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urces for adults with Aspergers?
My DH has recently been referred for a diagnosis. A health professional did a couple of tests with him (the AQ10 being one, on which he scored 9) and it seems likely.
Regardless of the above, he seems to 'fit' so well with this. His lack of friends, turning out to be really quite an anxious person but doesn't act or respond like anxious people I know, so I had no idea he was like this on the inside etc. He's very thoughtful and kind, but really struggles with reading people, understanding how actions are perceived, and seems to struggle to process and act as quickly as others which gives rise to more issues. Often he is unresponsive, needs space and time to figure out what he wants to say. Now I get this I can try and give him this space and not lose patience, it isn't that he isn't interested he's just still processing. But I wonder what other things I do or could do to try and get on a more similar wavelength, I don't think he understands himself or me as well as we thought either.
There seem to be quite a few resources about, but I was wondering if anyone on here could recommend anything in particular? I'd quite like something relationship oriented and would love a recommendation as opposed to going off a Google!
I'm interested too! Will your DH actually read anything though? Mine won't. Drives me potty bless him.
I think he will! DM lent us a book called 'Men are from Mars and Women from Venus' and we're taking it in turns to read it chapter by chapter. He had had a bit of a wake up call which is how the Aspergers possibility came up. He feels quite relieved like he 'fits' after all, and so is very onboard currently
Sounds positive! Mine has always left that side of things to me. It's a very one sided affair. He decides how things are/should be and struggles to move on from it. It takes years, lots of work, and often isn't worth the effort especially for the really important things which are upsetting to constantly disagree about.
However he has many fine qualities, and now I have realised how direct I need to be- to the point of rudeness- then it is getting easier.
It also helps if I point out- do you think you might be being a bit spectrum about this? He calms right down and reconsiders.
Come over to the SN board, you'll get lots of useful info over there
Action for Aspergers are brilliant: www.actionforaspergers.org
Tony Atwood's book is the canonical aspie guide www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Aspergers-Syndrome-Spectrum-Disorder/dp/1843106698/ref=pd_cp_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TD4A54WTMR4HD9FY0Z4S
This one by Maxine Aston is also good www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Aspergers-Love-Couple-Relationships-Affairs-Maxine-Aston/1843101157/ref=pd_sim_14_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TD4A54WTMR4HD9FY0Z4S
I've heard good things about this but haven't yet read it www.amazon.co.uk/Asperger-Couples-Workbook-Activities-Counsellors/dp/1843102536/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1474035735&sr=1-1
Hope the links work!
There are good reading lists and resources available via the National Autistic Society and ASAN. I second Tony Attwood. You can also look at some of the books by Simon Baron Cohen and Neurotribes by Steve Silberman. I'm aspie, my husband isn't. We've been together 8 years, married 5, 2dc. Feel free to ask me questions if you wish.
Outside of the ASD books, my husband and I have used Myers Briggs personality typing and love languages to frame conversations about different ways of perceiving and responding to things and that has been useful too. It's helped us to realise that not all aspies and not all NTs think alike.
Thanks all, really helpful
I don't really know how I should communicate but I feel like I'm quite patronising at times! Over the years I've developed a habit of repeating what I say in different words, or saying 'do you understand what I mean?' But I only do it to DH, not anyone else. It feels like he can repeat what I say but it's a bit in one ear out the other...
Kiwimiri what kind of things have really helped or hindered your relationship? I have asked DH what he needs from me and he doesn't really know, which is why I'm trying to branch out and get some learning in. I've always been the ideas/direction person in the relationship and DH the nuts and bolts of how we get there, so I feel like I'm driving but in the dark with no lights on at the moment!
Have just done Myers-Briggs with him, he's an IFSJ and I know I am an INTJ. Some things ring very true re being taken advantage of and few yet loyal friendships etc.
Thing is, we are all different so what works for one couple doesn't work for another. I just wish mine would engage in working on things together, but he finds self reflection incredibly difficult/alarming/terrifying. So I just have a guess at what is going on and find out what works by trial and error.
Biggest thing for me, actually, was stopping trying to please him. He can be a grumpy git and I used to walk on eggshells thinking I'd upset him. Now I just tell him he's being a grumpy git. I feel much better!
This is the best thing that had worked for us: We have open and frank conversations on a regular basis and trust each other to be honest but not malicious. For example: 'you said something the other day which hurt my feelings. I felt like you were dismissive of my opinion. What did you mean by that comment?' Sometimes the issue is one of time of voice, or misreading the situation or body language, or making an assumption that turned out not to be accurate. Quite a few times I have been too blunt about something and have later had to ask 'how could I have said that better?' He's very spontaneous and I know there have been multiple times where he's tried to surprise me with something romantic and my anxiety has proved too much of a barrier and it's hurt him. Over the years he's learnt to understand more about my anxiety and insecurities and I have learnt to manage them better. We compromise and when I'm doing well and can cope more easily with spontaneity I let him know and give him the space to do so. Likewise he's found the benefits to my near-obsessive planning and attention to details! But I need to check in with him that he's happy with where my planning is going otherwise I can go too far inside my own head and forget to say any of it out loud and share it with him. Now I don't mind when he goes to parties without me and he's accepting when I need alone time. I'm extremely lucky to have found him, he's my rock and the one person who knows me best. Just a random addition - we talk most extensively and most intimately on long drives in the car - no pressure for eye contact or touch (which is helpful to me!) so we can focus on the conversation.
I'm sorry, this is a long post. I hope my thoughts were of interest.
We've read the couples workbook that LauraMipsum linked to and the Tony Attwood book, both were useful.
I second what Kiwi said, we started having open and frank conversations on a regular basis about what triggered problems - knowing that the purpose of the discussion is to improve things rather than apportion blame.
I've accepted that he doesn't want or need friends and now i socialise mostly on my own, something he's happy with as it relieves the pressure to socialise which has been a if struggle in the past. We identified certain situations that are unbearable for him and I've promised never to put him in those situations again.
His inner panic is much worse than I'd realised and using the books to help us I got a better view of what it is like for him and how this isn't him being difficult, it's who he is. This has made me much happier to make compromises to let us succeed rather than getting frustrated that he/we aren't the same as others. We are a much better team now and I think we're more honest now, more trusting too.
We're both autistic. And married now for 28 years and counting. As has wisely been said already, it's about learning each others' needs.
Top tips: Sensory stuff is huge for most autistic people. vimeo.com/52193530 is a two minute animation I strongly recommend to anyone with an autistic person in their lives. Needs sound, turned up as loud as you can handle.
People often hope we can socialise in busy, noisy places, parties, pubs, cafes, restaurants etc.
Many of us are also faceblind, and cannot recognise who's who just from their face, nor see their face expressions well enough to tell what they are feeling. So we're reliant on people explaining their feelings...and explaining what they need from us. It was mistaken for a lack of empathy for years, but most of the huge number of autistic people I know are hugely caring individuals...just working with senses that don't provide the same feedback as others get.
Visuals, music, patterns - those can be a more powerful way to get a message across than words, for a good number of us.
Good research showing that, on average, we're more honest than others, more moral than others, more concerned with social justice, and more dedicated to our much loved hobbies and interests.
Most of us would love to have more friends, but we've sort of given up, because it goes wrong so fast. All that social signalling and 'small talk' fries our brain circuits. Literally. Then they either switch off to cool down (literally) or overheat to erratic-angry-tantrummy-looking bizarre stuff for a while through pain. It's not actual anger; it's a bit like an epilepsy event caused by the internal electrical overheating. Horrible for us to experience. Exhausting afterwards. Unfortunate that it looks like we're 'throwing a tantrum' to get our own way (no), or 'refusing to speak about something' (no).
Loads to learn about different brain wiring patterns and their effects, together.
I won't claim it's easy, being in a relationship with someone whose brain is connected differently. But it can be brilliant once people realise what's what.
I have recently discovered that it's very very likely that I have Aspergers. I think the key for me and DH is just understanding. There are a lot of things that I feel and do that I didn't realise where "not normal" as I've just adjusted to them over the years.
I'm learning all the time right now and constantly finding new things that I didn't realise where autistic traits. For example I am faceblind. I cannot easily recognise people's faces at all. I can look at a face and think "i should know that person" but I cannot place who or why or where. Also there are many times when I'm wrong and they just look like a face I should know.
It's like flicking on light switches in my brain and finally making sense of everything. It's daunting and scary whilst also being comforting. I have found though that I'm "going a little backwards" in some respects. As I realise that it's ok for me to not make eye contact all the time for instance I am dropping some of my coping strategies to feel more in control. It's good for me but wierd for others around me I suspect.
I am fairly sure I am mildly Aspie and have just spent days ploughing through Tony Attwood's book and spotting little bits of me here and there.
If anyone Aspie or non suspects they or partner may be, please get reading and some help. It may take a lot of work but at least recognising the situation and starting to discuss will most likely benefit all. I am probably too late for my relationship. I have enjoyed reading the various posts so far and surprised that there is quite a lot of it about.
If you're on Facebook, there's a page called Aspergers Experts written by a young man with Aspergers Syndrome. He posts articles on what it's like to live with Aspergers that are very helpful and revealing.
Thanks all, this is really helpful.
I think DH can recognise people OK it's the reading expressions that is a bigger issue. Definitely need to get some reading in.
I was going to ask about friends. I'm not sure if DH needs more friends, or would be better investing more in fewer friendships? I am not sure if I am projecting my feelings onto him and feeling sad for him to not have many friends, when he might not actually need that?
Also, he really seems to struggle to process scenarios, particularly stressful ones like if we argue. He seems to need a lot of time to digest and respond. From an NT person, I would think they were busy thinking up an excuse or the 'right' answer, but that won't apply to DH, will it? Why does he struggle in this way, and apart from trying to be patient, is there anything else I can do?
The moral thing is interesting. DH has actually lied/hidden a lot quite recently which has caused an immense amount of pain. I don't think he intended to, though. It is like he got into a difficult place, didn't know how to get out so floundered, it snowballed, and he was dishonest because he thinks I would have gone mad at him for it, but I wouldn't have. He seems to misjudge me a lot and be very frightened of conflict. This is what triggered him going off to counselling. I've also gone for some issues I have (OCD) and it was my counsellor who suggested he has Aspergers from how I describe him.
My counsellor has done lots on trusting my intuition because it seems to be a strength. I don't think he is a bad person at all, I think he's been an idiot re the above but really don't believe he intended to cause any hurt by failing to deal with the situation he was in. Just kind of went along with it because he didn't know what to do (it was work related, if that makes a difference, I think he's really struggled with realising he wasn't doing as well as he thought).
It's hard having the two prongs of him causing so much trouble for us as a couple, and the potential diagnosis. It's difficult not to feel very hurt, if he had come up with ASD himself I might have worried he was using it as an excuse, but it was my counsellor and his counsellor then said yes I had suspected and was going to bring it up at a later date. Hard to separate feelings out at times!
You seem to be starting to write my story and I suspect that of many others. When in an 'argument' my mind blanks almost completely, to which I get told I look 'smug' whereas in reality there is practically nothing in my head. I tend to forget all about it the following morning as there is 'stuff' to do and to me whatever the discussion was about seems unimportant.
The lying thing is interesting as I also tend to do that but in a way that means I put more stress on myself. Maybe I am over optimistic in what I can achieve and my 'workload' is massive. I am coming unstuck now particularly as my domestic situation has collapsed and I am self employed and have 'lost' the workshop. Not officially diagnosed but online test suggest I am about 34 where 31 is classed as 'near normal'.
It is mainly emotional/relational stress that is my 'weakness'. To me the suggestion that I could be Aspie is a form of comfort and I can now see situations where I can 'ease off' although DW has had enough and it seems can't be bothered after 25 years. If you are feeling a bit lonely and 'cut out' of his life ask your DH if it is OK for you to socialise on occasions with friends without him.
If you are still talking freely and your DH can take it positively you can probably find a way through. It seems in some cases giving an Aspie space to be alone for a while can be a restorative.
This is a great free resource that covers some basics:
There is an empathy test on the thread about undiagnosed mothers with ASD. I did it, and found it gave lots of insight into areas where I find it hard to understand my DH. Have a look, you may see something relevant to you.
As for friends, my DH doesn't have any so if yours does then we'll done to him! I would prefer to go to some stuff without him, as I could join in with other people instead of having to keep him company. He is the world's most sensible person and it cramps my style a bit sometimes!
I think I am mildly on the spectrum perhaps, ds has diagnosis of ASD and ADHD, and my dad has some characteristics of ASD too. But, looking at the Myers Briggs types I am an INTJ, and it fits me really well. I had to laugh at myself when I read this 'INTJs are brilliant and confident in bodies of knowledge they have taken the time to understand, but unfortunately the social contract is unlikely to be one of those subjects.' Definitely me! So maybe I am just INTJ not ASD?
Apparently only 0.8% of women are INTJs, which explains why I often feel so alien when I'm with with a group of women. OrcinusOrca, where did you do your test as you say 'Some things ring very true re being taken advantage of and few yet loyal friendships etc' this is very much my experience and I'd like to read more about it. I see myself as very forgiving for the most part but, if someone does do something which infringes a significant boundary then our relationship can never be the same and often I find I just have to move on from them. That happened to a lot of my friendships when i was younger and the experience of being hurt like that puts a big barrier between me and potential close friends now.
Out about, you say 'I am over optimistic in what I can achieve and my 'workload' is massive.' I'm self employed too and my workload is also massive! My dh can't understand why I am so driven and I can't understand how he can just be satisfied with the status quo. I also forget about arguments afterwards- it annoys me because dh gets away with an awful lot just because I forget. He is an ESFP 'the entertainer' and that fits him perfectly too! He has a lot of ADHD characteristics but, like me with the INTJ characteristics, are they just part of his personality profile?
I just scored 29 on the AQ test, apparently 'scores in the 26 - 32 range indicate some Autistic traits (Aspergers Syndrome)'
I know I have a very hard time noticing body language and reading between the lines (why don't people just say what they mean and mean what they say?) I do enjoy parties and social occasions but they make me tired and I sometimes wish I'd stayed at home with a good book instead afterwards!
I have read up a lot recently on being INTJ and it has really helped with expressing myself to dh. We know that our personality types are polar opposites in lots of ways. When I am feeling down for instance, he tells me I need to get out and see people, he would find that energising but it actually makes me feel more 'different' and tires me out. Time alone re-energises me but it would bring dh down.
I am going to read up on dh's ESFP now too and I think that will really help me understand his point of view more clearly and help us communicate effectively. Might be an avenue of reading to explore for you, OrcinusOrca, wrt to your relationship?
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