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 relevance for query angry. Sort by date Show all posts

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.

Self-Management of Angry Outbursts for Men with Asperger’s

"Mark, Would you have any advice re: how to control anger when you have AS ?"

Some men with Asperger’s (AS) have significant anger-control issues. Anger may be a common reaction experienced when coming to terms with problems in relationships, employment, and other areas in life affected by AS.

Sometimes there is an ‘on-off’ quality to the anger in which the individual is calm minutes later after an outburst – sometimes leaving his partner in shock. She may feel hurt or stunned for hours, if not days, afterward. NT partners often struggle to understand such angry outbursts, with resentment often building up over time.

In some cases, the man with AS may not acknowledge he has anger-control issues, and will blame his partner for provoking him. Again, this can create major conflict within the relationship.



Some common causes of angry outbursts in men with AS include:
  • Other’s behavior (e.g., insensitive comments, being ignored)
  • Intolerance of imperfections in others
  • Having routines and order disrupted
  • Difficulties with employment despite being intelligent in many areas
  • A build-up of anxiety
  • Being swamped by multiple tasks
  • Sensory over-stimulation
  • Relationship conflict

Identifying the cause of anger in your AS partner can be a challenge.  It is important to consider all possible influences relating to:
  • His physical state (e.g., pain, tiredness)
  • His mental state (e.g., existing frustration, confusion)
  • The environment (e.g., too much stimulation, major changes of routine)
  • How well (or poorly) he is being treated by co-workers
Steps to successful self-management of angry outbursts include the following: 

1. Plan ways to become distracted from the stressful situation (e.g., carry your cell phone and play a game on it).

2. Focus on self-awareness. This is where you become more aware of your personal thoughts, behaviors and physical states which are associated with acting-out in anger. This awareness is important because it helps you to notice the early signs of becoming upset. Write down a list of mental and physical changes you notice as you begin to get mad.

3. Make changes to routines and surroundings (e.g., if possible, avoid driving in peak hour traffic).

4. Keep a record. As you become more aware of situations associated with angry outbursts, you can keep a record of events, triggers and associated levels of anger. Explore the different levels of anger (e.g. slightly annoyed, frustrated, highly irritated, royally pissed, feelings of rage, and so on). In your record of situations that trigger anger, list the situation, the level of anger on a scale of 1 to 10, and the coping strategies that help you overcome or reduce angry feelings.

5. Explain to your partner how she can be of help to solve the problem in question.




6. What’s the big goal? Identify why you would like to manage your anger more successfully. Identify what benefits you expect in everyday living from improving your anger-control skills.

7. Avoid situations which are associated with a high-risk of getting you upset.

8. Get feedback. Ask other people who know you well to describe situations and behaviors they have noticed that seem to trigger your anger.

9. Use a 3-step method called “Stop-Think”:
  • Stop and think before reacting to the situation (e.g., “My goal right now is to improve my ability to cope with anger when I am waiting in long lines”).
  • Challenge your inaccurate or negative thoughts (e.g., “The service here is so inefficient. Why can’t they hurry up? I'm going to get pissed any moment now. WAIT. Stop thinking this!”). 
  • Create your new thought (e.g., “Everyone is probably aggravated by this long line – even the cashier serving us. I can either come back later, or I can wait here and think of something pleasant”).

10. Try meditation. Most people won’t even consider this one, but I know of many people who have found more benefit in this technique than any other – by far. When a stressful situation arises - with practice - you can immediately "train" your mind to focus on a pleasant and calming memory or image, rather than hyper-focusing on the current problem.

==> Relationship Skills for Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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

The Angry ASD Spouse: Tips for Husbands on the Autism Spectrum

Many adults with ASD [High-Functioning Autism], by self-admission, have an anger-management problem. Also, in my years of counseling couples affected by ASD (usually in the cases where the husband has autism and the wife does not), I have received literally hundreds of emails from neurotypical [NT] wives describing horrific outbursts and meltdowns exhibited by their husbands on the spectrum.

Anger is triggered by people, events, or circumstances that make us feel vulnerable in some way. However, anger is a secondary emotion. In other words, your anger distracts you from other emotions that you are feeling. You can also think of anger as a surface emotion. In other words, it is the emotion that people see, but the anger exhibited is really a cover-up for a primary emotion. 
 
Anxiety, depression, grief, guilt, helplessness, powerlessness, shame, uselessness, and worthlessness are all very common primary emotions that hide behind anger. These are also very common emotions found in people on the autism spectrum – especially anxiety and depression.

You lash out in anger to prevent others from becoming aware of these vulnerabilities. But, once your anger has run its course and you return to your rational state of mind, you are left to deal with the repercussions of whatever situation triggered your anger. In the world of the autistic, sometimes these repercussions are grim and life-changing (e.g., job loss, separation, divorce, etc.).



What’s really behind your anger? Let’s take a look:

1. Anger hides anxiety: Our bodies interpret anger as a threat to survival, and as a result, will release adrenalin and nor-adrenalin to help us cope. These hormones act as an analgesic. In effect, anger makes us feel better in the short-term – it numbs our emotional and physical discomfort. But, this is not a healthy long-term solution. We, as adults on the autism spectrum, should not allow ourselves to get addicted to this kind of painkiller. If we do, then outbursts of anger may become a way of life. And sad to say, for too many of us, it has already become a way of life!

2. Anger hides emotional vulnerability: Some people with ASD use anger as a way of distancing themselves from their spouse (partner). Perhaps we feel safer if our spouse is held at arm’s length. Maybe we find it hard to express our true personal needs and desires. Learning to relate positively to your spouse, to allow yourself to be vulnerable to her – and to trust her to respect your feelings – are key steps you can take to a healthier relationship.
 

3. Anger hides grief and depression: Some people on the spectrum respond to grief and/or depression by getting angry. This can be our way of coping with the pain we are feeling. We yell and lash-out verbally instead of seeking comfort, or instead of offering comfort if our anger is on behalf of someone else.

4. Anger hides hurt: Admitting that we feel hurt is too much for some of us. Better to explode in rage than to show we care or that we are upset by whatever has happened. Hurt hides behind anger when you feel unloved, rejected, or criticized (remember the high school days and all the teasing, harassment, and bullying?).  If we think our anger is hiding hurt, we should focus on learning to love and accept ourselves.

5. Anger hides low self-esteem: An guy on the autism spectrum who has been experiencing anger-control issues for many years may admit (to himself if not to others) that he sometimes struggles with self-esteem issues. He may have internal dialogues that revolve around themes such as, “Any minute now, somebody will see that I’m useless/stupid/a complete fraud/not good enough/etc.” These internal dialogues can occur even in someone who leads an outwardly successful life. Sometimes those dialogues are what drives the person to achieve; anger for him is an indication of the stress he experiences as a result of the gap between his internal and external life.

6. Anger hides powerlessness: If we go through life feeling weak, hopeless, helpless, overlooked or undervalued, anger often hides these feelings of powerlessness.

7. Anger hides fear: The most common feeling that hides behind anger is fear. But, unless we are developing a habit of “mindfulness” (i.e., making ourselves aware of our emotions as they arise), it can be difficult to identify the emotions lurking beneath our anger. Our best indication of what those emotions may be is to consider how we feel about ourselves at the times when we are not feeling angry.

We should find ways to ask for what we want (or don’t want) instead of acting-out in anger and rage. Some of us have sought assertiveness training and/or worked with a counselor or psychotherapist to help us learn to appreciate our own worth and manage our anger. Maybe you should consider following our lead.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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


Comments:

•    I hide most of my anger within usually until i am alone then I explode like a nuke , this article helps me a lot Thanks.
•    I'm the spouse that's experienced many angry outbursts and other demonstrations of my husbands anger. I think this article does a great job illustrating the effects of Anger on the Person who's angry, their marriage, & their family life. Very insightful ~ I've already referred friends & family to this page. Emotional Safety is critical to healing.
•    Emotions are irrational and therefore illogical. I have no need for emotions
•    Sure emotions can be secondary, and the seven points are relevant. However, it seems a bit sought to say that "anger is a secondary emotion" and a "surface emotion", whereas "anxiety is a primary emotion".  Anger is the "Fight" option of the "Fight/Flight" response; the brain's reflective reaction to perceived threatening situations. Anxiety is the "Flight" option. There are sure situations where anger covers up different emotions eg. anxiety, but there are also likely situations where other emotions cover anger, eg anxiety where the underlying emotion is anger.  That is highly likely the case, since anger is one of the least socially acceptable emotions, and people tend to deny/cover unacceptable emotions when they are able to.
•    Once I was diagnosed, I made the decision to change direction in business (no more deadlines — way too stressful) and to refuse to accept stress from anyone else. That was 15 years ago and I rarely experience anger, anxiety or other forms of stress. As an added benefit, it's helped me to become a very effective negotiator. :)
•    I have learned to express myself and then I get angry when the person isn't understanding or taking what I say serious.

Post your comment below…

The Easily Frustrated Aspie

Is it common for people with Asperger's to become frequently overwhelmed and frustrated over seemingly insignificant matters -- that is, things that typically would not bother anyone else?

People with Asperger's are indeed easily frustrated by certain circumstances. They may become overwhelmed by minimal change and very reactive to unwanted environmental stimuli. They typically like everything to stay the same.

In addition, they tend to get anxious and worry obsessively when they don't know what to expect. Tension, exhaustion and sensory-overload often throw them off balance. Thus, they may seem to be disturbed about a lot of things

Some "Aspies" find work very stressful, but they tend to keep their emotions bottled-up until they get home. Most of these individuals don't display the body language and facial expressions you would expect to see when one is feeling anxious or upset. While they may appear relatively calm at work, they are often experiencing very different emotions under the surface – and may release those pent-up emotions in the safety of their home.
Due to difficulties with empathizing, many adults on the spectrum don't recognize the suffering of others. So, when they attack another person, they may not be able to fully comprehend the damage they inflict.



Low-frustration tolerance may occur due to any of the following:

Sensory integration dysfunctions
Rigid or inflexible thinking
Resistance to change
Hypersensitivity to sensory input
Executive functioning disruption 
Difficulty with social comprehension
Difficulty understanding cause and effect 
Difficulty identifying and controlling emotions 

Some of the traits associated with the disorder (e.g., mind-blindness, sensory sensitivities, literal thinking, social skills deficits, etc.) may result in the Aspie viewing the world as a cold and hostile place. They may develop a habit of attributing hostile intentions to others. More on this topic here ==> https://youtu.be/P1izup2uX3U

Those Aspies who have had some luck controlling their tendencies toward becoming easily frustrated have usually learned to do some of the following:
  • recognize angry feelings in themselves and others
  • self-calming techniques
  • how to remove themselves from a frustrating situation 
  • how to problem solve
  • how to control angry impulses
  • how to avoid being a victim of someone else's angry actions
  • express anger nonviolently
  • communicate angry feelings in a positive way

Many adults on the spectrum have been known to experience meltdowns. Think of a meltdown as an “escape mechanism.” If the Aspie has the means to get himself out of a highly frustrating situation before it becomes overwhelming, the cognitive and emotional pressure lessens. But, without these means of escape, the anxiety will escalate, and his body will begin to panic, propelling him toward a meltdown.



 

Helping Your ASD Spouse with Anger-Control: Tips for Neurotypical Partners

All of us exhibit some "signs" just as we begin to act-out in the form of anger. Thus, it is possible to identify the anger signs in your ASD spouse. For example, you may detect a certain look in the eye, the tone of voice, or the tightness in the body. NT partners can help their spouse observe these signs right at the onset of anger. Once he can identify the early signs, he can also learn to diffuse it.

Anger has 3 components—

1. The Emotional State of Anger: The first component is the emotion itself, defined as an affective or arousal state, or a feeling experienced when a goal is blocked or needs are frustrated.


2. Expression of Anger: The second component of anger is its expression. Some people on the spectrum are known to express anger through “shutting down” - but do little to try to solve a problem or constructively confront the NT. Others actively resist by verbally defending their positions – and may retaliate against the NT. 


3. An Understanding of Anger: The third component of the anger experience is understanding (i.e., interpreting and evaluating the emotion). Because the ability to self-regulate the expression of anger is linked to an understanding of the emotion – and because the ability to reflect on anger is somewhat limited in ASD – they may need guidance from their NT spouse in totally understanding and managing their feelings.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
 
Tips for NTs—

1.    Ask your ASD spouse if you can give him a "signal" (e.g., a hand motion) when he is starting to get “wound-up.” Give that signal as soon as he starts "stewing" about something.

2.    How about YOUR own anger in response to your ASD spouse's anger? You can set an example of “anger control” for him. No coaching technique is as effective as "modeling" with your own example.

3.    Some people on the autism spectrum get upset when they know they made a mistake. Instead of admitting their mistake, they act-out in anger to deflect the attention off them. If you realize that this may be the case, it's helpful to say to your ASD partner, "Everyone makes mistakes. Can we just focus on a possible solution for now?"

4.    The thought "you’re disrespecting me" …or “you’re treating me like a child” is a big anger-arouser for many people on the autism spectrum. If that is the case, ask him or her, "Do you feel you are being treated unfairly?" When your spouse answers the question, listen and don't rush to negate his/her feelings.

People on the spectrum guided toward responsible anger-management are more likely to understand and manage angry feelings directly and non-aggressively - and to avoid the anxiety that often accompanies poor anger-control. 

 



Some NT spouses will view "helping with anger-control" as micro-managing, and may even resent the notion - which is unfortunate! But if you are willing, you can take some of the bumps out of understanding and managing anger by working WITH your ASD spouse (e.g., providing signals, modeling anger-control, being-solution focused, validating, etc.) rather than AGAINST him (e.g., getting angry with him for being angry).

 

==> Additional articles on anger-control problems can be found here.

Will Your ASD Partner's Anger-Control Issues Be a Life-Long Problem?

 “Are people on the autism spectrum usually prone to angry outbursts? I recently discovered that my boyfriend has traits of ASD and need to know if his ‘anger control’ issue is going to be an ongoing problem for us.”

 


People with ASD are prone to anger, which can be made worse by difficulty in communicating feelings of anxiety. Anger is often a common reaction experienced when coming to terms with problems in relationships (i.e., things that occur that raise the ASD individual’s stress level).

There can be an ‘on-off’ quality to this anger where the individual is calm minutes later after an angry outburst (e.g., meltdown), while those around are stunned and may feel hurt or shocked for hours, if not days, afterward.

The NT partner often struggles to understand these angry outbursts, with resentment and bitterness building up over time. Once the NT understands that her ASD partner has trouble controlling his anger - or understanding its effects on others - she can learn ways to respond that will help to manage these outbursts (i.e., to keep them from escalating).

In some cases, the person on the spectrum may not acknowledge that he has trouble with his anger - and will blame his NT partner for provoking him. Again, this can create enormous conflict within the relationship. It will take carefully phrased feedback and plenty of time for the ASD partner to gradually realize he has a problem with how he expresses his anger and frustration.

A good place to start is identifying a pattern in how the outbursts are related to specific frustrations. Such triggers may originate from the environment, specific individuals, or internal thoughts. Common causes of anger in people with ASD include: other people’s behavior (e.g., critical comments); intolerance of imperfections in others; having routines and order disrupted; anxiety; being swamped by multiple tasks or sensory stimulation.

Identifying the cause of anger can be a challenge.  It is important to consider all possible influences relating to one’s physical state (e.g., pain, tiredness), mental state (e.g., existing frustration, confusion), the environment (e.g., too much stimulation, lack of structure, change of routine), and how well the ASD individual can regulate difficult emotions. Life-coaching and Neurodiverse Couples Counseling can help in this area.

 

 


More 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

How to Identify Your "Meltdown Triggers": Tips for People on the Autism Spectrum

"Is it possible to learn my 'triggers' that may cause meltdowns, and is there a way to intervene before the meltdowns happen?"

People with ASD tend to “act out” their uncomfortable emotions. This is how they communicate their discomfort. The message of a meltdown is: “I’m frustrated and upset, and I don’t know what lead up to it - or what to do about it.”

If you are prone to the periodic meltdown, know that it is very possible to find a way to understand your frustrations – and change the inappropriate expression of them!

 
 

 
Here are some important tips that will help you recognize your “meltdown triggers” so you can prevent the meltdown from happening in the first place:

1. Transitional experiences: When you move from a “desired” activity to one that is NOT desired – especially when the transition is unexpected (e.g., from playing a computer game to running an unexpected errand for your spouse), it’s a prime opportunity for a meltdown. Many transitional experiences can erupt into meltdowns, because you probably don’t like change. You find the transition difficult. It may not be that you don’t want to run an errand for your spouse, rather it could be that you are protesting at having to “switch gears”!

So, when possible, give yourself time to adjust when change occurs. Of course, this is easier said than done when we live in a rush. But you do need more time than “neurotypicals” (e.g., in the morning, you may need to stay in his pajamas for a little while before getting dressed). Also, ask your spouse to “prepare” you for transitions as often as possible. For example, she could say, “I may need you to run an errand for me later today around 3 PM.”
 
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

2. Tiredness, hunger and sickness: When you are tired, hungry or sick, you are running on lower emotional resources to cope with normal expectations. This means that if tired or hungry or sick, where you would normally be happy to meet your spouse’s requests, you will likely be short-tempered. Thus, do what you can to deal with the primary issue – get some sleep, eat a meal, see the doctor etc. Try not to get hooked into power struggles when you are low on emotional resources.

3. Implement self-observation: When you are calm, ask your spouse to let you know what she observes regarding the connection between your triggers and your meltdowns. For example, she might say, “I’ve noticed that when you think something is unfair, you get upset and start yelling”). By using your spouse to help you to “connect the dots,” you are learning to identify your triggers. This technique should be part of a problem-solving discussion (that includes you and your spouse) for coming up with a plan for what you will do differently the next time you are in this dilemma.

4. Signaling: Signaling is a common behavior modification strategy for people on the autism spectrum. Choose one specific trigger to work on, and then come up with a phrase or hand signal that your spouse can use as an alert to you that the trigger is present. This allows your spouse to make you aware of the trigger subtly in social situations. Once she has alerted you, you will have the chance to self-correct.

5. Reliance on routine: People with ASD tend to rely heavily on routines to keep them comfortable and content. In fact, most are dependent on routines, because too much activity and change can overwhelm them. A change in routine is a major meltdown trigger that can easily set you off.

Thus, try sticking to daily routines as precisely as possible. If you do have to change the routine, make sure you are well-rested and content. If you notice you are starting to exhibit signs of a meltdown, try to find a quiet place to calm down.
 
==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

6. Over-stimulation: Although many people on the spectrum enjoy going out to eat, going to malls, attending parties, etc. – it can get quite overwhelming for them to the point they start reacting to these unfamiliar surroundings and faces. Many will exhibit frustration simply because “the unfamiliar” gets to them, especially if there are a lot of foreign noises and smells. Thus, if the environment seems too “sensory-unfriendly,” you may simply want to “bail out” and return home for a time out.

7. Internal frustration: Some people with autism tend to be perfectionistic and obsessive. The inability to do something right after several attempts, or the lack of conversational skills to get your point across can get the “meltdown engine” revving.


Observations from your spouse is the best tool for identifying “low frustration-tolerance” in yourself. Ask your spouse to pay attention and be aware of the warning signs. She can keep her eyes and ears open, and can help you to look for patterns and connections.

8.  Identifying physical symptoms: Often there are physical symptoms that go along with impending meltdowns. Your nervous system kicks into high gear when a trigger is present - and can cause several identifiable sensations (e.g., rapid heartbeat, flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, cold hands, muscle tension, etc.).

What do you feel in your body when the trigger you are experiencing is present? When you are aware of the warning signs your body gives you, it can serve as a natural cue to put the new plan you came up with during your problem-solving discussions into action.

9. Dealing with anger: Since “meltdown triggers” and “angry feelings” are directly related, having discussions with your spouse about anger (during those times when you are calm) can help you establish a foundation to build on when identifying your triggers. Ask yourself some important questions about emotions (e.g., what makes me angry, happy, sad, etc.).

The purpose of this is to learn how to identify various feelings, to learn what it means to feel angry, happy, sad, disappointed, etc. - but not to give you an excuse for “acting-out” behavior.  This also helps you to communicate your feelings to your spouse clearly so that she is in the best position to help you cope in high-anxiety situations.



Challenges Facing Neurotypical Wives

The challenges facing some women who are married to a man with ASD (high-functioning autism) can be difficult to navigate. These challenges may be completely hidden to other family members, friends and co-workers. 
 
No one seems to understand what the wife struggles with. Her husband may seem to be a “good guy” who appears perfectly "normal" to everyone else.
 
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Being married to a man on the autism spectrum may be filled with a predictable progressive pattern that goes from joyful to puzzled to irritated to angry, and finally, to hopeless. In the beginning, the wife may have been swept off her feet and ravished with affection and attention. She was the primary focus of her boyfriend's life. His “obsession” with the relationship felt romantic and intoxicating. But, after a few years of marriage, this feeling may have faded.



The waning of affection is not conscious on the autistic husband's part. He is most likely not even aware that this has happened. However, as time goes on, the wife may experience certain negative emotions associated with her husband’s need to find interesting activities in places outside of the relationship. Examples of these emotions include:
 
  • Hopelessness: When the wife’s best effort to resolve the ongoing relationship difficulties goes nowhere, a lack of hope may permeate the relationship and lead to a separation or divorce.
  • Rejection: Men on the autism spectrum are often consumed by their "special interest." They may be chronically distracted by this interest and find it difficult to pay attention to their wife. This may lead her to feel neglected, or it can be misinterpreted as disinterest on the part of her husband.
  • Resentment: This emotion becomes prevalent when the wife feels ignored, disregarded, disrespected, and alone in the relationship. Some wives will respond to this by becoming very angry and yelling at their husband, while others will shut down and block all emotions (with the possible exception of sadness and depression). 
  • Extreme fatigue: As the wife tries to compensate for the lack of equal sharing or follow-through in responsibilities, she often feels exhausted. In her mind, no amount of effort appears to resolve the problems that continue to plague the relationship. Due to the inconsistency in her husband's willingness to take responsibility for things and feelings of being burdened with more than her fair share of tasks (e.g., chores, child-care, bills, etc.), more feelings of exhaustion and tension are manifest.
  • Feeling devalued: Wives of husbands on the spectrum often get the feeling that all their good suggestions and advice are not taken to heart. This may cause the wife to come to the conclusion that her ideas, opinions, wants and needs are worthless to her husband.
  • Disappointment: In the viewpoint of the wife, the same kinds of problems keep presenting themselves over and over again. She has tried to discuss the issues in question, and she has tried to make herself understood, yet the same problems persist.
  • Feeling isolated:  Because her husband seems disinterested in what she has to say and appears to ignore her, it easy to understand why the wife may feel lonely.

Since the ASD husband may not even be aware that the marriage has changed for the worse, he doesn't understand why his wife is always so demanding and "bitchy." Her increasing dissatisfaction, resentment and complaints only further damage any chances of communication and intimacy, because the husband feels that he can “never do anything right.” He may even feel unloved.

The negative, downward spiral that we just looked at may be avoided when both spouses understand the way autistic symptoms are affecting the relationship. It is VERY possible to learn different behaviors to heal these kinds of wounds.

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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