Sunday, February 20, 2011

NT/AS Christian Counseling

Members of the leadership of our church recently attempted an intial (and brief) counseling session with my husband and me.  As he does not acknowledge that he may have Asperger's Syndrome, I did not mention it during that meeting.  Autism or any reference to "autistic traits" did not enter the conversation.

And it seemed very unfair to me.  For his sake!

He was gently censured and told that it is his responsibility to emotionally connect with his wife.  As much as the angry, bitter part of me wanted to stick out my tongue and say "NahNahIToldYouSo!"  I didn't do that.  :)  I felt sorry for him.  But what's a gal to do, huh?  He gets angry if the "A" word is used at all in reference to himself.  He would be livid if I "accused" him of being autistic in front of anyone else.

Aspies, please don't take this harshly, I'm fighting for him on this one . . . but those counselors may as well have told a blind man to parallel park between two brick walls without getting a single scratch on the car!  They are demanding something of him he is not capable of doing, aren't they?!  They are making him feel like a failure, and feel guilty for something he cannot help, right?

Obviously,  I can see he's bringing this on himself by his total denial of Asperger's.  That part is his fault and I am at a loss as to how to help him.  Many folks talk about the failure of counseling NT/AS couples when autism  is not brought into the equation.  Now I can see for myself that it truly doesn't work.

It may even make things worse.


  1. Yes, Christian counselling without addressing As is not going to get the results you want. Personally speaking - Yes, the sessions were helpful as the counsellor worked to bring us together and my husband and I talked at these sessions. Yes, the power of the Holy Spirit was at work to help me deal with my side of the relationship. Yes, the counsellor validated my feelings. I am glad we went through it. It did help. What would really help is a wise Christian counsellor trained to deal with AS. The root cause of our communication breakdown is the challenges of AS in a relationship. We have yet to find such a counsellor and we are muddling our way through as best we can. Hopefully, as you continue in the counselling, your husband will begin to realize that there may be some truth to what you have been hinting at with AS. In the meantime, hopefully, your feelings will be validated by the counsellor and you will gain wise counsel that will help you in your walk. I hear you, it is not easy ! And for me I have good days and bad days and I would like it to be easier.

  2. It certainly was encouraging to have my feelings validated--and by godly MEN, at that. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. I now realize how grateful I should be that my AS hubby does not deny that his brain is wired differently. We have an excellent Christian counselor who does his best to help us work through our relationship issues (which are primarily caused by our AS/NT differences!) Had we not acknowledged that, we would not be making any progress. But we are doing better, there is hope! At one point I realized that I needed to see someone separately to help me--mainly to have my own feelings validated. I saw a female who encouraged me that I matter, my needs matter and though hubby can not meet them all, neither can an NT hubby. God is teaching me so much about love and what true, unconditional love looks like.I am incapable, but God can do immeasureably more than we think,ask, or imagine. It is a daily struggle, but I am not alone--nor are any of you :-)

  4. How can counselling possibly work without acceptance? Your husband either has to accept that he has aspergers or accept that he has traits X, Y and Z (which are the same as Aspergers).

    If he can't acknowledge the problem, the you (both) can't work on the solution.

    I'm sorry... It's a difficult position that you're in.

  5. ...seems to me that this counseling could be a useful wake-up call about *the way he treats you* even if it's not about *why* he treats you the way he treats you. He says it's not due to Asperger's and I don't know what he tells you is his reason, but he's just had male conservative Christan leaders imply to him:

    Being male is not an excuse to treat his wife the way he does.

    Being conservative is not an excuse to treat his wife the way he does.

    Being Christian is not an excuse to treat his wife the way he does.

    Being female doesn't make you deserve the way your husband treats you.

    Being conservative doesn't make you deserve the way your husband treats you.

    Being Christian doesn't make you deserve the way your husband treats you.

    Did these members of the leadership of your church spell it out that clearly in the meeting, or do they need to spell it out more clearly in a later meeting to make it easier for him to understand?

  6. Also, maybe once he hears members of the leadership of your church clearly rule out other potential excuses for his treatment of you such as masculinity, conservative traditions, and Christianity then he'd be more willing to consider that he may have Asperger's Syndrome?