Neurodiverse Marriages Can Work

Neurodiverse Marriages Can Work. Life never ceases to amaze me. Growing older and wiser I am still in awe of couples who are able to manage the highs and lows of marriage. Marriage isn’t easy. There’s ongoing hard work needed to manage the worst of times and thrive in the best of times. When you’re in a neurodiverse marriage there are even more challenges to manage than traditional ones.

Neurodiverse Marriages Can Work (available on Amazon)

You’re in pain. You’re confused and frustrated. You married someone who was kind, generous, calm, and brilliant. Sure, your partner was reserved. Maybe a little aloof. But over time, that reservation started to hurt. That aloofness twisted into self-centered actions. You feel alone. Neglected. You try to communicate, but it feels like you’re speaking different languages.

This ongoing emotional suffering results from distressing interpersonal relations with your Asperger/ASD spouse. He doesn’t understand, empathize with or validate your pain. This ongoing traumatic relationship syndrome is known as Cassandra Syndrome. You feel isolated and helpless to change your partner’s behavior.

In my own marriage of over 25 years, I can relate to such suffering. I often times asked the question…”should I stay or should I go?” It took many years of research and development to acquire tools for communication and emotional connection.

There are many resources out there to help neurodiverse couples. It’s essential to recognize, understand and treat the challenges. As a neurodiverse couples counselor, I know first hand that traditional marriage counseling is not effective as my husband and I went through that process to no avail.

It’s even more important to get the help needed for individual challenges as they can complicate the already difficult pieces to the ASD puzzle. As a neurotypical wife (NT), I had to examine how my behavior was affecting my relationship. Despite my cassandra symptoms I had to learn how to regulate my emotions and put a plan in place to remove myself when ASD situations came up. My daily meditation helped me stay on track to manage my acting out behaviors so I can be more present to utilize the communication tools. My ASD husband also learned how to regulate his emotions and slowly has been able to express his feelings. He continues to manage his social anxiety which I took personally, as I thought he didn’t want to interact with me or anybody else for that matter.

My husband stretches his limits and opens up more to people. He initiates conversation even when it is scary to do so. You don’t get better overnight, but you do need to start somewhere.

I’m here to help with that starting point. I start my process through education but, more importantly, I know you want immediate relief, so I like to introduce the tools sooner rather than later. It’s an ongoing process but if you don’t start somewhere you’ll never get your happy ever ending.

Please text me your email address for more information about my services and fees at (858) 735-1139.

 

Neurodiverse Marriages – Tool To Answer Stay Or Go

Neurodiverse Marriages – Tool To Answer Stay Or Go. Some of you may not even know you are in a neurodiverse marriage. If you’re married to someone on the Autism Spectrum, you are in a neurodiverse marriage aka Asperger  Marriage. Your relationship is more transactional than relational and you can’t even remember what a healthy relationship looks like. You might have lost your sense of self suffering from Cassandra.

Neurodiverse Marriages – Tool To Answer Stay Or Go

I’ve been married to my Asperger Husband for 25 years and spent the last 15 years managing my ongoing Cassandra symptoms. We have many strengths, however, the disorder keeps the shortcomings extremely challenging. As a marriage counselor, I have given my couples many tools to not only survive their marriages, but thrive in them. When it comes to working with neurodiverse couples, it is essential to get the tools needed for communication and emotional connection. An essential tool for the Neurotypical Wife (NT) is to have an independent life within her interdependent life with her Asperger Husband (AS). Self-care includes having her own, hobbies, job, friends, etc. In making herself happy she allows room for the relationship to be “good enough.” Happy Me Happy We is a book I wrote to help understand what it is you want so you know what you want in a relationship.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what you want in your relationship, develop a two column list with 1) things you can tolerate in your marriage and 2) things you will not tolerate in your marriage. Understanding Autism is a developmental delay, there are things the brain cannot register and will make it difficult to interact with someone on the spectrum. Yes, there are tools for more effective communication and emotional connection, but the most important tool is taking care of yourself in the marriage. Because we NT wives tend to overfunction in our relationships, we are exhausted, resentful, angry, to name a few emotions. And this exhaustion leads to poor physical and emotional well being. Most Asperger husbands are good at heart, but can make interacting troublesome. In weighing the pros and cons, just like neurotypical marriages, it is important to know what are deal breakers.

Using this tool helps NT wives know where their boundaries lie. If you continue to make the intolerable behaviors acceptable then you know you’ve made a choice to remain in your marriage and should give up the “victim” status as you’ve made a choice.  Of course, you need to share with your husband what is tolerable and what is not. He does need to be given the opportunity to learn new ways to behave with you. Neurodiverse marriage counseling/coaching does just that. We all have choices when it comes to staying or going.

For more information please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

My Neurodiverse Marriage – 4 Managing Cassandra

My Neurodiverse Marriage – 4 Managing Cassandra. Last week I shared I had a difficult and challenging week with my Aspie husband. He has been preoccupied with some estate planning and has been MIA for most of that week. We are like ships that pass in the night. He eats, drinks, and sleeps this preoccupation with things he has to take care of. Although I have lots to do during the week, I still want time with my husband. As I’ve shared in past blogs, it’s essential to have an independent life outside your marriage. A happy marriage is one where there is independence in an interdependent partnership. I have been working on developing a stronger sense of self so “acting out” emotions about feeling lonely, bored, frustrated or resentful are few and far between. My husband appreciates that.

My Neurodiverse Marriage – 4 Managing Cassandra

My husband has been out of town for the past five days. I thought this was going to trigger me (abandonment issues), but it didn’t. Actually the day he was leaving his ASD thing was irritating me. I snipped at him and asked, “when are you leaving?” My tone wasn’t nice and I apologized. I realized I was losing energy to do the neurodiverse thing.

While he was away I noticed I started feeling better with newfound energy. I tend to get alot of work done when he is out of the house. Just me and my dog. I slept better and woke up more refreshed. As much as I liked this, I did miss my husband. We prefer to text rather than talk on the phone as talking voice to voice brings about the ASD thing. lol

I place humor when I share because I can’t take things seriously anymore. We are who we are and we aren’t going to change. Meaning my neurotypical self is just that and his neurodivergent self is just that. I believe he was recharged being away from me, as well. Time away from each other is healthy in any marriage, but more so in a neurodiverse marriage. Recharge means something to the brain of someone on the spectrum.

Absence makes the heart grow more fonder. Meaning when people we love are not with us, we love them even more. With neurodiverse couples I recommend they carve out time to be together and carve out time to be away from each other too. May sound counterintuitive but it certainly works to their benefit.

For more information about neurodiverse marriages give me a ring at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder – More Common Than You Think

Autism Spectrum Disorder – More Common Than You Think. Autism Spectrum Disorder 2.21% Are Adults. According to the CDC an estimated 5,437,988 (2.21%) adults in the United States have ASD.

I had the opportunity to watch a world premiere play entitled, “Is It Thursday Yet?” How do you explain to strangers how you perceive the world using the language of dance? Jenn Freeman, created, choreographed, and performed this captivating and creative performance that fuses dance, music, and video to bring audiences on her journey of past and present self-discovery after she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 33.

Autism Spectrum Disorder – More Common Than You Think

If you’ve spent time with a child or an adult with Asperger’s, you’ve probably noticed they react differently to the world. He or she may exhibit these signs:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Sensitivity to light, noise or temperature
  • Sleep problems
  • Getting upset with a change in routine
  • An intense or overly focused interest in a specific topic
  • Difficulty holding a conversation
  • Facial expressions or gestures that don’t match the situation
  • Not adhering to social norms
  • Not listening to or looking at people
  • Repeating words or behaviors

Social anxiety is prevalent among ASD individuals. Jenn Freeman states she overcomes her social anxiety and other interpersonal challenges through dance. I commend her for her courage in performing in front of large audiences. Her performance and information about ASD and her personal challenges were incorporated into the play educated many who are not aware of ASD.

It was refreshing to be among the audience who embraced autism. Autism is receiving much awareness. Organizations like Autism Speaks focuses on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support.

For more information about ASD and how it affects marriages please contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or (858) 735-1139.

My Neurodiverse Marriage – 3 Cassandra At It’s Worst

My Neurodiverse Marriage – 3 Cassandra At It’s Worst. After 25 years of marriage, the first 13 horrifically confusing, to say the least, I can say I have managed my cassandra syndrome symptoms to the best of my capability. Where once I had major meltdowns on a monthly basis, I only have them every 6 or 7 weeks. As unacceptable as this may be, I am fallible and am not perfect.

Cassandra At It’s Worst

In my upcoming book, I state neurodiverse marriages need only get to “good enough” to start feeling a sense of calm and hope. With the willingness and commitment to want to move forward, “good enough” can be “amazing. It all depends on what kind of effort you both want to put into it.

On a bad day I try and get the insight needed to find out why I am so upset. Why I go “off” on my husband when he is just being himself. We all have personal issues imprinted from our childhood and feel the trauma spilling into our present state of consciousness. Meaning, when my husband goes MIA (missing in action) for too long, it triggers my abandonment issues and feelings of being not valued, and invisible. When he says he will do something and doesn’t follow through, I don’t feel prioritized and my disappointment and hurt come out at him with anger and sometimes verbal abuse. Of course, I feel terrible. It’s like an out of body experience, where I don’t even like myself.

Years of working on myself, developing a greater sense of self, helped me become grounded to be able to make adjustments to my bad behavior. Rather than be reactive, I’ve learned to be more responsive. Happy Me Happy We, helped me understand what healthy relationships looked like. We’ll talk about how I did that in the next article.

Cassandra At It’s Worst

Because we cannot change anyone but ourselves…..stop trying to! Concentrating on yourself is the first step in healing any relationship. I thought I knew what that concept meant since I write about it and counsel individuals about it. Throughout my 3 decades counseling people I realized I “talked the walk,” rather than, “walk the walk.” Meaning, I’m good at teaching, but didn’t follow through with my recommendations.

In neurodiverse marriages, there are many challenges, just as there are in neurotypical marriages. They just are more pronounced as ASD brains process information differently than non ASD brains. So ASD brains, in my personal and professional opinion, by default, concentrate on themselves. When they are overwhelmed by our bad behavior they can pull away and/or shut down. They exact opposite of what we want them to do. Rather than leaning in they lean out. Neither partner gets what they need and the vicious cycle begins.

Cassandra symptoms at its worst for me includes threatening the marriage by saying, “that’s it, I want a divorce,” “get out,” “I can’t take this anymore,” and hurtful things to attack character. Absolutely unacceptable! I’m sure some of you can totally relate. And I know you hate yourselves for it. It truly is difficult. We love our Aspie husbands but the dynamic (not the individual) can make life so miserable at times.

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