How I Manage My Cassandra Symptoms

How I Manage My Cassandra Symptoms. I’ve been in a neurodiverse marriage for almost 25 years. The first ten years were quite challenging as I was frustrated and feeling like I was losing my mind. Being a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing in couples work, I was confused and irritated that my own marriage was deteriorating.

How I Manage My Cassandra Symptoms

If you’re married to a man on the Autism Spectrum (has Asperger’s) the lack of adequate psychological nurturance from him feels like a form of emotional neglect. Being unable to engage in your feelings and his own make for a lack of emotional intimacy. As a result of his mind blindness you tend to feel more like roommates than romantic intimates as communication tends to be more transactional than relational.

Cassandra aka Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder and abbreviated as CADD, OTRS or AfDD.

Symptoms include:

  • low self-esteem
  • confusion
  • anger

  • frustration
  • guilt
  •  loss of sense of self.
  • have thoughts of “going crazy”
  • social phobias
  • are easily overwhelmed or discouraged
  • are generally in worse health
  • are more lonely
  • feel empty inside
  • feel like there’s something missing
  • have a feeling of being “numbed out” or being cut off from one’s feelings
  • have a lack of clarity regarding others’ expectations and their own expectations for themselves
  • have a pronounced sensitivity to rejection (becomes hurt more easily)
  • are less happy
  • have less social support and lower relationship satisfaction
  • feel like they are on the outside looking in
  • secretly feel there is something deeply wrong with themselves
  • have difficulty managing their emotions (acts out in inappropriate ways – yelling, name calling, substance abuse,)
  • have difficulty finding ways to “self-soothe”

In establishing boundaries for oneself, Cassandra can be managed to the degree it makes your Asperger Marriage bearable. All marriages have their strengths and weaknesses. Asperger husbands can make good partners. When the weakness outweigh the strengths where you feel more withdrawals than deposits into your personal and relationship needs is where a downward spiral begins.

Tips for managing Cassandra:

  • Develop and maintain a strong sense of self
  • Be more independent in your interdependent relationship
  • Identify needs and take steps to meet them
  • Have a personal life of your own outside the relationship
  • Develop and maintain support system (friends, family, therapist)
  • Self care – be gently with yourself; Meditate; work out; don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Therapy – who understands ASD and neurodiversity
  • Learn more about neurodiverse relationship to be able to appreciate the challenges
  • Take medication if necessary to mange your own anxiety and depression
  • A good sex life helps (talk about other options if not)
  • Remember that recovery from emotional deprivation is a process – it takes time; be patient
  • Support groups

Managing Cassandra is a gradual, ongoing process. It didn’t happen over night, so it won’t get better overnight either. I sought individual therapy for years and didn’t get the help I now know I needed. With not being able to find the right therapist….I had to become that therapist. I became a certified neurodiverse couples counselor through the Asperger Autism Network (AANE.org). My training and experience has helped many neurotypical wives not only survive their Asperger Marriage, they are thriving as individuals, as well as partners. It’s important to find the right therapist as your marriage is counting on it.

I hope I can be that resource for you. Please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com for more information.

How To Make An Asperger Marriage Work

How To Make An Asperger Marriage Work. As in any marriage, the key practices for anyone seeking a happy and loving relationship are awareness, understanding, compassion, connection, respect, passion, and trust. An asperger marriage consist of one partner being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), typically the husband (AS) and the wife who is neurotypical (NT). In my own marriage, my husband is the AS partner and I am the NT partner. Neurodiverse marriages are often very challenging, with mental health consequences for both partners, for their children, and for their extended family systems.

How To Make An Asperger Marriage Work
  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal (for peace of mind or validation) A diagnosis is not key to becoming more relational
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual and consequently the relationship
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule (carve out and calendar coupling activities)
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Develop a household expectations list
  • Put a system in place so the acquired communication skills can be implemented

  • Parallel play
  • Cope with sensory overload and meltdowns
  • Expand Theory of Mind – limited ability to “read” another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions
  • Improve communication
  • Manage expectations and suspending judgment
  • Co-parenting strategies
  • Learn and speak each other’s love language

Just like any other goal to meet there needs effort and commitment. In working with my neurodiverse couples, those that use the tools and are mindful of implementing their objectives to their moving forward plan, makes for good prognosis. There are those who say they want to get better yet never demonstrate the behavior required of them. Learning how to be more relational is not that difficult. You do, however, have to put the effort in to receive the desired outcome.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Putting strategies in place is essential to establishing the intimacy desired.  For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

Neurodiverse Marriage

Neurodiverse Marriage. A Neurodiverse relationship is used to describe intimate partnerships between one neurologically typical partner and one partner who is on the autism spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The term refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by impaired social interaction, and by repetitive behaviors or interests. ASD results in significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. As of 2013 Asperger’s is no longer a diagnosis on its own as it became part of a broader category called Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even though technically Asperger’s is no longer a category, it is still widely used. The condition is what professionals call “high-functioning”  and refers to individuals who have above average intellectual abilities.

Neurodiverse Marriage

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor, I typically see a husband with Asperger’s (AS) and the wife who is neurotypical (NT) making a neurodiverse marriage. Neurodiverse couples can be among the strongest partnerships. They are two brains in love. However, neurological differences present unique challenges, particularly related to communication.

Neurodiverse Marriages:

  • are not that uncommon
  • can go for decades without fully understanding why their communication problems are so intractable.
  • have difficulty finding a therapist who has training or awareness of how to work with neurodiverse relationships
  • have universally recognized problem areas with social cues
  • now estimated that 1 in 50- 60 Americans are on the Autism Spectrum
  • according to a European study state 80% end in divorce which is nearly double the divorce rate for neurotypical (NT) couples
  • have the most challenging deficit of having a Theory of Mind
  • would benefit from the ability to listen non-defensively, validating their point of view, and show empathy while understanding their partner’s needs is fundamental
  • have differences that can be assets, deficits, or a little of both
  • recognize that a partner on the spectrum is often a huge relief and validates relationship concerns

Challenges can include:

  • Time managment – enabling time together (for connection) and apart (for self-care and recharge)
  • Parenting – learn how to leverage your neurodiverse strengths to parent your children (whether or not your children are neurodiverse)
  • Special parenting – learn how to parent your neurodiverse children
  • Sex – meeting each other’s sexual needs through managing different levels of libido, enhancing sexual communication, and addressing sensory issues
  • Financial – understanding how each partner feels and thinks about money bridging any gaps

As I am in a nuerodiverse marriage, I understand the need for someone who is trained to work with spectrum relationships using a neurological lens. Neurology matters when working with neurodiverse couples. My Asperger husband and I utilize the tools and implement strategies I teach to help my couples effectively communicate and to become less transactional and more relational.

Having someone who can provide information and tools to navigate challenges in your neurodiverse marriage can be exactly what your relationship needs. For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Asperger Love Languages

Asperger Love Languages. According to Gary Chapman there are five love languages that people speak to enhance their emotional connection to one another. They include Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. As a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor/Coach, I work with Asperger husband AS and Neurotypical wife NT couples through a neurological lens as each processes information differently.

Asperger Love Languages

Parallel play

  • people being alone together; doing things in parallel or side by side
  • both (AS & NT) partners reading their own books in the same room
  • one partner can be doing a puzzle while the another plays a video game
  • existing together doing different activities

Unusual gifts

  • unconventional gift giving
  • sharing things that are valuable or interesting to the AS partner to the NT partner as a sign of affection
  • giving something you know they are interested in
  • quirky; strange; odd (has meaning to the AS partner)

 

 

Info dump

  • talking about their interests or passion and sharing that information, usually in detail and at length

Bear hugs

  • sensory seeking
  • some need the pressure to manage anxiety

Unmasking

  • masking is any attempt or strategy “to hide their disability”
  • unmasking is where they show their true selves
  • not hiding aspects of themselves or pretending to be like someone else

 

 

Helping without words

  • rather than ‘say’ they ‘do’
  • action oriented

Speaking each other’s love language is key to feeling emotionally connected to your partner. As a neurodiverse couples counselor, I work with my couples through a neurodiverse lens. I act as translator because often times what is said or what has been expressed behaviorally can be misunderstood creating a range of emotions for both the AS and NT partner.

Through the counseling/coaching process a love language is determined. Love languages are different for everyone so it is important to identify and express behaviorally the intent of that love language.

Speaking each other’s love language can make all the difference in deepening an emotional connection. In my own marriage, my Asperger husband and I do just that. Along, with Chapman’s five love languages, asperger love languages can do the same.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-113 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July

Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July. Holidays and special events can be challenging for people on the Autism Spectrum. Sensory issues are common where sights and sound can create anxiety and physical discomfort.

Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July

People with autism might have these sensitivities:

Fireworks, for example may be desired to watch but can create noise sensitivity as they tend to be loud. During the fourth of July the combination of fireworks and crowds intensifies the experience. People suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder may take an alternative to watching fireworks on TV or other streaming platforms rather than in person.

Fourth of July Holiday Tips for Neurodiverse Marriages: (courtesy of https://www.differentbrains.org/)

Prepare in advance

It’s important that your loved one with autism is aware of what he/she will experience, from the people they will be seeing to the food and beverages they may be consuming. This is best done no less than a couple of days in advance. Using social stories or visuals to prepare them may be effective.

Make things comfortable

Bring anything that would help them remain stress-free during the event. Something like a blanket, a favorite toy, or a favorite snack could be effective in providing a distraction from a potentially stressful environment.

Have a plan to deal with loud sounds

Fireworks can be very overwhelming, so bringing sound-canceling headphones or even covering their ears is the easiest way to help heal the senses for the time being.

Be sure to take breaks

Be aware of how they are feeling. Pay attention to their body language and expressions. It may also be wise to develop a signal when things get uncomfortable for them. Prepare an escape route and a safe place to go unwind in case things do take a turn for the worst.

Ensure familiarity

Surrounding them with too many different things, like people they don’t usually see or food they don’t usually eat, may stress them out. As suggested earlier, prepare ahead and bring something that they like and are familiar with.

Keep an eye out

Not everyone with autism is sensitive to the same things. Some with “different brains” are considered fearless, and may be more fascinated with fireworks. Needless to say, be sure to keep from getting too close to any fireworks or fires.

Just have fun

Not everything you’ll encounter on the Fourth of July is avoidable, and you can’t spend every second of the evening worrying about what could happen. Once you have prepared beforehand and planned everything out, just be sure to take the evening as it goes and enjoy yourselves.

As I am married to an Asperger Husband, fourth of July crowds and loud noises are uncomfortable. Add social anxiety on top of that and the event can prove not fun for either myself or my husband. As a Neureodiverse Couples Counselor, I put strategies in place to manage sensory issues for such holidays. Past years we have stayed home and watched fireworks. This also helped keep my emotional support animal company as he is disturbed by the loud noise. This year we will be staying at a hotel that faces Sea World’s fireworks and celebrate enjoying what the general public will be experiencing.

Knowing what your options and expectations are is key in managing neurodiverse relationship issues.

For more information on Spectrum relationships contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com