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How do I get him to consider he has aspergers?

(72 Posts)
Birdybirdie Wed 08-Apr-20 09:15:28

It is likely that DH has aspergers and/or ADHD and it is the cause of many issues within our relationship and family life.
I have brought this up with him, but he is completely offended whenever I mention it, or laughs at me as if I'm crazy.
One of his defences is always "you are the only one who thinks I have it,so it's you with the problem."
Only this isn't true. I have not told him this.
However, a professional I work with told me she suspected he had it on meeting him; my own mother thinks he has it, but most poignantly, a mutual friend I have never told my concerns to randomly blurted out one day "has it ever occured to you that he has aspergers?" She was friends with him before she was friends with me.
This offered me a great deal of relief after suspecting aspergers for many years. However, getting DH to take my concerns seriously is impossible and I am walking a fine line between speaking to him honestly about this and completely upsetting and insulting him by bringing it up.
He also turns the tables on me a lot, listing my own problems and convinces himself that I am more autistic than he is. I probably have a few traits, but know my issues boil down to anxiety and a high sensitivity to noise that I've had since being brought up by shouty alcoholics. I also struggle to control my emotions. But I don't have aspergers or autism.
I have done online tests with him which he says are "nonsense." I have also spoken to his sister about the probability of him having it and she was also completely offended that I would say such a thing. I know his father thinks he's a bit different and I question if he knows, deep down but the whole family are a little delusional anyway.
I know eventually, I will probably have to leave him, but we would still have 2 DCs who will require his love and parenting. I wish he would consider aspergers a possibility, but it's like knocking at a brick wall.
Any ideas?

simone1863 Wed 08-Apr-20 09:24:01

Why is it so important to demand he understands your diagnosis before you leave him anyway? Is this about humiliating him? Because if this is medical it's not going to change is it.

Birdybirdie Wed 08-Apr-20 09:33:55

No it's more about keeping our children safe. Unfortunately, he doesn't 'notice' when they're poorly or have emotional needs. At the moment, I am meeting those needs, but should we separate, on the occasions they're with him, I won't be able to.
An example was the time our child collapsed and I was shouting at him to call an ambulance, but he wouldn't as he doesn't like talking to people he doesn't know on the phone. Another example was when, over a long period of time, took all the batteries out of the smoke alarms because they were beeping as opposed to replacing them. If a child is crying, he hugs them because that's what you do when they cry but doesn't investigate the cause. He is a loving father though. If he were to understand and accept his probable diagnosis, I would feel my children were in safe hands when I'm not there. Also, a diagnosis might mean he can work on his issues and we wouldnt necessarily have to separate.
I think a diagnosis would however lead to him feeling humiliated anyway.
He also has a very bad relationship with food and I am concerned about this rubbing off on the children too. He believes no food should ever be wasted so will eat until he's almost sick or will eat food he doesn't like so not to waste it. He treats his body like a dustbin. I think he needs help with some of his limiting beliefs and thought patterns, but I genuinely believe this all forms part of him having aspergers.

Fleetheart Wed 08-Apr-20 09:37:43

It is a difficult one; it’s about him developing the self awareness that will enable him to recognise when he doesn’t notice things.
I think as you say you will have to leave him, if he won’t discuss it when you want to talk about it seriously. You may have to have that very conversation; how old are the DCs?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 08-Apr-20 09:40:36

He may well not be on any sort of ASD spectrum at all; none of you are qualified to state this of him and you all may actually be wrong.

Buscake Wed 08-Apr-20 09:42:54

Aspergers is an outdated term and isn’t used to diagnose any more. It’s called autism. You can’t force him to instigate a diagnostic process that he doesn’t want to do. It’s interesting that when he turns the tables on you, you react in the same way as him by saying you’re not autistic. Can you see that this is very hypocritical? If you think a diagnosis would humiliate him or impact hugely on him in a negative way, why would you want him to pursue this? The diagnosis won’t change him: if he is autistic, he is autistic.

user1635896324685367 Wed 08-Apr-20 09:44:12

However, a professional I work with told me she suspected he had it on meeting him

Doesn't sound very professional.

GreyishDays Wed 08-Apr-20 09:46:31

How old are the children? I wonder if they would want to stay with him.

I don’t think a diagnosis really helps, it’s more that his parenting is inadequate, for whatever cause.

SnuggyBuggy Wed 08-Apr-20 09:46:40

I think the autism is a red herring. How willing would he be to work on his behaviour in general?

Foldinglaundryisnotforme Wed 08-Apr-20 09:47:28

Diagnosis does not "fix" autism. You would have to make allowances and adapt situations regardless. It's absolutely shocking you want to leave him because he doesn't want a diagnosis and being prepared to stay if he does seek a label is very strange to me. There is no "cure"

PeachesAndPops Wed 08-Apr-20 09:51:07

Yeah, Aspergers is an outdated term. It’s autism. I don’t know what you hope to achieve through a diagnosis?

Birdybirdie Wed 08-Apr-20 09:58:51

Leaving him is not pivotal on having a label. I think you mis-read my meaning. I'm perhaps naively hoping that a diagnosis may give us the opportunity to address and work on some of the issues we're having with him being more self aware of ehat is causing the limiting beliefs.
Perhaps I am hypocritical myself, although I know I have some traits. I do try to work on myself a lot, I've had CBT, counselling, read a lot of books etc, so I am willing to alter and change. I think it's DHs resistance to work on himself that I am finding such a huge barrier.

BlankTimes Wed 08-Apr-20 10:32:17

Autism is not a label, it's a medical diagnosis and in order for it to be given " a person will usually be assessed as having had persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests (this includes sensory behaviour), since early childhood, to the extent that these 'limit and impair everyday functioning'."
Source www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/adults.aspx

This is a very good description of the autistic spectrum, it may dispel some myths and assumptions. neuroclastic.com/2019/05/04/its-a-spectrum-doesnt-mean-what-you-think/

Also, if you think your husband is autistic, what about your children? In this day and age, it's very common for parents to recognise traits in themselves and some go on to seek a diagnosis when their children are diagnosed, as awareness of autism was fairly sparse when the parents were children.

I think a diagnosis would however lead to him feeling humiliated anyway
Then either his (mis)understanding or your presentation to him of what autism is is completely wrong. Diagnosis of an adult who has always wondered why they were different to other people should be more like confirmation that he's not 'wrong' or out of step with the world, that there's a valid medical reason he is the way he is.

caramelbun Wed 08-Apr-20 10:48:52

I doubt all of those issues would unravel if he was given a diagnosis. Perhaps it’d be better to talk to him about the specific problems you have or seek out counselling with him.

You say you have had struggles too. How would you like it if he thought you had a specific disorder (one you disagreed with) and he was pushing for you to see a psychiatrist and get diagnosed? And he spoke to family and friends about it? Honestly I would hate it if my partner did this to me.

izzywizzygood Wed 08-Apr-20 11:06:24

God, poor guy! Sounds like a typical man, clueless and unaware of what's he doing rather than someone with autism. Yet you keep repeating that you feel you have something like autism yourself - are you sure you're not wishing this on to him to feel better about yourself?

If his sister is (unsurprisingly) offended by your suggestion, I'd leave it. She grew up with him after all, she knows him.

AlunWynsKnee Wed 08-Apr-20 11:26:03

If he doesn't want to 'work' on himself then why do you think a diagnosis will change that? He could just as easily take the point of view that he can't change because that's how he is and you should adapt to cater for his needs.
Also anxiety is a common way for autism to surface in undiagnosed females so don't be so quick to rule yourself out.

LonginesPrime Wed 08-Apr-20 11:26:07

a diagnosis may give us the opportunity to address and work on some of the issues we're having with him being more self aware of ehat is causing the limiting beliefs

This sounds like you think the grass is greener on the other side of diagnosis.

An ASD diagnosis won't solve the problem and might make things worse as it's not always rainbows and butterflies as soon as an adult gets a diagnosis. For every positive story about someone experiencing huge relief at realising why life always felt so challenging, there will be others who get angry or depressed because of what might have been had they known earlier, etc. DH might also resent you for pushing a diagnosis if it turns out he gets a label he clearly feels carries a lot of stigma.

A diagnosis can be helpful for some people, and it's often useful for explaining difficulties to school or work, but it's not going to mean that he suddenly develops self-awareness. And it needs to be driven by him - he's an adult.

Dealing with ASD will need others around DH to adjust their expectations of him, rather than him just 'working on himself'. I think you're best off focussing on finding ways to keep the DC safe and to set some house rules about smoke alarms, etc.

You could always suggest he sees an occupational therapist for dealing with his sensory issues and see what they suggest - most of the problematic aspects of ASD can be handled with or without a diagnosis, so I'd focus on dealing with the issues rather than worrying about the diagnosis.

LouiseCollina Wed 08-Apr-20 11:31:44

I’m astonished at some of the responses the OP is getting on this thread. OP, your husband is someone who’s proven himself unwilling to call an ambulance while his own child lies collapsed on the floor, because he “doesn’t like talking to people he doesn’t know on the phone.” This is not a normal response and it is bloody well not an acceptable one either. Little wonder you’re fearful for your children should you separate and not be there to supervise. You’d be rolling the dice with your own children’s lives. Regardless how long the odds, with a man like that, it’d be a risk every time.

Ignore the insinuations you’ve received on this thread about your own mental health. If you were raised by emotionally volatile drunks of course that’s left residual trauma reactions. That is a separate issue and one you’re already aware of and working on. What you need to get to grips with here is whether this marriage is sustainable. Have you suggested couples counselling to him? If so, how has he reacted? (I’m betting though he doesn’t like talking to counsellors either, confused)

tiredanddangerous Wed 08-Apr-20 11:36:47

You can’t force him to seek a diagnosis for a condition he doesn’t believe he has. You can make decisions for yourself, but not for him. If you can’t continue as things are, you should begin making plans to separate.

merryhouse Wed 08-Apr-20 12:01:10

Diagnosis is irrelevant.

Also, he's obviously from a family that are horrified at the mere thought of being "weirdos" so it would be unhelpful, and as others have said might make hi consider there's no point in trying to change anything.

You need to tell him: your behaviour on these specific occasions has put our children at risk. This is unacceptable. It is imperative that in every decision, every action, you consider our children's needs as higher priority than your own desires and convenience. This is base-level-decent parenting and you must adhere to it.

Fleetheart Wed 08-Apr-20 12:29:27

I think the OP is having a very hard time: the issue is that her DH is not caring for the children adequately. Not because he doesn’t care but because he very evidently does not recognise some of the issues. I wonder how many people who have posted have lived with someone like this. It’s not about the diagnosis/ label or whether asperger’s is an outmoded term; it’s about his unconscious incompetence to dea with some of the things that are required of him. I can see this must be very frustrating and challenging for OP. I honestly believe that in the end she will have to leave DH if he won’t engage in understanding his own behaviours re the DCs. A very difficult situation; please everyone Be Kind

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 08-Apr-20 12:48:35

Incompetance can be deliberate too and he may well see the parenting as "her job" because he is too important in his own mind to be asked to do this.

PeachesAndPops Wed 08-Apr-20 13:02:57

I think you are being naive in thinking that getting him to accept he may (or may not) be autistic is going solve anything. It’s not. You need to find a different way to resolve the issues.

I was late diagnosed autistic and it really messed with my head, took a good year to come to terms with it all. Yes, on the one hand I felt relief and it felt like my whole life made sense but I was also really angry. It has also strained my relationship with my Mum because she doesn’t accept the diagnosis and I’m angry she never thought I might’ve needed extra support (my ‘issues’ are well documented from about 2 but Mum has always just said I’m neurotic). I suppose what I’m saying is things could get worse before they get better if you pursue this. Also knowing that I’m autistic really hasn’t helped me change.

Wakeupsunshine Wed 08-Apr-20 13:07:31

How would a diagnosis change his behaviour eg in the not calling an ambulance example? He’s not going to suddenly like talking on the phone.

If he wasn’t so resistant to it, there might be a chance of increasing his self-awareness but in his case I don’t see the point and you can’t make him anyway.

steppemum Wed 08-Apr-20 13:11:25

I agree with merryhouse you need to address the individual behaviours.

I think my dd may have autism, she may or may not get a diagnosis, but the thing we are doing is to look at the things which will help her with her social skills and anxiety, many of which we have taken from autism support sites.

Personally, I would sit down and tell him that you are struggling with your relationship, and that you both need to work on it, and if he won't agree to work on it, you will have to leave.

Then go to marriage counselling. There you can raise these issues and how they make you afraid to leave kids with him etc. It is not normal to not call an ambulance, but you can tell him that 100 times and he won't hear you. In a counselling context you can explaore that with him and the counsellor.

You need to accept though, that counselling will mean both of you need to look at your behaviour.

I have friends, he is on the spectrum. They went for marriage counselling. He was very sceptical, and after a few sessions, he said - she doesn't tell us what to do does she, we just talk, and he was a little bemused by that. But it was really, really helpful, and he has definitely changed a lot through it, he thinks he just decided to do things, but I know his wife has said that these things came up in counselling and the counsellor just got him to think, and he has.

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