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

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

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....

Post your comment below…

Why People on the Autism Spectrum Are Confused by Neurotypicals

Individuals with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) see the world from a different point of view. They think that NT or “neurotypical” people (i.e., those without an autism spectrum disorder) speak in riddles (e.g., Why use non-verbal signs like body language instead of just telling something like it is? Why don’t they say what they mean? Why are relationships so messy? How come they are not interested in details like me?).

People on the autism spectrum think their world is more logical then NT’s. They have to adjust to NT’s “strange” way of relating to each other and ways of communication. It’s very hard for them to adjust to something so far off from logic. Most of the time, they are truly unable to do so.


People with AS and HFA usually have three basic impairments: (1) communication (both verbal and non-verbal), (2) social imagination (combined with inflexible thinking and repetitive behavior), and (3) social interaction (e.g., being unable to make and keep friends).

These are the most obvious symptoms of the disorder, and they ALWAYS occur together. There is no random combination possible; one can’t be there without the others. These three impairments have a huge impact on every aspect of life when one is diagnosed with AS or HFA, and they all relate to an overly-logical brain (as opposed to a brain that is more in-tune with emotions and relationships).

The brain is not a single-working organism. It has different parts to it, with each part controlling different parts of the body, thought, and emotions. We have a higher thought plane than other animals due to the development of the “neocortex,” which is responsible for problem solving, conscious thought, and language. Before this area of the brain developed, we were like every other type of animal, acting mostly on instinct instead of logic.

Before the neocortex, there was the mammalian part of your brain, which acted on emotions, feelings, and instinct (i.e., the “emotional brain”). This part of the brain is responsible for attraction to beauty, preparing your body to deal with fears and dangers, etc.


Then there is the social brain. This part of the brain is responsible for the following:
  • evaluating human voices
  • assigning the emotional value of different stimuli (e.g., deciding when something is disgusting) 
  • attaching an incoming signal with an emotional value
  • deciding whether a social signal really matters
  • deciphering prosody, the additional tones and ways that people add layers of meaning to their spoken words
  • generating an initial emotional response to social stimuli (e.g., Should someone’s tone really impact me as much as it does? What does someone’s look really mean, and am I overreacting?)
  • generating reactions in response to different situations
  • helping control basic visual information
  • helping us notice where someone else is looking
  • selecting which of the myriad incoming social signals are the most important
  • allowing us to observe other human bodies
  • allowing us to know when incoming social signals are rewarding
  • helping us to not just listen to what people say, but HOW it is said
  • observing minute details of facial expression and body language
  • perceiving important social cues
  • regulating strong human emotions




In a way, you can say that people with AS and HFA have an overly-developed rational brain, and an under-developed social brain.


People with an overly-logical brain (think of Spock from Star Trek) often have the following traits:
  • appear to only be concerned with their own needs and wants
  • experience a delay in the development of the idea that the self is equal in importance to that of others
  • have difficulty understanding that others have their own mind, point of view, feelings, and priorities
  • problems attributing mental states to others or to be able to describe what others might be feeling in a given situation (the ability to guess others’ states of mind is related to one’s ability to effectively practice introspection on one’s own)
  • the inability to guess others’ mental states often results in (a) “social mistakes” (e.g., unintentionally saying something highly offensive), and (b) attributing negative intentions in others that aren’t there
  • a lack of developed private self-consciousness, which is a predictor of paranoia (the ability to know one’s self in some way relates to the skill in attributing feelings and motivations to others)
  • will take statements by others in a more concrete and literal fashion
  • they have to work harder than NTs at theorizing what others are experiencing
  • are more concerned with facts, figures, and data than relating to people
  • they need more time than others to understand social subtleties in language (e.g., irony, sarcasm, some forms of humor)
  • difficulty linking behavior of others to their inner feelings, and as a result, can’t understand or predict someone’s behavior 
  • difficulty linking their own behavior to the feelings of others, thus they are unable to anticipate or predict such a response

The overly-logical brain and the absence of the ability to intuit what others may think or feel, what motivates them, how they’re likely to respond in certain situations, etc. may be the root of most difficulties people with AS and HFA have in communication and social interaction.

When attempting to relate better to people with an AS or HFA brain:
  • put more weight on words or actions
  • put less weight on body language, facial expressions, and physical appearances
  • don’t put them in a position where they have to decipher hints, innuendos, subtext, or passive-aggressive behavior – instead, use plain speech
  • don’t assume that their lack of normal eye contact means that they are sneaky, lying, or undependable
  • talk about what you “think” about a particular topic, rather than how to “feel” about it (e.g., “I think a conservative political viewpoint contributes to the individual becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on government” … instead of, “How do feel about conservatism”).

COMMENT: 

The NT world is actually perfectly logical, if you can accept that communication is not just I say something and you hear it. It is actually even more logical, like chess -- If I say this, you will hear it as this, so I should adjust and say this, so you will hear it better as this, and then you will react in this fashion, so I will feel this way... It's a dysfunction that they are blaming on other people. What aspies should be taught to understand is that complexity is a further exercise in logic. Understanding context and emotion and action-reaction are skills that underpin most normal human interaction, and if lacking in such skill, that's a dysfunction or underdevelopment of empathy. 

Understanding Emotions-blindness in Your Autistic Spouse

Emotions-blindness can be described as a deficit in understanding, processing, or describing emotions, and is defined by (a) difficulty identifying emotions and distinguishing between emotions and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal and (b) difficulty explaining emotions to other people.

There are 2 kinds of emotions-blindness: (1) primary (i.e., an enduring psychological trait that does not alter over time, and (2) secondary (i.e., is state-dependent and disappears after the evoking stressful situation has changed.

Typical limitations that result from emotions-blindness include:

  • very logical and realistic dreams (e.g., going to the store or eating a meal)
  • problems identifying, describing, and working with one's own emotions 
  • oriented toward things rather than people
  • may treat themselves as robots
  • lack of understanding of the emotions of others
  • lack imagination, intuition, empathy, and drive-fulfillment fantasy, especially in relation to objects
  • few dreams or fantasies due to restricted imagination
  • difficulty distinguishing between emotions and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal
  • confusion of physical sensations often associated with emotions
  • concrete, realistic, logical thinking, often to the exclusion of emotional responses to problems


Emotions-blindness creates interpersonal problems because these individuals avoid emotionally close relationships – or if they do form relationships with others, they tend to position themselves as either dependent, dominant, or impersonal (such that the relationship remains superficial).

Emotions-blindness frequently co-occurs with other disorders, with a representative prevalence of:

• 85% in autism spectrum disorders
• 63% in anorexia nervosa
• 56% in bulimia
• 50% in substance abusers
• 45% in major depressive disorder
• 40% in post-traumatic stress disorder
• 34% in panic disorder

Emotions-blindness also occurs in people with traumatic brain injury.
 
A second issue related to emotions-blindness involves the inability to identify and modulate strong emotions (e.g., sadness or anger), which leaves the autistic person prone to sudden outbursts, such rage. The inability to express emotions using words may also predispose the person to use physical acts to articulate the mood and release the emotional energy.

Many adults on the autism spectrum report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. They may have difficulty resolving marital conflict due to poor social skills. The complexity and inconsistency of the social world can pose an extreme challenge for people with ASD.

 


 

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

How Alexithymia Affects Relationships: Tips for People with ASD

“Could you please go into greater detail regarding Alexithymia? I’m diagnosed with ASD and believe that I also have this comorbid condition.”

Alexithymia can be described as a deficit in understanding, processing, or describing emotions - and is defined by: (a) difficulty identifying emotions and distinguishing between emotions and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal; (b) difficulty describing emotions to other people; (c) constricted imaginal processes: and (d) a stimulus-bound, externally oriented cognitive style.

There are two kinds of alexithymia: (a) primary alexithymia, which is an enduring psychological trait that does not alter over time; and (b) secondary alexithymia, which is state-dependent and disappears after the evoking stressful situation has changed.


Typical aspects that result from Alexithymia can include:

  • very logical and realistic dreams
  • problems identifying, describing, and working with one's own emotions
  • oriented toward things rather than people
  • may treat themselves as robots
  • few dreams or fantasies due to restricted imagination
  • difficulty distinguishing between emotions and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal
  • confusion of physical sensations often associated with emotions
  • concrete, realistic, logical thinking, often to the exclusion of emotional responses to problems
  • lack of understanding of the emotions of others
  • lack intuition and empathy


Alexithymia creates interpersonal problems because the affected individual avoids emotionally close relationships, or if he does form relationships with others, he tends to position himself as either dependent, dominant, or “impersonal” (i.e., the relationship remains superficial).

Another issue related to Alexithymia involves the inability to identify and control strong emotions (e.g., sadness or anger), which leaves people with ASD prone to sudden emotional outbursts (e.g., rage, meltdowns). The inability to express emotions using a “feelings vocabulary” predisposes them to use physical acts to articulate the mood and release negative pent-up emotional energy.

Many people on the autism spectrum report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. The affected individual may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to low emotional intelligence and weak social skills. The complexity and inconsistency of the social world poses an extreme challenge, but the good news is that emotional competencies can be increased - and social skills can be learned. Finding a therapist who specializes in ASD can be helpful.

 



Resources for couples affected by ASD: 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

 


 

Having a Positive Attitude with ASD


"I am 25 years old and have recently found out I have aspergers syndrome (or ASD), although obviously I have felt different all my life. I was bullied incredibly badly at school, and there were times when I had to leave for a month or so. Besides the bullying, I had a very difficult upbringing with an alcoholic father who passed away when I was 19. Despite this, I have a good job as a teacher and have dreams and aspirations of becoming a psychologist. Aspies find life difficult, overwhelming and stressful, and my struggle with all the symptoms is daily, but that doesn't mean we can't live a long, happy, successful and fulfilling life, which I 100% plan to do."




A positive attitude is very refreshing. I wish more people on the autism spectrum had a positive outlook on life. And there's no good reason they shouldn't due to the fact that there are significantly more "positives" associated with Asperger's than negatives.

Here are just a few examples:

1. They possess unique global insights. Their ability to find novel connections among multidisciplinary facts and ideas allows them to create new and coherent insight that "neurotypicals" probably would not have reached without them.

2. They have the ability to make logical decisions. Their skill at making rational decisions and sticking to their course of action without being swayed by impulse or emotional reactions allows them to navigate successfully through difficult circumstances without being pulled off course.

3. They possess an internal motivation rather than being swayed by social convention, other people's opinions, or social pressure. They can hold firm to their own purpose. And their unique ideas can flourish, despite the critics.
 

4. They are independent thinkers. Their willingness to consider unpopular or unusual possibilities generates new options and opportunities and can lead the way for others.

5. They can be highly focused. Their ability to concentrate on one objective over long periods of time without becoming distracted allows them to accomplish difficult tasks.

6. They have the ability to cut through the bullshit. Their ability to recognize and speak the truth that is being "conveniently" ignored by other people is crucial to the success of a project or endeavor.

7. They pay close attention to detail. Their ability to remember and process minute details without getting side-tracked or weighed down gives them a distinct advantage when solving complicated problems.

8. They tend to be 3-dimensional thinkers. Their ability to utilize 3-dimensional visioning gives them a unique perspective when creating solutions.

And this just scratches the surface. In addition to the positives listed above, people on the autism spectrum also have these attributes:
  • an ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision
  • are not tied to social expectations
  • excellent rote memory 
  • have terrific memories
  • higher fluid intelligence (i.e., the ability to find meaning in confusion and to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge) 
  • higher than average IQ in many cases
  • highly gifted in one or more areas (e.g., math, music, engineering)
  • less materialistic than the general population
  • passionate about their special interests
  • play fewer head games than most people
  • rarely judge others
  • tend to live in the moment
  • are very honest and loyal

People with ASD are unique individuals who carry a host of skills and attributes that have the potential to become powerful tools to self-empowerment. As with everyone of us, what they focus on will become their reality. 
 
So, if they focus on fixing their deficits, more deficits seem to show up in their life. If, on the other hand, they focus on their special skills, more of these skills begin to appear. This is why a positive attitude is so very important. A positive attitude literally drives your destiny!

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]

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Happy Holidays, Mark Hutten, M.A.


Resources: 

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

Signs That Your ASD Partner is Approaching “Meltdown”

“My partner [with ASD] will periodically ‘meltdown’. And I would like to know what to look for ahead of time to possibly prevent these from happening, because once he starts ‘losing it’, it’s hard to put that Genie back in the bottle.”

 

A true meltdown is an intense emotional and behavioral response to “over-stimulation” (a form of distress for the individual). Meltdowns are triggered by a fight-or-flight response, which releases adrenaline into the blood stream, creating heightened anxiety and causing the person with autism spectrum disorder to switch to an instinctual survival mode.
 

Common Features of Meltdowns—

  • transitions may trigger a meltdown
  • novel situations or sudden change can elicit a meltdown
  • meltdowns are time-limited
  • meltdowns are due to overwhelming stimulation
  • meltdowns are caused by sensory or mental overload, sometime in conjunction with each other
  • meltdowns are a reaction to severe stress, although the stress may not be readily apparent to an observer
  • cognitive dysfunction, perceptual distortion, and narrowing of sensory experience are associated with meltdowns
  • people in the middle of a meltdown will likely become hypo-sensitive or hyper-sensitive to pain
  • after the meltdown, there may be intense feelings of shame, remorse or humiliation, and a fear that relationships have been harmed beyond repair


Causes of Meltdown—

  • the individual does not receive understandable answers to questions
  • he or she is taken by surprise
  • is given too many choices
  • is given open-ended or vaguely defined tasks
  • has a sensory overload
  • does not understand the reason for sudden change


Warning Signs of Meltdowns—

  • stuttering or showing pressured speech
  • repeating words or phrases over and over
  • perseverating on one topic
  • pacing back in forth or in circles
  • increasing self-stimulatory behaviors (e.g., wringing of hands)
  • extreme resistance to disengaging from a ritual or routine
  • experiencing difficulty answering questions (cognitive breakdown)
  • becoming mute
  • becoming very quiet and shutting down
  • becoming defensive, argumentative, blaming, critical, etc.
  • yelling, cussing



It's important for NT partners to realize that the level of stress in the ASD individual is directly correlated with the amount of data that needs to be processed – and the amount of data that needs to be processed is directly correlated to how much sensory data is picked up and the complexity of the person's personal planning. A logical and consistent structure often helps these individuals.

 

Resources for couples affected by ASD: 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

What To Do When Your ASD Spouse Fails To Empathize

“My boyfriend with ASD [level 1] seems to have no empathy for others and can be so callous at times. It's very hard to have a conversation with him if it's not something he agrees with. If I have a different view on the matter, it always turns into an argument. Don't get me wrong ... I'm happy to compromise, but it works both ways -- and I do admit when I'm wrong. When he is clearly in the wrong (because there are times when I produce evidence to prove it), I get no apology from him for being rude to me, or even an admission that I was right. What do you do with an Aspie man who simply fails to empathize on any level?"

The lack of displayed empathy is perhaps the most problematic characteristic of ASD. I use the term “displayed empathy” because it’s not that people on the autism spectrum have no empathy. Instead, they often “give the impression” that they do not care about their partner/wife. This is partially due to “mind-blindness” (more on this topic can be found here) than with their inability or unwillingness to show compassion for others.

Having said that, this trait does not give them license to be rude and unapologetic. Partners/wives need to stand up for themselves and call their man out whenever he is being unfair or disrespectful!

People with ASD experience difficulties in the basics of social interaction, which includes: difficulty developing close friendships, failure to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others, impaired nonverbal behaviors (e.g., eye contact, facial expression, posture, gesture, etc.), and lack of social or emotional reciprocity (i.e., the give-and-take of interpersonal relationships).

The cognitive ability of people with ASD allows them to articulate social norms in a "laboratory" context (i.e., they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other’s emotions). But, they typically have problems acting on this knowledge in fluctuating, real-life situations.



It's not uncommon for men on the autism spectrum to over-analyze and distill their observation of social interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines, and apply these rules in odd ways, which often results in a demeanor that seems rigid and socially inept.

Regarding your question, "What do you do with an Aspie man who simply fails to empathize on any level?"

Bear in mind that (a) your boyfriend does empathize, just not in a clearly observable manner, and (b) this fact does NOT get him off the hook. That is, I'm not saying, "Boys will be boys, so just get used to it." As stated earlier, whenever he is "callous" or "rude," mindblindness is no excuse. Mindblindness is NOT his choice, but being disrespectful IS his choice -- and needs to be confronted in an assertive way by you. Having said that, there are ways to "fight fair" (so to speak).
 


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




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There are a million misconceptions about HFA or Aspergers Syndrome. Being an exceptionally HFA, maybe I can explain some of these. Aspies emotions are turned way down, not off. It comes from the many years of emotions getting in the way of making evidence based decisions. Keep in mind that words are not evidence. They are only tools to convey a thought or process. Words are inherently empty until they are filled with truth. It's not that Aspies have little room for emotions. There just isn't any need for them. They just get in the way of competing tasks. Remove the emotions and accomplish the task more efficiently. Aspies don't have to do things their way if you can provide reasonable logic with proof that your way is better. Remember, words are only uncorroberated statements, not evidence. People say things all the time that have no value because non-Aspies often say things that aren't backed up by evidence. So, Aspies disregard words as empty meaningless jibberish.

 
MORE COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… *YUP* Very frustrating (and feeling of alone) to be on that side for years on end.
•    Anonymous said… Being the ASD partner, I may be that way, but it isn't malicious or intentional. I wish someone could explain that to my NT partner and him believe it. I may not express emotions very well, but I still feel them.  ­čĹŻ
•    Anonymous said… Every time I tried to have a conversation with my partner about anything, he turned into an argument. I felt like nothing I could say or do was good enough to him 
•    Anonymous said… exactly me also i said to her will take a bit of break to deal with things and she went and got married to someone else in april this year, so not only am i scared but the emotional pain and the distress is unbelievalbel
•    Anonymous said… i feel for you have a husband and a grandson like that
•    Anonymous said… I just let things like this go over my head, you can either let it stress you or decide life's too short and you know what no one is perfect. My aspie man is very untidy, argumentative and not demonstrative but he has the kindest heart I've ever known, would do anything for me and the kids and he puts up with me!!
•    Anonymous said… I know about "presenting evidence," too. My husband will state a "fact" that I know is untrue, but he won't believe me, so I love when there is something specific I can look up to "show" him I was right! Like the time he INSISTED that tea had more caffeine than regular coffee. If course, he didn't apologize, he just stopped arguing.
•    Anonymous said… Maybe try finding another man if you can't handle an Aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Most Aspies can't empathize. CAN'T. Their brain connections just don't work that way. The more you understand about how they think and feel the easier it is to accept their perceived shortcomings. I equate Aspi to logical Spock from Star Trek, there is little room for emotion is their lives. Once you can accept an Aspi for who they are and how their brain works, and they accept that you think and feel different, you will have an amazing, loyal partner.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter is 21 and has Asperger's. She's very empathetic.
•    Anonymous said… My situation was different, mine was a aspergus female and it breaks my heart there was always imaginery issues that she dreamt up all the time, in the long term i had a emotinal breakdown, it was so sad cause it was only her view and nobody elses view
•    Anonymous said… My son is 28 and always argues with me. I often put the phone down telling him to sod off. In a few days he will apologise and come round to my way of thinking. He needs that time away from me to process. He thinks completely round and through a subject. His partner is very easy going and that is where the success lies. It's no good if the irresistible force meets the immovable object. On the other hand like Sheldon, he is most often right.
•    Anonymous said… NO matter how much I tell mine to be more affectionate ..he can't seem to get romantic or affectionate.
•    Anonymous said… Not empathetic? I find that there is empathy....just not expressed the way neurotypicals expect. Run you over with conversation....yes....short terms memory requires that the aspie get it all out before he forgets his/her train of thought. None of this is easy for mom, dad, friend, partner to navigate. It's a challenge that can wear you done if you let it. Yet, I always find validity is his/her thinking if I stop and truly listen.
•    Anonymous said… you just have to learn to deal with it or leave... you can't change him! i've lived with one like that for almost 49 years but didn't know what the problem was until about 7 years ago... it's not easy!
•    Anonymous said… You poor thing. I went through the same with my aspie man. I am going through an emotional breakdown now because he left leaving me feel like everything was my bad though everything had to be his way  :-(
•    Anonymous said… You really touched my heart when you mentioned "presenting evidence" to prove your point in a disagreement. That is so very typical of our lives. Frankly, when I have situations in which he is immovable concerning something important (and I know it doesn't involve huge anxiety or sensory issues that are severe), I often come back with refusing to do something he likes and clearly state that I won't "Move" until he does. It ususally works.
•    Anonymous said…..and sometimes a jerk is just a jerk, Aspie or not..

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How to "Chit Chat": Tips for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Chit chat and small talk is often seen as meaningless conversation by adults with ASD [High-Functioning Autism]. But silence isn't necessarily golden. Sometimes it's just plain uncomfortable to find yourself with strangers and nothing to say.

Here are some tips for people on the spectrum who hate chit chat – but feel they should be more conversational (if for no other reason than simply being polite):

1. Be a good listener. You can give visual clues that you are listening. You can nod your head, lean in towards the speaker to let them know you are paying attention.

2. Be a warehouse of information. This entails reading a lot and watching many documentaries on television. But information does not have to be encyclopedic or boring. Read and learn about things you are interested in, but take time as well to learn about things you think other people would be interested in. Knowing a few good facts that other people can relate to is better for chit chat purposes than having a head full of information that makes the eyes of other people glaze over.

3. Care about the “vibe” more than the topic. A conversation is much more than an exchange of facts and ideas. It is an exchange of energy. What many people miss is that when you know how to make chit chat, it means you can create a positive exchange of energy. The topic is just an excuse, so it doesn’t have to be a deep topic. When you’re making chit chat, you want to focus more on being friendly and positive than on picking the right topic or saying the right things. Smile, relax, joke around, be spontaneous and be silly. Remember that your vibe comes mainly from your attitude.
 

4. Don’t get “stuck” on the trivial stuff. Keep in mind that chit chat is not a destination. It’s just a temporary station. If an interaction with a person goes well, do move the conversation to deeper and more personal topics. You can talk about topics (e.g., family and relationships, career plans, life goals, challenges, etc.). You now find yourself in a new land: the land of bigger chit chat. Ultimately, a strong bond between two people is created when they talk about the most meaningful things, in the most meaningful way. Knowing how to make chit chat is one of the key people skills to master. From there, if you also know how to have charisma and engage others in more intimate conversation, you can get outstanding results with people and you can build a highly fulfilling social life for yourself.

5. Don't melt-away from conversations. Make a graceful exit. Try and shake the hand of the person you've been talking to. Show appreciation by saying, "It was interesting hearing about your job."

6. Greet warmly and use names. Make sure if you don't remember someone's name to ask. And, be prepared to introduce people to each other. It's also important to smile and be the first to say hello.

7. Get a life. It’s easy to make chit chat when you have a lot of things to chat about. People who know how to make chit chat well have a rich inner - and especially outer - life. Conversation is for them just a matter of expressing that. It’s much harder to make chit chat well when all you do is work a repetitive job or play on the computer all day. A rich lifestyle creates content and it helps you engage others. If you don’t have one, it’s time to create it (e.g., read, travel, try new things, take on various hobbies, do some charity work, socialize, etc.).

8. Keep a diary. This will serve as a repository of any information you feel is worth collecting. Anecdotes, important pieces of facts, names of people you need to remember - anything can go in that diary. The point is to read through the diary to bone up on the information that you feel is important to remember.

9. Keep it meaningful. Making chit chat makes a lot of sense with people you’ve just met. Imagine asking a person you know for 30 seconds: “So, how’s you sex life?” That is way too intrusive! Chit chat on the other hand provides a method to ease into the discussion. When you make chit chat, the subjects may be superficial for comfort, but they should be subjects you care about and approach in a straightforward manner, staying away from clich├ęs. In this way, you can make the discussion meaningful for you – and for the other person. Focus on what is interesting as a topic and on what is real within you. You’ll make the talk fun even though you keep it small.

10. Learn to listen to what people around you are saying. Did your doctor just say he wants to go on vacation? Ask him when and where. Has your mother been telling you that she has back pains? Inquire whether they are getting worse. Did the cashier inform you that she is banking on being promoted soon? Congratulate her in advance. These are all opportunities to make chit chat, because you cared enough to listen to what they were telling you.
 

11. Make it a point to join groups of people anywhere just to make chit chat. Have you noticed that when many people are gathered together in one place, someone inevitably strikes up a conversation with another person there? Some people are quite shy though and leave it to other people to make the first move. That is okay, so long as you try to join in the conversation as well.

12. One of the best ways to learn about another person and help them feel as though you are interested in them is to ask questions and listen carefully to their responses. It may help you to prepare questions beforehand for the person you are meeting. Also, you can take a few minutes to learn something about the person you are going to meet before you meet.

13. Prepare for conversation. Before going anywhere, you need to make sure you have two or three things to talk about. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare. The worst time to think of what to say is when you actually have to say something. You can talk about current events or what you already know about the person. But you have to be prepared.

14. Show an interest and dig deeper. Everybody should avoid clich├ęd questions that merely lead to clich├ęd answers that no one really cares about. "How was your day?" is one. You'll never know how someone's day was unless you dig deeper. You could say, "What went on at work today?" That kind of question will bring a more detailed, thoughtful answer, and you can follow up with another question. You have to actually be interested in the other person to have a good conversation.

15. Stop being an advisor. There's a real temptation in the course of conversation to respond to someone with advice. Resist that temptation. No one asked for advice. They just want to be heard. You don't have to solve people's problems in your conversations.
 

16. Treat chit chat with strangers as a skill you want to master. That means you need to have plenty of opportunity to make mistakes. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. That means you are experimenting and learning. Eventually you will become better at making conversation with new people.

17. Try talking to yourself in the mirror. This allows you to practice your chit chat skills in private. You can then catch any bad habits that you have, like pursing your lips or licking your lips when you speak.

18. Try to overcome any feelings of shyness or lack of self-confidence by participating in more opportunities to do chit chat. There's no getting around it - you learn how to make chit chat by doing chit chat whenever and wherever you can.

19. Practice your chit chat skills on people you encounter in your daily life such as the gasoline attendant who fills your car tank with gasoline every week, or the bus driver who accepts your fare for the daily commute to the office. Practicing hones your chit chat skills so that when you have to attend that important community function you will find chit chat to be easier (if not second nature by then.)

20. Be patient with yourself as you learn the fine art of chit chat. Start very small with small talk. Then move on to bigger small talk.
 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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


Comments:

•    Anonymous…This was very helpful. I'm really glad I found this page :-) Very nice. This "Chit Chat" issue is probably the main one that I struggle with. Other than that life is pretty great......but if I'm stuck in a social situation with a room full of people anticipating "chit chat"...well, I'd rather sit in a room all by myself curled up with a book than to while away time listening to someone's adventures in "shoe shopping". But I suppose I need to work on this. The article was quite good though....thanks :-)


•    Anonymous… I just found the page & I cant tell u how good it feels to know why I am the way I am & being able to find tools to understand, deal, & adjust are priceless to me. I never understood why I saw chit chat as either pointless or nothing I'd actually want to do & SO very stressful @ the mere thought of having to "Make conversation" especially w strangers. Thanks for the page


•    Anonymous …I honestly don't want nor do I feel the need to work on my problems with social chit chat. I like the way I am, I am an original...and those who love me and know of my mild autism know that that is how I am and find my quirks quite awesome. I like being a breath of fresh air in a world where people thrive on talking about meaningless things to strangers. I personally see nothing wrong with being aloof and keeping to myself.


•    Tiredasf##k …As I type this my husband is not home tonight. I am absolutely sick to death of feeling like I don't matter. I work my ass off. I do everything for us. I get no appreciation no love no sex no anything. I'm so emotionally exhausted I've come down with pneumonia. I am so sick. I absolutely lost it today when he got a phone call from a buddy at 5am asking him for a ride to work. His friend starts at 6am he starts at 7am. He jumped up like a super hero and was ready to go in no time. I was awake and coughing violently the whole time... He never asked me if I was ok. He never asked me if I needed anything... But his buddy calls and he runs to the rescue. So at 6am while dizzy and coughing up a lung I'm letting the dogs out trying to make some tea and I got so dizzy I almost pass out. Maybe it's the medication or maybe I'm at a breaking point because I laid into him like I was at war. I went off. I mean what kind of person doesn't make sure their sick wife is OK before leaving over an hour early for work? Am I supposed to believe he is incapable when he runs to his friends aide? What about me? I find myself saying that ever so often!!! At the end of the day and one of the biggest fights ever (mostly because I lost it big time) he says he doesn't want to be with me and leaves lol. LOL!!!! He doesn't want to be with me. I'm the bad guy again!!! I've tried it all nothing works. No matter how much I love the man he will never make me feel good about being his wife. I'll always be his caretaker. How did this happen? It seems like over time he got worse. Like in the beginning it was not so bad but now he's in lala land 90% of the time. What man doesn't want sex!!!!! He's like a robot! I'm losing my mind and pretty sure he's looking into divorce. Part of me is glad. The other part... Wishes he could see this and understand that he could make little changes and give himself reminders so that he could be a good husband to me. Did I also mention he's on his 7th job this year? I've carried him every way a person can. Now I lay in bed, alone. Sick as hell!!!! And where is my support? Somewhere else thinking I'm an a hole. My husband told me when I met him I was like a bright light that shined into his darkness. Well, he room that light and left me in the dark. God hell me 


•    Unknown …I appreciate your attempt to help those of us with HFA and Asperger's but the sad truth is that it will most likely go underappreciated. I, for one, find chit chat to be meaningless. I can not hold a real conversation without an NT deciding my tone and context, so I don't see the point to put myself out there. I mean, it will just give them more opportunities to victimize themselves and make me into the bad guy...Sadly, to do any one of these things is putting in more effort than any NT would be willing to show. Why do Aspies have to be the accommodating ones? Why are *we* considered the different ones? Honestly, we are just more logical. We are more effortless. We are more conservative of the energy we have (choosing to expend our energy by furthering our knowledge). We are more knowledgeable about most things. So, again, WHY do we make adjustments for those who are unwilling to do the same? I've been posting stories and news articles on my Facebook page about how to communicate with someone with Aspergers and even the NT PARENTS of HFA & ASPIE people don't bother with it. Such a shame really... What we really need is an NT/Aspie dream team to come up with a blog about mutual effort for understanding eachother. Cuz honestly? Most NTs just aren't worth my time and energy. I have things to learn, theories to test and conclusions to draw using evidence. (Ooh. Yeah... the neurotypical judgement of others gets me going too.... I know I sound judgemental in this comment, but towards individuals I am not judgemental. Towards the majority of society: well, they think there is something "wrong" with me. I believe I am a pioneer for the people of tomorrow. Why else is ASD and HFA becoming a more prevalent diagnosis?)


•    unknown …Aspies clearly spend to much time with their own thoughts they have a brain that does not switch off. My partner of six years will insist on me siting close to him but only wants me to speak to him when am spoken too. General chit chat may turn into a falling out causing him distraction of his thoughts. If I am not with him he becomes obsessed with every move interaction hassles me, in half an hour I get several calls text. Its easier to avoid seeing people. I have become as lonely as him. For a quite existence and to prevent escalation of any violent outbursts to himself,me my children, strangers the general public, property. My physical health suffers I constantly have chest pains stiff shoulder and neck pain.

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