ASPIE HUSBAND: WHY AM I SO ANGRY?

He’s a Cruel Bastard

 

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Oh man I realize this title is going to piss off a lot of people!  John read it and asked why I was spreading hateful words about him.  I then explained to him that the purpose of my blog is to be raw and honest.  I told him that over the last five years words like that are what desperate women married to Aspies inevitably find themselves typing into the search engines… after every nice phrase yielded no assistance in their search for hope.  I told him that I have typed, “Why is my Aspie husband such a cruel bastard” on more than one occasion and felt it appropriate to thus title a post on anger in such a seemingly hateful way.

There is a reason we are so filled with anger.

Love is the most powerful feeling in existence and I firmly believe that the opposing term of “hate” is not actually opposing at all.  I think that in order to hate someone you must first truly love them and therefore, “indifferent” may be a better opposing term to use when discussing love and what the opposite of it actually means.

My husband is one of the most incredible men I have ever met.  He is brilliant, talented, funny, strong, attractive, and can be the gentlest man imaginable.  My husband inspires me, he fascinates me, he educates me, he motivates me, and he is the most fun person I have ever had the fortune of being around and I truly love him.

My husband is also one of the cruelest men I have ever come in contact with and there is a very big part of me that hates him.

I do not believe my husband is actually a cruel bastard, or that he has ever maliciously set out to cause me any degree of pain.  I believe my husband loves me very much, perhaps more than he ever imagined he could love someone.  I believe my husband behaves in horrifically ruthless ways because he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Hear me out

In no way do I think AS causes an individual to be a bad person.   I believe the challenges associated with it and the development of a man who does not know he has it, causes negative defensive coping mechanisms so extreme they serve to completely overshadow all of the good inside of him by the time he attempts to form an intimate relationship in his future.  While I will cover how these defensive coping mechanisms actually begin to develop more in-depth in other posts (See: WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY?), I would like to share with you the very worst way they can present themselves in a marriage.

I have long believed that I am married to one of the most extreme examples of what happens to an Asperger male when he does not receive a diagnosis until he is well-into adulthood (32 for John).  Because I submit that my husband is probably an example of the “worst case scenario” some of the things I say will sound terribly awful even to those NT women married to a difficult Aspie husband.  John is not an exception because of an absence of love or compassion from his family growing up, as they are probably the most empathetic, loving, and accepting people I have ever been around. 

I cannot honestly say why my husband developed such extreme defensive mechanisms, but I can say without question that it initially presented itself in the form of Oppositional Defiant Disorder when he was a child and that presentation morphed into the same defiance as an adult.

See… no one talks about what it is really like to love a man with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Sure, people will tell you how to make the best of it, they will highlight all of the (many) positive aspects of loving a man with AS.  People who are not in a marriage with an Aspie will give you evidenced-based therapeutic advice shown to promote “some” progress with this kind of marriage.  People will also write (in great length) all about the horrific side of their marriage.  The rage (meltdowns), anger, the cold behavior, ignoring, needing their way all of the time, lack of initiative, childish behaviors, never apologizing, repeating the same mistakes that hurt you over and over and STILL not “getting it” and of course… feeling more like a mother than a wife.

But still, no one really talks about what it feels like to have hope that things will get better… day after day, and have it dissipate before your eyes (over and over again)…  No one tells you what it feels like to STILL wake up every day and find the strength to develop MORE hope in the face of so many failures… and have that also turn out to be unrealized.

No one explains to you what it is really like to have one little word… one little cognitive process that is so inherent in your everyday life you do not even appreciate or realize how important it is… to have that one little word… EMPATHY… be the reason you are in so much pain.  No one tells you how that one little word can adversely affect everything in your marriage to the extent that it cannot survive without it.

No one tells you what it is like to lie next to the man you love and have committed your life to at night and go to bed praying that tomorrow he will show some sign that he actually appreciates you or comprehends how much pain you have endured to love him.  No one tells you that you will spend many mornings, and afternoons, and evenings, and nights just hoping that he will turn to you and tell you that you mean everything to him.  That he will tell you he is so sorry for the pain you are in.  Not just that he is sorry, but that you will hear him actually articulate WHY he is sorry.  That someday, just once he will express meaningful words that make you realize he understands the true impact of his behaviors on your soul and he will tell you how very thankful he is to have you in his life.  That someday he will come upon the same interaction that left you in tears previously, and choose to NOT behave in the EXACT SAME MANNER the next time the opportunity arises.  No one tells you what it is like to hope for these things (that are so trivial and common in a healthy and “normal” relationship) and never have them occur.  Not once, not in a month, year, or half a decade waiting for it… that they simply will not happen.  No one tells you what THAT feels like.

No one tells you that all the hope and support and love you could muster in the entire world… will not make this happen.

So many nights I cried (audibly) only to hear my husband holler from the bedroom that I was “annoying” and to “stop being a drama queen” while I spent the night on the sofa and awoke to swollen eyes and a sinking feeling in my gut.

I waited… for those words, that sentence, that touch, that show of affection every NT desperately craves… and they never came.

No amount of crying, yelling, begging, waiting, hoping, praying, avoiding, bargaining, guiding, encouraging, demanding, manipulating, empathizing, lying, bullying, pleasing, accommodating, sympathizing, patronizing, supporting, coaching, confronting, comforting, or loving has or ever will make my husband treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

I know

I have tried it all

I once read a quote that said, “She is standing on the line between giving up and seeing how much more she can take.”

That is how I have felt for five years of my adult life since I came to live with John because no one talks about how deflated and demoralized you will feel when you are breaking inside and barely able to function… and you watch the man responsible for your pain fall asleep peacefully because he feels no remorse, regret, or sadness for you.

And there is no one there to tell you that your heart will hurt… actually hurt as though someone is stabbing you directly through it and you are so devastated you find yourself reaching out for anything that will numb the pain.  No one tells you how you will feel when you give so much of yourself, day after day, always clinging to the hope that tomorrow could be the day your life changes for the better and he “gets it” even if it is just a small amount of it… but you will fall asleep tomorrow night knowing your effort and faith was all in vain because he noticed NONE of it.

No one tells you about the anger and rage YOU will feel inside or that the absence of emotional reciprocity will have you replaying every single thing he ever did to hurt you that went unacknowledged… and that you will come to know a degree of hatred that you never thought possible.

No one tells you that NOTHING you are doing is going to work… ever.

The only thing that will ever work, that could EVER work… is if he had a life-altering epiphany that he did not want to lose the only woman who ever believed in him… and he chose to seek education.

But no one tells you that your adult Aspie husband has ZERO interest in EVER DOING THIS.

No one tells you that sooner or later…

You will have to choose yourself or your Aspie husband.

If you are reading this post and saddened that you can truly empathize with my words, then the letter I wrote John two months ago will likely resonate with you…

 

Dear John,

Although I am done allowing myself to be a victim; from being used, manipulated, or bullied….I still hold out hope you will someday open your eyes and realize what you have done to lose a woman who loved you so very much.

For that I hope you read extensively about Asperger’s Syndrome (AS); Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and spousal bullying.

I know exactly why you behave the way you do, and I could have helped you rid yourself of negative behaviors that prevented us from having a loving relationship.  You never opened the door to change, you never listened to the advice I was giving you.  The sad fact is, I had no choice but to leave the man I loved because he made it clear to me that I would either have to choose him, or myself.

What is written below is the last you will ever hear from me about the reasons we failed.  I write it only to know that I tried my VERY best to articulate what I had been begging you to read about for all of these years.  I write it because I hope if you ever accept the challenges you have and the responsibility you own for my broken heart, that you will be able to look back and realize I was never against you.  I hope you may someday see that all I ever asked for was to be loved and treated with respect, and to have a friend that I could talk to about anything, who would talk to me about anything.  A man who chose my happiness over his own and realized that if I was happy, he would be also.

I could never get past the gate with you

Maybe it was because you never trusted me enough to open up and be real….be the man you are inside on the outside for me to see….I don’t know.  Maybe you just are a horrible person and you don’t have any real rationale for anything, you’re just an empty, cold, negative man.  I hope it is not the latter, and I am sad I never had the chance to show you that you would still be loved and accepted if you had just TALKED to me and let me in.  If you put the guard down and did that, you would have learned who your wife really was too.  Maybe if you ever really knew me… you would appreciate me enough to never allow me to hurt again.

Unfortunately all of your defenses that kept a wall impenetrable to communication, also caused you to be abusive and destructive to the woman (and child) who loved you the most.  You can’t ask me to sacrifice myself and child any further for a man who refused to try.

What I know (and has been confirmed by professionals)

Aspergers syndrome is the reason behind why you have had the challenges you had in your child and early adult years.  With those around you being unaware of the reason behind your behavior, and having no access to the right education, counseling, and support, you were forced to adapt with some coping mechanisms.  Unfortunately, most of your coping mechanisms were negative and have become debilitating into your adulthood and ability to have a healthy relationship.

While it is NOT your fault that your brain works differently than the majority of this world and no one’s brain is “right” or “better,” you had to adapt to fit into the majority to function at all with social expectations.  Having no understanding of why you were different and no one to explain the way those around you perceived the same world you were looking at, your personal adaptations were created.  While none of the behaviors or negative actions were necessarily your fault growing up, it has been YOUR fault for the last 3 years that you have had a diagnosis and refused to do anything positive with it.  You have remained locked into your own perceptions and chose not to learn about those around you, particularly your wife and stepdaughter.  It was never expected after this many years that you would easily grasp any of the “other” view of reality, but it was expected you would try.  I am not convinced you even see another view that is equally right (and often opposite) of your own and that you deem all those who verbalize an opposing view to you as wrong and stupid.

You are right that everyone thinks “their” opinion is the right one (obviously).  The difference is, when you love someone, a typical person will be able to appreciate the other person’s opinion despite having an opposing one and they will not sacrifice that person’s well-being to prove their own point.

My seeking the Asperger diagnosis (which I already KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt was correct) was so that YOU could have someone other than me telling you that your reality is not at all accurate to the reality of those around you.  My goal was to get YOU answers and was to get you to see as much of my perspective as you were able, to enable you to finally trust me when I gave you advice or recommendations for how to navigate through the “neurotypical” world of your loved ones.  I was hoping to be your friend and partner as you as you opened your mind up to this often confusing world.  You HAD to try to adapt to the neurotypical world in a positive way if you were ever going to be a successful husband and father and accomplish all that you were put here to achieve.   Your willingness to do this, and learn everything you possibly could about Aspergers and the other end of the spectrum (my world) was so that you and I could have a happy relationship with open communication.  I had hope we would be able to respect and appreciate each other’s perspective.  My hope was that we would learn from one another to develop an understanding of people and society in a way few could… and that we would be able to strengthen each other along the way.   That was why I always said together we COULD be an unstoppable force, but that cannot happen when one person is so closed-minded.  You were supposed to be my Yin.

I never intended to change the way you think, or show you that your thought process was wrong.  I never wanted to change any of the wonderful things that made you John, and made me love you.  I did want you to change the negative behaviors, mostly because they no longer served a purpose once you understood why you were so different.  I also did believe you could never really know me or love me for who I am if you didn’t understand me at all.  You took that diagnosis, you reluctantly went to a few counseling sessions (only because of your parents push I now believe) and you never EVER looked at a damn thing beyond that….with the exception of the few pages you have read after fighting to even do that much.

Because of your refusal, you do not know me.  Because of your refusal, you cannot communicate with me even a little about anything other than leisure-related things.  You have fought me and bullied me away from ALL forms of communication that normal couples have and left me feeling deprived of love respect, affection, and a real marriage.

You have rejected my push to communicate with a level of DEFIANCE that is so profound I do not think most people would believe it unless there were cameras in our home.  In fact, you are defiant about nearly EVERYTHING that veers from your own perspective.

This defiance is something diagnosed in children (as it was with you) called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and is not even a diagnosis used in adulthood.  It is my strong belief after years of research that no one sees this level of behavior once a child is grown because so few adults with Aspergers ever set foot in a mental health office.  When a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder displays similar characteristics as an adult they call it Antisocial Personality Disorder, or even Sociopathic Personality Disorder.  These kids with ODD either “grow out of it” or become progressively more destructive with criminal or abusive behavior and rarely exhibit the EXACT SAME characteristics of childhood ODD (or they end up isolated and alone).

When you were diagnosed with Aspergers, the differential diagnosis (or the alternate possible diagnosis that “could” be what you were displaying via your testing and one on one with the psychiatrist) WAS Antisocial Personality Disorder.  If you do not believe me, go back and read your diagnostic paperwork.  To me, this was highlighted because as an adult, you still fell 100% into the EXACT same behavior pattern as a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder…but again, this is something no one in the mental health field acknowledges for adults.  I would bet my life if there was a study of adult males with Asperger’s syndrome/Disorder who were both single and unemployed, they would find that the vast majority of them still suffer tremendously with the behaviors from their childhood diagnosis of ODD, and that this ODD is the sole reason behind their failure to be successful in relationships or employment.

Why is any of this important and why should you keep reading about the stupid shit I am rambling about in here???

Because you are NOT educated about your own disorder and limitations and without education or knowledge you are paralyzed to ever do a damn thing to stop the negative effect it has on you and those that love you.  You may not want to know, which can be assumed from your defiant personality, but you SHOULD KNOW.  You should know because it is the foundation you will need to drastically change if you are EVER crawling out of the hole you are about to crawl back into after losing your wife and family.

Asperger’s syndrome is your real, and ONLY appropriate diagnosis, Tourette’s (your tics), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and ADHD are symptoms of Aspergers (at least they were prior to the new DSM-5 destroying reality for people).  So too is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) for you. You have accepted that you have some OCD tendencies openly (light switches, etc.).  You have accepted your ADHD symptoms (readily willing to argue if someone told you that you do not need Adderall).  You have had no choice but to accept the Tourette’s (because they are physical manifestations you can’t deny, despite trying to).  So perhaps you should consider what I am about to write about ODD.  If you accept those other “symptoms” of your Asperger’s Disorder diagnosis, there is little reason to not consider that ODD may also be a “symptom” of it (and again I will point out that you were previously diagnosed by a professional with such).

Perhaps it would be important for you to know that your ASD, ADHD, OCD, and Tourette’s are NOT directly causing your marriage to end.

Your ODD IS!

OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER (ODD)

 Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a childhood disorder that is characterized by negative, defiant, disobedient and often hostile behavior toward adults and authority figures primarily. In order to be diagnosed, the behaviors must occur for at least a period of 6 months.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is characterized by the frequent occurrence of at least four of the following behaviors: losing temper, arguing with adults, actively defying or refusing to comply with the requests or rules of adults, deliberately doing things that will annoy other people, blaming others for his or her own mistakes or misbehavior, being touchy or easily annoyed by others, being angry and resentful, or being spiteful or vindictive.

 Negativistic and defiant behaviors are expressed by persistent stubbornness, resistance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers; refuses to accept requests or rules:

 You are this way each day, every day, with nearly ALL COMMUNICATION that veers from superficial chatting about objects or topics that contain zero emotional context.

You will argue nearly anything the moment an opinion or request is vocalized in your direction.  You are ONLY this way with those closest to you and appear to not react this way in casual conversations with acquaintances until you know them very well.  It does not matter what B, myself, or anyone in your family is discussing, you automatically come at us with an argumentative tone.  You correct people, you tell them they are wrong, you refuse to hear their point of view and you will go out of your way to defy any degree of authority in your life.  Particularly with me; a simple request to hang a curtain will become a purposeful act of defiance, by which you will REFUSE to do until you are acting in a manipulative way (see bullying below).  You have actually told me on many occasions that the reason you will not do something I asked is “because you told me to.”  The problem is that you also see me “asking” you to do things as “telling” you to… leaving me unable to ever expect anything from you by way of partnership.

There is ZERO compromise with you, zero consideration of alternatives to your point of view, and complete disregard for the feelings you hurt by this rigid and self-centered behavior.  I could point this behavior out to you countless times in the course of any given day with you, and I have tolerated it for a very long time trying to understand it.  Your refusal to negotiate or comply with rules has left you unemployed, and very soon… divorced.

You treated me like I was an authority figure and my desire to “talk to you” and “communicate with my husband” was a dictator-like demand being unfairly placed on you….by which you whole-heartedly refused to comply.  No tears, kindness, or begging has ever been able to break through your ODD foundation.  While all I ever wanted was an open relationship to communicate like EVERY MARRIED COUPLE EXPECTS and is required for success, you saw this not as a wonderful thing to have with someone, but as a demand you would not conform to…under ANY circumstances.  Instead of treating me like your wife and equal, you treated me like a dominating parent that you must fight off with every ounce of your being.  It is this very behavior that has prompted my frequent complaint that I feel like I am raising a defiant teenager rather than living with a loving husband and partner.

 Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits, usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds.

While it is known that you have been wrong and you have hurt B and me many times, you NEVER apologize or accept blame for your actions.  You have yelled “I’m sorry, is that what you want to hear?!?!? Fine, THEN I AM SORRY!?!?” But that non-apology is the closest thing you have ever come to accepting real blame.  While you say you accept blame, I waited a really long time to hear you accept blame for specific things you have done, none of which I have ever heard.  You fight that tooth and nail, and something you should readily do when you cause pain unto someone else (purposeful or not) you deliberately refuse to do.  You ignore and you test the limits in every way possible.  You persistently test me to see how much I will let you get away with (sleeping all day despite telling you it hurts me, refusing to educate yourself about your own disorder, only doing the bare minimum around the house to keep me quiet, picking at B, etc.).

Hostility can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others or by verbal aggression (usually without the more serious physical aggression seen in Conduct Disorder).

You are verbally aggressive and it became so bad and frequent that it WAS abuse.  You deliberately annoy and taunt B and then refuse to acknowledge you are doing it and justify your behavior (“I am just joking around” or “You two are too sensitive!”) and if I continue to tell you how it is upsetting me, or her…you get more aggressive until someone is crying, arguing back, or trying to get far away from you.  Even when I give you tips on how to talk to her (something you KNOW you do not know how to do) you tell me there are no issues with the two of you.  You argue that you both communicate fine and you deny the very tension I see on a daily basis….just to fight me.  No good can come from the fighting, and nothing will ever get better, but despite knowing this….you remain defiant.

 Manifestations of the disorder are almost invariably present in the home setting, but may not be evident at school or in the community. Symptoms of the disorder are typically more evident in interactions with adults or peers whom the individual knows well, and thus may not be apparent during clinical examination. Usually individuals with this disorder do not regard themselves as oppositional or defiant, but justify their behavior as a response to unreasonable demands or circumstances.

Specific manifestations also include: is often touchy or easily annoyed by others; is often angry and resentful; is often spiteful or vindictive.  The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

I don’t know what to say other than… this is how you behave much of the time in our home.

This description of ODD is the description of how you, my husband, have behaved toward my daughter and me the entire time we have been together, and how I saw you behave in front of your immediate family.  While I had always believed this behavior was not reflective of the man that was inside that I loved, I never got to see the other side and that is terribly tragic.

This behavior has devastated your parents and sisters your whole life and caused them horrible pain and suffering the same as it has done to B and I.  I know this because I have heard it from all of them…unsolicited and individually many times.

There is a reason your sister called me an “Angel from Heaven” at our wedding.  Your family wanted so desperately to believe that someone FINALLY broke through the hostile angry and defiant John.  While they love the good side of you and see it as I have, they literally felt blessed that someone came into their son/brother’s life that made him not so negative and defiant of a person.  They thought I was lucky enough to live with a man who does not behave this way so frequently it continues to cause pain in his loved one’s lives.  They wanted so desperately to believe that you did not hurt me every day the way they assumed, and that through our separations and move overseas that I finally was able to get you to open up and stop fighting everything.  They wanted to believe the lie I told that you treated me well and I was so lucky to be loved by you.

Truth is, I never felt loved by you (maybe after reading all of this you will finally grasp why.)  I never had the heart to tell them I was still waiting to find that same man as well.  I certainly don’t have the heart to tell them that I can no longer take your defiance and that I am essentially failing everyone.

 I believe you developed Oppositional Defiant Disorder for two reasons:  first is nature: it is a developmental delay in the same area of the brain that causes Aspergers and can often be visualized via MRI scanning of children diagnosed with either (OBVIOUSLY if you have Asperger’s you would experience the same delay in cognitive function that creates ODD).  This delay in moderating behavior appropriately is usually just that…a delay.  Most children with ODD “grow out of it” as their brain develops further and they learn positive reinforcement from social interactions with their family and peers.

With your brain likely not developing further with regard to social interaction, you were never going to simply “grow out of it.”  You would have required therapy to teach you positive reinforcement in school…something that you were not afforded at the time because you got the raw deal of being born before anyone knew what Asperger’s was and just deemed those kids and adults to be a$$holes.

The second reason is nurture:  I believe your inability to understand those around you created a profound defensive mechanism of arguing and fighting in your childhood.  I believe that when you argued or got verbally aggressive, people left you alone or avoided you.  This is positive reinforcement for someone who does not handle communication well.  If you never knew what to say, how to act accordingly in social situations, or constantly feared you would say the wrong thing, it would seem a better option to a child to just argue everything and try to force the person to go away.  If they went away, you didn’t have to constantly live in the anxiety of a social world you didn’t “get” and you could stop the stress of communicating altogether when you sensed an uncomfortable interaction arising.

I also believe that you were frequently blamed for things that you did not intentionally or knowingly do when you were a child and that you would deny fault in having done something to “hurt someone” especially considering you could not empathize with their feelings…and this also became a learned behavior.  So you learned to argue and you learned to not accept blame and you learned that the adults and authority figures in your life and your peers treated you unfairly, and misjudged you.  You learned that if you were verbally aggressive, most of them would leave you alone and stop trying to effectively communicate with you in the future.

Since you were cognitively incapable of grasping the communication from adults and authority figures in your life (because they likely came at you from an emotional perspective and tried to get you to empathize with the feelings your behaviors caused others) you were pretty much taught to defy their logic from the start (I mean damn, if you don’t get empathy and you’re a kid…you MUST HAVE THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL STUPID).

So… Just like that, your childhood caused a tragic domino effect of a horribly NEGATIVE and terrible behavior pattern that you found effective at that time and you managed to take them with you into adulthood.

Only… the very thing needed for a marriage is negated by that type of behavior.

So now you are a grown man who refuses to even acknowledge the desperate need for understanding the mechanism behind your past and present difficulties.  Without the desire to understand this (what I have longed to see from you all these years) you do not see the behavior changes required to make our marriage succeed.

For whatever reason you developed ODD; being the intelligent man that you are and having the strong will that you do….you have allowed this way of behaving to COMPLETELY DOMINATE your personality to the point that no one can ever really be close to you.  You argue SO MUCH that I do not have any idea what you are thinking or who the hell you really even are.

You do not talk about your past, your feelings, experiences that shaped your current world…you do not openly respond to questions that have anything to do with behavior, emotions, love, sadness, guilt, hopes, dreams, love….etc.

When I met you I thought I was sharing my life with someone.  You do not share.  When I share, I am denied or argued with.

It is incredibly sad I have desperately wanted you to get drunk like you would get when we first met because it was the ONLY time I had ever seen you let your guard down and those ODD behaviors disappear.  It is the ONLY time you ever express words that give me a glimpse into who you are.  It is the ONLY time you ever tell me anything good about me, or how you perceive me that makes me feel loved.  It is because of our alcohol intake when we first met and that first year we were together that I fell in love with you.  It was because of the alcohol (that let me see you and not this impenetrable exterior) that I always chose to believe there was a different man in the shadows than the nasty, cold, argumentative jerk who I live with on a daily basis.

Your ODD caused an insurmountable wall in being able to effectively communicate with you.  For so long it was the focus of my personal research as I strived to finds tactics, tools, and advice on penetrating that wall.  Your defiant or closed off behavior toward me always fueled my desire to get you to “talk” to me.  I wanted so badly to clear up the incessant need to argue that you had.  I wanted so badly to understand why you wouldn’t do things that seemed so simple and basic.

Your negative behavior to protect yourself (even if that is no longer why you do it) has caused all of the “attacks” on you through the years.  You always say I am attacking you when I am simply begging you to talk to me.  When you deny me, I am justifiably angry and hurt.  This continues to happen constantly; the times you see it the least are when I am en route to work shortly and do not have the energy to fight you or don’t want to be humiliated again when I show up to work with puffy eyes from crying… so I do not attempt to communicate with you at all.  It is sad that all I really want to do is get to know you, feel loved and known BY YOU.  All I ever wanted was to have a good relationship with my husband…but that means communicating.  To this day, when I try to talk to you about any of this… you bully me.

 I know you despise the term “bully” and any time I have utilized it you fly off the deep end and I end up on the floor sobbing.

Here is the reason I call you a Bully:

BULLYING

http://nobullying.com/victim-spouse-bullying/

As you make the decision who you will marry, you do so with the idea that you love this person and he or she loves you right back. While this is the way marriage is supposed to work, it isn’t always the case when one spouse is a bully. No marriage is going to be positive and happy 100 percent of the time. However, it is important to keep an eye out for red flags that your spouse may be a bully, rather than simply having a bad day. One of the most common ways in which one spouse may bully the other is by putting him or her down. Emotionally attacking another person makes them more vulnerable and is often done to make the bully feel better.

Examples of Spouse Bullying: Manipulative Behavior

When most people think of bullying, they think of the behavior that occurs between children, either at school, in the neighborhood or through the computer. While this is the most common type of bullying, there are other types of bullying that do exist. For instance, spouse bullying is a real problem in many marriages. Learning to recognize the signs of this type of bullying can help you either repair your marriage or make the decision to move onIn many marriage situations where one spouse is a bully, manipulative behavior is all part of the game. The individual who is doing the bullying often exhibits one of several types of manipulation to get the spouse to do things his or her way instead of their own. While a marriage is supposed to be a partnership, the bullying spouse often wants the ultimate control. Some examples of these manipulation tactics include:

  • Name Calling: Fu**ing bit*h, mental midget, doom and gloom, insane, crazy, out of your fu**ing mind, mentally ill, delusional, so sensitive it’s insane; so insane you make things up in your own head, dramatic, emotionally unstable, your mind is your own worst enemy, you think you’re so perfect… (Unfortunately, the list goes on and on).

John, this is how you frequently choose to bully me right off the bat when I want to talk about ANYTHING you do not feel like addressing.  You will almost always make some comment to let me know you have no interest in continuing on in the direction I am seeking to go and if I attempt to continue despite your defiance, you simply start calling me names or saying things like I wrote above (and those are mentioned because they tend to be the ones I hear the most frequently, with “Mental Midget” being your favorite degrading label. 

  • Temper-Tantrums: Normally after many, many failed attempts of trying in nice non-threatening ways to approach you the way I “learned” after reading all of the Asperger books and articles and trying to be sensitive to your disorder, you would come at me with some form of a temper tantrum.  If ever I did not stop pressing you to engage in a conversation with me to address something that was causing me to be unhappy or I found incredibly important… it almost always ended in you screaming at me, threatening me, yelling so loud that others would hear (in an attempt to intimidate me to go away), throwing or breaking things, or parroting my words back at me with condescending tones while getting closer and closer to my face.  This was and has always been your favorite tactic when you are caught in a lie and do not want to continue to deal with it, or you are not getting the response you want out of a conversation you personally initiate.

 You have learned that if you aggressively come at me I am going to back down because I don’t want B to hear, or the neighbors.  I feel incredibly embarrassed, humiliated, and degraded when you do this.

You have often cited my use of alcohol (drinking two or more glasses of wine) as the reason for every one of our worst verbal exchanges.  You have actually cited this “cause” many times in the past despite 90% of these experiences occurring when I had not touched a single drink (yet your recollection always fails to recognize this).  You never seemed to notice the link between alcohol and your temper tantrums and I think I know why you continue to cite my drinking (I still drink 3-6 glasses of wine a week on average) as the sole excuse for any terribly aggressive fight we have ever had.

The reason is that whenever we got into a conversation that would insight a temper tantrum on your behalf and I had alcohol on board… I refused to back down to your bullying and would fight back.  The more I fought back, the more aggressive you became.  The difference has never been me starting fights because I drank, it was always because you were being a bully and having a temper tantrum in an attempt to regain control and stop a conversation you did not like.  This may sound like an excuse by me and others might consider there was merit to me drinking alcohol and our fighting perhaps being caused by me (as I will agree alcohol and emotions rarely go well together) but that link is discounted when you (or anyone else) stops to consider how we fell in love in the first place.  To this day, if you and I drink alcohol together (which rarely occurs because you have chosen to blame that on all of our fighting) you are incredibly kind and gentle toward me and we have unbelievable fun together, laugh together, behave like silly teenagers together, and normally end up in bed passionately making out with one another.  Pretty difficult to see a link or pattern of alcohol causing ME to behave poorly when the exact opposite happens when you join me in drinking, isn’t it?

  • The Silent Treatment: I lived with this each and every time you were upset about something and refused to talk openly, or in response to me wanting to talk about something you found unimportant.  If you are not name calling or throwing a temper tantrum, and often times you still do those things just before) you are giving me the silent treatment.  I doubt you see it as a purposeful act, since in reality, I believe you choose to be silent because you have no vested interest in resolving anything and you do not think twice about any hurt feelings I may have.  It appears to me (at this point) that during your silent treatment (stonewalling) you are actually replaying any and all of the negative words I used to justify your own behavior and are waiting for me to apologize for my actions that caused you hurt.  It appears this way because even after the cruelest behavior toward me and days of not speaking to one another, you inevitably end up verbalizing how you were wronged and I am the A$$HOLE in whatever occurred.  You often cling to one mean thing I said (even if it was hours after you initiated the viciousness of the fight) and hang on to that as the reason for the fight in the first place and your subsequent refusal to acknowledge my existence in the days that follow.  The silent treatment has always been the most common way in which you have bullied me.
  • Guilt Trips: What have you ever done for me?” All of the times you said you CAN’T look for work because of pay, or the unfairness of the hiring process on the island, or that I was “just a student” when we were in Florida and if you worked we would have had no time together.  You willingly and wantonly let me work both full and part time when I was a full time nursing student (while you did NOTHING… not even regular housework) because I “would make 5 times the amount you could.”  You used your diagnosis (the only time you ever spoke of it) for why you couldn’t work on things that required you to function like a grown adult (like getting your driver’s license fully reinstated).  More times than I could ever begin to count you have told me that you “didn’t sleep at all” the previous night in an attempt to justify why you slept past noon every day.  You have told me so often that you have a debilitating headache and can’t talk, pretend you are sick, or go on and on about how you did so much around our home and B had done something to sabotage it.  Guilt trips recently began coming over the past year via text message when I was at work and unable to respond to your texts.  Guilt trips have always been a favorite response after having thrown temper tantrums, calling me names, and ignoring me for long periods of time.

 You always loved to ONLY do things I had previously begged and pleaded or asked nicely for you to do after using all of the other tactics appeared to fail (ie., when I refused to speak to you for exceptionally long periods of time or you became concerned I might actually leave you).  You would clean the car, mow the lawn, clean the kitchen, or some other task I had been requesting for a long time ONLY after emotionally beating me down with the other tactics the night or days prior.  You always failed to see that doing nice things after emotionally abusing me was just another form of bullying by leaving me feeling guilty after you “worked so hard for me” or did something “really thoughtful” for me.  You succeeded in this guilt-trip-tactic every time because I ended up feeling guilty and would not press the issue that started the entire manipulative game for you in the first place.  You would ALWAYS win, because in the end, you would no longer have to address any real or important issues that we needed to talk about in our marriage.  One way or another, the conversations never occurred and neither did any compounding discussion necessary over the horrific fight we just had.

So again, WHY do I call you a BULLY?

You are a bully because you used one or a combination of these bullying behaviors damn near every time I tried to address any communication issue, responsibility issue, or otherwise important topic that had anything to do with YOUR role in our relationship and how very unfair it was for me.

Because of your Oppositional Defiant Disorder you will bully to the max extent to get your point across or to avoid having to engage in any degree of a meaningful conversation with your spouse.

Your unwillingness to learn and help yourself has led to you being a verbally and emotionally abusive husband.

I never once thought you set out to hurt me, or that you intended to be a dominating spouse or control me with some underhanded manipulative skill set.  I have always known that you behaved this way because of your sheer desire to avoid topics that make you uncomfortable, not because you are a sociopath.  Regardless of your reason, the resulting effect it has had on me is no different than if you were a sociopath and purposeful abuser.

 I don’t want to stick around any longer to hear you tell me you “get it this time” only to have you go right back to the same behavior you have had all these years.  I have heard you tell me you get it, you’re going to try harder…etc. but you have never have followed through and nothing has ever gotten better.  You evidently never “got it” or you would stop immediately, and also try to reconcile all of the pain you have caused me over the years.  This has never happened, and therefore, this will never change.

I don’t want B to grow up and think that it is acceptable for a man to ever treat a woman this way.  I don’t want B to grow up thinking her mother is a doormat and allows her husband to degrade her and make her feel so terrible all of the time.  I cannot fathom how a child could have a mother who is a successful career-driven individual, who has overcome great adversity, and still chose to marry a man who did not work or even treat her well… and stay with him.  I cannot imagine what a confusing and awful message this has and will be to her.  Shall I tell her to be a strong woman and go after her dreams (as I have) because she too… will succeed… and then tell her I willfully married a man who never had anything to offer me once he moved in other than pain?  Shall I attempt to explain why a strong and independent woman would allow a man to degrade and use her so terribly when they have no children together, he does not provide for her… and really she hasn’t any reason to stay and tolerate it?  I don’t want to look back on my life and hate myself for staying with a man who never loved me enough to WANT to stop my pain and was never even willing to read one single book, or article…or anything… about how a man, a HUSBAND should treat his wife.  I already regret giving five years of my time, money, and emotional well-being to a man who never once expressed true appreciation for a single bit of it… and rather than behave humbly for all that she gave him… tells her she has never given or done sh*t for him and that she isn’t worthy of any degree of respect because of her “mouth.”

Despite the fact that I have little good to say about anything you ever did for me (beyond the first year of our long distance romance), I still know this could get better.  I have zero doubt in my mind that you and I stand the potential of being very happy with one another in our future.  I know this could only happen if you were willing and wanting to learn about yourself, what Asperger’s Syndrome truly means for you and your family, and you began diligently striving to replace your negative ODD behaviors with mature, loving, and positive ones.

I do not know why I am still here… perhaps there is still a desperate shred of hope you will suddenly open your eyes before it is too late?

 

 

John never read this. 

In fact, he crumpled it up into a little ball and threw it at me.

 

THAT, MY FRIENDS…

IS A REAL BASTARD.

 

 

UPDATES

April 2016: Only he is not… John is not a bastard and nothing I spoke of in this post were reflective of the man he wanted or intended to be.  He simply did not know how to break free from the defensive coping mechanisms that served to protect him in his youth…  

All of those years John felt he was being “bullied” by me when I tried to force communication with him.  He truly did not see the same thing I did, he only felt like he was constantly having his character attacked and being accused of purposefully cruel behavior (when he KNEW nothing I claimed was done purposely).  

That was how he felt; that was how I felt.  

I stuck it out.  I figured out how to get him to look through my eyes long enough to make some changes, and it was NOT through this letter (although it took me being ready and wanting to leave to get to that point).  It took me changing my own perspective, educating myself with the right information, and changing my own behavior toward my husband before he began to drop some of his defenses.

I no longer feel bullied, and while he still goes to ODD behavior instinctively and we still have our intermittent exchanges similar to those mentioned above… they are not as painful or long-lasting as they were.  We are growing as a couple and we are finding a love I had begun to believe was impossible.

For recent and future updates on what’s become of my “cruel” husband’s behaviors CLICK HERE.

Let’s just say…

I’m not angry anymore. 

PLEASE, Don’t leave this blog until you have read through the post I still consider to be the most important when it comes to easing the anger you feel right now:

WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY: Aspie vs. Antisocial Personality Disorder


57 Responses to ASPIE HUSBAND: WHY AM I SO ANGRY?

  1. Avatar Leia
    Leia says:

    I found your blog through the Facebook post of “the Asperger Experts” Facebook page. I am glad I did. I too have sought out support groups recently, and found I was either attacked by sharing my thoughts and feelings by the Asperger diagnosed groups, and found solidarity and understanding from the “NT” side. I am not alone and crazy as I thought. However, like you I found them negative and the advice to leave was the same. I cannot explain to myself rationally or to any one else, why I want to stay, Why I try so hard to fix the “unfix able relationship” Why I hope everyday, “this will be the one, that he finally sees”. I read your page on the NT wife and the Asperger husband and honestly, I feel like much of it is the mirror of my own life and marriage. You had me at “He’s a cruel bastard” I too recognize that my husband does love me, but when he is “cold and distant” or “yelling and cruel” it just doesn’t make sense. I have asked him many times how he could treat the person he professes to love “more than anything else” as badly as he does. We have been together for 23 years. I have a daughter from a previous marriage who was raised by my Asperger husband. She is now 27, and it breaks my heart to hear her say “she spent her life trying to anticipate all the things that may set off her dad and try to fix them before he realized, or that she is married to a “normal guy” and now understands that her parents marriage is not “normal” I have tried for years to just talk to him, trying to get him to understand his actions and behavior are hurtful and damaging. Our oldest son has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, (at 13) but my husband never was (he’s 55). The prevalence in his family of this disorder is flabbergasting. I see the common behaviors in them all. They however, see it in each other, but not themselves. Not one of his siblings has been able to stay married for any length of time, and all of them have been married at least twice. We have the longest marriage, and I think that is due to the fact for most of our marriage, he has worked away from home, for weeks, sometimes months at a time. It has given me time to rest, gain my sanity and recuperate from the verbal abuses. The few times in our relationship, where he is home for extended amounts of time, the result is almost always the same. We get to the verge of divorce. My husband recognizes behaviors in our son, but does not see them in himself. It is heartbreaking and frustrating, and yes, its daily. I have stacks of letter, emails and other written pleas I have given to him, many sounding similar to the one you posted.. Some he has read and dissected and twisted the meanings behind my words. Others he claimed to busy to read my unending complaints and whining. He is always the victim and everyone is out to get him. But he never sees the self destructive behavior that make people stay away from him, or yes, call him and “a-hole” I am still hopeful, and your blog posts have once again assures my I am not alone, but unlike some of the others…I sense a feeling of hope, there is a way to navigate this chaotic and heartbreaking life I have chosen to remain in. Thank you so much for sharing your very painful and honest accounts. I love your passion and I hope one day, the so called “experts” will start listening to those that actually live it, or at the very least the real experts you cite. I love Tony Attwood’s books and web page.

    • Leia, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your honesty and openness about your own marriage and struggles. I am hopeful that this will create a place for those that have and intend to stay in their marriage (even though the thoughts to leave may always be present) and that instead of advising others to run and dwelling in the sadness, that we share our efforts with one another to work on communication with our spouses. There are small successes along the way for each of us and no one is out there sharing THOSE things. Imagine if we could come together and share our personal successes (even if they are limited) and be able to implement those things in our own marriages? Thank you again, I will be posting a whole lot more in the next month. You’re not alone and we can do this…

  2. Avatar Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Like you I am in a lot of pain. We have been married for 15 monthes, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I find myself in tears at least once a day. Even on the “good” days, I may find myself sitting in a dark closet just crying my eyes out. My late husband had been gone for 6 years when my new husband began to persue me. he was very quick to use the “love” word, and was very soon talking about marriage. He was very affectionate and attentive to my needs. Our stories are very similar. Except for my husband will not touch me. His kisses are like kissing your grandpa. Tight closed lips with no pressure. We were married 6 monthes before he began sharing the bed with me. Before that he would sleep on the couch. As I write this I feel compelled to just quit writing. Who wants to hear about another loser and how she was tricked into marrying a man who just wanted someone to take care of him. We get along fine as long as I don’t want to talk or want any affection or intimacy. On our wedding night the first thing he said to me was ” I really don’t need to have sex”! I’m on antidepressants. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Do you think we will ever find some way to be whole again?

    • Yes. I do.

      I spent many nights being the one to sleep on the sofa. I would leave our bed because I was angry with him (often for not being intimate or warm) and I resented him for staying in the bed and not coming to “rescue me” and beg me to come back in the bedroom. He did not ever seem bothered by this and saw no reason for either of us to sleep on an uncomfortable sofa when there was a perfectly good bed to sleep on! It may be that your husband is fearful of failing in you in regard to being intimate and sleeps on the sofa to avoid any potential confrontation or initiation of something that causes him anxiety. For him it is likely so much easier to avoid things than discuss them and potentially fix them, although NOT for you. He is probably conditioned to believe that no resolution will be had and he thinks he is avoiding a fight by doing this (unable to see it is causing them).

      I also remember wondering if John’s hugs would ever feel warm or if he would ever seem to want to touch or kiss me (everything seemed so robotic!) His affection has become more warm and “real” and I even get the sense he feels love when he rubs my head some nights as I lay on his chest watching movies. I forced affection for a very long time, as it was not something he appeared to “need” or even want. He definitely did not seem to feel love when he would hold my hand (because I told him to) or hug me. I used to even say it felt like he was trying to rub ink off me when I asked him to rub my back if I wasn’t feeling well (I don’t know why, but this is a thing for me when I want to feel loved).

      I think it took a long time for my husband to begin to feel warmth in the act of intimate touch like hugging and hand holding, or making love. Hard to believe because it seemed so easy and real when we were first dating. In fact, he was the most passionate man I had ever kissed in the early days of our relationship… then it turned to ice when we were officially living together. It is different now, still not my ideal perfection, but it feels pretty damn good when my husband reaches for my hand without being prompted when we are out or asks why I don’t want to lay on him when he turns a movie on in bed. It is astounding to me now when he seems to feel “unloved” if I am not reaching out to touch him in some way… and he reaches out TO ME to lay close to him! God knows I never imagined that day would come.

      I hope to get more insight from him in the future on what turned this around for him, but he is away visiting his family now and I doubt if I will get any answers via telephone if I ask him for immediate insight for a post. I think it might be as simple as me being such a pain in the ass I forced him to hold my hand, rub my head, let me lay on his chest, hold me while we slept, and every other “touching” that seemed to make him uneasy all of those years. I relentlessly annoyed him with my own constant craving for physical affection (without regard for his apparent displeasure in appeasing me) that he eventually associated it with love. Maybe I am wrong, but he absolutely notices when I am NOT behaving that way now, and even asks me why I don’t want to be close to him anymore if a week goes by where I am not my usual affectionate/touchy self.

      Thank you for giving me something important to write about in the future though, I will definitely mark this as an important one to bring to the forefront in the next month or so for everyone who reads this. I know there is a lot to discuss when it comes to intimacy and sex with an Aspie husband, and I will.

      For now though, I thank you for reaching out. You have a place to share your feelings on here, good and bad… without judgement. You are absolutely in a difficult place and you are not alone. Sometimes the only answer is to leave, and I cannot tell you if this is the right choice for you. If you have not read the post about empathy, please take some time and read it: http://happyaspergermarriage.com/what-about-empathy-aspie-vs-sociopath/. I have done my best to articulate why the men we love behave in a way that feels so opposite of love to us. For the reasons you chose to marry him, read this and see if it helps you to feel less “tricked” and more like you perhaps saw something that others could not in your husband?

      The first step to making it better is to figure out if he is willing to work on it with you, and this is no easy task to initiate. My heart goes out to you and I know exactly how debilitated you feel. If it helps at all, please believe me when I say that those daily feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness have been replaced with feelings of empowerment and hope for my marriage. I still have days of sadness and grief, but they are not the norm any longer and it was not long ago that I was resolved to quit and believed there was never going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever choice you make for your future, to stay or leave, it is not wrong. You are responsible only for you and sometimes to take care of yourself, you have to choose yourself first.

    • Avatar Bret
      Bret says:

      Awful isn’t it please email me ghostgabbers2004@yahoo.co.uk x

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  4. Avatar Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    Oh yeah. This describes my 8 year marriage. Well…7 years. I left him at year 7 year and he has made great progress in the past year. We have a 3 year old. I believe it’s a high calling to be a spouse to an aspie and plan to stay and work it out. Psychiatrists need to talk to us. The NT spouses. No one knows an aspie better than we do. Sometimes we know our husbands better than they do. I have borderline personality disorder and in a lot of ways my aspie husband taught me how to get over my abandonment issues. As backwards as that sounds. As someone who struggles with feeling way too much to my ultimate destruction, I admired my husband in so many ways. He does feel though obviously, but I think you know what I am saying. He one day turned to me and said, “when did you get so cold and detached” I laughed and said, “I learned from the best.” Not saying any of that is healthy or normal, but wtf is normal. Haha. Anyway, glad I found your blog. So weird, I used to say the same thing too about no one in my life has ever been as cruel to me as my husband, but then he has amazing qualities I’d never want to live without. Never in these 8 years has he asked me “what’s wrong” “you look sad, you ok?” No comfort. No support of what I love to do and my interests. I have had to learn to live without all of that and all emotional support and not be bitter. I have learned I don’t need that from my husband. God supplies me with a lot and fills what’s missing. I’m truly at peace with it all.

    • Caitlin,
      Thank you so much for your post. It must have felt incredibly ironic for him to call you detached. I hope you will read the post I wrote about Asperger’s syndrome and empathy (http://happyaspergermarriage.com/what-about-empathy-aspie-vs-sociopath/) because I think it may help explain all of those years you waited for him to acknowledge how sad you looked. While you have found peace in your decision, perhaps this will help your child when they feel similar hurt from their father. I applaud your strength to leave (and stay as long as you did) as sometimes that is the right option. No one has the answers we seek, especially (as you said) the mental health professionals we count on to provide the right answers, therapy, and hope. Someday I hope to play a role in correcting that. Again, thank you for the support you give and the voice of someone who did choose to leave and feels like it was the right decision. While I have chosen to stay and am thankful I did, others may need to go in order to protect their own well-being (women need to hear this as well).

      • Avatar Caitlin
        Caitlin says:

        I’m Sorry I didn’t clarify well at all. I left him at 7 years, but we decided to keep trying. And this past year has been a lot better. Like you, I had realized that he can feel, just something is missing. I didn’t know what. I went ahead and read a lot of your blog yesterday and it is phenomenal what you’re saying and what you have found. It is like dead on. I am going to try the way you talked about communicating. In some ways I learned a little of that on my own, that I really have to communicate everything and keep my emotional responses in check, but still ways to go and more to learn and your blog will help me. And reading what you wrote reaffirms a lot and makes me want to put more effort in that. I might roll over and croak the day he ever comes to me after a discussion.

        Honestly, I love my husband. I love my life now. I think a part of me will always feel a little lonely in the marriage because a lot is just 1 sided on the emotional side. He very much is just consumed with himself, unintentionally. Or it at least seems that way. But I’ve learned to live with it where it doesn’t get me down. There are a lot more amazing qualities about him that are so rare in NT men. Having BPD, I put myself in a lot of bad situations and my previous serious relationship my ex was a true abuser. Charmer, liar, cheater, manipulative, and addict. And got abusive when he drank. And he didn’t ever care he was hurting me and he knew he was hurting me. Yes he was like my best friend and he knew me to a T and could read me and comforted me and really, on an emotional level, we connected like no other. However, I’d never go back to that and so thankful I have an honest and really hard working man. My husband has hurt me in ways where sometimes I just wished he’d beat that crap out of me, but I know it wasn’t his intention. Motives matter. They matter a lot.

        • Wow, your words are going to help a lot more people than you know. I too thought I was going to have to just accept a lot of things (feeling unloved in the way I felt I deserved and others had) but every day this seems to be getting better. I am still in shock every time John initiates things; from discussions to reaching out for me physically, or sharing fears he has, or his increased motivation to apply himself to the life he was previously so afraid of. This is getting easier each day and I am so thankful I stuck it out.

          I have anxiety and undiagnosed ADHD (definitely the hyperactive part) and I think every other man I met or dated (regardless of how well we communicated) lacked the calm I needed from John… that only he can give. Sometimes I take it for granted (like recently) when he left to work in the states for a few months. It was nice to have a break from one another but it took only a few weeks before my anxiety hit me like a brick wall and I realized just how much he deescalates me when I start spinning up like I do.

          The other night the strangest thing happened to me at work. I was rambling from subject to subject like I always do and a new nurse (much older than myself) stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Wow, I don’t think I have ever seen a woman’s eyes light up the way yours do when you talk about your husband!”

          Imagine that! I had no idea I even did this and I began to pay attention to how often I talk about my husband… things he says that are nutty, or funny. Things he does to amuse me or educate me. How he is so unique and such a chronic pain in my ass! I swear until this woman said that to me, I truly did not realize I talk about him nonstop at work! I also began to notice how I am almost always thinking of happy thoughts and smiling when I do.

          Caitlin, (and everyone) I did not believe this marriage would or could ever be what it is today. Thank you for your support and please keep sharing your insights and experiences, I love them and I am certain others will as well.

          • Avatar Marilyn
            Marilyn says:

            Wow it makes me feel so sad to read these posts. My husband has Aspergers . He had a brain injury when I married him and I thought that was the reason he couldn’t articulate feelings or emotions. Since having our son and knowing he is on the autistic spectrum I realise my husband has it too.I am so lonely in our marriage as there is no intimacy. He has never approached me for sex either and after 19 years of marriage I’ve decided to leave him. I will miss him, we has been a companion,the father of our son (has been a good dad) but I want to be able to talk about things other than the weather. My leaving will break him, but I’m dying in this cold bed that I’ve made with him.

            • Marilyn,

              Thank you for sharing your honest and deeply personal struggle. I am sorry for the pain you have had and continue to feel. Sometimes (as I have said before), it is necessary for both parties to choose the path they think is best for their emotional and spiritual well-being, even if that means leaving. I have been in your shoes and if I had walked in them for 19 years I imagine I would be making a similar choice. Actually, I applaud your strength because I was ready to leave after only five years together so I clearly did not have the same courage to fight for my marriage as long.

              I hope these posts can still help you to understand what is going on behind the scenes so that you can find solace in the fact that your spouse (most likely) did not ever intend or understand the agony you have experienced. If you have not read the more informative ones (outside of this one on anger) please consider reading these two when you have time SEE: WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY? & WHY IS IT UNFAIR TO SAY ASPIES HAVE ZERO EMPATHY. Perhaps they will help you enable your son to not have to endure similar struggles as well. I appreciate your words and welcome you to continue sharing. I think your story and how it plays out could greatly assist others who opt to make the same choice. I know there is a lot of suggestion that divorcing a man with Asperger’s syndrome leads to a high-conflict divorce and many women are afraid of that option because they fear the process of it, or the guilt they will have.

              Every neurotypical and Aspie who embark on a marriage with one another is bravely attempting something that lacks the emotional support and practical tools to navigate through it. Both should know that they demonstrate a great deal of love and hope to fight for their marriage, even if it ends in divorce; it takes profoundly incredible character to do this. Please continue to share so that others may be comforted by your experiences. One of the worst feelings is that of being “trapped” or having no options within a marriage. I know Aspie-NT unions often feel this way and your choice and personal experience may help others feel they have options; this can only provide empowerment to them regardless of the decisions they arrive at. My heart goes out to you as you embark on this difficult journey. You fought a good fight and one way or another, it will help pave the road to happiness for your future.

          • Avatar Caitlin
            Caitlin says:

            Thank you Kara. Sorry I am so late responding, was busy moving and I forgot in the mix.

            I understand that same calm you’re talking about and it helps me too. And I smile a lot too when I talk about my husband as well. Just rare qualities I really admire.

          • Avatar Caitlin
            Caitlin says:

            Marilyn, I understand your desire for more. I understand the lack of intimacy and initiation on his part too. I also deeply understand your decision to divorce too. I am sorry for your pain and loneliness of 19 years. I hope you find peace and happiness from this new journey you are courageously making.

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  6. Avatar David
    David says:

    Wow. That sounds tough. Just to clarify… John was behaving like a bustard not because he has aspergers but because he has oppositional defiant disorder? He wasn’t born with ODD but he was born with aspergers. He developed ODD as a coping mechanism. Is that right?

    • Yes, absolutely right! I did not understand that it was actually the cognitive empathy (the deficit) that inadvertently caused all of the coping mechanisms he developed at the time I wrote that letter. I was so angry, frustrated, and bitter demanding he correct things he could not possibly understand at the time either. I really had zero clue what I wanted him to DO to correct them so my demands were pretty unfair. It was the saddest rollercoaster to be able to identify the behavior I wanted him to fix, but not the underlying reason for it in the first place!

      This post is incredibly difficult for someone with Asperger’s syndrome to read, particularly an adult man (with or without a diagnosis) who is married to or in a committed relationship with a neurotypical. While they could likely read this and put a check in the box for many of the same complaints being lobbied against them; they would also (I assume) feel that my words are harsh and unnecessarily cruel. On the flip side, I would bet the majority of the women in a similar dynamic would read it and feel as though I was speaking about their husband/boyfriend.

      Oppositional Defiant Disorder is not diagnosed in adults (it doesn’t exist in the DSM for them). A child with this diagnosis will either “grow out of it” (not really, they just adopt better coping mechanisms), or they will go on to be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) as an adult. ASPD people are the ones who fit the mold of a psychopath or sociopath (no affective empathy) while the others may be children who had stressors creating their behavior that improve as they age. The rest are predominantly undiagnosed Aspies. This is why I firmly believe that an adult with Asperger’s syndrome who adopted ODD behaviors to cope as a child (not all do) will unquestionably carry many of those exact ODD behaviors into adulthood (or they may get worse like my husband). ODD does not shift into a more severe and readily diagnosable term like ASPD for them, nor can it “go away” when the cause of that defensive mechanism is never known and therefore, cannot be corrected.

      ODD needs to be identified for these adults because it is a “symptom” of Asperger’s syndrome (just as others like ADHD, OCD, etc. are). The criteria used to diagnose a child with ODD need not change because it will still perfectly fit for the adult (as I outlined above). It cannot be ignored by the mental health professionals because it is the most difficult of all the associated comorbidities (co-existing disorders) to correct. When an Aspie child uses ODD behaviors to make the source of their anxiety or stress go away, they become solidified as the best option to make stress and anxiety cease as an adult as well (positive reinforcement). This is still the hardest challenge my husband and I have because he is conditioned to respond with defiance to anything he does not understand and he meets any perceived threat with a hostile and defensive attack. It is incredibly difficult for me (to this day) to not respond in an equally aggressive and angry manner (and take it personally) despite the fact that I NOW KNOW why he does this.

      My husband seemed like such an unimaginable bastard to me in so many ways back then, and it hurt badly. It hurt in a way that is still difficult to explain because there existed so many emotions all bottled up… feeding off of one another and compounding one another, that I could no longer separate them. I walked on eggshells (as did he) and inundated with every emotion known to man circling around my mind like a tornado. I had festering anger which only made our lives (and his ODD) worse. If my husband was a neurotypical, he would have been a really cruel bastard. A neurotypical who behaved the way he did would have been able to identify some of their own behaviors and then choose to work on them, or at a minimum, understood what they were putting their wife through emotionally. A neurotypical man who had that ability, but continued to ignore his wife’s pleas and tears, would have been knowingly choosing to do so. My husband never had a clue what he was doing to cause me so much misery, nor did he have the ability to empathize with my accusations toward him because he knew he never intended the things I blamed him for. Until I had a firm grasp on why he behaved the way he did and could see that there was never malicious intent, I was unable to stop my intense anger toward him for unconsciously hurting me.

      It is important for everyone to understand that the anger and pain I speak of is real, it is not imagined. All of the pain my husband caused me was really happening to me. I experienced it and it had horrific adverse effects on my emotional and physical health. I am a neurotypical, I knew no other way to process information and the messages I was getting from the man I loved. I was begging for him to hear me and acknowledge what was killing my spirit every day; he was screaming “I didn’t do anything!” making me believe that he was indifferent to my feelings and could not love me. Neither side will ever feel loved and safe in their relationship with this level of confusion and blame directed at the other.

      Every time an Aspie gets angry at the NT in their life for their hurtful accusations and calls them delusional, crazy, or suggests they are imagining their pain… they make that pain worse. To be told your pain is in your own head, or says things like my husband’s favorite comment, “Your mind is your own worst enemy” becomes a further assault on that NT’s psyche. It feels like our abuser is blaming us for being abused much the same way a man who beats his wife says, “I wouldn’t hit you if you didn’t make me.” We feel the same agony and betrayal of our love that the battered wife feels. We may not realize that our Aspie husband is truly not trying to hurt us, truly does not know what they are doing wrong, and truly does not know how to correct it (or that we actually do ironically cause a lot of our own misery)… but it doesn’t make the pain any less “real.”

      So if an Aspie is reading this reply and knows they have discounted the words their loved one is saying by telling them they “didn’t do anything” or that their wife “is imagining things” it is time to stop saying those things. Replace them with, “I did not mean to cause you any pain and I do not understand why you think I did, but I do not want to make you feel that way in the future.” It is not easy to say that when you really don’t have a clue why she is blaming you for something that seems ridiculous, I get that. It seems unfair to not defend yourself, but you have to. You just have to trust that what she is feeling is real and be willing to at least acknowledge that much. This is my suggestion to begin turning things around. You may surprised to see how that statement can diffuse a lot of the explosions your wife used to have. At the same time, she will need to continue learning about cognitive empathy and work on altering her own behaviors and incorrect perceptions.

      Thank you again David, I smile every time I see a reply from you!

      For those who have not read about cognitive empathy yet, start with this post: WHAT ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND EMPATHY?

  7. Avatar David
    David says:

    Oops! I just realised I wrote “bustard” When I meant “bastard”. It seems you worked it out though. But now I’m not sure if I’m getting this properly. You say he couldn’t understand what he was doing. When you asked him to hang curtains and he refused, how did he not know what he was doing? Surely he knew when you asked him to hang curtains that you wanted him to hang curtains? You don’t need special mind reading powers to know that. And surely hanging curtains or mowing the lawn or cleaning the car wouldn’t cause him anxiety that he needed to avoid. It sounds like you’re making him out to be more innocent than he is.

    • David, I could not stop laughing when I read this comment! I wanted so badly to just reply, “Oh no, he did those things because he can be a real asshole sometimes!” John most definitely chose to opt out of things he could have been doing throughout our relationship (chore-related) simply because he didn’t want to do them or didn’t feel like it. Sometimes he just did not share my perspective on why some things needed to be done at all, like hanging curtains. Just as neurotypicals pull the same self-serving crap that irritates one another in a marriage, Aspie-NTs do the same to one another.

      In my husband’s defense though, most of the time, he honestly could not pick up on my nonverbal expressions that I was becoming increasingly angry by something “domestic-related” he was not doing. More often than not though, he truly did not know what I was “suggesting” he do in the first place because I was using hidden messages in my speech.

      For example, if I were to come home exhausted from work and say, “The kitchen is a disaster” John would not be able to identify the exhaustion I was feeling in my nonverbal behaviors (unless I actually said it or made overt physical behaviors to indicate it) and while he may have thought the kitchen was a little messy too, he would not realize there was a sense of urgency in appeasing his tired girlfriend “at that moment” so she could relax.

      John didn’t even know back then how important it was to me to have a clean and organized environment if I had a stressful day; he had no clue that coming home from work to a messy home severely compounded my feelings of stress because I felt like I had to “keep working” once I got home. John now knows this about me because after years (no joke) I finally found the words to simply explain this to him! All those years before, I used nonverbal means to tell him that without directly stating it. I thought he was clearly hearing me when he wasn’t.

      John rarely lets me walk into a dirty house after I have been working long hours now that he knows damn well I hate that. If I come home from work now to a disastrous place it is “game on” because he knows better and that means he was just being a lazy butthead and not considering my feelings. This still happens of course from time to time but it is very obvious he knows I am going to start getting testy because he will announce, “I know it is a mess, don’t worry baby I am going to clean it in a few minutes” and he always does.

      Back then though, with an example like the messy kitchen, John just behaved the way anyone might if they thought it was no big deal. John would have heard my words, “The kitchen is a disaster” and thought it was a bit messy himself and make a mental note to clean it up soon so I didn’t have to (after all, he knew it was his mess that needed cleaning). He would likely respond with, “I’ll clean it later.” He had no clue that my observation was really a demand that he immediately stop what he was doing and clean it or else I was going to snap.

      Lacking cognitive empathy is a recipe for disaster if the other person doesn’t know it. Neurotypicals “hint” at things, make “suggestions” or “observations” all the time, but in their head they are really making a very firm request (or demand) that their partner act. When the Aspie does not pick up on these things as anything other than the way they are said, and they are not reading between the lines to get the true message through, they fail to respond the way we expect and we fault them for it.

      Back to the kitchen… John could not grasp that I was indirectly telling him that he made a frickin mess and I absolutely wanted him to do something about it immediately and that I was angry that he would let me feel more stressed out when I came home since he was not working. When he did not clean it right away, instead of directly asking him to do so, or telling him I was upset that he did not, I would internalize my frustration and view his non-action as a purposeful act of defiance. I would then spend several hours “waiting” for him to do it (while sending nonverbal facial expressions, making noises, sarcastic comments, or displaying hostile body language) and expecting him to fully comprehend my bitterness was building. I wanted him to do what I wanted to show me he cared, and if he continued on with whatever he was doing before I got home like nothing was going on in my head (because he had no clue anything was going on in my head) I would just get more and more pissed off at him.

      Pretty sad considering I never actually asked him to do anything in the first place, right?

      So I would go about my routine, showering, getting things ready for the next day, etc. and walk past him for those two hours with a glaring face or some other agitated expression. Thinking he was fully aware of my escalating anger but blowing me off, I would eventually begin cleaning the kitchen with loud banging movements so he could hear that I was cleaning up the mess he refused to clean.

      By the time John walked in to see what all the ruckus was, he would often say something like, “I said I would clean it, what is wrong with you?” A comment like that would instantly make me think, “What is wrong with me?!?!? What the hell is wrong with you?!?!?” but instead, I would spout off something nasty like, “You are an inconsiderate asshole and I seriously cannot tolerate your filthy selfishness any longer, you obviously don’t give a damn about how I feel since you like seeing me upset!”

      So in this example, I would be angry that John didn’t inherently know to make the home clean before I came back from work (out of consideration for me) and I would think I clearly told him to do something and when he didn’t respond appropriately, I would send him a ton of other messages to let him know I was not happy with him. When he didn’t respond to those, I would transition from being hurt he didn’t respond, to becoming angry and hostile that he was purposely trying to cause me anguish. By the time he became aware I was irritated with my banging around in the kitchen, I was ready for a fight. His words of “What is wrong with you?” would become the fire to ignite my already-ticking time bomb.

      Meanwhile, John was just being a little lazy or preoccupied with something he had been doing before I came home and felt he did acknowledge my observation that the kitchen was a disaster, and he even told me that he would personally make sure it got cleaned up. He acknowledged my words, offered his service to correct what I observed, and then felt that was the end of the “kitchen” conversation. Since he had no idea I was still preoccupied and angry about the stupid kitchen for hours, he would feel completely caught off guard by my hostile explosion (out of nowhere) when I launched into “full bitch mode” and attacked him. In an instant I insulted his character while also threatening our relationship, and I blamed him for purposely trying to hurt me. His natural response to such a brutal and unprovoked attack was to aggressively defend himself. The moment he came back at me with nastiness, a bitter ugly fight would erupt and spiral out of control to the point that I would become hysterical crying and he would be pissed off I attacked him and acted like a psychopath for no good reason. We might then go days without speaking.

      In reality, John was just being messy and had no clue how important it was to me to have a clean home (he wasn’t obsessive about that) and was putting off something he felt he could easily do later. I did not use verbal words to clearly articulate anything I wanted to him. I was hostile and gave him a billion nonverbal messages to communicate that feeling… something he was incapable of picking up on. I didn’t know that, and I truly thought he was indifferent to my feelings and did not love me or was maliciously trying to hurt me, but he never had a shred of ill-intention toward me at all.

      Can you see how something as silly as a messy kitchen could become the recipe for disaster simply because neither party was aware of one another’s cognitive empathy abilities?

      These sort of exchanges became our norm for a long time and they kept needlessly piling up on one another. I was stacking bricks up for every time John showed me he did not care, and John was stacking bricks up for how many times I lost my cookies out of nowhere. I thought he was selfish and cruel, he thought I was unstable and a spaz. The longer this went on, the more resentful I became and acutely aware of stupid little things while John began to avoid anything that might set me off. Since he never really knew “what” would send me into an emotional fit, he became an “emotion-avoider” in general. I resented his withdrawal from me and added it to the long list of unresolved issues I had in the back of my mind.

      I am going to be posting an excessively long rant about those days in Florida when the “little” things became huge things. In this post I offer a ton of examples through our first few years together to show how my mind was perceiving things and what John was perceiving at the time. I think this will better explain how behaviors like mine and John’s occur in most Aspie-NT relationships and could easily be avoided if the couple comprehends cognitive empathy. If you can get through that long post, I think you will have answers to the question you posted above. Even things that appear obvious, like chores and pulling your equal weight of responsibilities in a relationship like ours can get out of control when neither understands what is “really” going on. I realize it can appear like I am making excuses for some of the things John does that make him seem purposely lazy or self-centered, but most of them have a route cause that has nothing to do with the way they first appear.

      I will post the link beneath this comment when I put it up.

      It is important to note that we are both human, being an Aspie or NT does not prevent either of us from being lazy, inconsiderate, selfish, or knowingly avoiding shit we just don’t feel like doing on occasion. Not everything that we fight about is related to cognitive empathy or our NT/Aspie brains, sometimes we’re both just being jerks for no good reason. 🙂

      • Avatar David
        David says:

        Ah. I see. Thank you. It can be quite unbearable when whatever you do or say is always wrong, and the rules keep changing.

        • Yeah, too bad it took me five years to realize I was the one making the game so hard!

        • I put that post up tonight (WHO ARE WE part 2), but it is the size of a book (seriously) so unless you really want to read my personal story and get annoying long and in-depth details into all of what “went wrong” with us… you may want to avoid it. I mainly wrote it to fill the gaps of the beginning to where we are today in case anyone thought their relationship was more difficult that what John and I had (I give a compelling argument as the worst Aspie/NT union EVER!) 🙂

          • Avatar V....
            V.... says:

            Thanks for this post it’s been amazingly informing…Can giving an Aspie silent treatment help?

            • In my experience, NEVER.

              Actually, it always ends up doing the opposite. The longer you are silent (and hoping he will respond) the more upset and hurt you will become when he he doesn’t. For me personally, the attempts at doing this always led to me becoming more and more angry until I lost my cool and yelled at him. This gave him an excuse, as though my “irrational and overly emotional” breakdown was the reason for whatever prompted the silence in the first place. I think my husband prefered my silence so he could avoid whatever was upsetting me (even if he hadn’t a clue what it was).

              Giving the silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse (I am not calling you emotionally abusive). It is one of the things Aspie husband’s chronically do to their NT wives that makes them feel unloved and invalidated. You can’t fight poor behavior with poor behavior because it only reinforces theirs (and gives them something to equally fault you for). Hard to tell your mate that his lack of communication and avoidance hurts you if you opt to do the same…

              With that being said, there are times you will want to avoid speaking to him because he hurt you and adding more failed attempts at trying to reach him escalates your pain. There is nothing wrong with that; often you have to do that to maintain your own sanity. I would premise it with a comment like, “I would like to discuss why I am upset, when you are willing or able to do that, I will happily join you. Until that time, I think it may be best for me to not engage you because it will hurt me further. I am not willing to ignore what occurred and we need to talk about it before I can talk to you without negative feelings. Please help me to resolve this by talking calmly with me when you are ready.”

              At least then, you have told him that you are being silent because you need him to address something important. Silence sucks, but I give you my word… it is going to ALWAYS hurt you more (because you are waiting for something that will never come).

              Hope that helps?

      • Avatar Lynn
        Lynn says:

        Being able to relate is comforting, supportive and helps me to have the courage to move forward and out of “my emotional/mental/physical cave” that I have been living in for over 20yrs. I’ve wanted a divorce for many years but having health issues, scoliosis (impending surgery did happen) and several years to recover along w/3 small children, 1 income, my mother needing much intervention and the list goes on,….. I put off divorce year after year. I did actually file March 2014 then had to pause because of back surgery. So here I am. I have had heart palpitations and take anxiety meds due to the stress of trying to stay married. I have been compromising my. Whole health trying to understand. And make better, not just for me or my husband but our kids and those around. I am worn out. I’ve been going to counseling for years. I’ve have felt on the verge of I don’t wanna live anymore cause I can’t take the stress , loneliness, constant conflict and so on. This is not a marriage, has not been a marriage and is not able to be a marriage. I’m not a woman who gives up easily. And I don’t see myself as giving up but finally acknowledging that I personally can not be “married” to a man with aspergers along with the other issues he has. I love him enough to let go so he can be happy and free and so that I can breathe.

        • Lynn,

          My heart goes out to you… truly, in a way I cannot articulate into words. I don’t usually say this, in fact, I have a website dedicated to saying the opposite… but… I think it is time to get out. The moment you feel as though you no longer want to live, is the moment you know you have taken your efforts beyond where they need to go in the future. You have clearly fought one hell of a battle and you should never think twice about leaving an environment that has you questioning if death is the best way out.

          I know I have uttered those words before myself and did not ever truly contemplate ending my life when I said them; they were more of a desperate plea to whatever universal pull out there (that could help me) to “Please step in quickly because I am at the end of my rope!” I hope you are more in that place then actually considering the other.

          If you know in your heart that you have truly considered this option in lieu of walking out on your marriage, PLEASE… WALK OUT ON YOUR MARRIAGE!! Your husband need not be physically abusive to be worthy of walking away from and you need not carry the weight of this decision on your shoulders either. You are saving yourself in order to be present in the future from those who still need you and will value you in a way he may never willingly take the steps to accomplish. When your physical and mental health are being diminished the way you describe, it is time to put the oxygen mask over your own face and find the nearest exit to safety.

          Coming from a woman who watched a loved on choose death because he felt he was unworthy and unable to find a light in the darkness surrounding him; I wish I could have made him see that he was only pulling others into that same darkness after he left.

          I empathize fully with the anxiety chipping away at daily functioning, it is a horrific existence that only those who have experienced can fathom. I empathize with feeling so hopeless and also desperately wanting to continue fighting because I “was not a quitter!”

          It wasn’t until I was truly willing to “quit” and walk out on my husband, that it occurred to me I had been quitting on myself all those years. I was fortunate enough to see rapid changes in my relationship occur once that decision was a viable and logical one in my mind, but not everyone will be so fortunate. My story is not the same as yours, none of ours are, despite the eerie similarities we find in one another, we are all unique.

          One thing we all have in common is that WE ARE STRONG individuals and we have endured a relationship so challenging and emotionally painful and still managed to hold out hope until the bitter end. If you were strong enough to make it to today, don’t fear the future struggles you may endure when you say you are done. They are going to be difficult, no question. I imagine it would be hard to ever compete with the difficulties you have already survived; once you can breathe again, you will regain the strength you thought you lost to rebuild the life you deserve.

          I’m sorry for my seemingly hypocritical advice to end your marriage, but I will say that to any man or woman who may truly feel like they are ready to give up on life altogether. This shit is hard. Not every relationship is worth saving. Don’t fear what anyone else will think or say, don’t fear financial ruin (living with an undiagnosed Aspie with poor coping skills has made you more resourceful than you may even realize right now). The only thing you should fear is remaining in a dynamic that has you gasping for air and the consequence of not leaving, for yourself and for your children, who, regardless of age, need you in their lives now and in the future.

          You aren’t giving up, you’re choosing to live, and that is an incredibly honorable and appropriate choice!

  8. Hi Kara, you are doing fantastic job with this blog and putting up with your husband! 🙂 I only realised I have Asperger a year ago, when I was 37 (I’m a female btw). I got a lot of understanding from some people but there are still those few who seem to believe I should use my diagnosis to change into being more like other females. And I am talking about little things here, like me not being able to symathise with another girl about her getting a new handbag.

    That’s why we all, aspies or not, need people like you. However I think there are a few things you’re missing here. Yes, we need close relationships that we are often not able to build due to the rejections we’re facing. But we also need more alone time that other people. No specialist seems to be able to really understand that. Tony Allen says we need this alone time to recharge. But there is also some other type of ‘alone time’ that I realized lately I need and no one seems to mention: when my needs for closeness are consistently met, after a little while I feel like not only I need to be alone, I actually need to feel abandoned.

    It’s difficult to make sense of it. Not only we are naturally not very skilled in recognising our own emotional states, but also when we finally get to talk to someone about it, we’re very likely to hear that kind of need is sick. So we end up fighting it for so long that we finally can’t stand our partners any more and may actually starting believing that all those hurtful things we’re saying are actually true. That also helps us to meet this nees to feel abandoned.

    Well, I am saying we as I believe it’s not just my experience but as I said I’ve never read this anywhere else. But I don’t really want to be abandoned, I just want to feel like I was. I guess that has something to do with emotion regulation – another thing that we’re not good at.

    It’s not so easy to get those both needs met: I mean feeling close and feeling abandoned without being abandoned 🙂 unless you are in a relationship with a fellow aspie who’s following the same instinct or if you have a massive fight that gets the other person to the edge of a breakdown and then quckly apologize.

    I hope that helped you somehow. Take care and keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

    • I am sorry it took so long to post your comment, sometimes comments default into the spam bin and I miss them. I am going to go back through some of the things I have written and collected about Asperger’s syndrome and the need for solitude to try to address what you are describing. Aspies need this time out more than we realize, and that is definitely something I agree with (but I think it is because of the overwhelming social anxiety they endure compared to most neurotypicals).

      For now, I am not certain what you are explaining in more detail is an Aspie-specific behavior; I think you will find a whole heck of a lot of people who can attest to feeling the way you do (Aspie & NT alike). I always have a hard time when I attempt to write about women with Aspergers because I really do see a lot of unique characteristics in these women that shift from the men. Even though I define Asperger’s syndrome as the absence of cognitive empathy, and regard that as the only “true” shared commonality, most Aspie women still fall somewhere in the middle of it all. For this, I feel even more saddened for the isolation Aspie women must endure. The post WHAT CAUSED THIS? kind of talks about my thoughts on women with Asperger’s syndrome. Again though, I often do not think I am in a position to speak for or about female Aspies (odd as that may sound, maybe the above linked post will help explain why).

      I will try to consider what you are sharing and respond with more thought (gotta go to work in a few hours). We’re the same age and for what it’s worth… I could not give two craps about another woman’s handbag (what’s worse is that my father makes them for a living!) 🙂

  9. Avatar Laurie
    Laurie says:

    Yesterday I found this post by adding the word “pain” to my Google search. A week ago I experienced the last straw in my 23 year relationship/15 year marriage to my Aspie husband, and have been desperately trying to find written material that could help, and to reach him to understand and try to meet my needs ever since. On Thursday I received a book from Amazon on having a successful Aspie/NT marriage and avidly devoured it, only to be left cold and more hopeless than before. I looked in the index for “narcissistic.” Just a brief reference in a case study. I looked for EMPATHY. Next to nothing. Useless. Yesterday I tried again to reach him. To let him know that I needed empathy, I needed to see some emotion from him about the pain I have been feeling for all these years. He knew I was seriously considering divorce. He angrily told me I wanted him to break down, and that wasn’t going to happen. That’s when I found this post. Finally someone validating how I felt. Then I found the post about the GoPro, and that gave me some hope. Last night (Christmas Eve) I asked if I could read him something and he said OK. I started reading above, about the hope that things would get better, and his eyes got wide and filled with TEARS as he said are you sure you didn’t write this? After a few lines, he asked me to stop, but then let me read more. When I got to the part about giving up, he lost it, and sobbed that he WANTED TO TAKE AWAY ALL MY PAIN. When I read more and asked if he had felt bullied by me, he sweetly nodded yes through his tears. I don’t have words for the gratitude and admiration I feel for all the research and work you have done, and for offering it with the openness and love that you do. My husband and I have our work cut out for us, but we went to bed Christmas Eve and woke up Christmas Day in an incredibly more hopeful, connected place.

    • My daughter just read this response and teared up as well. Thank you for reading and sharing your story. I am beyond happy to know my words are helping others make sense of something so challenging because in the end, I want both sides to feel validated and equally hopeful for the future. I never thought I would be in a position to bring a positive spin on a dynamic I once thought was doomed and I am humbled by the responses yourself and others have shared.

  10. Avatar DeAnna
    DeAnna says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. After two failed attempts at couples counseling, I started going individually and the therapist thinks he may be on the spectrum of Aspergers.

    I identified completely with the cycles of fighting you described. I often get shouted at “you’re being a baby!” , “you think you’re so perfect!”, “you’re driving me insane!” when I’m expressing any normal need or emotion in our relationship. He thinks I am attacking his character and I feel so lonely.

    I don’t know how to bring up Aspergers with him. I think he knows he has an anger problem, but would never accept a diagnosis from someone.

    I feel stuck…just like that quote you posted. Can’t decide if I need to leave or how much more I can take.

    Thank you again for sharing, it makes me feel less alone in all of this.

  11. Avatar Annie
    Annie says:

    Your post is an accurate description of my 30+ year marriage. The words that describe him best are “cruel bastard.” All these years I tried to make a go of my marriage. And never stopped feeling empty inside. I have slept alone most of my married life because he cannot tolerate even my turning over. I cry easily all the time – even though in the rest of my life I consider myself a strong and able woman.

    He refuses to go to couples counseling and won’t consider an Aspie diagnosis even if a professional were to offer it.

    I need to feel whole and in control again. How to achieve that state? No idea. Helpless.

  12. Avatar Chris Munger
    Chris Munger says:

    After nearly 20 years of similar experiences, innumerable tears, I began reading a book about being married to an Aspie and I highlighted all the many passages that resonated with me. The other day ( my 54th birthday!), I came home to find the book on the table with comments and post-its from my hubby. He acknowledged that he’s got it! It providef me with a whole new map for navigating. All the bitterness and hatred turned into compassion and love! Thanks for your story. I’ll certainly do the same in the hope of reaching others in such situations!

    • Every day is a choice and I have found that once an Aspie husband begins to open his mind up to the things he closed the door on (likely long before he even met you)… you just have to take it one day at a time. It is a slow and painful process for them to open that door to emotional vulnerability but if you have the love and patience… it really does get better day by day. We just have to keep giving the hope out there that this truly IS a possibility to all of the NT-Aspie couples who have lost the hope that things CAN get better. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for joining me in this fight to reach others!

  13. Avatar Meme
    Meme says:

    I can relate to all of you. I have been married for thirty years to a man with Asperger’s from a family with Asperger’s so they don’t see the problem although they constantly argue and bicker with each other. I have learned a lot about the syndrome thanks to the pain and confusion it has caused but I have found education doesn’t help if your Aspie partner is not interested in learning or changing. The hardest thing is the emotional loneliness, lack of empathy or emotional depth, the right fighting and bickering, the hurtful comments – all the things people have mentioned. At sixty six years old I have now accepted things will never change, it is a permanent condition. I wish I had realized earlier. I have now decided to care for ME, give myself the things I need instead of putting my husband’s needs first (as women are trained to do) or being constantly disappointed or angry that my husband makes no attempt to meet my needs. I am now going to swimming classes, seniors art-house movie sessions, I have booked myself an organised two week holiday with other people and bought myself an adorable (lap dog) puppy which loves cuddles more than anything else in the world. I go out on my own whenever I need to escape being ignored at home – somewhere lovely to walk like a park or the beach. In other words I am taking responsibility for my own happiness. I no longer yearn for hope of change because it is not going to happen. The one change I have insisted on is no ‘right fighting’ or general bickering and judging – “if you can’t say anything positive don’t say anything all all” is a simple enough rule to follow, it’s literal. I’ve even stopped cooking if I don’t feel like it. My husband (predictably) is happy to be left to pursue his own interests and to make himself dinner if needs be. I refuse to be reduced to a role anymore- domestic employee. We had no children as he didn’t want “anything to interfere with his career” He married only because he wanted sex and house keeping. The strain of courting got too much for him it later became clear and in his mind marriage was the lesser of two evils. Sadly I did not know about his condition when we were courting although he seemed smitten at the time and I was flattered and took him at his word (very silly) because he was only saying what he thought he SHOULD say, not what he was honestly thinking. So of course things changed once we married. I don’t think he likes being left at home when I go on out my own, but at least he is now getting some sense of how I felt all the years that he came and went as he pleased and he does acknowlege -intellectually at least – that it is fair that I have “me time” as often as he does, or when I need it. It is either that or divorce – he knows that. I now talk about my feelings to trusted friends who have similar husbands working in a university Math department. Only other people who live with an Asperger’s spouse can have any idea. Other people simply don’t believe the stress involved as they often see an innocuous person and silent person in social settings. So sites like this are hugely helpful. For instance my cloud of constant depression lifted after reading all the comments above. I’m sure this site affirms all people who read it, so keep up the good work happyaspergermarriage.

    I don’t know if I will help anyone else by posting this, but I have concluded, after years of unhappiness, that looking after yourself must be your first responsibility, it is crucial for personal fulfillment and happiness, especially if you have children, even though it is the opposite of what you might do in a normal marriage where team work is the goal. In and Asperger marriage there are two separate people instead. . Develop hobbies, have friends you can talk to, get out of the house, take walks in nature by yourself or with friends, take time out when you need it, pamper yourself, get a pet. This is what women who are married to men with Asperger’s syndome need for their own mental health.

    • Avatar Aspie wife
      Aspie wife says:

      Really big eye opener here, yes it is hard and reading more about it , I’m getting a sence of where he stands and he is not as bad. But yes I will take into consideration having me time because I have been dedicated to him and lossing my few friends. We’re starting our lives together and it has been a rollercoaster, not for him but for me.

  14. Avatar Aspie hubby
    Aspie hubby says:

    I read this link sent to me by my wife as she tells me our 27 year marriage is over because she can’t cope anymore and reading this I thought she wrote it it’s pretty much spot on .But I didn’t realise what I have been doing to her over the years we have 3 wonderful children had various business’s together and work well ,all seems to have taken its toll on our relationship now tho . I feel really bad I have never had my heart broken before and it’s change me inside when you were pre kids you could watch a film and not cry and post kids you can’t help yourself well the same thing is now happening to me all over again start to grieve the loss of my father he has been gone 16 years at the time I was sad but never shed a proper tear ,now my heart is broken I can’t stop crying not just about the relationship but kids cry and it starts me off this never used to happen I’d just say man up and get on with it.i still can’t believe this is happening to us after all these years financially we are nearly sorted no mortgage or credit cards just owe the family a few quid but we should be enjoying ourselves not splitting up ……….. I think I can now see the error in my ways but I’m not sure it’s repairable anymore.
    Sad and lonely aspie hubby.

    • Avatar Meme
      Meme says:

      A family breaking up is devastating for anyone, and it can happen to anyone. I have been married to a man with Apsperger’s autism for thirty five years. It has been hurtful, lonely and exasperating many times but with time and emotional space, I have now managed to see the reality and accept it. Because I must, Asperger’s can’t be cured. I have given up on wishing my husband could listen, understand me, understand himself, acknowledge my feelings orhis own, or that we could relate like normal people. I treat my husband like a room mate now, he likes his alone time and I have had to embrace the idea myself. It is very difficult for women because in general we want to (wrongly) mold our men into a family man in touch with his feminine side. But as you know, it is a false quest with any man, women need to stop that, it is our greatest challenge. Women need to try to see the strengths of male thinking and embrace that too – some people say Aspies are just at the extreme end of maleness. I now focus on my husband’s good points (heaven knows, we all have faults ) I appreciate his special talents, I could never achieve things like he has, or his brother who is a software designer, or his sister who is a senior auditor with huge responsibilities. The challenge for you in all this is to be completely honest about your feelings, if you explained what it was like to be you, your wife might better understand you. No one has ESP. they only know what you tell them. Use the word “I” not “you” when explaining how you feel. Oerhaps you have never told your wife your true feelings? Your children especially need your regular and full attention, so make sure when you are with them the focus is on what they want to do with you (within reason) ask them what they want and how they feel. Do it regularly. I have been through divorce too like millions of others and there is eventually a way through it. It is more than OK to cry. Your current experience is an epiphany – you now know how your wife has felt, her heart has been broken too. I hope she and you can discuss these realisations, it will help you in dealing with your children who are the ones feeling the pain now. Be brave for them. I wish you and your family all the very best. Things can only improve.

    • ASPIE HUBBY: I had too much to say in response to this, so I created another post. This post is not just meant for you, as it is generalized for ALL of the men like yourself who have emailed me with similar stories… I just had the unique opportunity to use your examples to help identify what others are feeling.

      http://happyaspergermarriage.com/aspie-husband-why-is-my-wife-leaving-me/

      I appreciate everyone’s words of strength and how to get through marriages like ours, as well as how to grieve the loss of one and move beyond it. I still believe that the reason so many women have suggested giving up on the hope for change is because they haven’t experienced the changes I have seen and therefore, deem them impossible. I honestly don’t know how they remain with a man they believe is devoid of empathy altogether… I couldn’t and wouldn’t put myself through that for the long haul. My husband has emotional empathy and I believe this is true for all of those men rightfully warranting the diagnosis of Aspergers.

      You know whether or not you have the capacity for change, so please do not be discouraged from those that suggest you are “incurable.” You don’t have anything to cure. Asperger’s syndrome is not a disease, it is a cognitive deficit (and we’ve all got them) in the part of your brain that controls cognitive empathy. This deficit disables your ability to send and receive non-verbal messages effectively; it does not alter your ability to love, feel emotional empathy, or to possess every human emotion that the rest of us have. When someone behaves in a way that neurotypicals are not accustomed to, it is easy to chock it up to not caring; this is rarely the case with an Aspie. It is usually about “not knowing” that someone is in need of them.

      Perhaps some of the women who speak of an impenetrable and cold husband are actually married to men with high-functioning autism, not Asperger’s syndrome? They are not the same thing to me.

      Not every failure falls on the Aspie husband in regard to effective communication either. If an NT does not alter the way she communicates, then the relationship is absolutely going to worsen over time (regardless of the effort her Aspie husband puts forth). This is an evenly split battle for both parties and in the end, it all balances out.

      All I am saying is that no one defines you or your future but yourself. There are those who still believe that an Aspie-NT marriage can become one with effective communication and emotional reciprocity… maybe we exist only in small numbers… but that’s all we need to bring hope back to those who need it most.

  15. Avatar Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    A few years a go I had a bad heart arrhythmia which threatened to kill me instantly. I awoke in the middle of the night, told my husband to call the paramedics, and proceeded to die. By the time the medics arrived, they had to shock my heart back into rhythm and take me to the hospital. Until that day, I had never ridden in an ambulance. After arriving in intensive care, I asked my husband why he never followed me to the hospital immediately. “Oh, I needed to find my favorite book to read while I waited. I was so upset because I couldn’t find it.” Nothing, absolutely nothing upset him about that event. I have seen him view a close friend die only to think of it as a curious incident. I could write till I am blue in the face about things this man has done. Missed birthdays, Christmas, Children’s events etc. We know that he suffers from an Autism Disorder. His family is riddled with it. But until I read Meme’s post this morning, I never knew how to proceed. I would love to hear more from people about how they deal with their spouses, and episodes that kicked them in the stomach. Thanks Marilyn

    • Avatar Meme
      Meme says:

      Hi Marilyn,
      Yes I had an episode like you. I went into surgery with a 20cm tumour in my abdomen. The doctors could not say before surgery whether it was malignent or not and could not tell me how much they would have to take out of my abdomen until they got in there. Thankfully I recovered but I did not get a card, flowers or an ‘I love you’ although I was very scared. I now think of my husband as an “absent minded professor”. I buy my own birthday and Christmas presents or give him a specific instruction of what I want ( I learned that from him ) and it works fine to buy my own stuff. You have to get tough and operate just like they do, it saves a lot of resentment. It’s quite liberating really.

      • Avatar Marilyn
        Marilyn says:

        Hi Meme, I am so grateful for your posts. Today, after I read them, I had a sense of empowerment I hadn’t had for a very long time. Thank you. And thank you for this one as well. Oddly, my husband is a professor, and I remember many years a go watching the Disney flick thinking that The Absent Minded Professor was my husband. The thing about that movie was that the woman in it was angry. He missed his wedding, and while it was funny, they never showed how she felt after twenty seven years. I can’t believe that somebody else plans their own birthdays and Christmases. I did that last year for the first time, and I spent way more money on myself than I ever did before. It really wasn’t “I’m angry,” present. Again, I like the way in which you like yourself. Thanks from Marilyn

        • Avatar Meme
          Meme says:

          My husband is a professor too, so it is easy to visualize the stereotype 🙂 I read the comments of younger wives and smile, I have been through every possible attempt to modify AS behaviour to my own view of how my relationship should be (just as they are doing) you probably have too. I have taught children with special needs all my life and my daughter in law is a specialist in therapy for autistic children, but somehow I want to preserve my husband’s dignity by not discussing him with people known to him. I watch them relating to him and smile that there is a ‘normal relationship’ possible for them at least. But back to you. Yep, buy yourself your own presents and enjoy them. Next thing is – think about a club or group you’d like to join, they will validate you as a person and restore some sanity and relaxation. And my personal favourite – book in for a spa session of shear pampering – you will feel a bit awkward doing it the first time but after that you will find it necessary every time you get a bit uptight or stressed. Make sure it involves some massage and some soaking in a warm bath or being wrapped in warm towels – time. You will come out feeling so relaxed and on top of the World that your husband will like this new you. What I have found is that my husband is very HAPPY for me to do these things! I guess the heat is off him! I really think women are bred to meet other people’s needs, they mother instinctively (even men). I’ve decided after trying everything else, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. They are self-focused ……. aren’t they? So ……. the sky’s the limit for us really. Only we can make ourselves happy and it should not involve trying to change someone else. When you have mastered this new way of life, then book a trip tp Australia and come and visit me! I suspect our husbands might get on very well 🙂

  16. Avatar Jody Wells
    Jody Wells says:

    You have written about my life
    This is my wasted five years
    It’s all exactly the same
    I’m at rock bottom now

    • Avatar Meme
      Meme says:

      Hi Jody. I know how you feel. You are probably suffering from depression and even PTSD now. Your soul has been weakened by constant stress and that is not good for your physical health either. Ask yourself this question – who were you before marriage? Did you like the person you were? If so, what made you happy? What is stopping you from doing those things now?
      What is important right now is to focus on healing yourself. Reclaim the things that used to make you happy as long as they are not self destructive. Things that I think help – walking in nature, upbeat music, dancing, buying a pet, joining a hobby group or club, reconnecting with old friends, spending time with friends and birth family (alone), going to a concert or party, spa sessions or a massage, taking up a sport or swimming. In other words, your first task is to heal your soul. I found myself having a long walk on a beach after a row and I came home noticeably less stressed, so I did it a few more times. I took my puppy, people talked to me normally. I actually managed to lift 18 months of depression doing so. Then I got the strength to do some of the other things I’ve mentioned. I also moved into the spare bedroom and I started sleeping better. When you have started to heal yourself you will find the strength to tackle some other things on the list, then some of the emotional necessities like finding out how your husband actually thinks about the things that bother you. But – your husband can’t be bent to your idea of what he should be, he has a physical brain change that is permanent. But you fell in love with him and married him, so he obviously has many redeeming features. Start keeping a gratitude diary you write in each day – anything that makes you grateful each day then read over your entries each week. He is under enormous stress too, he is feeling helpless that he can’t be the man you want, although he probably wants nothing more than to be your perfect man. He literally doesn’t know how to achieve that. But for now, it is all about you and getting yourself strong. The other stuff comes later.

  17. Avatar Bret
    Bret says:

    Wow you lived the life I’m living now apart from the fact we have three children I can’t take him anymore
    Please contact me x

  18. Avatar Aspie hubby
    Aspie hubby says:

    Hi Meme, I see a theme going on here I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in Feb 2016 had it removed but have been under going BCG treatment since this also has a impact on your relationship but my wife has stood by me all the way thankfully it’s in her genes.. Had sometime to myself and have come back to the family home to be with the children and the wife is quite happy for me to stay because we do get on really well it’s just the passion/love has gone from her as I’ve beaten her down over the years without realising it,hoping I can re kindle our relationship over time we will see………

    • Avatar Meme
      Meme says:

      Exactly Aspie Hubby. My husband and I have been getting on much better since I realised it is not my place to try and change another human being and we have focused on friendship first -after all it is where a relationship starts, and it feels like starting again from the beginning. Besides, as you know, there ican be no change for a brain which is physically different, no matter how much we wish it (young children excepted). Since my husband and I have moved back to friendship, I have noticed that he is much happier and more relaxed. I realise I put him under inhuman pressure to be something he is not. Although he tried very hard to comply with my wishes, it made him miserable, stressed and wondering what he was doing on this planet. Paradoxically, now the pressure is off, we are actually much closer, we talk much more, I am able to say how I feel, he has stopped being defensive, we have both stopped feeling so stressed. It takes a big shift of thinking from both partners. The way I think about it now is to meet halfway – learn some Aspie behaviour and practice it. I do my own thing much more – like my husband has always done. The major step for we Aspie partners is – looking after ourselves first, because we have been battered constantly for years by emotional neglect and misunderstandings. Especially mothers need this because they are serving everyone. My husband actually supports my needs to get out on my own now. He understands why it is necessary – we finally have a good solution. I have had to teach him things like “Say something nice or don’t say anything.” “It’s OK to share problems and feelings, we’re a team.” etc. Like all aspie men, it is not that he has no emotions, love, and desire to do the right thing by his wife – it is just that he literally doesn’t know what to do. And he has in fact agonized over his social differences I now know. He is mighty relieved that I’m now taking responsibility for my own needs and happiness, pretty much the way he has always done – I have hobbies, I organise social gatherings at home, go for walks with female friends I can talk to, even go for a holiday break somewhere if I need it, etc. He has even got more romantic and helpful at home now that he understnds how female brains work (a mystery to him before). He understands, finally, that when a female raises a relationship issue, it is because we see a problem and want to fix it by seeking partner help, it is not simply “getting at” him. My advice to you is, be a friend, listen with respect and don’t get defensive, give your wife a compliment every day e.g. something you appreciate about her, when she looks nice, when she has done something for you or the children. Look for things you can do around the house to lighten her load without her asking. As Dr Phil says to all men – when you wake up everymorning, ask yourself “How can I make my wife’s day better?” Even little things count. These are the things other men do naturally. Who knows, maybe you will rekindle a romance by being an attentive and helpful man. Gratitude goes a long way with women, we don’t mind being the workhorses and martyrs most of the time as long as our family appreciates our efforts. So best wishes with your recovery and future.

      • VERY WELL SAID!!! Thank you Meme! Regardless of the Aspie/NT differences, women have two X Chromosomes. Since there does exist scientific literature to link the X Chromosome to emotional processing/reasoning… men are genetically at a disadvantage (or advantage depending on how you perceive emotionally-driven logic) to women. I know people hate the “stereotypes” out there with regard to gender, but this fundamental difference in the way our brain processes empathy (in general) is now backed by evidence-based data that cannot be ignored. Your story and advice applies to the majority of heterosexual relationships; it is gold when we are talking about our unique ones and I truly appreciate you sharing it!

        • Avatar Meme
          Meme says:

          Reply for happyasperger’s above comment. Indeed. I believe that the same rules for normal marriages applies to our situation – we are men and women first. We are ultimately responsible for our own happiness, that is not someone else’s job, so we have to look inside ourselves not hold someone else responsible. We have no right to try and change another adult from their true selves, it is up to them if and when they want to change. But Asperger’s/high functioning autism (which are the same thing except for an intitial childhood diagnosis of language delay) is just as frustrating for both parties – so why not work together on it ? That requires calm ‘I’ focussed statements of fact and always a mindfullness of how it would feel to be receiving the information, so NO BLAME! Easier to say than do I know, I’ve blown my stack many times, screemed, cried, walked out etc. but one day -recently – I had an epiphany. I remembered a saying “Disappointment = expectations not met.” And I realized my expectations were for my husband to change to become ‘normal which was unrealistic and unfair. Then I remembered Dr Phil saying, “If you go into marriage wanting to change your partner, you shouldn’t be marrying.” I was guilty of trying that for many years (although if the tables were turned, I would deeply resent someone doing it to me). So it comes down to “Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.” And the fact the World needs people to think differently otherwise we would have no technical or intellectual progress. Like love itself, the solution often comes when you give up and stop looking for it. The only difference for me now is – I follow my own insights! I have to explain myself more simply and literally to my husband and explain why I am feeling the way I am with calmness and explicit language. He has accepted that I am explaining my feelings and concerns,not trying to “get at him ” and not expecting him to find the solution. Just being “heard” by him for the first time in thirty years has done wonders. And one last piece of advice from Dr Phil- It takes five good experiences to weather one bad one. So make sure everyday, you do at least one good thing for your partner without being asked. Even it is just giving them a heartfelt compliment or asking them how they feel or think about something – then just listening. Really listening. Good luck everyone. The solution is acceptance (we ALL deserve that) and making sure you look after yourself and do the things that make YOU happy. Oh, and Aspies – practice “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing.” to your spouse, and try to give them a genuine compliment or acknowledgment of gratitude every day 🙂

  19. Avatar Meme
    Meme says:

    PS. And treat your wife every now and then to – a bunch of flowers, a voucher to have a session at a spa or massage, a piece of jewellery as a thank you for her help while you’re recovering, a dinner out, volunteering to cook dinner or some other task she usually does, buying or doing something you know she likes. Don’t wait for birthdays, these things mean more when they’re unexpected. Remember, noticing what she does for you or your children and appreciating it by word or deed means the World to her. Ignoring what she does and just expecting it without comment is emotional abuse.

  20. Avatar Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    I read all this and know it all. The only differences to my life are that I don’t have the relief of a job to go to. I have 2 Autistic children and live in this nightmare with an Asperger’s husband and I’m not me anymore. I have been reading this affirming stuff a lot recently but although I get temporary relief knowing that others understand, it doesn’t help my situation to know – in minute detail – how shit my life is. The l more I know about him & Asperger’s, the more bleak & depressing it all becomes. HE’LL never read this so what difference does my enlightenment make? He won’t even admit it’s Asperger’s because of the negative connotations (good God, can’t have anything negative said about him!!) and besides the DSM criteria doesn’t diagnose it anymore. We’ve had counselling by an organisation that specialises in NT/ASD relationships but we focused on me, my temper, my sensitivity, my drinking etc as I knew we would. It’s always how ‘bad’ I am. It’s his first defense and I believe it so often that I am genuinely shocked when I see other people’s marriages. That breaks my heart. Other women in NT marriages do not live like this. They don’t medicate and self medicate and live in a dark cloud of aloneness and guilt.
    Thank you for writing this, it was beautiful. But can you also fly in & rescue me too please? 😢

    • Avatar Marilyn
      Marilyn says:

      Hi Lindsay, totally get where you are coming from. Normies who are around me and my husband, at first, think he is great. But when anyone gets to know him, they say, “Oh, my, how do you do it?” My husband has the added diagnosis of being ADD. Yeah! Still, the strange thing about him is that some of his deficits work for us. Nobody at his job can get to him because of lack of empathy. He is a great provider in this sense. He will do everything that he is told to do, but it has to be absolutely logical to him or its out the window. He loves to get presents and Christmas morning is fun watching him. I know how hard this is and If I were young, I might leave. I hope for you and your family that you take care of yourself. You are so worth it. So sorry. Marilyn

  21. Avatar Meme
    Meme says:

    Dear Lindsay, I feel so sad for you. Your counsellor should have known that self medicating and losing your temper was a perfectly normal reaction considering the constant stress you are under. The counsellor should have been able to explain that to your husband so he saw the relationship between his behaviour and yours. Because it always seems to come as a surprise to Aspies that they cause extreme stress – and it is usually when their NT wife is ready to walk out the door that they face reality for the first time. That is how it’s happened for me anyway. I’m concerned for you because this takes such a toll on your physical health and soul too. Are you close enough to your mother in law to arrange a private chat to ask her for guidance because she has raised an Asperger’s child herself, maybe more than one, and she knows her son well. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help but when you do, be ready to tell people what you need – e.g. time out for one thing. Can your mother in law come and look after the children for a week or two while you spend some time with your own parents or siblings? The family should be told how much you are struggling, and they should want to help you. Maybe they have no idea how stressed you are and would be horrified to know. If you were my daughter I would want to know, and help. We get very good at hiding the strain from others don’t we? If I lived near you I would give you a big hug, take you off for a day of pampering at a spa, take over your home duties for a week or two and let you rest and revive. I really hope you have a mother or mother in law who will do that for you. Show them this thread if you have to. What’s to lose?

  22. Avatar Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    Hi Meme, Love your posts. I go back to the first time I met my mother-in-law. She told me that my husband would never ever do anything for me unless I told him to. I thought she was nuts because my husband was so attentive. Wow! Mothers always know. That said, after reading your posts, I have started feeling better. My life is mine. Thanks for that.
    Marilyn

  23. Avatar Superkates
    Superkates says:

    I dont know if my previous comment was sent.

  24. Avatar Saronna Maldonado
    Saronna Maldonado says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Every single thing you wrote about is my story. It is so painful. Thank you for writing this!