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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Taking Things Too Personally: Tips for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Do you frequently feel offended by the remarks or actions of others? Do you take every minor event too seriously, allowing it to scare you or piss you off? Does someone else's bullying personality make you feel worthless? Do you mistake people's antics for subtle insults? Does this justify feeling offended?

Taking things too personally makes life difficult. When you take things too personally, you make yourself more vulnerable to anger, frustration and “meltdowns.” Taking things too personally is like intentionally placing a heavy load on your shoulders. Why would you want to do that to yourself?

Here’s what I have discovered: Most of the time, the way a person acts toward me has little to do with me. It has more to do with how this person was raised, how he/she deals with emotional issues, or other variables like his/her mood, energy level, or health. This is important for me to keep in mind on those occasions when I find myself taking the blame for things that are beyond my control.



Below are some of the things I have learned to do that help me to stop taking others’ comments and behavior so personally. I hope some of these ideas can help you as well!

1. For the most part, I have removed toxic people from my life. These are people who treat me rudely or who dump all their problems on me without reciprocating in a supportive way. I try to surround myself with positive people as much as possible. I definitely feel more confidence in myself when I’m hanging out with people who treat me with respect.

2. I always keep a list of my strengths and abilities to remember what my strong points are. The list is on my refrigerator door so I can review it daily.

3. I also have a list of goals alongside my list of strengths. Having things to work towards gives me a sense of self-worth and purpose. This includes things I would like to improve on or advance in. I take each goal and break it into smaller steps (called objectives) so the goals don’t seem so insurmountable. 
 

4. I constantly remind myself that I don't need anyone's approval. Just because someone isn't happy with me doesn't mean I have done something wrong. In many cases, it means that person isn't happy with themselves and expects me to fill their unmet needs in some way.

5. I find I become more susceptible to someone’s opinion if I am feeling doubtful and placing too much of my own self-worth on his/her opinion. When I am confident in my abilities, another person’s rude behavior or negative opinion is less likely to affect me. Feeling proud and confident in my skills is more important than the passing opinions of others.

6. When I was younger, I had terrible personal hygiene habits (e.g., didn’t comb my hair, brush my teeth, shower, etc.). But over time, I learned that this lack of personal care was a big contributing factor to my low self-esteem. Now I try to take care of your physical self with grooming and dressing to look my best. I keep my clothes clean and wear clothes that fit properly. I have tossed out old clothing that doesn’t fit, is tattered, faded, etc. And I try to keep a good posture. All of these things improve my mood.

7. In order to stop taking things so personally, I try to consider the situational factors as well as the other person’s motivations and background. Improving my self-confidence and communicating assertively are key to being able to handle other people’s comments.

If you tend to take others’ comments and behavior to personally, or take life too seriously in general, here are a few more tips I would like to share with you:
  • When you are about to feel offended, ask yourself, “Is what I just heard true at all?”
  • Think, “Maybe what I heard does not refer to me at all.”
  • Ask yourself, “Why am I allowing words and feelings to hurt me.”
  • Avoid thinking over and again about what upset you. Rather, think of things that make you feel happy.
  • When you take something too personally, go away alone for a walk or do some other form of exercise. This will boost your confidence, and the problem will look smaller.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.
  • Wait a while before responding.

Lastly, here are a few quotes to think about:
  • We often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things and sometimes taking things too personally. ~ Dalai Lama
  • To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes
  • I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside. ~ Wayne Dyer
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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



COMMENTS:

•    I read this article so I could then print it out and put it on my asperger husband's desk. We have been married 28yrs and have known about Aspergers for about 2/12 yrs. I read many articles,books,etc and then reproduced them for my husband to read as I wanted him to know how much I had suffered being married to him. I wanted him to know what he had done and why I am like I am. Talk about playing the victim card. I was all in. I took no personal responsibility for my situation. I would love to say I have seen the light and now am a happy, mentally healthy gramma, not there yet. Knowing my husband has Aspergers and that I have Cassandras syndrome has brought much peace into our relationship. I no longer want to punish him for being sick, and he is trying to make changes for our life together to be better. Biggest thing I learned was to not take things personally. Period. I no longer have to react to criticism, foul moods, silent treatments, and angry comments. They are his problems not mine. I have plenty to do becoming the person I want to become. We rarely argue anymore as I have the attitude that what he does and says is not something I have to react to. What is the use. I am not gonna change his mind in an argument aspies are not stirred to listen in a fight. When we are both calm I will approach him then. When I stopped taking things personally from him, I also stopped taking things personally from others. What a relief not to have to please the world that I could not please anyway. Thanks for the website.

•    I find meditation helps a lot. It helps me focus on responding positively and humbly with the goal of making things right again. I screw up a lot. I'm not supportive of my wife enough even though I try, which makes her stressed and then she lashes out at me. It still hurts, but meditating helps me cultivate a state of mind where I can keep moving forward rather than wallowing in it.

•    Love the.quotes... Im in the early learning process and all you said is true...now i just have to master puttin it into practice!! i wish there was more info about girls with aspergers though...but i guess that will come in this changing world.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Adults: What Partners/Spouses Need to Know

Is it possible that your partner or spouse who has Asperger's (or high-functioning autism) also has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)? The answer is: Yes!

As many parents can attest to, ODD is not an uncommon comorbid disorder in children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Most kids with ODD outgrow the disorder by age eight or nine. 
 
But, about half of them continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. These people report feeling angry most of the time, and about 40% of them become progressively worse and develop antisocial personality disorder.

Adults with ODD often feel mad at the world, and lose their temper regularly (e.g., verbal abuse, road rage.) Constant opposition to authority figures makes it difficult for them to keep jobs and to maintain relationships and marriages. They are particularly quick to anger, are impatient, and have a low tolerance for frustration. They usually feel misunderstood and disliked, hemmed in, and pushed around. Also, they often defend themselves relentlessly when someone says they’ve said or done something wrong.

Signs of ODD that may be apparent at work include:
  • Commonly feeling oppressed by office rules
  • Has meltdowns during meetings or annual reviews after receiving constructive criticism
  • Near constant arguments with a boss or coworkers
  • Previously fired for inappropriate behavior toward coworkers in heated moments
  • Purposely engaging in behaviors that irritate coworkers
  • Sanctioned by human resources for violating company policies
  • Passive-aggressive behaviors

Signs of ODD that may be apparent at home include:
  • Leaves his dirty clothes on the floor just because he knows it annoys his partner or spouse
  • Involved in physical altercations in public
  • Has a hair-trigger temper (the littlest thing can set him off)
  • Continues to fight against authority figures and society
  • Cited for disorderly conduct by police
  • Always needs to win the argument with a parent or spouse
  • Passive-aggressive behaviors

Are some ODD behaviors more serious or severe than others?

Any behaviors which would cause an adult to move from job to job or have serious difficulty in relationships with others (especially spouses) could have strong, negative consequences.

Are there any other conditions that can be associated with ODD?

Yes there are. Sometimes conditions like diabetes, ADD, serious health conditions or learning disabilities create a “hiding” place for oppositionality and defiance. In these cases, ODD behaviors “hide” behind the primary condition, which provides an “excuse” for noncompliance. (Example: an ODD spouse refuses to work, continually claiming he is being treated unfairly by his boss.)

Can an ODD adult be diagnosed as both ODD and ADHD?

Absolutely.

Exactly what is ODD?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a diagnosed condition of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior that includes symptoms of low frustration tolerance, argumentativeness, defiance, noncompliance, oppositionality, provocation, blaming, spitefulness, irritability, resentment, anger or vindictiveness. (Not all of these symptoms need to apply for a diagnosis to be made.)

How is ODD diagnosed?

ODD is diagnosed by an appropriately certified or licensed health service professional that assesses a client and makes the diagnosis as it pertains to established criteria. The most commonly used criteria are found in the most current edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

How much do external events and circumstances play into ODD?

They can easily make the ODD much better or much worse.

I find my husband is defiant toward some people, but not others. Why is this?

ODD behavior is highly reactive to the environmental situations and circumstances. This certainly includes differences in authority figures, how they relate to the ODD adult, and how they "package" their expectations.

My ODD husband went to a counselor and was told after one visit that there was nothing wrong with him. I was totally frustrated about the whole thing. Why would a counselor say this?

The ODD adult, for awhile, can look perfectly fine in every regard. This is why a good therapist or counselor puts more stock in the “hard” facts about the client, not what the client is saying or doing in early visits.

If my ODD husband is depressed, what can be done to help him?

The depression needs to be evaluated and treated. It is common for oppositional and defiant behaviors to lessen as the depression is addressed. Sometimes medication helps.

Is lying a typical behavior of ODD?

It certainly can be. Usually, behaviors like lying differ from one individual to another as they become more severe in their behaviors. Many professionals believe that lying and stealing often go together.

Is ODD inherited?

Although there probably isn't an "ODD gene," characteristics like disposition and temperament can probably be inherited.

Is there any connection between ODD and the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol?

There probably is a connection, but not necessarily a direct one. ODD behaviors can occur in adults who are unhappy. Alcohol and drugs are one kind of "self" medication.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

I've heard that many ODD adults are depressed? Is this true?

Yes. About half of them also met the criteria for depression.

My husband walks half a block down the street to help a senior citizen bring in her groceries, but he won't ever take out the trash at OUR house? Why is this?

First of all, he wants to look like a good, kind and caring man. But consider that the job of helping the lady with her groceries is essentially a one-shot deal. Taking out the trash at home could last for years, not to mention the fact that we are much more direct in our behaviors of resistance and refusal with those who already know us well.

Sometimes it seems to me that my husband actually enjoys it when I become upset with him. Why is this?

He has gotten the satisfaction of knowing he has gotten to you. This “trap” is one of the toughest ones for spouses to deal with.

What about "passive-aggressive" behavior? Is that the same as oppositional defiant?

“Passive-aggressive” behavior is a term that was used to describe both children and adults before there ever was a classification of ODD. Specifically, passive-aggressive behavior is but one type of oppositional and defiant behavior. Persistent and problematic passive-aggressive behavior in adults is more properly diagnosed using adult classifications, often falling under the general category of "personality disorders."

What are some of the signs that a child might become Conduct Disordered?

Things like family history, especially parents and siblings having trouble with the law, the activities of a child's "friends," a history of abuse or severe neglect in the home, use of alcohol and drugs, and a youngster's level of regard for others could all be indications.

What happens when ODD children become adults?

They can take their problems with them, causing difficulty in their relationships, marriage and work. The divorce rate, employment difficulties, and the abuse of alcohol or drugs is usually higher in this population of young adults.

What is the difference between an ODD adult and one who is just stubborn?

Stubborn people know when to give it up. They don't continue with their stubbornness to the degree and point that it creates serious hardships for them. Stubbornness can even be an attribute, such as a resolve that can shine through in tough times. Not so with ODD, which, by nature of being a disorder, works against the person's best interest.

What is the difference between ODD and ADD?

ODD is a psychological condition that, favorably or not, is responsive to external situations and circumstances. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is brain-related, a neurological condition or immaturity that causes a person to have difficulty focusing on tasks. The condition of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) states that the person is additionally hyperactive and impulsive.

What is the likelihood that an ODD adult will become more severe in his or her behaviors (aggressive and anti-social)?

Here we're talking about serious, acting-out behaviors that could involve the law. Current data indicates about one in three ODD people will move on into a more serious disorder.

What would happen if an ODD adult is depressed, but the depression goes unaddressed or untreated?

Both the ODD and the depression will continue to worsen to the detriment of the individual. Self-injury or even suicidal attempts are a possibility.

Is there any hope if my husband has this disorder called ODD?

Most wives of ODD husbands find that the parenting strategies used with ODD children ALSO work with ODD husbands. Why? Because ODD adults are very immature for their age. You may have a husband who is chronologically 35-years-old, but emotionally more like a 21-year-old. So, yes there is hope!




Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives



COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said...  I am also wondering this. Married 25 years and have had enough as it seems so much worse now such a rollercoaster. I dread waking up now as it all starts again day in day out. Tried a few times of asking him to leave but always feel so guilty so we are still carrying on. Friends say i have Stockholm :(
•    Anonymous said...  this sounds just like my AS husband. Only we're still married with a two yr old. I wish I could leave. I'm miserable.
•    Anonymous said... Hmm, I'm dealing with somebody like this. I was looking for how pyrroles treatment is tricky in people with Tourette's, and my eye was drawn to this term as one of the conditions often associated with pyrroles. Sure enough, it seems it applies to my freind. He is nearly 80 and since gotten more well is back to this stuff. Oppositional to reason when it doesn't suite him, and difficulties in accessing things. He opposes authority in a way he is not content unless he is expressing authority/superiority over other people. His history is like what has been described here. The thing about ODD ending abruptly when you are 18: As the term doesn't mention childhood, it should persist throughout life.
•    Anonymous said... I can't leave because I am on social security. Life is upsetting wirh him every minute if everyday. No cooperatiin the blaming nme fir stupid made up stuff in hus mind. Belittling me . I say blue he says green. Can't have an adult conversation discuss solutions to problems with him. He thinks he is right about everything.
•    Anonymous said... I have a boyfriend he has all the signs and symptoms of O.D.D. he told me he has ADHD. We were at a restaurant he got upset and started rage yelling the manager was going to call the cops.I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I have tried to end our relationship he always begs me not to leave. We love each other it's very exhausting. I told him he needs to get help If this relationship will work. He says he wants to change. He needs to show me. I've caught him in so many lies.
•    Anonymous said... I have an aspie husband I think has odd… my child has odd just diagnosed I'm about to throw in the towel I can't handle it double dosed. What support can I find for me to cope better and not get overwhelmed
•    Anonymous said... I have been living with an aspergers spouse with undiagnosed ODD for 26 yrs. Is it possible that the condition worsens with age?
•    Anonymous said... I have had enough of being an ODD parent to my husband - I am exhausted!
•    Anonymous said... I was told recently by my current mental health RNP that ODD is only a kid thing, and that I couldn't possibly have it because I am an adult. SO FRUSTRATING.
•    Anonymous said... last few days our class held a similar talk about this subject and you point out something we have not covered yet, thanks.
•    Anonymous said... My adult son has ODD. A Lifetime of struggles. Refuses therapy, self meditates with weed, unable and unwilling to live on any kind if budget, spends all his money on good times and weed, puts no priority into meeting his financial obligations first, always pressuring me into helping him financially. Always angry, emotional outbursts on a regular basis, he is a Terrible Son,also a terrible Father, drove wife away and 2 years later continues to obsess about her, refusing to accept it's over and blames everyone else for his plight. My feelings for him go from love to hate and wanting him to go away forever....but he won't, and no hope for change because he refuses to accept his condition or get any therapy. Went to family counseling for 8 years as a kid and never got help because HE REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE. Finally letting him move into a house I own 2000 miles away in hope that our relationship might improve. I'm over 60 years old and I'm exhausted with this.....dont I have a right to some peace and happiness without having some guilt trip put on me or some havoc being created to prevent me from living my life????? HELP!!!!!
•    Anonymous said... At what point do we say that this type of behavior is more likely trait(s) of personality disorder than O.D.D.? Esp in adult (62 yo) who grew up in a world that didnt recognize hfa until they were age 30
 
 

Shutdowns in Spouses/Partners with ASD

“How do I communicate with a husband (has Asperger syndrome) who won’t talk? He tells me whatever I want to hear so that I’ll stop talking as soon as possible. If I bring up a topic that he finds stressful, he immediately stonewalls me. It’s impossible to get him to talk about his emotions. It’s like talking to a brick wall. If I really push it and go after him, sometimes he’ll respond and we’ll finally address something. But it’s like I have to freak out to get him to open up and discuss the issue at hand. It’s so maddening. I don’t want to be a ‘bitch’ - but I feel that it’s the only way to get him to engage.”

What you’re referring to here is a “shutdown” (the opposite of a meltdown). You mentioned that this happens when you are trying to discuss a matter that your husband finds stressful. When he withdraws from the interaction, this may be more of a coping mechanism he uses to deal with stress rather than his lack of interest in what you are trying to convey.



When a listener withdraws from an interaction by shutting down, it is usually a sign that he or she is becoming anxious. Oftentimes, people with Asperger’s emotionally or physically withdraw because they’re psychologically or physiologically overwhelmed. They are trying to avoid conflict – or escape from conflict – in order to calm themselves. For example, your husband may refuse to discuss certain topics or feelings, struggling to endure the approaching anxiety. He may turn away, stop making eye contact, cross his arms, or leave the room. As a result, you may label this behavior as rude, insensitive, and uncaring.

People on the autism spectrum shut down for numerous reasons. Shutdowns can result from extreme events (e.g., losing a job, marital conflict, etc.), but they can also have very small triggers, which simply remind the “Aspie” of a larger pain (e.g., a small incident at work can provoke some long-term insecurities and cause a retreat).

A shutdown will move some form of emotional pain to the center of the Aspie’s focus, and he may start contemplating "what if" and "if only" scenarios. These thoughts are always counter-productive, because we can't change the past, and they usually only make the Aspie feel entrapped by events.

Not surprisingly, shutdowns can be damaging to relationships. The person who shuts down is no longer participating in open communication, problem-solving, or bonding with his spouse/partner. Rather than contributing to the well-being of the relationship, shutdowns stifle conflict resolution. The recipient of the shutdown feels invalidated, ignored, and misunderstood. When your husband shuts down, you may feel so unimportant that you don’t even deserve a response.





So, what can be done about shutdowns?

Advice for your Asperger’s husband:

•    When you feel like shutting down, take several deep breaths and communicate what you need to stay productive. If you need some reassurance or a timeout, ask for that. Talk to your wife ahead of time about the best way to communicate with you.

•    Find other ways to soothe yourself rather than shutting down. It’s your responsibility to calm yourself so you’re able to respond — not react. Even if she wants to, your wife may not be able to soothe you, fix your emotions, or make things better. YOU must do your own emotional work (e.g., being honest and clear with yourself and your wife about what feelings are arising). Self-soothing is a very individual thing. Consider the activities that are genuinely calming for you.

•    Recognize when you’re shutting down. Tune in to what’s going on internally. For example, pay attention to your bodily sensations, which are connected to your emotions (e.g., a lump in the throat could mean sadness, a burning in the chest could mean anger, a fluttering in the stomach may mean anxiety, etc.). Tuning in helps you figure out what you need and prevents you from doing or saying something that may damage the relationship with your wife.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Advice for you, the wife:

•    When you notice that your Asperger’s husband is beginning to shut down, you can choose to lovingly detach and not perpetuate an unhealthy dynamic. If you keep trying to get your husband to engage with you when he doesn’t want to, you convey that you’ll tolerate this kind of behavior. Thus, there’s no motivation on his part to change. By removing yourself from the situation, your husband is left with no one to focus on but himself.

•    A shutdown is not about you. This is the way your husband has learned to manage his uncomfortable emotions. Trying to get him to “open up” will only lead to resentment on both sides. To think that you have the power to make your husband behave in a particular manner if you simply “freak out” is dangerous. It will lead to you taking on more responsibility than is yours in the relationship, which will leave you feeling stressed-out, angry, and resentful.

•    It's generally helpful to talk in a soothing voice during a shutdown. Just make sure that you're careful what you say - and keep things positive. The only thing to remember when soothing your Aspie during a shutdown is that you're still dealing with someone on the autism spectrum. Don't try to force eye contact, and don't touch your husband without either being invited to do so - or being cautious to see the reaction first.

•    When the two of you are calm, talk to your husband about the best way to communicate with him when he’s shutting down. Is there a way for you to talk to him when he’s starting to withdraw from the conversation? Discuss this with him, and do some trial-and-error attempts to see what works and what doesn’t.

Sometimes, no matter how kind and gentle you are with your Asperger’s husband, he will still shut down or avoid engaging in a “stressful” conversation. It may also be the case that your husband is engaging in old, entrenched ways of coping with anxiety that existed long before you came along. If either of these things are happening, it would be prudent to get the advice of a good marriage counselor or relationship coach who can help you untangle the impact of past relationship patterns, and concentrate on how to relate in an advantageous way going forward.

FOOTNOTE: Tone of voice in itself can be a major trigger for this shutdown business! Some Aspies feel it easier to communicate through text. If you find it difficult to talk, try notes, letters, blog, facebook... But make it private. As one NT wife stated, "My husband has aspergers and 2 shutdowns in 2 years. He was completely unable to speak for 20+ minutes even though he tried. He could text much better but still had trouble spelling until it began to wear off. We learned this time that he can begin to speak again quicker if i get him talking about a totally objective, non-emotional, even mechanical subject."







MORE Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives


Dealing with Mr. Logical: Tips for Partners of Men with ASD

Dealing with ASD (high functioning autistic) men can be frustrating and difficult for neurotypical partners, especially if you are involved in a love relationship. These guys who present themselves as “Mr. Logical” tend to be afraid of being controlled by others and "losing" who they are inside of a relationship. In some cases, they may reject emotional attachment as a way of protecting themselves.

Learn how to deal with your “Mr. Logical” by following these 12 tips:

1. In most cases, Mr. Logical has trust issues that come from things that happened to him in the past. For example, some of these men may have developed a tough and distant exterior due to having been bullied throughout childhood due to their nerd-like behavior. In this case, it might take some time for your ASD man to develop trust and break down barriers with you. If you truly care about the relationship, you need to be patient and allow him time to really feel comfortable and secure with you.

2. If you are trying to get Mr. Logical to feel comfortable talking with you, avoid starting conversations with sentences like "We really need to talk" or "This is important." These kinds of lead-ins can trigger a “clam-up” response. He might feel cornered or pressured by the "serious tone” of the conversation. When dealing with Mr. Logical, the goal is to get to a point where he does not fear things (e.g., commitment) and to not make him feel nervous and pressured.



3. Consider the social norms that ALL men – ASD or not – are supposed to follow when it comes to emotions and sharing those emotions. Men are historically supposed to be the non-emotional providers for their family. This does not reflect on their ability to communicate as a husband, but it will help you to understand why he is hesitant to show emotion around anyone.

4. If necessary, you may need to establish some distance (even if it's just temporary) between yourself and Mr. Logical. If you get the impression he can’t offer you what it is that you want, or even if he straight-out told you that, spend some time apart. Hang out with your friends, throw yourself into your career, or begin a new hobby. Mr. Logical will attempt to reestablish a connection with you when he is ready to open himself up to you emotionally. In the meantime, take care of yourself.
 

5. Expect Mr. Logical’s emotions to be displayed as actions rather than words. While a woman can fully articulate what she is feeling, an ASD man is more likely to try and find a solution to the problem and work on it. In fact, when a woman constantly asks "What are you thinking?" to her man who has gone quiet, she usually assumes he's angry. But this is not necessarily true. More likely, he has gone quiet as he thinks about how to solve the relationship problem.

6. Give your guy a platform to vent frustrations. You may see some expression of emotion from him if you are able to disguise it as a session where he is able to vent out what he is feeling, manifested as frustration or anger. Most men view frustration and anger as more masculine emotions. Even if your man is feeling sad or depressed, you might find that you will see his feelings come through as a hotter emotion.

7. Look for the causes of emotional distance. You and your spouse with ASD  might be dealing with a relationship crisis, and withdrawal is his way of handling the situation. Physical separation can create emotional distance as he deals with the pain associated with interpersonal conflict. Past experiences can also cause him to shut himself off so he doesn't get hurt again.

8. Look for non-verbal cues that reveal your man’s true emotions. Perhaps he will not tell you when he is stressed or nervous, but he always chews his nails when he is stressed about work. By watching for these cues, you can better understand how he is feeling by comparing the things he is experiencing with his physical reactions to the emotions he is feeling.

9. Their emotions are confusing – and sometimes contradict each other. Oftentimes, they do not even understand their own emotions. Depression often goes undiagnosed because it is difficult for male with ASD to explain what they are feeling or that they feel ashamed for not subscribing to the society "norm" of a tough, well-adjusted, providing man. Encourage your husband to show his emotions by being supportive and understanding that his feelings are often much more complicated than he lets on.
 

10. Notice what works and what doesn't with Mr. Logical. Focus on topics that get a conversation going before moving on to those that may bring the wall back up. Emotional distance is not created overnight, and neither are the solutions for it. It often takes several attempts to get a constructive conversation going.

11. Realize that these individuals often have a difficult time communicating their feelings. He does NOT want to tell you that he is sad or depressed. Instead of becoming angry that he does not want to share his feelings with you, simply let him know that you are ready when he is. Leave yourself open for that conversation. Do not force the issue.

12. When attempting to problem-solve with Mr. Logical, use rationality rather than emotionality when you speak (as much as possible anyway). When you are talking to a “logical” man, it is vital to talk to him in a manner that he can comprehend. To express yourself to this type of male brain, realize that he might not think in "emotions" in the same way that you do. His brain might operate in a more rational, non-emotional fashion instead. If you utilize logic, he may find talking and opening up to you more comfortable.

 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…Is negativity because of aspergers or his personality? It is so draining for me. I have to have enough optimism for both of us & after 33 years I run out very early In the day.
•    Anonymous said…Indeed. What ever you do - whatever you bring into the home, will received a negative reaction. I have found myself saying on several occasions, "There can't possibly be something wrong with everything."
•    Anonymous said…His personality I think. My aspie husband is very positive generally even when he is suffering from anxiety he try to talk himself out of it by talking positive. They are all so different. My aspie son and husband are streets apart personality wise.
•    Anonymous said…....it will NEVER happen! "He" will never initiate physical contact now because as we get older, the desire for "sex" is less. Not something "he" needs so why even both touching or kissing...oh I could go on...it's so emotionally draining and very lonely. Like being the lodger. All very polite etc. Zero emotion....

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ASD and that Damn Anxiety Problem

"Why is it that people with autism spectrum disorder seem to have more than their fair share of anxiety? I have suffered with this damn thing my entire life – as far back as I can remember. And it doesn’t get any better with age by the way. Suggestions!?"

People with ASD (high-functioning autism) are particularly vulnerable to anxiety. This vulnerability is a basic trait of the disorder due to (a) the breakdown in circuitry related to extinguishing fear responses, (b) social skills deficits, and (c) specific neurotransmitter system defects.

Reasons for anxiety include the following:
  • Lack of displayed empathy (another Asperger’s trait) significantly limits skills for self-directed social problem solving.
  • Limitations in generalizing from one situation to another contributes to repeating the same social errors.
  • Social skills deficits related to Asperger’s make it difficult for “Aspies” to develop coping techniques for calming themselves and containing difficult emotions. 
  • Their inability to grasp social cues and their highly rigid style act together to create repeated social mistakes (e.g., saying the wrong thing at the wrong time). 
  • In the workplace, it is not uncommon for the Aspie to be bullied and teased by his coworkers, yet he can’t mount effective socially adaptive responses, which often results in both anxiety and learned helplessness.



Several medications have been tried for treatment of anxiety. SRIs, buspirone, and alpha-adrenergic agonist medications (e.g., clonidine or guanfacine) have been tried. The best evidence to date supports use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. One relatively new drug that seems to be having remarkable success in alleviating anxiety is Fetzima.

As a side note, people on the autism spectrum may be more vulnerable to side effects – and may exhibit unusual side effects. For example, disinhibition (i.e., a temporary loss of inhibition) is particularly prominent and can be seen with any of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Also, excessive doses may produce “amotivational syndrome” (i.e., a psychological condition associated with diminished inspiration to participate in social situations and activities).

Self-help strategies to reduce anxiety include the following:
  • avoid “what if” thinking (e.g., ‘What if I fail?’ … ‘What if I get sick?’)
  • avoid black-and-white (all-or-nothing) thinking 
  • avoid talking in absolutes (i.e., using words such as always, never, should, must, no one and everyone)
  • develop a daily log to plan out your days (include healthy activities)
  • develop a sense of self-trust (i.e., the ability to believe that you can handle what life throws at you)
  • don’t be a “people-pleaser” (e.g., when do you say ‘yes’ to someone when you really want to say ‘no’)
  • practice yoga
  • realize and accept that you can’t control life, you can only control yourself
  • realize that you’re responsible for your happiness and your life
  • reduce your perfectionistic tendencies
  • stop relying on others for approval

Lastly, but most importantly, distinguish fact from fiction. Fear is being afraid of something, and you know exactly what it is that you’re afraid of (e.g., heights). Anxiety is being afraid of something, but you’re NOT sure what it is. Anxiety is fiction. It’s an anticipation of things going wrong in the future. But since the future doesn’t exist (except as a mental construct), then anxiety about a future event is fiction.
 
 

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder


 
COMMENTS:

Anonymous said… All part of autism? Get used to it and fight it best you can! This is where the tiredness and long sleeps are relevant!
Anonymous said… as long as autistics are perceived and treated as diseased toys, they`re going to have a much higher rate of mental health issues. as long as autistics try to live like people who aren`t autistic, they`re going to have a higher rate of mental health issues. it`s really pretty simple. the solutions are more complex, however.
Anonymous said… Easier said than done. The adult Asperger want to achieve some balance and sometimes accumulative PTSD feeds into the situation, too, with triggers that appear out of left field. Overwhelming.
Anonymous said… I can only speak for myself, but my anxiety is "out there" so fast, I can never "control" it; it's too dam quick, damage done, and I'm already in wtf-mode before realizing I'm palpitating and acting like an idiot. Which makes me more anxious! I don't know how to forewarn myself to try to stop it; it just happens
Anonymous said… I love how when I went to a doctor all they wanted to do was treat the anxiety and when I asked "what about the other symptoms like innattention and sensory issues and social issues" they just ignored even trying to get me a diagnoses suggesting that anti anxiety meds would be "the cure" instead of what it really did - make me suicidal
Anonymous said… It is a hard question to answer,, but the best thing is to try and find an outlet.. to not let the anxiety spiral and take hold.
Anonymous said… Ive warned all of people around me to get away when i get angry because i really cant stop my rage 
Anonymous said… Meditation helps
Anonymous said… right it's like a nightmare coming true times 100.
Anonymous said… Why do we have anxiety? Because from birth we have been being told we aren't normal. Don't do that, dont say that, look here, go there, sound like this, look like that. When you have to think about everything just to comprehend what's going on around you, and then add in being the best actor/actress everyone has seen, because otherwise you make them uncomfortable, go figure we have anxiety!
•    Anonymous said… as long as autistics are perceived and treated as diseased toys, they`re going to have a much higher rate of mental health issues. as long as autistics try to live like people who aren`t autistic, they`re going to have a higher rate of mental health issues. it`s really pretty simple. the solutions are more complex, however.
•    Anonymous said… Have any of y'all tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? I'm looking into it for my 22 years old son. His meltdowns are so violent and I'm terrified he's going to end up in jail one day. Any thoughts?
•    Anonymous said… it might help, if the therapist is experienced and knowledgeable enough about autistics. but his meltdowns at this point are probably ptsd. that`s very hard to recover from. i have a similar issue myself. what he needs to learn are appropriate personal and social boundaries for himself, and how to live like an autistic. cbt might help with boundaries. it won`t help much with living like an autistic.
•    Anonymous said… My anxiety is off the hook! My doc put me on some med that I will need to purge off of but it isn't helping me stop biting my nails and having bad dreams...is anyone here having the same symptoms?
•    Anonymous said… The push for uniformity of human beings in our world is most disturbing. The simple frustration of growing up with people always trying to change your fundamental personality and the stress of trying to fit in ... and failing ...

Please post your comment below…

Dealing with Irritating Neurotypicals: Tips for Adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

We’re all familiar with irritating, frustrating and annoying people. Learning how to deal with them is an art-form, because what works for others, may not work for you. There are a lot of facets that come into play when someone is annoying you. For example, are they bothering you because you genuinely don’t think they ‘vibe’ with you …or is the universe sending someone to show you what you have to work on?

If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this: honesty always works. The longer you try to be nice to someone, the more you’re making other people believe that you actually enjoying hanging out with them. There’s no need to be unnecessarily blunt about it, but if someone becomes too pushy, you have to be honest about what’s going on and let them know. It stinks, but if you value your time, it has to be done, and it doesn’t have to be done in a harsh manner.

Tips for dealing with irritating neurotypicals:

1. A lot of conflict is based in misunderstandings, so always make sure you’re getting all the information. It can be easy enough to tune someone out when they irritate you. The trick is to use careful questioning to focus the other person on the topic at hand so they give you what you need and avoid straying too far. Poor listening leads to misunderstandings that need clarification – which means more time spent with someone you’d really rather not be around.

2. Accept that which you can’t change. You can change yourself – but not someone else. Also, you can’t feel comfortable if you constantly wish the world were as you think it ought to be. If you find yourself getting irritated at someone who bothers you because they're letting their personality shine forth, realize that there is not much you can do – and that you will gain very little by such irritation. You can’t change someone's personality because you don't get along with them or because you've chosen to find them irritating.

3. Anything that helps you to grow and mature will tend to dampen irritation with others. The more that you learn about the world, and the more understanding you are of people's motivations, you'll expect less of others and let them just be. In turn, you'll be less irritated by the things people do.

4. Ask yourself, “How is this individual reflecting my shadow?” People who get on our nerves are often simply reflecting a part of ourselves we don’t want to see. If someone irritates you, ask yourself: Have I ever demonstrated this irritating quality in the past? Do I demonstrate this quality in my life now? Am I capable of demonstrating this quality under different circumstances in the future? Chances are the answer is yes. If you can find a way to accept the irritating quality in yourself, you are much more likely to accept it in others.

5. Ask yourself, “How do I benefit by continuing to be so irritated?” Despite how bad it feels emotionally to be angry, mad, or irritated, we often cling to the emotion. We hold grudges, become passive aggressive, get into arguments, or ruminate about a person for days in our own minds. For what? The ego just LOVES to be right. Ask yourself, “What do I gain by being right?” Would you rather be right, or would you rather be free?

6. Much irritation comes about when we take the path of least resistance – not saying anything but fuming all the same. Irritation caused by placing yourself into a position of powerlessness because of the things another person does is self-destructive. A far more constructive approach is to speak up when you'd like to see something changed around you.

7. Assertiveness is about standing up for yourself politely but firmly. It is not something to be afraid of, and you don't need to attend a course to master it. It's as simple as responding to the irritating behavior promptly and with a pointed request.

8. Avoid generalizing. Saying things like "I only care about my immediate friends and family. All other people are so stupid and such time-wasters" says more about you than about these "other people." You're shutting off the opportunity to meet lots of new people when you label them irritating. Also, you are acting defensively to try and ward off anyone who might cause you to have to think, respond, or feel differently about the things you're used to.

9. Be careful if you're the sort of person who loudly proclaims, "I don't tolerate fools." Such broad assumptions about people you've grouped together by characteristics that you dislike will always give you cause for irritation, because you've chosen to treat anyone in your grouping with contempt.

10. Everyone gets irritated sometimes, which means people will be irritated with you sometimes too. We're all in a position to do or say irritating things now and then. Try to focus on what you can do to adopt a more compassionate, guiding approach to an irritating behavior or action. Consider the ways in which you can provide constructive feedback to try and alleviate the irritating behavior or activities rather than blowing your top or creating a negative atmosphere. As part of this, be interested in the other person. If that sounds difficult, then there is all the more reason to put your compassionate self into action.

11. Be aware that being irritated by other’s traits can be based in your own lack of patience or understanding. In some cases, irritation is driven by a sense of superiority, as when we state, "How stupid those people are!" …or… "Does he have to be such an idiot?" We automatically assume we're smarter without ever knowing the full story or the personal issues that drive the person to act the way he/she does.

12. Besides the tendency to tune-out people you’d rather avoid, our feelings about another person can color our perception of what they’re saying. To avoid this, repeat back any instructions, questions, or other problems they pose to you to make sure you absolutely understand what they’re saying. Give them a chance to correct you before you go off half-cocked.

13. When you are about to go-off on the irritating person, breathe deeply and shut your eyes briefly. Calmly count to ten, slowly. Imagine yourself on the beach. Let the internal sound of waves and seagulls wash over you. Feel the mist of the seawater on your face and let it calm you.

14. Check your facial and body language. Frowns, glaring, and other unpleasant body language convey anger and contempt – and it's contagious. So, if it's targeted at the person who is irritating you, he/she is likely to feel angry too, and things can escalate. Try to maintain a calm and collected demeanor without facial expressions that suggest you're irritated or displeased.

15. Consider shaking your life up a bit. Being irritated can be a sign that you're too deeply entrenched in your comfort zone. Try shaking things up a bit to expand your comfort zone now and then. Rearrange your bedroom furniture, read books by authors who challenge you, start new hobbies, take a trip, start volunteering, or get a new job. Changing something in your life that shifts you out of your comfort zone and into new territory can reduce your levels of irritation and beef-up your compassion for others.

16. Focus on the humor in the situation. Laugh-off whatever has caused you to feel so irritated, and try to imagine the irritating behavior or situation in a more humorous light, along with how you might just have the totally wrong end of the stick.

17. Know what sets you off and learn how to not react. It's usually obvious who is bothering you – the noisy chatterbox, the bragging backstabber, or the constant complainer who follows your every error and turns a molehill into a mountain. It's also important to identify the “what” that is bothering you (i.e., what precisely about their behavior is causing you to feel so irritated that you feel ready to explode or snap at them). Working out the real reason underlying the irritation will enable you to target responses that will be effective in both solving the problem that irritates you and causes you to find that particular person so irritating.

18. Identify when the irritation reflects a deeper conflict. Sometimes this is easier to see a few hours later when you're not with that irritating person. Small things can mount up into a pattern that can guide you to understand why you need to be more patient. For example, if you work with someone who is bigoted against you for an unstated reason, you may be hearing constant borderline insults in everything from their anecdotes about others to the differences in the way they treat you and other people.

19. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you are obligated for some reason to spend time with someone you dislike, remember that most likely, they are in the same position – and it’s you they dislike. But you wouldn’t be in that situation if you didn’t provide something of value – whether that’s a work skill or talent, specialized knowledge, even things as abstract as emotional support or solidarity. You have a mission, so to speak, and everything that distracts you from that mission reduces your value.

20. If you're irritated because you view other people as rivals and enemies, you're on a slippery slope. Remove the competitive aspect from your work, study, or social relations by realizing that there is more than enough praise, pay, accolades, and recognition for everyone.

21. You may need to unlearn anger habits, as irritation is often sourced in unresolved anger. A course in anger management might be extremely helpful if you're finding almost everyone irritates you.

22. It’s tempting to want to argue with people who rub you the wrong way, or to lose it and start pointing out their faults. Don’t do that! Unless they’re wrong about something that directly and materially affects you, don’t bother. Starting a debate or an argument will only prolong your agony, and neither of you is likely to change your mind. Save the debates for when you’re with friends whose opinions matter to you.

23. It's important to cope when you're irritated with another person so that you don't let your sour face or sarcastic comments alert them to your irritation. After you've coped will come the time for reflection on the irritation and what it means for you and your approach to others.

24. No matter who you are, someone hates you for race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or social class and finds it very hard to see you as a human being in your own right. Understand that it is possible for someone to learn to overcome prejudice, but it rarely happens fast. They may become aware of it in a moment and be shocked, but they will probably not be able to completely overcome it without compassionate, gradual education and personal support.

25. People that are irritating are that way for a reason that has nothing to do with you – it’s not your job to fix it. Don’t worry about figuring them out or correcting them, worry instead about how you’re going to manage their irritations without letting it hinder your ability to achieve your own goals.

26. Realize that when you are irritated – and voice that irritation – you are also irritating. You’re doing the same thing to others that you don’t want done to you.

27. Remember that most people are not trying to irritate you. They probably don't realize that what they are doing is irritating. In other words, they are probably in their "own world" and are not even aware of you (e.g., someone talking on their cell phone and engrossed in their own conversation while totally irritating the rest of the people within earshot).

28. If you find yourself getting irritated when other people aren’t meeting your needs, let them off the hook and ask for what you want instead of resenting what you didn’t get it because you didn’t ask.

29. Sometimes irritation with other people can be sourced from an illness or disorder and turns into an ongoing, long-term problem. If you're in frequent pain or you're depressed, anxious, prone to panic attacks, etc., you may find yourself easily (and constantly) irritated by other people because you're so busy coping with your pain and disability that you cannot bear it when people make things harder for you. If you're easily irritated and feel anxious, down, and worried over a period of more than a week or two, go and see your doctor to discuss what might be happening.

30. When someone gets angry at us, we sense it and instinctively throw it back at them. When this happens, we “hook” into their energy. Try to give yourself some space before reacting to someone else’s behavior. Most of the time your negative emotion will pass, and you’ll be able to deal with the situation with much more composure and grace.

31. Many times I notice I get irritated with other people when they don’t do what I expect. How often do you make your happiness dependent on the actions of others? It’s like you’re writing them a script, and if they don’t follow it to the letter, you can’t be happy. Stop giving your happiness away.

32. Talk to the other person when you feel calmed or less irritable. If you find that this person is continuing to irritate you, figure out whether it's a good idea to ask them to stop doing whatever they're doing that's bothering you, or whether you just need a temporary break. Either way, you'll need to talk, even if it's just to excuse yourself.

33. The worst thing you can do with an irritating person is engage him. In the heat of battle, any word or action interpreted as “aggressive” in response will only trigger more aggression. As hard as it might seem to do, the best thing is to sit quietly and let them spend themselves ranting and raving, and then ask if they’d like to schedule a time to discuss the matter more calmly and return to whatever you were doing. If this sets off another round of yelling, simply wait it out and repeat.

34. Try meditation. It may help to reground you and open your mind up to peaceful ways of approaching challenging situations and difficult people.

35. While you may have to interact with people you don’t care for in any number of situations, remember that your time is your own and don’t let other people, especially ones you’d rather not interact with, take control of your time.

36. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, which means you don’t have to do favors for everyone who asks. If someone’s encroaching on your time, simply tell them, “I’m sure this is important to you but it simply isn’t a priority for me right now. I really need to work on x and not y.” Again, there’s no need to be mean, just redirect the conversations whenever conversation drifts into areas that aren’t relevant and where you know you’ll be irritated.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Married to an Autistic Man: Tips for Frustrated NT Wives

Michael, a young man with autism, was cute with his boyish good looks and child-like antics. Nancy loved Michael – autism and all – because he made her smile and he wasn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side by crying on her shoulder about past hurts.

For the first few years, life was filled with so much fun and adventure that Nancy didn’t even notice that all the “adult responsibilities” seem to always fall on her. But one day, it hit her: “I am more like a mother to Michael than a wife!” Nancy became discouraged and began yearning for a man rather than an adult-child. What was charming in the beginning was annoying now.

Every spouse has mothered her man on occasion …you made him some chicken soup when he was sick with the flu …you reminded him to take out the trash …you picked up his dirty socks from the living room floor …and so on. But having to constantly mother a child-like man soon gets old.

Most females are born with a nurturing gene that can’t resist a man who needs her. There’s comfort in knowing your spouse finds refuge from the world in your arms. A child-like man brings a carefree attitude toward life that lifts your mood, which can be refreshing in today’s pressure-filled world. 
 
But, life does have its adult responsibilities. Someone has to pay the gas bill or remember to renew the auto registrations. The grown-up world gets burdensome when you have to shoulder responsibilities for two (or more if you have kids). This isn’t what you signed up for. Marriage means having a spouse to help out. So what is a frustrated wife to do?

Here are a few ways to help your autistic husband “grow-up” and start to shoulder more responsibility:

1. Accept your husband for who he is. There are perks to being married to a child-like man. It’s less likely that he will be controlling or domineering. He’ll be playful and fun. Life with your partner will not be boring. Let your own inner kid come out to play with him. Use your own adult strengths to fill in the gaps as necessary.

2. Allow your husband to take on some adult responsibilities – even if he doesn’t live up to your standards. Sometimes an autistic husband will step aside and let his spouse take over because she wants things done her way. That is not letting him “grow up” if you insist on being the ultimate decision maker or judgment caller. He may struggle and even fail a few times, but that’s the learning curve.

3. Audio or videotape your arguments (with everyone’s approval) so you both can hear yourselves communicate. Some couples are surprised to hear how juvenile they sound, and they change their communication styles quickly.

4. Create visual cues. Chore charts and budget sheets sound so childish, but he may need a visual reminder. We all have information overload with too much to do and remember. Even neurotypical men do better when you hand them a “honey-do” list. If he’s tech savvy, have him enter items in his Blackberry.

5. Don't assess - or redo - his work. If you want a job done by your husband and his work doesn't meet your expectations, do the job yourself and don't ask him to do it in the first place. The problem may just be your expectations and not your spouse.

6. Don't come across as “bitchy.” It's an issue of stubborn will and you will not break him. The more you bitch, the less he will do. Just ask once and leave it that.

7. Don't tell your husband to do more than one thing at a time. Tell him one thing he can help you with and leave it at that. Understand that some autistic men are genetically wired to reject lists. If that describes your man, then don’t give him a list of things to do – under any circumstances.

8. Encourage your husband to hang out with male peers with grown-up attitudes. He could learn from good male role models. It’s said you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.

9. Give your husband adult respect. You can’t expect him to be an adult if you treat him like a kid or a second-class citizen in your home. Defer to him and consult his opinions. Don’t correct him, boss him around, criticize how he does things, or override his decisions in child-rearing or anything else. That will only reinforce the fact that you are “wearing the pants” in the family. Treat your man like the “man of the house” (or at least like an equal half of your partnership) and he’ll begin to fill that role.

10. Let your guy be the hero. A male loves to do heroic things for his spouse. The problem with childcare and housework is your spouse doesn't understand how important it is to you that he helps. In many cases (especially if you work), day-to-day childcare/housework is incredibly tiring and draining. It's a burden. Your husband doesn't see the slow burn of exhaustion as easily as he may see other threats to your well-being. For him to truly understand your difficulty, you need to make a point of explaining your predicament, not in a condescending or angry to tone, but in a manner that conveys your predicament and desperation.

11. Let your man decide the timeline. This may sound counter intuitive, but it works. Males need to be in control. The minute they feel threatened – they flee. If your husband runs, then there is no way he will ever complete the job. Besides, when he completes the job, his pride will be surely let you know that he did it before the time elapsed.

12. Notice what your husband does – not what he doesn't. Imagine if your spouse pointed out all of the flaws in your appearance and never noticed your good points. You would eventually break down and stop caring about your appearance. It's the same way with autistics and childcare/housework.

13. Seek counseling to learn the underlying cause of your mand’s childish behavior. Subconsciously, he may be avoiding adulthood. Maybe he harbors some fears or past trauma that need to be addressed and healed. A professional can help him discover how to be more fulfilled in his life as a grown-up.

14. Stop mothering him. No more doing all the care-taking things you do. No more taking on too much responsibility. He probably loves it when you treat him like a child, but if you want him to grow up, stop mothering. Let him take the fall when he falls short.

15. Talk with your guy about sharing the load. Don’t nag or belittle him, or he will shut down. Talk about fairness and how many hands make light work. Less stress and work for you means that you’ll have more time and energy to be more relaxed and to join in on the fun with him.
 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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


P.S. We totally understand that these suggestions are easier said than done, as evidenced by some of the following comments:

•    Anonymous… I'm a NT and my husband is an Aspie. It's getting incredibly hard to want to work with him, because it's like he doesn't want to help himself. He just wants me to ignore his immaturity, his laziness, his rituals and routine. Sorry people, but there's only so much a person can bare!
 

•    Anonymous… I agree. It's not my responsibility to make him feel better or try and help him. I've had enough of trying to manage my life around it. Aspergers or not, life's too short to spend it accomodating someone else at your own expense.
 

•    Anonymous… Yes, do not wait until you are 55 and run down sick woman from all the stress. there will be no thank you waiting anywhere.
 

•    Anonymous… I agree, all points make sense but it all equates to a one sided relationship, whereby the NT is accommodating the Aspie. My husband is not diagnosed which I can only imagine makes it harder. I love him but cannot live without the care and empathy I deserve. I have no idea how a relationship can be a success without the NT partner being neglected. Sadly we are about to get divorced and I am devastated.
 

•    Anonymous… issues that I have a baby which his parents love but my partner can't be left alone with as he hasn't got a clue. His parents don't believe he's got asbergers even when he's been diagnosed his mum has mothered him all his life his obsessions take over everything I have a mortgage and his parents are my free child care and respite my relationship if you can call it that is disappearing as I can't be intimate anymore with been his main carer he's just another big kid I think he might be a friend now I have no idea cause I'm confused to how I feel about him but I feel like I am a single mother using his family to survive and live. While he just does wat he pleases and I get no leisure time
 

•    Anonymous… Wow, this sounds a lot like me. Neither my husband nor I are diagnosed, but I am pretty sure we are both aspies (our middle daughter is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum). My poor husband has to take care of me. He is much higher functioning than I am. Something the article doesn't really touch on, (or maybe it is something that only I specifically deal with) is that I *want* to help. I *want* to be more than a burden to my husband. But if outside triggers and stressors are too much to bear, I seem to lose access to a number of my executive functions and all I can do is sink into my childish obsessions and interests to try to hold the terrible anxiety at bay so I don't go mad from the stress and panic. This can go on for months until things calm down and I can reestablish routines. I know it is hard on my husband, as it must be for the women whose spouses are requiring so much mothering. I wish I knew what could be done to help with getting the stressors to quit shutting down executive functions in aspies :( 

Post your comment below. We want to hear your opinion too…

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

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