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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Showing posts sorted by date for query anger. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query anger. Sort by relevance Show all posts

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

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]

Online Group Therapy for Couples & Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mark Hutten, M.A. - Counseling Psychologist

Are you experiencing relationship difficulties with your partner or spouse who is on the autism spectrum (ASD)? Are you on the autism spectrum and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? 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 receive group therapy via Skype with me, Mark Hutten, M.A.


A MESSAGE FOR Neurotypical + ASD Couples:



A MESSAGE FOR THE ASD MEN (diagnosed or otherwise):



A MESSAGE FOR THE NEUROTYPICAL (NT) WOMEN:



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 the "register now" link 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 GROUPS:

*** ASD/NT Couples only ***   
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
 
Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 12/13/21 to 1/3/22 - 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.
 
------------------------------------------------------------

*** NT Women only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
  
Date: Meets on Tuesdays and runs from 12/14/21 to 1/4/22 - OPEN  
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time)  
Members: No ASD participants
 
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.

------------------------------------------------------------

*** ASD Men only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
Date: Meets on Wednesdays and runs from 12/15/21 to 1/5/22 - 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
Crucial information to get you started with healing your relationship:







More audio clips from Mark's workshops:






 _________________________

Not ready to do group therapy yet? Try my program first then:

==> Living with an Aspergers Partner ...is a downloadable eBook designed to help couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties related to Aspergers (high-functioning autism).

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!


_________________________

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Brief biography:

Educational-
  • Bachelors Degree; Psychology - Anderson University, Anderson, IN
  • Masters Degree; Counseling Psychology - Vermont College of Norwich University, Montpelier, VT

Employment history-
  • Madison County Juvenile Probation: SHOCAP Program
  • Madison County Community Justice Center
  • Madison County Correctional Complex
  • Sowers of Seeds Counseling
  • Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force
  • The Anderson Center 
  • The Center for Mental Health

I'm a retired Family Therapist who performed home-based counseling/supervision for families experiencing difficulty with their children's emotional and behavioral problems, and conducted the following group therapies:
  • Parent-Education Training
  • Anger-Management Groups
  • Relapse Prevention Groups
  • Drug/Alcohol Workshops
  • Sex Offender Groups

I'm currently a practicing Counseling Psychologist and parent-coach with more than 25+ years of experience. I have worked with hundreds of children and teens with Autism and Asperger's. I have also worked with hundreds of couples (married or otherwise) affected by autism spectrum disorders. I present workshops and run training courses for parents and professionals who deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and am a prolific author of articles, Blogs, and Ebooks on the subject.
 
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Ivory Esther at 5:17 PMThis is the most helpful site I have ever encountered. I have a wonderful husband who drives me crazy as I now realise he is moderately autistic. I have never heard anyone describe our relationship so accurately as you have, and your hints for short conversations etc. are spot on. His lack of interest in the mundane tasks of everyday life, which as we get older (married for 44 years) I really need him to share more and more. Thank you so much. I am very grateful. I live in Ireland but plan on participating in one of your online courses for NT wives.

Crucial Interventions for Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Here you will find important information (in alphabetical order) for those experiencing relationship problems associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder:

 

§  Anger to Meltdown to Guilt to Self-Punishment: An ...

§  Anger-Control Problems in Adults on the Autism Spe...

§  Asperger’s Adults and Blue Mood

§  Asperger’s Adults and Problems with Social Imagina...

§  AS and Attention Deficit Disorder

§  Asperger's and Problems with Prediction

§  Asperger's and That Damn Anxiety Problem

§  Boyfriend Doesn't Like To Be Touched?

§  Boyfriend Has a Computer Addiction?

§  Challenges Facing Wives Who Are Married to Asperge...

§  Conversation Starters: Advice from a Guy with Aspe...

§  Denying the Diagnosis of Asperger's

§  Discouraged "Neurotypical" Wife Speaks Out

§  Does My New "Friend" Have Asperger’s?

§  Does Your Man Have Asperger’s?

§  Drug/Alcohol Abuse and Asperger Syndrome

§   Feeling "Out of Place" in the World

§  Feeling Like a “Bad” Partner or Spouse in a Relati...

§  Having a Positive Attitude with Asperger's

§  Help for Adults with Asperger's (high-functioning ...

§  How Aspie Husbands Can Avoid Arguments With NT Wives

§  How I Live with Asperger’s: Tips from a 52-Year-Ol...

§  How to Avoid Meltdowns: Calming Strategies for Adu...

§  How to Deal with Me: An Aspergers Man’s Note to Hi...

§  How to Improve Relationships with Women: Help for ...

§  How to Make it Through the Holiday Season: Tips fo...

§  How to Stay Out of the Doghouse with Your Neurotyp...

§  Inflexibility

§  Is it Sadness or Full-Blown Depression: Tips for A...

§  Is Your Asperger’s Partner a Jerk – or is it a Def...

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

§  Lack of "Displays of Affection" in Adults with Asp...

§  Making Sense of “Odd” Asperger’s Behavior

§  Medications That Help with Asperger’s Symptoms

§  Men Who Won't "Work" On Their Relations...

§  Men with Asperger's: Summary of Traits that Affect...

§  Men With Asperger's: What Potential Partners Need ...

§  Message to Aspies: Are you afraid to take an hones...

§   Poor Time-Management Skills

§  Positive Traits of Asperger’s Men as Reported by T...

§  Problems with Empathy

§  Relationship Difficulties Due to Deficits in "Theo...

§  Resentment in the Neurotypical Wife

§  Rituals and Obsessions in Adults with Aspergers an...

§  Rules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the ...

§  Ruminations in People with Asperger's and High-Fun...

§  Self-Management of Angry Outbursts for Men with As...

§  Should You Disclose Your Diagnosis to Others?

§  Should You Try to Act "Normal?" – Tips for People ...

§  Shutdowns in Spouses/Partners with Asperger’s

§  Signs That Your Neurotypical Wife Is Becoming Bitt...

§  Social Skills 101: Tips for Aspies

§  Suicidal Thinking in People with Asperger's and Hi...

§  Taking Things Too Personally: Tips for Adults on t...

§  Telling Others That You Have Asperger's

§  The 3 Anger Styles of Adults with Asperger’s and HFA

§  The 3 Types of Aspies

§  The Angry Aspie: Tips for Adults on the Autism Spe...

§  The Bullying of People with Asperger’s: Long-Term ...

§  The Easily Frustrated Aspie

§  The Fear of Being Diagnosed with an Autism Spectru...

§  The Hidden Curriculum: Tips for Dummies

§  The Risks Associated with an “Asperger’s” Label

§  Tics in Adults with Asperger Syndrome

§  Tips for Discouraged Neurotypical Spouses: Are You...

§  Traits That Contribute to Relationship ...

§  Traits That Get Misinterpreted As "Inap...

§  Understanding the Mind of Your Asperger’s Mate

§  Understanding the Mind of Your Partner with Asperg...

§  Understanding Your Asperger's Boyfriend: 12 Tips f...

§  What I Do to Cope with Asperger's: My Personal Story

§  What I’ve Learned About Me: Self-Confessions of an...

§  What To Do After a Big Fight With Your Neurotypica...

§  What To Do When Your "Aspie" Man Fails To Empathize

§  What To Do When Your "Neurotypical" Wife Resents You

§  When Your Asperger's Man is a Reluctant Talker: Ti...

§  Why “Neurotypical” Wives Are Unhappy in Their Marr...

§  Why Adults with Asperger’s Are Prone to "Meltdowns"

§  Why Adults with Asperger's May Seem Inflexible

§  Why Do Some Adults with Asperger’s Get Labeled as ...

§  Why I Am Glad I Got Diagnosed

§  Why Some Asperger's Men Fall Out of Love - Seeming...

§  Why the NT Partner's Attempts to Fix the Relations...

§  Why Your Asperger's Husband or Partner Refuses to ...

§  Wife's Account of the Ups and Downs of an Asperger...

§  Women in Relationships with Asperger's Men -- Our ...

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