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Argentina
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16 May 2011, 4:19 am

Husband has been diagnosed with aspergers 3 months ago. 12 months before that he was diagnosed with depression, ocd and obsessive personality traits. the 10 years of our married life have been volatile and we have separated twice in the past because of his abusive behaviour (pushing me, name-calling, hair pulling, verbal threats). He has always been a binge drinker (anywhere between 2-5 nights a week) and this makes things a lot worse. The diagnosis of aspergers has helped us both to realise that the frustration we have both felt over the years has been due to the communication problems between us.
My issue is that his drinking has been recurrent problem (for me anyway). This is clearly a factor in him completely "losing it" on numerous occasions in which I or my daughter have had to call the police. He has kicked a hole in the wall, banged his head against the door and put a holes in that, tried to strangle me, ranted and screamed abuse. All of this is done in front of our 10 year old. The last incident he took a knife and threatened to stab himself. He was very angry at me and I could not reason with him, but our daughter was able to reasonably talk her father into passing her the knife. I know..... this whole scenario sounds dreadful particularly with a child around.
By the time the police get to our house he has calmed down. Husband is very compliant and admits to what he has done. reports are made etc. Once my husband got taken to hospital because of the combination of meds and alcohol he was on. but other than that he remains at home.
I have now told my husband that this is an alcohol-free home and if he wants to drink he will have to do it elsewhere. I have had to take the afternoon off work because he has become emotionally unstable. All I have heard all day is how miserable his life is, how I have stopped him from doing things he wants to do (eg: drinking alcohol). He despises me because I am the cause of all his problems. Tells me he would not become violent if I left him alone while he was drinking etc etc. On and on he goes about how it is all my fault and how a good man like him should be allowed to have a drink in his own home. He tells me that I provoke him. His definition of provoking him is complaining that the bin wasn't put out or suggesting to him that he should stop drinking so much.
When he drinks, he takes things I say in completely the wrong way and he imagines I have said or done something which I haven't.

When he is not drinking, he has learnt to manage his emotions, certainly to a degree where he does not become violent.

At the moment I am getting the silent treatment. In another hour or so he will probably go off at me again about how he is not allowed to drink and that he has no options.
I believe I have given him options 1) stop drinking and be with the family 2) leave and drink all you like
Thing is.... he does not see option 2 as viable because he has no-where to go. No family, no friends, earnings only from a part-time job, and has relied on me for years to handle things like moving house, finances etc.

Honestly, don't know what to do. Can't do alcoholics anonymous unless he is agreeable. The drinking is one of his "special interests". I mean....... how do we change that ? and now he is just sinking into a deeper depression because he can't drink. We are in Australia but I just do not have any more money to pay for private therapy. We spent a lot of money to get the diagnosis that he has already got.



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16 May 2011, 4:54 am

That sounds horrible. The only advice I have is that I think you should stick to your guns.

I had an alcoholic partner once. She wasn't abusive in the direct way that yours is, but it became clear that my feelings just weren't important to her. I went for over a year thinking that I could make a difference, but eventually I realised I was clutching at straws, and I got out. Luckily we had no kids.



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16 May 2011, 5:03 am

Argentina wrote:
Husband has been diagnosed with aspergers 3 months ago. 12 months before that he was diagnosed with depression, ocd and obsessive personality traits. the 10 years of our married life have been volatile and we have separated twice in the past because of his abusive behaviour (pushing me, name-calling, hair pulling, verbal threats). He has always been a binge drinker (anywhere between 2-5 nights a week) and this makes things a lot worse. The diagnosis of aspergers has helped us both to realise that the frustration we have both felt over the years has been due to the communication problems between us.
My issue is that his drinking has been recurrent problem (for me anyway). This is clearly a factor in him completely "losing it" on numerous occasions in which I or my daughter have had to call the police. He has kicked a hole in the wall, banged his head against the door and put a holes in that, tried to strangle me, ranted and screamed abuse. All of this is done in front of our 10 year old. The last incident he took a knife and threatened to stab himself. He was very angry at me and I could not reason with him, but our daughter was able to reasonably talk her father into passing her the knife. I know..... this whole scenario sounds dreadful particularly with a child around.
By the time the police get to our house he has calmed down. Husband is very compliant and admits to what he has done. reports are made etc. Once my husband got taken to hospital because of the combination of meds and alcohol he was on. but other than that he remains at home.
I have now told my husband that this is an alcohol-free home and if he wants to drink he will have to do it elsewhere. I have had to take the afternoon off work because he has become emotionally unstable. All I have heard all day is how miserable his life is, how I have stopped him from doing things he wants to do (eg: drinking alcohol). He despises me because I am the cause of all his problems. Tells me he would not become violent if I left him alone while he was drinking etc etc. On and on he goes about how it is all my fault and how a good man like him should be allowed to have a drink in his own home. He tells me that I provoke him. His definition of provoking him is complaining that the bin wasn't put out or suggesting to him that he should stop drinking so much.
When he drinks, he takes things I say in completely the wrong way and he imagines I have said or done something which I haven't.

When he is not drinking, he has learnt to manage his emotions, certainly to a degree where he does not become violent.

At the moment I am getting the silent treatment. In another hour or so he will probably go off at me again about how he is not allowed to drink and that he has no options.
I believe I have given him options 1) stop drinking and be with the family 2) leave and drink all you like
Thing is.... he does not see option 2 as viable because he has no-where to go. No family, no friends, earnings only from a part-time job, and has relied on me for years to handle things like moving house, finances etc.

Honestly, don't know what to do. Can't do alcoholics anonymous unless he is agreeable. The drinking is one of his "special interests". I mean....... how do we change that ? and now he is just sinking into a deeper depression because he can't drink. We are in Australia but I just do not have any more money to pay for private therapy. We spent a lot of money to get the diagnosis that he has already got.


And you are still with him because...?

Asperger's is not an excuse for abusive behaviour. Throw him out.


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16 May 2011, 5:26 am

Firstly, don't EVER blame yourself for the way this man is behaving. Aspergers is not an excuse for violent behaviour. I would for now, carry on with this ultimatum of, 'either you stop drinking or leave' but if he carries on being abusive, you MUST leave him for the sake of you and your daughter. Trust me, I grew up in a violent home and it hasn't done me any good at all. As you said regarding the alcohol issue, only he can choose to make that change. Again, if he is unwilling to go to alcoholics anonymous, then it is unlikely that he is going to change.

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Argentina
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16 May 2011, 7:24 am

I am with him because he has nowhere else to go. He recently lost his job so only has small part-time earnings at the moment until he can find something else. I am the main income earner and therefore do not think that myself and the kids should be leaving our house and our animals. Nor can I afford to rent somewhere else and pay the mortgage on this house.

My husband does not have any family or friends in this country and would not have enough income to rent somewhere at this stage. He would probably end up sleeping in his car and walking the streets. How do I explain to the chiildren that we are just going to let him wander aimlessly around in the middle of winter. (in Australia it is cold). He will stop taking his medication (he has done this before). Psychiatrist also considers hiim at risk of suicide.
So, is that what we do? Force him out knowing full well he has health problems that he will not deal with? Bottom line is, if my dog had behavioural problems that were beyond my control I could take him to a shelter. But there is no-where I can take my husband.

I know it is not my responsibility and to be quite honest I am exhausted and fed up with the whole thing.



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16 May 2011, 7:55 am

Where I live (UK), I believe a person with alcohol or drug abuse problems can approach the social services for sheltered housing. But he'd probably have to do that himself. I would think any kind of counselling service worth its salt would at least be able to put you in touch with some kind of support agency if you told them of the problem. They might know of more options for you.



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16 May 2011, 8:14 am

Argentina wrote:
Husband has been diagnosed with aspergers 3 months ago. [...] The diagnosis of aspergers has helped us both to realise that the frustration we have both felt over the years has been due to the communication problems between us.
My issue is that his drinking has been recurrent problem (for me anyway). [...]

Sad and frightening.

How did he (and you) react to the diagnosis? Did it give hope to either or both of you that your communication problems can be overcome? Can he be persuaded to try to choose between having an understanding wife who can help him with his AS, and having alcohol? (Does he feel that that helps him with it?) Is he rational enough (at least when he is not drinking) for you to put this to him? (Have you already?) Does it make sense to ask him to choose between these two needs he has, or am I misunderstanding this terrible situation? Presumably you have many times (and rightly) demanded that he choose between you and the bottle, but has it been put to him, since the diagnosis, in terms of choosing between two different ways of satisfying his needs? Or have you also tried that, over and over, and does he just insist on behaving the same way, without stopping to give attention to whether it is really satisfying his own deep needs?

I fear I've put this badly. (Typical!) I mean, has he been required to choose, not only between you and the bottle (which of course he must do), but (since the diagnosis) between, on the one hand, drugging himself into oblivion, and on the other hand, giving attention, with your help, to what kind of person he really is, and what might really help him, and what it might be possible for him to do in life?

Perhaps, being AS, he can only really think about it in this self-centred way (here I may be projecting!), and if, instead, it's put to him in terms of you (and your daughter) versus the bottle, he won't see it as the unavoidable personal choice it really is, and instead he'll see it as him versus you, with the bottle being uncritically and all-forgivingly on his side - which of course is tragically wrong.

(That got a bit garbled, partly just because of me, but partly also because the WP server is under evident strain at the moment, and its long delays and failures kept interfering with my attempts at composition and editing. Hope it's just about readable.)

P.S. Apart from his disastrous self-medication with alcohol, what meds is he on? What effect do you (and he) think the meds have had, and are having (with or without the alcohol)?


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Last edited by Twirlip on 16 May 2011, 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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16 May 2011, 8:23 am

A live in drug and alcohol facility. Sounds like you could be enabling him to continue to drink, as you support him financially and emotionally. It may be too comfortable.

Tackling the recently diagnosed aspergers and processing all the years of shame and guilt wont happen till he drys out.



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16 May 2011, 9:10 am

You need to leave him, NOW. Take your child with you and don't return. This man is violent and abusive. His AS is beside the point, and I doubt it is much of a factor in his behavior. He is choosing to do what he does, and you need to leave before he hurts you or your child. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because he has a diagnosis, he "can't help it". The truth is, he can. At the very least he can help whether or not he gets help. And he has not taken any steps to get help.

Look in the phone book. There are services there for people living with spousal abuse. Get you and your child (and any pets you have) out of the house before something permanent happens. I'm not talking about another "separation". I'm talking about leaving permanently.

AS does not cause anybody to do this. Statistically, people with AS are actually less violent than average. This is his choice. You need to leave before he chooses to do something much, much worse.


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16 May 2011, 9:28 am

Addicts will do anything to get their fix. Sounds like your husband drinks to numb his pain, acts badly, sobers up and feels ashamed, wants more alcohol to numb the pain, over and over. Anger is addictive too, there is no room for self pity in a rage. Like any addict It won't end until he gets help or is dead. An addicts denial is unbelievably strong, they can find a way to justify their bad behavior to get what they want. Something has to scare the addict so bad that they choose help over their addiction. It might be getting arrested, or divorce(fear of being alone), etc. Maybe he would be more agreeable to getting help for the anger.



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16 May 2011, 9:39 am

He's not just "an addict", though; he's a person. Every addict is different, every person is different. So you can't just predict his behavior by the fact that he is an alcoholic. What works much better to predict behavior is his previous behavior... which unfortunately has been extremely hostile, violent, and generally not something you want to live with.

That's why I'm suggesting you get out of the house and stay out--and don't return, ever, even if he "cleans up". If he does, he can put his life back together without you. If he doesn't, then you've probably saved your and your child's life and/or sanity.

I feel strongly about this. My mother and I are both autistic--she's an undiagnosed Aspie but so obvious it's ridiculous; I'm diagnosed with atypical autism--and when she married an NT who abused her and me, we lived with that man for years before he finally left us. My mom and I took a long time to recover. In our case, of course, it was the NT who was the abusive one; statistically, AS doesn't really make a difference. It's the abuse that matters, and that's going on right now. Your child does not need to see this happening. I grew up like that and I don't want any other child to.

Do it one step at a time. Literally one step if you have to. Pack an overnight bag--you know how to do that, right? Just pack the bag and don't think about anything else that happens next. Focus on that one job. Then find yourself a domestic violence shelter in the phone book. You know how to use a phone book and have a conversation, so do that. Call them. Tell them you need a place to stay for the night. I'm advising this because it is much easier to get away for good if you don't stay with relatives that first night. Once you have found a place that can help you, get your child to pack a bag and go. If you cannot get to your car, call a cab. Just leave. Leave without telling him, if you can. He will probably get angry at you to try to get you to stay, and you don't want that scene. Just take your child, take any pets you have, and get out of here. If your child is not yet home from school, just pack their bag, leave on your own, and pick the child up from school yourself when school lets out.

You can do this. Many, many women have before you. You don't have to live with this. People in your situation have survived and they are stronger than you'd ever believe. So are you.


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16 May 2011, 10:14 am

Learning about Asperger's could be a major turning point in his life. It may help him feel a real sense of possibility that he can gain some control over his life.

But you need to have a safe environment for you and your daughter. That is the most important thing. His mental health is secondary to your safety.


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Argentina
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16 May 2011, 11:03 am

Thanks for all your comments. I lot to think about there. First, let me clarify that he has actually stopped drinking at this point in time. I am not convinced he will continue to stop but for the moment he has. The reason he has stopped (in his words) is because I am making him. Just like I made him stop playing soccer and made him stop going to the gym and made him do just about everything else. This is, of course, ridiculous, because I never locked him up or threatened him or anything. What I did do was sometimes raise some objections about things he wanted to do, eg: we are short of cash this week, I am really stressed with the kids and need some help etc etc. This is where the communication problems arose. His immediate reaction to any potential objectiion or problem is to effectively "throw a tantrum" . Overreact and not think things through or talk through them. I believe this is related to his Aspergers. He does not recognise that he has any other choice than to do what i say. I have told him he has another choice if he despises me so much. That is, of course, to leave. Even when we have been separated before, he is still incredibly dependent on me for advice and help with day-to-day things and if we were to separated permanently, I can guarantee that HE would never instigate a divorce, see a lawyer, sort out money etc. he might demand that I do it, but he would NEVER do it himself unless someone walked him through the process.

Saying that, he actually is a very hard worker and certainly not lazy. Being out of work at the moment is not what he wants but it is really difficult for him to get another job.

He is on anti-depressants. Doctor has told him he should not be drinking with these meds. I have witnessed the increased effects of alcohol while he is on these meds. The anti-depressants really helped, but now that he is not drinking, his world has come crashing down.

As for me and my children getting out of the house. Well, of course, if we were in any immediate danger we would leave. I have friends that I can go to. And in the past I have taken the kids when I can see his rage building. The problem is we live in a semi-rural area. There are no womens shelters within 40km of where I live. I am the main income earner and I feel very strongly about leaving my home when he is the perpertrator NOT me. There is no way I can afford to pay mortgage on this house and rent elsewhere. I work close to home and also run a part-time business from home. If I walk from this house and community, my entire identity is gone and any form of security that I have made for my children. They do not deserve to be forced out of their home by their father who cannot control his rage. If I have to I will press charges against him for assault. Undoubtedly they will probably still send him back home ! I am not all that impressed with the system we have in place for dealing with these issues.

I appreciate everyones concerns and thanks for giving me your comments. We are keeping safe at the moment, but I know that I need to have more plans in plans.



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16 May 2011, 11:10 am

Callista wrote:
His AS is beside the point, and I doubt it is much of a factor in his behavior. He is choosing to do what he does, and you need to leave before he hurts you or your child. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because he has a diagnosis, he "can't help it". [...]

AS does not cause anybody to do this. Statistically, people with AS are actually less violent than average. [...]

I'm practically sure, I feel it in my bones, that you are right about that last bit, at least.

However (I may very well be wrong, of course, and the OP can and should correct me, if necessary), I didn't at all get the impression (from either of her posts) that the OP is under the impression that AS tends to make people violent (or even, put more carefully, that AS people tend to be more violent than non-AS people).

It seemed to me that she is simply aware, as I am, and as you are, that alcohol tends to make people violent. (I have had to move house because of death threats from an alcoholic, and that part of my life is not one I'll ever forget. I'm very, very, very wary of alcohol, and those who like it too much.)

I also don't think that AS is "beside the point". She came here for a reason, which (unless I'm mistaken - I very often am, where people are concerned, and that's not a joke!) is to try to get help in communicating with her husband, from people who are like him in some significant way.

If AS is "beside the point", then it is because communication is beside the point. It very well may be, and I'm not saying you're wrong. This is a dangerous situation, and your instincts may be far better than mine. (Again, I'm not joking, nor am I being falsely modest, just realistic.) Perhaps it is far too late for her to try to communicate better with her husband, and she just has to leave. I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, and you meant that AS is beside the point because communication is beside the point at this late, dangerous stage?

P.S. Not only alcohol, but psychiatric medications, can make people behave violently and out of character. The combination is almost too much to think about. I'm glad to hear (the OP's latest article and mine "crossed in the post") that he has (apparently) stopped drinking (for the moment). I would still like to know about his "meds". (Such a harmless-sounding little word!)


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Last edited by Twirlip on 16 May 2011, 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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16 May 2011, 11:15 am

You should take your child and run. You don't deserve that.


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