Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise?
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To All the Neurotypical Wives Who Are About To Strangle Their Asperger's/High-Functioning Autistic Spouse


==> Relationships and Mindblindness in Men with Asperger's:

==> Why Your Asperger's Partner Seems Unable to Understand How You Feel (mindblindness and alexithymia):

==> Why Your Asperger's Partner Is So Sensitive To Criticism:

==> Why the NT Wife and the AS Husband Have Great Difficulty Reconciling Differences:

==> Why Your Partner with Asperger's is So Logical and Unemotional:

==> Why the Behavior of an Individual with Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism Can Appear "Childish":

==> Why Your AS Partner Blames You For The Relationship Problems:

==> Traits In Your Asperger's Partner That Are "Hard-Wired" and Unlikely To Change:

==> Cassandra Syndrome and Relationships with Partners on the Autism Spectrum:

Why Your Asperger's Partner Has Difficulty Meeting Your Emotional Needs:

Why Your Asperger's Partner Is Non-Committal

What’s Behind Your Fear of Commitment?
  • “I equate commitment with heavy responsibilities and a boring existence?”
  • "I'm afraid I won't be able to live-up to her expectations?"
  • “I fear being overwhelmed and ‘taken over’ in an all-consuming relationship that will just lead to a dreadful life of sacrifice, sacrifice and more sacrifice?”
  • “I fear that I simply can’t handle a woman’s emotional baggage?”
  • "I hate talking about feelings?"
  • “I fear that she will want me to spend a lot of time with her, and this will rob me of time that I need to spend on my special interest?”
  • “I fear that I’m simply not equipped to make a woman happy?” 
  • “I see a life filled with endless chores, such as taking out the garbage, being a chauffeur, and changing diapers?”

=>  Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

Why Your AS Partner Seems to Prefer Spending More Time with His “Special Interests” Than with You

For all people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism, life is usually divided into two categories: preferred and non-preferred activities. Preferred activities are those things your partner engages in frequently and with great intensity.

However, not all of his preferred activities are equal. Some are much more highly desired. An activity that is lower on the list can hardly be used as a “motivator” for one that is higher. For example, you, the NT partner or spouse, will have great difficulty getting him to substitute his “computer time” by offering a “social reward” (e.g., accompanying you to a family get-together) if the computer is higher on his list.

Any activity that is non-preferred will often be avoided as long as possible (e.g., doing chores, going to the grocery, watching a “boring” movie with you). The lower the activities are on the list of desirability, the more he will resist or avoid doing them.

Sometimes an activity becomes non-preferred because it competes with one that is much more highly valued. For example, going for a walk with you could be enjoyable, but if he is reading at the moment - and reading is higher on his list - he will not likely stop what he’s doing to go for an impromptu walk.

Most often, preferred and non-preferred activities are problem areas in the relationship. Your AS or HFA partner will always want to engage in preferred activities even when you have something more important for him to do (e.g., watch the kids while you run an errand).

He does not want to end preferred activities, and your attempts to have him end them will likely cause a bit of conflict. If many non-preferred elements are combined together, the problem can become a nightmare (e.g., go shopping with you, then stop by to see his mother-in-law, then back home so he can “fix” the water leak under the kitchen sink). Family vacations, where his routine is totally disrupted for a rather lengthy period of time, can also be a nightmare.

The AS or HFA individual rarely has activities he just “likes.” He tends to either love or hate an activity. The middle ground is usually missing. Obviously, you would like for your partner or spouse to experience new things to see if he likes them, but he may not want to do this just because you're asking him to do something new.

People on the autism spectrum usually HATE change and deviations from their “routine.” He already has his list of preferred interests, and will rarely see the need for anything new.

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

How to Get Your NT Wife to Divorce You: Tips for Husbands on the Autism Spectrum

Here are 15 very concrete ways that will drive your wife to filing for divorce quicker than a 95-year-old demented man can shit his pants:

1.    Recognize what’s NOT working – and keep doing more of the same.

2.    Remember the bad times and replay those memories often.

3.    Stop focusing on solutions to problems.

4.    Make her do all the chores around the house.

5.    When she wants to talk, face the other way and hold out your palm.

6.    Pressure your wife into having oral sex - on YOU - only!

7.    Gamble away the money set aside to pay the electric bill.

8.    Don’t take a shower or brush your teeth – EVER!

9.    Always announce when you have to poop (e.g., "Honey, it's gonna be a Big HONKER!!!").

10.    When you pee in the middle of the night, leave the toilet seat down – and aim for it (or the walls).

11.    If you do shower, leave your wet towel on her side of the bed.

12.    Sneeze straight ahead rather than covering your mouth and sneezing to the side.

13.    When she needs you to do some handyman work around the house, complete the task only halfway, then leave your tools where the “fixing” took place.

14.    Blow your nose on the cloth napkins while at the restaurant with her.

15.    When there isn't quite enough milk for a full bowl of cereal, but there is a second UNOPENED container, ignore the first and open the second.

Best of luck to all the manly men!

Why Your AS or HFA Partner Has Difficulty Understanding How the Social World Works

Your Asperger's or high-functioning autistic partner has a neuro-cognitive disorder that affects many areas of functioning. This includes a difficulty with the basic understanding of the hidden (i.e., unspoken) rules of social behavior – especially if they are not obvious. Life has many of these rules. Some are written, some are spoken, and some are learned through observation and intuition (and intuition is not a strong point for people on the autism spectrum).

In trying to understand how the social world works, your AS or HFA partner will try to make sense of your explanations, but sometimes is not able to do this. As a result, your efforts at trying to “fix” the relationship difficulties will often fall short. This occurs because your “reasoning” has no meaning. He can usually only understand things for which he has a frame of reference (i.e., a picture or idea about this from other sources or from prior discussions).

For example, your partner is not able to sit in a room, observe what is happening, and understand social cues, implied directions, or how to "read between the lines." Instead, he learns facts. He does not "take in" what is happening around him that involves the rest of the social world, only what directly impacts him. And you have probably had the thought that he is “overly-logical,” only living in his head with few true expressions coming from the heart.

==> Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors and Anxiety In Your AS or HFA Partner [audio clip]

Many of the conversations you have had with your AS partner or spouse have generally been about knowledge and facts – not about feelings, opinions, and interactions. This occurs because he does not really know how the social world works and what one is supposed to do in various situations. This can apply to even the smallest situations you might take for granted. Not knowing the unspoken rules of situations causes anxiety and confusion. This leads to many of the behavioral issues that appear as he tries to impose his own sense of order on a “mysterious” world he doesn't fully understand.

Thus, your partner creates his own set of rules for everyday functioning to keep things from changing - and thereby minimize his anxiety. Sometimes, he may even make up some rules when it is convenient. Other times, he may attempt to make them up by looking for patterns, rules, or the logic of a situation to make it less chaotic for him and more predictable and understandable.

If there are no rules for an event or situation, he may create them from his own experiences based on what he has read, seen, or heard. He will usually have a great deal of information to use in reaching his conclusions and forming his opinions. As a result, some of his conclusions are correct - and some are incorrect. And we will likely argue with you until the cows come home if you disagree with him or have a different point of view.

He will rarely consider your point of view if he does not consider you to be an "expert." The more he views you as an illogical and overly-emotional “amateur” on the topic in question – the more stubbornness you will see. He will argue with you about your opinions if different from his own, because he views his truth as THE truth!

He thinks that his opinion is as good as yours, so he chooses his. This represents his rigid thinking. He finds it difficult to be flexible and consider alternate views, especially if he has already reached a conclusion. New ideas can be difficult to accept ("I'd rather do it the way I've always done it"). Being forced to think differently causes a lot of anxiety. And the more anxious he becomes, the more he tries to squelch this uncomfortable emotion by “resisting change” even more – sometimes resulting in a meltdown or shutdown.

NOTE: The above statements are in no way intended to be criticisms, rather to simply explain why it is often difficult for NT spouses/partners to work on the relationship problems. Living in - and trying to cope with - a very confusing social world of results in rigid behavior that can look like insensitivity, narcissism,  and even cruel disregard for others.

=>  Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

Why Your Partner with Asperger’s or HFA is So Inflexible

Neurotypical individuals often don’t understand what their partners with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (ASD level 1) are thinking, how they interpret what is going on, and how their deficits cause relationship problems.

In these cases, it’s best to collect information and analyze what’s going on (i.e., do an investigation). Without investigating the reasons behind the relationship difficulties, NTs may very likely do something that backfires. But, if they know what is really going on, they can make a positive change in how the relationship operates.

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Because a situation was one way the first time, does my spouse feel it has to be that way always (i.e., being rule-bound)?
  2. Does my spouse see only two choices to a situation rather than many options (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  3. Has my spouse created a rule that can't be followed (i.e., he/she sees only one way to solve a problem; he/she can’t see alternatives)?
  4. Is my spouse blaming me for something that is beyond my control (i.e., he/she feels that I must solve the problem for him/her, even when it involves issues that I have no control over)?
  5. Is my spouse exaggerating the importance of an event? 
  6. Is it the case that there are no “small” events in his/her mind, and everything that goes wrong is a “catastrophe” (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  7. Is my spouse expecting perfection in him/herself (i.e., black-and-white thinking)?
  8. Is my spouse misunderstanding what is happening and assuming something that isn't true (i.e., a misinterpretation brought about by mind-blindness issues)?
  9. Is my spouse stuck on an idea and can't let it go (i.e., he/she does not know how to move on when there is a problem)?

Realizing that people with AS and HFA will NOT be  good observers of their behavior is your first step. This is where you, the NT partner, may be able to provide some insight. Not knowing what to do results in anxiety that leads to the AS/HFA individual taking ineffective and inappropriate actions. Inflexibility is usually a result of this anxiety, which leads to difficulty moving on and letting go of an issue and "getting stuck" on something.

Understanding your AS or HFA partner involves knowing the autistic traits and how they manifest themselves in everyday situations. How does he/she see the world, think about matters, and react to what is going on?  Below are a few reasons that will help you understand why people on the autism spectrum act the way they do.

Reasons for inflexibility:

  • misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your motives or actions
  • violation of a rule or ritual (i.e., changing something from the way it is “supposed” to be)
  • anxiety about a current or upcoming event, no matter how trivial it may appear to you
  • lack of knowledge about the “hidden rules” of social engagement
  • sensory sensitivities, inattention (ADD), OCD, or other psychiatric issues
  • need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity, often something difficult or undesirable (often, if he can’t be perfect, he does not want to engage in the activity)
  • need to control a situation
  • need to engage in -or continue- a preferred activity (usually an obsessive interest)
  • transitioning from one activity to another (usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he/she is finished with it)

Never over-estimate your AS or HFA partner’s understanding of a situation because of his “high intellectual” capability or his/her other strong points. People on the spectrum often need a road map and a set of instructions, one example at a time.

=>  Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

What to Do When Your NT Wife Insists You Have Asperger’s

Does your partner suspect that you have and autism spectrum disorder? Do you feel that she blames you for most of the relationship problems due to this "disorder"? Have you felt that she uses this "label" as a weapon against you?

Take this informal quiz to see if you should pursue a formal diagnosis. If you answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions (approx. 75%), then your spouse may be right.

"I either have the following traits, or I have been accused of having them":

1.    “Conflict-resolution” seems impossible?
2.    According to her, I am very insensitive, uncaring, and selfish?
3.    Anxiety is a common state for me to be in?
4.    Being in this relationship seems very difficult and complicated?
5.    Even if we are physically together, there is an emotional distance that leaves my wife feeling alone?

6.    Even though I like having a “companion,” it does create stress for me?
7.    Her expectations keep changing?
8.    Her feelings are all over the map and change from minute to minute?
9.    I am easily stressed by some social situations?
10.    I am mostly interested in my special activity rather than spending time with my wife?

11.    I can be “self-absorbed”?
12.    I can get defensive easily?
13.    I demonstrate my feelings of love through my actions rather than words or physical affection?
14.    I don’t exactly know what she expects of me?
15.    I don’t fully understand the nature of give-and-take in conversations?

16.    I don’t like making commitments to other people?
17.    I don’t like pressure or expectations put on me?
18.    I feel anxious when unpredictable situations occur or when things change?
19.    I find it difficult to empathize?
20.    I find it impossible to sense what my wife is feeling?

21.    I have difficulty talking about my emotions?
22.    I have had a hard time holding onto a job?
23.    I have trouble making the connection between what she is feeling - and what I have done [or not done] to hurt her?
24.    I like talking about my special interest – a lot!?
25.    I need long periods of solitude and quiet time?

26.    I need structure and routine?
27.    I often cut her off and change the subject when she is in mid-sentence?
28.    I often deny there is a problem with our relationship?
29.    I often fail to follow through with what I have agreed to do?
30.    I often worry that I’m not capable of being a good husband?

31.    I did put some effort into it “winning her” – but now do not put much effort in “keeping her”?
32.    I sometimes suffer from sensory overload?
33.    I tend to stay in my rational mind most of the time?
34.    I usually don’t like to socialize?
35.    I usually have trouble talking with my wife about emotional issues?

36.    I’m more comfortable with old friends than new ones?
37.    I’ve had significant relationships problems long before I met my wife?
38.    Making compromises is difficult for me?
39.    My best efforts in the relationship still don’t please her?
40.    My wife believes that she has made more adjustments to me over the years than I have to her?

41.    My wife claims she is depressed and “emotionally damaged” due to our relationship?
42.    My wife complains that she feels like she has to “mother” me?
43.    Our relationship was passionate in the beginning, but the passion has dwindled over the years?
44.    Our sex life has stalled?
45.    She always tries to change me?

46.    She claims that I am lazy and don’t contribute enough (e.g., with chores)?
47.    She has said I am narcissistic?
48.    She is a very complicate and difficult person?
49.    She is usually disappointed whenever her birthday or our anniversary occurs?
50.    She is very “needy” and “clingy”?

51.    She often says she’s not important to me?
52.    Sometimes, even neutral conversations with my wife can seem like an attack or a criticism?
53.    This relationship is often “messy?”
54.    When she wants to “talk” about our problems, I immediately get worried that it’s going to turn into another fight?
55.    When we argue, I tend to view my wife as illogical and neurotic?

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

=>  Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Why Your Partner/Spouse with AS or HFA Blames You For All the Relationship Problems

This audio clip from one of Mark Hutten's lectures will help explain why a person on the autism spectrum will tend to blame others for his/her trials and tribulations:

Theory of mind [summary]:
  • allows people to infer the intentions of others, as well as to think about what's going on in someone else's head, including hopes, fears, beliefs, and expectations
  • develops as children gain greater experience with social interactions
  • encompasses the ability to attribute mental states, including emotions, desires, beliefs, and knowledge
  • social-cognitive skill that involves the ability to think about mental states, both your own and those of others
  • the ability to understand that other people's thoughts and beliefs may be different from your own and to consider the factors that have led to those mental states

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's

Why Your Partner with Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism is So Reluctant to Change/Cooperate

“I’ve been reading a lot on this site. I have to ask, why does it seem that men with Asperger syndrome are so unwilling to change or compromise in their relationships?”

Well, there are two kinds of obstacles that hinder change – those that are outside of you (e.g., the environment), and those that are inside (e.g., anxiety).

Some of the common reasons that people on the autism spectrum don’t – or won’t – change include the following:

1.  Not cooperating is less painful than trying to cooperate (the path of least resistance). In many cases, people with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism have legitimately tried to “please” their neurotypical partner – but to them, it seems that “no matter how hard I try, it’s never good enough” (a direct quote I hear often from married men with AS). So, in their way of thinking, “no attempt at change” is not as bad as “a botched attempt at change” (this is usually a self-esteem problem due to repeated “social blunders”).

2.  Their environment is holding them back (largely a sensory-sensitivity problem - as well as a social-skills deficit issue when relating to others around them at home, work, etc.).

3.  Their NT partner or spouse has not set relationship-boundaries (i.e., what is - and is not - acceptable) that are attainable and understandable for the person with AS (e.g., when bringing up a critical issue, the NT has had a poor delivery, bad timing, wording things in ways that increase anxiety, etc.).

4.  Partners with AS have problems with their own mistakes (i.e., they tend to be perfectionistic and OCD in certain areas - and hate feeling like a “failure”). In other words, if they try something new, and it doesn’t yield the desired results QUICKLY, they give up easily and view the attempt as “a total catastrophe” (i.e., classic black-and-white thinking that is common in Asperger’s).

5.  They lack confidence that they will be successful with something outside their comfort zone (mostly an anxiety issue). Change is scary to them. Doing things for the first time or stepping into the unknown can be overwhelming.

6.  They simply don’t want to change, because they don’t see any need for it (often a mind-blindness issue). If they don’t really want to make the change deep down, then it will be very hard to go the distance. And once their mind has decided on a particular course or action (or inaction, in this case) they are immovable!

7.  In those cases where they actually are open to change, they don’t know how to do it in a practical sense (largely an executive-function deficit issues).

Above, I have mentioned (directly or indirectly) the following issues (click on the issue for more information):

1.    Self-esteem issues
2.    Sensory sensitivities and associated frustrations
3.    Communication problems
4.    OCD, perfectionism and associated inflexibility
5.    Strong need for routine and structure
6.    Executive-function deficits
7.    Anxiety

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Promoting Social Reciprocity in Your "Disengaged" Asperger’s Spouse

“When I speak to my husband (with AS), he often offers no response at all. Whether I’m just making chit chat, or asking a question, I ALWAYS have to repeat myself because he’s not listening. Is this a common issue for others in an NT/AS relationship? Any tips on how to get him to pay more attention to what I’m saying (at least a little bit)?”

A significant issue for people with Asperger’s (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) is a lack of “social or emotional reciprocity” (e.g., inappropriate or limited responses to others, limited offers of comfort shown towards others).

While neurotypical people (i.e., non-AS) are attentive to others, people with AS often exhibit difficulty engaging in social interactions for a number of reasons (e.g., being highly focused on their current activity or thought, attention deficits, being overwhelmed by environmental-sensory stimuli, etc.) Many researchers consider “social-interaction deficits” to be the core deficit of AS.

Impairments in social interaction associated with AS often include:
  • lack of: spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment and interests; responding to the emotions of others; responding to social initiations made by others; interest in non-preferred activities; friendship-seeking behavior
  • difficulties understanding the facial expressions and body language of others
  • deficits in nonverbal behaviors (e.g., eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, gestures) to regulate social interaction

 As one NT wife stated: "We don't play 'conversational Ping Pong'. I do the 'ping' - then I have to run down to the other end of the table and do the 'pong' too. I'm basically in a conversation with myself."

In order to help people with AS to better connect and collaborate with others, social skills may need to be taught. Unlike “typically developing” individuals, these skills do not develop instinctively with AS.

There are many techniques to work around this “social-reciprocity-deficit,” and a good place to start may be  balanced turn-taking. Yes, this may seem like such a juvenile exercise in light of the fact that you (the NT spouse) and working with a grown-up. But again, social reciprocity does not come naturally to people with this developmental disorder caller Asperger syndrome.

Balanced turn-taking entails the individual with AS and - in this case - his NT spouse participating in a balanced, back and forth interaction to increase the length of attention and engagement. If your husband is willing to try this, you can literally role-play some give-and-take conversation skills.

You will want to use open-ended questions to avoid one-word responses. These questions can’t be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no', and instead require your husband to elaborate on his points. Open-ended questions help you see things from his perspective as you get feedback in his own words instead of stock answers.

For example, you can ask your husband some of the questions below, then you answer the same question per your experience (or you start first, then he takes his turn). Some of the following are simply “fill in the blank” statements.

NOTE: Some AS husbands will feel like this is a childish exercise - and may even be offended by the idea. But if your husband recognizes that there is a real problem with his back-and-forth conversation style, it would be good to practice this on a daily basis for about 10 minutes:
  1. What was the most scared you have ever been?
  2. What was the happiest you have ever been? 
  3. Our kids would freak out if they knew what?
  4. What is the most prominent memory you have of your childhood? 
  5. My funniest memory of our dating days was __________ .
  6. My favorite photo of us is the one where __________ .
  7. If you could spend time just talking to any one person, who would it be?
  8. If you could spend 24 hours doing anything in the world with me, what would it be? 
  9. If I could have lived during a different time period, it would be __________ . 
  10. If you had nine lives, what dangerous things would you try?
  11. If I could have any super power, it would be __________ .
  12. If I could eat anything and it not affect my health, I would feast on __________ .
  13. I wish I had learned to __________ .
  14. I used to always wish I could __________ .
  15. I like it best when you refer to me as __________ .
  16. I laugh every time I think of you doing __________ .
  17. I feel you love me the most when you __________ .
  18. Did you know that it scares me so much to __________ .
  19. If you had all the money you needed, what’s the strangest thing would you purchase?
  20. Before we are together in heaven, I pray that here on earth we __________ .

 * Use your imagination to come up with additional questions and fill-in-the blank statements as those listed above. Make a game out of it!

If your AS husband is up for a little social-skills training, then by all means, try this! It will work for some, and not so much for others. Some NTs have reported that this exercise was a real game-changer in the relationship (because they were finally having a few moments of "quality" time). Others have said it worked moderately well, but was still interesting and better than nothing. And some have stated "there is no way in hell I'm even going to try this."

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> Online Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's

Why Your Aspie Husband Is So Inflexible

“Mark - my Aspie husband is the most inflexible person I have ever dealt with in the entire life. When his mind is made up, he is immoveable and totally closed to other suggestions on how to deal with issues (e.g., our kids, financial things that come up, chores that need to be done around the house, just to name a few). So, my question is: is this part of his aspergers, and why is he so closed to alternative ideas?”

Yes… it’s part of the disorder. And, there are several important reasons why people with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism are “inflexible” (to use your term). We call this “cognitive rigidity”:

Brain Dysregulation—

The brains of people on the spectrum are structurally normal, but “dysregulated” (i.e., there is an impaired regulation of a bundle of neurons in the brain stem that processes sensory signals from various areas of the body).

Cortisol Deficit—

Cortisol is a key factor in understanding Asperger’s. It is one of several stress hormones that acts similar to a red alert that is triggered by stressful circumstances, which helps the person to react quickly to changes. In neurotypical (non-Asperger's) people, there is a two-fold increase in levels of cortisol within 30 minutes of waking up – and levels gradually declining during the day as part of the internal body clock. People with Asperger’s don’t have this peak first thing in the morning, which is highly significant in explaining why people with Asperger’s are less able to react and cope with unexpected change (throughout the day, but especially in the morning).

They don’t adjust normally to the challenge of a new environment on waking, which may affect the way they subsequently engage with the world around them. By viewing your husband’s symptoms as a “stress response” rather than stubbornness may help you develop a few techniques for avoiding circumstances contribute to his anxiety.

Executive Dysfunction (more information here)—

This deals with impulse control, inhibition, mental flexibility, planning, the initiation/monitoring of action, and working memory. This explains some of the symptoms of Asperger’s (e.g., poor social interaction due to a defect in cognitive shifting, repetitive and restricted behavior).

Theory of Mind Deficit (more information here)—

Theory of mind is the intuitive understanding of one’s mental state -- and the mental state of others (i.e., emotions, thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, knowledge, intentions and desires – and of how those mental states influence behavior). Your husband most likely has great difficulty understanding others thoughts, feelings, and motivations, which is the core cognitive deficit.

Weak Central Coherence—

This is the inability to understand the context of a situation or to see the big picture. This explains common behaviors found Asperger’s (e.g., repetitiveness, focusing on parts of objects, persistence in behaviors related to details, etc.).

I hope that makes sense. Thanks for the question.

~ Mark

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> Online Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's

40 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety: Tips for People on the Spectrum

If you use a few of the steps below to manage your anxiety, you may reduce the risk of negative health effects. Here are some tips that may help you to cope day-to-day:
  1. Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety and anxiety; several studies suggest that it's effective
  2. Aside from the obvious health risks of cigarettes, nicotine acts as a stimulant and brings on more anxiety symptoms
  3. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations
  4. Assert yourself; you do not have to meet others' expectations or demands
  5. Biofeedback 
  6. Chew Gum
  7. Counseling, to help you recognize and release anxiety
  8. Cuddle with a pet (or a lover)
  9. Decide what must get done now and what can wait
  10. Deep breathing exercises
  11. Eat and drink sensibly; drugs and alcohol and food abuse may seem to reduce anxiety, but it actually adds to it
  12. Examine your values and live by them; the more your actions reflect your beliefs, the better you will feel
  13. Get regular exercise; just 20 minutes a day is plenty
  14. Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits - it may lower anxiety and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels
  15. Journaling
  16. Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family’ long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat anxiety
  17. Keep in touch with people who can provide emotional support and practical help
  18. Laugh
  19. Learn to Avoid Procrastination
  20. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much 
  21. Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects 
  22. Light a Candle
  23. Listen to Soothing Music
  24. Masturbate
  25. Meditation
  26. Mental imagery relaxation
  27. Once a week, have a cheat meal (e.g., pizza, ice cream, pastry)
  28. One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms
  29. Practice Mindfulness
  30. Prayer
  31. Progressive muscle relaxation
  32. Recognize the signs of your body’s response to anxiety, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol, being easily angered, depressed, and low energy
  33. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
  34. Set realistic goals and expectations; it's okay, and healthy, to realize you cannot be 100% successful at everything at once
  35. Take a Yoga Class
  36. Take responsibility; control what you can and leave behind what you cannot control
  37. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do
  38. Use calming scents: Bergamot, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Orange or orange blossom, Roman chamomile, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Ylang ylang
  39. Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect; it contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety
  40. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself of what you do well

==>Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

10-Minute Breathing Meditation for Anxious People on the Autism Spectrum

1. Use your earbuds
2. Get in a comfortable position
3. Close your eyes
4. Allow your muscles to soften
5. Feel your breath through the nostrils

Cassandra Syndrome and Marriage to an Asperger’s Spouse

“I’m married to a man with AS (17 years), and I think that I may be suffering from Cassandra Syndrome. Have you heard of this? Is this common for NT wives who are married to an emotionally unavailable (abusive) husband with AS?”

Cassandra Syndrome (CS) is basically the neurotypical (NT) spouse’s experience of emotional suffering that results from distressing interpersonal relations with a spouse who does not understand, empathize with, or validate the NT’s pain and sorrow. Many NT partners are negatively affected by a number of Asperger’s traits (e.g., lack of empathy, mind-blindness, alexithymia, etc.). 

Over time, the NT spouse may begin to feel isolated, invalidated, and even ‘held hostages’ in their own home. A common phrase expressed by many NTs is, “I’m simply not important to my spouse.”

The emotional distress felt by the NT usually occurs when the Asperger’s partner:
  • exhibits communication problems
  • has an inability to be intimate
  • is emotionally distance
  • prefers to relate to the NT partner from a distance (the Asperger’s partner fails to realize that he/she must be intimate, vulnerable, and empathic in order to truly “know” - and cooperate with - the NT partner)

The NT wants a deeper, more personal and satisfying relationship (of course), and therefore “pushes” the Asperger’s partner to “step up” and participate more fully in the marriage. However, this pushing and pleading results in further difficulties, because the Asperger’s spouse now views the NT as being increasingly bitchy, irrational or hysterical. Thus, the Asperger’s spouse distances himself/herself even further for anxiety-reduction purposes.

Symptoms of CS may include any of the following:
  • avoidance of going places (e.g., social events) with the AS spouse because it “always ends badly”
  • being easily irritated and angered
  • difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • emotional numbness
  • feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • intrusive distressing recollections of past encounters with the AS spouse that were perceived as him/her being selfish, uncaring, and insensitive
  • markedly diminished interest or participation in previously-enjoyed activities
  • persistent and distorted blame of self
  • persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself
  • persistent anxiety, anger, guilt, or shame
  • persistent inability to experience positive emotions
  • depression
  • suicidal ideation
  • severe resentment

As one NT wife stated: “I've grown to utterly despise him, and then, of course, hate myself for despising him because he ‘can't help it’. Living with an AS spouse is living with an abusive spouse. Period.”

It’s usually both a blessing and a relief when an NT partner learns about Asperger’s and realizes that there is an explanation for the Asperger’s spouse’s “hurtful” behaviors. In this way, the NT realizes she is NOT crazy, and that she may have taken a lot of things personally that were in fact part of the disorder. If you’re an NT spouse experiencing such difficulties, know that you’re not alone – and that this plight is indeed recognized in the literature (i.e., CS).

In a nutshell, a relationship that results in CS is one that lacks “emotional reciprocity.” Emotional reciprocity exists when partners provide empathetic support to each other. It's a mutually beneficial relationship with balanced levels of “give and take.” With CS, one partner does most of the “give” with very little “take” in return.

Note: It’s not uncommon for the NT spouse to feel lonely, anxious, and depressed because he/she has tried to tell others (e.g., family members, friends, coworkers) about the Asperger’s-related marriage difficulties, but receive little-to-no validation or empathy from others – or be viewed as melodramatic and whiny. This is due to the fact that the Asperger’s partner often presents himself in quite a different light in the public eye (i.e., appears “normal,” kind, composed). But he/she is a very different person at home behind closed doors.

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

==> Relationship Skills for Couples Affected by Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism  

The Main Reasons People with Asperger's Are So Anxious

"Mark, you say in many of your YT videos that people with Asperger’s usually suffer from anxiety. Why is this?"

Individuals with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism are especially vulnerable to anxiety for several important reasons. The affected individual experiences this intrinsic feature of the disorder due to any – or all – of the following:
  • a breakdown in circuitry related to extinguishing fear responses
  • specific neurotransmitter system defects
  • an inability to make accurate “social judgments” 
  • past trauma that results from being victimized, rejected and teased by their peers – without possessing the ability to mount effective socially adaptive responses
  • an insufficient grasp of situations to recognize that others “get it” when he/she does not 
  • social challenges that make it difficult for the person with AS to develop coping strategies for self-soothing and/or controlling difficult emotions
  • limited skills for autonomous social problem-solving  
  • limitations in the ability to grasp social cues
  • a highly rigid personality style that craves routine and structure (i.e., strong dislike for change)
  • repeated “social errors” 
  • limitations in generalizing from one situation to another

Other issues that can significantly raise anxiety levels involve:

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

==> Relationship Skills for Couples Affected by Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism  

Is Your AS Partner Exhibiting Traits of the Disorder - or Purposely Being Insensitive and Uncaring?

How can you tell the difference between Aspergers-related behavior versus pure insensitivity? 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

Stress-Management for People on the Autism Spectrum

There are a number of techniques you can try to manage your stress. What works is different for everyone, and it can take time to find the ones that work best for you. Here are 10 tips to try:

1.    Be good to yourself. Remember that you are NOT your stress. You are not a feeble weakling. You are not a second-rate person. You simply have a mental health condition called “chronic stress.”

2.    Be aware of your self-talk. How you think directly affects how you feel. Stress makes you overestimate the danger in a situation -- and underestimate your ability to deal with it. Think of different interpretations to a situation that’s making you stressed, rather than launching to the worst-case scenario. Look at the facts for - and against - your negative thoughts being true.

3.    Fully understand your stress. Keep a diary of when it is at its worst – and best. Look for the patterns, and plan your day to proactively manage your stress.

4.    Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Stay active, eat well, go out into nature, spend time with family and friends, and do the activities you enjoy. These are all effective in reducing stress and improving your mood.  

5.    Learn from other people. Talk with others who also experience stress or are going through something similar. This can help you feel less alone.

6.    Set aside time to worry.  No one can stop worrying entirely, so set aside some time to humor your worries. Take 5 minutes each evening to write them down and go over them in your head. This will help stop your worries from taking over at other times.

7.    Utilize progressive muscle relaxation. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscles from your head to your toes. Hold the tension for 5 seconds, and then release slowly. This will help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with stress.

8.    Incorporate slow breathing. When you’re stressed, your breathing usually becomes shallower. Deliberately slow down your breathing. Count to 5 as you breathe in slowly, then count to 5 as you exhale slowly.

9.    Try to stay in the present moment. Stress can make your thoughts live in an awful future that hasn’t happened yet. Bring yourself back to where you are now. Meditation can help with this.

10.    Attempt small acts of courageousness. Avoiding what makes you stressed provides some relief in the short term, but can make you more stressed-out in the long term. Thus, approach something that makes you somewhat fearful (even in a small way). The path through stress is by learning that what you’re afraid of isn’t likely to happen. Even if it does, you’ll be able to deal with it effectively.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

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