==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder
Since the symptoms of an autistic individual who is “high-functioning” can be so subtle, multiple, and difficult to pinpoint - it’s hard for an NT spouse to know whether things are normal or not. For example:
It will take some time for the NT to recognize and articulate concerns about such issues.
Even after a diagnosis, the NT spouse will face a multitude of feelings before she can grasp effectively with the glaring truth that her husband has a “developmental disorder.” The NT may even mourn over this new reality:
One of the biggest challenges NT spouses may face is the big gap between what their ASD husband can do – and what he can’t do. Oftentimes, the ASD spouse is very smart, can reason well, knows a great deal about his favorite subject, yet can’t follow through with the NT’s simple requests.
You may be telling your autistic spouse to “try harder.” But in many cases, he is trying his heart out. These individuals often have to work 10 times harder than their typical peers, but are still labelled as uncaring, selfish, insensitive and narcissistic.
Another piece of the puzzle for the NT spouse lies in how difficult it can be to differentiate between a spouse who “can’t” do something versus one who “won’t” do something. For example:
• “How far should I ‘push’ my husband?”
• “How much should I reduce my expectations?”
• “How much ‘spousal control’ should I exert?”
In this uncertainty, the NT may even ask herself “what is wrong with me?” – instead of asking “what trials and tribulations is my husband having to face?” Shifting this focus can be beneficial for both spouses.
All of this takes time and energy that is exhausting!