A lack of restraint, self-control, balance, mildness, sobriety and in measure are phrases, terms and words that have been used and thrown against me for as far back as l can recall. But mostly l heard them during my 14 year marriage to my ex-wife. Being this way was fine for certain things but not everything, and after a few years it obviously irked her.
Reading through other blogs written by both Aspies and those not specifically on the spectrum and especially the latter l can understand that our lack of moderation as behaviour rather than an emotion is something which some struggle with. I have read that it is classed as selfish and or egotistical or even self-centred. I have never specifically or deliberately tried to be any of those things, but can now comprehend why some would think this way. I know not for every Aspie under the spectrum concerning ‘moderation’ but for many of us, this as an issue has been with us since childhood and is not lazy or greedy but is just something that we fall into and are not always able to control due to being unawares of it most of the time.
Many Aspies enjoy special interests, not a term l particularly enjoy, l prefer to hear dedicated focus time or just plain favourite hobbies and of course it has been suggested [constantly] that l am unable to exercise any self-control here over my time spent in these.
Something l am still guilty of, and both Suzanne and my ex-wife have commented on it is that l can simply ‘lose time’ when l am focused. When l worked full time l was no different, nor was working for myself – l could burn away 18+ hour days without thinking twice. When l was married this soon became one of those quirks that was not considered acceptable behaviour. Suzanne is more tolerant but admittedly l am not as bad as l used to be.
When l was younger in my early twenties l had serious addictive issues with sex, it would be easier to say l was hypersexed and at the time, willing partners never had a problem with this, but in marriage whilst courting sex was fine during the early days of the relationship – continually being focused with sex was just seen as immature and not being an adult. Ironically l felt when these words were used against me, that if anything ‘moderation’ was being used as a useful weapon. The example being: Sex was great when my partner wanted it all the time, but once a lowered libido stepped in for her, then ‘moderation’ was thrown into the equation!
If l am fascinated with a new subject or topic or even business venture then l have to read as much as l can. Normal behaviour from most l should imagine, however for me l approach it differently and if that means l have to buy sixty odd books and read them all in a small space of time, then that is exactly what l do. Moderation as a term is not applied here. With gaming, be this pc or online l become so hyper absorbed that time literally disappears, and again that word ‘mod’ has no stable in my mind!
I am a night owl who suffers from insomnia at times because l am similar to that quote by Edgar Allen Poe… “Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.” I cannot stand to miss anything!
When younger, burning the candle flame at both ends meant nothing to me. I could work, and then go dancing from literally dusk to dawn – l always did everything to the extreme – constantly sought out the elixir of pleasure – chased the beauties of all stimulation. For it is that which l think it is for me – just another stimulation.
Sometimes my lack of restraint has led me into darker areas and poor health detriment. A case of not knowing when to stop for my own good. Smoking was one such pleasure that has kicked me in my own ass. I started when l was 16 on the pipe, but progressed to cigars then to custom made, to hand rolled but l never just smoked casually, l became heavily addicted and displayed no moderation what so ever, and now l have paid the consequence of my actions with blackened lungs that would make the devil proud!
In my thirties when not sexing it up, l drank alcohol to the extremes just to sample the hangover which hardly ever affected me, now a couple of glasses of red and l am floored. In my early forties l sampled weed and got quite addicted to that, but nowadays a joint would probably white me out completely! During my years of marriage l was completely oblivious to stuffing my face with candies and biscuits and foods. I never gained weight because l smoked heavily, was up till the crack of dawn and worked 18 hours a day – again moderation never played a significant feature in my life back then.
My ex-wife decided to moderate my intake however and took it to the extreme. My diagnosis of Asperger’s never arrived during those years, so she just thought she was dealing with a self-centred schmuck who was greedy and egotistical if not narcisstic! She delegated what l was allowed to eat and what l was not, but l think the years of not knowing who l was led her to act in a somewhat heinous manner towards her husband, which is why this and other issues at hand led to our divorce and complete hostility towards each other. Thank the stars we had no children together!
I can be remarkably verbose and so there is no moderation there, equally as much l suffer from a lack of self-control with regards certain emotions and of course inappropriate behaviours! To the non autist it must certainly appear to be a nasty selfish behaviour or nonsense addiction or obsession. But the truth is, it’s not, it is basically a case of being completely unaware to our behaviour – not all of us of course – but of the ones l do know they all speak of being clueless as to how their lack of moderation makes the non autists in their life feel. I know Suzanne would and could probably kill me at times because of them!
These days, well a life filled to the extreme in my yesterday’s has squashed moderation in certain areas as it simply cannot exist in that terms – so due to an aggressive stomach disorder, l eat a very bland diet, hardly drink, no longer eat any sweets and the list goes on. I had managed to kick a 35 year old smoking habit, but the stresses of last year and not relying on any kind of medication for recovery meant that habit stayed. I am still a night owl and although l retire to bed early in my eyes, apparently early is not 3am in the morning, apparently having only 4 hours sleep per day at times is still not exercising moderation – but hey Rome wasn’t built in a day, don’t rush me.
What about you, what are you unable to moderate in your life?