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How To Deal With An Angry Asperger's Husband

"My Asperger’s husband (Robby) has an awful temper, but blames me for causing it. What can I do to avoid triggering him? Is there anything I can do to take the steam out of his temper if he won’t work on it?"

Temper gets a particular hold on men with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism, because of the tendency for emotional flooding to occur. Here are a few ideas for you to try with your husband (in no particular order):
  1. When Robby is “going-off,” you can calmly say something like, “I’m going to read for a while” …or “I’m going to the store to pick up some milk.” Tell him you’ll be back in a little while.
  2. Never try to deal with a temper when it is active. When all is calm, try to help Robby identify the feeling underlying the anger (e.g., fear, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, etc.). Help him find the words to express that feeling (e.g., “I feel helpless in this situation” …or “I felt frustrated by your comment” …or “I feel put down by you”). Allow him to be brutally honest here. It may be hard at first, but pays off once he has learned to do it. He can start by making the statements to himself if it’s too difficult to do so with you initially. Know, however, that Robby needs to take responsibility for his display of temper in the end. It’s his job – not yours.
  3. Most men with hot tempers will display just as much temper as they can get away with. So, if you don’t like the temper outbursts, tell Robby you are simply unwilling to put up with them. Tell him what will happen when he allows his temper to get out of control (e.g., “When you scream at me, I’m going to leave the house. I’ll come back home when you can speak to me in a normal voice.”). Then you must be willing to follow through.
  4. Do not reinforce Robby’s temper. When he blasts off, do not argue. The most you want to say is, “I’ll talk with you when you’ve calmed down.” (Note: You may need to wait until he is calm to say this.)
  5. Be patient with Robby as he tries to figure out what to do with your new plan. Since you are going to be "responding" to his temper using the ideas above (rather than reacting to – or participating in – the tantrum), he will be forced to come up with a different coping strategy, one that doesn’t involve you being on the receiving end of his rant-and-rave technique.

You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can break Robby’s temper cycle by following these steps. It doesn’t have to be a long, trying process. Once he (a) learns that you will not take part in his tantrums (since you are going to make yourself absent during that time) and (b) sees that you are taking an active role in helping him to uncover the “real” feelings that are going on underneath the fa├žade of anger, he may decide that his temper is his temper.

In other words, he's the one choosing to have a temper ...he's doing it to himself rather than someone else doing it to him ...he's in charge rather than being a victim of uncontrollable external circumstances.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Best Comments:

  • Julie said... If my husband is angry he almost alway screams, cusses, names calls and will not stop talking to me. I have suggested let's take a break to cool down, leave the room, or do something else. He will get more angry that I even suggested it and say I'm not leaving until I fix( fill in the blank) problem. many years of arguing back and other non affective things. I've prayed to God my Lord and savior Jesus about how to handle these things and I would be praying for him during the fight and for myself. I will not say anything unless he demands it. He wants me to admit whatever I did wrong and to fix it. If I humble myself, not lash out, speak kindly and admit fault. (I can't say I didn't mean to do it that will make him angrier.) If I do the things I just mentioned correctly and calming the fight will probably last 30 minutes to out a hour. If I argue back, get defensive, shift blame EVEN IF IT'S TRUE! The argument will and can go on for hours! We have three small children and I don't want them to see us fighting and him belittling me and calling me names when he is angry. Praying to God for wisdom and in this situation is the ONLY WAY any of its got ebetter. If the fight is not my fault and I know it's not my fault I have to find a way to make a sincere apology in any way I affended him and this will help calm him. There is not rashalizing with him when he is angry. It talks everything in me to pray and stay calm and repent to him what I've done to affend him with. But I do see the fruit of it. I can't convict him off his sin only God can and I do see changes in him. He does not get as angry as he used to and he has realized what had caused him to be angry. ( he does not like to scream and yell and shows remorse after the fact when he has calmed down .) By the way we just recently found out he has AS a few weeks ago and we been married over 6 1/ 2 years. I found this site yesterday and it's been helping me to understand my husband so much better. thanks for all the helpful information.

  • Stacy said...  If he can't process or understand his emotions as an AS, he seeks comfort by using his defense mechanisms to gain clarity, seek reassurance, and Ultimately he will use and hold you accountable for how he feels. This is his disorder, his confusion, and only he can choose to accept it, learn about it, process it, and become accountable for his inability to adapt in this world. Becoming offended by what you say or do, needing your admission, and refusing to step away from conflict, guarantees hes unsure of his own emotions and guilty feelings. Leave him to sulk and reflect on what it is that makes him angry. Don't conform to his inner world and way of adapting. Admit to him your wrong doing, and apologize for it. Dont be responsible for how he feels. He chooses to become irate and be verbally abusive when its he that is offended in someway....allow him to decompress and talk while emotions arent high. His disorder does not excuse his behavior. Seek help or get out of that marriage.


  1. For me, a first step was to accept that I have a real disorder (severe AS)plus major depression and anxiety. I could not have a chance at a normal life without the help of my wife. She is almost saint like. It's been a long and painful road. Today, I have a strong support system: my wife, my GP, my psychiatrist, my medication,
    access to 24/7 mental health care hotline if I feel like a meltdown is coming on or need to talk to someone besides my wife. But the first step was for me to internalize the reality that I could not fix myself and needed help. If the AS male is not willing or able to try to get help for his problems, then it's not going to work.

  2. I'm nearly in tears. I have felt so alone in all this. Just to hear you all is a blessing. I feel like I have to put on a mask for everyone. My husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1998. We've been together for 16 years. We have children. One of them kings in the process of being tested for autism which he is already taking medication. When I realized my husband was having the same symptoms I thought to get him tested to. All the verbal and emotional abuse, the blaming the name calling, it's been so hard. I'm ready for separation until he can get the help he needs. I want him to actually understand the severity of damage that has Behavior causes. My son acts just like him with except instead of words and anger, he puts his hands on me. I'm ready for the separation I'm just scared to tell my husband, do you have any advice?

    1. Thank you for Sharing. In my case my wife (non AS) demanded we take steps for things to get better or we would have to separate. In that list was therapy, individual and couples, medication, reading/YouTube on AS - things like Journal of Best Practices by David Finch, allowing each other to take healthy space when needed and reframing hurtful words. Another aspect we worked on is increasing positive aspects of our relationship like cuddling more, and me using more words of positive affirmation toward her.

      Little by little we made progress, enough that she has stayed, and while things are not perfect, she says there has been noticable improvement and she feels more loved than before.

    2. I'm in the same boat as the others who have shared their world. My husband and I recently retired and are spending way too much time together. There is so much time for disagreements and misunderstandings everyday. I don't know if I'm leaving him or not. He's very stubborn and blames me for everything. He honestly doesn't understand what I say when I try working things out with him. I now know he's capable of the most violent meltdowns I have ever witnessed. He has been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive towards me.

    3. Oh my god - I recognise every single sentence - where from her ?

    4. Sorry to hear that you have been going through this horrific time. You must feel horrified of what happens. I guess there are many thing in life he is not happy about and targets on you. All I can say that it’s not your fault at all. Sometime it’s easy to diluted blaming your self. Because you had hearing blames to you all the time. Sound like not he is not aware of how he made you feels. What ever condition he has. There are not excused to harm or hurts other being. How it’s would be if you asked him nicely could you please not scream or shout. Please communicated politely and let me know how can I make you happy. ?

  3. I can tell you this much, aspergers, bipolar or whichever ''label'', If he EVER lays a finger on you, do not stay, do not excuse his behaviour as asd or any other mental disorder, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, especially if you have children, there's no excuse to stay after that.

  4. Hello, I’m currently in a relationship and I’ve read this and I have been in tears, I can relate.. this is me! I just was on vacation and heard about this disorder from someone I met (their son on the cruise has it) and I said my God) this is why my boyfriend is this way) it was light was turned on…. He is undiagnosed. .. but I’ve I have googled and he has almost every symptom of a high functioning person of this disease…. And I simply don’t know what to do…. This really is just me sharing for the first time; as I needed to vent. Thank you.

    1. My husband is high functioning. He has so many repetitive behaviors. Even his “tantrums” and outburst repeat on a monthly cycle. I literally just leave him be to work it out but he actively seeks a reason (usually irrational) for his feelings and then explodes on me. He says awful things, throws things and sometimes tries to hurt me like a young child might hurt someone during a tantrum. He then gaslights me as if he is some kind of victim, he will go so far as to text friends and family telling them that I just abused him. He just now came in a threw 4 giant jars of ice cold water on me and said he hates me so much. I don’t even know this person sometimes. This episode began 3 days ago and had been escalating. There is seemingly no reason for it… to me. The emotional hurt, and loneliness is overwhelming sometimes.

    2. How can you stay with this type of abuse? Get support ASP with a therapist for a way out.

  5. This is wonderful advice if you are unable to divorce or separate from him. A lot of women are dependent on their husband's income every month and can't support themselves or their children financially. But, always have a backup plan if he becomes severely abusive with you and the children. Let your family and friends know your circumstances and the possibility of you needing a place to stay for awhile. Many women and children are in danger of being severely hurt by their own husbands.

  6. Am I in denial regarding my husband ? Why do I still love him when he can control his anger at work and he is highly regarded in his field yet he is relentless with his anger burst and does not care about a child being present . Do I just avoid any true real relationship and just be shallow ? That is what I have to do in order to protect my child from witnessing the ugliness


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