Newbie seeking support . Teen daughter has AS & hubby 2

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Mom2AS
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10 May 2010, 11:26 am

I just learned of this website and had referred my teenage daugher to it because she has AS. My issue today isn't her...it is a reoccurring suspicion that my husband may also have AS. We've been married for 18 1/2 years and have two children, one of which has AS. My husband and I have talked about the fact that he is like our daughter, but that is as far as it has gone. There is no motivation from him to change anything about how he acts or behaves. We have the same discussions and arguments over and over, maybe every 3-4 months and it almost always is about me not living up to his expectations. He is hypersensitive to criticism and seems to have no empathy for the challenges I face as a mother with an AS daughter and a son who is facing some undiagnosed personality challenges.

My husband can be very loving and generous at times, but can also be emotionally cold and distant. He's very aloof in social situations unless he's had a couple beers...then he can talk your ear off. He shys away from crowds and we do very little socially as a couple.

We had an argument last night. He entered the room and began criticizing our daughter, who had procrastinated on a school project. She was overwhelmed, upset and was raising her voice, but this is her typical AS reaction to being overwhemled. He had no empathy for the situation and continued to condemn her for procrastinating rather than focusing on helping with the crisis at hand. This is a common theme: he critcizes but never has the answer on how to fix the situation or do it better. I call him the "armchair quarterback", because he is quick to find fault but is unable to turn it into a teaching moment.

Several of the diagnostic criteria fit him, but the best fit is his lack of empathy for me as a stay-at-home mother, raising a daughter with AS and managing our family, which isn't easy with the long hours he puts in. Most of the day-to-day parenting falls on me, and the load gets overwhelming at times. I do my best to row the boat mostly alone, but he then criticizes me for being overwhelmed and jumping from one crisis to another. I also suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and his criticism tends to totally undermine my self-confidence. I rattled off a list of things that I felt are postive attributes of his, which he was uncomfortable with and didn't know how to accept. I then asked him to name 1 thing I do right, and he couldn't. He said I do lots of things right, but couldn't name ONE. I guess I'm still looking for the validation that I will never get from him. He used to be more complimentary and tell me "good job", but now nothing seems to be pleasing to him. He won't even hire a contractor to fix things at home because they won't do a good enough job.

Another trait he has is that he fully expects to have control over his world. On weekends, he is obsessed with a sport and expects to watch it regularly, even though he convinced me we should buy a TiVo so that he didn't have to be home. "It's not the same", is what he says. Heaven forbid the kid should have an extra-curricular event or a family obligation be planned that occurrs at the same time as his sport is on t.v. He becomes angry, frustrated and unpleasant to be around should he have to miss part of it.

He is a very picky eater and has food texture problems. He eats next to no veggies and complains that things taste "green". He will eat potatoes, corn and applesauce as sides...THAT'S IT! It is really odd that if we go to a local fast food Taco place, he can taste one small shredded piece of lettuce amongst the ground beef should one accidentally be in his taco. My daughter, who has AS, has a better diet than he does.

Today is one of those days where I feel defeated, like my little row boat is taking on water despite how hard I have worked to keep it afloat. Have any of you read any books about spouses with AS that might help me? I need to be able to stand my ground and not take so much of this personally, but I also have to be sensitive to his feelings. When I try to explain my side of things or try to intervene on behalf of the kids, he stops making eye contact and acts like I've totally negated him. Raising a daughter with AS, I can never be worry or crisis free and he doesn't have the ability to understand that.



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10 May 2010, 1:28 pm

Mom2AS wrote:
There is no motivation from him to change anything about how he acts or behaves.


That's because he probably can't change it. Or, feels he can't... most of what an Aspie does, is because its very comfortable / routine for them, and they _really_ wont see anything wrong with what they're doing. I've been battling people trying to change me my entire life.

Mom2AS wrote:
We have the same discussions and arguments over and over, maybe every 3-4 months and it almost always is about me not living up to his expectations. He is hypersensitive to criticism and seems to have no empathy for the challenges I face as a mother with an AS daughter and a son who is facing some undiagnosed personality challenges.


I can't hope to speak for Neurotypicals, but for the A.S. person, you have to keep in mind, Aspies process things very differently than NT's. It was brought to my attention recently, when asked "What have you been doing *************" -- I process it in terms of "literal". I process the criticism or comment in terms of "I want you to do this or that." And I felt very criticised when I was already doing all that I could and the best that I could and wondering "What more do you want from me?!" The person (an NT) kept agitating me (and yeah, I think they knew they were agitating me) and having fun with it ... and yeah, we got into an argument. So, guess who's not invited around me and my kids anymore.

My Aspie children tend to latch on to literal thought processing. My cousin who's a low-functioning Autistic, if his Mom says "Let's sometime you and I go camping alone." He begins packing for the trip. :wink:

You might can read up on that kind of literal thought processing, and maybe you can communicate better, in a way your husband understands you. Because, without the right kind of communication it sure can lead to misunderstandings and arguments. Its very difficult (I don't know entirely myself) how to take a step back and properly understand what NT's are really saying. They come off demanding, and impositioning their way of life on mine. He probably feels like that... very much and VERY SENSITIVE to criticism.

Mom2AS wrote:
My husband can be very loving and generous at times, but can also be emotionally cold and distant.


Probably doesn't mean to be. Simply, if an Aspie has nothing worthwhile to say, they don't want to be anyone's 5th wheel.

Mom2AS wrote:
I guess I'm still looking for the validation that I will never get from him. He used to be more complimentary and tell me "good job", but now nothing seems to be pleasing to him.


He probably , really doesn't understand. One quick way to get an Aspie / Autistic person to shut others out... is if they're feeling they're being criticised.. the Aspie will go off to themself and shut the critics out. Because, hey, we REALLY don't "Get It" unless its translated to Aspie-speak.

Mom2AS wrote:
My daughter, who has AS, has a better diet than he does.


I have a diet of nicotine and caffeine.

Mom2AS wrote:
Have any of you read any books about spouses with AS that might help me?


http://www.wrongplanet.net/books.html

Mom2AS wrote:
When I try to explain my side of things or try to intervene on behalf of the kids, he stops making eye contact and acts like I've totally negated him. Raising a daughter with AS, I can never be worry or crisis free and he doesn't have the ability to understand that.


You need to understand the Autistic thought process and how everything is processed... because what you're trying to say, may not be how he's interpreting it... and your daughter too.

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10 May 2010, 1:32 pm

Welcome to WrongPlanet, and welcome to my time warp. :)


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10 May 2010, 2:53 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet!


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10 May 2010, 4:29 pm

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10 May 2010, 4:39 pm

Nice to meet you, Mom2AS, and welcome to the WP community.


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10 May 2010, 6:10 pm

Actually, my 14 year-old with AS and I communicate very well. I can sense when she is overloaded and I also try to help her identify when it is happening in hopes that someday she might be able to better control herself. Unfortunately, what works with one person with AS may not with another. Now that I am taking a more serious look at the question of whether or not my husband also has AS, I will pay more attention to his reactions. I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach again...just like when my daughter was diagnosed.



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10 May 2010, 6:37 pm

Mom2AS your husband sounds a lot like me in some ways. I don't officially have AS but I probably do. I completely agree with AspieForty's post. Your husband does not mean anything by his actions & he probably can not understand why you feel overwhelmed by things. He may feel overwhelmed himself. I get extremely frustrated when people can not understand me & I do NOT feel that I have a problem or disorder that needs to be corrected. I have problems because others do not seem to think the way I do & they can not accept me the way I am


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10 May 2010, 10:26 pm

Mom2AS wrote:
I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach again...


Just a word of caution... that's powerful language and I could tell from your first post you're very frustrated, and many Aspergers people are very keen on picking up those overt attitudes... but usually will not respond to them -- at least not in the way you'd like. Words like that are just asking for *overload* and (literal reasoning) *demanding* and its too much for the Aspie to deal with emotionally, so they shut down and withdraw from you. I can't speak for every Aspie, but its powerfully negative language. My Mom use to do that to us. My Mom is a bonafide NT and would use words like "Kicked in the teeth for all I do" and "One day I'll be gone and then you all are really going to miss me." (Guilt trip.... it really bit... it was never, "One day you (Dad) will be gone, and I'll really miss you" or "One day this or that child will be gone and I'll miss you." It centered on herself... we saw that (it was almost a self-centered thing, and it's Aspie-logic... that kind of language will make everyone resentful instead of evoking sympathy or support ... (there are a lot of things that work with NT's... but with Aspergers people, has the opposite effect). We emotionally withdrew from her. She was trying (in NT speak) to evoke feelings of sympathy for herself... well, its simple as this, there's a way to go about eliciting emotions, and that's the wrong way.

Its easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar.

My Dad had some traits of Aspergers, and when she did that to him, it didn't result in him showering her with sympathy... instead, it really REALLY got him upset and bent out of shape at everyone around him. He couldn't verbalize emotions. My entire life, he was a silent, sober person... a workaholic and his life was electronics, communications (advanced lisence FCC), repairing cars / tractor / farming... etc., a jack of all trades who was hard-working, diligent and educated... but when it came to people... he just didn't like to socialize much, and didn't know how to verbalize emotional things. She'd do that to him, and it tore him apart inside... more than any of us probably ever understood, because he didn't discuss it. Unfortunately, it tore him apart in a negative way, and all we could see was he was UPSET and angry... he didn't know how to verbalize himself. You're overloading your husband I think (if he's an Aspergers person) he feels overwhelmed and helpless in communicating with you, and his daughter. I remember ONLY ONE TIME in my entire life, my Dad tried to open up and tell me, "I have tried to do the best I can for my children... (he told me how his Dad raised him), I could tell it was sooooo difficult for him to express emotions... but he painfully explained he TRIED to do better by his children, than his parents could do for him. (Times changing, able to earn more, more opportunities... my Dad was doing everything he could, and my Mom would nag with that emotional overload) -- Aspergers people process everything literal, so when you say things like "Kicked in the stomach," your husband may feel sometimes, "What more do you want from me??!" and annoyed and pulling away even more than before.

There were times my Dad tried to show love.. and it was always through actions. :? He would take us fishing with him. He would try to involve us in his interests... he never expressed himself emotionally. I really really miss him. I recall all the things my Dad did for me, all the help he gave us, and never once did he demand "thank yous" and praise... he went to his grave without a single day of saying (***)"One day I'll be gone and you will miss me." We just do. He didn't need to say anything.

*** On second thought, there was one day he said something similar. My car broke down. I called Dad. He came to my rescue and was driving home. Very stern, and literal as he always was... there was no guilt trip or anything "emotionally subtle" about it. Instead, he told me, "My Dad died when he was 73. I'm now 65. When I pass away what are you going to do?!" He was annoyed, frustrated that day and every time he spoke he was harsh like that and was probing me for a very literal response, as to what concrete plans I had, to take care of my own affairs, without him. I had no answer for him. He was trying to express concern... but the way he verbalized things, it hurt feelings. He was abrasive and came off as rude and insensitive. But for a person who was "rude and insensitive" he worked himself to an early grave, trying to take care of his family and responsibilities, and didn't ask for anything in return.

**I can't be certain my Dad was Aspergers or if the gene came from him (though he had loads of Aspergers qualities), and my Mom has a nephew who was low-functioning Autism. So, its debatable which side the gene came from (if it is a gene to blame... all I know is me and my 3 kids are on the spectrum). I had a brother (actually 2 brothers who exhibit the A.S. qualities... and 3 sisters who do not. My brothers got super annoyed when my Mom would say things like that, to evoke powerful (overwhelming, frustrating) emotions.

My Dad got upset... and was either silent.... or agitated/angry... which got everyone else upset.
My brothers got annoyed... and would brood over it...

It's probably a Male and/or Aspie thing...

One of the rare moments I remember seeing my Dad smile...
He was a military man (career officer with 20 years active, and 10 reserves).. he was so proud of my niece for graduating boot camp. Military was one of _his big interests_.
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Here's his funeral.
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Here's a photo from when he was young. That's pretty much the same expression I saw on my Dad's face, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This was taken back in the 1950's or early 1960's.
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I know from those who knew Dad in his youth, he was more light-hearted, had more fun... and my Grandmom said he would set off in the bedroom by oil-lamp and read, and taught himself electronics / HAM Radio... enthusiastic about education, and on the overall pleasant. But then he met my mother, and in later life... he seldom smiled.
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Dad loved the military... lots of ROUTINE and STRUCTURE.
She rubbed it in. He would come home from a long day at work, nagging at him, when all he wanted to do was get dinner and try to destress. She didn't allow him to do that. He would leave the house and work on the tractor, plowing fields, sawing down trees for the winter (for home-heating), and he pretty much avoided the house until it got late. He seldom ever talked.

My Mom would make comments around him, *laughing at him* :? that he had "frown lines" on his face, because he never smiled much. She would also say things about my Dad that must've been hurtful to him, how he couldn't talk to us on an emotional level... the only person we were "made to feel we could talk to" on an emotional level was her, mother. I don't need to say how that drove a wedge between a children and their Dad. After he passed away, only then I realized it was too late... and I wished so much, that I had MADE THE EFFORT to get to know him. She never encouraged him to open up and talk with us kids in a warm, emotional way. She only always, said "He CAN'T do it." So, he never did. An Aspergers person listens very attentively to what people say about them, especially those they trust, and they will fall into the trap of literally believing the bad things those people say about them.

The best way to communicate to an Aspergers person, if you want them to understand, I guess would be to tone things down and approach your hubby, and in a calm, rational tone say something like, "I need to talk with you. So.... what's on your mind lately?" and then calmly -- keeping things very literal and simple, discuss what you want to without getting powerfully overwhelming frustrated and emotional. At the first sight of "powerful emotional overload" an Aspie will run for cover. (I sure do... especially if that emotional flood is aimed at me).

You didn't say when your daughter was diagnosed.
Have you discussed how HE feels learning his daughter is Aspergers Syndrome? Perhaps he's very upset about it down deep, but cannot verbalize that. You describe him as wanting to become overbearing, demanding, rigid and "rulesy".. the opposite of what an A.S. person needs. Routine yes, harsh strict discipline, no.
Mom2AS wrote:
Quote:
He entered the room and began criticizing our daughter, who had procrastinated on a school project. She was overwhelmed, upset and was raising her voice, but this is her typical AS reaction to being overwhemled. He had no empathy for the situation and continued to condemn her for procrastinating rather than focusing on helping with the crisis at hand.


sounds like he reacted the same manner to her frustration. "He was overwhelmed, upset and was raising his voice"

He probably isn't sure what to do himself.
To learn a child has a learning disability like that, can be devastating (even to an Aspie who wakes up realizing "My child is Autistic?!?!" I know, because it was done to me. The school dropped the bomb on me, "We suspect your son has Aspergers Syndrome" after years of documenting his behavior and O.T. and other professionals working with him -- not in a million years -- but the more I read, the more I saw my life spelled out. If your husband begins really reading, and if he's Aspergers... he'll know it. You won't need to explain it to him. And if he is Aspergers, he will not be able to verbalize his feelings. He may be Aspergers, but ... I wouldn't force it on him. How long has your daughter been diagnosed?

You know there's resources, probably in your local area that provide support for parents of Autistic children, and you might could use some sugar to convince him to attend at least one support group event, that deals with explaining how to properly parent an A.S. child, so he can learn.


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Last edited by AspieForty on 11 May 2010, 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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11 May 2010, 2:35 am

Mom2AS wrote:
Have any of you read any books about spouses with AS that might help me?

I can't know for certain if it will help you, but Asperger's Syndrome and Adults... Is Anyone Listening?(link) might be worth a look.


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11 May 2010, 7:54 am

Hello Mom2AS, welcome,

I hope you will find information and support you need, here on WP.

Enjoy your stay on the Wrong Planet!


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11 May 2010, 9:45 am

I guess I need to clarify myself. When I said I feel like I've been kicked in the gut...I never said that to my husband. That was my pain in realizing I'm having to learn to manage having two people in my life that need special consideration when it comes to communication. I guess I will have to try and be more careful about how I express myself. I respect the fact that it is tough out in the world for adults with AS. I have an adult friend who was 1st diagnosed with Apraxia as a child, then the correct diagnosis of AS was finally made inl her early 50s. Believe me, I am the first to start a line of conversation and campaign for education about AS in society. It is just different on a personal level. I can tell you anything about my daughter, but I'm having to start from scratch with my husband. The difference between my daughter and husband is that she has received accomodations, whereas my husband has not. I do believe that you cannot generalize about the abilities of people with Aspergers. Some do have better ability to understand NT people than others.

"every time he spoke he was harsh like that and was probing me for a very literal response, as to what concrete plans I had, to take care of my own affairs, without him. I had no answer for him. He was trying to express concern... but the way he verbalized things, it hurt feelings. He was abrasive and came off as rude and insensitive."

You will have to forgive me. I haven't figured out all the tricks to the website but wanted to comment on this statement. This IS my husband. He doesn't realize that when he is frustrated he has a very sharp, angry edge to his voice. It causes the 3 of us to shut down.

To answer your question, our daughter was diagnosed first with PDD at age 3. She attended both special education preschool and regular preschool, so she was going 5 days/week. She attended kindergarten in public school. She has been totally mainstreamed since the 4th grade and is now graduating from 8th grade. She has been on the honor roll since 6th grade. She plays both the clarinet and tenor saxaphone. She has made friends although she does not "hang out" like her peers.

My husband has not been able to play an active role in supporting her AS. He says he thinks he is like her, but hasn't "connected" with it. He hasn't spoken about how he "feels" about her AS. The vast majority of the time, she blends in so well you almost forget she does have AS. NT men are less able to admit to needing help or admitting to what they view as a perceived shortcoming, so I would not doubt that he may still be in denial. I've always maintained that AS is a component of a person and it by no means defines them. I don't want my daughter to feel like she has to be burdened by a label society has to give her for legal purposes or that there is any barrier to her success. I've never lowered the bar or used the word "can't" and have always taught her that after she gets over the main hurdles and learns to accomodate her AS, the rest of the AS is a gift. She has a unique way of looking at the world and this can be an asset.

I think my husband may be more comfortable accepting he may have AS, or at least be AS-like, once I do more reading about adults with AS and help educate him about it in a positive way. He may be waiting until he feels safe to "come out." I think the thought of admitting it means "change" to him and that may be scaring him off. It hurts me see him get so frustrated all the time. I've always described him as sensitive and perfectionistic. It is sometimes tough to discern which personality traits are contributed to the person and which are AS.

AspieForty - It sounds a little bit like your mom could have been frustrated herself. That is natural for an NT to become emotional when our efforts to show love by caring for our family seem to be met with indifference. I think it would have been so challenging to be the only NT in a home with mostly AS people. The way we NTs connect with others often involves emotion, and if none is shown, we interpret it as indifference. It sounds like the way I feel alot with my husband...like nothing I do pleases him. That brings up another thought - no matter how hard I've tried, I've never found a gift that really has seemed to have pleased him or that he's gotten excited about. He just says "thank you", like it is of little value or consequence to him. AS may be the reason why! 21 years of knowing him and now that finally makes some sense. I can stop trying so hard now.



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11 May 2010, 10:19 am

nick007 wrote:
Mom2AS your husband sounds a lot like me in some ways. I don't officially have AS but I probably do. I completely agree with AspieForty's post. Your husband does not mean anything by his actions & he probably can not understand why you feel overwhelmed by things. He may feel overwhelmed himself. I get extremely frustrated when people can not understand me & I do NOT feel that I have a problem or disorder that needs to be corrected. I have problems because others do not seem to think the way I do & they can not accept me the way I am


Okay, I have finally figured out how you respond to posts. Nick, thank you for your words. I'm sensing that what you are saying is the case...that in fact my being overwhelmed is upsetting to my husband... but, oftentimes it is because I am doing all that I know to run a household with 2 people who don't think the way I do and need extra consideration that I am often overwhelmed. It's a catch 22, as they say.

It is interesting that you use the word "frustrated" because I hear that word more often from him than any. It will depend on how "frustrated" you are and how often it happens to you for you to decide you need to give it more attention. If you do end up having AS, or are AS-like, I would not put it in the negative and say that you need "correcting" or "fixing". I've been very careful not to put my daughter's AS in a negative light. I've been treated for anxiety and admitted I have that challenge in my life. It is a disorder that has to be "managed". When I use the tools I have been taught, it makes such a difference in my ability to cope with situations. People who have ADD and ADHD as well as anxiety and AS all have neurological challenges and taking the time to learn how to better manage it only helps us enjoy our personal relationships. The acceptance of who you are by others may be a product of you accepting the challenge of learning just how different your thinking is first as compared to theirs. It doesn't mean you have to change who you are to be accepted. Does that make sense? I had to teach my daughter this. She thought conforming meant changing who she is, which isn't the case. Seeing things differently than others and being able to express it in a way that is understood is a such a powerful gift!

One thing that might help you to know is that just because someone is said to be "neurotypical" it doesn't mean they are without fault or by any means perfect. My adult friend who has AS was so happy to hear that. She thought neurotypical meant perfect. It just isn't so. If you do have AS, you are going to think differently than others and it can be a great asset. Here again is where the AS vs NT thinking causes frustration on both parts.



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11 May 2010, 12:46 pm

Mom2AS wrote:
AspieForty wrote:
every time he spoke he was harsh like that and was probing me for a very literal response, as to what concrete plans I had, to take care of my own affairs, without him. I had no answer for him. He was trying to express concern... but the way he verbalized things, it hurt feelings. He was abrasive and came off as rude and insensitive."

You will have to forgive me. I haven't figured out all the tricks to the website but wanted to comment on this statement. This IS my husband. He doesn't realize that when he is frustrated he has a very sharp, angry edge to his voice. It causes the 3 of us to shut down.


Just hit "Quote" at the top of the post you want to respond to, and edit.

Yeah, that's the way my Dad _always_ talked to those he felt comfortable around. He seldom talked, but when he did, he had an actual point to make.. some "very real issue" to discuss... he wasn't one for much small talk. It was very very hurtful, but that was my Dad and I love and miss him dearly. I accepted him like he was, good and bad. Back then, nobody heard of anything like Aspergers Syndrome... we just assumed that was his personality, or the way he was raised. I mean, here's a photo of my Dad's Dad, and note the stern expressionless expression on his face. This is how everyone described Granddaddy too, he was a hard man, his entire life... and I vaguely remember him -- he was a hard-working farmer and established in the community. He died in the early 1970's... he was from back in those "old days" when "Holiness = Godliness = Misery/Sorrow"
Image
Fairly accurate... that facial expression on my Grand-Dad's face is what I saw on my Dad's face, pretty much 24/7, 12 months out of the year, year after year.
Nobody questioned. That's how a lot of people acted back then... some more than others is my guess. My Dad tried to be a better person, and a kinder, gentler person, but he didn't fall far from the branch. My Grandmother (in the photo) was an NT, and in so much contrast, a kind, compassionate, loving, gentle person. All the children LOVED Grandmom... I found it amazing sometimes that Grandmom was so overflowing with love and gentleness, she joked and laughed, and my Dad was such a solemn, sober, workaholic ... that hard expressionless expression -- he seldom ever smiled... I was mystified HOW Grandmom was his mother. All he did, was work. Electronics, communications consumed his mind and he had a one-track mind... we learned young, when he was working to never disturb him unless it was very, very important. When it wasn't work, it was plowing fields, or reparing automobiles or some other work that had to be done. How do you communicate with a person like that?

With what I know today... and in retrospect, with my Dad gone, if I could bring it all back, I would've tried. Often I have dreams, and my Dad is in the dreams... a haunting feeling like his death was all just a bad dream and he's came home from the hospital.
I'd find a way to talk, knowing what I do about Aspergers Syndrome.

Mom2AS wrote:
My husband has not been able to play an active role in supporting her AS. He says he thinks he is like her, but hasn't "connected" with it. He hasn't spoken about how he "feels" about her AS. The vast majority of the time, she blends in so well you almost forget she does have AS. NT men are less able to admit to needing help or admitting to what they view as a perceived shortcoming, so I would not doubt that he may still be in denial.


It would be nice, if you could coax him into participating... and in society -- men often have been made to feel as if "raising children" is a woman's role and duty -- he may to some degree, feel that way (I don't know!) but like I said already, how do you talk to somebody like that?? It's not easy, especially when they're set in their ways... and a lot of times without just the right approach and words, your motives can be completely misunderstood and end up making things worse, than improving them. Aspergers have to be spoken to in literal terms...
That's what a lot of Aspergers people feel like too... people have tried to change them, or come off as "condemning" and the Aspergers person really doesn't see a "problematic issue". So they withdraw. If a problem is explained where the Aspergers person really, truly understands... I know from experience, once I am made to understand -- I end up feeling terrible, when I really see and understand "what I'm doing wrong." and will make every effort in the world to rectify things. But I can't do anything about it, unless I'm approached and told in the right way, where I comprehend the error.
Most of what people have done is the equivalent of loading demands on me, and condemning me for being different... and when I can't just magically become what they say I should act like or do, leave me alone to figure it all out by myself... and even moreso, sometimes literally HURTING me and my children under the guise of "helping" us. I've got a certain amount of distrust for people in general because of it.

Mom2AS wrote:
I think the thought of admitting it means "change" to him and that may be scaring him off. It hurts me see him get so frustrated all the time. I've always described him as sensitive and perfectionistic. It is sometimes tough to discern which personality traits are contributed to the person and which are AS.


Yep, and that may be indirectly coming out to some degree why he's avoidant in becoming involved with your daughter's A.S.

Mom2AS wrote:
AspieForty - It sounds a little bit like your mom could have been frustrated herself. That is natural for an NT to become emotional when our efforts to show love by caring for our family seem to be met with indifference. I think it would have been so challenging to be the only NT in a home with mostly AS people.


That's where the assumptions come in, the generalizing that causes the major conflicts -- Aspergers people are not as "indifferent" as people assume. There's myths spreading that Aspergers people even have no human empathy (which equates us to psychopaths and serial killers). There's only a lack of ability to verbalize and express the emotions, but it doesn't mean we don't experience the same level of emotion -- even sometimes moreso -- but we can't get that out in words, and sometimes walking away is a lot more comfortable, than flooding tears, or overwhelming anger or other frustrating emotions... or even like you're describing, because you're met with a "lack of emotional reaction," the Aspergers person can't win for losing and is under attack again. I always felt like that too, that no matter what I did / do it would never be good enough, never be right, never be perfect... and the majority of my life was spent feeling, "Why bother?" all people do is criticise. Either its too much or too little... and just the criticism itself, makes the whole NT experience, a miserable one.

Mom2AS wrote:
The way we NTs connect with others often involves emotion, and if none is shown, we interpret it as indifference. It sounds like the way I feel alot with my husband...like nothing I do pleases him. That brings up another thought - no matter how hard I've tried, I've never found a gift that really has seemed to have pleased him or that he's gotten excited about. He just says "thank you", like it is of little value or consequence to him. AS may be the reason why! 21 years of knowing him and now that finally makes some sense. I can stop trying so hard now.


Try to be kind and non-judgmental toward him. If he is Aspergers, you can rest assure that down deep, he's thinking... he's feeling (just as powerfully as you or anyone else does), possibly moreso... if he's Aspergers he's probably regretful, but doesn't discuss it -- afraid he'll be criticised even moreso, or avoidant of those issues because of the negative feelings it provokes, or can't verbalize to communicate -- it is very frustrating and more than anyone would ever begin to realize, Aspergers people are extremely self-critical) -- if you criticise, it only compounds self-criticism... and feeling "Why even bother?"

Part of the reason I believe my Dad didn't get involved with the emotional/loving aspect of parenting is because my Mom was always there to reassure him he was a failure in that area. She only called on him for three things: Earn a Paycheck, Keep Things in Repair, Punishment.
We grew up "afraid" of our Dad... we never had a deeply meaningful relationship and he really didn't ever seem to know "how". I KNOW he tried the best he knew how, and that's all I care about and all that matters. Aspergers people aren't blind, and sometimes can be very good judge of character about people.


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http://autism.about.com/od/whatisautism/f/
Aspie+PTSD http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt125554.html don't/won't dwell on it
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Mom2AS
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11 May 2010, 3:49 pm

[quote/]That's what a lot of Aspergers people feel like too... people have tried to change them, or come off as "condemning" and the Aspergers person really doesn't see a "problematic issue". So they withdraw. If a problem is explained where the Aspergers person really, truly understands... I know from experience, once I am made to understand -- I end up feeling terrible, when I really see and understand "what I'm doing wrong." and will make every effort in the world to rectify things. But I can't do anything about it, unless I'm approached and told in the right way, where I comprehend the error.[/quote]

Those of us so called "NTs" who have educated ourselves about Asperger's do a little better job, I think, of being more sensitive...but we can only do so much. We just have to strive to meet one another somewhere in the middle. People with AS don't mean to come off the way they do and the same goes for NTs. Some of us are better at putting things into words where it will not be offensive.

[quote/]That's where the assumptions come in, the generalizing that causes the major conflicts -- Aspergers people are not as "indifferent" as people assume. There's myths spreading that Aspergers people even have no human empathy (which equates us to psychopaths and serial killers). There's only a lack of ability to verbalize and express the emotions, but it doesn't mean we don't experience the same level of emotion -- even sometimes moreso -- but we can't get that out in words, and sometimes walking away is a lot more comfortable, than flooding tears, or overwhelming anger or other frustrating emotions... or even like you're describing, because you're met with a "lack of emotional reaction," the Aspergers person can't win for losing and is under attack again.[/quote]

I've even had my husband be angry at me and take it personally when I am sick, overly tired or don't feel well. I don't think peopole with AS are entirely incapable of feeling empathy and compassion...I think it is like you said...it is expressing it where things get "lost in the translation", so to speak.

I wish there were some way to let people out there with As know that there is compassion out there for you. I wish you didn't feel "under attack" so much. I feel like so much frustration builds up that you can't help but become sensitive and reactive. I don't think it has to be this way. What if I were to teach my daughter and husband, instead of reacting right away, to say something like... "So that I understand, you are saying...." and then they fill in the blank with the way THEY understood what was said to them? That would give the other person in the conversation a chance to restate or explain what they said and hopefully avoid some of the frustration they feel. Honestly, I don't think the World means to be insensitive or be out to attack you. The majority of people are just unaware/uneducated and unfortunately, most will not take it upon themselves to learn unless they themselves have a child or spouse diagnosed with AS, or if they work in the field of special needs.


[quote/]Aspergers people are extremely self-critical[/quote]

Boy, do I know about this! I've reassured my husband so many times that he is so good and asked him not to be so hard on himself. There are enough people out there that will do that for you. It is that "all or nothing" perfectionist thinking.

[quote/]Aspergers people aren't blind, and sometimes can be very good judge of character about people.[/quote]
Yes! My husband has picked up on things sometimes before I do. I recently said to him that "So and so is...." and he told me he was thinking the same thing.

Thank you everyone who has commented so far. This has all been very helpful. The last 11 years of my life has been mostly dedicated to doing whatever necessary to support my daughter so that she has the best chance of being an independent adult. Lots of prayer too. I have to go back to ground zero now and begin educating myself about people who did not receive early intervention and how to be a better advocate for them, including my husband, so maybe I can help him understand himself better.



jc6chan
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11 May 2010, 10:14 pm

Welcome to WP!!