Thursday, March 26, 2015

For Better

Counseling has made a world of difference in our relationship!  Meeting with a counselor who understands autism, and having my emotions validated by a professional in the presence of my aspie spouse, is what I needed to be able to move forward with contentment.  I didn't realize how much I needed that.

Whether he ever understands me, communication, or our relationship, the fact that he physically attends a counseling session where he has to give his full attention to the marriage has completely changed us for the better.

When we miss a session, anger and misery creep back, old habits return with a vengeance.  For now it is obvious that we must regularly meet together with a counselor.   It only makes sense, right?  The aspie is often lacking the common sense to see what others see so easily. He needs to focus deeply on the task.  He might see counseling as pointless.  Even during and after sessions he may believe it was a waste of time.  But if it's what you need, it's okay to make it a non-negotiable requirement.

Whether he realizes it or not, the relationship got his full attention for the time in counseling, and seeds were planted that will slowly take root and grow. Somewhere in that amazing aspie brain, communication was the focus.  He was there.  He was there with me.  Though it may not make any sense to him whatsoever, his attending counseling sessions with me makes me know that he cares and that he is trying.

It's better.  The relationship is not all good. But it's better.

Praise God, we are better.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Get ready. Get set. And GO!

Literally.

Sometimes it is necessary to leave the relationship in order to wake the aspie up.

Read "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage" by Leslie Vernick.  This is a different book from "The Emotionally Destructive Relationship" by the same author.  Vernick goes against the common Christian counsel when she encourages a time of separation as a positive step.  How true that "if you don't allow the abuser to suffer the pain of consequences, he will never change."

I am a Christian whose spouse has Asperger's Syndrome.  And I left my angry aspie.  Got my stuff and kids ready.  Got set for the right moment.  And left.

Five years of pleading with him to go to counseling, to be evaluated for Aspergers, and to work on communication in our marriage met adamant refusal.

It took my leaving to wake him up.  It took a dramatic, drastic, serious action.  It took suffering the consequences.  And you know what?

My spouse just received an official diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.  A 100% confirmed diagnosis.

And we are now in marriage counseling with a counselor who is very familiar with autism spectrum disorders.

Praise God.


Let's get ready, get set, and go.

Get ready.  Get set.  And GO.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Resource by the Best AS/NT Author!

The very clearest explanations of how Aspergers Syndrome affects a relationship with an NT partner are found in Ashley Stanford's book "Aspergers Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships."  That was my Aspergers bible when I started this journey, and I strongly recommend every NT who is in any sort of relationship (but particularly a romantic one) with an aspie, read that book, even before reading any others.  It simply hits the nail on the head for the NT partner who is struggling to understand the crazy AS/NT journey (that now finally has a name!) that she has been on.

When I recently stumbled upon a new book by Ms. Stanford, I could not wait to purchase it.  Troubleshooting Relationships on the Autism Spectrum: A User's Guide to Resolving Relationship Problems by Ashley Stanford.

Hope these resources help you as much as they have helped me!

aspmom



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Toxic

From the book Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward:  "People can only give what they can give, and can only be who they are.  We are all limited in certain ways, and we are all the product of our own history.  Let go of resentment.  Find realistic acceptance of what can and cannot be regarding the relationship."

What can your aspie not help being, and what can he choose to help?  The aspie may not be able to help that he only sees things from his own perspective, due to his brain wiring.  This means, in my situation, that he will believe I am always wrong anytime we disagree/differ.  I can expect him to believe I am always wrong.  I can accept that it is pointless to try and share my perspective or ever reach mutual understanding.  But he can choose to be calm rather than out of control.  He can be held responsible for speaking in anger.

I've struggled "through the pain and error that so often create wisdom" (Toxic In-Laws).  Struggled so hard to find "realistic acceptance of what can, and cannot be, in a relationship" with all of the difficult people in my life.

From Foolproofing Your Life:  "Your goal cannot be to have the fool change; instead, your goal must be to find a personal freedom that allows you to be the person God intends for you to be, no matter what choices your fool makes.  Turn from being consumed by the behavior of your fool."

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:  http://grief.com/the-five-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.