recipes fr cassole

(53 Posts)
apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:40:24

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. thanks

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:42:35

Part 1 of email from faas (families of adults affected by aspergers)

We suggest to everyone who contacts us to read Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, authored by Prof. Tony Attwood, Ph.D. Dr. Attwood's book will give you a clear understanding of Asperger's Syndrome in children in easy to understand wording and terms. Tony Attwood's latest books: The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, and Asperger's and Girls are informative as well.

Asperger's Syndrome (AS) has only been recognized in the USA since 1994. Because of this fact millions of families have fallen through the cracks of the medical, educational, judicial systems and the religious communities in the USA, and around the world. The USA at this time, is approximately five to seven years behind some other countries in its' understanding and knowledge of autism/AS.

A report that had been researched for three years in the UK was made public in 2002. The title: Taking Responsibility...Good practice guidelines for services - ADULTS with Asperger syndrome. This report is well worth taking the time to read. A summary of this marvelous report is also posted at the FAAAS website which you may print out.

AS is a neurological-biological-developmental disorder on the autistic spectrum. There is no cure. Both males and females are affected, however each gender may present differently. AS is usually an inherited disorder.

The earlier in life the correct diagnosis, the better the outcome because with special training and education and in certain circumstances medications, children now and in the future will have a much better chance than people in the past who grew into adulthood confused, misunderstood and without any support or assistance. Asperger's Syndrome can be a profound disability. Asperger's Syndrome is one of the 'invisible' disabilities..those who have AS 'look' fine...but they can be as disabled as someone with obvious physical disabilities.
FAAAS Inc's mission and goals concern the needs of the spouses and/or parents of ADULTS who have AS. Education, along with support and validation, is our focus.

At the FAAAS website: you will find information about the first book written and published by spouses and parents of AS adults, entitled The Book of FAAAS. This book was re-published with an expanded format in 2003 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK. The new title: Asperger's Syndrome and Adults: Is anyone Listening? Essays and Poems by Partners, Parents and Family Members of Adults with Asperger's Syndrome. You may order this book through the FAAAS website, simply click on the book link, then the link, or order from the publisher: or order from your local bookstore.

A book which was self-published by the author, Judith Newton, No Team Player...a neurotypical's life married to a man with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is available by contacting

A book published by the National Autistic Society in London, UK entitled, The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome, written by Maxine Aston, also Asperger's in Love, published by JKP.

The ADHD Autism Connection..a step toward more accurate diagnoses and effective treatment, by Diane M. Kennedy, published by WaterBrook Press is also good. This book may answer some of the questions families have regarding diagnoses.

Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships, by Ashley Stanford, published by JKP is very good. It is being suggested that reading this book AND the AS and Adults...Is Anyone Listening? for a FULL compliment of AS issues, and how this disorder affects relationships WITHIN the NT/AS family.

Other books we recommend: Solutions for Adults with Asperger's Syndrome...maximizing the benefits, minimizing the drawbacks to achieve success by Juanita Lovett, Ph.D., published by Fair Winds Press; Asperger's Syndrome and Sexuality...from adolescence through adulthood by Isabelle Henault, Ph.D.: Understanding the Nature of Autism and Asperger's Disorder by Edward R. Ritvo, MD., Counselling for Asperger Couples by Barrie Thompson, the last three books are published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK.

FAAAS Inc. presented our fourth international conference, October 8-9, 2005. The featured speakers for all of our conferences, Tony Attwood, Ph.D., Maxine Aston, and Isabelle Henault, Ph.D. The title of the FAAAS 2005 October conference, "Asperger's Syndrome, Relationships and Cassandra" The topics: Asperger's in love, sexuality in AS teenagers and adults; and Cassandra Affective Disorder aka Cassandra Phenomenon...the effects of undiagnosed and unrecognized AS behaviors upon family members who are not on the spectrum. The attendees were very pleased and impressed with the subject matter, and they were enthusiastic about the latest information regarding Asperger's Syndrome in adults from around the world, and also learning the information regarding Cassandra. Cassandra Phenomenon is now also known as OTRS/CP...Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome/Cassandra Phenomenon...a variant of PTSD.

FAAAS offered a workshop Nov. 6, 2010, co-sponsored with the NASW (National Assoc. of Social Workers) entitled: FAMILY MATTERS: Insight into Relationships and Asperger's. The format of this workshop was replicated in Australia, March 9, 2011.

If you have questions or you would like further information regarding AS in adults, or info regarding NT/AS relations, please reply to this email: faaas@faaas. part 2
FAAAS Is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We have posted PayPal at our website: for your convenience in assisting us in our efforts, and/or if possible, a mailed donation to the address listed above.

As you read in the above form letter, which is sent to everyone who contacts FAAAS from around the world, there is little info or support or assistance regarding AS in adults, or their families. It would be beneficial to read all of the articles and links posted to our website for a better understanding of this disorder in adults ...and how this disorder affects everyone in the family unit. Our info is geared towards adults with AS, or more precisely how the behaviors of undiagnosed AS in an adult affects others. Educating yourself with the correct information about AS behaviors is the first step in understanding Asperger's Syndrome.

My husband was diagnosed at a teaching hospital in Boston with AS and Tourette's Syndrome at age 69. Because there was no information in the USA in 1996 regarding AS and adults, and after we discovered information and support from the UK, we began FAAAS. We hope you will offer the FAAAS website: to other families who may be living with this disorder, also to medical professionals and educators.

Most adults with AS are opposed to getting any help for their disorder, as they do not think there is anything wrong with them...this is part of the 'syndrome' of Asperger's Syndrome. The diagnosis for AS is NOT difficult. A knowledgeable clinician could recognize this disorder in children and adults usually within an hour or less, as long as they also LISTEN to the spouse or parent carefully, and if they include an EQ (Emotional Quotient) test. Unfortunately, there are few clinicians in the USA who recognize this disorder in the adult population. There is much more to be learned about this disorder by the medical communities. The correct AS education and information regarding this disorder is key to finding appropriate support and assistance.

There was little research available re females and AS, however work in this area of autism/AS has recently begun in earnest including mood disorders, eating disorders, etc. Substance abuse is quite common in teenagers and adults who are undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed. Most people with AS do not have a mental illness...although if not diagnosed correctly, they can suffer with depression, anxieties, anger, etc. AS females can be highly manipulative within they usually have more social awareness than males. People with AS can be quite gullible, and are easily lead into 'bad' situations by acquaintances/'friends.' Adults with AS usually resist any change in their lives, and as you read above, the majority of AS individuals do not recognize the disorder in themselves...this is the major drawback for them getting support/assistance.

The education of AS using the correct information is KEY to understanding this disorder. We suggest to AS individuals and to their families to contact their local autism society, and/or a local teaching hospital, ask if they have evaluation services and support for AS adults...and their families. (The same applies to children who may be along the autistic spectrum...EARLY intervention is imperative.) AS individuals need support from a knowledgeable counselor for re-training of AS behaviors, if they are agreeable...and the NT partners/parents/siblings need a 'safe place' where they can discuss issues/problems of AS behaviors within the family unit, to discuss how other family members are affected by AS behaviors. Millions of families are realizing that their 'different' family member may be along the spectrum. We hope this information proves to be helpful. You are not alone, not anymore!
part 3
PS: A good book explaining AS to children: Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family, Jude Welton, JKP:
PPS: Jane, please send more information how AS has impacted your life. Email anytime...usually here. k

There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Elizabeth Wharton


Excerpt from Chapter 9...Mindblind...pages 133-135

For Richard Borcherds, having friends over for a visit is just too confusing. As people get to chattering away, he has trouble following the back-and-forth, the interplay of glances and smiles, the subtleties of innuendo and double entendre, the sea of words--all moving at too high velocity.

He is oblivious to the bluffs and deft feints of the social world. Later, if someone takes the time to explain to him the punch line of a joke, or why one guest stalked out in a huff or another blushed with embarrassment, it can make sense to him. But in the moment all this social haze goes over his head. So when guests come over, he often just reads a book or withdraws to his study.

Yet Borcherds is a genius, winner of the Fields Medal, the equivalent in mathematics of the Nobel Prize. His fellow mathematicians at Cambridge University hold him in awe, and most of them barely understand the specifics of his theories, so rarified is his field. Despite his social inabilities, Borcherds has found success.

When Borcherds commented in a newspaper interview that he suspected he might have Asperger's syndrome--the subclinical version of autism--Simon Baron-Cohen, head of the Autism Research Centre right here at Cambridge, contacted him. Baron-Cohen then described in great detail the hallmarks of the syndrome to Borcherds, whose matter-of-fact response was: "That's me." The math prodigy has offered himself up as Exhibit A in research on Asperger's.

For Borcherds, communication is purely functional: find out what you need from someone and forget the small talk, let alone telling them what you're feeling or finding out how they're doing. Borcherds shuns the telephone--though he can explain the physics of how it works, the social bit confuses him. He restricts his e-mail to the bare basics of work-related information. When he goes from place to place, he runs, even when someone else has been walking along with him. Though he realizes other people sometimes think him rude, he sees nothing odd in his social habits.

All of this, for Baron-Cohen, bespeaks a classic case of Asperger's, and when Borcherds took standard tests for the syndrome, he fit the profile well. The medal-winning whiz had a low score on being able to read people's feelings from their eyes, on empathy, and on intimacy in friendships. But, he scored on the very highest tiers on his understanding of physical causality and on being able to systematize complex information.

That picture--low on empathy, high on systemizing--is the underlying neural pattern in Asperger's, according to years of research by Baron-Cohen and many others. Despite his mathematical brilliance, Borcherds lack empathetic accuracy; he cannot sense what's going on in someone else's mind.

A cartoon shows a young boy and his father in a living room; a scary-looking creature from outer space crawls down the stairs out of sight of the father but visible to the son. In the caption, the father says, "I give up, Robert. What has two horns, one eye, and creeps?"

To get the joke we must be able to infer things that are unsaid. For one, we need to be familiar with the English language structure of a riddle, so we can deduce that the boy has asked his father, "What has two horns, one eye, and creeps?"

More to the point, we need to be able to read two minds, the boy's and the father's, to understand what the boy knows and contrast that with what the father does not yet realize, and so anticipate the shock with what the father does not yet realize, and so anticipate the shock he will soon feel. Freud proposed that all jokes juxtapose two different frames on reality; here, one frame is the alien on the stairs, and the other is the father's assumption his son is merely asking a riddle.

This ability to apprehend what seems to be going through someone else's mind is one of our most invaluable human skills. Neuroscientists call it "mindsight."

Mindsight amounts to peering into the mind of a person to sense their feelings and deduce their thoughts--the fundamental ability of empathic accuracy. While we can't actually read another person's mind, we do pick up enough clues from their face, voice, and eyes--reading between the lines of what they say and do--to make remarkably accurate inferences.

If we lack this simple sense, we are at a loss in loving, caring, cooperating--not to mention competing or negotiating--and awkward in even the least taxing social encounter. Without mindsight our relationships would be hollow; we would relate to other people as though they were objects, without feelings, or thoughts of their own--the predicament of people with Asperger's syndrome or autism. We would be "mindblind."

Mindsight develops steadily over the first several years of a child's life. Each landmark in the development of empathy moves a child closer to the understanding how other people are feeling or thinking or what their intentions might be. Mindsight dawns in stages as a child matures, starting with the simplest self-recognition and developing into sophisticated social awareness ("I know that you know that she likes him".....".

part 4

Counselling for Asperger Couples, Barrie Thompson, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK, 2008.

Pages 54-55.
Stage Four: Acknowledging Different Perspectives

"Cassandra phenomenon
I want to conclude this chapter by giving some recognition to a debilitating condition that can be experienced by the spouses of people with AS (often at the hands of family members, friends and colleagues), that is referred to as the Cassandra phenomenon. I think the following quote from the Families of Adults Affected by Asperger Syndrome (FAAAS) website ( aptly explains the naming of this syndrome.

I ended up feeling that no one would listen to me and came up with a name for the 'syndrome' that affects the non-AS spouse: The CASSANDRA PHENOMENON, Cassandra being the Greek mythological character who was given the gift of prophecy, but also the curse of having no one believe her even though she was right! (Anonymous, Massachusetts, 1999).

It is usually both a blessing and a relief when an NT spouse learns about AS (perhaps from a magazine article or a TV programme) and feels she now has an explanation for her husband's unusual behaviours. But it is demoralizing and extremely frustrating if the AS husband rejects her theory out of hand. Imagine then, as a next step the NT spouse seeks support from the extended family; 'Perhaps mum-in-law might be able to give me some childhood history of my husband?' She optomistically thinks this might help, only to be told quite firmly, 'There's nothing wrong with my son, I suggest you look a bit closer to home!' Not only have the NT spouse's hopes been dashed with regard to gaining support from her mother-in-law, but the relationship between herself and all of her in-laws has probably now been seriously damaged and even more tension may be generated at home between her and her husband.
Still intent on gaining credibility for the theory that her husband exhibits Asperger-type behaviour, she then seeks the support of people in her and her husband's social network. The problem here might be that the AS husband (assuming the wife's theory is indeed correct), is one of those 'chameleon-like' people that can fit in reasonably well in certain situations. A typical type of response in these circumstances from the NT spouse's friend might then be, 'I think he's a little different to other men, but I think that's kind of cute. I don't think he's as bad as you are making out.' Ironically, it may have been the 'cute difference' that initially attracted the NT partner to her AS spouse when they first met!
No way forward here, then for our NT partner as people outside the relationship only see a limited part of the AS man. They don't experience him in an emotional context, they don't witness his rituals, his routines or his inflexible lifestyle that occur for the most part within the confines of the home. FAAAS gave further credence to this problem in 1997 when they described it thus:

FAAAS came up with the term "Mirror Syndrome" to explain the way NT spouses and the NT family members adversely affected by AS behaviors, over time, begin to reflect the persona of AS behaviours we live with, twenty-four seven. We are isolated, no one validates us, we lose friends and family, and we feel like 'hostages' in our own homes. (FAAAS website)

My reasons for drawing attention to this condition, be it named Cassandra phenomenon or Mirror Syndrome, is to let NT partners who are in this plight know that their situation is recognised. It is known that loneliness, anxiety and depression can result when they try to tell people about their AS situation, but they are not listened to to or are thought of as being melodramatic or even paranoid. I also hope that family members, friends and colleagues may in future take notice and be more prepared to hear what 'Cassandra' has to say."


Page 136: "...One might think that because of my own AS traits I would already have known all about that world, but why should I? Does an NT person know all there is to know about their world? I think not. I was only previously aware of my own personal perspective."


Doctors are 'failing to spot Asperger's in girls'

It is a condition on the autistic spectrum that has long been known to affect boys, who may have obsessive interests or struggle to make friends. Now an expert says many more girls have it than was thought, and failure to diagnose them can lead to misery and self-harm. Amelia Hill reports

• The Observer, Saturday 11 April 2009

Doctors are failing to diagnose thousands of girls who have Asperger's syndrome, according to one of the world's leading experts. Dr Judith Gould has accused the medical world of missing and overlooking girls with the condition, condemning them to lives of such misery that many resort to extreme self-harm and anorexia.

Gould and her colleague, Lorna Wing, carried out ground-breaking research into the link between Asperger's syndrome, autism and other pervasive developmental disorders in 1979. Exploiting that insight, they pioneered the concept of the autism spectrum. Now Gould, a chartered consultant clinical psychologist with more than 35 years' experience in autism spectrum disorders, has called on the government for a packet of measures to help girls with Asperger's.

Gould, who is director of the National Autistic Society's Lorna Wing centre for autism and co-founder of the Centre for Social and Communication Disorders, said: "We're failing girls at the moment. We are doing many thousands of them a great disservice. They are either not being picked up in the first place, but if they ask for help they are being turned away. Even if they are referred for diagnosis, they are commonly rejected."

The government is about to launch a consultation on a new national strategy on autism. Gould and the National Autistic Society want the final strategy - due at the end of the year - explicitly to address the misconceptions about gender that can make accessing help, support and services particularly difficult for girls and women.

"Women tell us that these misconceptions can make their particular battles and struggles even more difficult," said Jane Asher, the society's president. "They say that getting a diagnosis in the first place can often feel like an insurmountable hurdle, with many doctors unaware that the condition can affect females."

More children are being diagnosed with Asperger's today than ever before. A decade ago one in 1,000 children in the UK was thought to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Five years ago that had increased to one in 500. Today the figure stands at one in 100.

It remains unclear as to whether the increase in diagnoses is caused by a true increase in the disorder, or is the result of increased awareness of autism and its broad characteristics.

Even less well understood, said Gould, is the difference in prevalence rates between boys and girls. The statistic most commonly reported is that ASDs are four times more common in males than in females. Many clinicians, however, believe that the ratio is as high as 16 boys to every girl. But Gould believes that significantly more girls have the condition than is recognised; she estimates the ratio to be 2.5 boys to every girl.

"Girls are not being picked up because there is still a stereotyped view of what Asperger's is, which is based entirely on how boys present with the condition," she said. "Professionals are not up to speed in knowing how girls present. We are working with the government to ensure they highlight this concern in their upcoming consultation. We are hoping to convince them to target this much under-investigated but vitally important issue."

Tony Attwood, founder of the first diagnostic and treatment clinic for children and adults with Asperger's, and author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, agreed with Gould's estimation of a 2.5:1 ratio of boys to girls. "The bottom line is that we understand far too little about girls with ASDs because we diagnose autism based on a male conceptualisation of the condition. We need a complete paradigm shift," he said.

"We need to draw up a female version of Asperger's that identifies girls on the basis of the way they present, and we need to do this as a matter of urgency: undiagnosed Asperger's can create devastatingly low self-esteem in girls. In my experience, up to 20% of female anorexics have undiagnosed Asperger's."

Girls slip through the diagnostic net, said Attwood, because they are so good at camouflaging or masking their symptoms. "Boys tend to externalise their problems, while girls learn that, if they're good, their differences will not be noticed," he said. "Boys go into attack mode when frustrated, while girls suffer in silence and become passive-aggressive. Girls learn to appease and apologise. They learn to observe people from a distance and imitate them. It is only if you look closely and ask the right questions, you see the terror in their eyes and see that their reactions are a learnt script."

Girls also escape diagnosis, said Attwood, because they are more social than boys with the condition. Their symptoms can also be missed because it is the intensity of their interests that is unusual, and not the oddity of what they do.

"The impairments to their social life or interests tend not to stand out in the same way as boys' do," he said. "They might have one friend, while boys with the condition won't have any. Also, boys hyperfocus on facts and certain interests, such as trains or weather. Girls escape into fiction. They have imaginary friends, live in another world with fairies and witches, obsessively watch soap operas or become intensely interested in celebrities."

Professor David Skuse, head of the behavioural and brain sciences unit at the Institute of Child Health, teaches clinicians to diagnose the condition. "Increasingly fewer girls are diagnosed as their IQ reaches 100, the population average," he said. "Some people maintain this is because girls simply don't have Asperger's, but I would argue that brighter girls, especially those who are more verbal, are able to mask and compensate for their condition. I make sure I emphasise the difference in the ways boys and girls present when I train clinicians, because I am certain that girls are being failed by the system, especially those with higher IQs," he added. "My belief is that, if we can prove the ratio of boys to girls is as high as many of us suspect, it would be as significant a milestone in this field as the discovery that the condition is on a spectrum."


For the first time, a Census of Autistic Adults,8599,1927415,00.html#ixzz1gZBa4jIk


Triad of Autism


Brain scans in infants shed light on autism


Temple Grandin on "60 Minutes" July 10, 2012:;contentAux

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:43:33

"There's always good that comes out of hard situations. Grace sometimes means finding, or being shown, the way to deal with crap - that's usually a long game."

Don't take all the credit, don't take all the blame.

"I think that AS/NT relationships are even more of a balancing act than NT/NT relationships. They do require you to change and go way over what you would have expected from a relationship. It can be hard, difficult, sometimes impossible to cope with. It can be freeing and life changing, empowering."

"My husband is cold, distant, unimaginative, petulant, grumpy, judgmental and selfish...but he's honest, hardworking, reliable, loyal, principled, and driven by a sense of duty. There's no flowers and romance - but there's no mistress or gambling or criminal behaviour either."

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:44:41

"I feel very isolated, not lonely because I got used to my own company years ago but isolated because it is something I cannot share with anyone else at all. I think if DH had an affair or was an alcoholic or beat me I would be able to tell people but I feel embarrassed and ashamed that I chose this life with him. I know it's really obvious to friends what he is like but feel I have to keep up appearances. We have money, lovely children. As DH would say, what do I have to complain about ? Well living with someone who is like a stone statue and who does not notice or share or reciprocate and who waits for me to instigate and organise every single tiny bit of domestic life, that's what I have to complain about."

"If we discuss this stuff out in the open we get attacked and told we are making it up/ exaggerating or we are intolerant human beings. I had years of inwardly screaming 'there's something wrong !' but couldn't share it. That's Cassandra syndrome. If you have AS children you can take your child to a doctor and eventually (I know it's not easy) get a diagnosis. Then, most ( I know not all ) will understand that you are having a hard time and you may even get help. This does not exist for us."

"Eventually I worked out that if I gave myself a half day off, for me, no contact with him nor the dc, every six weeks, I could cope. If I didn't I couldn't.

I didn't do very much, a walk or swim, perhaps a gallery, nothing emotionally demanding as otherwise I would have crumpled, tea, the library. But for me. It was breathing space. I had to be out of the house, but sometimes I use the excuse of a bath to do a mini session now.

So make time just for you. No one else will. Even if it is only a few hours, and regularly. You will cling to it. It's not being selfish though I did feel guilty using up precious leave, but it is survival and others as well as you depend on you being around and strong."

"I exercise. I have always loathed physical exercise and can't catch a ball to save my life. But I started walking regularly (a bit each day). It got me 'out' and I began to feel better for it (baby, baby steps)

For the last few years I have had a personal trainer. She is quite a bit older than me, very fit, and positive. Once a week (without fail) she arrives on my doorstep and gets me moving. I have been know to greet her in my nighty convinced I am too unwell to do a session. Her job is to not let me fob her off with excuses.

So from walking with her I slowly progressed to bursts of gentle jogging.
I can now run non stop for an hour . I have completed two 5k events. My energy levels are way in excess of anything I ever dreamed of

Weight was never of importance to me - as long as I felt ok i didn't care what the scales said. But when I was running out of goals, I reluctantly agreed to set a weight loss target.

With my trainer's support I decide to cut down slightly on sugar in hot drinks/ bread and carbo-hydrates, and wine (a third of a glass a night instead of a large glass). Again tiny adjustments (not cutting out anything, just reducing). Within 3 months I'd lost a whole stone. People noticed - the compliments on my new look were overwhelming

Alongside the hour of exercise/running each week she listens to me whilst we are running. I tell her everyhting that dh has said or done to upset me. She doesn't judge - just listens sympathetically. So I get to off load my worries."

"Getting a dog! He is another of my life lines. Only this morning as I gave him his breakfast he reminded me to make my own breakfast - mum, you've got to cherish and protect yourself!! That means making sure I eat regularly and sensibly, amongst other things!"

"One of the key points for me was to start looking after myself properly. For me it meant:

- having acupuncture on a regular basis ( a good friend of mine convinced me to give it a go a few years ago and I haven't looked back since). It works as ADs, energy lifter therapy for me. And I have found a nice person who has been happy to listen to me grumbling about DP for hours.... She also has reminded me of what is 'normal'. It feels so good when you know someone is truly listening to you.

- Refusing to accept things that are unacceptable eg DP involvement in the dcs care. I have always forced him to do some of the bedtime routine, taking them to activities as well as taking them into account when deciding what to do. Also refusing to accept that DP puts them down continuously. This was the one thing I told him I would not accept and he had to change. No change meant he was out of the house.

In some ways, it's a mixture between being assertive and being stubborn so that he had no other choice than to change.

- Having a circle of friends around me and not to plan my life only around DP. So I organize myself so I can see people during the week. I also organize some time away just for myself (he is looking after the dcs, again no choice)

What I do not do any more is to try and do things so that it is always easier for him and always putting myself at the bottom of the pile.

- not expecting anything (emotion, personal support wise) from DP. I know it will sound strange but in effect, since I've stopped expecting him to 'some cherishing and protecting', he is more involved and more attentive than he was before . And because I don't expect anything, I don't get hurt if he doesn't do 'what you would expect from an NT partner'

- Having a strong spiritual life. I am quite big on meditation and it's simply because it's one of the thing that keeps me same and happy. But also having a strong feeling of direction as to how I want to live my life (not how my relationship should be, more about how I want to be around other people, compassion, open hearted etc...). Again, when I feel myself getting a bit lost, going back to these values is helping me a lot.

Other things that have been helping are thanks to DP. That is:

- a strong feeling that he loves me and doesn't want to hurt me. It means that when I managed to get through him without him feeling under attack, he will genuinely try and change.

- his strong ethics. He will fully accept equality between men and women and the fact that dads HAVE a role to play in the dcs upbringing. Problems arise when 1- it's easier to make some tasks a 'woman task' (same as with NT men) or when the task is hard for him (eg looking after 2 young dcs that are unpredictable). Again, what I found is that he has been asked to rise to the challenge, he has done it, mainly because he has this strong sense of duty (that's how things are supposed to be...)

- his acceptance he needed help too. He would not have gone to see his GP for ADs (and my understanding is that they don't work with AS issues anyway). But having seen the effect of acupuncture on me, he accepted to take some chinese herbs (prescription prepared for him by my acupuncturist/herbalist). That made a huge difference to him, probably similar to ADs. It means he is easier to live with (not as rigid) and he is happier in himself (not that he would acknowledge it, but at last he is smiling again)."
“There is MUCH to be celebrated about AS as far as a partner goes.

In my positive times I truly believe that. I have No Fear of infidelity, debt, abandonment, skeletons out of closets. Now, think about your RL friends - how many of them truly, truly have that? It's a powerful gift in a long term relationship - AS are effectively incapable of lying - so we have the gift of TRUST. Without trust, marriage is hard work.”

“I think that he has a really acute emotion radar, and though it's not always accurate, and he doesn't know really what to do with the information he gets with it sometimes, he can tell when there are negative emotions being beamed at him, and that makes him switch off entirely. I think it's self defense, really.”

“My take on AS is that
- of course they DO have feelings but get overwhelmed by them much more quickly. My DP’s reaction to this is to stay silent and withdraw (or I get a 'I don't know').
- When getting completely overwhelmed, he is getting much more rigid in his ways, and grumpy/angry and silent (needs to be left alone).
- He is not able to articulate his own feelings. Even a 'You look sad' is something he is struggling with (as if he had an issue that I could tell how he feels when he doesn't).
- He has a very hard time in general with life. I know he feels he has to put on a show all the time (at home, at work) and is finding that very tiring as he can never really be himself.
- But he is able the nicest man you can find (when he is not overwhelmed by things). He is considerate, in some ways attentive and genuinely does not want to hurt anyone.”

“On another thread, someone was saying that she thinks it is possible to have a great AS/NT relationship. I don't think we are there yet but we do have an acceptable relationship (dare I say good?).
The key for me was to stop being angry at him all the time. Just doing that has made the biggest difference.”

“That's what attracted me in my DH. He just is obviously not the type to stray. I needed that after a very unpredictable and chaotic childhood and adolescence. Sadly though, the reason he stays is because he can't handle change. If he had an affair I'd have to find the woman, organise the dates, remember her birthday, buy her presents. You get the picture.”

“Dh does CARE, he just can't SHOW it. Somehow I have got to drum that into my brain, but it's difficult.”
"It's weird though. There's an us v. them thing going on, and sometimes my partner and I are the "us", but sometimes I feel really duplicitous, because actually I can understand why most people act in a way he doesn't get or which maybe neither of us thinks is optimal. And sometimes society and I are the "us" and then it's horrid to think of my partner being the "them". Lots of learning for me to do about not leaping to judge, and not aligning myself with one way of doing things (or one set of beliefs) against another.

I guess it comes down to putting people into nice little boxes and I can see why some DHs aren't keen on labels.

Every single thing that isn't quite right is said to be because of AS. So dc is misbehaving 'It's AS' or DH is a pain 'It's AS'. But rarely will you hear 'Oh this is great solution/way of looking at thing. This is AS' even though aspies are known to look at the world in a different way which allows them to see different solutions.

Atm, for me, knowing that DP most probably has AS means that I know I will need to give him some slack on some things. But I am trying hard not to put it at the forefront of everything, every single issue that we have as a couple because otherwise it's too much - You (who must be in the wrong) and Us (who must be in the right) type of situation."

“I am currently reading all the books I can get hold of. Just read 22 Things A Woman Needs To Know If She Loves A Man With Aspergers by Rudy Simone which I thought would be lighthearted but wasn't.. (not unhelpful, just depressing!) Currently reading Alone Together by Katrin Bentley.. it's better.. it gives me hope because she's found a way to make it work...”

“There's that lovely lovely book by Deborah Jackson, Letting Go As Children Grow, which was really eye-opening for me at one stage.”
“Someone on another thread was saying 'well either you love your H or you don't, AS or not'. That's a pretty typical AS comment, very black and white and I, and you, know this is not as clear cut. But there is something in it. It's about loving him unconditionally, up to the point where the AS doesn't matter. It's just a label and nothing else because he is more than just the AS. He is a person with his own personality, needs and qualities that make him who he is.”

“I believe this is a process.

I started being very angry at DP and his behaviour, then I got very sad whenever he was doing something nice. There has been a phase where I detached myself and it could have gone either way and that would have been OK. And finally there is this stage where I can let go and accept him how he is.

In some ways it's a bit like a grieving process because you have to let go of your ideal of what a 'good relationship' is so that you can construct something else. It is different but that doesn't mean it's not as good iyswim.

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:46:43

It's only in the last stages that I finally realized what DP is doing that shows he loves me. Little things, things that are practical (cup of tea anyone?). Trying to take my needs into account (ie asking if it is OK if he is doing X at the weekend, when, before, he would have just booked it and I would have had to accept it).

And no he won't be able to guess if I am feeling low or tired. I need to tell him. He won't be able to find the right words if I am worried about something. But he has learnt that he has to listen (and look at me!). No encouragement or if there are some there will be very clumsy.

I have made peace with that.”
“I realised that this man, who does not need company/friends/conversation, chose me.

He's totally self-sufficient, would honestly make an excellent hermit...and yet, he CHOSE to share his life with me - and, all my disorganisation, noise, drama, yakking, harrumphing, whining and nagging.

He chose me over peace and quiet - and, that's really rather flattering.
Ah, well, I chose him because he is simply the most impressive man I ever met.

He has many, many attractive qualities - he's hard working, focussed, sensible, reliable, handsome, witty, clever, dedicated and loyal.

He's also set in his ways, self obsessed and emotionally disabled.

I am, obviously, fantastic. I am also prone to depression, have bouts of neediness and am Very Sociable.
I have made a good choice in my marriage. Not an easy one, not one that looks good to the outsiders - but we are polar opposites, so sometimes we complement each other and sometimes we clash.

The trick will be learning to do less clashing. If we can get that licked then I will feel valued. Then I won't get so depressed, become needy and vocal and drive him crazy so that he withdraws and our cycle of conflict starts again.”
“If I have three things planned, three things that I enjoy, just for me, then I have one to do, one to look forward to, and one for emergencies.

Anything - a cup of tea on the garden bench, a half hour knitting instead of doing the laundry, meeting up with a friend for a right good laugh, eating a giant bar of chocolate - it doesn't matter...

...but, for me, three works.”

“Keeping a private gratitude journal at the moment, which helps to concentrate the mind on the things I appreciate on a daily level about my nearest and dearest (I tend to do that sort of thing for a month every six or nine months).”

“I now tend to rely on friends and mn for emotional support. I know I am never going to get it from dh and that is the big difference. I now trust my emotions more instead of trying to bury them and I've stopped hoping that dh will ever be any different. I've been so much happier and more confident over the last 5 years than ever before in my life.”
“The three things that have made things more bearable for us are

Me realising he is AS

Him recognising it

And me going on ADs

The combination has made me more relaxed, more understanding, and him more accepting too. Blame has been diminished. I have learned I need to protect myself emotionally. But as I do that and bark less, he is becoming more affectionate again and a little more tactile.”

“Much, much better if they acknowledge AS as a possibility. Impossible to make any progress with them if they're in complete denial that they have a problem. I sweated for weeks worrying about how to approach the matter with DH, as I was so sure it would go badly wrong ad he'd be infuriated and absolutely ridicule the idea. Then I brought it up in couples counselling (after phoning the counsellor in tears telling him I was planning to bring it up but feared it would go badly. DH quite calmly asked "What is AS?" and the counsellor outlined a few of the traits while I looked at my feet abd shook visibly. Dh then just pipes up "Oh yeah that sounds like me! I probably am then." WTF?!! I'd been worrying so much how he'd react and he was totally cheerful and accepting of it!”

“Knowledge is power and the fact he already knew about AS means that he obviously had been looking at it and was quite ready to accept it.
I think the idea of doing one of the AQ tests online is a great idea too. This will give you two 'confirmation' of the diagnosis.
You could also try and have a very light hearted discussion about what is AS and about the aspie sides of him that cause the most issues for him.

But there is something to say about not thinking there is something 'wrong' with him.
I found that not concentrating too much on the 'aspie side' of DP and remembering to appreciate as a person in his own right is helping quite a lot actually. It's easy to just see the quirkiness and the AS and forget he has loads of other sides too.”

“Completely agree with consensus, self recognition is a vital step. A lot -not all- of the tension has gone out of our relationship because we can make allowances for each other. Perhaps, for me, one of the best things is that occasionally Dh can see that my point of view is not irrational female but NT. Not v often but then I don't feel I'm fighting on every front, wife, woman, feminist.”
On spirituality:

“What shifts is spiritual, on both sides. At least, it has been for both of us. Mixtures of (him) watching lots of gurus and swamis doing their thing on Youtube, and reading/watching Eckhart Tolle. Reading books by people like Cynthia Bourgeault (me, because it's a sort of mystical take on Christianity, which feels culturally comfortable to me). And then, crucially, both beginning to lose identification with the "me" narrative in our heads. Gradually through meditation practice - it means that now I can feel anger boiling in my belly, but not get invested in it personally and not act on it - I just observe that my body is angry right now, and actually it's funny more than anything. And that came rather suddenly by reading around on the Liberation Unleashed forum (which is a bunch of people who think they've found a way of shortcutting the need for years and years on a meditation cushion for people to learn to detach from the "me" thought). NB the first time I read around there, I thought they were all total nutters. The second time, I got it. It is since then that I think he's sensed me being unconditionally loving towards him, without buried resentment. I think that he has a really acute emotion radar, and though it's not always accurate, and he doesn't know really what to do with the information he gets with it sometimes, he can tell when there are negative emotions being beamed at him, and that makes him switch off entirely. I think it's self defense, really.

And I can't fake it - if I really am feeling angry, then I can't pretend I'm not. That just ends in tears! So I have had to learn how NOT to feel entitled and angry and disappointed and all that stuff, but to genuinely be counting my blessings (and then more abundance flows).
I think Tolle is great if you've already begun to detach from the "me" thought, but because he got that revelation through a moment of huge personal crisis, I don't think he has the first clue how to help other people learn to make that detachment. Maybe people can do it purely through an effort of will, but I couldn't myself.

He's really useful for afterwards, when you've had that moment of revelation and then... what next? But I couldn't cope with The Power of Now. I much preferred A New Earth. But even then, yk, he's a single childless man - he actually doesn't know much about living in a family - Cynthia Bourgeault is much more helpful on relationships IMO.

I really really loved "The Wisdom of Jesus" and I'm currently reading the Mary Magdalene one, which is equally wonderful IMO. She leaves the supernatural bit of Christianity up to the individual, and then reads the Gospels (both canonic and "apocryphal") through an enlightenment interpretation - so, it's "what sort of path was Jesus on, and how might we walk the same path". It means that for a hardened heretic someone like me, I don't necessarily have to engage with the whole virgin birth/resurrection bit, but can benefit from the spiritual teaching.
My sister and brother-in-law read this book The Five Love Languages. Health warning: it's evangelical Christian (just in case you'd find that offputting). They found it really really really helpful. They both went into the conversation wanting to optimise their relationship, and I think both of them found it really really eye opening to be thinking about how
if she wants to be shown love, she'd like a hug (say)
if he wants to show love, he gives a gift (say)
and the disjunct between those preferences can lead to huge marital strife.

I don't really know what the author concludes (I haven't read it, just heard about it second hand!) but I'm guessing it's stuff about identifying explicitly how you like to show love and receive love, and make that explicit to your partner, and then be generous to them when they show love their way, and be really appreciative when they show love your way. And try to show them love the way they want to receive it, and not be offended when your beautifully home cooked love-me-love-my-food meal isn't appreciated, because that's not his love language.

I suspect that a partnership could get a lot out of that approach even if just one of the couple is thinking about it. But, like I say, it might be recommending daily bible study as part of its menu, so don't blame me if you find yourself reading it and wincing.”
“If I had understood then what I understand now .......... wow that is a BIG if. But if I had, what difference would it have made?

I would have been far far more sympathetic towards him (I think now he really HAS done the best he can - most of the time.)

I think I would have had more confidence to trust my emotions, instead of which I always assumed dh was the 'normal' one and that I was way too emotional.

I would have taken more responsibility - financially, domestically - everything really. I always thought dh was 'right' and knew what he was doing.

I would have put more effort into finding practical solutions to the difficulties - like how to communicate more effectively.

I wouldn't have wasted hours/days /years worrying and blaming myself for everything.”

“I started working on myself to take me to a better place (whilst ignoring DP, if not avoiding him tbh). As I got stronger and found some sort of peace, DP got more relaxed and we had a few 'light bulb' moments that have made life manageable (eg he has finally realized he has to force himself to be involved in the family life for it to work).

I have decided that we are together now but I have no expectation re our future as such. Whatever will be, will be.”

“Whether or not I am going to be able to live this life forever, I don't know...I’m not big on self esteem but sometimes I think even I deserve better...”
“I like your idea of the diary.

We do something similar in that each day, we all have to say what we have appreciated during the day. It helps focusing on the nice things, it’s a good way to boost the dcs self esteem and tell them how important they are to us me.
It also helps breaking the very big silence we have otherwise around the dinner table....”

“Silences round the dinner table. OMG yes. The silence from dh and ds was so intense at times it seemed to suck every ounce of joy or life-force out of the atmosphere so that nothing could possibly survive.”

“Letting things go for now is really important too. I really wanted him to come on holiday with me and the children and my family this year, but he said he wasn't keen. I nearly went into needy meltdown (like that would have helped) but then he said "If you have some good rational reasons for me to come, email them to me and I'll consider them". I huffed around for a bit thinking "so, both me and the children really want you to be there isn't a reason then?" and then I thought "no, wait, he's asking me to persuade him, so let's see if I can". So I came up with 3 or 4 really practical reasons, to do with getting the children through airport security on my own, and having the freedom to do different things with the two children in two different expeditions (e.g. he loves the beach; she doesn't). And about 3 weeks later he said "yeah, ok, I'll come". It's about cooling off the defensive emotions and finding a rational solution beyond those emotions - that really works with us.”

“I'm now completely accustomed to getting someone's attention, truly getting it (and with one of my family, firmly holding their hand first helps; with another, sending the information by text or email is good, or even talking on the phone because then they are holding the phone and that gives the physical contact needed to help keep contact.)”

“Hand holding - funnily enough we used to employ a lovely lady who got the measure of dh as her boss better than anyone - she would grab his hand when she wanted to talk to him and still holding his hand firmly, look him in the eye - And then mid flow she would say ' Hang on - you've 'gone' again. I'll try again in a minute!'”
“A few thoughts. I too loathe the feeling of having to be like a parent to dh. But I have to understand that a) Dh missed out on the training in his childhood both because of no dx and because his parents didn't think it necessary and therefore b) unless I explain and sometimes instruct he will not have the intuition or initiative to do anything. His mother basically said this to me before we got married, that he won't mind being asked (he doesn't, usually) but he won't see the need. So when I am frantic and thinking why doesn't he help, he honestly doesn't think there is anything to do. And can't see why I am ratty.”

“I am not averse to what I see as essential training that should have occurred earlier. And thanks to the whiteboard effect it can get applied elsewhere. Eg I say" x is having a bad time. I think he would appreciate seeing a male friend. Why don't you..." and then he will do so for x and then later for y.”

“Re whiteboard effect.
My MIL specifically 'trained' DP that he would all the housework and would not see any problem with that. He obviously also learnt (from school, home?) that women could work and do the same jobs than men.

Uptake of the whiteboard effect: I can be as feminist as I want to, DP will follow and support me.”

The other thing is that I have found that some things can be changed and 'unlearnt'.
It seems to work better if that position is in opposition to another strong belief. I can point that out to him and if I leave him 'have a think' he will usually come round to it.”
“One of dh's cop outs when I'm busting a a gut trying to get something done that I know must be done (snow shovelling, for example, springs to mind!): 'I don't know why you are bothering'.

I now do it because I know it's the right thing to do and I feel better for doing it. i've tried the alternative ie given up, lost all motivation, lost the will to live and don't want to go there again.

Joint projects? Any one ever tried folding a sheet with their dh? Hopeless

Making a bed together? Not possible

Lifting something together on the count of 3. One ...... oh, ok forget that then.”

“Yes, that constant ' why are you doing that? ' 'that doesn't need doing' has been very very hard over the years. When I was younger I assumed DH was right and that he really did know what was or wasn't worth doing. I feel sad for my younger self that I couldn't trust my own judgement and wondered if I was too needy ( why do I want to have sex so often ?, why do I want to get married, it's not necessary ?) or fussy/neurotic (why is it necessary to do laundry every day, Hoover twice a week and garden every weekend?) or over anxious ( why do I want to discuss the problems DD is having at school ?) or over extravagant (why do I want to decorate,replace broken things,go on holiday ?) For years I constantly questioned why I seemed to need stuff like this from DH. Why am I so demanding ? Now I know that these things are normal. They are things that people do.

I have to face the fact that most women would have detected that this behaviour was not normal and left long ago. Might never have started a relationship in the first place. There is something about me which was not able to see immediatelly set a boundary between what is normal/ not normal. I just kept turning it back on myself.

Now I know I have to trust my own judgement about stuff. That's hard, whether it's a judgement about how often to paint the front of the house to big things like dealing with the important emotions and life events in DDs lives. That's tiring. I'm constantly tired. That's normal when you have young children, but mine are older now. Someone who said it's like having an extra child is so right. But it's worse because the anger is always there. How can somebody so intelligent and obsessed with REASON not see what's going on around him?

Things work because he is out at work a lot and earns plenty of money. I dread his retirement. I hate him being in the house. Looking at me impassively as I carry the Hoover up the stairs,drag the lawn mower out of the shed,make phone calls to organise DDs lives. I can only cope with that right now because we seem to have these very 1950s sort of roles. I do have a very demanding job. But his earns more, so I do everything at home and he pays the bills. I didn't expect or want that life but it's the only thing that works. But when he stops work I can imagine he will spend 80% of his time on personal interests and the other 20% watching me and asking why I spend my time bothering with cooking,cleaning ,gardening,laundry,......I know there are millions of men in the world who are not interested in domestic life but I bet they very occasionally say stuff like thanks, or you did that well, or that looks good,tastes nice,works better now. It's the lack of response that really grinds me down.”

“The one thing that stands out for me from several posts is the feeling of being constantly criticised. Your Dps will have no idea why it winds you up so much! X is happening; X should not happen; I must tell Dw so she will stop it.
The food was X; the food should be Y; I must tell Dw so she will change it next time.

In order to identify it as a problem, you could try keeping a notebook and pencil with you at all times. When a criticism comes, you say "thanks for that" and write it down in the notebook. When asked what you are doing, you can say "to keep track". Sometimes you can even say "it's the 14th criticism in an hour. I'm never going to manage to change all these things without careful thought".

And then, once it's accepted that there are too many criticisms, it's a long slow process of hearing the criticism and working out gently with your partner whether it's constructive criticism, if there's anything he could do to make things better for him, helping him learn to balance the criticisms with the positives (I'd say that a 9-1 compliment to criticism ratio is about right - you could even keep a tally together!). And help him learn about some things being not objectively right or wrong, but that your way of doing things might be different and equally valid (MBTI personality typing can be useful for that. It's slightly woo but it DOES help to lay out for people that in situation X, some people respond one way and others respond another way, and both have advantages and limitations).”
“I don't think that I stayed because I couldn't see all these 'defects' in the first place. I stayed because, to start with, all these quirks were acceptable to me. And he has some qualities (like being calm) that I was looking for too.
I am also very independent which helps tbh.”

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:47:46

The End into a Beginning

By: Pam Nett

I must be crazy, my spouse says so.
I am a horrible parent, I am the scum of the earth.
I feel like a slave, no one appreciates the work I do for this family.
Do my feelings account for anything? Does anyone care that I hurt?
Death looks pretty attractive compared to this family life.
Everything is my fault, always. I am never right, it is just never enough.
How can a person who professed love, and some other vows claim that I am irresponsible, immature, unreasonable, and unpleasant and still want to be married to me?
Why does my partner get to do certain things, but it is not acceptable for me to do the same?
Where did all my friends go?
Why don’t we have friends over anymore, and more importantly, when did the invitations to our friends houses cease?
Why does my spouse sleep so much, and why does it never seem to be enough.
Why do I not trust my spouse?
When did the communication break down to nonexistent. Why does my spouse not listen to me when I pour my heart out with emotion.
Boy, that was an odd thing my spouse did, hmmm, it must be me, I’m the crazy one.
My spouse forgot my birthday, our anniversary, told me that holidays are just another day, I don’t like to celebrate why should you?
My spouse inappropriately reprimands our children, sometimes physically, most of the time emotionally.
My spouse ignores the childrens needs and wants and doesn’t hear them a majority of the time.
When the children hurt themselves, my spouse always down plays the severity of the injury/illness – I have always been glad we saw the doctor unbeknownst to my spouse.
I rejoice when my spouse leaves the house and I can be myself.
I have insomnia, I am depressed, I have a panic disorder and a myriad of other physical ailments, all, I am sure due from stress.
Why doesn’t my spouse help me, I am doing 95% of all the work?
Why doesn’t my spouse take care of things when I am sick, instead of claiming illness and sleeping all day?
Where are my compliments?
Why do I feel sabotaged when I am successful into feeling I am a failure?
Why do I get sucked into arguments I know will not end in a win/win situation, or with any compromising?
How can we have a nasty fight and then 10 minutes later my spouse is acting like nothing is wrong after nothing was settled?
Why does my spouse start eating before I sit down to the table, and is done before I pick up my fork?
Why can’t my spouse find personal items?
Why isn’t my spouse more organized?
Why do the simplest tasks seem so difficult for my spouse?
Why do I feel like my spouse is an extra child and I am the Mother?
How can I control my spouses spending?
How many more electronics and tools can we possibly fit into this house?
Of course the electronics get used, the tools do not.
If something breaks, why is it my fault?
Why is blame so imporant to my spouse?
If we need to fix some major household item, why must I threaten to call a professional before it gets fixed?
Why does my spouse fix things that are not broken, so that then, they become broken?
Will my spouse ever choose different clothes to wear?
Will the verbal abuse ever end?’

These are just a few of the questions and statements that have been running through my mind.

Does this sound like you – if it does there may be a very good reason for your thoughts like these. There are many, many more, believe me, because I know.

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:48:24

There are reasons for your feelings, there always is, and they need to be validated. So, don’t ignore them. Listen to them, follow their direction. Be true to yourself. You cannot change your spouse, but you can change you and how you cope, handle and deal with everyday life. Make this the End into the Beginning. Join us in spreading the knowledge, come find a home amongst those who understand your fears, heart ache, depression and frustrations. We do know, because we all live it everyday, of every week, of every month, of every year. Welcome Home!
"I have realised that DP's mechanism for doing social interaction is to moan.. If a friend (of mine obviously) pops round, if DP manages not to disappear, he will MOAN.. not at them.. but TO then.. the state of the street we live in.. whatever's in the news that day.. his day at work... and my long suffering friends have just kind of got used to it and deal with it tolerantly.. even join in! (Obviously DP would rather people did NOT pop round at all.. ever.. and if they must then he really needs to know they're coming and even then will do a good deal of moaning in advance. And after they've left. Ditto social occasions that I may drag him to.. and believe me those are so painful that they are few and far between.. but you think that he would be happy that they provide so much moan-fodder for long before and long after the actual event!! (Obviously I am being flippant.. I don't think the moaning makes him happy.. not much does.. its just how he gets by)"
"Alone Together (book) actually suggests that all their various AS ways are actually, possibly, CAUSED by the massive amounts of anxiety, just from life that our partners experience nearly every minute of every day! So presumably if they COULD just relax, they would have far less AS traits!?"
"I have those major rants too. The thing is,they seem to 'work' in that they are sometimes the only way that things do move on. Of course DH says nothing during these rants, he does his statue impression. Then, the next day he will often start to address the issue.

This is sad right ? Of course, of course I would like to do the communicating thing. To sit down, ask him what he thinks we could do to improve x,y,z and then work on a joint effort to accommodate our different perspectives. And I have tried over years and years. It doesn't work. The reaction is either 1. Silence 2. 'that didn't happen, it's not important,everything's fine.'

I don't want to rant, I don't want to lose it. No, I don't always want my own way. I'd like us to reach equal compromises. But, it's impossible. He is just on his own track, minding his own business. Why does he need to keep discussing stuff, changing stuff, worrying about stuff? Why don't I just keep quiet and get on with it ? That's been the scratched record of our relationship."
"Rabbit in headlights exactly expresses DH. Fear, anxiety and panic are what he says he feels under a sort of numbness which means he can't physically respond and his mind goes blank."
"If there was a book that highlighted positive attributes of AS, and negative attributes of those of us who are emotional, illogical, needy wrecks at the other end of the spectrum - well, he'd read that in a flash.

Especially if it had some handy hints about how to help "reach" me in my depths of despair, how to level my emotions, how to listen to me and then how to translate the hour long monologue into three bullet points that he can action.

In fact. It has occurred to me that we are all in remarkably similar situations -our DP's are at heart, kind and good men who are unable to meet our emotional needs.

And, we are all similar sort of women - smart, intelligent, thoughtful, and speaking for myself only - prone to martyrdom, sometimes very bad at asserting myself, prone to depression, needing reassurance that he holds me in some regard.

Do you think this sort of situation is specific to NT/AS relationships? ie - if an AS man chooses a woman who's on the upper end of NT,( not AS, but not an emotional wreck like me) then, perhaps they just don't have these issues?

Is that why we feel so alone? Because our relationship's chemistry is very specific, and not an issue for "most"?
"I've read somewhere that aspies in effect aren't that different than NT but some of the traits are much more pronounced in them than NT.

Perhaps what aspies need is more what NT people need anyway, ie learning to relax, putting things into perspective, learning that nothing is forever etc...
All life lessons that we have to learn in one way or the other but that aspies need to learn even more?? I dunno.

I know I have been reading recently about AS in children and doing some meditation with them. Quite a few studies showing it helps them to concentrate, not being as fidgety etc... Perhaps adults aspies do need the same medicine. Ways to learn to relax and get more grounded than them are.

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 12:49:42

Partners with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)
The partner with Asperger’s Syndrome can manifest a wide
range of varying behaviours with varying intensities.
However feedback from their partners in marriage suggests
there are many common threads in their experience of
Below is a list of some common characteristics of the
marriage experience and of the partner with Asperger’s
Syndrome, as described by members of the ASPIA Partner
Support Group:
• An essential need to have things done in a prescribed
manner or order
• A tendency to correct and instruct those around them
• Seeming to be experiencing “normal” situations
differently, noticing different things and having to deal
with different priorities which often prevent co-operation
and teamwork, leading to frequent conflict. As a result
the relationship and communication deteriorate quickly.
Efforts to reason and resolve situations often result in
partners feeling that they have been dug in deeper. They
often feel that their efforts have been fruitless and even
worse, have increased the level of complication.
• Verbal combat around “technicalities” or “order” of a
situation rather than the “spirit” or “essence”.
• Apparent evidence that the partner with Asperger’s
Syndrome is not “reading” situations or people
intuitively and is consequently behaving insensitively or
inappropriately for the circumstances.
• The partner with Asperger’s Syndrome may appear to
have an air of superiority or even arrogance and an
apparent lack of respect for the knowledge, credibility,
expertise or authority of others. They may have high
intelligence or gifted abilities in some areas but seem to
lack basic “common sense” or “know-how” in other
more commonplace situations.
• The partner with Asperger’s Syndrome may not
recognise the effort their partner is constantly
contributing to the relationship to try to sustain it. They
may be extremely sensitive and easily upset - and may
take issue or be offended - over small matters which in
turn can seem to jeopardize the stability or quality of the
whole relationship.
• Interests and hobbies of some partners with AS tend to
take on an obsessive characteristic at the expense of all
other needs, duties and relationships around them.
• There is frequently a tendency to hostility, defensiveness
and retaliation if the partner with Asperger’s Syndrome
is challenged or thwarted.
• The partner with AS can behave intrusively
• They may be very controlling
• The partner with AS may take roles seriously, to the
letter of the law, especially as “Head of the Home” in a
family with religious beliefs or tendency to traditional
• Their courtship style is almost “too good to be true”.
• After marriage the partner with AS often seems to lose
motivation to keep working on the quality of the
relationship as though the wedding day has “completed”
their pursuit, allowing them to pursue other interests.
• The spouses of partners with AS claim that their spouses
often do not appear to read the needs or notice the
emotions of other family members, and they don’t
enquire or reach out to them. However, when they do
notice a need or “we tell them about our needs, they
don’t seem to know instinctively what to do to make us
feel better, and they will often do nothing and remain
• The partner with AS may have great difficulty cooperating
with others or working as part of a team or
unit. They may seem focused only on what’s going on
for them, and unaware of what’s going on for those
around them.
• They often seem to over-react to efforts to talk over
matters with them and may perceive such efforts as a
personal attack.
• They often have difficulty coping or adapting around the
daily “happenings” within a family situation.
• They may insist on predictability in others and in
household activities, but seem to “live on a whim”
themselves leaving the family feeling uncertain all the
• The partner with AS may “shut-down” if they don’t
know what to say or how to behave. They may disengage
with partner or family indefinitely.
• They may also “melt-down” or have episodes of rage
and aggression when they don’t know how to deal with
circumstances, or they don’t want to discuss, negotiate,
compromise or resolve situations.
• They may hold to a single acceptable method or opinion
in many areas of daily life.
• Social isolation may result for the family if the partner
with AS is consistently avoiding social situations. On the
other hand, some partners with AS can seem like the
“life of the party” and keep everyone entertained or
“engaged” (willingly or unwillingly) by sharing a great
deal of expert knowledge on favourite topics of interest.
• The partners of people with AS will often feel as though
they should and need to “repair” social faux pars, etc
created by Asperger partner.
• Some partners with AS may be very controlling and
unjust with the use of family finances, or on the other
hand, avoid any financial responsibility within the
household completely. They can quickly run the family
into financial crisis by spending excessively on special
interests, collections or hobbies.
• If a parent with Asperger’s Syndrome chooses to take an
interest in their child they can be very attentive and go to
great lengths to assist them in practical ways.
• On the other hand, they may have trouble reading their
child’s needs or emotional state and may either respond
inappropriately or not at all, leading to the possibility of
neglect or mishandling or abuse.
• They may not be aware of or anticipate situations of
danger or neglect when caring for a child.

The Experience of the Non-Asperger Partner
Partners living in a marriage or long-term relationship with an
adult with Asperger’s Syndrome report feeling a deep impact
in their lives in the following ways:
• Confusion
• Frustration
• Powerlessness
• Isolation
• Being disbelieved by others, including professionals
• Burn-out
• Sense of being a mediator and interpreter at home and
outside the home
• Loss of sense of self
• Changes in personality in order to cope with AS
partner’s behaviour
• Increase in feelings of anger
• Feeling like partner won’t cope without them (if we
• Trapped
• Shouldering responsibility for most household matters
and well-being
• Neglected emotionally
• Constantly criticized and blamed unreasonably
• Alone
• Like a single parent
• Often feel in damage control or crisis management.
• Hyper vigilance to prevent chaos and relationship
• Verbally, psychologically and sometimes physically
• Efforts to build and sustain relationship constantly
sabotaged by pedantic requirements of AS person.
• Depression
• Hopefulness dashed
• Sense of sadness at unrealised potential in themselves,
AS partner and other family members
• Unsupported
• Often betrayed by lack of loyalty and kindness from AS
The Benefits of Attending a Support Group
• Being with others who “know”
• Validation of our experiences
• No need to explain, prove or justify ourselves or our
• Reassurance of our own worth and sanity
• No longer alone
• Opportunity to gain more understanding of Asperger’s
• Regular opportunities to hear professionals speak.
• Information and feedback about other helpful services
and professionals.
• Learn strategies to help us cope and manage better.
• Help us heal.
• Special Events give us opportunity to promote awareness
of, and learn more about Asperger’s Syndrome.
ASPIA stands for
Asperger’s Syndrome Partner Information Australia
ASPIA is a support group and information source for partners
of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. We commenced
meetings in June 2003 (under our former name “GRASP”).
The information we provide is not only helpful for partners,
but also for anyone interested in understanding Asperger’s
Syndrome in adults and relationships in general.
Our Partner Support Meetings are held from 2pm – 5pm
on the first Saturday of every month (except January),
The College of Nursing,
14 Railway Parade, Burwood, NSW
ASPIA contact details and enquiries:
PO Box 57 Macarthur Square LPO
Ph: 0408 817 828
Asperger’s Syndrome in Marriage
Over the last decade many people would be aware that there
has been an upsurge of awareness and diagnosis of Autism
and Asperger's Syndrome. Most of the cases being identified
are children. Their behaviours are often exposed and
uninhibited, allowing for ready identification and appropriate
intervention and assistance to take place. Improved behaviour
& communication patterns in turn enable more successful
adjustment into adulthood.
What many people will not be aware of is that there is a
second wave of identification taking place within the adult
population. For adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, their
behaviours since childhood have gone "underground" and
layers of coping strategies and defence mechanisms greet the
social world. These behaviours often give the impression of
someone quite "together" - perhaps a little eccentric or odd -
but passable because of their high intelligence, impressive
knowledge, high integrity and particular flair or gift in an area
or career, such as engineering, telecommunications,
computers, art, religion and politics.
Many adults with Asperger’s Syndrome do marry and have
children. Marriage often follows a period of "ideal"
courtship. However the experience of the partners and
children are quite different to what most partners would
experience and expect.
Partners of an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome often have
awareness early in the marriage that something is not right
but they can’t work out what. They often speak of being
aware that something, like a piece of a puzzle, is missing.
Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation, The Kensington Charity Centre, 4th Floor, Charles House, 375 Kensington High Street, London, W14 8QH
A Charity and Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company number: 4288005 Registered Charity number: 1090785.

Age Group: Adults
Sheet Title: Relationships
Asperger Syndrome and Relationships

Many people with Asperger Syndrome find relationships difficult, although most
people report that they would like to have a partner.

Relationship issues can result from:
• Sensory Sensitivity – finding physical contact and intimate touching
• Socialising – a difficulty in being in social situations in order to meet new
people and potential partners.
• Solitude – needing lots of time alone, which may be hard for a partner to
• Empathy and compromise – people with AS may find it difficult to consider a
partner’s perspective and appear to be ‘selfish’ and ‘uncaring’.
• Language – due to issues with tone and literal language, an AS partner may
sound critical and rude, which may cause conflict in a relationship.
• Perceived criticism – people with AS are often very sensitive to anything which
sounds like criticism and they may react by becoming very defensive and
unable to discuss issues with a partner
• Responsibility – some people with AS find it hard to make decisions as an
equal partnership and will leave all responsibility to their partner. This may
make the partner feel resentful at having to make all decisions.

Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation, The Kensington Charity Centre, 4th Floor, Charles House, 375 Kensington High Street, London, W14 8QH
A Charity and Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company number: 4288005 Registered Charity number: 1090785.

Some (potential) benefits of an AS Partner
• Gentle, kind and courteous
• Intelligent – enjoys knowledge and learning
• Honest and straight-forward
• Child-like and playful
• Good sense of humour
• Practical or technical skills
• Dedicated to relationship
Requirements of a Successful AS Relationship
• Research (Aston, 2003) suggests that the best chance of success is when
both partners learn about and fully accept AS.
• The non-AS partner will have to make more adjustments and compromises
because they can.
• Not taking it personally – the AS partner’s need for solitude, routine and blunt
way of phrasing things are not designed to annoy, reject or hurt their partner.
• Dealing with conflicts in a calm way - emotional outbursts confuse people with
AS. Speaking calmly and non-critically will help open discussion.
• Realising that often the partner with AS has no idea what they are supposed to
do in a romantic/emotional situation.
• Appreciating how overloaded that the AS partner can become from everyday
life and allowing space and solitude where possible.
• Remembering that the AS partner may be giving all they can and that their
continued presence is the best indication of their love.
Written by: Sarah Hendrickx – partner of AS man, training consultant and author of
AS relationship book (Asperger Syndrome: A Love Story, Sarah Hendrickx and
Keith Newton, May 2007, JKP)

Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation, The Kensington Charity Centre, 4th Floor, Charles House, 375 Kensington High Street, London, W14 8QH
A Charity and Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company number: 4288005 Registered Charity number: 1090785.
For more information:
Relate Leaflet Concerning Asperger’s Syndrome
FAAAS Website:
Maxine C Aston, Qualified Relate Couples Counsellor in the UK.
Sarah Hendrickx
Asperger’s In Love, by Maxine Aston
ISBN: 1-84310-115-7
Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
An Asperger Marriage, by Gisela & Christopher Slater-Walker
ISBN: 1-84310-017-7
Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
Asperger’s Syndrome & Long-Term Relationships
By Ashley Stanford. ISBN: 1-84310-734-1
Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
The Other Half of Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide to An Intimate Relationship with a
Partner Who Has Asperger’s Syndrome
By Maxine Aston. ISBN: 1-89928-037-5
Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation, The Kensington Charity Centre, 4th Floor, Charles House, 375 Kensington High Street, London, W14 8QH
A Charity and Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company number: 4288005 Registered Charity number: 1090785.
Age Group: Adults
Sheet Title: Tony Attwood’s Anger Management Plan

Reasons for Anger Episodes Experienced by People with Asperger’s Syndrome:
* A limited ability to manage negative feelings, especially frustration
* A lack of empathy and self control to moderate their reaction
* A perception of anger as a solution to problems (negative reinforcement)
* Immature conflict resolution skills
* A limited vocabulary to express negative emotions
* A tendency to literal interpretation, which can lead to problems
* Impaired theory of mind skills and apparent paranoia
* An authoritarian nature
* Being set up by others (live theatre)
* The externalisation of agitated depression
* A thought or emotion ‘tic’ (as with Tourette Syndrome)
* A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character
* A need to target those closest to them
* An intolerance of imperfection and people being inconsistent
* An anger that is intense but brief
* A lack of anger memory

Treatment of Anger for People with Asperger’s Syndrome
* Try and find and participate in a social skills project on anger
* Use a mental “Angermometer” to grade the level of anger felt
* Try to put the event in perspective
* Use relaxation techniques
* Learn self-talk methods
* Check all the information surrounding an incident
* Use rescue phrases (and then seek help and disclose the feelings)
* Consider the consequences
* Imagination (think it not do or say it)
* Use creative destruction or physical activity techniques to diffuse anger
* Learn substitute words and actions
* Give yourself rewards for self control
* Use mental metaphors (like turning the car engine down)
* Recognise the signs of anger in yourself and others
* Try and ensure that there is an equality of justice
* After an incident, record it in a grievance book and then re-read it to
understand how it escalated
* Try Comic Strip Conversations. Draw stick figures with speech and thought
bubbles, colours or pictures of facial expressions to represent thoughts and
* Try Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 13:12:22

“Re: sex.

I counsel patience.

working on your own happiness and spiritual well being.

Embracing celibacy (it's actually a really nice state - having sex makes you want more sex - there's sort of a hangover a day or three after sex, when one gets snippy and impatient and physically needy).

Learning to accept your Dp as he is, and with what he can offer - learning to see the expressions of love and appreciate them (even though they won't be anything like what you would have offered as an expression of love yourself, and may well not be what you would prefer to receive as an expression of love).

Taking a hug as a hug, or a kiss as a kiss. Not angling for more (always guaranteed to lead to rage and frustration. I am still working on this...)

When you stop being angry, you can be more loving. Then he can be more loving, safely, in return.

and then, after that, if a sexual life rekindles, it rekindles. And if it doesn't, then <shrug> it's not the end of the world.”
"Other people (including doctors and nurses) would assume if I was ill or incapacitated that dh would be giving me a modicum of support simply because he is my husband and with me 24 hours a day. In truth I know that I would have to be totally self-suffcient.

Somehow I want to wave a flag or wear a badge that says 'I AM ON MY OWN'. I may have a husband in theory, but that doesn't mean he is of any help to me .
For instance I would not want to be released from hospital after an operation on the basis that 'you can go home - as you have a husband to look after you'."

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 13:12:56

"You break it down into tiny steps:

You say:

Please could you collect my medication? It is this + that . You can ring them first to see if it has arrived.

Then lots if praise when it does arise. In 25 days you say, my medication is on a 30 day cycle. So we need to ring now to re order. It is this + that. Please could you do it, and ask when it will be in?

Then lots of praise and a suggestion he puts the collection in his diary.

Then lots of praise when he says shall I collect your pills?

Then lots of praise when he does.

I used to think this was condescending, demeaning, profoundly irritating and I was like his mother. I no longer allow myself to think like that. If he had a wounded leg I would make allowances for both of us, I have to now."
"I taught DH how to make conversation at dinner parties (always have three or four topics of conversation ready, find put what the other person does, ask open questions) and how to behave at dances. (Would you like to dance......4 mins gosh it is so hot, can I get you a drink?). He doesn't enjoy them but he can cope now."
"The thing about believing professionals rather than me drives me MAD.
The main thing I can't stand about not accepting what I say is the 'no it isn't' reply. For example, he built a HUGE great fire in the garden. The smoke was absolutely everywhere, thick black smoke which is still in every crevice of the house. I really felt for the neighbours as they have young children. So I said, we need to put that fire out because it's anti social. Reply 'no it isn't'... This isn't the NT bastard response, like ' I know and I don't care' it's a complete denial of FACT because it doesn't fit his world view. I can't tell you how often I have shouted. IT'S A FACT."

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 13:14:00

There are reasons for your feelings, there always is, and they need to be validated. So, don’t ignore them. Listen to them, follow their direction. Be true to yourself. You cannot change your spouse, but you can change you and how you cope, handle and deal with everyday life. Make this the End into the Beginning. Join us in spreading the knowledge, come find a home amongst those who understand your fears, heart ache, depression and frustrations. We do know, because we all live it everyday, of every week, of every month, of every year. Welcome Home!
"I have realised that DP's mechanism for doing social interaction is to moan.. If a friend (of mine obviously) pops round, if DP manages not to disappear, he will MOAN.. not at them.. but TO then.. the state of the street we live in.. whatever's in the news that day.. his day at work... and my long suffering friends have just kind of got used to it and deal with it tolerantly.. even join in! (Obviously DP would rather people did NOT pop round at all.. ever.. and if they must then he really needs to know they're coming and even then will do a good deal of moaning in advance. And after they've left. Ditto social occasions that I may drag him to.. and believe me those are so painful that they are few and far between.. but you think that he would be happy that they provide so much moan-fodder for long before and long after the actual event!! (Obviously I am being flippant.. I don't think the moaning makes him happy.. not much does.. its just how he gets by)"
"Alone Together (book) actually suggests that all their various AS ways are actually, possibly, CAUSED by the massive amounts of anxiety, just from life that our partners experience nearly every minute of every day! So presumably if they COULD just relax, they would have far less AS traits!?"
"I have those major rants too. The thing is,they seem to 'work' in that they are sometimes the only way that things do move on. Of course DH says nothing during these rants, he does his statue impression. Then, the next day he will often start to address the issue.

This is sad right ? Of course, of course I would like to do the communicating thing. To sit down, ask him what he thinks we could do to improve x,y,z and then work on a joint effort to accommodate our different perspectives. And I have tried over years and years. It doesn't work. The reaction is either 1. Silence 2. 'that didn't happen, it's not important,everything's fine.'

I don't want to rant, I don't want to lose it. No, I don't always want my own way. I'd like us to reach equal compromises. But, it's impossible. He is just on his own track, minding his own business. Why does he need to keep discussing stuff, changing stuff, worrying about stuff? Why don't I just keep quiet and get on with it ? That's been the scratched record of our relationship."
"Rabbit in headlights exactly expresses DH. Fear, anxiety and panic are what he says he feels under a sort of numbness which means he can't physically respond and his mind goes blank."
"If there was a book that highlighted positive attributes of AS, and negative attributes of those of us who are emotional, illogical, needy wrecks at the other end of the spectrum - well, he'd read that in a flash.

Especially if it had some handy hints about how to help "reach" me in my depths of despair, how to level my emotions, how to listen to me and then how to translate the hour long monologue into three bullet points that he can action.

In fact. It has occurred to me that we are all in remarkably similar situations -our DP's are at heart, kind and good men who are unable to meet our emotional needs.

And, we are all similar sort of women - smart, intelligent, thoughtful, and speaking for myself only - prone to martyrdom, sometimes very bad at asserting myself, prone to depression, needing reassurance that he holds me in some regard.

Do you think this sort of situation is specific to NT/AS relationships? ie - if an AS man chooses a woman who's on the upper end of NT,( not AS, but not an emotional wreck like me) then, perhaps they just don't have these issues?

Is that why we feel so alone? Because our relationship's chemistry is very specific, and not an issue for "most"?
"I've read somewhere that aspies in effect aren't that different than NT but some of the traits are much more pronounced in them than NT.

Perhaps what aspies need is more what NT people need anyway, ie learning to relax, putting things into perspective, learning that nothing is forever etc...
All life lessons that we have to learn in one way or the other but that aspies need to learn even more?? I dunno.

I know I have been reading recently about AS in children and doing some meditation with them. Quite a few studies showing it helps them to concentrate, not being as fidgety etc... Perhaps adults aspies do need the same medicine. Ways to learn to relax and get more grounded than them are.

apaintedveil Sun 02-Dec-12 13:14:59

"Worry is like a rockinghorse, you are in motion but not getting anywhere. Funnily enough, that image helps me put it in perspective."
"I have just been reading about the rages and how common they are in NT/AS relationships and also why they seem to 'work' though obviously not a good strategy long term. SO true though that screaming rages in which DH does his statue impression and I work myself into a hysterical volcano followed by sobs and tears are often followed a day or two later with some attempt at change from DH. I think the idea is that during these rages your feelings are expressed very clearly and unambiguously. This helps the AS partner, though they are slow to react to the information they are getting. The idea is also that the AS partner may unconsciously provoke these episodes, though of course this doesn't excuse the rages."

"The reality with AS is that you can and do live with it very well. Aspies are intelligent people who do and can develop their own coping skills so much so that it isn't noticeable."
"I think it's a bit of a modern mantra that people only change when they want to and we can only change ourselves etc. etc. I understand that this might have been helpful advice for women brought up in the 1950s who thought their DHs behaviour was their fault or responsibility. But, people can change, of course they can. And other people can facilitate and guide that change."
"We can't change each other. He can choose to grow, but I can't make him be more responsive any more than he can make me be less emotional.

But, in the last decade, I have slowly become less needy. And, he has slowly become more responsive."
"Although to be fair, I was seriously ill some years ago (doing OK now) and since then he has been sympathetic to people going through similar themselves, or their spouses. It's as if he has to experience something first hand to have a clue what it might feel like.

I don't leave anything to guess work these days - I always spell things out - if I am upset, he won't pick up on behaviour, or quietness or being withdrawn. It has to be 'I'm cross with you because you did X' or 'I am upset because my friend is ill and I am worried about her'.

And in some ways that's a good thing - there are no games, no manipulation in our marriage, it has to be all upfront or it will pass him by completely, and that can be quite freeing."
"I often feel like a fraud on here and then it all resurfaces. Yes, because we are 'successful' academically, financially etc. etc. and because I smooth things over socially. I am quite sure that a lot of people, even those who know us well, would say I was exaggerating or being a negative thinker or 'labelling' DH or moaning about things which are a normal part of married life. As I have said before, many books on AS seem to deal with the very affected people and this further adds to the self doubt. Eg. Am I just a horrible nagging wife who wants her DH to conform to her emotion diktats ?. Wondering whether you are making it all up can make you almost crazy. That's the Cassandra syndrome in a nutshell."
"I pointed out that if he was unfaithful then society would justify my rage. But, as his emotional absence is invisible outside our home, then I look like a screaming harpy to society."
"I think that any system or culture of absolutes that is imprinted on people with these tendencies young is hugely difficult to overcome later.

Sometimes I think they later look for absolute systems too, eg become avid converts to something that offers a logical or systematic solution, atheism, Catholicism, or whatever. No half shades."

paintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 14:20:56

"I know of a university professor who is completely upfront about his AS. Apparently, at the beginning of each year, he says to his new students "I have autism. This means I am unlikely to make eye contact with you. I might say things you find rude or insensitive because I do not always pick up the social norms. I am sorry for any discomfort this causes you. Now let's get on with the first lecture on [insert geektastic subject]".

paintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 14:22:55

"Can I ask how the hell you guys have managed to get your DPs to accept they could be on the spectrum? Mine I think knows it in his heart but flat out refuses to discuss it or engage in the possibility that this could be the major factor in how messed up our relationship is.

He blames my 'emotional instability', totally failing to see that I'm actually incredibly emotionally stable with everyone else I know."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 14:52:46

"Maybe my DH has mellowed (or learned some more social and communication rules) over time. Things were much worse for us twenty years ago. I could have done with all this info then. Oh dear me, yes. Anyway, I don't think a clinician would see that a diagnosis would be appropriate. So I have only raised it in the most general of terms with him. It helps me understand wtf is going on, is all."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 14:56:42

Here's the other side of the coin: "The good thing about an "official" diagnosis is that dh now comes under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) at work, and they have to make some allowances for his problems."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:01:32

"I came here from the AS as emotional abuse thread, as I couldn't see what else the awful behaviour could be. (cold, distant, uptight, controlling with dcs, harsh and cruel with the dcs too, intolerant, interspersed with baffling shouty meltdowns, yet telling me he'd never been happier)

Never a perfect relationship but I never had a lot of confidence and tolerated more than I should have, have v recently realised my mum is self-absorbed, so it's not just a few isolated incidents that have hurt or annoyed me, there's a lifetime of being sidelined.

Since dcs came along, the above terrible behaviour really kicked in. when it was just the 2 of us I'd often remark how it seemed like he's been in the army, he was so disciplined and tidy. I see now he can't cope with the stress and unpredictability, or the lack of control or routine."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:02:41

"Always felt overlooked, never quite good enough. So 2nd best'll do me, always buying sale items, I anticipate and appease a situation, hate being confronted by anger etc etc........, I was programmed to marry a (borderline,ok) aspie. Also programmed never able to cope with it properly."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:03:45

"This really cries out to me - always buying sale items. Oh yeah. Like I/you only deserve bargains."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:12:34

"I too can sympathise, in my own way, with the low-self esteem stuff that you are talking about. Recently however I caught up with a friend who I see only once a year and for the first time I told her about some of the stuff I put up with from dh. Now bearing in mind that I can feel like a doormat and also feel that I have allowed myself to be subsumed by his stuff over the years, her observations were thus:

- I am with him for a reason
- I am with him because I can be with him - many thousand others couldn't bear it!!!
- I am with him because I am strong, not weak, and unlike thousands of others, I can make the marriage work
- I am with him because, again unlike thousands of others, I can understand what he's about (enough to make me stick with him rather than giving up because he seems completely insane)
- I am with him because I can see a happy future for the two of us when the kids have grown up and left home

Another dear friend who has heard all the stories over the years, would have had me leave him ages ago, and while I'd listen respectfully to her opinions, I never could make the move and always wonder why - am I a coward? Does the view from the other side look even worse? etc etc But my friends words of encouragement gave me so much empowerment and I now see my "sticking around for the long haul" as truly a strength, something I am doing out of choice, not the meek way out.

The trick is to keep ones judgement and sanity in view and make contact with others here just to confirm it's not me that's the bonkers one! And most importantly, to bring the children up not to think any of the bad stuff is their fault and to protect them from as much of dh's damaging behaviour as possible."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:13:43

"The issue of 'why are you staying?' is a really good one I think.
The reason I stayed is because I could feel I had something to learn from that relationship that I hadn't quite learnt yet. Then when I worked the AS out, I had to learn to accept DP as he is (unconditionally?).
And now, things have settled down and are quite good, or as good as they can be.

I also agree that children are the most important people in the mix. If DP hadn't calmed down and started to behave less as a Sergeant-Major-Dad, I would have left anyway. It was just too damaging for the dcs."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:15:03

"Another self diagnosis here. I only diagnosed him upon despair over our baffling relationship in which he seemed to love me but was/is so much of time, cold, controlling, lacking in empathy, various assumed nervous issues eg ADHD, OCD but hidden from the casual onlooker by his prickly stroppy exterior. our communication issues also had me baffled. whatever else I can't do.. communication is my thing!"

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:25:57

"DP never seems to rest properly. When "relaxing" eg on sofa he is always moving.. jogging a foot etc (and I learnt recently.. "counting in squares" in his head). He also has a constant and v fast stream of "reactive thoughts" that he can't switch off from.

All this is exhausting and of course exhaustion causes more Aspie traits."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:32:55

"Good news though is that they CAN learn.
DP has learnt to look after the ds, even down to doing a dairy free diet (or not too far off).
He has learnt to look after himself (ie cooking a meal) for himself and the dcs.
I think that what did the trick was me doing a course and leaving him with both dcs (who were very young) for the weekend. He had no choice than getting on with it.
What I have noticed at that time is the very strong feeling of duty from DP which is the one thing that made him do all these efforts for the dcs.

*What is working for us is humour. I have realized that I can tell DP a lot of things if I keep smiling and make it quite clear I am not angry (cue for overdoing it on the facial expression etc...). This way I have been able to tell him what is not going well and gave him pointers as to what he could do. He seems to be taking that on board.*"

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:48:32

"Somebody said this : I reckon the more anxious/stressed an aspie is, the more selfish they are... which I KNOW to be true but always forget to explain it to myself in those terms when we are in the middle of one of those troughs. We've been in one of those troughs recently. DH becomes totally self-absorbed, so I get more isolated and depressed, so he feels ignored and shuts down even more. Round and round in destructive circles. Only broken by us having a messy emotive bust-up."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:50:29

"The thing that's in my mind currently is that dh is so very critical of the dc, especially ds; gets very cross with them; seems to overlook the fact that they are, in fact, children; and cannot praise them unless he really really makes an effort and under duress from me.

In terms of them not being safe, in our case it is because of forgetting that they are children, not adults; and just switching off and forgetting about them altogether. When they were smaller, that included losing them, me calling out the police to look for them, etc. With illness, just not focussing; being at a loss about how to respond unless specifically instructed by me or a HCP; not grasping the urgency of the situation. And of course being difficult and scary to talk to, so the dc wouldn't dare say "my leg/arm/head hurts. A lot. Please can I see a doctor."

"Age-inappropriate expectations" is a useful phrase.

Dh is also quite ferociously envious of ds. And competitive towards him.

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:52:26

"I don't think we've discussed much the issue of tumbledown house purchasing and house renovations which never get done. This also appears to be a marker for AS/NT relationships.


Yet another thing to add to the list of stuff that links us.

I am depressingly heartened by the realisation that the shabby house thing is a marker. I've always thought I was just lacking in the domestic goddess department. Other people (present company excepted) always seem to live somewhere that looks complete, don't they? We, on the other hand, appear to be living in student accommodation."

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 15:53:05

"Someone suggested to me that my dh's perfectionism versus inability to finish a task, may be because it is easier for him to live with a job still "to do" than live with one finished but imperfect??"

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 16:19:43

"I am tired. Mostly, tired of trying."

I can recognize that feeling. The one where you just want to let go of everything, to even stop trying to make things better because it just doesn't work.
I chose to embrace it. I stopped trying. Because his happiness is his responsibility just as my happiness is my responsibility.
I also stopped trying to have a life as 'I imagined it would be', stopped expectations, stopped trying to make it all right all on my own. Because I couldn't. I had tried to do it all for years and clearly it wasn't working.

The results haven't been as bad as you would expect. Perhaps also because I have stopped treating DP as a child that needed to be managed if that makes sense?

Maybe, not doing, and not trying, could give you the rest you need and start afresh (in a different way)

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 16:49:00

A joke:

AFTER 35 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counselling. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they’d ever had in the years they had been married. On and on and on she went: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of the crap she’d endured.

Finally, after allowing her to speak for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, he embraced and kissed her long and passionately as her husband watched with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down like she was in a daze.

The therapist turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you manage that?”

The husband replied, “Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I go fishing.”


apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 16:56:25

On Buddhism:

Buddhism isn't about getting rid of emotions (you can't) but about recognizing when they are there, being able to take a step back,looking at them and not acting on them.
You can even chose to use the opposite emotions to counterbalance your feeling (so chose to be compassionate when you are extremely angry towards someone).

I can see how meditation can be very helpful for people with AS, esp to calm to angry outbursts.
But the recognizing your emotions might be a bit of a challenge....
What I really like about their philosophy though is that each person is responsible for their own feelings and should be tending to them. I does help when you stop making the other person responsible about your feelings (I am angry because you have done this etc...)

apaintedveil Sat 22-Dec-12 16:58:09

And to continue:

"Buddhists are trying to get to a place where they don't have to act on them or express them"
That sounds about right to me.

For me, this is about recognizing the emotions before it has overcome me because it allows me to sometimes stop in my tracks, allows me to breathe through it, look at the emotions and let it go.
I use that when I am getting annoyed with DP quite a bit.
Also sometimes with the dcs, even though I find it harder, but my reactions after that is always softer than it would have been otherwise.

Screaminabdabs Tue 22-Jan-13 00:56:55

my dh said something very revealing yesterday when we were talking about his rellies coming over for lunch tomorrow, he said that it was "just another performance" for him, and he said that all these social do's are the same for him in that he has to put on this special effort to play the part. I had never heard him describe it in these terms before nor had I ever seen it in this way before. He is put out of his comfort zone, has to put on a performance and afterwards he feels wrung out by it all. Another little glimpse into the mind of an AS.

Screaminabdabs Tue 22-Jan-13 01:00:34

I said to him I needed help, and he looked at me in amazement and said "well, what needs to be done?" I gave him a list of jobs, but he kept coming back to me to question every detail!

apaintedveil Thu 21-Feb-13 20:02:06

“I don't discuss AS with my DP. Nor do I point out things that he does that are typically AS - I find it just makes things worse because DP then starts thinking 'I am weird' or worse 'she thinks I am weird' and then all communication channels just dissolve.
What is working is turning in such a way that it is appealing to his sense of duty, the one that says he is supposed to be a good dad and to do his best for his dc.”

“I don't know if this would help but I brought up the subject of AS with my DH by showing him a list of AS traits (without any AS title initially) and asking him if they sounded like him. I then said there was an 'interesting' quiz about these characteristics and that I'd scored 5 (which I think got him curious).... and then I linked to the AQ test via the Cambridge Uni page (i.e. seems more Expert). AQ test “

“My DH has been officially diagnosed, but he still will not do any research for himself, just relies on me finding things out for him.
I have to do all the research and he will sometimes listen, especially if it is positive advice, anything he deems as too negative he thinks does not apply to him.
As for gaps in general knowledge, a big yes, yes here. Again, my DH is very good at numbers and when he plays his complicated computer games he always remembers where items etc are, but things I think of as general knowledge that most reasonably intelligent people would know is completely off his radar.”
“Yes to dhs retreating from celebrations. I no longer expect dh to help but it would be nice if he could refrain from the monotonous refrain 'I don't know why you are bothering' and 'Can't dd do it herself'. Grrrrrr. I ENJOY party preparations but it would be so much nicer with some encouragement rather than the constant condemnation.”
“What you say about children disguised as adults rings very true but they are also mature adults, to me it feels like another instance of severe lopsidedness eg being fantastically skilled at using technology and unable to adjust back pack handles.

DP says when he is stressed he becomes much more Autistic. I often have to remind myself it's hurting him more than me but can still be very very tough to cope with. I use analogies in my head like if someone was having an epileptic fit and lashed out and broke your nose it wouldn't be in any way intentional but you'd still have a broken nose!”
“I can't think of the right term but you know the thing about people with Aspergers not telling you things because they assume you already know (which certainly leads to a lot of difficult situations round here).

What I need to remember is this. DP is a good, kind, mature person and has this specific impairment so if he is acting in a bad, unkind, immature way a) there is probably some vital fact I don't know and b) he may be feeling really awful inside but due to lack of speaking body language it's not showing on his face.”

“What shit we have to put up with, and sorry that everything is so hard for all of us.

There can be snowdrops under the gloom though and it is possible to train your aspie.”

“I know now that it is not my fault, but for the sake of my children, it is my responsibility to do something about it. Whereas I used to feel guilty and not know why due to confusion and bewilderment, I now know that for the most part I have behaved "well". My dc unfortunately, still feel the "bewildered guilt" and it is my job to teach/show/reassure them otherwise.”

“I did this before I realised that DH was aspie, before I knew anything about AS, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And you need to accept that everyone reverts to type, under stress, AS or not. Quite a lot was the stuff my parents had taught me, and yes, sometimes I do feel like s mother or a carer. I prefer to think of the latter as if DH were an amputee I would care and make allowances, so I have to in this case. But this is something I have only realised recently. Before the last few years I thought I was being condescending, manipulative and deceitful rather than providing the security and framework he needs.

I taught him to behave acceptably with people he didnt know. If people are coming to our house, I give him defined jobs and timing to help prepare. I make him open the door and take coats, and told him what to say, hello, smile, take coat, he doesn't need to start a conversation then, they may do it. He goes round with the drink a few times and can then disappear.

If we are going to a dinner, and it is not his friends, I brief him, remind him who they are, interests, likely topics of conversation they could raise, elephant traps, and we discuss what topics we could raise. Useful with the rellies too.

When we used to go to balls, I taught him how to invite people to dance and what to say and then have a get out clause.

I have taught him to assume responsibility for getting the washing done and dried, filling up the car, emptying the dishwasher, occasionally when prompted changing sheets, checking we have enough bread, milk and eggs in the house and the dog is fed.

I make lists of household tasks to be done, chuncked up into smaller bits.

What you have to understand is that spontaneity and intuition does not come into this. They are indeed frightening for him. So the more you can make this predictable and achievable, the easier it is.

And if you can associate some of this with a 1950's style demarcation, the easier it is too. I fought against that for many years but have now accepted it makes him happier.

So it looks more like a traditional marriage from the outside.”

“I organised couple counselling last year and the counsellor didn't take my frustration seriously at all. She asked DH if he thought he had Aspergers and predictably he said no. So she then told me the reason I was finding things hard to cope with was because I was a control freak who wouldn't let poor DH step up and take some responsibility. I was so desperate for him to do that but he's so unreliable over hugely important things that I just take it all on. She just didn't get it. So I stopped going and we broke up.”

“I would say that it is the parenting that is almost solely responsible for my marital stress with dh. Any other disagreement can often be disguised as something other but usually comes down to differing opinions or approaches on how to deal with the dc. Dh regularly accuses me of undermining his parenting/not giving him space to parent/not giving his parenting time to take effect, but I seriously find his parenting is unreasonable (not just different to how I might do it but actually off the rails, draconian, Victorian, bullying, treating the dc as though they were put here to be our servants). I observe a lot of his parenting as being about him, his feelings, and what he needs doing for his satisfaction, not what the dc may need or want. And discipline again is often a means to vent his anger, disappointment, impatience and anxiety brought about by their behaviour, becoming a punishment rather than an authoratative instruction to guide and restrain their behaviour in the future..”

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 15:58:29

Not at all sure if it's a recipe for success, but here's info about a new novel:

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:11:01

"As we are sharing links again, have a look at the Musings of an Aspie blog.
In a couple of posts she is sharing how she made her marriage work (with her DH of course). I have found a lot of things we have been talking about in the past. One interesting one was the need for going running/swimming/cycling at least one hour each day. DP is a bit like this. Much better after some exercise and totally incapable of staying at home for a whole day."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:12:31

"1. The only thing you can be certain of in life is that nothing is certain


2. The only thing that is constant is change.

We're works in progress and whether some of us appear to be making more progress than others depends entirely on where we're standing when we assess our own passage through life."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:17:24

"How do you build your own life when living with a partner with aspergers? Dh doesn't have friends and doesn't need anyone really outside of us and therefore seems to be completely incapable of seeing why I need them. I am quite a sociable person and although I make a point of going out for a drink with a friend every so often, anything else such as making arrangements on a weekend are usually met with a row or unpleasant comments which make me wonder whether it's really worth the bother. I also find that if I don't stand up to my dh when he is unreasonable it almost seems to get worse. I am really confused as to how to deal with him I think. He has only recently spoken about how he is clearly autistic or aspergers. He hates to talk about it and seems to be of the mindset that this is what he is, and why should he change?"

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:25:04

"It's his casual remarks and comments that I find so caustic and critical - he always seems to be criticising me etc. Or am I just being overly sensitive? I have mentioned it to him so often and he just doesnt 'get' it. He can't see that it's a problem and why I find it so hurtful."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:27:16

"Just imagine, in other partnerships couples probably use the weekend to soothe and comfort each other, to recharge batteries, to recover from the Sturm und Drang of the week. We have the Sturm und Drang at the weekends and need the week to recover."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:43:16

"With the snide and critical comments I really try to take a deep breath and remind myself that this is just him trying to understand a situation and to get a grip on it, position himself as it were, and not about me personally. It takes great patience though doesn't it, to be that restrained and what can it be doing to our souls long term to be repressing our emotions like that?

With the angry/critical outbursts (usually about dc and my lack of discipline with them and my failing parenting) being patient and understanding is much harder because these outbursts are more personal and consciously aimed at me. And dh seems to need reminding about previous solutions to these issues that we will have discussed and agreed upon.

Trying to avoid or manage stressful situations so dh doesn't get so Aspie is also hard at times because we are not omnipotent are we? And we can't have influence over environments outside of our reach (dh's work for instance or the content of some email he receives that riles him). More often nowadays, I simply walk away after offering initial sympathy or words of support."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:51:53

"Just finished a novel called "The Language of Others" by Clare Morrall (a Booker shortlister a few years ago with "Astonishing Splashes of Colour"). Found it very interesting because it's about Aspergers, so look out for it!

In the novel above, there is a NT character who "gets" the AS thing and believes in the ability for Aspies to learn, or to be "trained" as we say here! However, this requires the cooperation of the AS individual and a certain amount of awareness and acceptance of the condition and I am not sure that dh is that person. Still, small steps."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:55:21

"What has helped a lot (and is still helping) is learning about AS in adults and remembering about it in our daily interactions. To remember that when DP has this 'blank stare' it doesn't mean he is cold and doesn't care. It means he is frightened and doesn't know what to say. That when I am talking about going to see X <<Insert teacher, SENCO, CAMHS>> and I can feel he doesn't really want to be involved, it's because this would be a really difficult thing for him to do (New people he doesn't know, the need to explain things right, to put your point across, fear and anxiety again). So I just go on my own, come back with the outcome and we can 'talk' about what we are going to do next.
And also to know that he will NOT be able to support me emotionally. With 'teaching' he now knows he is doing some good by just listening to me, even if he can't say anything constructive/to solve the problem. So I get the emotional support from other people. Just as I would need to ask from support from others if he was, let's say, wheelchair bound."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 16:57:47

"The one reason I am seeking an assessment for dc is because I think that the knowledge of AS/ASD is essential.

Without the awareness, it is very difficult for the person to change or to realize that perhaps it's their reactions that are at odds with what people expect.

What I have seen with DP: the changes as he is getting his head round the idea that he has AS and that he needs to take that into account are major."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 17:01:41

"I find dh much more difficult if I am taking to friend on phone or whatever. He seems to think that because immediate family is enough for him it should be enough for me. When I challenge him on this he says he doesn't care and I can do what I like but there is a definite change in atmosphere if I am talking to someone else or am arranging to socialise without him, despite the fact that he doesn't want to socialise with anyone!"

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 17:10:30

"Life can actually become very much easier for aspies once they are able to specialise more - it is the broadness of life as children/young teens that can be very challenging for them.

Some time ago I expressed my concerns on here about ds eventually marrying and having a family of his own. Once again I have been reassured that I am probably worrying unnecessarily. His own awareness of ASD, and the greater awareness in society generally of ASD, makes it far less likely that he and any future partner will struggle with the same difficulties that dh and I have had."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 17:17:03

"Dh is bright enough to learn that if he gives me 5 consecutive minutes of conversation a day that I will be happier. He can learn that I thrive on attention, that I like it when he does something nice for me and that it thrills me."

apaintedveil Sat 16-Mar-13 23:37:19

"Abusers don't stop emotional abuse on their own and it is up to the victims and those around them to help stop the emotional abuse. Although a victim may feel "beaten up" by the emotional abuser and may feel like they are nothing without him or her, the victim still can still stand up to the abuser and assert their own power.

Stopping the emotional abuse takes courage. Use these techniques when stopping emotional abuse:
•Regain control of the situation by acting confident and looking the abuser in the eye.
•Speak in a calm, clear voice and state a reasonable expectation such as, "Stop teasing me. I want you to treat me with dignity and respect."
•Act out of rationality, with responses that will help the situation, and not out of emotion.
•Practice being more assertive in other situations, so you can be more assertive when being emotionally abused."

apaintedveil Mon 15-Apr-13 22:59:14
apaintedveil Mon 15-Apr-13 23:09:28

"Do you ladies get a complete rundown of anything and everything your DH has done if he does any everyday housework around the house, with the expectation of an individual acknowledgement and often inspection of each task? God help me if I don't notice this off my own bat, and he has to point out the fact that he has, for instace, hoovered the hall and stairs. I have often have him say "well, haven't you noticed anything different?", and I frantically look about to see what task has been done.
Of course, he doesn't acknowledge the fact that I usually do those chores day in , day out, without any expectation of a well done??"

apaintedveil Mon 15-Apr-13 23:18:16
apaintedveil Mon 15-Apr-13 23:23:41

"Re feeling so trapped at the moment. I have felt that so keenly myself, with nowhere to go, nowhere to turn to. Hopeless. No words of wisdom I'm afraid, although I suppose I have always tried to find the strength in myself to practice "loving kindness", the Buddhist approach to forgiveness and selflessness, when I find myself in that dark, dead end place. It takes a tremendous strength of spirit to be able to see clearly to do that when one has been constantly ground down and belittled but it involves taking a step out of ones personal head space as it were, and it is a way to shed light and open up a way for positivity to enter in."

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