Thursday, June 23, 2011

Unbalanced Criticism

And my previous post leads me to ponder the criticism issue.  It's not that I hear an abundance of criticism.  Overall the problem is, of course, the communication deficit.  Because of the extreme deficit in the area of my aspie spouse giving compliments or praise, it seems as if any verbal remarks made to or about me are usually a criticism.

In "How to Win Friends and Influence People", one learns to balance criticism by first offering compliments or sincere words of praise.  In an NT/AS relationship, this probably isn't the way it's done.

The NT rarely hears praise or compliments from her aspergers relatives.  She is probably not acknowledged with positive verbal remarks or personal knowledge or appreciation of her character, personality, or any aspects of her humanity, for that matter.  So when she is then verbally criticized for something she thinks, did, or is . . . well, you can imagine the feelings this would invoke.

It's just a ranting day, I'm afraid.  I might delete these rants in a minute, but sometimes it's helpful to simply share raw, honest emotions.

The Flip Side of Theory of Mind

Last night I was criticized yet again for not doing something to the letter in the way my aspie spouse was thinking it should be done.  He didn't speak his thoughts or ask for things to be done a specific way.  Why would he?  Because his thoughts are the only possible, plausible, or potential way something should have been done.  And how could I not get that?  Huh?  What planet did I come from?  I should just know what he was thinking.  Oh my.

There was no thought of saying or sharing his thoughts out loud with me.  And I can explain until I am blue in the face why it is good and necessary to use verbal communication to convey one's thoughts on any given matter and he will argue incessantly that I should just know.

Moments like this leave me wanting to  . . . . I don't even know.  It's insane and I can't even explain how INSANE it is.  But other aspie's wives know what I'm talking about, don't you?

OK... as I'm writing this I'm realizing how some aspies must feel in the expectations we have of them to, for example, give us a hug rather than walk away when we are crying.  Our aspie spouses can't read our minds either-- even in the most basic of common sense situations.

But then our aspie spouse may expect us to read his mind about a very detailed way something should be done, because of course, his thinking is the only way to think about, well, anything. 


Deep breath.  This is SO hard.  Feels impossible to handle.

What's the solution?  I know, I know.  We can't expect anything 'typical'.  We must be willing and able to explain everything we expect/want by way of response (which needs to be a practical action he can do). 

But how do we handle this expectation he has for us to read his mind when he is unwilling (unable?) to verbally explain things to us?

I don't know. 

Screaming, yelling, and throwing things doesn't make things better, though.

Please don't ask how I know that.  ;)

DEEP BREATH.  This is so very hard.

Monday, June 6, 2011

from an AS male "On NT/AS Traditional Roles"

This Delphi forums post is copied with permission from the author.

"My elaboration on what non-traditional means is that many things do not have the meaning that is traditionally given to them.  Some examples of what this looks like is the following.

(1) Wife asks the husband to do something.  Traditional meaning: wife is bossy.  NT/AS meaning: wife is being considerate, and giving her husband an escape from social activity, and a chance to contribute something that he is grateful for.

(2) Husband works at projects, doesn't socialize with the family.  Traditional meaning: husband doesn't like the family.  NT/AS meaning: husband is trying to give to the family in ways that are neurologically possible for him, in terms of acts of service.
(3) Husband buys wife/family lots of things, or is polite, or quiet, or both:  Traditional meaning: the family is lucky, everything is wonderful, the marriage is perfect.  NT/AS meaning: the family needs emotional support, and might be very lonely, but no one sees this.  In times of crisis, friends shouldn't assume the family is getting the needed emotional support from the AS husband.
(4) Wife seems to take charge of everything, and doesn't seem to let her husband do anything:  Traditional meaning: wife is overbearing, and needs to back off to give her husband room to be himself.  NT/AS meaning: wife is compensating, often sacrificing her own needs, to keep things on track.

Looking at these, even though they might be realistic, they are a little more negative than I intended.  That doesn't make them false.  It's just that they are not the whole picture.
My perspective, as a married AS man in my 50's, is that the most successful NT/AS marriages are those where the NT partner has the final say in most things.  The AS partner is comfortable enough to express their true opinions, and give all the input they can, without expecting their advice to always be taken.  The AS partner contributes acts of service.  The NT partner uses their good judgement to make good decisions on behalf of both partners.

As most people with AS are men, that can leave our NT wives mostly in charge.  I don't think that is necessarily the case in most traditional NT/NT relationships.
There is a lot that can get in the way of this.  I think the biggest obstacle is most likely to be our AS defensiveness, and the often inaccurate perceptions of reality that I think many of us with AS can have, in terms of who is doing the most work in a relationship, and in terms of us not seeing or valuing the emotional support and good judgement our NT partners bring to a relationship."

the post is by cmasp, who infrequently posts at and who co-founded Families for Autism Intervention Resources (FAIR -

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Good AS/NT Relationships Forum

Here's another really good forum for those in an NT/AS relationship:

Strategies for Arguing with an Aspie

One of my children argues with us all the time. This often leads to meltdowns that have lasted almost two hours. It's exhausting and unnerving. This article has some excellent strategies to help those in an argument with an aspie: