How Asperger’s Affect Marriages

How Asperger’s Affects Marriages. The impact of Asperger’s on a marriage is substantial and can cause a great deal of pain for both partners especially when the condition is not understood. The relationship typically involves a neurotypical wife (NT) and an Asperger Husband (AS). Because neurology matters, it’s important to work with a neurodiverse counselor as they help couples using a neurological lens bringing understanding and change to the differences in the way both think and communicate. As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor, I act as translator for the behaviors of the AS partner to the NT partner and vice versa.

How Asperger’s Affect Marriages

Before I met my husband, I dated many men who claimed they held women with respect and equality when, really they bought into a system of society where males held the power and women were largely excluded from it. Feminists mainly use the term to describe the power relationship between men and women. So, more so than not, I dated a lot of narcissists and experienced a lot a drama. They can create self-doubt by playing on your insecurities and weak points. Instilling self-doubt and gaslighting (a patterned, repetitive set of manipulation tactics that makes someone question reality is abusive and certainly doesn’t feel good).

How Asperger’s Affect Marriages

I had been divorced for seven years before meeting my husband who has Asperger’s. When I met him he was very kind and generous. Unlike, narcissists, he didn’t have an agenda to control or manipulate me. He was intelligent, attractive, and seemed grounded enough as he was calm during my bouts of emotional reactivity. Because there was little drama and I was ready to remarry, I believed he would make a good partner. At the beginning he seemed social enough, although I observed some social anxiety and communication that seemed rather odd. His quiet personality was refreshing and helped me become a little more calm in stressful situations.

After ten months of dating we married. The first ten years were quite nice but were filled with confusion for me. I noticed he wasn’t as communicative, didn’t seem to desire an emotional connection, and our communication was more transactional than relational. I felt as if I was losing my sense of self. I felt lonely, angry, frustrated and depressed. Later, I came to understand my feelings stemmed from ongoing relationship trauma, also know as Cassandra Syndrome.

Aspergers, which is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can affect marriages in the following way:

  • Personal challenges can create ongoing conflict which could lead to detachment from each other for both partners. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help address anxiety and personal challenges. Psychoactive medicines can manage anxiety, Attention deficit disorder (ADD), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. Aspergers can appear like Narcissism when in fact the bad behavior isn’t intentional.
  • Social interaction is limited and can be seen as aloof, not personable, and arrogant. Social skills training classes can help with conversational skills and understanding social cues.
  • Volume of voice and pitch can create miscommunication and discord. Speech therapy can help with voice control.
  • Clumsiness and awkward movement can create limitations to physical activity and sex. Physical and occupational therapy can improve coordination.

Of course, this is just a few ways Asperger’s affect marriages. I know first hand how the differences of NT and AS partners can either make or break a relationship. I also know AS husbands can make good partners.  Learn more about ASD and acquire the necessary tools to keep your marriage safe from yet another divorce statistic.

Contact me via my website: CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or text me your email address for information to get started.

 

Asperger’s During A Conversation

Asperger’s During A Conversation. People on the Autism Spectrum experience the world differently than those of us who are neurotypical. Because they have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences they are often times misunderstood. They have trouble with back-and-forth communication when conversating creating a lot of anxiety for them.

Formerly known as Asperger’s, ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There are tools and strategies to put in place so conversation doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience.

Asperger’s During A Conversation
Asperger’s during a conversation could include:
  • Not knowing what are the appropriate physical gestures?
  • Struggling to concentrate on multiple conversations going on at once
  • Feeling awkward and uncomfortable when others look at them
  • Feeling socially exhausted and overwhelmed
  • Looking bored or not interested
  • Unintentionally getting into other people’s personal space
  • Copying the other person’s replies

  • Masking the other person’s facial expressions
  • Concentrating on making eye contact
  • Sensory issues such as noise, smell, bright lights creating discomfort
  • Anxiety about when to speak and when not to speak
  • Giving out too much information
  • Infodumping about a special interest – lack of awareness about going on and on about a subject
  • Lack of awareness of social cues
  • Suppressing their stims
  • Stimming
  • Being self-conscious

Having to make conversation creates a lot of anxiety for people on the Spectrum because they notice everything around them and find it hard to concentrate on the person they are talking to. These individuals tend to like to be alone and become involved in their special interests. Being alone means not having to concentrate on anyone but themselves and is a means to recharging.

As human beings we tend to judge and criticize things we know little about. Rather than mock at something that is foreign, learn more about why it could be making you feel uncomfortable. People with Asperger’s don’t realize they are behaving in ways that make the general population uneasy. If you think you feel anxiety around a person with Asperger’s they feel the same way interacting with neurotypicals. Learning how to talk to someone on the Autism Spectrum will give you the capacity for compassion and showing empathy. We all want to fit into the world and be seen and heard.

For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

Goals For Neurodiverse Couples

Goals For Neurodiverse Couples. Get past the diagnosis and save your marriage. Understanding the root of problems is important but what do you do about them? I’m sure you’ve educated yourself about ASD and Asperger’s and are filled with a range of emotions. It’s not fun being married to a partner on the Autism Spectrum. As a neurodiverse couples counselor, and wife of an Asperger husband, I know firsthand the frustration and aggravation of not being able to communicate. Struggling for many years you could be suffering from Cassandra Syndrome, which basically means you are feeling like you are literally going crazy.

Goals For Neurodiverse Couples

When entering into couples counseling it is imperative to work with a therapist who is trained and has experience working with neurodiversity. High functioning Asperger husbands married to Neurotypical wives can make their relationship harmonious, functional, and relational where they both feel the emotional connection they desire.

Goals to treatment include:

  • Identify the specific Asperger’s trait that are contributing to the marital problems
  • Identity the neurotypical partner’s needs and expectations for moving forward
  • Discuss what has and hasn’t worked in the relationship so far
  • Outline strategies to manage and change the dysfunctional areas of the relationship
  • Overcome negative interactions together respectfully
  • Develop a healthy work/life balance
  • Improve shared decision making within the relationship
  • Set and maintain positive, healthy personal boundaries
  • Communicate effectively together
  • Develop healthy expectations for the relationship
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Improve your system of mutual support
  • Co-parenting

The length of time needed to complete couple’s therapy/coaching varies because each couple has their own set of circumstances. I have a process that includes a 3-hour intensive to make an assessment and create objectives to goals. I have practical tools to help 1) initiate conversation; 2) share thoughts and feelings, and 3) ask for what you need and want. I have tools to help understand that we each have perspectives and our perspectives are correct for oneself. When both are able to show empathy, validate each other’s perspective and commit to the plan for moving forward, prognosis is good.

So if you want help to be able to communicate more effectively and manage conflict contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

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.

 

 

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