Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In an Asperger's Marriage or Relationship? Grieving the Death of the Dream

An asperger's diagnostician informed me that 80% of children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism) have either a parent or a grandparent (likely undiagnosed) on the autism spectrum.

Many parents have a light bulb "aha" moment after the diagnosis of a child.  "AHA!  So THIS explains why my spouse (or parent) has always done such and such.  He (or she) has traits consistent with autism!"

And the relief of finally having a name to go with the confusing characteristics and behaviors is quickly followed by grief.  Please know that this grief is normal, and oh, so common

After going through the grief myself over the past five years, my advice to you is to go with it.  Don't fight it.  The dream of ever having a normal, typical relationship with your autistic loved ones is over.  GRIEVE! 

It's okay to have been in denial.  Don't beat yourself up if you had been denying the symptoms in the past.  You did the best you could with what you knew at the time.  And it's fine to be angry.  But try very hard not to take the anger out on those around you.  Journal.  Pray.  Confide in a highly empathic friend, or seek a good counselor during this time, to help you process all the emotions you are feeling.

Familiarize yourself with the stages of grief:  But most importantly, call this what it is.  This is the DEATH of a dream.  GRIEF of a true loss.

As you are able to better understand what you are truly going through, post-diagnosis, you will grow, and then be better able to take care of the differently-abled people in your life.