(For real… consider this)
I want to give a fair disclosure to every neurotypical wife reading this bog and everything I write in support of an Aspie-NT marriage:
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE VERBALLY OR EMOTIONALLY ABUSED AND IT IS PERFECTLY OK AND HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU LEAVE IF HE DOES NOT ACCEPT THIS!
It should not come as a surprise that I want to address the topic of abuse in an Aspie-NT marriage if you have read any of my initial posts. There are many married men with Asperger’s syndrome who are predominantly soft spoken, gentle, and more submissive than the “common” depiction of an Aspie husband found online. These men tend to be less apt to marry and/or end up in a high-conflict marriage to an NT-e so they rarely get acknowledged. The majority of Aspie husbands out there have difficulty regulating their emotions and a large percentage of them utilize anger predominantly as a means to cope with interpersonal communication they find challenging (See: WHY IS HE SO ANGRY?). Of these “angry” men, many of them cross the line from inappropriate anger to verbal and/or emotional abuse.
This post is not about the common defensive mechanism of anger, it is about the cross-over into truly inexcusable and intolerable words and actions that need to be immediately addressed before an NT wife can even broach the topic of anger in general. It is necessary to cover this horrible and all-too-common step into damning behavior because we are not dealing with one fight in our marriage that spiraled out of control and got ugly, we are dealing with chronic misunderstandings that can make fighting and destructive behaviors the norm which becomes an incredibly dangerous place for both the Aspie and NT to exist in.
Some behaviors that I consider worthy of tolerating while you work on a new level of understanding one another, and a new method of communicating are listed under “emotionally abusive” behaviors. These include things like, withholding, gaslighting, and stonewalling/ignoring. While these actions hurt both parties (on an emotional level) they are actually necessary as your Aspie husband works through his defensive coping mechanisms and are going to have to be understood and patiently worked “tolerated” for a little while. You cannot change all poor-coping behaviors before a person comprehends why they developed them. You may need to let down your feelings of personal attack as you work on changing and fixing communication between you both. With that being said… there are others… that are simply unacceptable for ANY REASON.
No doubt there has been a torrential flood of cruelty hurled at you for a very long time. No doubt there has been incredibly unfair roles in the marriage whereby you felt like a mother to a defiant and nasty teenager who did not appreciate you. No doubt you have tried damn-near everything in your human capacity to be good to your husband, kind to your husband, understanding, empathetic, loving, selfless, supportive, and incredibly patient. No doubt all of your effort fell on deaf ears and what you received in return was painful, indifferent apathy. No doubt you have had things thrown at you, disgusting and unforgivable words screamed at you, gone days or weeks without being acknowledged, or maybe even spit on (as I have been), or physically assaulted.
There are a million and one reasons to leave this man who has treated you in a way that no one deserves to be treated, especially by their husband.
There is only ONE reason to stay (and sorry, love is not enough). That is if he is willing to agree to NEVER again do the inexcusable and disgusting abusive behaviors I will outline below.
It is NOT ONLY “ok” to say you have had enough and want to leave…
It’s perfectly understandable and you do not deserve to feel guilty for choosing that option.
While I am an advocate for changing this awful NT-Aspie dynamic, I will NEVER suggest you stay with a man who is not interested in learning about himself, how to treat you the way you deserve, or who thwarts all of your efforts and justifies his unacceptable behavior.
Just because a man has Asperger’s syndrome and has suffered a tremendous amount of painful injustice throughout his life that caused him to become a defensive and hostile-appearing person…
Does NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT justify him calling you disgusting names, being physically aggressive, or treating you like a doormat.
His Asperger’s syndrome does not preclude him from knowing WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG when it comes to behaving in a humane and decent way toward his spouse and no one should ever make excuses for him when he does that.
ASPERGER’S SYNDROME DOES NOT EXCUSE ABUSE AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME DOES NOT CAUSE A MAN TO BE ABUSIVE!
So PLEASE… while you read my posts and may come to an understanding about how and why he behaves the way he does… please keep in the back of your mind that it DOES NOT EXCUSE ABUSE IN ANY WAY.
I NEED YOU TO PLEASE GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD AND ACCEPT IT IN YOUR MIND, HEART AND SOUL….
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR BEING ABUSIVE
If your husband chooses to respond to you by saying you are the one being abusive and he is simply “reacting” to you… then you need to make it clear to him that this justification will no longer be accepted by you.
While you are searching for help to better your marriage and hold out hope that things can get better… and they can… (and I commend you for having the strength and love to still be searching for this outcome) … I HIGHLY suggest you create a back-up plan to begin a life without your husband if he refuses to stop name calling and/or throwing violent or aggressive temper tantrums.
I HIGHLY suggest you WALK OUT THE DOOR and leave him to fend for himself if he cannot accept that his behavior WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED.
Staying with a man who continues to treat you in an abusive manner IS telling him that his behavior is acceptable. Hard pill to swallow, but it is high-time you choke it down.
You have already proven (beyond a shadow of any doubt) that you are an incredibly strong and resilient woman who is capable of withstanding more challenge and emotional pain then most people could wrap their head around. If you do not believe this, if you have convinced yourself you are weak (and that is why you have remained in an unhappy and abusive relationship) I am going to tell you to get a grip on reality (sorry… I know that sounds like something he might say to you!). I am going to tell you the same thing military leaders repeat to their sailors and soldiers when they are claiming to be incapable of finding the inner strength to continue on in a terrifying direction…
SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!
You are strong… you are stronger than most could ever fathom. You are a good person; you are a selfless person who has sacrificed your own mental health to love someone that you knew in your heart was worthy of a love no one else understood. You are amazing and you need to stop making excuses for why you just “might deserve” the abusive ways your husband has treated you. While I can easily explain all of the misunderstandings and unconscious and unintentional underlying reasons for your husband’s behaviors over the years… I CAN NOT and I WILL NOT attempt to give an excuse for the unquestionably abusive words and actions he has directed at you.
Perhaps he is not entirely aware of what constitutes as abuse… perhaps he never had malicious intent… perhaps he has the emotional maturity of a child and is greatly challenged at controlling his outbursts…. perhaps he has felt attacked by you and believed his nastiness was an equal and warranted response to the ways he felt he was being “abused” by you… perhaps there are a million reasons to explain why he came to a place that he felt his behavior was acceptable and excusable… but I assure you…. the #1 reason he has come to THAT place is because you have remained with him despite him treating you in a horrifically unacceptable way!
Many of our Aspie husbands were verbally abusive toward their mothers (or sisters) growing up… and these women still loved them and did not abandon them. This has created a false sense of security that you are the only other woman (outside of their Mother) who will continue loving him and not abandon him regardless of how far he pushes his outbursts.
It is time he learns otherwise and you… yes, you buttercup… need to be the one to tell him that it STOPS TODAY or he is going to learn the hard way that not every woman who has dedicated their love to him is going to do so unconditionally.
Unconditional love in a marriage is just a stupid, stupid word. Unconditional love should be reserved only for the love a parent has for their child…. It should not ever be used in a marriage. It sets a terrible stage for women (especially NT-e women) to believe they should remain married despite all else. NT-e women often love their Aspie husband with the same love they have for their children… unconditional. This needs to stop. You are tired of feeling like his mother, SO STOP ACTING LIKE YOU ARE! Start putting CONDITIONS on how far your love is willing to go. Let him know that:
IT STOPS AT ABUSE!
Your Aspie husband IS NOT STUPID. Your Aspie husband KNOWS when he has said or done something that would be inexcusable in any relationship or marriage. I encourage you… I beg of you to start accepting who you are, start putting conditions on the love you are willing to give, and start discovering the strength you already have proven time and time again that you possess… and be willing to leave him if he does not stop abusing you.
Obviously if you call your husband abusive… you can anticipate an incredible amount of verbal abuse directed at you in response. Fine. Don’t use that word. Call it “INTOLERABLE BEHAVIOR”.
Let him know you are learning about why he behaves the way he does, and why you behave the way you do. Let him know you are willing and wanting to make your marriage work and do whatever it takes to create a happy and healthy marriage. Tell him you are committed to changing the ways you have behaved as well that have caused difficulties and you expect him to be willing to do the same for you. Tell him you love him…
And then make it CLEAR…. MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR…
THAT THE INTOLERABLE BEHAVIOR STOPS IMMEDIATELY…
OR YOUR MARRIAGE IS OVER AND YOU ARE LEAVING HIM.
Give him a chance to absorb what you have said to him. Tell him you absolutely REQUIRE him to acknowledge your words and the behaviors you deem unacceptable or you will have to assume he is not agreeable to them and you will then follow through with your promise to walk away.
HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
First, take time to read about what I am saying in this post and the others. Take time for yourself to identify what is intolerable, what is a part of his Asperger’s syndrome defenses (that can be corrected), and then take time to firmly establish an alternative to remaining in your marriage. Outline a plan to leave, even if that plan involves the same steps a “battered wife” needs to take to leave her husband. Accept that if he is not willing to stop these intolerable behaviors… that you ARE a battered wife.
You do not have to have bruises on your face or broken bones to be battered and any search of emotional/verbal abuse will 100% agree that the injuries you cannot see… the ones that are violently destroying you from the inside out… they are far more damaging than the ones you can see. So realize, if your husband refuses to stop acting that way… it is time to call a spade a spade (I use this term without the racist connotation it originally carried). It truly took my husband’s sister to finally convince me that there is NO excuse ever rational enough to justify a man verbally or physically abusing a woman… please don’t wait for someone else to convince you of this.
If your husband consciously and knowingly opts to disregard what you define as abuse (see below), then he is consciously and knowingly choosing to abuse you. So if you haven’t the financial means to begin again… start researching what “battered women” have as options and be willing to implement those options to get the fuck out of your marriage.
Once you have solidified enough information about why your husband “is” the way he is… the things both of you have done to create a terribly awful dynamic (even if completely unintentional); decide if you want to keep working through it. Decide if you want to try one more time to make your marriage happy based off of the insight I have given in this blog. Decide that you are ready and willing to put forth this effort, and decide that you will ONLY do so if your husband is agreeable to stop his abusive behavior (by way of calling it “intolerable behavior”). Decide that if he is not, you will leave.
And then I urge you… I beg of you…
Tell him directly and clearly (in a letter, email, text, or face to face) that the intolerable behavior (abuse) stops today. Make sure you have clearly identified everything that falls under the category of intolerable behavior and make sure it is written down in a place he can reflect on (if willing to) so there are no “grey areas” and there are no excuses to say “Oh, well I didn’t know you considered that intolerable behavior, so it doesn’t count.” Identify exactly what you will NO LONGER accept and make sure you have been clear and direct enough that he cannot sway you into “exceptions” because he did not realize that his words or actions were “on the list.”
Side note: Give him the option to create his own list of behaviors he finds intolerable on your behalf and be willing to consider and agree to those equally.
Whether he acknowledges what you have said to him or not… tell him that those behaviors stop TODAY and make it clear to him that if they continue… even once… YOU WILL leave your marriage… and there will be no discussing it at that point.
I mean it when I say, if he does it again… EVEN ONCE…. LEAVE HIS ASS! Walk out that door with your head held high. You have every right to hold your head up high if the man you love and have sacrificed your physical and mental health for REFUSES to treat you with the BARE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF RESPECT EVERY HUMAN DESERVES.
Asperger’s syndrome is NOT an excuse for cruelty.
Asperger’s syndrome does not make a man blind or incapable of comprehending what behaviors are abusive.
Asperger’s syndrome does not create a man too blind to comprehend right from wrong.
Do not allow Asperger’s syndrome to excuse THOSE behaviors ever again… it gives the Aspies who are not abusive a very unfair image they do not deserve.
Here are my suggestions for “intolerable behavior” to be clearly listed (but I suggest you tailor them to your husband’s repetitive actions so there is nothing left unsaid). Do not put emotions in your list. Make the list direct and clear without any “side information, explanation, or specific examples of this behavior in the past.”
- NAME CALLING (Bitch, CU*T, stupid, insane, useless, dumb, piece of shit, etc.)
- THROWING THINGS (Breaking dishes, throwing items, dumping drinks or anything else on you, etc.)
- PHYSICAL AGGRESSIVENESS (Pushing, grabbing, hitting, kicking, spitting, shoving, cornering you, getting in your face or raising a hand or fist at you, etc.)
- THREATENING YOU (I will sabotage your life, career, family, etc. I will take the children, the car, the home, the money, etc. I will make you pay. I will hurt, kill, destroy you, etc.)
- INDIRECT ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR (slamming things around, hiding or breaking things that belong to you, stealing, lying, sabotaging shared or personal items – Like breaking the car so you cannot drive, your computer or electronic devices, etc.)
It is not now (nor was it ever) alright to behave that way. It is not alright for you to do it in response to him, and it is not alright for him to do it (in response to you). If you do not firmly establish this boundary and do it fast… no amount of effort you EVER put into saving your marriage will matter because the moment one of these abusive behaviors is repeated, it will undo every bit of progress you made and send you right back to the misery and broken soul you felt throughout your marriage. Removing these behaviors is a NON-NEGOTIABLE requirement and you need to stand behind your words after you have made them undeniably clear to him.
YOU ARE A REMARKABLE WOMAN & HE IS NOT A BAD MAN
I commend you for everything you have done to get to the point that you are still motivated and wanting to save your marriage… I know it has been hellish in many ways (for both of you).
I do not think your Aspie husband is evil for the things he has said any more than I think you are for the things you have said. There is always a chance for hope (regardless of what you read) because your husband is not a psychopath. Your husband does not do these things with the intention of manipulating you or tearing apart your psyche. Your husband does these things because he has incredibly poor coping skills (that can be corrected) and he has learned that the more aggressive he is, the more likely he is to make a confusing and emotionally intolerable situation immediately stop. I will give the benefit of doubt to your husband that he is naive to some of the specific things you find abusive, but I will assure you, he still knows every time he has gone “too far” or said something damaging and cruel. You can forgive all of those things and move forward because they were never directed at you for the same reasons a psychopath would do them to you… but once you clearly outline that you are never again going to tolerate them… you can no longer forgive him or excuse them as an “isolated incident.”
BUT… IT’S NOT THAT EASY TO LEAVE
Yeah, I know. I have heard this a million times. I hate to tell you this, but it is an excuse. I am not suggesting it will be easy, I am not suggesting you are going to walk away without regret or reconsider your choice. I am not suggesting you are going to leave him and not walk into an entirely different world of struggle. I am suggesting it is an excuse still. Fear of the unknown is terrifying. But any time you find a “reason” to stay with a man who knowingly and purposely abuses you (and he will be doing it purposely after you lay it out for him); it is still an excuse. Regardless of the excuse you make to stay and tolerate abusive behavior; he’s the father of your children, he is the financial provider, he will fall apart without you…
There is NEVER an excuse good enough to accept being abused. NEVER. You existed before him, and you are clearly a very strong woman and will make it without him. He existed before you, and he will make it without you. Your children do not deserve to live with a mother who is broken and miserable and they certainly will not benefit from watching their mother willingly accept being abused.
LEAVING DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL THE END
This may sound weird, but just because you leave him… does not mean the end of your marriage. Your husband’s behaviors have been created over many years. You have put up with them and remained with him throughout it all. There is a very good chance defining the “intolerable” behaviors will fall on deaf ears and he will knowingly test you or do it again. This is an immature response, perhaps an act of defiance, perhaps a test to see if you will really do it.
It may take you finally standing behind your words to get him to wake up and realize he needs to take accountability for himself and be the man you deserve (that I believe most Aspie husbands WANT to be). Perhaps it will take leaving him for him to get it through his mind that he can no longer treat you that way. Perhaps you will have to leave him to have a chance at EVER making it better.
The thing is… if you outline the abusive behavior you will no longer tolerate… and you remain with him after he violates this… you can count on him never changing and you better believe he will have zero respect for you. If you make it clear that he cannot ever abuse you again after you define what you consider abuse, you will never feel good about yourself if you willingly allow it to continue.
YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG ENOUGH TO WALK OUT THE DOOR OR KICK HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE AND STAND BY YOUR ACTIONS.
If you believe he warrants another chance (and I am not against this) make damn sure there is a significant enough amount of time in between you allowing him back into your life before you do. Make sure you have given YOURSELF enough time to learn who you are, what you want, and whether or not you actually want to live a life with or without him in the future (this process could take months for you to reach a rational choice). Make sure you are hearing from a man who TRULY gets it. Make sure you are hearing from a man who is taking personal accountability for his actions and who is truly understanding of the gravity of his behavior (words and actions) before you EVER consider letting him back into your life. Make sure you give time to be with one another (without living together) again before you allow him back in that door, or you return.
If a separation is not enough for him to willingly and wantonly abolish those cruel behaviors, you need to permanently walk out on your marriage.
You are not stupid. You wouldn’t be on this website if you believe you deserve to be treated without respect or if you believe you deserve to have your sense of self violated. You know you are something, so stop accepting someone who treats you like nothing. You are here because you know you do not deserve this. If you have tried everything… even a separation… and he continues to abuse you… I PROMISE YOU… that abuse is going to escalate. I promise you that someday, that abuse is going to kill you. Your death may be a slow and torturous one by way of your immune system shutting down, your heart developing dysfunction, or your mental health breaking you down to a non-functioning woman, but one way or another, it absolutely will… without question… equate to a premature and agonizing death. This is coming from a healthcare professional who absolutely comprehends how powerful our brains are. This is coming from someone who knows that if you do not protect your emotional sense of self, your body will begin to manifest diseases and disorders in a desperate attempt to get you to wake the fuck up and start paying attention to your emotional well-being!
THIS IS NOT ABOUT SACRIFICING YOUR FEELINGS OF HAPPINESS FOR YOUR HUSBAND…. THIS IS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE YOUR LIFE FOR HIM!
If you stay with your Aspie husband despite his refusal to stop abusing you, you are agreeing to lay down your own life to appease his inflexible and intolerable cruelty. If you think for one second that staying with a man who refuses to stop abusing you is best for your children… if you think leaving him would be selfish and cause great harm to your children… if you have convinced yourself that you are sacrificing yourself, not for him, but for the sake of your children… I implore you to wake up fast… KILLING YOURSELF IS CRUEL TO YOUR CHILDREN!
Not all Aspie husbands display defensive anger on a recurrent basis and of the ones who do, not all of them rise to the level of verbal and/or emotional abuse. Anger (in and of itself) is not necessarily abusive (challenging to deal with, but not abusive). Most of the time, a very angry, defensive, or hostile Aspie husband will cross over into the grey area of verbal and emotional abuse.
As you read my website, you will find that I am very defensive of Aspie husbands and I am incredibly defensive of the fact that your marriage can get better and that an Aspie-NT marriage CAN be happy and successful. I do not “excuse” any of the poor behaviors your husband has any more than I excuse the poor behaviors you have had. I have found explanations, and I have found causes for them. I have found hope, I have seen success, and I have found a reason to fight for our marriages. I do not believe your husband is a bad man, I believe he is a good man. I believe you are a good woman.
I believe your life can get better. In order to begin implementing the advice I have to give, in order to begin understanding how you came to both be so miserable in your marriage, and in order for you to begin truly working hard on change… you must first establish the behaviors that will prevent ANY of that from ever being realized. You have to take time for yourself and reflect on the words and behaviors that are abusive to your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. You have to write them down. You have to truly believe that you no longer deserve to be treated that way. You have to stop making excuses, for him and yourself. You have to establish and be willing to follow through on a new life that does not include your husband. You have to share your clear and direct “intolerable and unacceptable” list with your husband, and then you have to be willing to stand by your word and follow through.
Take the time to establish what you deserve. Take the time to read what I have written. Take the time to identify the non-negotiable things that are killing your spirit and the magnificent woman you are… and write them down. Share them with your husband when you are ready. Give him time to process your words, and then make a firm and final choice to do the MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do to save your marriage if he continues to be abusive…
BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY FROM IT.
IT IS NOT ALRIGHT TO BE ABUSED BY THE PERSON YOU LOVE… FOR ANY REASON… EVER.
*****If you are being physically abused, I don’t even recommend giving him a second chance. If you are being physically abused and you fear for your personal safety, I also DO NOT recommend you challenge him or waste your energy with a list. If you are being physically abused, I recommend you seek immediate help and you plan a permanent escape that is safe. I also recommend you take a second glance at his Asperger-diagnosis. It is not impossible for an Aspie to also become violent but in cases like this… you are dealing with a comorbid mental health diagnosis and his AS is not responsible for the disturbing personality disorder that affords him the delusional belief he can physically assault another human being. Get away from a man like this and get away from them in a way that provides you with a safe escape.