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rec ipes(55 Posts)
This is a support thread for people in AS/NT relationships: these are our tentative recipes for success. If you are looking for something else, please look elsewhere.
I'm enjoying reading all the posts because it's good (if sad) to know that other people have the same sorts of experiences and frustrations that I do and it's nearly impossible to explain it to people otherwise.
My dp likes the 'directors commentary' on when watching films and it occurred to me that maybe this is what he needs in life. There have been so many times when things have happened and we've all been together and he doesn't seem able to tell at the time if someone is being nasty or rude or hurtful ..... But later at home if I explain in excruciating detail he can sometimes see it then. I think he needs a director's commentary for life getting passed into a little secret earpiece and maybe then he would actually be able to offer support and I would feel like he 'had my back' instead of feeling like he's an extra child that I'm responsible for.
How did you manage to change your expectations and break the whole resentment cycle? Also how did you 'train' your DP? I feel like I've tried everything I can think of (books, counsellors loads of diff approaches) and I'm just left angry and resentful and feel like my choice is stay and be miserable or leave and start a whole new set of problems.
I am a lot happier than I was, in part because I am on ADs, in part because I have trained and continue to train my Aspie, and in part because I have relaxed more, lowered my expectations.
And as I have relaxed so has he and we are less in a blame culture and blame cycle, I am less resentful, and he is more thoughtful for my welfare. And some of that has come through this thread, where we laugh and vent.
One of the things we all say when we join this thread is " I thought I was in the wrong / was mad".
My DH used to tell me that I was not logical and imply it was a mixture of me and gender.
Thanks to CBT, he is now beginning to understand that there is a difference between logic and emotion. And DH now understands intellectually that logic should not always win hands down.
"It helped me, a lot, to tell dh he only had the slightest shadows of AS, and that Einstein, Bill Gates, and loads of other VERY VERY clever people were aspies. As a sweeping generalisation, all Cambridge mathematicians are said to be somewhere on the spectrum. And that's just the mathmos. So flattery gets you everywhere in this game. We're not talking deficits here. Oh no. Special abilities and difference.
(And I do actually mean that, even though I moan and suffer.)"
"Have you got the Tony Attwood book "The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome"? Because that is very positive about the way AS is actually a good thing in a lot of ways - being able to focus very persistently on one thing (special interest) and therefore make breakthroughs which us NTs could never do, cos we'd be chatting and flirting and lolling around cuddling..."
"In so many ways he is so AS, but at others, he seems so NT. Someone I know described it well pointing out that when he is "out there" at work or whatever, he knows how he is supposed to behave and he does it very well. At home, where things are based much more on the emotions (parenting and relationships) it raises all the things that are much harder for him. Also, it is the same for all of us to some extent, that within the safe environment of our families and homes we are free to express the worst of ourselves. Sadly."
"re parenting with an aspie man...choose fantastic godparents, not his nerdy friends or rellies. You'll need them to discuss the dc's problems and possibly more important, celebrate their triumphs. If you're not religious, the Humanist Society does stuff about secular equivalents. Oh how I wish we had got the godparents right. Tell prospective candidates that you will really need them, and they will need to know about AS, ideally."
"Yes, to choosing godparents or non-religious equivalents. They WILL be needed.
I would also recommend building a network of friends and relatives who you get to know really really well. It is so easy to become isolated from friends and relatives with an aspie dh, and yet you need them more than anyone."
"Re thoughts of suicide...those are automatic thoughts, which are a SYMPTOM of the stress you have been under.
You are right that it is as if they are nothing to do with you, because in a sense they aren't. They are just thoughts, which are there to tell you something is wrong and you are in need.
When I get those thoughts now, I take it as a sign that I need to address my state of mind somehow. Usually this means talking to the little scared me inside and giving it comfort, but there are other tactics too....like saying the thoughts out loud in silly voices to take their power away, etc. I no longer think to myself, 'Dear God, am I suicidal over this rubbish? I must be a right nutter.'
You are under enormous stress in a difficult and somewhat emotionally unsupportive environment, so being able to give yourself (or at least find) comfort and reassurance is very important."
"Totally 'get' your feeling of fear over finances. Then thinking you can see a way through but then imagining the convo you are going to have with dh and realising he will have a completely different view, and you KNOW there is no way he will listen so you might as well not even start the convo - and then you begin to question EVERTHING in your life - like I might as well be mute and never say another word to dh, and what use am I to ANYONE for that matter, and then I might as well be dead Such a horrible spiral downwards.
So, when those thoughts even begin - like the fear over finances - first breathe. Deeply and calmly.
Nurture yourself - for me I have to remind myself to eat good healthy food, (and regular meal times)
Get outside for fresh air.
Indulge in just sitting listening to calm music.
Maybe reading something light and absorbing but not challenging.
Look after yourself as you would an ill relative. Don't let your inner voice tell you you are wasting time - it is essential you look after yourself.
I like the mantra someone on this site came up with - Cherish and Protect yourself.
Another tip - put a smile on your face even if it is completely fake. Apparently your brain can't tell the difference between a happy smile and a fake one - and just making 'a smile face' tricks your brain into thinking you are happy. Works for me
"Remember that the human spirit is resilient.
And who was it who said that one needed three nice things , one immediately and the other two to think about doing?
Or my nun friend who says that faced with an insoluble problem you need a cup of tea and piece of cake. The problem doesn't change but your attitude to it does.
Or Dorothy Sayers " facts are like cows. If you look ay them in the face they run away ". They don't, exactly, but the fear of them does.
Start where you are
Use what you have
Do what you can
"when you hear hoofbeats assume horses not zebras"
Over the Edge book
With the Over The Edge book, I read it a few years ago and I think a lot of what I really liked was the feeling of being validated and having my experiences affirmed when for so many years it seemed that I was seen as the one causing the problems (i know it's not quite that straight forward but hopefully you know what I mean!).
There certainly wasn't any sense of easy answers but for me I liked something about the book more than others of a similar nature which I've read.
"I am in the process of reclaiming my life and re-discovering my own identity again - and the author of Over The Edge is adamant that this is essential to remaining sane in an Aspie/NT marriage. Who we are is only defined by our relationships with others - so if the partner is an emotional black hole, and not interacting with us in any meaningful way, then we have no way of maintaining our own identity. That to me sums it up very eloquently.
So, in recent months as I have distanced myself emotionally from dh, and concentrated on forming new friendships, I have begun to re-establish a new identity of myself.
The book suggests that dc too will have difficulty establishing an identity of themselves as a result of their father's emotional remoteness - and impacts directly on their ability to have successful relaltionships. I have suspected this but the book spells it out very clearly."
"It is interesting because I think my husband is this kind of 'borderline case'. He is not so severe that he doesn't know how to act...it is that it is SUCH HARD WORK for him and causes him such anxiety. It is a very stressful life for him. And therefore me, because I have to do so much sweeping up and managing.
I said to him that in order to be able to support our son, we all need to chill out and be happier and more relaxed and support each other. I don't know if he really understood what I meant although he nodded his head. I fear he didn't realise that I meant he should not focus on work so much but should make more space for us in order to 'give'. That is quite a big ask at the moment.
We'll see. I've decided not to try to work so much next year and just bumble along, despite having a career that I love. They all just need me too much."
"My husbands AS diagnosis is fairly recent & some things have become easier for him to deal with/understand with regards to how it effects HIM and a lot of things have fallen into place. But he is finding it hard to grasp that his disorder/wiring (still struggling to find the correct word to use...) has a massive impact on the family too. I have read so many articles, forum pages etc & am gaining knowledge all the time, but, my husband refuses to read anything about it. He finds excuses not to do it... not enough hours in the day, etc.
I`m feeling as if I`m the only one who is trying to find ways to cope & communicate better.
We argue and I feel like a bitch who is pissed off with someone with no legs for not being able to walk.
He really has no idea the amount of allowence that I make for him & just how much organising I do to make family life run relatively smoothly. I am so worried how this will affect the children, and my own mental well being .His not hearing/understanding me is a massive trigger for me due to childhood issues."
"I am feeling very low and sad right now. I grew up with an AS dad and then have spent many years with my AS DH often thinking that I am going mad. Carrying the burden of keeping things going and as reasonably normal as possible. When it began to slowly dawn on me in my mid 40s that I had lived most of my life this way,that there was a label to describe my DF and DH and also the way it affects me,I at first felt a huge liberating relief. Not now.
Now I just want to get away from it all. The placating, being the motor engine behind every aspect of our lives. Covering up and smoothing over. Having no shared projects. No team work. I think I have had enough. Has anybody either found a real way forwards? Or,has anybody escaped?"
"DH has gone away for a few days. I felt huge relief when he left. I also had a slightly consoling idea. For years I have thought That I must be partly to 'blame' for the way my life has turned out. That I must have 'chosen' to be with DH,I must have known deep down how he was and have somehow wanted this life. But, it really interested to read some of the threads about Nigella Lawson recently. Many people suggested that she went into a relationship with Saatchi because of a vulnerability in her arising from her relationship with her mother and other troubles. But some other people pointed out that anybody can find themselves in damaging and difficult relationships. Even really strong and balanced people. Telling yourself that you must in part take responsibility for being in that situation is a type of victim blaming.
This thought has helped me recently. I had been beating myself up for years about our relationship. First of all before I knew what the problem was there was years of trying and trying to find the magic formula to make things go right. Then when I found out what was wrong it seemed partly a judgement on me. Of course I have ended up with this person who I will never truly connect with, I am such a fuck up I don't deserve anything more. Now, I wonder if it was just bad luck? Everybody has bad luck to deal with in their lives. Serious illness,financial troubles. This is my burden but I did not ask for it in any way. We are so used to the idea that our lives are our 'choices'. Is that always true? Sometimes crap happens. That's all."
"I have to admit, my husband has been (mostly) brilliant with all the Baby stuff, nappy, puke etc. And seems to be great in Emergency situations. He was in scouts when he was younger & I think he some how finds calm and is able to follow the "what to do in an emergency" rules. He was present at both our babies births, the second a home birth.
I cant say hes so good with the off the cuff changes of plans small children throw up though. And struggles to get that they change so quickly & what worked last week probably wont work this week.
Hes fine if you ask him to do one thing at a time only."
"As with every change in our years together it will be me who will have to think it,plan it and put it into place. The best I can hope for is that he will say that he won't prevent it. That is another dimension to my self pity right now. I will never have a partner who enthusiastically says ' let's.....' or even 'that's an exciting idea .....' but you have reminded me what my DHs role is. He has earned the money which will pay for whatever it is we do next. Count my blessings, count my blessings..."
"Lots and lots of research later I think I have found the ideal location. No response. The most he will say is that he won't stop me. If I did nothing he would just stay put in this house with everything in it the same forever and ever until we die."
"Tbh I think we have to get out of a mindset of what a marriage is, because expectation will always fall short, and not only as/NT ones. I think it's a question of trying to find a long term relationship on terms that are reasonably acceptable, and where you would on balance be more miserable and cause more misery if you were not in it.
That sounds lowest common denominator, doesn't it?
But I do think for me that a) if love of your life appears, take him and run; but b) otherwise jettison expectation and be grateful for little things. "
Stuff we need to know:
"things I'd like help with are:
- How to ask without nagging
- How to communicate my displeasure without him feeling attacked.
- How to encourage him to touch me.
- How to get him to see that it's in his interests to accommodate my NT needs too"
"I do understand why that practical sorting out stuff is hard for them. What I don't understand is the reaction if someone else manages to do it. Instead of: 'thanks for doing that,I find it hard to clear out the shed but it looks a lot better.' Or, ' you've cleared out the shed so I'll cook dinner.' what I will get is DH watching me do it, saying nothing at all. If pushed he will say he doesn't know why I bother as it doesn't really need doing ( along with all cooking,cleaning,laundry,decorating and gardening which don't need doing)"
"We had an AS dog sitter today. She is a highly intelligent thoughtful person given to self reflection. She said that making human contact is awful, that it is like going into a lion's den, and she found me condescending which she didn't attribute to the age gap between us. ( I may have been, I thought I was just making platitudinous small talk.)
She also said she had relatively few opinions about most things but where she was interested, she became very interested and then had opinions and was unlikely to be swayed by anyone else as she had probably thought about things and probably knew more than the interlocutor.
I would love to ask her along to a seminar, to explain how it feels.
V thought provoking.
On the lack of small talk, I have trained DH to make small talk in social situations. He just regards it as inessential to behave as well to me as he would to guests. And sees that as an indication of intimacy. Whereas I see it as discourtesy."
"DP and I have had some interesting discussions about clearing up. Part of his AS is a problem with his visual field so it can be very hard for him to identify things separate from the background and when somewhere is disorganised this is even worse. One example from when he worked in bookshops was when he was reshelving magazines at the end of the day. He found it incredibly hard to find where they belonged on the shelf but if a colleague pointed it out it would suddenly become visible and obvious.
I think he often sees a pile of chaos and has no idea where to start. Sometimes we work together to clear up his flat and I make a framework like starting with picking up everything from the floor (his usual place to file anything).
I have to keep reminding myself that there is a big AS factor, not just natural laziness or expecting someone else to do the grunt work (just a normal male dose of those things [wry smile])."
"My Dh never argues but clearly feels very frustrated when my pov is different from his and I am 'getting away with it' again.
On my pov, I would love him to say what he thinks! I would much prefer to know about it so we can find a compromise, something that would work both for me and for him. Downside: I will argue my point and I know he finds that extremely difficult. What I see as a 'discussion' where we explain our pov and the reasons why, he sees it as a 'confrontation' that he can't cope with!
I can see how what your dog sitter said would apply to DH. Things that aren't of any interest to him means that he has no opinion on them. Which is perfectly fine. After all, why should we all have an opinion on things we aren't interested in/don't know about? The issue I have is when this extends to parenting/issues with the dcs/how to budget our money because I do need his pov so that we can all pull in the same direction. And truth to be told, these are also things that WILL have a big influence on him so it's only fair he is involved iyswim?"
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