Aspie mom, Dyslexic dad & ADHD daughter

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skydancer
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01 May 2015, 7:36 pm

I was recently diagnosed with autism with my primary deficiencies being in time management and sensory processing issues. My spouse is definitely dyslexic and may also have autism. He appears to be very autistic with chief deficiency of poor theory of mind. He is very traditional & there should be no excuses so these diagnosis do not exist to him. Our daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Her and I have always been extremely close. As the years have progressed they have gotten further & further apart & he blames me. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Please help!! !



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01 May 2015, 8:02 pm

Since he has poor theory of mind, it may be that he wants sympathy more than logical discussion when he blames you. Whether you want to give that to him though is another question, is going to depend how much he is into blaming you.

It doesn't make sense to me where distance between them could be your fault, that's on him. I almost think maybe there's little point discussing his perception that's on you, it's like arguing with someone saying the sky is green, just frustrating. If your daughter is closer to you and he wants to be close, he needs to listen and relate to her. Do you think he would let you help him get closer to him, if you'd want to do that?



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01 May 2015, 8:22 pm

He really does not respond to sympathy or anything emotional, only his wishes being met in concrete ways. The more I become distraught, the less functional I become, I freeze up like a deer in the headlights & am less able to achieve what he wants. It is very hard for me to understand this all or to even make a decision. It is all so confusing. I feel distraught & am now unsure of who I can trust.



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01 May 2015, 8:55 pm

skydancer wrote:
He really does not respond to sympathy or anything emotional, only his wishes being met in concrete ways. The more I become distraught, the less functional I become, I freeze up like a deer in the headlights & am less able to achieve what he wants. It is very hard for me to understand this all or to even make a decision. It is all so confusing. I feel distraught & am now unsure of who I can trust.

I don't understand, are you upset by others besides him? Or he is confusing you and being confused makes you unhappy?



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01 May 2015, 8:57 pm

Sometimes I have to close up (best I can)because people attack when they see vulnerability. It is hard, though, I know, to do that. And of course you shouldn't have to with him.



skydancer
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02 May 2015, 9:34 am

The situation is so confusing to me. We have a very difficult time working together as he sees my ways of doing things less efficient. I majorly hyper-focus on details & have a lot of difficulty dual tasking. When I move to another task, the other will get left undone. This really bothers him & he thinks it is on purpose. For many simple daily household tasks I have to make lists of steps to achieve the desired outcome. I don't take verbal instructions well which frustrates him. Also, I grew up in a home where I was very neglected and not taught how to do things even when I requested to learn. I did not have the diagnosis & people would often get very frustrated with me and give comments such as ,"What is wrong with you, don't you have any common sense?" I am very sensitive over the situation. Truthfully both of us prefer to work alone. He is extremely difficult to work with per not just my opinion & has his own business in which he works alone.
The challenge now is that I work a full time job that involves a lot of documentation even on the weekends. With that job, I don't have tons of time to spend on housework. He is so frustrated he wants me to have a separate living space as he says it is chaotic living in the same home as me. It is not that he wants a divorce. I considered resigning from my job so that I could focus on the home, yet was advised by my autism psych that that is not advisable. Any insight that you have?



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02 May 2015, 1:17 pm

Could you guys afford to hire someone to do housekeeping? We really can't, or at least it is not easy, but we do anyway. I have a problem that you might be able to recognize: as long as the house is clean and everything is in it's place, I have no problem maintaining it. But as soon as there is a small area of disorganization, it spreads, I can't control it, and it is very hard for me to get back on top of it. Having someone come in periodically and giving me a "clean slate" helps.

FWIW, my husband and I were separated for 2 years and guess what? I was a lot better without him. It is not that I would say that he is a slob, but it is more that his "ways" are not compatible with mine. He, for example, does not see a problem with coming into the house and leaving his tie, lab coat, and stethoscope in random places in the house. It's not like those three things make the entire house trashed. But they are out of place. And somehow, for me, it is the beginning of the end. In order to keep things organized, I need EVERYTHING to have a place and things cannot be left out of their place. I know it sounds rigid and maybe even ridiculous, but it is true. And no, I do not have OCD. If someone moved the remote control a quarter of an inch, I would not notice or care. But in general, everything must have a place where it belongs and it has to be kept there or I have a hard time managing.

I have also developed a method of cleaning that works for me and both of my kids, who suffer from the same issue. Work room by room. Some rooms, like the kitchen, I start in one corner and work toward the opposite corner and I get everything organized. Then I "clean." In other rooms, like the family room, which tends to accumulate things that do not belong there, I start with "Find all of the..." For example: Find all of the garbage and put it in a bag. Find all of the dishes and bring them to the kitchen. Find all of the clothes and put them in the laundry basket. It seems to help if I have to focus on one aspect of the clutter and ignore the rest. Then when all of the things that do not belong in the room are out of the room, I go corner to corner to organize/put away the things that belong in the room. Once corner to corner is done in any room, go from top to bottom, meaning start cleaning high, moving lower, so you do the floor last. That way, for example, when I am wiping down the countertops, it doesn't matter if everything falls on the floor, because cleaning the floor is last.

I realize this only addresses part of your post, and probably not even the most important part. But I can understand what you are going through, because I have faced some of the same issues.


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skydancer
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02 May 2015, 4:23 pm

Thank you for the reply. I can really relate to what you said. As soon as things get a little out of place I do lose control. It is as if I freeze & am not sure where to start. I love to organize. It really settles me & I tend to get distracted & spend all of the available time to clean on organization. Occasionally I have hired help with cleaning & do need to commit to that. I am not as efficient with house work as I am my paying work so it is difficult for me to justify spending too much time on it myself. I actually do like things neat so I get stressed when it gets disorderly. Since my daughter has ADHD it takes focused attention to keep her task. Like you, I am always trying to make sure that everything has a place & one that makes sense so that it can easily be used & put back. The big complication is that my mom recently moved to an assisted living & I am having to move my stuff out of her home. This is causing extra clutter & we are so limited on space with no basement or attic. I am working on selling things & perhaps considering purchase of a storage shed or rental storage. My husband is losing patience quickly with the situation.



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03 May 2015, 1:10 pm

I wrote a tonne on this because I started this a few days ago and added to it a few times. Blah blah blah. Sorry, but now that I've written it, I'm going to post it all.

Regarding the relationship with your daughter: what in particular is wrong with his relationship with her? And how does he figure it's your fault?

There are general things you could do to help him improve his relationship with her. Maybe suggest some activities they can do together that you know she likes. Maybe ask your daughter how she feels about her relationship with him, and set up a regular routine of father-daughter time.

Since he blames you for it, there may be something specific that he feels you do which causes his relationship with her to be weaker. If you know what that is, maybe you can either stop, or help him do it too. I know that when my kids were young, I felt for a while that my son was closer with his father, and I felt part of the reason for that was that his father did all the fun stuff with him, leaving me to do the boring, crappy stuff. Dad would push him on the swing, then I'd get to brush his teeth…that kind of thing. We talked about it, and he became more involved in the not-so-fun stuff, leaving more room for me to do that stuff. I'm not saying that you are doing that (obviously I don't know anything about your family dynamic) but there could be something like that happening.

---
Regarding cleaning: we also have a similar kind of issue, in that I am a fairly disorganised person and he likes everything to be super organised. We lived together before we had kids, so we dealt with this issue before kids and I think that made it easier (everything's harder with kids). But anyway, what we did was first determine that the current arrangement was not working. Then we worked on a better arrangement.

The first thing to consider is how much time you are each working. If you are both working the same amount of time, then you should probably be doing about an equal amount of housework and child-related jobs. Statistically-speaking, you're probably doing more work than he is. I recommend getting rid of the man privilege if there is one, and get him doing an equal share of work. Obviously, if you work less, then you'll do more housework to match the level of work he's doing. First work out what you are doing currently, and adjust it so that you are doing a fairly equal amount, to make it more manageable for you.

The next thing to consider is if there are any tasks that you particularly enjoy or are good at, or any tasks that you hate or are bad at. If it takes you a really long time to do a certain job compared to him, then he should probably be doing that job. You want to be as efficient as possible. My husband has a difficult time dishes because he is very clumsy and uncoordinated. Even though I hate doing dishes, I'm primarily responsible for dishes, because I know it takes him 10X longer than me to do them. If I do them that much faster, him doing them is a total waste of time.

The next thing to consider is what your standard of "clean" looks like, compared to what his standard of "clean" looks like. My husband's standards of "clean" are a bit ridiculous to me. There are certain things that I am just not going to do, because that seems like a waste of time to me. Those are jobs which go to him IF he wants to do them. Of course I'll help him if I have time, but they are not my job and he is not to complain to me that I didn't put the books in alphabetical order. I have more important things to do than put books in alphabetical order. If he wants them like that, he is welcome to do it himself. I suggest you implement a similar practice.

---
As for living apart: I feel like it would be hard to maintain your romantic relationship if he lives separately, and it would also probably be confusing for your daughter, possibly upsetting like a divorce (even if you're not getting divorced). His relationship with her probably become more distant because he'd probably see her less. But I'm sure there are things you could do to mitigate the effect.

I'm wondering if maybe he just needs his own space within the home? My husband *needs* alone time. I don't like to sit in a room by myself, so our bedroom used to be basically be "his room". I wouldn't do anything in there except sleep and I wouldn't put stuff in there often, so it was mostly his sanctuary. I think helped him if everywhere else in the house was utter chaos (honestly, it usually is) to have a room that is not like that.

We are separated now and he doesn't live *with* us, but he does live in an apartment in the same building. I think that's the next best thing, because at least he will still be close to the kids. Not sure if that would be an option for you though.


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03 May 2015, 8:31 pm

skydancer wrote:
The situation is so confusing to me. We have a very difficult time working together as he sees my ways of doing things less efficient. I majorly hyper-focus on details & have a lot of difficulty dual tasking. When I move to another task, the other will get left undone. This really bothers him & he thinks it is on purpose. For many simple daily household tasks I have to make lists of steps to achieve the desired outcome. I don't take verbal instructions well which frustrates him. Also, I grew up in a home where I was very neglected and not taught how to do things even when I requested to learn. I did not have the diagnosis & people would often get very frustrated with me and give comments such as ,"What is wrong with you, don't you have any common sense?" I am very sensitive over the situation. Truthfully both of us prefer to work alone. He is extremely difficult to work with per not just my opinion & has his own business in which he works alone.
The challenge now is that I work a full time job that involves a lot of documentation even on the weekends. With that job, I don't have tons of time to spend on housework. He is so frustrated he wants me to have a separate living space as he says it is chaotic living in the same home as me. It is not that he wants a divorce. I considered resigning from my job so that I could focus on the home, yet was advised by my autism psych that that is not advisable. Any insight that you have?


Your Psych. is right!! !!
Do not compromise your career and earning power....this is ESSENTIAL!! !

I have a suggestion you may not have considered but first....is your house attached or detached?...do you have a yard?...how much room on your property?

He is not against you, he is against disorder and inefficiency. His traditional background and rigid thinking says you are the one who is supposed to make things hum with clockwork precision. This is not ACTUALLY true....but to him it IS true.

You are living as though he gets to decide...you are catering to him...likely because of your childhood, I suspect. Life taught you that you don't matter...that your needs are of minimal importance...that others must be pleased and that you are obliged to keep others happy instead of yourself. This caused you much pain...this is still hurting you now in this situation with your husband.

Please let me know if i'm on the right track, ok? :)
There is a way forward.
There is hope. :D


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.


skydancer
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03 May 2015, 8:59 pm

It is all so very complicated. Prior to marriage I was a homeless nomadic traveler and then lived in Christian Hippie communes. I consider myself very non-denominational & greatest inspiration is & always will be St. Francis if Assisi. My husband is very Mennonite & legalistic. We were very in love at one time. My autism along with inability to submit & the fact that I question authority has turned him against me. Unfortunately, he never spoke up in the beginning & now he is unable to forgive. He was actually very passive aggressive, which I respond to the absolute worst to. I also grew up in the backward south where people talk to much & say things they don't mean when upset. When I had many meltdowns (prior to diagnosis I was mean). He is not able to forgive me or accept that it was just the melt down & trying to make sense of it all. I know now that I just wanted him to hold me very tightly & tell me that everything was alright. When he would not the melt down would spiral out of control.
He tells me that I slap him in the face every day & constantly brings up the melt downs from long ago. There actually have been none for the last 3-4 years since I started taking Zoloft. He really is not able to forgive me.
This is the really sad part of late diagnosis. I spent so much of my life trying to hide my autism & fix it. Since I didn't know what caused it I blamed others & where I lived.
I think his issues are just typical awkwardness between a 13 year old & her dad.
We just are not able to work as a team or communicate. It is scary because I am so emotional & the only way I can deal with this stuff is by distraction & travel.
I am falling into a deep depression. Will let you you know how this all turns out.



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03 May 2015, 10:19 pm

Is he willing to enter therapy with you?

Do you desire to remain with him?

How compatible were you at the start?

How compatible are you now?

I wish you weren't in such pain. It sounds like you are headed for a crisis.

I'm so glad that you have a Therapist to discuss these heavy matters.


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.


skydancer
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04 May 2015, 1:16 am

We have been in therapy for around 3 years. It was that therapist that realized I may have Aspergers and encouraged me to be tested. From there, I eventually was able to find a psych experienced in autism & have been going since January & working on improving executive functioning skills. He is losing patience with it all and is just sick of the chaos. The more he is rigid & harsh, the more dysfunctional I become. We were quite compatible at first & very in love. He was very passive though and instead of addressing this right away, he let it go. We don't communicate well and have difficulty working together as he takes a condescending tone which I instantly tune out. To him, I am being lazy & disrespectful (not the case at all). He also does this to our daughter. He states that if I stay with him I have to basically do as he says, he is not willing to compromise on anything. I do want to remain with him, yet don't want to keep living in such a rigid world or parent that way. It is really just a mess. I tend to live in a fantasy world most of the time so it is very difficult to come to terms with. I really never developed a great support system where we live plus it gets cold a lot so I will likely have to move. I think that is what is overwhelming me, but perhaps it will turn out OK.



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04 May 2015, 1:30 am

skydancer wrote:
It is all so very complicated. Prior to marriage I was a homeless nomadic traveler and then lived in Christian Hippie communes. I consider myself very non-denominational & greatest inspiration is & always will be St. Francis if Assisi. My husband is very Mennonite & legalistic. We were very in love at one time. My autism along with inability to submit & the fact that I question authority has turned him against me. Unfortunately, he never spoke up in the beginning & now he is unable to forgive. He was actually very passive aggressive, which I respond to the absolute worst to. I also grew up in the backward south where people talk to much & say things they don't mean when upset. When I had many meltdowns (prior to diagnosis I was mean). He is not able to forgive me or accept that it was just the melt down & trying to make sense of it all. I know now that I just wanted him to hold me very tightly & tell me that everything was alright. When he would not the melt down would spiral out of control.
He tells me that I slap him in the face every day & constantly brings up the melt downs from long ago. There actually have been none for the last 3-4 years since I started taking Zoloft. He really is not able to forgive me.
This is the really sad part of late diagnosis. I spent so much of my life trying to hide my autism & fix it. Since I didn't know what caused it I blamed others & where I lived.
I think his issues are just typical awkwardness between a 13 year old & her dad.
We just are not able to work as a team or communicate. It is scary because I am so emotional & the only way I can deal with this stuff is by distraction & travel.
I am falling into a deep depression. Will let you you know how this all turns out.


You just gave me clue to his behavior. You say he is a Mennonite. What order Mennonite? Being from south central PA, the old-order Amish and Mennonites tend to be an extremely tough nut to crack. He may have Aspergers, but good luck trying to convince him of that fact. In both Amish and Mennonite cultures, their only source of advice, discipline, etc. is the Bible, and an unwritten book that is known as the Ordnung. Any other manual is that of the Devil and his legions.


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04 May 2015, 9:14 pm

skydancer wrote:
We have been in therapy for around 3 years. It was that therapist that realized I may have Aspergers and encouraged me to be tested. From there, I eventually was able to find a psych experienced in autism & have been going since January & working on improving executive functioning skills. He is losing patience with it all and is just sick of the chaos. The more he is rigid & harsh, the more dysfunctional I become. We were quite compatible at first & very in love. He was very passive though and instead of addressing this right away, he let it go. We don't communicate well and have difficulty working together as he takes a condescending tone which I instantly tune out. To him, I am being lazy & disrespectful (not the case at all). He also does this to our daughter. He states that if I stay with him I have to basically do as he says, he is not willing to compromise on anything. I do want to remain with him, yet don't want to keep living in such a rigid world or parent that way. It is really just a mess. I tend to live in a fantasy world most of the time so it is very difficult to come to terms with. I really never developed a great support system where we live plus it gets cold a lot so I will likely have to move. I think that is what is overwhelming me, but perhaps it will turn out OK.


Is it possible that the two of you could try to communicate important things in writing, at least for the time being? I ask because sometimes that is easier for people on the spectrum. It also gives an opportunity for reflection. And may potentially take the condescending tone out. I know a number of people who are condescending, and I don't think most of them really realize how they sound. The most effective thing to do in cases like that is to overlook the tone and try to identify the message without the tone, but that is often very hard to do.

The only other thought I can offer is that to at least a small degree, rigidity can be helpful for an ADHD kid. The structure is really helpful. Hopefully you can find a way to capitalize on the benefits of your husband's rigidity when it comes to your daughter, and minimize the consequences. I wish I could be more "rigid" with both of my kids. Instead, we are like pinball machine balls bouncing all over the place with no clear path.


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