OOPS! or straying off the spiritual path

A column that is solely written by people on the spectrum.

On The Spectrum: The perspective of spiritual beings that are often labeled as autistic or Asperger’s aka “on the spectrum”

By Butterfly (no words are altered in order to preserve the pureness of the author’s intentions)

Twenty years ago, I found Thelema, the religious-cum-spiritual doctrine espoused by the ceremonial magickal order Ordo Templi Orientis, or OTO. The doctrine of Thelema appears simple on the surface. The Book of the Law, the OTO’s most famous holy book, quotes Thelema as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”

Then comes the practice of Thelema. No two Thelemites interpret or practice the concept the same way. This is as it should be, for Thelema is designed to be this way. The only error that can happen in the practice of Thelema is not practicing it consistently in all areas of life.

I have not practiced Thelema consistently, instead being ruled by self-doubt and the desire to please. This, plus the childlike credulity and literalness that come with my autism, landed me in severe trouble that required outside intervention to resolve.

Fifteen years ago, I got married to my husband, despite his apartment being cluttered to the point of hoarding.  I also knew he washed his clothes in the bathtub and not the washer. I did not question these habits, because I thought I had no right to do so due to my obvious anxiety disorder. Since I was “flawed”, it was not my right to question others’ flaws, no matter how glaringly obvious. We were also sexually incompatible, since my drive was extremely high and his was much, much less. I thought nothing of this latter red flag, since I had read books and articles about marriage stating things like “passion fades into friendship in mature relationships over time.” and that sexuality was the least important thing in marriage.The self-doubt, coupled with a habit of ignoring things to the point of obliviousness, led me to accept other unacceptable things, including a broken toilet for ten years at one point. I told myself I was privileged to have a toilet, since lots of people in the developing world didn’t even have access to a toilet at all. As for the sexual disparity, that only increased over the marriage. I thought for a long time it would work itself out, because the marriage advice books said that sexual incompatibility could be resolved and that sexual feelings were replaced by companionship and friendship in a marriage. Of course, I had read the books in my early 20s, not realizing they were for people twice my age who had been married for decades. The truth was that there was never any passion in the marriage.

The marriage deteriorated sharply in the last few years, leading to my never spending time with my husband and him constantly threatening to commit suicide, among other things. Luckily, he never made an attempt. I thought I had to support him no matter what, since that was my duty as a wife. Many people pointed out I was enabling him, but I couldn’t figure out what they meant, since my husband is not an addict or an alcoholic. I had only heard the word “enabling” used to mean covering up for drug addiction or alcoholism.

Then I met the woman who would become my partner. As we became friends, she got to know more about the worsening situation at home. She forwarded me articles about emotional abuse, pointing out that constantly threatening suicide was emotional abuse. I read the articles for myself and figured out I was experiencing emotional abuse. Soon after, I left my husband. Later on, I learned I got out of the marriage just in time. My husband had become controlling, and was showing signs he could have turned to physical violence if I had stayed.

Obviously, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble by asking some questions about my husband’s habits and clarifying what my will was in this situation. Since I had not done so before the marriage, I ended up in a bizarre situation that could have ended in tragedy if it hadn’t been for the choices I made.

Butterfly

Over 40, Bisexual, Autistic and part of the OTO, this contributor is the creator of “on the Spectrum” column

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