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 okaynecessary 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.
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.
"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.
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 highly recommend the book Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend.
Some noteworthy tidbits:
and what aspie spouses dream their aspies would comprehend-- "Another part of the 'you are not me' concept is the ability to see another person for who she is apart from what we need or want from her and to love and appreciate that person for who she is . . . . To cherish someone's existence apart from you and apart from what you get from that person . . . To see the other person as distinct and separate from you --a person in her own right, with value and wonderful things about her that have nothing to do with gratifying you in any way other than pure appreciation. This is the joy of just knowing a person."
From Proverbs-- "Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you."
"People in denial are deaf to words of truth. Just using words will not get the message across. They only respond to pain and loss. Separation or distancing may be necessary."
"Someone who is boundary resistant will deny, rationalize, and blame. The nature of resistance: an opposition to seeing or owning an issue."
"A boundary without a consequence is 'nagging.'"
"Be prepared to meet with resistance [when you first begin using boundaries in your marriage]."
"God uses your need within your marriage to reorient you to a growing love relationship with Him as the source of your life." Reading the original book "Boundaries" before reading "Boundaries in Marriage" would be most helpful. Introducing boundaries--and enforcing them with practical consequences--has been life-changing. Thank you Cloud and Townsend!