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Nobody moans like an aspie

I'm insulting myself here. Perhaps you don't moan at all, or only a little? Perhaps all other aspies (besides RT teen) are paragons of quiet sufferance and never utter a word against their circumstances? Perhaps I am the only moaner?

I don't think so, somehow. I think moaning is one of those aspects of aspie-hood that doesn't get mentioned in official circles, but is talked about an awful lot amongst people who have to live with us. How many times has the parent of an aspie held off from doing something that would upset their child, not simply because it would be upsetting but more due to the unending, self-perpetuating, dripping moooooaaaaannnnn that would be the result? I know I have.

When RT teen was a mini-RT, he could speak very well and had no problems holding conversations. What he did have a problem with was other people butting in before he'd finished. It seemed the worst if we were all in the car as mini-IT teen, was incredibly fond of butting in, so the two of them together were a nightmare to travel with.

RT teen would start to tell us something and he'd spend time getting the tale told, time that used to drive IT teen round the bend. A bit like a mental stutter, RT teen would hesitate within his sentences as he thought of the next words, then bring them out as finely crafted phrases. All of this was lost on little IT teen who would rail, 'Just say it! Say it!'

Being interrupted always had the opposite effect as mini RT teen would then stop, go back to the start of his sentence and begin again. He never forgot the words which came before and would repeat this process until he was able to say the whole thing, without one interruption.

Over time, mini IT teen and myself would sit, rigid, while mini RT teen told us things. Even a noise or a tut would be enough to stop him and make it all repeat. And then, it would become like a moan, as he repeated and repeated what he wanted to say.

So, he wasn't moaning as such, but his repetition and constant need to speak without interruption, were like a moan, as they were a reaction to what was going on around him and what he perceived as other people being difficult with him.

In general, f anything went wrong, normally cheerful mini RT teen would groan and grumble, flopping about as if he had weights on his shoulders. He would either make many different sounds which meant nothing, but together made a moan, or he would set up a wailing about the injustice of the situation and go on about it endlessly.

I have to admit, I was just as bad as a child. Worse, in fact, as I kept it going for much longer but with less drama. My mother and step-father were very fond of hill-walking (the inhumanity!) and as they both worked full-time, I'd be dragged out at the weekends, over yet more sodden Lake District fell tops, with sheep poo under foot and bracken pulling at my legs and midges in summer, but still somehow raining.

I hated those walks with a passion. What I actually wanted to do with my weekends was stay at home and read, but apparently I could read anytime and I should be enjoying the beautiful scenery and appreciating how lucky I was to live near such a wonderful place.

I should also appreciate the extra exercise and be glad that I was healthy enough to stride out across the fields, backpack on my shoulders and boots to protect me from the cold and wet. My step-father, in particular, was always pointing out that I was young and should be fit.

The thing was, I didn't care if I was fit or not. I had a book to read and a warm, dry house to do it in. I used to beg them to leave me in the car while they went on the walk. And the backpack always felt so heavy, digging into my shoulders and seeming like a pointless punishment in itself.

Those boots, those rotten, brown, laced boots, they never protected me from anything. If there was a deep puddle or a bog, I ended up in it and it just went right over the top of the boots. They were meant to grip but I always found the slippiest places and away I went. And they were so hot! Having to wear thick socks with them didn't help. Sometimes, the boots were what I hated the most of all.

No, what I really hated was seeing the backs of my parents as they strode off up the endless hills, ahead of me on the path as I came along behind, feeling all my troubles cluster about me as I struggled through life. They would wait at the top of the hill and be rested when I got there, then leap up as soon as I arrived and carry on going. The unfairness!

I moaned from start to finish on those walks. I really don't know why they bothered taking me. If I was them, I'd have left me behind. I don't know how much enjoyment they gained with me following along behind like a little rain cloud, drip, drip, drip with my moaning.

Everything was wrong and I would never enjoy it and they knew I didn't enjoy it, so why take me? And not everybody liked walking and I was never going to like it, just because they did. I could think of many things I'd rather be doing and didn't they care that I was upset? Didn't they care that my feet were too hot and I had blisters and my backpack was heavier than theirs?

And so on. Until, by the end of the walk, the sighs of relief had more to do with me shutting up when I saw the car than through completing their trek. Me, back in the comfort of a man-made environment, could at last take up my book or gaze, unseeing, at the landscape outside the windows.

Now that I'm grown up, I know I moan and I do try not to. I honestly do, but sometimes it's just the way things are and I defy anyone to deny that a good moan can be very therapeutic. Sometimes you just need to get it all off your chest, even if the person listening to you is in danger of pouring breakfast all over your head. Sometimes, you just cant stop.

I've had poor IT teen wriggle and gyrate in the car as he travels, trapped, with myself and RT teen, as we're both setting up a-moaning. He loses his temper and tells us both off, asking why we have to moan all the time anyway? He points out that what we're moaning about is not important, it's not worth us going on all the time.

That usually ends badly, as I sit there in a sulk, thinking that I wasn't even moaning while, with RT teen, the tinderbox of injustice is lit and he's telling IT teen why his moaning is not moaning, it's complaining, which is different, because he's being reasonable about whatever it was that went wrong. At which point, a full-scale argument ensues and I have to threaten them with dire consequences if they don't quiet down and let me drive.

After a brief silence, RT teen will always be the first to speak, adding a small moan to encapsulate the much larger one he had been going through before and then IT teen turns a funny colour and starts gyrating again.

You see, that's the other thing with aspie moans: as well as being pretty much endless once we've started, we have to have the last word. Come on, you know it's true. Even if the last word is a slammed door, a kicked wall, a growl or a broken pencil, that word will be had.

We have to put our point across, one way or another, and if we feel the need to moan then we'll either do just that or find some other way to get it out of the system.

I can only suggest one ray of hope here and that is, in my own experience at least, diversion can work. It doesn't always work on RT teen but it does work on me! IT teen is quite good at it, at switching my attention and making me think about something else for long enough that I lose the thread of my moan.

With RT teen, he is much more determined when it comes to returning to the moan, so diversions don't always help. Like when he was little, the diversion is simply an interruption to his moan-continuum, so he takes notice of your diversion, then switches back to the moan and, if you're lucky, only picks up where he left off and not at the beginning.

Readers, I won't sugar-coat it: being a moany bunch does not endear aspies to the general populace but it is a good way of getting our troubles out there, even if we end up moaning about something other than what is really bothering us.

Much better to have the dripping of the moan than the inflammatory meltdown or physical reaction to stress. Better to have the voice, droning on in your ear, than to have it raised in temper or anguish.

Honestly, I know when it comes to sticking plasters that a quick rip is better than a slow tear, but when it comes to the aspie in full flow, a slow moan is better than an explosive tantrum.

And you can trust me, I've tried both.


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