Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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

Recovery from Cassandra Syndrome - Renee's Story


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Renee S.

More resources:


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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



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

*    Anonymous said... I'm totally convinced that I'm suffering from Casandra's Syndrome. I'm really devastated, and I have started therapy in order to cope with my feelings. I feel isolation evwn when I'm with my partner. No one knows he's Asperger, just me. I've been dating him from 6 years and we have also moved together. I love him very much, but I just can't avoid feeling lonely and detached from my family and other people, since it is uncomfortable to me to meet and socialize with others when I'm with my partner. He's so "shy" and I'm always aware of him, is he ok? Is he having a good time? The worst of all is that find it extremely difficult to tell the way I feel to others because I have to explain a lot of things and it's tiring....I don't know what to do.. I don't want to hurt him by making him feel that I'm not truly happy by his side, just because I can't find the way to really bond with him.

How Mind-Blindness in ASD Affects Communication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

People with ASD and the Misunderstanding of How the Social-World Works

"Why is it that my husband [with ASD] never considers my point of view? He's always right - and I'm always irrational and overly-emotional [according to him]."

The individual with ASD has a neuro-cognitive disorder that affects many areas of functioning. This includes difficulty with the basic understanding of rules of society, especially if they are not obvious. Life has many of these “hidden” rules. Some are written, some are spoken, and some are learned through observation and intuition.

A person on the autism spectrum has difficulty understanding social cues, implied directions, and how to "read between the lines.” Instead, he learns facts. He does not "take in" all of what is happening around him that involves the rest of the world, only what directly impacts him.

Your ASD husband has probably had many conversations that have generally been about knowledge and facts, BUT NOT about feelings and interactions. As a result, he does not really know how the social-world works and what one is supposed to do in various “socially tricky” situations.

This can apply to even the smallest situations that you, his NT wife, may take for granted. Not knowing the unspoken rules of situations causes anxiety, which leads to many of the behavioral problems you witness as your husband tries to impose his own sense of order on a world he doesn't fully understand.

The ASD individual creates his own set of rules for everyday functioning to keep things from changing - and thereby minimize his anxiety. Sometimes, he just makes up the rules when it is convenient. Other times, he attempts to make them up by looking for patterns, rules, or the logic of a situation to make it less chaotic for him and more predictable and understandable.

If there are no rules for an event or situation, the ASD individual will create them from his own experiences based on what he has read, seen, or heard. He will often have a great deal of information to use in reaching his conclusions and forming his opinions. As a result, some of his conclusions are correct - and some are wrong.

Your husband will rarely consider your point of view if he does not consider you to be knowledgeable of the topic in question. If you can’t [or don’t] provide “facts” and evidence that back-up your opinion, your opinion will mean nothing to him. Therefore, he will argue with you about your opinions if different from his own. He thinks that his opinion is more logical, so he chooses his (this represents rigid thinking).

The person on the spectrum finds it difficult to be flexible and consider alternate views, especially if he has already reached a conclusion. New ideas can be difficult to accept ("I'd rather do it the way I've always done it"). Being forced to think differently can cause a lot of anxiety.

So, you must never over-estimate your husband’s understanding of a situation because of his high intellectual ability or his other strengths. He’s someone who has not fully figured out how the social-world works – and he could use a road map and the set of instructions (one example at a time) from YOU, his compassionate coach and wife.

More resources:


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

Why People with ASD Can Be Very STUBBORN!

“Why is my boyfriend [with ASD] so stubborn and closed-minded?”

Realizing that your boyfriend on the autism spectrum will not be a good observer of his own behavior is your first step in understanding him. ASD-like behavior is often a result of anxiety that accompanies mind-blindness.

On way for the person on the spectrum to reduce anxiety is to have rules, strict routines, and lots of structure in his life. This often appears to others as very rigid behavior. This rigidity is the most common reason for relationships problems.

Reasons for rigidity include the following:

  • anxiety about a current or upcoming event, no matter how trivial it might appear to you 
  • any violation of a rule or ritual (changing something from the way it is “supposed” to be)
  • immediate gratification of a need
  • misunderstanding or misinterpretation of other's actions
  • OCD
  • perfectionism 
  • sensory sensitivities
  • the need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity (e.g., chit chat)
  • need to control a situation
  • need to engage in or continue a preferred activity, usually an obsessive action or fantasy
  • transitioning from one activity to another (this is usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he is finished with it)

Understanding your boyfriend involves knowing the traits of the disorder - and how they manifest themselves in everyday behaviors. How does he view the world, think about things, and react to what is going on in his environment? 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> Online Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's

ASD [Level 1] and Associated (Comorbid) Conditions in Adults

“We’re in the process of having my husband assessed for ASD. We’ve had numerous problems in the past that have brought us to this point. The doctor said he believes my husband may have a few ‘comorbid’ conditions as well. What other conditions might there be?”

When someone has one or more conditions along with the main disorder, it is defined as comorbidity. High-Functioning Autism (previously called Asperger’s) is listed as an Autism Spectrum Disorder - and never travels alone! Nearly 100% of the time, the individual will have other issues that will need to be addressed.

Here are some of the common comorbid conditions associated with ASD [level 1]:

1.    Tourette’s syndrome is when an individual exhibits repetitive vocal or motor tics. Most people diagnosed with Tourette’s also have ASD.

2.    Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is common among those on the autism spectrum. In this case, the individual becomes overly-sensitive to various sensory stimulations (e.g., dislike of loud noises, easily irritated when dealing with unusual textures, avoids certain foods, etc.).

3.    Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a condition in which an individual displays an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and even hostile behavior toward others. The individual’s behavior can disrupt his normal daily activities within the family and at work.

4.    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is something that is found in most people on the autism spectrum. The person adheres to strict routines, and he likes to keep every particular object in one particular way - and when changed, he may get very distressed.

5.    Meltdowns are “tantrum-like” behaviors in many adults on the spectrum. Yelling, throwing things, or a complete shutdown (e.g., covering the face and becoming withdrawn) are common during a meltdown.

6.    Dyspraxia is when an individual is not able to coordinate or perform certain acts in spite of having the prior plan for it. This disorder is one reason why people with ASD have often been described as clumsy.

7.    Depression and anxiety are the two most common disorders found in an individual with ASD. Some have been known to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with their negative emotions.

8.    ADHD and ADD are very common comorbid conditions. Here the individual is unable to concentrate - or can be hyper-focused for lengthy periods of time on his "special interest" - and becomes impulsive to a great degree!


More resources:


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

Avoidant Personality: Why Your Spouse with ASD Can’t Handle Constructive Criticism

If your partner on the autism spectrum is offended whenever you wage a complaint or offer some advice, then he or she may have avoidant personality traits. Avoidant personality is characterized by a pattern of feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation. 
The individual is fearful of disapproval and social rejection. In many cases, this is the result of peer-rejection that occurred during childhood. Avoidant personality becomes a major component of this person’s overall character - and a central theme in how he or she relates to others.

ASD individuals with avoidant personality tend exhibit the following traits:

  • Avoids social situation and activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • Drinks before social situations in order to soothe nerves
  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
  • Has very low self-esteem due to a long history of making “social mistakes” (usually unintentionally)
  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing
  • Tends to be easily offended by even "neutral" comments from others (especially his/her spouse)
  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
  • Stays quiet or hides in the background in order to escape notice and avoid chit chat
  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
  • Has intense worry before an upcoming social event (e.g., a large family gathering)

For people on the autism spectrum with avoidant personality, evaluating for the presence of psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, drug/alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders) is extremely important. Also, because “anxiety tendencies” are often found in other family members, a family psychiatric history is beneficial. 


A cycle for the individual with avoidant tendencies looks like this:

==> low social/emotional intelligence due to ASD ==> results in poor social skills ==> results in social mistakes/failures ==> results in teasing, rejection, ridicule by others ==> results in avoiding social situations as much as possible


Quick tips for people with ASD & Avoidant Personality—

•    Work on your communication skills. Good relationships depend on clear, emotionally-intelligent communication. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others, learning the basic skills of emotional competency can help.

•    Take a social skills class or an assertiveness training class. These classes may be offered at your nearest community college.

•    Learn how to control the physical symptoms of social anxiety through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.

•    Get adequate sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more vulnerable to anxiety. Being well rested will help you stay calm in social situations.

•    Face the social situations you fear in a gradual, systematic way, rather than avoiding them.

•    Challenge negative, unhelpful thoughts that trigger and fuel social anxiety, replacing them with more balanced views.


More resources:


==> 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 & Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mark Hutten, M.A. [Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology]

Are you experiencing relationship difficulties with your partner or spouse who is on the autism spectrum (ASD)? Are you on the autism spectrum and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? Has separation or divorce crossed your mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? If so, then this is your opportunity to receive group therapy via Skype with me, Mark Hutten, M.A.

A MESSAGE FOR Neurotypical + ASD Couples:

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


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


*** ASD/NT Couples only ***   
Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 2/5/24 to 2/26/24 - OPEN  
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time)  
Members: Attend with or without your ASD partner
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and will need the videos-link sent to you via email.

*** NT Women only *** 
Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 1/8/24 to 1/29/24 - OPEN  
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time)  
Members: No ASD participants
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and will need the videos-link sent to you via email.


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

Got questions? Email:
Crucial information to get you started with healing your relationship:

More audio clips from Mark's workshops:


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

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



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Brief biography:

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

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

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

I'm currently providing (a) marital-counseling for neurodiverse couples, (b) life-coaching for individuals with ASD, and (c) parent-coaching for parents of children with ASD (more than 25+ years of experience). I have worked with hundreds of children and teens with Autism and Asperger's. I have also worked with hundreds of couples (married or otherwise) affected by autism spectrum disorders. I present workshops and run training courses for parents and professionals who deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and am a prolific author of articles, Blogs, and Ebooks on the subject.


One of hundreds of testimonials:

Dear Mark,

Hello. I just wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did for Alonso and I. We have had lots of bumps along the road and some very difficult and painful times. But we always come back to the toolbox you gave us, and with that, we find our way back to each other and a healthy way forward. I don't know how to put into words what it means to me, and what it has meant to our relationship, to know that there is a way out of the miscommunications or hurt or terrible empty spaces in our relationship. I don't know how to put into words the confidence and peace it gives us to know we have a toolbox, scripts to use, questions to ask, ways to talk, that always help us find our way, tools that get the fear and anxiety out of the way so we can actually understand each other. Even if it takes a few tries. Or many tries sometimes. But we don't live feeling like we are constantly slamming our heads against concrete walls. We don't live wondering if we'll ever be able to understand each other or if the fear and emptiness is all there is left. I am very honest when I say that if you hadn't helped us, I don't think we would have found our way back to each other and a way to make life work together, which would have broken all of our hearts. you have, without a doubt, been an instrument of God's goodness and mercy in our lives, and I am so profoundly grateful. Anyways, I wanted to let you know that what you did for us matters ,every day, and that we are so grateful. 

Most sincerely,

Why Your Spouse with ASD is Afraid of You

Your spouse on the autism spectrum may be afraid to discuss relationship difficulties with you. Why?

As you know, high-functioning autism is a “developmental” disorder, which means that developmentally, your spouse on the spectrum has a social-emotional brain that is under-developed
In other words, he is low in the social and emotional intelligence. This also means that his social and emotional needs are significantly lower than his NT wife’s needs.

So, when she wants to discuss relationship issues with her ASD spouse, she is, of course, going to be using her highly developed social and emotional intelligence as she tries to make her points.

However, the ASD husband is listening with a highly logical brain that is also low in social and emotional competency. Therefore, he is not “tracking” her important message. It’s like she is very fluent in German, but he just speaks a tiny bit of German. So, as she is talking, he’s only understanding and retaining about 10% of the total information – and he knows it!

The typical partner on the autism spectrum knows that he is not fully understanding what his NT wife is thinking and feeling – and this makes him feel stupid. The NT wife eventually realizes that her husband does not “get it.” 
She feels as though she has wasted her time and energy in trying to make him understand what she needs. So, she understandably complains that he doesn’t “get it” - and may even accuse him of “not caring” and/or “not listening.”

This complaint downloads in the autistic brain as criticism, disrespect and ridicule. This is why the man with ASD hates having difficult conversations with his wife. Now he feels stupid AND chastised. He thinks, “I don’t understand what she is saying or feeling, which makes me feel dumb, and then I get in trouble for being dumb.”

So, you can see why difficult conversations about relationship problems would be something he dreads. And when she says something along the lines of “WE NEED TO TALK” - his anxiety instantly increases as he forecasts yet another bad outcome [i.e., a heated argument that yields no solution].
Many men on the autism spectrum have reported that they are afraid of their NT wife. They know that when there has to be a discussion on relationship problems, they are not going to grasp her perspective very well, and they also know they’re going to be in trouble for not being able to grasp it.

Thus, most often, the ASD man will try to avoid these difficult conversations - and if that’s not possible, he will hurry up and agree to whatever she says purely to get the conversation over with as soon as possible, which instantly reduces his fear and associated anxiety.


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

Lying or Fantasizing in Your ASD Spouse - Which Is It?


"Mark, I've watched many of your videos but haven't seen one that addresses the lying. My husband verbally manufactures whatever he thinks makes him look good in any given situation. But I'm aware 50% of it, didn't actually happen. It's compensation and excuse and falsehoods to make himself look like he took action - when it's obvious he didn't."

People with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) often confuse their spouse/partner by the quantity/quality of their dishonesty and by the fact that the usual chastisement for “getting caught” dooen't change the behavior. It will be helpful for NT partners to think less in terms of “dishonesty” and more in terms of "fantasizing" (i.e., the ASD guy will say what he wants to be true, rather than what is really true).

Fantasizing that “looks like” lying happens for several reasons. Here are just a few:

1. The “partner-pleaser” factor: The HFA or AS spouse knows that the truth may make his partner angry, and he wants to please her. If he has done something wrong (e.g., due to impulsivity, compulsive behavior, self-protective behavior, language processing problems, etc.), he may try to make it right by telling his partner what he thinks she wants to hear.

2. The “lack of awareness” factor: The ASD guy simply doesn't know what is true. If he behaves impulsively, he may not have an awareness of what he has done. Also, if he has problems with language processing, he may not understand what was asked or expected.

3. The “confusing reality with fiction” factor: The ASD partner can’t distinguish between wishful thinking and reality. What is objective to the NT spouse may be subjective to him. If one truth is as good as another, he may select the one that seems (in his mind) to best fit the situation.

4. The “inability to predict cause-and-effect” factor: The HFA or AS partner can't forecast the outcomes of his behavior. To use a ridiculous example:

He throws a rock and breaks a window. His blameworthiness in the act seems clear-cut to you. However, if he has trouble with the relationship between cause-and-effect, he may not be able to make the connection between throwing a rock and breaking a window. In his mind, intentionality is a factor. In other words, if he didn't intend to do it, he didn't do it!

5. The “it’s true for me” factor: HE is telling “HIS” truth. Due to his disorder, he often experiences the world very differently as compared to you, the NT. But that does not make his experience “false.” If he persistently, frantically clings to an assertion that you feel is false (e.g., the water is too hot, this chore is too hard, talking about the relationship problems is too difficult, etc.), you should ask yourself if it might be only false to you.

6. The “anxiety” factor: The ASD man is stressed. If the NT knows that her man can't think calmly and clearly when stress levels are high, then she shouldn’t be surprised if she sees a lot of senseless, immovable dishonesty in that situation.

7. The “it’s my way to contribute to the conversation” factor: The person on the spectrum may be simply trying to join in the discussion. If he has limited life experiences or a limited emotions-vocabulary, he may want to have something to say, but no real contribution to make. Coming up with a tale (however imaginary or fabricated) may seem to him like the only way to participate.

If the HFA or AS individual has genuine “special needs” that leads him to tell “wishful half-truths” rather than the real truth, NTs should think carefully before handing out lectures and scolding for “dishonesty.” Of course, the ASD husband needs to know that he should be honest at all times, but if the dishonesty is not deliberate, chastisement teaches NOTHING!

When you catch your ASD partner being “dishonest” (in your mind), you should ask yourself if he is doing so with malice and intent. If not, you should try putting more honesty in your man’s fantasizing. Tell him what you think happened instead of demanding an explanation. If he says, "I don't know," then take that as an honest answer. Stay as composed and rational as possible when getting to the truth of the situation. Respect his reality, and be open to negotiation. Also, tell more truth than fiction yourself.

NOTE: Having said all of this, I’m NOT saying that people with ASD “never lie under any circumstances.”


Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> 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

How To Tell Your Partner That They May Have An Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comprehensive List of Strengths & Challenges

To the NTs: Pick the “strengths” that apply to your ASD partner, then use the suggestion in the video above to broach the topic of ASD. Also, pick which “challenges” listed below that apply as well.

Possible strengths of ASD:

•    Tendency to relate to and defend animals.
•    Tendency to be unconventional, open-minded, and tolerant.
•    Take an interest in arcane or off-beat fields of knowledge.
•    Strong work ethic; commitment to quality and accuracy of work.
•    Some special interests can be channeled into productive hobbies or even careers, where the person may be creative or make new discoveries.

•    Avoid wasting time in some activities that appeal to neurotypical people.
•    Average to very high intelligence.
•    Advocate for the underdog, victims of bullying or member of an oppressed group.
•    Accept quirkiness or imperfection in others, and become a loyal friend.
•    Ability to think in visual images.

•    Ability to perform repetitive tasks where accuracy, rules  and routine are important.
•    Some people may show a strong aptitude for a particular field of study or topic.
•    See through empty rhetoric or conventional pieties.
•    Relish life’s absurd, dark, or incongruous side.
•    Propensity to think outside the box and generate novel solutions to problems.

•    Propensity to express caring in non-traditional ways.
•    Play with language and create puns.
•    Persevere in the face of rejection, confusion or frustration.
•    Intensely responsive when made aware of injustice.
•    Good verbal skills; rich vocabulary.

•    Expend effort and energy to learn social skills that do not come naturally.
•    Enjoy sarcasm and satire.
•    Desire and tendency to follow rules.
•    Concentrate for long periods of time on reading, experimenting, writing,
•    Believe the best of everyone (sometimes naively).

•    Be self-motivated, independent learners.
•    Ability to notice small details of an idea, theory, number pattern, book, film, object or visual image.
•    Ability to absorb and retain large amounts of information, especially about topics of special interest.
•    Ability and tendency to tell the truth—even if it’s not tactful or in one’s self-interest.
•    Ability (in some cases a preference) for spending time alone.


Possible challenges of ASD:

•    Written expression.
•    Vulnerability to stress, sometimes escalating to psychological or emotional problems including low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
•    Using humor and sarcasm appropriately; understanding other people’s use of sarcasm and humor.
•    Understanding/accepting one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
•    Understanding the unwritten or implied social rules.

•    Understanding gradations of emotion; matching emotional response to people, activities and settings.
•    Understanding complex or abstract concepts.
•    Time management
•    Switching attention from one thing to another.
•    Sustaining attention to relevant information.

•    Seeing more than one way to accomplish a task/solve a problem.
•    Seeing “the forest for the trees.” Seeing the big picture due to a tendency to focus on the details of a given situation.
•    Recognizing what emotions feel like and look like in self and others.
•    Recognizing and understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions due to a tendency to ignore or misinterpret such cues as facial expression, body language  and vocal intonation.
•    Recognizing and protecting oneself from bullies.

•    Recognizing and categorizing information.
•    Feeling somehow different and disconnected from the rest of the world and not “fitting in” — sometimes called “Wrong Planet” Syndrome.
•    Fatigue due to sensory stimulation in certain environments.
•    Fatigue due to conscious mental processing of information that others might process intuitively.
•    Exhaustion due to easily-triggered nervous system (active “Fight or Flight” response).

•    Difficulties with sleep patterns.
•    Developing strategies to offset weaknesses and build on strengths.
•    Coping with changes in familiar routines.
•    Controlling flight or fight response when anxious.
•    Change may trigger anxiety, while familiar objects, settings, and routines offer reassurance. One result is difficulty transitioning from one activity to another: from one class to another, from work-time to lunch or from talking to listening.

•    Realizing there are exceptions to rules; tolerating when other people bend rules.
•    Processing social information quickly and efficiently.
•    Prioritizing, initiating, and completing tasks.
•    Perceiving and expressing one’s own feelings.
•    Organizing thoughts and materials.

•    Noticing and correctly interpreting other people’s nonverbal communication (gestures, body position, facial expression and tone of voice).
•    Motor planning (using the body to accomplish a task).
•    Modulating one’s own nonverbal communication.
•    Knowing where one’s body is in space; avoiding bumping into people or objects.
•    Knowing when one needs help; asking for help.
•    Knowing what to do or say in various social situations.

•    Intense, narrow, time-consuming personal interest(s) — sometimes eccentric in nature — that may result in social isolation, or interfere with the completion of everyday tasks.
•    Integrating multiple sensations and responding appropriately.
•    Initiating, joining, and maintaining conversation.
•    Generating novel or alternative solutions.

•    Generalizing skills from one setting to another.
•    Filtering out extraneous stimuli.
•    Being tactful; being able to tell “white lies.”
•    Aversion to or craving for certain types/intensities of sensory input. Extreme sensitivity — or relative insensitivity — to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or textures. Many people outgrow these sensory issues at least to some extent as they mature.

•    Auditory, visual, or intellectual processing, which can contribute to difficulties keeping up in a range of social settings.
•    Appearing awkward or rude, and unintentionally upset others.
•    Analyzing relevant vs. irrelevant information.
•    Accepting feedback, advice, suggestions or help from others.
•    Abstracting the main idea from text or conversation.

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> Videos to help you understand your partner on the autism spectrum... 

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