Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise?
Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile.

Search This Blog

Tics in Adults with Asperger Syndrome

“My aspie husband makes this kind of snorting noise all evening (I don’t really know how to describe it) which is so annoying and distracting. He does this while were watching TV, in the car, and it’s embarrassing to me when we have company over. No amount of pointing this out to him while he’s doing it gets him to stop (for very long anyway). He will make softer snorts for a few moments, but then starts snorting loudly again – and doesn’t even know he’s doing it until I tell him so. It seems to happen unconsciously. Is this part of his aspergers? Is it a separate issue? Am I making too much of this? Is there anything I can do to help him? Sorry for all the questions, but I need some solutions – please! It’s driving me nuts!!! It’s got to the point now where I have to go into the other room if I want to watch a movie or read a book. Otherwise, there’s no point in trying to focus on anything.”

Asperger’s can have many symptoms, such as tics. Tics are rapid, sudden movements of muscles in the body. Tics can be vocal as well. Vocal Tic Disorder (VTD) is characterized by sudden, rapid, recurrent vocal sounds (e.g., constant clearing of the throat, humming, grunting, saying curse words, sniffing, snorting, squealing, etc.). If a person has both motor and vocal tics, he is diagnosed with Tourette’s. If he has only vocal tics, he is diagnosed with VTD.

Vocal tics can be moderately controlled, usually for a short period of time during which the “Aspie” makes a major effort to control them. However, the vocal tic usually reoccurs – and may be even stronger due to the compensation attempt. Vocal tics often worsen as a result of stress, anxiety, or fatigue. They may also worsen due to positive feelings (e.g., excitement or anticipation). Whenever the person focuses his attention on something else (e.g., surfing the Internet), the tics often decrease due to distraction and relaxation.

There are a variety of medications that are prescribed to help control the symptoms of VTD. However, the best-known treatment is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called “habit reversal training.” If a person gets “the urge” before the oncoming vocal tic, he is taught to recognize it and identify the circumstances that trigger it. The Aspie and therapist develop a “competing response” (i.e., an action the person performs when he feels the urge that is incompatible with the vocal tic and less noticeable to others).

One of my male Asperger’s clients had a tic that involved sniffling his nose. So, I had him perform a breathing exercise as the “tic substitute.” In this way, he was actually still doing a tic, but in a less socially unacceptable way. This method – in combination with teaching him some relaxation techniques – decreased the frequency of the vocal tics significantly. One of my other clients was able to suppress a vocal tic by chewing gum (because it was “hard to chew and tic at the same time”).

Self-help strategies can help diminish vocal tics as well, for example:
  • Give yourself permission to tic. Holding back a vocal tic can turn it into a ticking bomb (no pun intended) waiting to explode. Have you ever felt a sneeze coming on and tried to avoid it? Didn't work out so well, did it? Chances are it was much worse. Vocal tics are very similar.
  • Get enough rest. Being drowsy throughout the day makes vocal tics worse. So make sure to get 8 hours of sleep every night (if possible).4
  • Don't focus on the tic. If you know you have vocal tics, try to forget about it. Focusing on it just makes it worse.
  • Avoid anxiety-filled situations as much as possible. Anxiety only makes vocal tics worse. 
  • Don't let something as harmless as a vocal tic dictate who you are or how you behave. Sometimes, simply learning to live with – and not pay attention to – the tic is the best you can do.

Making those vocal sounds is comforting to your Aspie husband in some way (though I can see why it would be irritating to you). Aside from learning to ignore it or simply going into the other room, I suggest that you call your physician and see if she/he has an idea. Generally, a distraction of some kind will help (e.g., massaging his shoulders), but this will likely just be a temporary fix. So, you really do need some outside assistance – especially if this problem is affecting your marriage.

By the way, you’re not the only one dealing with this issue. I have had similar complaints from many “neurotypical” wives over the years. It’s just one of those quirky things that comes with the Asperger’s package.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Adjustment and acceptance in any relationship can be challenging and a daily effort. Sensory behaviors that are done to maintain (mental) arousal or to calm are not always conscious. I don't think women feel that their spouses are freaks, but idiosycrasies can be hard to live with, especially when your emotional/intimacy needs are not being met by the relationship over time. You can't solve the "problem" and that can be maddening. Scab picking, nose picking, nail biting, verbal tics, throat clearing, snorting, coughing, constant debating, excessive talking, not talking, etc., etc. are functions which draw attention and are also hard to overlook in social situations. Frustration comes, but it doesn't mean that there isn't deep love between those two people. If you didn't love that person, you wouldn't stay. The site is an excellent resource. I hope you find this to be true in your situation.
•    Anonymous said… Asperger folks are highly sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, light. They often have repetitive behaviors that some may find unusual or even offensive.....it goes with the territory. But for me, all the good traits make up for the ones you don't like. Of course, I'm biased because I live with one I love dearly.
•    Anonymous said… Film it on your I device and show it to him.
•    Anonymous said… Its anxiety. You get trapped into a stim behavior. Almost impossible to stop until you break the cycle. Possible medication?
•    Anonymous said… Maybe he's just allergic to the family pet or your new perfume.
•    Anonymous said… Question?.is this apart of touretts syndrome. I have a family member (teenager) that has Adhd. He was also diagnosed with a mild form of touretts. When he was younger he constantly blinked his eyes. On meds now. Under control.
•    Anonymous said… Some of the questions you get make me wonder how long these couples knew each other before getting married. Like the question yesterday about how the girlfriend was just diagnosed, and it's putting a strain on their relationship. Hi, let's explain something, just because you now have a word for how she is different, doesn't suddenly mean she is acting any different than she did before the diagnosis. And for this one.... No, there is no way to make that noise stop, it's an unconscious stimming mechanism. One that you had to have known about before marriage, unless you never spent any real time together before now.
•    Anonymous said… Sometimes my sinuses are so sensory distracting I can't help but snort. Gross, I know, but blowing your nose only goes so far

Post your comment below…

Understanding the Mind of Your Asperger’s Mate

"My 29-year-old wife was recently diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. This is all relatively new to me (although I have recognized some behavior that seemed rather odd to me over the 2 years we have been married). They say that Asperger syndrome is just 'a different way of thinking'. How can I understand the way she thinks? I love her dearly, but we are definitely not on the same page much of the time!"

People Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism have some deficits in the brain that cause problems in certain areas. For example, communication, focusing on “the real world” as opposed to becoming absorbed in their own thoughts and obsessions, learning appropriate social skills and responses, and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others. In addition, they are very literal in their interpretation of others’ conversations, and have difficulty recognizing differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of what others’ say.

Non-verbal communication is particularly problematic in that these individuals have difficulty understanding the appropriate distance to stand from another person when talking, how to tell when someone does not want to listen any longer, and how to interpret facial expressions. Also, they tend to be highly aware of right and wrong – and will bluntly announce what is wrong. They often recognize the shortcomings of others, but not their own. Thus, some of their behavior seems rude or inappropriate (through no fault of their own, in most cases).

Most people on the autism spectrum need routine and predictability, which gives them a sense of safety. Change often causes anxiety, and too much change can lead to a meltdown or shutdown. Routines and predictability help these individuals remain calm.

Other interesting (and sometimes problematic) features of Asperger’s include the following:
  • “Aspies” notice details, rather than the “whole” picture. The importance of the detail prevents them from understanding the bigger picture, so instructions may get lost in their focus on a single detail.
  • They are not able to access their frontal cortex or prefrontal lobe efficiently, so they must call on social skills from their memories. If a particular social skill was not taught when they were younger, they won’t have it. Thus, imagination, conversation, and other people’s points of view cause great difficulty. 
  • Anger in Aspies often occurs due to over-stimulation of the senses or a change in routine. It is often the only response they know. Anger-control presents problems, because these individuals only see things in black and white, which can result in offensive behavior when they don’t get their own way or when they feel threatened or overwhelmed. Some Aspies bottle-up anger and turn it inward, never revealing where the trouble is. 
  • One of the most difficult thinking patterns for people with Asperger’s is mind-blindness, which is the lack of ability to understand the emotions, feelings, motivations, and logic of others – and not care that they don’t understand! Therefore, they sometimes behave without regard to the welfare of others. The only way some Aspies will ever change their thinking or behavior is if it is in their own interest to do so. Even then, convincing them to change their mind may turn out to be an uphill battle.

But, so much for the “bad” news. People on the spectrum also have many positive qualities, for example, most are:
  • smart
  • respect authority 
  • gentle and somewhat passive
  • especially talented in a particular area 
  • amazingly loyal friends 
  • able to adhere unvaryingly to routines
  • honest
  • perfectly capable of entertaining themselves
  • able to remember a lot of information and facts
  • able to notice fine details that others miss

…just to name a few.

Everyone has a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. People with Asperger' are different – but they are not flawed. We need all different kinds of minds – including the Aspie mind. The way a person on the autism spectrum thinks should be viewed as a positive trait, which the rest of us can learn from. When our differences are embraced, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Asperger's Adults and Inflexibility

"My husband has asperger syndrome. We've been married for 3 years, and we work out most of our issues related to the disorder. But I must say he is THE MOST stubborn person I know. He always HAS to be right. How can I break through his rigid way of thinking so that he can see the other side of issues? My opinions are of absolutely no value to him. Once he gets an idea in his mind, no amount of evidence to the contrary will convince him."

One big challenge for people with Asperger's is "mind-blindness," which refers to the inability to understand the needs, beliefs, and intentions that drive other people’s behavior. Without this ability, they have great difficulty making sense of the world.

People, in general, often confuse the "Aspie" because he has  a hard time connecting his own needs, beliefs, and intentions to experiences -- and the positive or negative consequences associated with those experiences. He may even be unaware that he have this problem, even if he knows he has the diagnosis.

In any event, people on the autism spectrum can learn to compensate for mind-blindness through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  As therapy progresses, they will learn to use logic to make sense of the world and the people in it, one personal situation at a time. And, they will understand that all human behavior has a reason behind it -- even if they don’t see it.

The mysteries of human behavior disappear when Aspies can understand the appropriate states of mind behind such mysteries. Also, once the state of mind is understood, other people’s future behavior can be anticipated. Then, and only then, will Aspies be able to (a) see another person's point of view and (b) objectively look at their own point of view to see whether or not it is truly accurate.

Think of it like this: The fact that your husband currently has difficulty understanding your point of view is no different than having a language barrier. He can't see your side of things due to mind-blindness issues in the same way he wouldn't be able to see your side of things if you spoke only French, yet he spoke only English. It's not that he doesn't want to understand you, he simply hasn't learned the language yet (i.e., he hasn't learned that other people have their own needs, beliefs and intentions that drive their behavior).

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  I dont mind the wanting to be right, but its the belittling of my view or opinion that bothers me....Then if i try to explain i am told im arguing.
•    Anonymous said… After 22 years with my Aspie husband, he's learned to do better at listening to my opinions and taking them into consideration, but I very rarely get an apology (almost never). I've learned to live with it. What I dislike most is his tone of voice and the look that goes with it when I say something he considers to be a "stupid question". I'm like, look man, I have the same IQ as you, so put your disdain away and answer my question  😂
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers doesn't make a man a jerk. It just makes him not want to change.
•    Anonymous said… I can still be the same way most of the time but my obsession with science and logic override my syndrome.
•    Anonymous said… I just let my 26 year old fly the nest... they can't help how they are and we have to be willing and able to let it all go and love them for who they are...marriage is a whole different ball game... good luck to you.
•    Anonymous said… I'm an Aspie on his third marriage. I hear you.
•    Anonymous said… I'm still on my first. My NT husband can be so difficult to deal with.  🤣
•    Anonymous said… Its only a syndrome if you all say its a syndrome. I see it as a evolution of soul and mind, most of you ladies might be looking in to deep of things. Thing's that may have never been their until you heard the name Asperger's.
•    Anonymous said… i've been married to one almost 49 years...learned about Aspergers about 7 years ago ... I'm sorry but some things don't change
•    Anonymous said… My husband and I have been together for 20 years. Thanks to our daughters diagnosis, we found his as well. How I communicate to my husband is calmly voice your side, if that doesn't work find a different approach. I either have to word it differently, ask him to explain in detail why my idea won't work, come up with a visual of some sort. They function on a totally different wave sometimes, so even thought we are speaking their language, they aren't understanding it. Also, if it's something out of his comfort zone, it takes longer. It can be so frustrating and hard, I know!! My 2 communicate on 2 different ends of the spectrum. Most of the time I'm the interpreter!!  ☺️
•    Anonymous said… NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNLESS YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION.
•    Anonymous said… The rigidity of thinking is to do with them trying to control their environment, which in turn comes from anxiety. I know because I have the condition too. It's not a deliberate attempt to be unpleasant. Being wrong would create a whirlpool of emotions that would be hard to deal with. We are very complicated people!
•    Anonymous said… Unless for some reason he wants to change it will not happen.....
•    Anonymous said… we're doing behavioral therapy and these are some of the things he's working on so that he doesn't appear rude to clients, etc so it's helpful to point it out when he does it. For the record I have Asperger's as well so I have a good idea how he thinks and we've done wonderfully well adapting to each other over the years (22 years married). For the most part I don't get offended about it any more. I say something to bring his attention to it and we talk about it.
•    Anonymous said… What goes on in his mind when he says those things is different to how you are taking it. His instruction manual is different to yours. He can change to suit you but he would be acting a part and it would appear false. You have to learn that when he says things in a certain way you consider rude or out of line it is your problem not his. Try speaking autism. It's really easy. Just put your ability to be offended on hold.

Post your comment below…

It’s Asperger’s! Should You Share the News?

"I’ve got a question. Long story short. My wife (of 1 ½ years) and I were having some serious problems that resulted in us going to counseling. One of the things that came up was the counselor suggested I get tested for autism. I did. And I have it – Asperger syndrome that is. But I’m 38 years old and the diagnosis may change things (not necessarily in a positive way). I’m not sure how I feel about this or what to do about it if anything. This is my second marriage. My ex doesn’t know, neither do my kids (3). I’m self-employed so it obviously didn’t affect my work in any way. But my question is should I tell them about this new revelation or just keep it under wraps? So far the only person that knows is my wife."

Finding out that you have Asperger’s usually results in a mixed bag of emotions. You may feel relieved in a sense, because now there is a reasonable explanation for why your life has taken the twists and turns it has over the years. You could feel worried (e.g., “What are people going to think about me now?”). There might be feelings of sadness, because you hoped you were “normal.” Shame, anger, and a host of other emotions may be racing through your brain once you get “the news.” Through all of this may come the need for telling some “safe” people about your disorder and how it has affected you.

If you are faced with having to tell some important people in your life that you have Asperger’s, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself about the disorder so that you can answer questions. Start with those closest to you, beginning with trusted family members and close friends. These individuals may have already had their suspicions (i.e., they knew that something wasn’t quite right). So, advising them of your disorder may not be a shock at all. Instead, it saves them from filling in the blank with their own false assumptions regarding your past behaviors and attitude. Everybody is finally on the same page now. The confusion is lifted.

I recently counseled a father who was diagnosed later in life and divulged the diagnosis to his adult children. As it turned out, it was a very healing moment for them, because it gave them an explanation for why he was (in their words) “seemingly more interested in work than with the family.” They still harbor some resentment, but now they know it had more to do with the disorder rather than his “lack of love” for them.

Simply telling others that you have a brain problem that results in certain symptoms (e.g., problems relating to others, anxiety, obsessions, ritualistic behaviors, etc.) may be enough. Pick your top 3 to 5 symptoms (i.e., the ones you experience the most) to use in your descriptions, and just mention those. There’s no need to come up with a lengthy laundry list of symptoms – even if you experience all of them. This will just serve to increase – rather than diminish – the confusion.

After the people in your life that you trust become accustomed to the diagnosis, you may want to consider speaking to others about your disorder. There will probably be other people outside of your circle that will benefit from understanding Asperger’s and how it affects you (e.g., extended family, your employer, coworkers, etc.).

You don’t need to tell the entire world, especially if others don’t see much of a problem with your behavior. What you do eventually say can be as simple as “I have a brain disorder” or as complex as explaining the disorder to its fullest to those who are genuinely interested.

Certainly, the conversation needs to take place every time new and important people show up in your life (e.g., a boyfriend or girlfriend). Also, know that Asperger’s is more well-known and more easily understandable than it once was, and there are a lot of people that have been diagnosed in recent years. So, there’s no need to feel reluctant or embarrassed about sharing with others what is already a fairly common issue.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
 
 

COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Any recommendations for a diagnosis in melbourne vic please Mr is a young man and i believe he is an aspie I am his mothee and he holds alot of grudges against me esp. Thanks
•    Anonymous said… For sure share all of your and her family. It will explain your life time of actions and behaviours that they probably triggered without knowing it. I'm 48 and was diagnosed 5-6 years ago. My Mother new something wasn't right but didn't make any efforts to find an answer. Although it was much harder diagnosis back then but impossible. Had a friend with Asperger. She made me stay away from him for five years until I was a teenager and started hanging out until many years later what he had. His parents new back when he was a child. I spent alot of my childhood being scolded for not making eye contact and told to let people see the hands a face moments. So I spent many hours a week in my bedroom trying desperately train myself to mask it. My meltdowns were just considered me just being a mean person by people who triggered it without knowing it. Luckily my wife stayed with me through it all and has lost most of her family because of it. Don't ever be ashamed of who you are! Hope my story helped at least some.
•    Anonymous said… Hi my partner and I have been going through the first steps towards a diagnosis for him we are at early days with the possibility he may be an Aspie but at 43 he now needs to know! Prior to this it's been hard on us both for the past two wks things have been calmer although he's apprehensive of getting a diagnosis! I can't say it will fix things but you will have answers as to why you are the way you are and I'm certainly more tolerant of the things he says and does now thank you for sharing this x
•    Anonymous said… I agree. Husband diagnosed after we had been married nearly 40 years. We are still processing the effects. Get comfortable in how it affects your life. Everyone is different in that. Once you discover that you will be more comfortable in explaining how you process every day events and how that translates to the people around you. You need to work on this together with your new spouse.
•    Anonymous said… I bet that the people around you already think that you are aspie anyway. It is so common these days.
•    Anonymous said… I should imagine this is why you excel at your job dear Kal xx
•    Anonymous said… I totally agree with this reply...felt like an elephant got off my back when I was diagnosed...I'm 68.
•    Anonymous said… I was diagnosed at age 44 during my 3rd marriage. I kept it to myself because I happen to be an autism specialist in a public school. But my co-workers already knew!
•    Anonymous said… Just do what feels right for you, if your still processing it all then wait till you are comfortable with telling people, no need to force it.
•    Anonymous said… My father was aspergers, his brother had aspergers. My 1st cousin on my dad's side has aspergers. My oldest daughter has aspergers. My son has, but refuses to speak about it. According to Dr. Tony Attwood, arguably the world's for most authority on autism, states that is is 90-95% Hereditable. That should be reason enough for you to be telling your kids; chances are it came to you from someone else in your genetics.
•    Anonymous said… Share after you, yourself, are comfortable with it. It took me about 3 years to really figure out what it meant to me. It was, however, a BIG relief because I could always "bear it in mind" and things made so much more sense. The release of pressure of "not understanding" why I was what I was actually helped me learn how to cope better and more effectively. BTW, welcome to the club - we're "not like the others" in both negative and positive ways.
•    Anonymous said… Well a late diagnosis is becoming more common. I was diagnosed in my 40s. I think you need to give yourself time to process it and what it means. A diagnosis for me means I can give my self permission to avoid things and places that stress me out. Not all family were supportive but that's ok. The main thing to remember is that this is nothing to be ashamed of. This is part of who you are but it's not all you are. Take time get comfortable with it and then see if you want to share or not.
•    Anonymous said… We're all different I've read a lot of books on the subject especially about adult males with it. I haven't been officially diagnosed but my daughter has and my wife knows that I am too. Probably most important is to to learn how to keep connected with your wife shes the glue that will hold you together generally aspies can come across as cold and uncaring (I do- cant get my head out of a computer) and I have had to work hard to try and see things as she does and really talk to her. Secondly to see if any of your kids are and decide whether you want an "official" diagnosis for them. Its tough on my wife having two of us in the household. My daughter and I understand each other in a non verbal way which drives my wife nuts but we also are both stubborn which leads to a lot of yelling when we both wont give way. Try not to regret too much as you learn about it the past lost opportunities or hurtful errors you may have caused I keep getting flash backs lately of things I know I screwed up 30 years ago and knowing now why doesn't help. Being self employed seems to be the only way many of us can make a living because we just cant go into work everyday and cope with other peoples.....sh*t. There are a lot of books on it out there but as I said it seems no two of us are alike. I can recomend "The journal of best practices" & "Odd girl out" which give two aspies different views on their worlds ( both are different to mine) also online "living with an Aspie partner". Finally repeating talk openly with your wife its tougher than you think.

Post your comment below...

Medications That Help with Asperger’s Symptoms

"I’m a 60 y.o. male with Asperger syndrome (was diagnosed in my 40s), and I know there's no antidote for my disorder, but are there any medications that I could use that help treat some of the unwanted symptoms – for example anxiety and moodiness (just to name a couple)?"

True, there are no prescription medications that specifically treat Asperger’s, but there are many that may improve certain symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, etc.). There are also medications used to treat behavioral issues, (e.g., hyperactivity, aggression, self-injurious behavior, anger-control problems, meltdowns, etc.) that keep the “Aspie” from functioning more effectively at work or school (and in your relationships, in general).

Some of these medications are prescribed “off-label” (i.e., they have not been officially approved by the FDA, but the doctor prescribes them anyway if he or she feels they are appropriate).

Some examples of medications that target symptoms of Asperger’s include the following: 
  • Abilify: Effective for treating irritability related to Asperger’s
  • Intuniv: Helpful for the problems of hyperactivity and inattention
  • Revia: Helps reduce repetitive behaviors
  • Risperdal: Prescribed for agitation and irritability
  • SSRIs: Used to treat depression (e.g., Fluoxetine and Sertraline)
  • Zyprexa: Prescribed to reduce repetitive behaviors
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa): Used "off-label" for the treatment of aggression, agitation, and other serious behavioral disturbances

You may also want to consider complementary or alternative therapies. Some examples that have been used for Asperger’s include: 
  • Secretin
  • Carnosine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C (usually in combination with other vitamins)
  • Melatonin
  • Gluten-free or casein-free diets

Other therapies that have been tried (but lack objective evidence to support their use) include:
  • chiropractic manipulations
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • immune therapies
  • massage and craniosacral massage
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

Speak with your doctor and your local pharmacist about any medications you may want to try. Your local pharmacy will have a wealth of information about the medications they are dispensing and can be a valuable resource.

Preferably, work with a doctor who has experience with autism. The doctor will prescribe the lowest dose possible to be effective. Ask the doctor about any side effects the medication may have, and keep a record of how you respond to the medication. Read the “patient insert” that comes with your medication, and keep the inserts in a small notebook to be used as a reference. This is most useful when several medications are prescribed at one time.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… check your local Autism society or a therapist competent in adult ASD diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said… Fluoxetin here
•    Anonymous said… How do you get a professional diagnosis as an adult ? I've tried to research it and there doesn't seem to be any specialists that I can find around here .
•    Anonymous said… I have carbamazepine 400mg venlafaxine 650mg and 80mg beta blockers
•    Anonymous said… I honestly didn't see it. But it sure explains a lot... basically explains my entire life!
•    Anonymous said… I taught 6 kids at a timewoth ASD for years. I knew...SD in 1997 but professionally Dx in 2010
•    Anonymous said… I use ANIRACETAM Choline Bitartrate (need used together) NAC reduce anxiety. L Tyrosine and DL Phenyalaine are Dopamine Precosors - low mmod in those on spectrum usually low dopamine.
•    Anonymous said… I was also diagnosed at 44 (after several years of teaching as an autism specialist, go figure!)
•    Anonymous said… I was also going to suggest CBD oil and fish oil (the omega 3s also help regulate the endocannabinoid system).
•    Anonymous said… I'm 40, been diagnosed since I was 9, looooong before they knew anything in terms of coping strategies and early introvention. After MUCH trial and error (mostly errors) I have a combo of meds that help me function better. Zoloft (depression and anxiety med combo) -start with a low dose cuz too much will make you crazy mean- Geodon (mood stabilizer) -taken at night cuz it will zonk you, and it will flatline your emotions if you take it twice a day- and Adderall (ADD medicine) this helps with executive functioning for me. Also take into account, this is more meds than most on the spectrum need. I have low functioning autism and my meds bring me to moderate functioning level.
•    Anonymous said… It's VERY expensive and really not worth the "official" diagnoses unless there is a reason you need the "label."  Like, to settle a family bet.
•    Anonymous said… My husband saw a psychiatrist with a special interest in autism spectrum
•    Anonymous said… Neuro Psych Evaluation, family's history
•    Anonymous said… Nice to see the awareness of how these issues effect not only self, but others. Best wishes.
•    Anonymous said… Prescription meds are a crap shoot.....scary to have a bad reaction. Most psychiatrists don't listen but just hand out pills from my experience.
•    Anonymous said… Rx meds are definitely a trial and error kind of thing .
•    Anonymous said… Sam E and or CBD oil for the depression and anxiety. You can legally get CBD oil online and at some health stores.
•    Anonymous said… This site has a great amino acids questionnaire that might give you some anxiety relief http://www.everywomanover29.com/.../amino-acids-mood.../

Post your comment below…

How to Avoid Meltdowns: Calming Strategies for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

“As a young adult with Asperger syndrome, I know what it feels like to have a meltdown. It’s no fun. It turns my emotions and day upside down. Before a meltdown, I start to feel like something is wrong. Then, I quickly get anxious, and I tense up. I get so overcome by the stress that sometimes when I respond, I sound outraged, aggravated, and a bit mean. But it's one of those things I sometimes can't control. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I get mad and throw something. After the meltdown passes, I usually do something to help me get my mind off of what just happened (for example play games on my phone), because if I keep thinking about it, it only gets worse. My question is: what can I do to help myself avoid meltdowns or at least make them less intense?”

In order to understand what calming strategies will work for you, you first need to determine what things stress you and have some understanding of the context in which you “melt down.”

Here's a basic plan:
  1.  Recognize the physical signs (e.g., muscle tension) and the environmental triggers (e.g., transitioning from one activity to the next) that indicate you are becoming distressed, and intervene immediately. Redirect yourself to an alternative activity, something that you enjoy.
  2. Remove yourself from the area where your meltdown is beginning to build-up steam and go to a “safe zone” (i.e., a place that feels calming to you). For example, if you begin tensing-up while sitting in the living room watching the news, go outside on the porch for a few minutes and breathe deeply 10 times while visualizing a pleasant scene or activity.

The main idea here is to:
  • (a) get your body in to a different location,
  • (b) get fresh oxygen to your brain (when we are anxious, our breathing becomes very shallow, which in turn sends a message to the brain that there really is something to be upset about),
  • and (c) get your mind on to pleasantly distracting thoughts (e.g., visualizing that Cancun vacation you took last year).

This may seem like an overly simple process in order to deal with what is a very challenging issue. The key is to be consistent so that you will always know what is coming. A meltdown usually takes several minutes to build-up. Use this to your advantage. You don’t want to wait more than a few seconds to start your plan of action. Waiting just 3 minutes before intervening may be too long. Once a meltdown is up and running, the only option then is to simply ride out the storm.

You can – and may have – developed a habit of melting down. You can also develop a habit of initiating a relaxation response.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Asperger's Boyfriend Doesn't Like To Be Touched?

"My new boyfriend advised me he has asperger syndrome, which I have no problem with that (other than I don’t really know a lot about the ‘disorder’). I’m very interested in him …he’s a really nice guy, but I have one issue that puzzles me. He seems to pull back a bit when I make physical contact with him (lean against him, put my arm around him, for example). He says that sometimes it’s hard for him to be touched by others and stated that he never liked to be hugged by anyone as a child. This concerns me, because how can you have a close relationship with someone who is uncomfortable with physical touch… would be really hard to have a man that you can't hug, kiss or hold. Is it common for aspergers?"

Although it can happen, it is rare for adults with Asperger’s (high functioning autism) to "refuse" to be touched at all times - in all situations. However, it is fairly common for them to have tactile sensory issues, which may make them avoid certain types of physical contact with others on occasion. BUT... this really has nothing at all to do with the inability - or lack of desire - to show or receive affection. I work with many adults on the spectrum, and they are the most kind and compassionate people I know! So please don't make the mistake of taking your boyfriend's lack of interest in physical contact as a personal insult.

One of the most pervasive myths that surrounds Asperger’s is that a person who has it will never show affection and can’t accept receiving affection from others. Asperger’s and the way it affects people really runs the gamut from mild to severe. An excellent point to remember when dealing with a person on the autism spectrum is that each one of them is different and will react to almost everything differently.

For a few Asperger’s adults, a simple, random hug can be sensory overload. They can become agitated if they are touched without prior warning. You will probably need to have a trial-and-error approach when it comes to hugging and touching your boyfriend. Some methods may be responded to in a positive way, other ways might not be. You just have to try and see.

When you want to give your boyfriend a hug, instead of rushing into his personal space and just taking one, approach him and open your arms. Smile and see how he responds. If he doesn't come running in for a hug, don’t feel snubbed. It just wasn’t the right time.

Let’s don’t sugar-coat things here, though. You need to know that trying to figure out a puzzling disorder like Asperger’s can be a lifelong challenge, and for many partners and spouses, the affection issue may be the biggest. But with patience and learning to go by your boyfriend’s cues and not your own, you will be able to connect with him in a deep and satisfying way.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Been diagnosed at 44 with Asperger's officially this year (2017) I was and sometimes still am, "skittish" about people touching me. this is not just for personal relationships, also friendships, work etc. let him make the first move but let him know you want him to touch you or that you want to touch him.  :-) takes some of the stress away.
•    Anonymous said… better to know it going into the relationship than finding out after 40 years of a " frustrating and rocky" marriage...
•    Anonymous said… hi i have aspergers and i am in a long term relationship and i dont have any pyysical contact at all, i find it to hard, becasue of sensry issues but we are still close
•    Anonymous said… I am very new to this topic, so please forgive me if this is an ignorant question. If I can't stand to be touched when I'm upset/mad due to the tenderness of the touch angering me even more, is that an autistic tendency? I get lost in so many articles I'm just hoping I can talk to other high-functioning folks and get some takes, personal stories, and opinions.  😊
•    Anonymous said… I can ID with that poor chap; i think we can see what we miss out on due to our hypersensitivity.
•    Anonymous said… I don't mind being touched and I have Aspergers  :)
•    Anonymous said… I sometimes have this issue as well. But it's more I don't want to be touched or held onto by certain people. My close friends or a girlfriend(intimacy is no problem for me)could grab on or hug or lean on me, but I'm uncomfortable with touching or being touched by certain family members or people who are effectively strangers to me. I definitely tense up when grabbed or touched by someone other than those truly close to me.
•    Anonymous said… I'm the same it took a while before I was comfortable with my boyfriend initiating contact, and even now if I'm out of sorts in any way or upset he know not to try to hug me, but hugging a person is his instinct when they are upset and it took him time to get used to not doing it to me. He does say that because I don't like contact that much, it makes it mean so much more to him when I do show affection and give him a hug or kiss.
•    Anonymous said… It can be VERY difficult if that's a true need for you.
•    Anonymous said… It takes awhile... I'm the same way... I don't like being touched until I'm VERY comfortable with the person... once I get comfortable though I tend to swing the opposite way...
•    Anonymous said… It's absolutely fantastic he told you up front!! Just know his love for you will be shown in different ways. You'll both have to make adjustments.... but isn't that true of any relationship? I've been with my asperger's husband for 10 years now.
•    Anonymous said… No, no we don't. It takes a very long time before I feel comfortable with someone even high fiving me.
•    Anonymous said… Phisical contact can happen for me but it takes a bit time to get used to the person been trying to
•    Anonymous said… That would be me and is why I have never had a girlfriend
•    Anonymous said… This is a common thing sign aspergics. I used to 'ball up' when ever some one Hugged me.
•    Anonymous said… This is a common thing sign aspergics. I used to 'ball up' when ever some one Hugged me.
•    Anonymous said… You might find it a bit ridiculous, but my husband sometimes ask before, like "hey can I hug you now and I find it much more easy because I know what's coming, and I'm really enjoying it.

Post your comment below…

The Fear of Being Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder


Some adults have struggled emotionally, socially and vocationally their entire lives. They have always known there was something “not quite right” with themselves – and they may even suspect some form of autism – but they delay in seeking a formal diagnosis for fear that they will be “labeled” (e.g., “If I get labeled as having a ‘disorder', people will discriminate against me and treat me unfairly”).

Why would some people who suspect that they may have Asperger's (high-functioning autism) resist getting a diagnosis? Here are some possible reasons:
  • I don’t want to get lumped into a category.
  • I need to be “normal.”
  • I don’t want to believe it. 
  • I don’t want to be perceived as a ‘flawed’ person.
  • It's not that bad - I can function just fine. 
  • I don't have to know if I really have a disorder because it's not going to matter at this point.
  • I didn’t plan this into my life. 
  • I don’t have time for this. 
  • It can’t be true. It just can’t be. 
  • The unknown is terrifying.
  • Autism doesn't run in my family, so I can't have it.

The stigma needs to go. Asperger's is not a appalling, hopeless diagnosis. And the longer you wait to seek and accept the diagnosis, the more precious time you lose. Early Intervention is KEY!

If you have Asperger's and don't know, it affects you anyway. If you do know, you can learn to minimize the negative impact and leverage the positive. Without the knowledge that you have Asperger's, you will likely fill that void with other, more damaging explanations as to why you think, feel and behave the way you do. Wouldn't it be good to know why life didn't turn out the way you thought it would? It's not your fault! But without a diagnosis, you may be blaming yourself for all the past problematic issues that arose.

What are the benefits of getting the proper diagnosis?
  • If you don't get the “label," then you are leaving it up to everyone in the community to give you the label of their choice (e.g., weird, eccentric, rude, self-absorbed, etc.).
  • The sooner you get a proper diagnosis, the less valuable time you lose – time that you can never get back to help yourself. 
  • You can’t treat it properly until you know what it is.
  • You may be eligible for appropriate services.

Some view the diagnosis of Asperger's as an untreatable, confusing disease caused by a bad childhood or defective genes. We now know that isn’t true at all. This disorder is treatable! Recovery is happening – every day. So, don't despair or live in fear. There is information, support, hope, treatment and recovery. There are already thousands of adults on the autism spectrum who are healing their past wounds and figuring out better ways to cope with life.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

The Risks Associated with an “Asperger’s” Label

Many adults who have struggled for many years feel a sense of relief when they finally get a formal “diagnosis.” They may say something like, “It was such a weight off my shoulders to finally understand why I behaved the way he did. I thought it was a personality flaw, but now I see it was the disorder instead.”

Those who have had emotional problems and/or social difficulties since childhood find it comforting to one day discover, “Oh, I have Asperger’s! No wonder I haven’t been able to hold a job or find a girlfriend/boyfriend.”

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), finding comfort in having a “disorder” comes with a price – a much larger price than most realize they have paid. For example:

1. Not all undesirable diagnostic traits can be helped with therapy.

There are some difficult cognitive and behavioral characteristics associated with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) that come with the “autism-package” (e.g., insistence on routine, narrow range of interest, etc.). However, some “problems” associated with AS/HFA cannot be helped with therapy (e.g., social skills training for those who lack such skills, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for those who suffer with anxiety, etc.). 

So, when you discover that you have this disorder, do not fall into the trap of saying something such as, “Well, now that I know what I’m dealing with, I can go get the proper therapy to fix it.” However, the good news is that many troublesome traits (e.g., meltdowns, anger control issues, depression, etc.) can indeed be ameliorated.

2. A self-fulfilling prophecy may manifest itself – either positively or negatively – when it comes to labels.

When you “buy in” to a label (e.g., AS or HFA), you begin to view yourself in a distinct light. You “reframe” your character such that your “diagnosis” becomes a part of who you are. The reframe, in and of itself, doesn’t come with any major complications. However, with the new reframe comes a unique way of “thinking” about yourself and others. This mental shift results in a unique way of “feeling” about yourself and others, which in turn results in a unique way of “behaving” and conducting your life. In other words, you begin to “live up to” your diagnosis, displaying more and more of the traits that are in alignment with the diagnostic criteria of your “disorder.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy working toward “dis-ability” rather than ability.

Conversely, many adults on the spectrum who have sought counseling have been advised (by therapists who have experience with the disorder) to “reframe” AS/HFA in a positive light, thus setting-up a self-fulfilling prophecy that works toward “ability” rather than disability. Everyone on the spectrum has significant areas of strength (even if this has not been translatable into tangible success yet).

In reframing, AS/HFA is thought of as a “condition” full with possibilities, strengths, and challenges that are able to be addressed adequately. In this state of mind, you will tend to view yourself as “able” (and maybe even better off than the general population). With this mindset, you may very well “set the world on fire” with your area of expertise (e.g., engineering, computer programming, etc.).

3. Labels tend to help the person abandon a level of responsibility.

If you receive the label of AS/HFA, you can say to yourself and others, “See, this is why I can’t - or don’t - do certain things. It’s not my fault – it’s my disorder.” When others are in agreement that you are “not able,” you are free from meeting certain expectations from family, friends, co-workers, employers, etc. You can safely lower your standards, settling for the “comfort zone” that comes with the assistance (or over-assistance) of others.

There are hundreds of 25-year-old adult children, for example, with AS/HFA who are still living at home playing video games all day. Why? Their parents “bought into” the “disability reframe” years ago. As a result, the adult child behaves in accordance with his label, even though - WITH THERAPY – he could likely be employed, happily married, and living on his own home.

So, are labels bad?

Does all this mean we shouldn’t have any labels? No! Without labels, you wouldn’t be able to understand “clusters of traits” (i.e., a set of symptoms that defines a particular mental, emotional and behavioral state). However, it is important to “reframe” the label as an opportunity to exploit your strong points AND address the areas that present challenges. 

Thinking in terms of being “ability-based” rather than “disability-based” is empowering and helps the labeled person to be all that he/she can be rather than settling for a life of mediocrity.

As one adult with Asperger’s stated:

“I think it's only a ‘disability’ because the world is not well-matched for those of us on the spectrum. I can't think of any of my issues that couldn't be solved by simply being in a more autism-friendly world. I am high functioning in spite of my issues and am not "disabled" in any part of my life that matters to me. I can do what other people do, just with a bit more effort sometimes. But most NT’s can't do what I do, so I win. I think that Asperger’s is a ‘difference’, and what can be different can be beautiful.”

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Should You Disclose Your Diagnosis to Others?

When you have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, you walk a fine line. Often times under certain circumstances, you are perfectly capable of behaving "typically." Other times, not so much. And it's not easy to predict when things will suddenly become stressful.

If you say something such as "I have a disorder called Asperger syndrome" to a co-worker or a neighbor, you may set yourself up to be treated differently (and perhaps unfairly). But if you don't tell, there's the possibility that a sensory issue or misunderstanding could lead to some real issues (e.g., being viewed as volatile of rude).

So, should you disclose to others that you have Asperger's (high-functioning autism)? If so, who should you tell, and how much information should you provide?

The answer is threefold:  
  1. There will be occasions when you should not disclose at all.
  2. There are other times when partial disclosure will suffice.
  3. There are times when full disclosure is needed.

Let's look at each of these in turn...

1. No disclosure: In cases where the information could be used against you (e.g., telling a co-worker), no disclosure is advised. Sometimes, the workplace can be cruel, and an employee on the autism spectrum is often a sitting duck for the office bullies. So, with the possible exception of the boss and/or supervisor, your co-workers are best left in the dark about your disorder (unless you have one that you can really trust).

Here's one exception to #1: In some cases, it may be appropriate to educate your fellow employees about autism spectrum disorders. If you decide to disclose to a group of people, be sure to do some planning and preparation. You may choose to make the presentation yourself, or if making a presentation like this is not a strong point for you, you may be able to get a therapist or an outside professional to talk to the group. In any event, it may be in your best interest if some of the people at your place of employment learned a few things about autism spectrum disorders.

2. Partial disclosure: In those cases where someone will be working with you in a group context rather than one-on-one (e.g., a karate coach), or the relationship will be temporary (e.g., 3-day training seminar), partial disclosure will usually suffice. For example, if you're taking karate lessons, you may do well most of the time. So, a partial disclosure could be: "I'm the type of person who really needs structure, so if you're going to make a change, it would help if you tell me before class. When things are unpredictable, I get anxious and may have an issue." In this way, you are giving the coach a "heads-up" about a potential problem without divulging your actual diagnosis.

3. Full disclosure: In those cases where someone will be working closely - and frequently - with you (e.g., professor, therapist), full disclosure would be necessary. Also, for those who will be having an ongoing relationship with you over the years (e.g., wife, in-laws), full disclosure is needed. In both of these scenarios, certain people will be having a lot of contact with you, so it is vital that they know as much as possible about the disorder and how it affects you particularly. In this way, they will know what to expect, and possibly how to help prevent issues before they arise.

Having said all of the above, the bottom line is this: The disclosure decision is up to you.  What's right for one person on the spectrum may not be right for another.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… After being on crutches once I decided that I prefer an invisible difference. I try to avoid places and people where my sensetivities may be triggered - mostly sound. Being retired helps. I have some physical limitations that I don't mind sharing - limited use of my hands due to nerve damage. That one keeps people from thinking ill of my when I don't volunteer/help out in some situations.
•    Anonymous said… definitely caught between a rock and a hard place kinda choice ... and yes, even people who knew you, like forever, look at you differently .... I really think the medical profession needs to stop looking at the autistic spectrum as a disorder. What if its the so-called neuro-typical people that have a "disorder"? To me, its like saying being female is a disorder because men have/did have all/most of the power.in defining what is "normal".
•    Anonymous said… I am in autism educator in a high school and I didn't tell anybody especially my employers until I was three years into the job. Because yes, it is natural to treat someone with a behavior disorder very differently then someone without.
•    Anonymous said… I am very self-conscious about my diagnosis, so I only tell people on a need-to-know basis. When it comes to dating, I wouldn`t disclose my condition on a first date, because I am afraid that it would scare him away, or he would make assumptions about me. I would wait a little while until he gets to know who I am as a person, then I would disclose if it is obvious to me that we have a future together and/or my condition is or could become an issue in our relationship.
•    Anonymous said… I told my co workers I have Aspergers and it helped them understand me better. It's helped so much. They now give me plenty of warning if things are going to be changed or if there's a disruption to the normal functioning of the office. They overlook it when I'm being awkward. I'm really pleased I told them. It doesn't embarrass me; it just helps others understand me.
•    Anonymous said… I was only diagnosed last year so I haven't been in too many situations where I've had to make this decision. I actually did disclose to a group of co workers because , at the time, I felt it was the best thing. I had taken something literally and people were kind of.. perplexed so I said that sometimes I take things literally or will answer rhetorical questions. And someone (who would later briefly be my supervisor) said "oh then it will be easy to play pranks on you!" and at that point I said " I have Asperger's and the way my brain is wired I take things literally". Honestly, I said it because I wanted to make them feel like a jerk (because she was being a jerk) but I also wanted other people to know and think twice in case anyone was thinking it but not saying it. I never disclosed to the managers I worked with and I'm thiking maybe I should have. I don't know. I was previously misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and I have disclosed that to co workers and also to bosses on an individual basis with mixed results
•    Anonymous said… I'm afraid to tell others just because I'll be viewed as different. Honestly it doesn't make sense cuz I'm definitely already different with my short hair, Wing agender, my being antisocial. I guess I don't want to be viewed as stupid by closed minded nt's.
•    Anonymous said… People have such a misunderstanding of Asperger's and the autism spectrum, that I prefer to stay in the closet so to speak.
•    Anonymous said… Very good article

Post your comment below…

Does Your Man Have Asperger’s?

“I’ve been reading about asperger syndrome recently. I think my boyfriend may have a mild form of it. I’ve looked at all the diagnostic criteria, and I’m not sure he fits in perfectly. But that is hard to diagnose since I’m not a professional. I was hoping someone might point me in the right direction. I’m not sure if this is just some personality issue, or something bigger. But I swear he has some social problems whether it is asperger or not. How can I know for sure what I’m dealing with?”

So, you think your boyfriend may have Asperger’s (high-functioning autism)? Well, here is an informal quiz that may shed some light on the subject:

Does your boyfriend have:
  • a discriminatory sense of smell and taste
  • a preference for following instructions and abiding by rules
  • a tendency to be very literal in his understanding
  • an ability to see in detail, or an inability to see the whole because of too much detail
  • an apparent lack of empathy
  • an extreme sensitivity to touch, textures and pressures, or a need for stronger textures and increased pressure
  • either an acute sense of hearing or the inability to hear clearly
  • extensive knowledge about a single topic
  • inflexible routines
  • the tendency to care way too much about organizing stuff
  • the tendency to need other people to provide clear schedules and expectations
  • trouble describing basic emotions
  • trouble displaying emotion
  • trouble figuring what is appropriate in social situations
  • trouble understanding other people’s emotions

Does your boyfriend find it difficult to:
  • engage in or understand small talk
  • maintain eye contact
  • show empathy and understand of others
  • speak untruths in order not to offend
  • understand body language and facial expressions
  • understand personal space
  • understand sarcasm, jokes, irony 
  • understand social rules which are not based on logic
  • understand the complexities of interpersonal relationships
  • understand verbal communication without corresponding verbal cues (e.g., notes, diagrams)

Is your boyfriend:
  • anxious by change, spontaneity and unplanned events
  • experiencing difficulties in comprehending abstract concepts (e.g., formality, spontaneity, fun, anxiety)
  • experiencing difficulties in coping with the unknown (e.g., new people, new places, new situations)
  • experiencing difficulties in remembering sequences without prompts (e.g., diary, personal planner, alarm)
  • obsessed with a special interest, place or person
  • reluctant to use his own initiative

Are there times when your boyfriend can seem:
  • thoughtless
  • self-centered
  • rude
  • lost in his own world
  • eccentric
  • depressed
  • disorganized
  • anxious
  • aggressive
  • absent-minded
  • abrupt

But there are positives involved as well. For example, many people with Asperger’s possess the following traits:
  • direct, open and honest
  • excellent memory
  • high level of vocabulary
  • mathematical and technical skills
  • precision and attention to detail

If any of the above sounds familiar, then you may be dealing with a boyfriend on the autism spectrum. Of course, the only way to know for sure is for him to seek a formal diagnosis.

Unfortunately, another fairly common trait of (un-diagnosed) men with Asperger’s is “denial” that they may have the disorder. So, don’t expect him to run to their nearest diagnostician any time soon. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if he became offended that you “think” he may have Asperger’s. If this turns out to be the case, be prepared for him to get defensive – and possibly blame YOU for any relationship problems the two of you may be facing.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

What To Do When Your "Neurotypical" Wife Resents You

“I’m a 28 y.o. man who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 9. My wife and I have been together for almost 5 years married, but almost 6 knowing each other. We have gotten into disputes about every other day where it always comes down to her saying she resents me for being so ‘distant’ and ‘selfish’. She always says it seems like I just don't care about things like she does. I do care and I do worry about things like she does, I just don't show it the same way. She has said to me several times now that she wished she had taken more time when she met me to get to know me more before getting married. She says it’s not because she wishes she wasn't with me, it’s because she could have made a more informed choice. I am a very laid back person, and I guess that can seem a bit like I don't care, but I am not sure I know how to be any other way. My wife and I grew up in different life styles. I didn't have many friends and I wasn't good in school. She was very good in school, had a lot of friends, and she was forced into an early adulthood because she had to take care of her father growing up. She is a very responsible person. She is my rock and the rock of her whole family. But, she says she is “tired of being everyone's rock,” but feels she has to be because she can’t count on anyone to get things done like she does. Any help in how I should handle this situation would be greatly appreciated.”


Most of the time, a wife’s resentment will show up as something like “you don’t treat me special like you used to” …or “you don’t spend enough time with me” …or “we never have sex anymore” …and so on. If a husband is not spending enough time with his spouse or neglects her (intentionally or unintentionally), then there is some validity to her complaints. Most women become resentful because they realize that their husbands have ceased to be the men in their life that they need.

Routine is the biggest enemy of many marriages. After several years together, the couple gets used to one another and their feelings change. But, it’s the wife (more often than the husband) who can’t accept this change and feels unhappy. Some wives adjust themselves to what is now the “new normal” (e.g., less sex, less affection, spending less time together, etc.). But, even though the couple in this situation may enjoy a fairly stable, affection-less relationship, the marriage may be slowly falling apart without anyone noticing it.

How can you tell if your wife is actually discontented in the marriage? Here are just a few of the symptoms:
  • She often appears sad or irritated.
  • She keeps finding reasons to spend time away from her husband. 
  • It seems as though she initiates arguments over the most petty of issues.
  • She, too, has lost interest in sex.
  • It appears that she is looking for reasons to lash out at her husband, even if he hasn’t done anything seriously wrong?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the wife doesn’t love her man. More likely, she is tired of the routine, the responsibilities, and the never-changing everyday chores and tasks. It sounds like your wife has taken on WAY too much responsibility for things, and is in “burn-out” mode as a result, which isn’t entirely your fault. This was a choice she has made. You said that she had to be a caretaker as a child. It’s very likely that she brought that trait into your marriage. Thus, my best guess is that she feels more like your mother than your wife.

The truth is that men with an autism spectrum disorder, by virtue of “mind-blindness” (more on that here), have difficulty empathizing and imaging how another person may feel. As a husband, if you have the ability to put yourself in your wife’s shoes (so to speak), you can come up with a pretty good idea regarding what she needs and what may help mend the broken relationship. Thus, as hard as it may be for you as a man with Asperger’s, try to put yourself in your spouse’s position. If you were your wife, what changes would you like to see? What would you want to work on in the relationship? What would you like to talk about? What issues would you need to address? And so on…

Resist the temptation to continually ask your wife “what’s wrong.”  Instead, propose to talk about it. And when you do, talk in an apologizing, caring tone. Your attitude and behavior have an influence, even if your wife is not aware of it – and it better be a calm and reassuring one. Express your support and understanding. You may not feel like it at all, believing that you are the one who should be comforted. But, your wife is obviously bothered with her emotional state as much as you are. So, even though it’s normal to feel insulted and upset, try to find the inner strength to feel compassion for her.

Keep an eye on your wife. If you don’t see a positive change in her emotional state, consider asking her to go to counseling with you. Most importantly, listen to her with an open mind and heart. And give her time and space to deal with her frustration.

Lastly, maybe you could get your wife to read this piece on resentment

Best of luck!

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… "You Just Don't Understand," by Deborah Tannen; "The New Passages," by Gail Sheehy. Try to not refer to Aspie vs. NT norms. You sound like a normal married couple with normal life circumstances who needs to work things out. Doing so is very much worth it.
•    Anonymous said… I am both you and your wife, lol. I'm on the spectrum and a natural worry-ninja. My very first instinct is that you both need do some work to compromise. (Like we've never heard that before about relationships, lol) You obviously already see her point, which is wonderful. I'm sure there are some great self-help books on how to outwardly appear to care more, probably even for people on the spectrum. Also, I would ask your wife some specific things you could do for her or with her to show you care and want to take some of her stress load. However, as a natural stress-case, I'm taking an experienced guess that your wife is one too. The child that cares for a parent often grows into an adult x10. It's likely she can't stop worrying and stressing and being "the responsible one". I'm sure somewhere inside, she knows that. She'll need to come to terms with that herself, though. And in the meantime, making an effort on your part will help her feel supported and probably help her come to see her own stress-ninja persona. Hope my tiny bit of insight helps.
•    Anonymous said… i can relate... been married almost 49 years... didn't know about Aspergers ( husband ) until about 6 years ago...
•    Anonymous said… I was poured into the same mould as your wife. I also feel a lot like her being married to someone I now know has aspergers. The book Journal of Best Practices was written by a man on the spectrum ( David Finch) and is the best reference I can think of since it is specifically focused on his marriage. My suggestion would be to specify her needs and then strive to meet them- that is a simple as marriage gets. Learn her love language and then begin to speak it to her, but that takes her being able to identify and communicate them to you. There are lots of books on love languages, too  😊. We really do speak different languages and just your efforts to learn hers will help her begin to feel cared about. Those of us who have cared for others really need to feel cared about in return. Best to you both.
•    Anonymous said… I'm in the same boat, I fear that my family feels like I don't care about anything I have a very difficult time expressing my emotions. I'm very laid back but I can't handle chaos. I have been told buy my husband that I'm "cold" and "heartless" of course that's far from accurate. I've been seeking mental guidance and my husband has been trying hard to understand me so far things seem okay
•    Anonymous said… Keep up the good work. My hubby now knows me better than I know (or understand) myself! Sometimes we need to forget our dx and simply share how we see and feel. Works for us. I'm Aspie by the way.
•    Anonymous said… lol I see a psychiatrist regularly it's helped a lot. I've been trying to get my husband to go with me, but he won't.
•    Anonymous said… Mental guidance sounds ominous and a bit spooky - hope you are not camouflaging ?
•    Anonymous said… Seriously, have your wife read this book. My wife and I were having serious communication problems in our marriage and she read this book and actually highlighted portions that were important to her, then I read it again, paying particular attention to the highlighted portions. It made a huge difference in our communication issues and our marriage. Rudy Simone - 22 Things a Woman Must Know If She Loves a Man with Asperger's Syndrome
•    Anonymous said… sometimes I have noticed when people try to put their methods on me, I respond with opposition. I feel that a shared task or a delegated one should allow for autonomy. some people have higher levels of perfectionism. I sometimes get ocd about stuff needing to be done a certain way. I also have ocpd, which takes a long time to do anything. so for me, that can mean that I do can decide to avoid something if I know it will take more time than I have to accomplish it. which is bad. clutter piles up. I am hiring a professional organizer to help me figure out how to solve this so it doesn't haunt me forever. I have also noticed that when I am focused on something, my awareness of time goes right out the window. hours can pass by and it feels like short bursts of time. I have rarely ever seen things the way others around me do -but I greatly appreciate understanding how others see things. when people will communicate in detail, often I can adapt closer to a compromise. when people expect me to read their mind -failure is maximized. I was required to raise my 6 younger siblings. my mom had 3 jobs, my father lost his job became depressed and shut out responsible things. you only get to be a kid once. there are no redos. maybe ask how she thinks you are when she knows you care about things. everyone always has things to learn about other people. life is not supposed to be without need to expand thinking. I have learned I cannot see things how other people do -so I cannot settle for taking things "how they are" because I might not see them from big picture
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like she doesn't understand what is required of her to be the wife of someone on the spectrum. It sounds like she's saying she regrets getting married. Time to kick her to the curb for both your sake.
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like she is a nurturer who has takes care of everyone else at the expense of her own needs. She needs to find ways to meet the needs she feels arent being met. Find friends , support groups, hobbies , church , get out and enjoy nature, go to a spa . Things that will nourish her soul and help meet whatever she feels is lacking. One person can never fill all of someone else needs and shouldnt be expected to. Right now she may be hyperfocusing on you to meet her needs and once some of that pressure is off it will be easier as a couple to work on some things to develope better communication and closeness.
•    Anonymous said… sounds like wife needs some emotional support and care / self-care
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like she's the one with the problem to me??
•    Anonymous said… Try asking her some questions about her day. Ask her what she would like to do on the weekend. If she feels she's doing everything and your going off into your own world etc maybe she's wanting som focus on her and her interests.?? Help her with dinner, get in and do things together. It's very easy for people on the ASD not to notice things going on around them, and they tend to be focused on their interests. It's not being selfish, it's just how they are. So many make her your interest? Hope that helps?

Post your comment below…

Asperger's Men Who Won't "Work" On Their Relationships

“I have a boyfriend with aspergers syndrome that I love dearly. However, there are some issues that I would like to address that are getting in the way of this going to the next level. Problem is he won’t talk about issues, or consider going to a counselor that could help us. If I tell him how I feel, he gets overwhelmed and leaves. How can you work on problems in a relationship when the other person won’t talk about it? I really do love him and want to make this work, but I’m stuck at a dead end road currently.”

One of the toughest things in a relationship is when one partner wants to work on the existing problems, but the other doesn’t even think there is a problem – or worse, doesn’t care. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some men with Asperger’s (high functioning autism) to flat-out refuse to go to couples counseling, or they do so reluctantly. Many of these guys won’t read a book about relationships, and don’t seem interested in talking about the problems.

It can be incredibly frustrating for the “neurotypical” (i.e., non-autistic) girlfriend who knows her relationship isn’t what it could be. After all, if he won’t work on the issues, isn’t it hopeless that he will ever change? And isn’t it reasonable to assume marriage is out of the question?

The question then becomes, given the situation here, what can be done on a day-to-day basis to improve the relationship before it implodes? Here are some ideas that may help:

Message to the boyfriend:

Men with Asperger’s who are unwilling to go to counseling are usually afraid that the counselor will berate them. They worry that the counselor will take the side of their partner. But, they need to understand that couples counseling is not solely for people on the brink of a break-up.  It is for any couple who cares about their relationship being healthy. To use an analogy, you may not need surgery, but you should still see your doctor periodically for check-ups.  It’s no different with a love relationship that could use a check-up. Lose the stigma you have about counseling – and go.  A counselor is simply an anonymous friend who can help you get your relationship on a good track. Also, a good counselor is not going to chastise you or side with your girlfriend.

Also, remember this rule: “Whoever is hurt is the one who is suffering.” Stop focusing on who is right and wrong, and focus on the fact that your girlfriend is hurt.  This is your partner, not your sister. Your girlfriend wants to be with you. She cares about you. If she didn’t, then she wouldn’t be working so hard to keep the relationship going.

Message to the girlfriend:

If your boyfriend has refused to work on the relationship, show him that YOU are trying to work on it.  Read relationship books or E-books (look on Amazon) in the presence of your man (in 15-minute chunks, max).  This is a tactful and subtle hint without being a “bitch.”  Most men are open to being read to, because it doesn’t feel like a personal attack. This strategy may spark your boyfriend’s interest to engage in conversation about what you’re reading and inspire him to want to read along, or at least read a chapter or section. Try it! You've got nothing to lose here.

In addition, understand that you have already tried talking about the relationship problems many times now – and have been ignored. Thus, bringing it up in the same context isn’t going to help.  Your first temptation may be to do so louder or with a drastic ultimatum.  Don’t do either.  The problem may be something your boyfriend will never change – and maybe can’t change even if he wanted to. Who knows?  It’s important to realize that potential reality and not feel “entitled” to him changing. If the two of you are meant to be together, then it will happen regardless of your efforts to “fix” the relationship.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.