Asperger’s Has Its Strengths

Asperger’s Has Its Strengths. Saturday Night Live (SNL) had Elon Musk guest host during Mother’s Day weekend. Musk cofounded the electronic payment firm PayPal and founded the spacecraft company SpaceX. He is chief executive officer of the electric-car maker Tesla and is the one of the wealthiest people in the world who has changed the way we live. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder, characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. We’re all on the Spectrum to some degree. I dislike using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess.

Asperger’s Has Its Strengths

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As a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor I look at strengths through an Asperger profile lens. Here are a some of those strengths:

  • Intelligence
  • Special Interest
  • Focus
  • Good memory
  • Detailed oriented
  • Unique humor
  • Honest
  • Fair and just
  • Desire to connect

Some common challenges looking through an Asperger profile lens:

  • Theory of mind
  • Hidden cirriculum
  • Social pragmatics
  • Self advocacy
  • Flexible thinking
  • Central coherence
  • Executive Functioning

As a marriage counselor, specializing in Neurodivere Couples Counseling, I say it’s all about perspective. Each and everyone of us has a perspective and each perspective is correct for that inidividual. Working to help couples recognize, understand and treat their differences is part of the process of acquiring tools, implementing them and utilizing the system we put in place for effective communication to ask for what we need and want and share thoughts and feelings. Moving forward is a beautiful experience when you stop fighting about your differences and appreciate them.

For more information on Asperger’s and how to better your neurodiverse relationship call me (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Loneliness With An Asperger Husband

Loneliness With An Asperger Husband. With all the men in the world to marry, I ended up with a man who is on the Spectrum. Asperger syndrome, or Asperger’s, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). ASD is just that. It’s a spectrum of characteristic traits that can make their individual lives and marriages challenging. There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. I don’t like using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess.

I am accustomed to and fondly use the word Asperger’s in providing information to neurodiverse couples. My husband and I are a neurodiverse couple. I am the Neurotypical, NT and he has Asperger’s AS. Neurology matters in that if you don’t understand, recognize and treat the neurodiversity, you’ll never speak each other’s language to communicate or become relational.

Before we understood what we were dealing with life was very hard. My asperger husband realized I was suffering from Cassandra Syndrome aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder. The curse of never being believed became a source of pain and frustration throughout Cassandra’s life. My ongoing psychological and emotional trauma was minimized or ignored when I shared what I was experiencing and feeling in my marriage as my husband is a kind and generous man. I thought I was going crazy and was losing my sense of self. Feeling alone and miserable I started acting out by hurt, anger, disappointment, resentment, and frustration. I had weekly meltdowns where poor self care hurt myself and people I love dearly. I barely recognized myself after years of marriage. I sought individual counseling and was thankful medication managed my anxiety and mild depressive symptoms. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I am not immuned to the pain and struggles of relationships. I believe in putting in the effort to save a marriage and in maintaining it.

Loneliness With An Asperger Husband

If there is one word that describes the reaction of a family member to the diagnosis of autism in someone you love, that word is loneliness. Loneliness is disconnection when connection is desired. It is different from the solitude of choosing to be alone. It is a frustrating state related to not being seen, heard or understood. Women talk to me about their loneliness. They talk about the deep awareness that the intimate connection they sought when they married has not only not come to be, but is not possible. This existential shock is met with grief and loss as these women love their husbands but feel the sense of isolation from them knowing they will not have the relationship they expected. The Asperger husband also feels a sense of loneliness. One main difference between the NT and AS lies in the realm of understanding the implicit emotional and cognitive experience of another person. The ability to show empathy and validate another person’s perspective is limited with the AS and is a crucial in feeling emotionally connected.

 

Managing the feeling of disconnection and loneliness is possible. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Don’t put all the blame solely on your husband
  • Learn as much as you can about Asperger’s
  • Reframe your husband’s behavior so you put a positive spin on it and don’t take things personally
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Be very explicit about what you need and want – telling him what that behavior looks like for you is very helpful to Asperger husbands
  • Talk about how you would like to connect with each other – go for a walk; watch a show on television; listen to music, etc
  • Talk about weekend expectations – if he’s up for it great; if not, go on and do them without him
  • Have a supportive group of friends you can see monthly
  • Treat yourself to a “self-care” day
  • Don’t neglect your passion – if you don’t have one….find one!

As a Marriage and Family Therapist and wife of an Asperger husband who has managed the feelings of loneliness, I share my insight, positive attitude and strategies for successful relationships. As a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, I specialize in working with couples where one partner has Asperger’s, AS and the other is Neurotypical, NT. Together they learn to accept each other’s different approaches to life and find ways to overcome their problems and misunderstandings.

For more information on overcoming loneliness with your Asperger husband please call me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s? I’ve been married to my husband for over twenty years. From the beginning I thought he might be on the Spectrum as he displayed and exercised some odd behavior that negatively affected our interaction. We are all on the Autism Spectrum to some degree but those who suffer from the syndrome show signs of severe debilitation which affect social interaction, behavior and communication. What exactly is Asperger’s? Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder, characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). There’s nothing wrong with being on the Spectrum. I don’t like using the word “syndrome” because it pathologizes and fails to acknowledge the many great traits a person with Asperger’s possess.

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

People with Asperger’s, affectionately known as Aspies, are high functioning, have no problem with basic speech, are quite capable and highly intelligent.

Common traits of Asperger’s include:

  • Not being thoughtful – despite any ill intent, the impact may appear rude or callous
  • Have memory problems – forgetful
  • Have a lack of theory of mind (Mindblindness) – incapable of putting themselves into someone else’s shoes – cannot conceptualize, understand or predict knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs, emotions feeling and desires, behavior, actions, and intentions of another person
  • Little self-awareness
  • Time management problems – lose track of time as they can become involved in restricted or special interests
  • Have a narrow range of interests – hyper-focused on one (often very specific) hobby
  • Show little to no empathy

  • Have sensory problems – sensitive to light, loud sound, skin to some clothing, smell and taste sensitivities
  • Repetitive behaviors – they like routine, have little tolerance for change, inflexible
  • Struggle for small talk
  • Limited relational skills
  • Conversations can be one-sided
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Have awkward moments and mannerisms
  • Little eye contact
  • Childlike (naive) behavior when initiating sex

As a Marriage Counselor married to a husband with Asperger’s, I work with Neurodiverse Couples (a couple where one partner has Asperger’s; AS and the other does not, referred to as the Neurotypical; NT) to help them recognize, understand and treat focusing on problem-solving, developing coping strategies, acquiring relational and communication skills to put a system in place that works for both.

My husband is a kind, generous and intelligent man. I didn’t want to leave the relationship so I educated myself on Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s) and acquired coping skills to manage the emotions that come from living with a partner who has limited relational skills. I’m a very social, loud, and outgoing person. My extrovert personality is a strength that became damaged as I was suffering from Cassandra Syndrome. Feelings that led to losing my sense of self. As traditional marriage counseling is ineffective, I empowered myself by becoming certified through the Asperger’s/Autism Network (AANE) as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor. I see couples through a neurodiverse lens helping them to recognize, understand and put systems in place for effective communication, as well as feeling more emotionally connected.

For more information on Asperger’s and whether or not your husband may have it, please call me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s? Being married to a man with Asperger’s has its challenges. But, like anything else, there are strengths and weaknesses to every relationship. I’ve been married for over 20 years. The first 13 years were frustrating to say the least and I felt alone most of the time. My husband is a kind and generous man so I wondered why he could look and act like a jerk. There were times when he seemed thoughtless and showed no consideration or regard to my existence. Being a strong and confident person I developed Cassandra Syndrome aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome where I lost my sense of self. Not being seen or heard left me a shell of a person. My best seller on Amazon. “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship”

How Do You Know Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

I cried a lot, had major meltdowns where I ordered him out of the house and threatened divorce on a monthly basis. Of course, I never wanted a divorce or for him to leave. It was the fight/flight mode where being exhausted from fighting one fantasizes leaving. An acting out way of displaying emotions that most certainly undermines relationships. As the years went by the clinician in me, and my strong gut feeling said there is definitely something going on with his odd behavior.

We went to marriage counseling where we found no relief. As there were little resources to help Neurodiverse couples such as ourselves, I became Certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) to help those who are truly suffering in their relationships. Your Asperger husband wants to meet your needs and make you happy, but needs the tools to do so.

Here’s a checklist to see if your husband may have Asperger’s:

  • Conversations are fact based and more transactional than relational – doesn’t feel personal
  • Awkwardness in social situations you used to think was shyness but now appear strange
  • Memory problems
  • Time management issues
  • When it comes to sex he initiates in a childlike manner where it appears and feels awkward
  • Not able to show empathy
  • Incapable of validating your perspective
  • Seems thoughtless where the lack of consideration and regard for you can make you feel as though he doesn’t have your back
  • Family and friends say his behavior is odd and may not take a liking to him or they think he does not like them
  • Not able to console; lacks compassion
  • Has special interests like computers, astronomy, cars, etc.
  • Sensitivity to loud sounds, light, crowds, and certain types of clothing
  • Can appear selfish and/or Narcissistic

As it is a Spectrum the combination of characteristics will vary from one individual to the next. Typically, adults with Asperger’s feel a sense of relief once they receive a diagnosis. Because it is a Spectrum I don’t like placing a label as much as I want to help them acquire tools for communication and becoming more relational. My husband felt that sense of relief with his undiagnosed Asperger’s. It made a lot of sense and was the turning point in our marriage for moving forward.

I appreciate the ability to recognize, understand and treat Asperger’s as it pertains to relationships. I help couples put systems in place, acquire the necessary tools to be able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what you need and want. I always loved my husband but now I can say I actually like him again.

For more information on developing a functional and harmonious relationship please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Divorces What Are They?

Grey Divorces What Are They? The latest News reports the spitting up of billionaire and philanthropist Bill and Melinda Gates. They have decided to call it quits and move on after 27 years of marriage. The Gates, along with Amazon tycoon, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott, and other not so notable couples over the age of 50 are going through what is referred to as a grey divorce or silver splitting. This term identifies the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older (grey-haired) couples in long term marriages. Grey divorce was documented in the United States as early as the 1980’s but wasn’t labeled as such until around 2004. The phenomenon entered the public awareness with a 2004 AARP study and was further elucidated in Deirdre Bair‘s 2007 book Calling It Quits containing interviews with grey divorcees.

     
Grey Divorces What Are They?
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Grey Divorces

Just like Theresa and Larry Caputo their breakup and divorce may have been a result of becoming Dreaded Roommates after being with each other for three decades. As a Marriage Counselor, I hear the statement “I love you,” but “I’m not in love with you” from couples who experience what I believe couples like Bill and Melinda Gates experienced. Being with each other for decades while trying to keep the romantic piece alive can be challenging. When we first get together in our romantic relationships we feel excited and alive due to the newness of it all. We grow with each other and hopefully continue to grow as individuals. In healthy relationships, the individual still exists within the relationship. The two are Individuating and Differentiating from each other. Meaning we continue to grow and evolve into the person we are becoming while differentiating from our partner creating a good balance between the two processes to maintain a happy relationship

The relationship can become threatened when one person starts to differentiate more than the other. As a Marriage Counselor, I hear couples say one of them has become distant and does their “own thing.” Coupling activity is limited and sometimes nonexistent.When individuals tend to overly concentrate on their individual interests and neglect their relationship the result can include a feeling of emotional disconnectedness. With Bill and Melinda Gates separating I can imagine raising their children while making the world a better place through their philanthropy took a toll on their marriage. The energy the wife receives from “doing me” can be alluring. Some women define themselves as wife, mother, daughter, and sister. But when they establish a successful professional life, that is validating. Perhaps a lot of personal energy went into their professional life, therefore, making little time for the relationship. Maybe becoming empty nesters brought on the realization that when they are no longer raising children together, they have few other projects or interests in common. Others find it’s a moment to take another look at what they really want from life. Divorcing at this stage in life can be a time when they reassess what the relationship holds for each of them as individuals.

Another factor making grey divorce an option is that older individuals have more resources to leave a long term relationship. They are established in their line of work and have the freedom to pursue what they want rather than what others wanted for them. As the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers are now at ripe older ages, they have a better understanding of who they are and what they want. If their long term relationship hasn’t been happy for a long time they have options to get the happiness they are looking for.

For more information on grey divorce and leaving a long term marriage please contact me at (858) 735-1139