Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? 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...

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Traits of ASD that “Soon-to-be” Neurotypical Spouses Need to Be Aware Of

“Would there be a list of traits associated with autism spectrum disorder that I could share with my sister (engaged to a man w/ASD) to help her understand him more? He really is a good guy, but sometimes he’s ‘difficult’ to understand.”  


Below are some of the most prevalent features of ASD observed in relationships and other social situations. These traits are just that – TRAITS. They are not “personality flaws” or behavior designed to be purposefully offensive.

The following are traits that can cause confusion for the NT partner. The individual with ASD:

  • may have only one approach to a problem
  • may have signs of Tourette syndrome (motor, vocal or behavioral)
  • can be confused by the emotions of others and have difficulty expressing their own feelings
  • can be very sensitive to particular sounds and forms of touch, yet lack sensitivity to low levels of pain
  • may have difficulty conceptualizing and appreciating the thoughts and feelings of others
  • may have difficulty establishing and coping with the changing patterns and expectations in daily life
  • may not seem to be aware of the unwritten rules of social conduct, and will inadvertently say or do things that may offend or annoy other people
  • may find that eye contact breaks their concentration
  • often fails to comprehend that the eyes convey information on a person’s mental state or feelings
  • may exhibit inappropriate laughter 
  • lacks ‘central drive for coherence’ (i.e., an inability to see the relevance of different types of knowledge to a particular problem)
  • lacks subtlety in retaliating when threatened; may not have sufficient empathy and self-control to moderate the degree of expressed anger
  • may be less able to learn from mistakes
  • is less aware of the concept of personal space
  • may be lost for words due to a high level of anxiety 
  • may become aware of their isolation and, in time, are genuinely motivated to socialize with others, but their social skills are immature and rigid - and others often reject them
  • may talk to themselves or “vocalize their thoughts” 
  • may talk too much or too little, lack cohesion to the conversation, and have an idiosyncratic use of words and patterns of speech
  • is often aware of the poor quality of their handwriting and may be reluctant to engage in activities that involve extensive writing
  • often has the inability to ‘give messages with their eyes’
  • is often very stoic, enduring pain with little evidence in their body language and speech that they may actually be experience agony
  • once their mind is on a particular track, they appear unable to change (even if the track is clearly wrong or going nowhere)
  • uses predominantly a visual style of thinking (and learning)
  • prefers factual, nonfiction reading
  • prefers to be left alone to continue their activity uninterrupted
  • routine is imposed to make life predictable and to impose order, because novelty, chaos or uncertainty are intolerable 
  • may seem to evoke the maternal or predatory instinct in others
  • social contact is tolerated as long as the other people talk about facts and figures – and not emotions
  • has a strong desire not to appear ‘stupid’
  • has a strong preference to interact with people who are far more interesting, knowledgeable, and more tolerant and accommodating of their lack of social awareness
  • has a tendency to interrupt; has difficulty identifying the cues for when to start talking
  • exhibits the tendency to make irrelevant comments
  • may appear “lost in their own little world” – staring off into space
  • may avoid “team playing” at work or in the marriage because they know they lack competence, or are deliberately excluded because they are a liability 
  • may be detached from - or having difficulty sensing - the feelings of others


ASD is primarily characterized by impaired social interaction and limited social-emotional reciprocity. This impairment may go well beyond poor social skills and being socially awkward, depending on the individual’s current anxiety-level. Partners of the autism spectrum tend to have a disconnection in their responses to others if a high-level of emotional intelligence is needed for the interactions. However, as stated previously, this tendency has no malicious intent.


Resources for couples affected by ASD: 

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

“Fair Fighting” in the Neuro-diverse Marriage

 


Disagreements and arguments are a normal part of any relationship. It’s HOW a couple argues. A bad argument can turn a little problem into a big one, and a disagreement that seems silly and unimportant can become emotionally charged and painful. This is where fair fighting rules come in.

These rules don't tell us NOT to argue; instead, they teach us “how to argue safely” without damaging our relationships. They tell us what's okay, and what's crossing the line in an argument today.

Points to consider:

1.    Always take turns speaking. This one is a lot more challenging than it sounds. When you're in a serious discussion - and you really want to be heard - it can be tempting to sit there and think about what you want to say rather than listening. This usually leads to one person dominating the conversation. If you're having trouble following this rule, try setting a timer and allowing each person one minute to speak. When the speaker finishes, the listener should briefly summarize what was just said BEFORE taking his or her own minute. Keep taking turns in this way until it's no longer necessary.

2.    Ask yourself why you feel upset. Are you actually angry that your partner left ketchup out on the counter, or is it really something bigger? If you bring up the ketchup when the problem is really about housework, you're both going to be disappointed with the outcome, and your partner is going to wonder why you're so upset about something so small as ketchup. What is “the real issue” in question?

3.    Degrading language is never okay. That means no put downs, no swearing at the other person, no name-calling. By using degrading language, you're telling your partner that he or she - as a person - is not okay.

4.    Express your feelings using words - and take responsibility for your feelings. If you aren't sure how to express yourself, try using this sentence: “I feel _____ when _____.” The first blank should be an emotion word (e.g., frustrated, hurt). The second blank should be a specific situation or problem. So, for example, “I felt worried when you didn't return my phone call.” By expressing your emotions verbally, your partner is more likely to empathize with you and to understand your point of view. If your ASD partner has alexithymia (i.e., emotions blindness), then simply speak in terms of what you NEED rather than how you FEEL (e.g., “I need you to return my calls so I don’t have to wonder whether or not you’re O.K.”).

5.    If you're finding that any of the rules are being broken, or that things are just getting too heated, take a timeout. Spend 15 to 30 minutes apart doing something relaxing to calm down and collect your thoughts. Then, when the time is up, come right back to the discussion. Anyone can call a timeout at any time. Just be careful that timeouts aren't being used as a form of stonewalling or a shutdown. Their goal is to take 15 to 30 minutes just so things can calm down a bit. Then come right back to the conversation.

6.    No stonewalling. This is when someone refuses to engage in the discussion. Usually, someone will do this when they feel anxious about a conversation, and they'd rather avoid it. This isn't usually intended to hurt the other person – it's more like a defense mechanism. However, when someone stonewalls, the problem goes unresolved.

7.    No yelling! You might feel that you need to yell until your partner gives in, but no one's better off for it. The problem goes unresolved, and now everyone's unhappy. Yelling usually doesn't come from nowhere. Try to catch yourself while your voice is starting to rise, rather than waiting until you're shouting.

8.    Some couples have the tendency of unpacking their whole history during arguments. By the end, they're asking themselves, “Why are we even talking about this? How did we get here?” By discussing too many issues at once, the original problem gets buried - and nothing gets solved. This doesn't mean that multiple issues can't be important. But we can only focus our full attention on one thing at a time.

9.    Try to reach a compromise. There isn't always going to be a perfect resolution to every problem. It’s up to you to know what you're willing to compromise on - and what you're not. Just know, if you're not willing to compromise on anything, a lot of your problems are going to go unresolved.

Your arguments will become less painful and more manageable if you follow the tips above.


Resources: 

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

12 Tips to Feel Empowered: Advice for People on the Autism Spectrum


Understanding, embracing, and celebrating different ways of thinking and doing can release the true power of the ASD mind. Many people on the autism spectrum are better equipped than NTs in the following areas:

  • Absorbing and retaining facts
  • Attention to detail
  • Concentration
  • Deep focus
  • Logical thinking ability
  • Memorizing and learning information quickly
  • Observational skills
  • Thinking and learning in a visual way
  • Thoroughness 
 

You have great things to offer, and with that, I offer you the following tips for empowerment:

1. Anything that you’re willing to do - that most people are not - gives you an enormous advantage in life. 

2. Before you are able to be good at something, you must first suck at it. 

3. Everything great involves sacrifice - and includes some sort of cost.

4. Everything sucks "some" of the time. A few things suck "all" of the time. That's the life experience for ALL people - not just you.

5. Get off your ass and discover what "feels" important to you.

6. Find a problem you care about - and start solving it. The feeling of "making a difference" is ultimately what’s most important for your own joy.

7. Find those one or two undertakings that are bigger than yourself - and bigger than those around you. It’s not about some huge accomplishment, but merely finding a PRODUCTIVE way to spend your limited time here on Earth.

8. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time.

9. To achieve great things, you must go against the herd mentality. 

10. Welcome "feels of embarrassment." Feeling stupid is part of the path to achieving something important and meaningful. The more a major undertaking freaks you out, the more you should be doing it.

11. What determines your resiliency is how you ride out the inevitable rotten days.

12. Yes, you're "wired differently," but neurotypicals have their own wiring problems - make no mistake about it!



Happy Holidays, Mark Hutten, M.A.


Resources: 

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

How to Avoid Meltdowns and Shutdowns in Conversations with Your NT Spouse


Your NT spouse has always wanted “intimacy,” and she got it from you in the early part of the relationship. What you needed more than anything was to be “appreciated” in the early going of the relationship. She appreciated you - and she showed it.

Neither one of you had the thought of this intimacy and appreciation business, but that's what was going on. She got her intimacy in the early days when you first got together. You got your appreciation.

What happens most often in the early going of the relationship: The NT spouse IS his special interest, but after the newness of the relationship wears off, he often reverts back to his original special interest. And she notices that he is slowly detaching [but this occurs at an unconscious level for both parties, initially].

He's not purposely trying to do this, but he's disengaging from the intimacy that was established in the beginning; he separates somewhat, and she notices that - and she starts becoming the “pursuer.” But, the more she pursues, the more he distances himself, because her effort to get him to reconnect [even though her intentions are pure] downloads in his mind as criticism [e.g., I’m not good enough. I’m not measuring up. I’m not meeting her expectations.].

 ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

The more that she pushes to get him back into the relationship, the more that causes anxiety for him, and he continues to distance and distance - and she continues to pursue and pursue. Finally, she gets tired of pursuing - and may become resentful for “wasting” so many years.

So, she's no longer getting her intimacy needs met, and you certainly are not getting your appreciation needs met. But the marriage difficulties affect her more profoundly, because one of her main passions is social and emotional things. So, when you disconnected, she lost one of her main interests. You didn't lose much though! You still have your main interest, whether that's a hobby, your work, or whatever.

When this disengagement occurred, she lost more than you did, and so that's why she is the one that's more distraught - and therefore the one that's more resentful …the one that's angrier and more verbal about the “disconnect” than you. You were more connected with her back in the day, but that has disappeared.

She might say something like, “When we first started dating, things were pretty good. He was sweet and nice and affectionate, but he changed. He changed, and it's not like it used to be anymore.”  In a nutshell, she needs you to give her more of a sense that she's getting some of her intimacy needs met - and in return, you will get more of your appreciation needs met. There are many ways to get intimacy needs met, and one of the main ways is through effective communication.

When she has broached some difficult topics, what typically happens? Your anxiety comes up, of course, because now she's talking about a heavy topic, and you may tend to either meltdown or shutdown, or just stand there and act as if you’re listening and agree with her [e.g., “Yeah, sure, okay, I’ll do it. Whatever you say.”] – just to hurry up and get the conversation over with.

The ASD man’s typical reaction [when his NT wife is trying to talk about some heavy topics about relationship problems] is to either do some version of a shutdown or some version of a meltdown. This is what we want to get rid of guys! We want to stop the propensity to react with meltdowns and shutdowns [i.e., a response that has been either aggressive or passive]. We want to avoid those two ends of the extreme, and what would be in the middle is “assertiveness.”

Passivity could be: “I’m afraid that I’m going to say or do something wrong. So, I try to say and do as little as possible - anything to keep the peace” [an example of when he just avoids the conversations entirely]. Aggressiveness could be: “She has made me very anxious when she talks about these relationship problems, and my anxiety sometimes expresses itself as anger and rage.” So, we're trying to avoid those two extremes and come into the middle, which is assertiveness. 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

She wants you to be more empathic, but empathy is going to be incompatible with passivity or aggressiveness. You can't be empathic and passive. At the same time, you can't be empathic and aggressive. So, we must learn assertiveness before we can practice empathy, and what we're ultimately trying to achieve here is the business of getting some of her intimacies needs met.

One version of assertiveness would be to face the music when she wants to talk about heavy topics - and to sit there and practice dealing with uncomfortable emotions in the moment. For example: As she is talking, I'm going to look in her direction. I’m going to nod while she's talking. I’m not defending myself, and I’m not leaving. I’m staying right there and facing the issue in question.

Her message may not necessarily be the way that I see things, but I’m not here to defend my perspective or to offer my opinion. I’m here to listen to her opinion. So, the goal here guys is listen to understand rather than listen to “mount a defense” - and that sounds like a tall order, and some of you guys will be thinking, “I don't know how the hell I’m going to tolerate that.”

I know it's going to feel very uncomfortable at first, and your anxiety is going to come up, especially if she's complaining - yet again - about what you're doing wrong …or what you're not doing right …or things that you're saying that are upsetting …or things that you're not saying that you're supposed to be saying, etc.

I’m sure you've been in the “dog house” so much that you've taken up residence in there, because it's safer to be in in the doghouse than to face the music and have her talking to you about difficult problems. So, let me remind us of what we're doing here. My goal is to help you reduce your relationship stress, and one of the ways that I can approach that goal is to help you guys avoid taking either the passive reaction or the aggressive reaction to her difficult conversations.

How do we do that? We get to assertiveness rather than being passive or aggressive. What does that look like? We stay right there when she's talking, rather than talking over her or getting angry with her - or leaving. You say, “I’m here to understand your point of view, rather than listen to defend myself.”

So in this scenario, there's no defense …you're not going to feed your pride or ego. If you make the mistake of trying to squeeze-in your defense or try to prove her wrong – you've just SCREWED yourself out of a golden opportunity to give her some display of empathy.

In this instance, it's active listening, which will directly give her the impression that she's finally getting some understanding from you. That’s the whole goal here. When she's wanting to talk to me, I’m not going to leave …I’m not going to get mad. Instead, I’m going to listen, and I’m going to paraphrase what I heard, and I’m going to validate that she just spoke “her truth” to me. That is a form of assertiveness!


More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Recovery from Cassandra Syndrome - Renee's Story

 


I would like to talk about the most important aspect in the process towards recovery from depression due to having a partner with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This depression is called Cassandra syndrome.

When a partner has ASD, the other partner often becomes depressed due to the inability to form an emotional bond. Since I learned about my husband's ASD, I have read a lot of books to improve our relationship. Every book I read had similar content in the end - and I was desperately trying to follow the same advice exactly, but it did not work.

I thought I was not putting in enough effort, so I tried even harder, but it was impossible. The problem was that I was looking at the wrong person. I had to first look inside me rather than him. I thought that every issue we were having was because of his ASD symptoms. I also had a strong “victim complex,” so I thought that if he did not change, our relationship would not improve.

Neurotypical (NT) partners tend to become caregivers of their ASD partners. Over time, these NTs can get tired. Often, they feel like the partner with ASD doesn't really comprehend the amount of work they are putting in to helping them with their anxiety, depression, or managing other comorbid conditions.

The partner with ASD can feel wronged when the NT stops giving the support that she once did. The situation, over time, can become very drastic with the NT feeling more exhausted and like she is unable to continue in the care-taking role.

If the NT doesn't keep it up, then when “NT therapists” come into the equation, they often recommend that the NT starts taking better care of the spouse with autism. Again, this doesn't always work because, by the time the couple gets to the mental health professionals, the NT is too tired to keep going. Oftentimes, she has done more than her fair share for many years.

Now, with the new awareness of neuro-diverse marriages, she comes to an awareness that she has been in a relationship that requires mixed neurological communication.

During the online counseling sessions I was having at the time, Mark Hutten often asked about my self-talk. That is when I started to think deeply about myself. Why do I want to change him? Why can't I feel happy with him, and why did I become interested and marry him in the first place?

Of course, I knew he had his own weaknesses. He had to improve for our marriage to work. However, I also realized that I had to address personal weaknesses that I had in my heart before I met him. Then, little by little - and over a long period of time - I unwound the threads that were entwined in my heart.

The most important aspect of recovering from Cassandra syndrome is to know yourself. If you try to understand someone else without first knowing yourself, you will want to change the other person - and it will not work.

I am the only person who can improve myself by being aware of my motivations inside that also apply to the other person. I do not have to carry my husband’s burden, and there is no need for him to carry mine.


~ Renee S.


More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

 

COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…Alexithymia is difficulty in recognizing and labeling emotional states in yourself, but I tend to use it to stretch it to physical states in yourself also, because I feel like a something that often happens. Will you know you'll make a weird face for a long time and not know you're, making a weird face, and that's you know a lack of self-awareness.
•    Anonymous said…An autistic person, a forest is a collection of trees and either it won't occur to them that there is such a thing as a forest or, if you're explaining it to them, it still is just a collection of trees. This is one reason why autistic people are famously bad at summarizing things or being concise, because autistic people process and explain in units of detail instead of in a big-picture way. This is a good thing when it comes to learning complex information, or you know, dealing with a kid who's asking why, over and over again I'll always have an answer ready, because I can break things down small forever. It'S a bad thing. If you know you're telling a joke from memory or you're trying to give directions to somebody, but I like that something Temple Grandin sometimes says, is that she believes this is why autistic people have such a natural capacity for expertise that she says.
•    Anonymous said…I've encountered a lot of autistic people who describe themselves as emotional sponges, and this is you know, I think the reason why so many autistic people respond to emotionally charged situations by shutting down. You know if you're yelling at your spouse and they're shutting down it's not because they don't care it's because you know they're an emotional sponge.
•    Anonymous said…I feel that a lot of the disabling aspects of autism, especially in situations where you have someone you know, can pass for normal, but still struggles, our environment expectations. Things like this that can be connected to these traits things that aren't as much of a problem when it's two autistic people talking but can become a huge blow up when someone involved isn't autistic.
•    Anonymous said…I feel that all too often, the burden of relationships in our diverse couples is placed on the autistic person to understand the world to adapt and communicate better, whereas really like Kristen David Finch, we're talking about it's about coming together and understanding each other. non-autistic people have just as much trouble empathizing with autistic people as autistic people do empathizing with non-autistic people.
•    Anonymous said…I personally worked really hard since my diagnosis to compensate for these types of empathy deficits, I've learned to continually check in with myself and overcome my self-awareness problems with emotion, and I try to analyze and check in on The people around me and watch if there's something I should be picking up on and I have gotten a lot more empathetic. At least you know using that rote memory conscious manual transmission, brain to empathize with people, but I still have a really hard time correctly.
•    Anonymous said…Sensory issues can cause a lot of tension in relationships because they're so hard to understand from the outside that you know they're not constant for one and they can cause a sense of flux in you know your sensitivity to something in your functionality, so something that's not Necessarily, a problem might be an overwhelming problem, the next day or whenever. So this is something that can be hard for ASD people to empathize with, say you know in relationships with neurotypicals I've had this would be very confusing for them that I'm a very talkative person and if I'm really tired and overwhelmed, I won't be able to talk As effectively or I won't be able to talk at all so like once.
•    Anonymous said…So, as a child, I assumed that relationships were something that just happened: pop culture cartoons and such taught me that you know you have two main characters: they'll eventually end up together. Somehow that romance to me was a product of proximity. I believed that you know you encounter your complementary character, foil and exists near them until they fall in love with you, and then you live happily ever after with no effort forever.
•    Anonymous said…The burden to communicate correctly is often placed only on autistic people, and I feel this isn't accurate or helpful, and really I feel that neurologically mixed relationships, romantic or otherwise - can be compared to two conflicting cultures trying to interact. So you know, while this stuff is hard in relationships between two autistic people, it can sometimes be even harder when only one is autistic because of this culture clash aspect, it's important for non-autistic people in the autism community to understand that we live in a neurotypical culture. Our dominant society is neurotypical as the normal, and so you know that's where you know we teach autistic people to adapt to our neurotypical culture.
•    Anonymous said…To autistic people won't often notice that they have social problems or sensory problems because of this lack of self-awareness, alexithymia, I didn't know. I had sensory problems that were different from normal until I started researching autism like I always knew that I was really sensitive to lights and you know my friends turn up the radio to loud. I would like jump and be in pain, but I didn't know that that was abnormal.
•    Anonymous said…We all know inherently that autism effects relationships. Autistic people often have to work harder than non-autistic people to navigate social situations, social relationships and romantic relationships. I'Ve found, though, that autistic people can learn to do things that come naturally to not autistic people through rote memory and effort, though it takes self-awareness and that level of work, though, I also want to say that autistics aren't the only ones with problems in relationships, and It takes to to communicate and to to have a communication problem.

Please post your comment below..

The Easily-Annoyed Partner with Autism Spectrum Disorder

“Are people with ASD just naturally negative, irritable and easily annoyed, or is it just my dumb luck to be stuck with a husband [ASD level 1] who is rarely happy about anything - other than leaving us in the morning to go to his work.”

People with ASD are often easily annoyed by others. They are quickly overwhelmed by minimal change and highly sensitive to environmental stimuli. They like most things to stay the same – even their partner’s mood and behavior (which is obviously an unreasonable expectation)). They are anxious and tend to worry obsessively when they do not know what to expect. Stress, fatigue and sensory-overload can throw them off balance. As a result, they may seem to be upset about many things.

In addition, it’s not uncommon for the ASD individual to get along fairly well at work, yet be irritable at home. However, just because the irritability occurs at home does not necessarily mean the “cause” of the behavior lies there. Many people with ASD find work very stressful, but they tend to keep their emotions bottled-up until they get home.

When your ASD husband is acting-out due to being annoyed by something you said or did [or with the kids], what is your initial response? Do you become anxious and give-in to avoid conflict? Do you say nothing and hope that it will pass? Do you get angry yourself and start being confrontational? Your reaction to his frustration is a critical component here.

Sometimes, an ASD individual’s frustration is caused by very real and inescapable problems in his life. Not all frustration is misplaced – and sometimes it is a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it may add to your frustration to find out that this is not always the case.

The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is NOT to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how the frustrated individual “handles” the problem. Maybe you would be willing to help your husband to make a plan for those occasions when he is annoyed and irritated, and help him check his progress along the way.

If he can approach his problems with his best intentions, and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, he will be less likely to lose patience and fall into “all-or-nothing thinking” - even if the problem does not get solved right away.

 

More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Group for ASD Men Struggling in Their Relationship with an NT Spouse

Are you on the autism spectrum [ASD - Level 1] and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? Has separation or divorce crossed her mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? Does she constantly complain that she is getting NO emotional support or empathy from you? Then please watch this video:

A MESSAGE FOR ASD MEN (diagnosed or otherwise):


If you're interested in getting things back on track, please read the following:
  1. Create a Skype account, if you haven't done so already - it's free!
  2. Cost: $99.00 for the 4-week class (1 hour per week). Click on REGISTER NOW below to receive your group access link, or simply send $99. using PayPal to mbhutten@yahoo.com   (How to Send Money with Your PayPal Account)
  3. Email me (mbhutten@yahoo.com) after purchase and tell me which group you're registering for so I can send you the access link to that group. (Note: Please give me up to 24 hrs. to send you the link).
  4. Bonus: Get my $19.00 eBook (see below) for FREE! When you register for the class, I'll email you the link to the eBook along with your access link.

OUR NEXT SCHEDULED GROUP:

*** ASD Men only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
Date: Meets on Wednesdays and runs from 8/11/21 to 9/1/21 - OPEN      
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
Members: No NT participants
 
 *** You do not have to have a formal diagnosis to attend. ***
 
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.

Got questions? Email: mbhutten@yahoo.com

    Do you have anything to lose by getting an assessment for ASD-Level 1?



    More resources:

     

    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

    ==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

    Group for Neuro-diverse Couples Struggling in Their Relationship

    Mark Hutten, M.A. - Counseling Psychologist

    Are you experiencing marital problems with your spouse on the autism spectrum (ASD level 1)? Has separation or divorce crossed your mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? WAIT!

    If you can get your ASD spouse to join you in this group, it may just lower your marital conflict to a new level. I'm guessing you could use a "game-changer" about now!

    A MESSAGE FOR Neurotypical + ASD Couples:



     If you're interested, please read the following:
    1. Create a Skype account, if you haven't done so already - it's free!
    2. Cost: $99.00 for the 4-week class (1 hour per week). Click on REGISTER NOW below to receive your group access link, or simply send $99. using PayPal to mbhutten@yahoo.com   (How to Send Money with Your PayPal Account)
    3. Email me (mbhutten@yahoo.com) after purchase and tell me which group you're registering for so I can send you the access link to that group. (Note: Please give me up to 24 hrs. to send you the link).
    4. Bonus: Get my $19.00 eBook (see below) for FREE! When you register for the class, I'll email you the link to the eBook along with your access link.

    OUR NEXT SCHEDULED GROUP:

    *** ASD/NT Couples only ***   
     
    ==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
    Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 8/9/21 to 8/30/21 - OPEN        
    Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
    Members: Attend with or without your ASD partner
     
    NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
     
    Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.
     

    Got questions? Email: mbhutten@yahoo.com

    Group for NT Women Struggling in Their Relationship with an ASD Spouse

    Are you experiencing relationship difficulties with your partner or spouse who is on the autism spectrum? Has separation or divorce crossed your mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? If so, then this is your opportunity to get A LOT of questions answered that may help your situation. 
     
     

    If you're interested, please read the following:
    1. Create a Skype account, if you haven't done so already - it's free!
    2. Cost: $99.00 for the 4-week class (1 hour per week). Click on REGISTER NOW below to receive your group access link, or simply send $99. using PayPal to mbhutten@yahoo.com   (How to Send Money with Your PayPal Account)
    3. Email me (mbhutten@yahoo.com) after purchase and tell me which group you're registering for so I can send you the access link to that group. (Note: Please give me up to 24 hrs. to send you the link).
    4. Bonus: Get my $19.00 eBook (see below) for FREE! When you register for the class, I'll email you the link to the eBook along with your access link.

    OUR NEXT SCHEDULED GROUP:

    *** NT Women only *** 
     
    ==> REGISTER NOW <==
      
    Date: Meets on Tuesdays and runs from 8/10/21 to 8/31/21 - OPEN 
    Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
     
    NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
     
    Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.
     


    Got questions? Email: mbhutten@yahoo.com
     
    Mark Hutten, M.A. 

    How Mind-Blindness in ASD Affects Communication

    “How does this so-called ‘Mindblindness’ affect how my spouse [with ASD] communicates with me [or does not communicate, as the case may be]?”

    Due to mind-blindness, the person on the autism spectrum often has an obsessive-compulsive approach to life that results in a narrow range of interests - and insistence on set routines. This usually starts as a cognitive (i.e., thinking) issue before it becomes a behavioral one.

    To understand communication breakdown, we must first look at cognition. Cognitive issues, such as the inability to take someone else's perspective (which is mind-blindness) and the lack of cognitive flexibility (which is black-and-white thinking), cause many of the unwanted reactions and behaviors you see in your ASD spouse.

    You will know when there is a cognitive element by looking at your spouse’s behaviors, because there will always be some anxiety or obsession manifested in every inappropriate response to your “message” (e.g., trying to talk to him/her about a relationship problem that you would like to address).

    Your ASD spouse’s cognitive difficulties lead to inaccurate interpretations and understanding of the social world. How someone interprets a situation determines how he or she will respond to it.

    Many times, the interpretation of an event is either not an accurate one, or not one that leads to positive or prosocial actions. If the event can be “re-interpreted” FOR him or her, it might lead to a more productive outcome. But in doing this, you must first try to understand how your ASD spouse interprets a situation. All of his/her behaviors are filtered through his/her perception of the way the social world works.

    Remember, details are extremely important in trying to understand what is happening - and what to do about it. Don’t try to intervene until you understand (at least to a small degree) what is happening with your ASD spouse. Changing thinking becomes a paramount issue, but one that is often neglected. However, successful changes in thinking will dramatically increase the success rate of any communication strategy you use.

    To help you determine the reasons why your ASD spouse thinks and acts the way he or she does, you should ask yourself the following questions:

    • Are they stuck on an idea and can't let it go? (They do not know how to let go and move on when there is a problem.)
    • Are they misunderstanding what is happening, and assuming something that isn't true? (Misinterpretation.)
    • Are they expecting perfection in themselves? (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Are they exaggerating the importance of an event? There are no small events – everything that goes wrong is a catastrophe. (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Are they blaming you for something that is beyond your control? (They feel that you must solve the problem for them, even when it involves issues you have no control over.)
    • Have they made a rule that can't be followed? (They see only one way to solve a problem. They can’t see alternatives.)
    • Do they see only two choices to a situation rather than many options? (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Do they need to be taught a better way to deal with the problem in question? (They don’t understand the way the social world really works.)
    • Because a situation was one way the first time, do they feel it has to be that way always? (Being rule-bound.)

     
    By getting answers to some of these questions, the NT spouse will be in a much better position to effectively register her or his concerns about existing relationship difficulties.

     

    ==> To learn some very specific and concrete communication strategies for dealing with spouses on the autism spectrum,  register for one of my online workshops. Dates and times are located here...

    Anxiety and Associated Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors in People on the Autism Spectrum

     


    “Can anxiety and/or OCD be the cause for my (ASD) husband's shutdowns?" 

     

    Obsessive-compulsive issues (e.g., rituals, rigidity, perseverations, creating rules, black-and-white thinking, etc.) originate in the ASD person’s difficulty understanding the social world. This creates anxiety, which is the underlying cause for obsessive-compulsive behaviors. You, the NT wife, will see anxiety in many different ways depending on how your husband manifests it. 

     

    Some people on the autism spectrum will show anxiety in obvious ways (e.g., frustration, anger, isolation). Others show it by trying to control the situation and bossing people around. Some may throw an adult temper tantrum. No matter how your husband displays his anxiety, you need to recognize that it’s there and not assume it’s due to some other cause (e.g., insensitivity, narcissism, not caring about the relationship, etc.).

     

    Anxiety can occur for the smallest reason. Don't judge anxiety-producing situations by your own reaction to an event. Your husband may be much more sensitive to situations than you will be, and you may often have the thought that “there is no logical reason for his anxiety.” On the other hand, something that you would be highly anxious about may cause no anxiety in your husband. 

     

    Your husband's first reaction to marital conflict is to try to reduce - or eliminate - his anxiety. He MUST do something, and one of the most effective means is to take all changes, uncertainty, and variability out of the equation. This can be accomplished by obsessions. 

     

    If everything is done a certain way, if there is a definite and unbreakable rule for every event, and if everyone does as he wishes – everything will be fine. Anxiety is then diminished or reduced, and no meltdowns or shutdowns occur. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do this in the real world.  

     

    Behavioral manifestations of anxiety in your spouse may include the following:

     

    • Wanting things to go his way, when he wants them to - no matter what anyone else may want.
    • Tending to conserve energy and put forth the least effort he can (except with highly-preferred activities).
    • Remaining in his “fantasy world” a good deal of the time - and appearing unaware of events around him.
    • Reacting poorly to new events, transitions, or changes.
    • Preferring to do the same things over and over.
    • Lecturing others or engaging in a monologue rather than having a reciprocal conversation.
    • Intensely disliking loud noises and crowds.
    • Insisting on having things and events occur in a certain way.
    • Having trouble socializing - or avoiding socializing altogether. 
    • Having a narrow range of interests, and becoming fixated on certain topics or routines.
    • Eating a narrow range of foods.
    • Displaying some odd behaviors because he is anxious or does not know what to do in a particular situation.
    • Demonstrating unusual fears, and showing resistance to directions from others.
    • Demanding unrealistic perfection in himself – and others.
    • Creating his own set of rules for doing something.
    • Becoming easily overwhelmed and having difficulty calming down.


      
     
     
    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples [eBook and Audio]

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