Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In an Asperger's Marriage or Relationship? Grieving the Death of the Dream

An asperger's diagnostician informed me that 80% of children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism) have either a parent or a grandparent (likely undiagnosed) on the autism spectrum.

Many parents have a light bulb "aha" moment after the diagnosis of a child.  "AHA!  So THIS explains why my spouse (or parent) has always done such and such.  He (or she) has traits consistent with autism!"

And the relief of finally having a name to go with the confusing characteristics and behaviors is quickly followed by grief.  Please know that this grief is normal, and oh, so common

After going through the grief myself over the past five years, my advice to you is to go with it.  Don't fight it.  The dream of ever having a normal, typical relationship with your autistic loved ones is over.  GRIEVE! 

It's okay to have been in denial.  Don't beat yourself up if you had been denying the symptoms in the past.  You did the best you could with what you knew at the time.  And it's fine to be angry.  But try very hard not to take the anger out on those around you.  Journal.  Pray.  Confide in a highly empathic friend, or seek a good counselor during this time, to help you process all the emotions you are feeling.

Familiarize yourself with the stages of grief:  But most importantly, call this what it is.  This is the DEATH of a dream.  GRIEF of a true loss.

As you are able to better understand what you are truly going through, post-diagnosis, you will grow, and then be better able to take care of the differently-abled people in your life.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

FOUND! A Christian Counselor for an Aspergers Marriage!

Check out this link:

Several good articles for the Christian living with Aspergers Syndrome

The link above has some good articles for the Christian, or Christian spouse of someone with Asperger's Syndrome or high functioning autism (as it is now called).

Best of all, there IS now a Christian counselor and marriage and family therapist who is very familiar with autism and Aspergers!  Go to: CounselorStephanieHolmes(dot)com for contact info.  She has both personal experience in her own life, and professional experience, with autism spectrum disorders.

AND . . . Drum roll . . . This Christian counselor will counsel patients all over the world via Skype, so no worries if her office is too far away.  That may sound iffy, but I vouch for her.  This counselor is legit.  She knows her autism stuff, and seems biblically solid, too.  I recently attended  a large conference where she was speaking.  I am in no way getting compensation or anything for recommending this therapist.  I'm just so thrilled SOMEONE has the skills to counsel women and men in Aspergers marriages.

 C'mon therapists and counselors out there....the future is here!  These Aspergers kiddos diagnosed in the 1990s will be getting married soon, and there will be gazillions of spouses seeking therapists with knowledge of autism.  This is seriously an untapped gold mine in the future of the counseling field. Aspie spouses may be the very best therapists due to their personal experience and wisdom acquired over the years.  So if looking for a field to study or career change . . . consider counseling with an emphasis on autism and families with special needs.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Learning to Trust Again

The single most helpful book I have read to date throughout my asperger's syndrome journey is "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend.  The second is like it, but goes deeper, once a person is ready to go deeper.  "Beyond Boundaries:  Learning to Trust Again in Relationships" by Dr. John Townsend is worth adding to your bookshelf or Kindle.

It's rare for a Christian to be biblically counseled that it's okay necessary sometimes to set strict limits on what behaviors one will put up with from a spouse, relative, coworker, or friend.  When hurt becomes harm, it's time to set protective limits around oneself.  Such limits may even mean ending the relationship entirely. 

And that's okay, too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Conflict with a Female who has Asperger's Syndrome

Oh, HELP.  Holiday drama time is here again.

Conflict, conflict, conflict.  This time with a woman who has Asperger's.

Her "feelings are hurt."  She is demanding certain actions and behaviors from another person.  She "takes no delight in understanding, but only in airing her own opinions."  (Which the Bible calls a fool, btw.)

There is zero desire to hear the other person's perspective (of course).  There is no compassion or empathy for the struggles the other person is going through.  There is an air of superiority, and there are many demands to have her own way.  Guilt messages are vomited out of her mouth.  And it's all making me sick.

There is no point in trying to share a different perspective, right?  So, what do you do?  Really.  What do you do? 

Reading, and re-reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.  The chapter that deals with Guilt Messages is excellent.  This relationship may completely break down, for a time, anyway.  And that might be a necessary, and eventually, a productive thing.


Difficult, Disappointing, or Destructive? Video Channel

Great YouTube Channel from Leslie Vernick on the Emotionally Destructive Marriage or Relationship!

Several videos from the author of "The Emotionally Destructive Relationship" Leslie Vernick:

Monday, November 25, 2013

For Women Only

"For Women Only:  What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men" by Shaunti Feldhahn is a must-read for every female on the planet.  "For Women Only" on Amazon

And for Christian wives of aspies, in particular, this eye-opener could be key to changing your marriage for the better.  Without going into too much graphic detail, we women need to realize that physical intimacy for most men, is the way the male experiences emotional connection.

We may be known for behaving like this: Since my Asperger's husband is not connecting with me emotionally, there's no way I will connect with him physically (meaning intimately; forgive the prudish skirting around technical, literal terms.  The reason is simply that I don't want the keywords I use to draw the wrong kind of traffic to this blog--been there done that, and it wasn't pretty cleaning up all the spam that resulted.). 

If physical intimacy is the way he connects emotionally, our refusal to meet him in that way is making us just as bad, just as wrong, as he is for not meeting our needs emotionally.  The difference is that the aspergers man cannot connect with you emotionally.  But you, on the other hand, do have the power to connect with him, the (only) way he is able to connect.

But that's not fair!  I know.  Why should I be the one to give, when he isn't giving to me?  I understand.  Yet, know what?  Something incredible happens when you change into a responsive, warm, inviting wife in this area.  It may take some time for his walls to come down, if you have previously been harsh (as I was, from the time I first discovered he had aspergers), but when they do . . . there is connection.  There really is!

True, he can never connect emotionally they way you desire him to.  The death of that dream should be grieved.  A time of mourning is likely necessary--going through all the stages of grief.  When you come to the final stage of grief, acceptance, and then embrace connection with him the only way he knows how to experience connection, life gets better.

Because, then, even the aspergers male will feel a connection with you.  And you will begin to sense that.  Sensing that he, in his way, cherishes you, can change your mourning into joy.  From the ashes can come beauty.

The author also wrote a book "For Men Only" to help men understand women better.  If your aspie is willing to read it, it could be helpful.  If your aspie is like mine, he will have no interest in trying to understand the inner lives of women, and it won't ever be read.  What's new, right?

However, if you sincerely want things to be better, you really should read "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn.  And then, with a new, better understanding, seek connection with him.  You won't be sorry.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Cycle Never Ends

It never ends, does it?

No matter how much time goes by.  Days, weeks, months, may even go by where you go into hiding.  Staying away, staying silent, refusing to engage in any conversation that may possibly divulge a remnant of  feeling, brought some semblance of  peace. 

But that won't last.  It cannot possibly last.  Because you have a neurologically typical brain, heart, soul.

And he doesn't.

In a moment of . . .  What was it this time?  Intense feeling?  A desire to share?  Forgetfulness?  Foolishness?  Mere stupidity on your part?  Whatever the cause, you did it yet again.

You shared something of yourself.  And the result was utter destruction.  Sheer madness.  Wondering again "What the hell just happened here?"

Oh, yeah.  Now I remember.

Back into the hole I go.

I choose peace.