Living With An Asperger Husband

Living With An Asperger Husband. After finishing my book, “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship,” I understand the root of happiness starts within yourself. Our external environment can affect our ability to make choices that make us happy or unhappy. When you concentrate on yourself and what you want things fall in place to make your life more functional and content. It’s a game changer when you start with you and what you want. Sometimes codependency makes for getting other people’s needs met over our own. We become codependent as a means of survival in some families as you grow up. Asking for what you need and want for some growing up was deemed as disrespectful and selfish. And often times met with negative reinforcement in the form of judgment, criticism, and abuse.

Living With An Asperger Husband

As a Marriage and Family Therapist I help you reframe the negative experiences you had to bear as a young child (inner child). I help your Functional Adult manage those scary feelings from childhood to assert oneself so you get what you need and want. As a Certified Neurodiverse Couples Counselor I help the Neurotypical (which is typically the wife) manage Cassandra Syndrome aka ongoing traumatic syndrome. Feeling like you are losing your sense of self is frustrating and disheartening. You can tend to feel like leaving your marriage as saving your sense of well being becomes the focus for survival.

Living With An Asperger Husband

Living with an Asperger husband is very challenging. Even during what can be deemed as stable times can instantly turn into another awful situation where feelings are hurt and anger increases. I lived a life that was confusing to say the least. As a clinician, I was flabbergasted when I realized my husband had Asperger’s. For 10 of our 23 years of marriage we had major problems with communication. My husband is a highly intelligent and kind person so I didn’t think he was doing these inconsiderate behaviors on purpose. I had a meltdown every six weeks and threatened divorce over and over again. Threatening the relationship is never appropriate as it undermines any chance of safety and security within the dyad. My acting out behavior included yelling, cursing, belittling, threatening, and name calling. I’m ashamed of my behavior because I should know better. However, I am only human and am not immune to what living with a person on the Spectrum can do to one’s self esteem.

I desperately needed tools to better communicate with one another. Traditional marriage counseling was a total waste of time. I did appreciate it being part of the process in educating myself about Autism Spectrum Disorder. I studied many journal articles written on the subject and became certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor through Asperger/Autism Network AANE.

Through neurodiverse couples counseling, my husband and I recognize and understand that we speak different languages and have very different perspectives. We have effective tools to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what we need and want. We have learned to be explicit in saying what we need to say and describing what it looks like so we get a visual of what is being talked about. We’re not perfect and I still have meltdowns every now and then but they aren’t as devastating as they were in the past. Understanding is key and acquiring tools to show each other empathy is a game changer.

For more  information on managing your life with your Asperger husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Cassandra Syndrome

Cassandra Syndrome. Also referred to as Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder and abbreviated as CADD, OTRS or AfDD. What is it? In Greek mythology, Apollo gives Cassandra the gift of prophecy; the ability to foresee the future.  He did so out of an act to seduce her but when she ultimately rejected him, he hexed her with a curse of never being believed.  Even though Cassandra had the power to predict the future and could warn people when something bad was about to happen, no one believed her.  She was dismissed and rejected, regarded by the townspeople as an insane liar.  The curse of never being believed became a source of pain and frustration throughout Cassandra’s life.  Despite her powers as a clairvoyant, she was all but invisible. Cassandra Syndrome is what a woman married to an Asperger (AS) man experiences through psychological and emotional distress.

Cassandra Syndrome

My husband has Asperger Syndrome (AS), making us a Neurodiverse Couple.  During the years before we obtained an unofficial diagnosis, I was quite troubled and experienced a great deal of psychological and emotional distress.  I was an emotional hostage, suffering through daily trauma of feeling invisible to my AS partner.  My husband could not express empathy, was awkward socially and had a limited ability to express himself non-verbally.  My response was to act out.  I was angry, unreasonable, hurtful and verbally abusive.  My self-esteem was being demolished by a partner who could not provide the connection I longed for.  There was either something terribly wrong with me or my husband had some sort of undiagnosed psychological challenge.  As a result, I was losing my sense of self.

I was experiencing an ongoing traumatic relationship syndrome (OTRS), known in this case as Cassandra Syndrome, a term coined by the families of adults affected by AS.  Like Cassandra in the myth, I had become invisible, disregarded, and ignored.

There was never any doubt I loved my husband but the Asperger’s was creating many challenges.  I didn’t want a divorce so I educated myself on AS, and Cassandra Syndrome and acquired coping skills to manage my emotions more appropriately.  We also found the tools my husband needed to be more relational and put systems in place for better communication.  This had made me so much happier.  Today, our Neurodiverse challenges are much more manageable and our mutual commitment to stay together and keep moving forward is truly one of the great achievements of our unique love story. As a result, I became Certified as a Neurodiverse Couples Counselor to help couples do the same thing.

For more information on coping with Cassandra Syndrome and moving forward with your Asperger husband (or wife/partner), please contact me at (858) 735-1139.  I know I can help.

 

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s? I know mine does. Yours may too. What exactly is Asperger’s? Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that impairs development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. The precise causes of autistic disorders have not been identified, although an inherited (genetic) component is believed to be involved. Supporting this idea is the fact that Asperger’s syndrome has been observed to run in families. Based on my clinical observations of my husband and his parents, he may have inherited it from one or both of them.

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?
  • Is your husband not thoughtful?
  • Is he forgetful?
  • Does he appear to have no self-awareness?
  • Tends to be late all the time?
  • Shows little to no Empathy?
  • Seems Antisocial?

I‘ve been married to my husband for twenty years and from the beginning, I thought he might be on the spectrum.  We all are to a certain 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).

20 years ago I met and fell in love with a kind, generous, and intelligent man. Often quiet in his demeanor and less animated than myself, my friends thought we were an unlikely match. I know now what I didn’t realize then is the comments made about my husband’s behavior offended some and made others feel uncomfortable. As the years went by I started to observe and experience a dynamic between us that consequently lead to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and irritability. He behaved in ways that were almost hurtful and rude.

Situations I now understand:

  • We were in Bora Bora on our Honeymoon. After a long flight, we were escorted to our beautiful over-the-water bungalow. As we were settling in I heard a knock at the door where room service brought my husband a refreshing Mai Tai cocktail. I asked where mine was and he said he didn’t order me one. I thought that was strange and nicely called him out on it. He said he didn’t think to ask me. (Aspie’s are often time not thoughtful)
  • When our daughter was 5 years old he forgot to pick her up from school after being reminded several times. (Memory problem)
  • Whenever I had a conversation with him he wasn’t able to show empathy and continued to talk about what was of interest to him. (Lack of Theory of Mind or Mind Blindness)
  • He could go on and on about a topic that was of interest to him and fail to recognize facial expressions denoting I was becoming uninterested or even bored. (No self-awareness)
  • He can go MIA (missing in action) for long periods of time working on his computer and not realize it and is often times late. (Time management problem)
  • I made a lovely Brunch one day and when we sat at the table to enjoy it he didn’t talk much and appeared troubled. I asked him later what was up as I was angry, more hurt, actually as I and was expecting him to appreciate my efforts. He later told me the sun was brightly shining and hurt his eye. (Sensory Issues)

As I didn’t want a divorce I started to educate myself on this syndrome and acquired coping skills to manage my emotions more appropriately, while getting my husband the tools he needed to be more relational. We acquired a process and put systems in place for better communication. With the commitment to moving forward, I can honestly say I am so much happier. There was never any doubt I loved him but the Asperger’s was making for too many challenges to want to stay. 

Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

For more information on being able to move forward with your Aspie husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139. I know I can help.