I’m a control freak. I think it’s an inherent part of being Aspergers. There’s a need to control as much as possible, with the simple reason to reduce stress and anxiety.
Being a control freak sometimes encroaches on other people, but I never want to control others or change them in any way. In most ways I’m really non judgemental and open to people living their lives any way they want to, but if it effects me then I need to be in control. So never put on a surprise party, that would be my worst nightmare! Even little things like at work if people put pasties in the chiller in a different place to usual it stresses me out. It sounds a bit like OCD, but it’s very different. I like things s certain way and it causes me anxiety if they’re not like that.
I have to drive, so I’m very very rarely a passenger. When organising meet ups or dates it can only happen if it’s a place I know and comfortable with. I always need to know what’s going to happen. Booking holidays is hell. I have to do tons of research on the place I want to go on holiday, find out absolutely everything there is to know. I’m a good researcher, and in some respects training to be a journalist stood me in good stead, having hyper focus on a specific thing and spending many hours scrolling through and reading thousands of reviews is OK. I guess that’s one positive to aspergers! Most people would get bored after five minutes, I could lose hours very easily on the internet looking up places and reading stuff, although making a massive decision on where to go rarely actually happens. So if you ever have some mind numbingly boring information to go through (tons of pages to get to find one thing), as an Aspie! We love that stuff!*
Making a decision is so hard, maybe because if the place I end up in doesn’t look like the pictures, the room or experience is different to what I’m expecting then my anxiety goes through the roof and the holiday would be ruined and I’d be so on edge. Plus holidays are scary because everything is unfamiliar, the food, the place, the language, plus the risk of being ill on holiday is increased, and all the things that comfort me (home, familiarity, routine) aren’t available. It’s a shame and limiting, as I really want to see the world and I love seeing beautiful places! Ive got quite a bucket list too! I’ve been to New York twice, and I think that was the least stressful holiday despite the fact it was my first time on a plane (7 1/2 hours first flight, baptism of fire given we almost had to divert to Texas due to horrific snowstorms!). This was the least stressful holiday probably due to the fact that food was available identical to at home (mcDonalds!), it was easy to find my way around due to the grid/block system plus having watched TV and films is just like being on a set! Plus having done so much research I kinda had an itinery for each day to get all the sightseeing in, and so even new places looked familiar!
I know I’ve mentioned it before in a previous blog, but I suffer from emetophobia, fear of being sick/seeing vomit. Having spent the last year since my Aspergers diagnosis thinking about how Aspergers affects my life I think I’ve figured out the reason for my emetophobia (which I’ve had since at least 4 years old). I think that’s about control too. The thing about being sick is that sometimes it comes on very quickly, giving little notice. Now to someone that likes, or rather needs, to be in control and is unable to do anything about this awful feeling that’s happening to my body, being sick is probably the most out of control I ever am. This is another reason why being away from home is hard for me. What happens if I’m sick away from home? How will I cope? None of my strategies (being at home, familiar place, alone, drinking tonic water) are possible. This makes going anywhere difficult!
Control is comforting, but it can make relationships difficult. I can’t say that it’s ever been an issue or the reason for problems I’ve had as a couple, but maybe as im only really figuring myself out over the past year maybe that’s wrong. You’d have to ask my exes! I guess now I’m more aware of why I am the way I am, and the reason I do things I can be more aware of explaining my needs and the reasons why so am in a better place to be in a relationship now than I ever have been. OK, So I’m a control freak, but it’s not about controlling people but about limiting anxiety and knowing what will happen next, routines and familiarity, so I can enjoy new experiences and get the most out of my life.
*disclaimer: once you’ve met one Aspie you’ve only met one Aspie, every one is different!