A reader recently asked me this question:
How do I stop loving /fixating on someone? Do I need medication? Everyone thinks I just need to accept this person is not a good person and move on…but I need more data!
This is a hard question to answer. First of all, I don’t know this reader personally. Second, I don’t know the person this reader is obsessing over.
However, I did promise to ask for some feedback among my Asperger groups online. I also promised I would research some possible answers on this topic of questionable relationships.
Answers From My Aspergers Forums
You don’t need medication. You just need to talk to someone you trust and they can give you advice to move on.
You need to give yourself time, and even people without AS obssess on someone when they have feelings for them. Some of it is just experience and maturity to outgrow thoes that are destructive for us and some people never reach that point. It is not necessarily an AS thing, make yourself take to space to separate and the time and you will think clearer.
To the reader who asked this question, I want you to know that I don’t have any idea whether the person you have been obsessing about is at all abusive. The person may be a healthy person, but not just a good fit for you, and your friends may be recognizing that.
However, what if the person you’re obsessed with is unhealthy or abusive: I decided to write this article about recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship, just in case, so that if you are involved in one, you can recognize it and break free of it.
Abusive relationships are like being addicted a bad drug. You know it’s bad for you but you have a really hard time escaping from it. –anonymous
Understand the Signs of An Abusive Relationship
Here are some key questions you may want to ask yourself about the person you are involved with, or considering a more committed relationship with. The data you gather from these questions will help you decide whether this relationship is helpful or harmful to you:
Does the person you are interested in or involved with:
• constantly keep track of your time?
• act jealous and possessive?
• accuse you of being unfaithful or flirting?
• discourage your relationships with friends and family?
• prevent or discourage you from working, interacting with friends or attending school?
• constantly criticize or belittle you?
• control all finances and force you to account for what you spend? (Reasonable cooperative budgeting excepted.)
• humiliate you in front of others? (Including “jokes” at your expense.)
• destroy or take your personal property or sentimental items?
• have affairs?
• threaten to hurt you, your children or pets? Threaten to use a weapon?
• push, hit, slap, punch, kick, or bite you or your children?
• force you to have sex against your will, or demand sexual acts you are uncomfortable with?
Figure Out Why You May Have Gotten Into This Relationship
There are many possible reasons that a person might get involved with an abusive partner. And let me say that these types of relationships happen in and outside of the spectrum.
If a person grew up with a parent or parents who were physically, emotionally or sexually abusive, this same person may end up connecting with what they know: another abusive person.
If a person grew up without much love or affection, they may experience a feeling of being love starved. And if they have struggled with getting close to people in general, they may be willing to sacrifice their own needs even if the other person is abusive.
I have read accounts of girls/womenwith Aspergers who ended up being ‘used’ in relationships with men because of a) their lack of dating experience; and b) not understanding the dynamics of physical affection versus sexual abuse. Guys/men may possibly experience the same things in their dating experiences.
How To Break Free
a) Recognize your own personal bill of rights
b) If you think you’re in an abusive relationship, and you’re afraid of your partner, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE
c) Reach out for supportive counseling to explore the factors causing you to get into this relationship in the firstplace. Call the number on the back of your healthcare insurance card, or call the nearest hospital and speak to their crisis department for recommendation of community resources you can contact for free or low cost counseling.
d) Recognize what a healthy relationship looks like:
• Talking and acting so that your partner feels safe and comfortable doing and saying things.
• Listening to your partner non-judgmentally.
• Being emotionally affirming and understanding.
• Valuing opinions.
Trust and Support
• Supporting your partner’s goals in life.
• Respecting your partner’s right to his or her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.
Honesty and Accountability
• Accepting responsibility for self.
• Acknowledging past use of violence and / or emotionally abusive behavior, changing the behavior.
• Acknowledging infidelity, changing the behavior.
• Admitting being wrong when it is appropriate.
• Communicating openly and truthfully, acknowledging past abuse, seeking help for abusive relationship patterns.
• Sharing parental responsibilities.
• Being a positive, non-violent role model for children.
• Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work.
• Making family decisions together.
I hope that this article provided some food for thought. It’s especially helpful to have a clear idea of your personal bill of rights, as well as an explanation of what a healthy relationship looks like. If you can keep those paradigms in mind, while pursuing becoming your best possible self, you will go a long way in ending questionable relationships. And you will be in a much better place to attract a healthy relationship into your life in the future.
Personal Bill of Rights
photo credit: sashaW
What about you?
Do you have any further advice for this reader?
What if the relationship is not necessarily abusive, but others are telling him/her that the other person is not right for him/her?
How does one know when to try to work it out and when to move on in a dating relationship?