Asperger’s Can Feel Like You’re Living With An Asshole

Asperger’s Can Feel Like You’re Living With An Asshole. “Ass”perger’s, is what I refer to it when I am consumed with a range of emotions I inappropriately “act out” when I am angry. Underlying emotions include disappointment, hurt, sadness and frustration. Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. I have been married to a man on the Spectrum for over 20 years.  I wanted to share what life looked and felt like before receiving an unofficial diagnosis. Unofficial in that for a formal diagnosis, clinician’s would need the person in question’s developmental/childhood history. Asperger’s has only received much attention the past few decades. Asperger’s Can Feel Like You’re Living With An Asshole

Asperger’s Can Feel Like You’re Living With An Asshole
Asperger’s (also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder) was first described in the 1940’s by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger, who observed autism-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in boys who had normal intelligence and language development. Asperger’s Can Feel Like “Ass”perger’s in that the behavior can be odd and resemble what looks like jerk-behavior.
Growing up in the 1950’s Asperger’s wasn’t as well known as Autism. My husband’s mother was a registered nurse and never suspected her son of Autism. The term Autism Spectrum Disorder wasn’t even a diagnosis until 2013. In those days you were either autistic or not autistic. Clinicians have found there is a “spectrum” where symptoms vary across different individuals, ranging in type and severity.

On some level my mother-in-law knew there was something odd about her little boy but did nothing to pursue any kind of diagnosis. Come to find out, from my husband, his older brother (4 years older) was on the spectrum. He noticed his brother would rock from side to side each night….soothing himself to sleep. He didn’t think much of it as a child, but as he has accepted and appreciates his unofficial diagnosis he believes his brother was in fact on the spectrum, as well. His brother died at the age of 42 as a result of an aircraft accident. I never knew him. My husband shares information about his brother that leads me to believe he had Asperger’s. His brother was a highly intelligent and high functioning individual. He was brilliant in the field of Organic
Chemistry. He had high aspirations of becoming an astronaut and politician. His Asperger’s hindered him from obtaining his Ph.D as his temperament was challenging to his doctorate program evaluators.

BEING AUTISTIC DOESN’T MAKE YOU A JERK but the odd behavior can appear like they are clueless and socially inept. Asperger’s Can Feel Like You’re Living With An Asshole

Asperger’s behavior could look like Asshole behavior:

If you think you’re better than other people or don’t care about their feelings, you’re just a jerk.

If you continually point out that you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re just a jerk.

If you insist that other people adapt themselves to you at all times, instead of compromising or making any effort to adapt yourself, you’re a jerk and manipulative and possibly toxic to those around you.

If you live in a black and white world and anyone who sees a little grey gets a verbal slap from you, you’re a jerk.

If you always have to be right because you can’t admit to being wrong or less than fully informed, you’re an insufferable jerk.

If you think being smarter than someone gives you the right to be mean to them, belittle them, or ignore their humanity, you’re an asshole.

Life with my husband can look like some of the above. There are days when I am beside myself and call him an asshole but reframe and say it’s asshole behavior. Because I know he is not unkind, thoughtless, or stupid I can appreciate his efforts in trying to interact with me. Life with an Asperger’s husband is just as challenging as when there is a physical handicap. Bottom line, a successful life with a man on the spectrum includes putting a system in place, acquiring tools, and learning a process in which to become more relational. There’s a learning curve. It’s not easy, but what do you have to lose? You get what you put into anything that is worth having.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

“From early childhood, people with Asperger’s syndrome are less likely to recognize and understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and intentions of other people in order to make sense of their behavior,” writes Tony Attwood. My husband is happy to do any job which needs doing. He runs errands, does household chores, repairs anything broken, assists our children or dog after an accident or brief illness. But when I slipped during a hike and fell to the ground and scrapped my knee, all he did was look at me and said, “you’d better get an alcohol wipe and band aid up that cut.” He made no attempt to comfort or help me.” I thought he was insensitive because if he was the one who got hurt I’d be showing him some empathy saying, “that scrape looked like it hurt.” There’s another time our dog got bit by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he might not make it. I cried like a baby in the examining room. My husband just sat there and looked at me. Didn’t come toward me to comfort me. I vividly remember shaking and hyperventilating I was crying so hard. Thank goodness my dog made it, but that was a most disturbing memory. He showed he cared by paying the $5,000 hospital bill. Again, as generous as that was, I could have used a hug and a kiss.  Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married.

Tips to help stay married to an Asperger husband:

  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Bridge 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;

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

A skilled counselor, can help implement the suggested tips to able to gain awareness of the AS and NT’s own individual patterns of behavior, and learn how they can make both attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to become more relational with one another. A counselor can also facilitate conversations, and help both partners learn to be more relational. With acquiring tools for better communication, implementing a process utilizing the tools, and putting a system in place the couple will be able to connect emotionally, and problem-solve around sensory integration issues, meltdowns, and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Being in a neurodiverse relationship myself, I know first hand how difficult it can be to get the life you want given the situation at hand. Nothing changes if nothing changes. With any challenge if changes aren’t made to adjust and manage them there is poor prognosis for a long and happy life together.

For more information on managing your neurodiverse relationship, understanding Asperger’s and how it plays out in a relationship, or managing Cassandra Syndrome please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage

How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have worked with over 2,000 couples for 25 years. I am also married to a man with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). We have been married for 22 years. During the early years of my marriage I coped with indescribable hardship, communication and severe emotional deprivation without even suspecting my husband might be on the autism spectrum. The beginning of our marriage was challenging as we did not become aware of my husband’s Asperger’s until about 13 years into our marriage. I fell in love with my husband because of his kind and genuine nature. I always knew he was different in an odd kind of way but being a divorced single mother in the dating arena meeting a lot of narcissistic men, I thought his behavior at the time was refreshing. No drama, calm, agreeable, and he loved me.
How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage

Being married to a man with Asperger’s makes us a Neurodiverse couple. Meaning coupleships are comprised of one neurotypical  (NT) and one partner with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I’m the NT. There are pros and cons to every relationship. My husband’s most admirable traits are as a result of his disorder rather than in spite of it. That being said, I did experienced behavior that appeared not considerate or thoughtful. It made my husband look like he was only interested in getting what he wanted. This egocentricity (self-centeredness) is what some might call “ass hole” behavior. I knew he wasn’t behaving like an asshole on purpose, but, nevertheless, it looked and felt like asshole behavior to me. So much so I acted out my feelings in not so good ways. I would yell, criticize, cry, etc. and he would respond as if he hadn’t done anything wrong. He’s also forgetful and has poor time management skills when it comes to our relationship. Again, I know, he doesn’t do these things on purpose. He never has any ill intent. But you wouldn’t thinks so unless you understood Asperger’s and how it affects relationships.

So years of being on the receiving end of his odd behavior took a toll on my sense  of self. I ended up feeling lonely, disappointed, angry and very frustrated. I didn’t feel like my strong self for years. As a result, I was experiencing what  NT partners refer to as Cassandra Syndrome.

Neurology Matters in Couples Therapy. If you are married to someone on the Autism Spectrum normal couples counseling will not help.  A Neurodiverse Couples Counselor, is better equipped to work with Neurodiverse Couples:

  • Identify root cause of issues through a Neurological lens
  • Understand meltdowns in one or both partners and how to manage them
  • By making an assessment using an Asperger’s profile in one of the partners
  • Interpret for each partner what behavior means
  • Acquire tools that initiate communication, express thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed
  • Implement those tools
  • Put systems in place for healthier and more effective interaction
  • Understand and appreciate that both have their own perspectives and see things differently

Courtesy of  https://www.aane.org/neurodiverse-couples-institute/
How I Survive An Asperger’s Marriage:
  • Avoid talking down to your AS (autism spectrum) partner
  • Acceptance that life will be challenging
  • Take your AS partner at face value. In other words, don’t try to read too much into what they’re saying. …
  • Have your AS partner “reflective listen” back what you said so you know they understood you
  • Ask questions to get clarity
  • Be clear and specific about your expectations
  • Be explicit when asking for something
  • Be explicit when giving instructions
  • Get some relational tools for emotional connection and effective communication
  • Respect your AS partner’s need for down time
  • Manage Cassandra Syndrome – Have a well rounded life of your own. Work, hobbies, friends, etc.

Being married to an Asperger husband is quite challenging. If you don’t have a well rounded sense of self, positive attitude about your neurodiversity, and relational tools you may not choose to remain in the marriage for too long. More importantly, it might not be feasible for you to stay. Like with all challenges, nothing changes when nothing changes. Get the tools needed to make your marriage work. Just like everything else, effort and commitment is key.

For more information about neurodiverse couples, Asperger husbands, and surviving an Asperger’s marriage please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

No “We” Without “Me”

No We Without Me. There Is No We Without Me. There are  many people out there who grow up thinking they need to find someone to partner up with sooner rather than later. I came across my 6th grade autograph book. As I would be entering middle school the following year, the main message from my classmates, female and male friends was “hope you find a boyfriend” next year. Of course, there were other messages that included, “you are such a nice person,” etc. But I do recall the main focus of our desires back then was to get a boyfriend. Almost as if it were some kind of status. If you had one, you were cool, if you didn’t, something must be wrong with you.  How absurd! Can you imagine what kind of pressure that puts on a person? Not to mention taking up so much thinking space from your brain.

No “We” Without “Me”

Becoming the person you are to become doesn’t start off with, “who do I partner up with so I can feel whole?” Developing a sense of self is the key to individuating and differentiating. Becoming the individual you are to be and becoming more different from the family that raised you and all relationships you are a part of is what enables interdependence with a relationship. Being an autonomous person within a relationship is what makes marriages work. When your relationship is in trouble, it affects every part of your life. But it doesn’t mean you have to accept things as they are– or give up and walk away.

Happy Me Happy We

A healthy and happy relationship starts with taking charge or your own thoughts and actions, and learning how to be your own person. With a better understanding of self, a firm foundation of healthy communication skills, and the insight to make better choices, you’ll know how to interact positively with others. You’ll be able to create the healthy, loving, supportive relationship you know you deserve.

No “We” Without “Me” Growing up I followed the”rules” for a happy life. When I grew up I discovered there ought not to be “rules.” There is no one size fits all for finding happiness. Concentrating on self is a key part of actually growing up. Not just chronologically (physical age) but emotionally (psychological age). Understanding what it is you want for yourself, really helps in finding and maintaining a relationship that works for you. In my book, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship I take you through easy steps to do just that.

If you are able to understand who you are and what you want, not what others want for you, you are on the right road to finding your happiness. Your happiness will be different from my happiness. When I ask my clients what they want, most say they don’t know. They tend to want what other people want to please and be liked. People-pleasers are the most resentful and frustrated people I know. The negative energy (anger) affects all their relationships and they wonder why they are not happy. Being your true self will open the doors to what happiness will look like for you.

For more information on how to do that contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs. Finding out your partner has cheated on you is probably the most devastating piece of news you’ll ever hear. Whether you discovered the affair or it was disclosed to you it hurts like hell. The pain we experience feels like an attack on our body. It’s almost surprising just how much it can hurt. Your first response may be shock which then turns into panic. Of course, you’ll feel anger, but anger is secondary to the range of emotions you’ll be experiencing. Feelings of hurt, disappointed, sadness, and betrayal are typically the underlying emotions to anger. Finding out about the affair either blindsides you or confirms some suspicion you’ve had for some time. Betrayal makes us feel unsafe.

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs

With infidelity, there is the affair partner (the cheater) and the hurt partner. In Affair Recovery the couple talks about whether they want to stay together or move on . Affair recovery helps determine whether saving the marriage is feasible.

How long do extra marital affair last? Extramarital affairs vary in duration. About 50% may last between one month to a year. Long term affairs may last for about 15 months or more. And about 30% of affairs last about two years and beyond.  And some can last a lifetime.

As an Affair Recovery Specialist, I work with couples whose affairs consist of a one night stand to ones that continued for more than a decade. Tools are acquired but the single most indicator in moving forward is the affair partner’s ability to articulate his/her insight about why the affair happened and why it won’t happen again, while the hurt partner appropriately manages their emotions for the long haul. Affair recovery is three steps forward and two steps backward until enough time goes by for stability.

I have successfully worked with couples on both ends of the spectrum with much success. Being able to save your relationship rests on your desire to want to. That, coupled with affair recovery with me, can make that happen.

Please contact me for an appointment at (858) 735-1139 or through my website: CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com