for clothes as Christmas presents for her - yup, I'll admit I set her up slightly for this because I wanted to see how much she knew - and she was sitting in front of my desktop PC, finding websites like they were going outta style! Then I told her to order up to £50's worth - you can get a nice pile of stuff foor £50 on websites and it wasn't a wealthy week for me! - and she suddenly remembered she wasn't supposed to be able to do the Internet. Down came the shutters, back came Buddha and she sat there in total, statuesque semi-silence. She was asking me what I wanted her to have, I was saying 'No, I want YOU to choose' and she ended up choosing nothing.

It's the same with taster sessions, classes, any of it. I listen to all she says, find classes/days out doing stuff/anything like that(!) that mirror what she's been saying. Couple of times I've taken her to classes thinking she'd enjoy them once she tried them. She seems to start off enjoying them but then Something Happens - I've never worked out what precisely - and down come the shutters, back comes Buddha and the bouncy 40-year-old lady becomes a little girl, sucking her thumb and waiting to be reprimanded. If I carry on doing Whatever It Is, y'know, whatever the class/day out's about, she'll just sit there with her hands clasped in her lap, wait for me to finish, then let me take her back to where she lives in virtually complete silence. Once she hits those moods, I can say anything and it's just 'Yes, Chris.' 'No, Chris.' I feel like I've been a Really Domineering Boyfriend somehow because it's EXACTLY how I've seen bourkha-garbed Middle Eastern ladies behaving when their husbands are yelling blue murder at them. But I promise you I've never behaved like that to her. I wouldn't. I just want the world to see the woman I know's inside there somewhere. I know she's in there because I've met her. The staff, mainly agency, never have. (Just re-read the above and it does sound like I'm dragging her to stuff against her will. All it was, was a few days out where I really thought she'd enjoy herself once she got going. And she really seemed to be till the Something Happened bit I can never put my finger on, then down came the shutters and back came the statue! Honestly, even after almost 10 years I'm happy to be told I'm doing things wrong and what approach I should be trying. You're the experts, not me!)

It's her birthday party this Saturday. I've bought the cake and the food for it because the staff want to be too much 'in control', if she tries to buy her own stuff it's all 'Bit expensive, isn't it? You don't want that, you want this one.' I'll be honest, I have to give her a range of choices when she's out with me because I'm not exactly rich, I'm on disability benefits! But if there's anything she really wants, I'm happy to look for either it or a cheaper but very similar alternative online with her and save up for it for her. I'm getting the food today, Friday. I've been told I won't be allowed in because of Covid regs. and because they don't want me in her bubble - that's because a staff member had a TOTALLY unnecessary and O. T. T. go at her when I was there so I rounded on her and kept her cornered till she apologised to Lucinda, who was in genuine tears. Since then, there's been an ongoing cold war between me and the staff - they think of me like the others who live there but they can't browbeat me the same way and they're not used to that!

The other reason I can't go in is because the others there react badly to how I look. Everyone reacts badly to my face. Lucinda gets 'What you seeing that f'kin monster for' a LOT so I don't want to spoil things for her there. I'm preparing the stuff and just leaving it with her and she'll tell me about the party when it's over. She'll be herself as much as the staff let her be, it's the best I can do. If I'm in there, I get surrounded and bear-baited constantly and she's having to protect me all the time cos I'm not fast enough verbally to handle it. The staff break it up too but they say maybe it's best for me not to go in there cos if I'm not there, it wouldn't happen. Which is the exact same reason I'm banned from places all over Brighton and Hastings!

But I want our relationship to be more than shopping trips and the occasional meal out. I'd love to get to DO things - anything, I'm perfectly happy for her to choose - together. I just don't know how to get past this shutters-coming-down thing.

Sorry I wasn't clear enough in the original post. I hope this helps out whoever reads it.

Yours respectfully

Chris.
 
Aug 2021
56
34
Austin, TX
Chris, no need to apologize, I continue to commend you on who you are, and continue to encourage you to begin small and try to work up to larger things over time. I understand you are ready to start doing things now, but with patience, this relationship may work out. Is there any way you could work with the staff at her home so that the other residents do not treat you badly? Perhaps the staff would like some cup cakes or cookies and would be willing in return to help you get some time inside without being insulted by the other residents? Good luck and hang in there, I still encourage you to find other Asperger's support groups in your area for help as well. i have every confidence in your abilities!
Ivery
 
Jul 2021
148
13
London
Idk, I don't get along with Asperger's people, nor bipolar. Good luck nevertheless. I personally don't like anyone who acts reckless in general, and I find it really hard to forgive someone who does that. I don't ruin things back for them, but when someone wrongs me, it is over with as I never forget. It's hard to win me back, as someone said it is easy to burn bridges with recklessness but it takes years to rebuild a bridge, it is absolutely true. I think when you truly love others, you never act reckless, and that is just fact. Therefore it makes sense that sensitives don't put up with that behaviour either, and I have learnt to embrace what I put up with or not, particularly when it turns out someone doesn't have my interest at heart in the way I have theirs, as a small bad behaviour can ruin your life. It's easy to harm someone and then say sorry, but the person recovering from that is really a huge risk. I don't risk my life for that kind of bs any longer. Trusting people in life is a dangerous thing to do.
 
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Aug 2021
56
34
Austin, TX
"Trusting people in life is a dangerous thing to do." I disagree with the above statement, you need to trust people, other wise how can you have meaningful interpersonal relationships with friends and family? Sure, you may be hurt occasionally, but eventually you will have to put your trust into a medical worker, attorney, minister, teacher, social worker, law enforcement person, mail carrier, or someone else whose service you need...
Good luck,
Ivery