Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)

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The Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome

By: Marcin Wichary. It might be collecting something rare, or an unusual hobby, it might be another person that obsesses them. They might talk incessantly about the subject or other person, unaware they are boring others. So they can struggle to understand why others are so upset or emotional and might need to go away and think about it.

Or tell you about their recent successes? By: Leon Riskin. Last minute change of plans? This can be very upsetting or even overwhelming for someone with Aspergers, who like things to go a certain way all the time. They might also get very upset about something that to others seems tiny or strange, like your decision to use an oven to bake a potato when they feel you should never use an oven for less than exactly five potatoes at at time.

Without it, the person can become very flustered and panicked. They might flinch at being tapped on the back or touched on the arm, and refuse to be hugged. They might also have other autistic traits like a sensitivity to noise and colour. What Aspergers has in common with other parts of the autistic spectrum is that it is a behavioural disorder which shows up in the way someone communicates and acts. Some sufferers feel they have little in common with those with other types of autism. This can lead to less access to treatment.

On another note, the German doctor the condition is named after has recently been discovered to be far from the caring practitioner he portrayed himself as. But working with a counselling psychologist can be very helpful. A psychologist can help you learn how to cope under stress , how to communicate more effectively , and how to behave in social situations so that your day-to-day life becomes easier. Use the comment box below. Up until this time, my life was underpinned by a feeling of being different from most other people.

And so on. I seem mostly to have successfully learned coping strategies and skills, which effectively masked my autistic tendencies. When I got my diagnosis on the NHS — which I really appreciate late in I felt liberated, and truly felt some tension inside me disappear. By demonstrating good social skills and educating others about their conditions, respondents hoped to change the public perception of autism and make others more understanding.

So many people have a stereotyped view of what ASC looks like. They think people with AS are all geeky, and have little empathy and little insight. They think people with ASC bore on and on about their pet subject and make tactless remarks. However, there were also negative consequences to not appearing autistic to others. The most striking was that for some respondents their camouflaging, even if it was involuntary, resulted in a delay or questioning of their ASC diagnosis. Respondents reported that parents, teachers, and even clinical professionals refused to believe they could have an ASC, especially if they were female:.

In addition to this, respondents described failing to receive adequate support or allowances for their ASC difficulties, because these difficulties were often hidden behind the mask of camouflaging. Others would therefore give them more responsibilities or expectations than the respondent was comfortable with, because of a perceived level of capability that did not always actually exist.

So, in that instance, it was detrimental to camouflage. Currently highly stressed because she keeps giving me more work and not realising the stress it is causing. For some respondents, this reflected the idea that camouflaging was not a conscious choice; they described wanting to control when and how they camouflage to a greater degree, in order to access support when they needed it:. People need to learn how to drop the camouflage when in situations such as medical assessments or dealing with support professionals otherwise they may be under assessed for support as they appear to be coping.

For others, however, camouflaging was seen as a deliberate technique to avoid detection. These respondents feared that by giving others the tools to identify their camouflaging, the negative consequences they were trying to avoid would still happen. The final consequence reported by respondents was that camouflaging affected their perception of themselves, in particular how they represented themselves to the outside world and their sense of authenticity.

This was often regretted by the respondents, who wanted to be happy as they were, but felt that the pressures of the typical social world meant this was not possible. I feel like the weight of a black cloud is hanging on me having to be this fake version of me. In an extension of this, for some respondents their camouflaging behaviours contradicted the important role they attributed to ASC in shaping their identity.

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Despite feeling proud of their ASC diagnosis, and the community they were a part of, they still deliberately camouflaged the behaviours associated with this diagnosis. Some respondents felt that the relationships they formed through camouflaging were based on deception, and therefore the relationships themselves were false. This reinforced experiences of loneliness and isolation, as they felt no one truly knew them or understood them. Some also felt bad for deceiving their friends and even loved ones. I was married for 15 years and was camouflaging in high gear during that time… My husband would occasionally say to me that he wondered if I was really who I was.

I think he would get glimpses of the real me. The situations in which respondents camouflaged were so extensive for some, they felt that they were losing sense of who they truly were. Respondents often felt they were playing so many different roles, it was hard to keep track of their authentic sense of identity. This increased the anxiety and stress associated with camouflaging, as individuals lost a sense of grounding and security in who they were.

This study identified key themes underlying the motivations, techniques, and consequences associated with social camouflaging amongst adults with ASC. The vast majority of participants male, female, and of other genders reported camouflaging to some degree, although there was significant variation in individual experiences of camouflaging.

The results were combined into a model of the camouflaging process, which we hope will contribute to the generation of testable hypotheses and identification of avenues for future research. The themes revealed two key motivations for camouflaging; assimilation and connection. This suggests that camouflaging behaviours come from multiple sources. They may be internally driven by the individual to accomplish specific goals such as friendships, but they may also be produced as a response to external demands placed on how a person should behave in society.

The differential influence of each of these motivations varies between individuals, but our findings suggest that people are strongly motivated by wanting to avoid discrimination and negative responses from others. This conclusion is supported by a recent study demonstrating that non-autistic individuals judge autistic people more negatively, and are less willing to interact with them, even after only brief exposure to the autistic individual Sasson et al. Several participants suggested that improved education and acceptance of ASC amongst the general public would improve their social experiences significantly, and would allow them to both fit in and increase their connections without the need to camouflage.

Respondents described a wide variety of techniques used as part of their camouflaging behaviours, and further research is needed to determine the extent to which specific techniques can be generalised to all people who camouflage. The two main themes found here, masking and compensation, appear to relate to the motivations of fitting in and forming connections respectively; respondents used techniques to mask their ASC in order to appear like other people around them, and compensated for their social communication difficulties in order to make better connections with others.

However, it remains to be seen whether these two goals of camouflaging are entirely separate, or whether the same techniques can be used to further both aims. There was extensive variation in the consequences of camouflaging reported, but one of the most striking findings was that the vast majority of participants reported some unpleasant and unwanted consequences of camouflaging.

These included the exhaustion experienced during and after camouflaging, which has been identified in previous research Tierney et al. Our findings suggest that, if people with ASC want to continue camouflaging in the ways reported in our study, those supporting them should be aware of the associated strains. Time alone to recover was identified as an important tool to help participants continue camouflaging, and could be utilised by employers and schools to make these environments more accessible for ASC individuals. It may be that the rigidity of thinking and scrupulous honesty that are present in many individuals with ASC leads them to view any change in self-presentation as false Chevallier et al.

This could account for the finding that some participants viewed camouflaging as lying, in contrast to those who viewed it as a performance. Interestingly, positive consequences were reported more frequently by males than females or those of other genders. This could suggest that camouflaging is more likely to be a satisfying process for males with ASC given present gendered social-cultural contexts; alternatively, it may reflect gender differences in the actual camouflaging techniques used, which produce different consequences.

However, some participants reported that their camouflaging strategies were not always performed successfully; a relatively large proportion of these participants were male, in contrast to the gender ratio of the overall sample. There may be a discrepancy between desire to camouflage and ability to do so, and this too should be investigated in different genders and across the entire autism spectrum.

The potential gender difference corresponds well with a recent study showing on-average lower level of camouflaging and stronger association between camouflaging and depressive symptoms i. It may be that females with ASC who camouflage tend to do so more successfully than males.

Previous researchers have suggested that camouflaging by females with ASC might account for the gender disparity in diagnosis Gould and Ashton-Smith ; Kreiser and White ; Lai et al. Our study is not designed to directly test this idea, or to compare the extent of camouflaging between different groups. We found that relatively equal numbers of males and females, and all individuals of other genders, reported camouflaging, and no consistent patterns of differences in camouflaging behaviours between males and females were identified. Indeed, a recent study in elementary school children shows that the gendered, female social landscape supports ASC girls for camouflaging e.

Although previous experience of camouflaging was not required to take part in the study, potential participants might have interpreted the advertisement in this way. It is therefore possible that our sample comprised only those people who had experienced camouflaging, which might include a substantial number of ASC females, but a smaller proportion of ASC males.

The majority of those who did not take part, because they had never or only rarely experienced camouflaging, may have more likely been male. This would account for the high proportion of female participants in our study, in contrast to previous research into ASC. Further investigation of camouflaging behaviours across the entire ASC population would shed more light on this. An alternative explanation is that camouflaging is equally common in males and females with ASC. Previous research has either theorised that camouflaging is more common in females Lai et al.

If camouflaging does indeed lead to not receiving the diagnosis, there may, in fact, be a significant number of both males and females with ASC missing out on the support they might need. Future research could test this possibility by comparing camouflaging levels in males and females with high ASC traits, but who have not received an ASC diagnosis. However, this also leads to a point that was raised by some of the participants who reported not camouflaging—the concept that if people are camouflaging so successfully that they are not diagnosed, they may not need a diagnosis or related support.

While this may seem plausible to those who view camouflaging as a successful, low-impact strategy, the significant difficulties and uncertainty reported by our participants tell us that people who camouflage still need to be able to access appropriate support. This issue reflects a concern voiced by some participants, viz. Those participants who used camouflaging to hide their ASC, especially at work, often viewed their camouflaging as a defensive strategy protecting them from discrimination. They worried that if other people were able to identify camouflaging, the ASC individual might lose this protection and be treated unfairly.

It remains to be seen how much camouflaging in ASC can be identified by others. Many participants felt their camouflaging was at times unsuccessful, or reported occasions where another person had commented on their techniques. This concern suggests that research and public education regarding camouflaging needs to be performed in consultation with a range of people from the ASC community to ensure that increasing information helps rather than harms.

More crucially, this concern voiced by some participants once again emphasises that the outcome of individuals with ASC does not solely rely on personal characteristics—it can more fundamentally rely on how the social contexts treat them. One strength of this study was the high proportion of females and those of non-binary gender, many of whom were diagnosed later in life. This is an under-represented population, and it is important to include their voices and insights, which may be different to those of the majority male, younger samples included in previous research.

However, because of this our sample was not fully representative of the entire ASC community. Intellectual ability was not measured, although it can be assumed that participants should have had close to or average cognitive abilities in order to be able to complete the online, text-based survey. The cognitive and self-reflecting abilities required to complete the survey may also mean that our sample were better able to perform successful camouflaging behaviours than others on the autism spectrum. As a result, our findings cannot be said to represent the views of those with ASC who also have intellectual disability, or who cannot express themselves in written English.

Autism from the inside

Developing more accessible measures of camouflaging, such as self-report questionnaires that can be orally or visually administered, or measures to identify camouflaging behaviours, would improve our ability to understand camouflaging across the whole ASC community. This study was not designed to measure camouflaging behaviours across the ASC population, but to identify the component parts of the construct of camouflaging.

Larger and more varied samples of individuals from across the autism spectrum should be included to further refine our understanding of camouflaging in the future. As previously mentioned, our sample only included adults with a confirmed diagnosis of ASC; it is therefore possible that those who are most likely to camouflage were not included in our study as they would not have met the diagnostic criteria.

A typically developing comparison group was not included in this study due to the difficulty of operationalising camouflaging for individuals with limited ASC-related characteristics. However, several participants reported having camouflaged for years before receiving a diagnosis later in life, suggesting that our findings have relevance for undiagnosed ASC individuals. Using the behaviours and themes identified in this study, descriptions of camouflaging suitable for the general population can now be developed.

Future research in individuals with high levels of ASC traits, regardless of their diagnosis, may reveal more about how camouflaging varies between those who do and do not receive an ASC diagnosis. In addition, further qualitative and quantitative research comparing the camouflaging experiences of individuals from different age groups may reveal more about how camouflaging develops and changes across the lifespan. The inductive nature of this study has resulted in novel avenues for research, such as focusing on the impact of camouflaging on identity, which may not have otherwise been considered.

In addition, although camouflaging has previously been described as mainly a female expression of ASC, we found that many males and individuals of other genders also reported camouflaging. A recent study operationalising camouflaging using existing ASC-related measures also shows wide variability of the level of camouflaging in both men and women with ASC, indicating that camouflaging is not a female-specific phenomenon Lai et al. In the present study, no statistically tested gender differences in camouflaging behaviours or outcomes were presented due to the qualitative nature of the data, and no analysis of the subjective or objective success of camouflaging attempts was made.

However, our findings have produced the first known conceptual model of camouflaging, with key themes and components as identified by individuals who camouflage. We hope that future research in this area will use the themes identified here to develop precise, testable hypotheses for qualitative or quantitative research into camouflaging and the sex- and gender-informed phenotypes of ASC. The next stage of research requires the development of measures of camouflaging behaviours, in order to standardise and compare camouflaging experiences between autistic and non-autistic individuals and allow for follow-up quantitative research.

Furthermore, studies delineating component psychological constructs and interpersonal-contextual processes underlying the themes identified here will deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underlying camouflaging. Eventually this may lead to novel support strategies and advocacy that maximise the positive consequences and minimise the negative consequences of camouflaging—and to attain the most appropriate person-environment fit for each individual with ASC. This study demonstrates that camouflaging of ASC-related characteristics in social situations may be a common behaviour amongst adults with ASC.

Camouflaging is motivated by the desire to fit in with others and to make connections. The behaviours themselves can be grouped into masking and compensation strategies. Our findings demonstrate that camouflaging is an important aspect in the lives of many individuals with ASC. The authors express their thanks to Holly Walton for auditing the initial analyses. The authors would also like to thank all those who took part in the study, especially those who provided comments on the findings.

LH participated in the design and coordination of the study, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. KVP participated in the interpretation, and revised the manuscript. CA and PS conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Meng-Chuan Lai and William Mandy are joint senior authors for this paper. Electronic supplementary material. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. Published online May Laura Hull , 1, 6 K. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Corresponding author. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Camouflaging of autistic characteristics in social situations is hypothesised as a common social coping strategy for adults with autism spectrum conditions ASC. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article doi The following research questions were addressed: What is camouflaging?

What are the techniques used and what do people with ASC think camouflaging is? Why do people camouflage their ASC? What are the consequences of camouflaging? Table 1 Demographic characteristics of participants and whether they reported camouflaging. Female Male Other gender N 55 30 7 Age mean years Open in a separate window. Materials A newly designed questionnaire of camouflaging was developed by the researchers, in consultation with other experts in ASC, including clinicians, researchers, and adults with ASC.

Analysis Analysis followed the six phases of thematic analysis recommended by Braun and Clarke with the aim of identifying patterns of information within the data which answered the research questions. Results Seven themes, comprising 16 subthemes, were clustered into three stages of the camouflaging process, as detailed in Fig.

Table 2 Number of participants who referenced each theme. Female, 30 However, a few respondents suggested that their motivations to camouflage were similar to those of the general population; camouflaging was simply seen as the way in which everyone tries to fit in or hide less desirable aspects of their personality: Most neurotypicals are camouflaging nearly all the time they are in public. Other, 27 Camouflaging helps to survive in school and college and it is important for keeping jobs.

Female, 27 The desire for assimilation was also prompted by concerns for their own safety and wellbeing. Many described being ostracised, verbally or emotionally attacked, and some even reported physical assaults when they had not camouflaged their ASC: When I was younger and more obviously odd and strange I was thought of as stupid and also badly physically and mentally bullied. Female, 49 Most attributed this to their perceived differences compared to others, and used camouflaging techniques to minimise these differences and hence reduce the threat. Female, 46 For some, the risk of failure and associated embarrassment created severe anxiety during social interactions; by camouflaging and using structured techniques, respondents could reduce some of this uncertainty and so were more confident in their ability to socialise.

Fast forward to the present date and I realise now, that I was his obsession. For the last two years he has left me at times feeling suicidal. The worst being when we lost a baby and he showed more interest in candy crush and a local band than my emotional distress. I came home and cried and cried and he asked if I wanted a cup of tea and then processed to go back on his computer…………. I have fought like a tigress to have the husband who once pretended to love me…………….

With the help of this website, I have come to realise that he never was that person. He has sent me to the brink of insanity, I have had a nervous breakdown and been diagnosed with PTSD…………which is really OTRS in this case; since losing the baby and his subsequent treatment of me. I have drunk heavily, medicated myself with prescription drugs, to find some solace or make sense of his behaviour towards me……………… He fails to recognise if I am wearing a nice dress, have nice nails or hair, whether the dinner I have cooked is healthy and tasty.

He has only scripted interest such do you want tea or coffee; do you have a meeting this evening? How was work? He has numerous Facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts. When challenged he said it was to raise business profiles and networking, but that should be something you share with your wife surely? Then I found out he had 7 google plus accounts all in different names and the only people liking his posts was himself………. At times I feel scared that this man is a total stranger to me and I am unsure what he will do next.

I feel humiliated by the way he has deceived me and treated me. The impact on my mental health, my children and my mother who worry constantly about me is something he is responsible for. A human being needs interaction, communication, empathy and partnership. In a nut shell no. He knows right from wrong. He knows he hurts me; I feel he has sociopathic tendencies and narcissism……………. The black hole he has put me in has two endings, I either climb out and rebuild myself from years of emotional abuse and leave or I just end my life. I used to be happy, social, have my own money and vivacious.

I was always laughing, dancing and singing. I have a high-powered career and I refuse to let him take from me the qualities I was raised with. I am learning to re-build my self-respect, confidence and self-esteem. From my experience they suck the very core from you. I find so much of my own experience here…………….. I am sick, have an auto-immunity based degenerative joint disorder thanks to childhood trauma but most certainly the last twelve years kicked it in full board. It's been isolating as no one in my once-quite-large community believes me. He took full control of the money.

I had to leave my home and community built over 25 years to survive in a lesser priced city, starting from scratch with nothing. I still feel lucky to be out……………….. He hasn't given one iota of thought to the damage caused. There was never an apology for the violence throughout or at the end. It was verbal with some lunges and hands raised but a LOT of verbal abuse.

This site puts it perfectly. That abuse sticks and cements itself in your memory and nervous system for quite some time……………………. My question is if there are any recovery recommendations you can suggest to get past the total lack of closure. The feeling of unfairness of all of this, that he enjoys love immediately, seemingly rewarded for abusing someone so horrible, while I live in a city where I don't know anyone working paycheck to paycheck to rebuild leaves me feeling utterly broken and trying to find a reason to keep moving forward……………… Empathy disorders will soon destroy humanity. The hidden aspect of the NT experience is inexcusable……………..

Thank you for your site. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell OUR stories. They walk away free of any illness, pain, remorse or regret. NT's are riddled with medical issues, energy depletion and emotional trauma taking years to heal if they heal at all. Something is hugely uneven and unfair about this arrangement……………….. The lack of macro empathy from ASD lobbies is just a larger version of the issues I experienced at home. Ignored, disregarded, and isolated. Please keep turning up the volume of our voices, and share our stories. We deserve just as much protection as the autism community.

What better person to choose to bridge the divide felt by a person with ASD than to choose someone who has a link to the emotional world. I recently ended a 5. I did all the cooking and housework. When there was something to carry or move, I did it. He opened perhaps 3 doors for me in 6 years. I became his therapist, listening to lengthy accounts of work and lunch, trying to soothe him from the critiques of his parents and associates. Sometimes I tried to get a quick phrase in, just to not feel invisible. I became an interjector, a blurter out of the shortest phrases possible before his ears closed.

He rarely expended an effort on me that didn't involve his special interests, shopping and driving. He listened to me when he made shopping lists. If I wanted to go for a walk in nature, we might drive for two hours, walk for ten minutes, then drive back for two more hours. He was unaffectionate and never said a single endearment to me.

My own endearments and nurturing of him were irrelevant toward fostering a bond; his capacity for that is absent…………………Three years into it he referred to himself as single. I covered for him. Once I had a severe headache and told him I couldn't lift my head off the pillow, and that I may have had a stroke. He said "Do you want a tablet? My personality became stifled and corroded………………….. When it hit me — Aha, ASD - he took offense. His mind blindness and disinclination to give of himself destroyed the relationship, but my need now to relocate, start over, and try to recover from convulsive waves of confusion, anxiety, and long term lack of belonging are at my own expense……………….

No one should be lured into a damaging relationship.

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If only there were some sort of litmus test or friendly questionnaire which dates could ask of each other to determine whether one of them is ASD, it could prevent so much suffering! I have been with my husband for 19years and knew he was different but didn't realise that he had high functioning AS until his daughter was diagnosed about 4 years ago.

I always thought she was strange and that explained why. I still didn't realise that my husband had AS until he mentioned that maybe he had it. Nothing was ever done about it and we just sailed along for the next few years. Our sex life was not very satisfying and a couple of years ago we stopped intimacy. It was not until a few months ago, just after Christmas he told me he was leaving me to pursue a relationship with this woman that he had known for a year younger of course.

He said she was his intellectual equal. That hurt. Since then I have researched As and realised all the time I was exhausting myself trying to get emotional reactions from my husband I was flogging a dead horse. What it has helped me with is to understand that I did nothing wrong. It is liberating to know that. He has taken all his problems with him and someone else has to deal with them. I feel free even though I still feel hurt and betrayed I realise that whether or not they can help it AS people are very selfish.

Autism in the workplace: 'Always thought you were a bit weird'

Thank you all for sharing your experiences! I feel like I'm not all alone in this anymore. I have been in a long distance relationship with a man who has Asperger's for the past 2 and half years. I've tried to end the relationship several times over the past year but the feelings of sympathy I have for him and the pressure his family puts on me to stay with him have drawn me back into the relationship over and over again.

He is the most selfish, uncaring although he once told me that even though he comes across as being cold blooded he's actually a softie at heart.. What a liar. There is nothing soft or caring about him. He only cares about his needs and what's going to be convenient for him that's it. From the very beginning I felt like something was amiss but I couldn't figure out exactly what it was and chalked a lot of our communication problems up to the fact that we were in a long distance relationship.

I was recently venting to one of my co-workers about how sad and lonely I have been and continue to be in this relationship and she suggested that it sounds like he has Asperger's. I work with children and many of them are autistic so I don't know why I didn't see these signs in him? One thing that threw me off is that he is very successful in his sales career. He functions well with his job, but of course it's because he makes money from his clients so again there's something in it directly for him. I have had a long, painful struggle coming to terms with the reality that the man I feel in love with doesn't exist.

I'm choosing to leave this relationship before uprooting my life, leaving my family and my job that I love here and moving to another state to be with him. However I still have a broken heart, I still care about and feel sorry for him. So there is still a struggle. I am trying to accept the fact that I am going to feel just as alone if I am married to him as I do being miles away from him.

Thank you all again for sharing your experiences. If I can help even one person as you all sharing your experiences have helped me then it makes my struggles and pain worth it. My mother was the first to suggest that my husband had autism. My husband is the most selfish, inconsiderate person that ever was. We have separated and he provides me with no financial support for our daughter. When we were married, he had no clue about what was appropriate in a marriage. He obsessively keeps track of my social media accounts and read every exchange between myself and other people.

Yet everything he does is very secretive. I know absolutely nothing about his life. My husband withdrew affection and acted progressively more distant after our daughter was born. He went from doting on me and giving me his undivided attention to being emotionally unavailable and physically gone. He left our family home every opportunity he got. Sometimes even sitting in his car alone for hours after work making phone calls rather than coming inside. He made me feel so desperately lonely in our marriage.

I want people who are living with an autistic person to know that autistic people lack empathy, inability to consider feelings of others, and are compulsive liars. You might settle for these unhealthy relationships for whatever reason, but do not let ANYONE convince you that what you are experiencing is not real or somehow your fault. I would suggest you read everything you can on narcissists and listen to experts on utube who talk about narcissistic abuse. Perhaps in the future, there will be more understanding about autism and future generations with this developmental disorder can be helped to a degree.

Also, it is important for future generations of autistic people to learn to be honest about their condition so a neurotypical can make a decision about their degree of involvement with autistic individuals. Pretending something does not exist does not make it go away! This site has been so helpful. I actually look at it daily to find out what others have experienced.

Why do Aspie's go to the trouble of seeking out "love and relationship" when clearly they are unable to sustain it? I am Neither of us has been married. I have one adult child. I spent some nights in his home, but never lived with him. In the beginning he seemed like he really wanted intercourse. He bragged about his sexual prowess as a younger man. Each time he wanted to go out of town and spend the night, it ended in disaster and hurt feelings. This last time, he ended the "relationship.

He is not aware of his. It's always my fault. He has been unable to accept that I am more worldly than he and equally as intelligent, albeit in different subject areas. He seems to resent me when he's "not the smartest person in the room. My head was often "swimming. Not once has he recognized that I have been loving, patient, gracious, kind, generous, and thoughtful. Like the many who wrote about "in the beginning" he was gentle, kind, and affectionate. Like all the others, when the mask falls off, I have been blindsided, waiting, I suppose, for the one I love to return.

How does one heal when the person you love doesn't exist? I thought I was alone in my thinking that sometimes I just want to die and how for the past 46 years I have been emotionally abused by my husband who has Asperger's Thankyou to you all in making me feel at least human and that it is not just me. There has always been a lot of information on how to support someone with autism but not any kind of understanding for the rest of their family or their main carer.

Mine has been wrecked after all these years; a bit late now to start again. We are a gay couple. I have lived with my partner for 16 years. I mean it. I think about dying and suicide frequently. He is and always has been difficult. I told myself for ages, that really, he means well and is a good person. Walking on egg shells is a term used a lot. Timing is a huge issue with him. He specifies what time things must happen. If anything goes over time, the world will end! When my Father was dying in hospital, upon visiting and on arrival, I was informed by my partner we had to leave by a certain time.

When sitting with my Father, my partner sat flicking loudly through magazines, huffing and puffing and looking at his watch. If I left , he would fall apart He LOVES his career he is quite successful-- due in large part to the team of people around him who also get the life sucked out of them I live with an emotional hangover each and every day-- I am physically exhausted. Back against the wall, I gave up my career to give my kids a fighting chance in this world. I had too many missed work days running to the school to assist when one of the kids had a meltdown Married to ASD and raising kids just like him is a prison sentenceHe really is another child to me.

He doesn't see the wake of emotional destruction he leaves in his path He has no understanding of his rude behavior and arrogance. He does not understand how horrible his behavior is towards me. He is horrible to our kids. He thinks they are rude, have no filter, obnoxious, exhausting, and at times unlovable Wow husband sound like anyone else living in this house!?!?!?

My new "career" includes having no life and catering to the mental health needs of my family. Other daily chores include damage control due to all of the insults that pour out of his mouth for which he is completely clueless.

Let's not forget the fact that if it is NOT a preferred activity-- he wants nothing to do with it He tells me that I am the issue in this marriage because I have turned into a total bitch, I am no fun, I am not fun to be around. Gee, do you think I might be salty because I am exhausted, anxious, and pissed because the one ride I get in this life is ruined because of my own poor choice in a mate?? I really am pissed at myself because I was fooled by his "normal" behavior before we got married. I often wonder if I am being punished for something I did as a child is HE my punishment??

I MISS feeling like me. I miss being happy. I miss sleep. I miss my career. I miss having friends. I miss feeling loved. I miss feeling an emotional connection to a partner. I miss feeling like I matter. Hell, I miss sex that isn't completely selfish. Thank goodness I have the best dog in the world that dog loves me unconditionally.

I have recently split from my husband after over 20 years. I spent years wishing we could have a 'normal' family where two people work together as a team, and wondering why in 20 years my husband never once took the children out for the morning. I was never able to have a straight forward conversation. Instead we danced around from subject to subject as my husband avoided the simple issue I wanted to discuss. If I asked a second time he got angry. There was never a commitment to any plans.

I was told that separation was wrong, and that God put us together, so we had to stay together. Now we have split he lives we my brother and our eldest son. Both my son and my brother see him as the victim he acts as, and blame me for everything. He has split our own family, and split my family too because I did not do what he wanted.

I could have written these testimonials, esp. Women are bullied into keeping quiet about the realities of living with a man on the autism spectrum. My husband's behavior changed on our wedding day. I was so shocked by his constant lying, verbal and physical abuse, I thought he had had a stroke or something. I insisted we go to a specialist university to have him tested as well as multiple therapists. He played the victim and found it amusing he could fool these "professionals".

The so called "expert" at the university would not allow me to use the word autism, but got up in my face and started yelling axis numbers from the DSM at me This entire ordeal has seriously traumatised me. For a long time, I had nightmares about the psychologist from the university who I now know is on the spectrum.

I am slowly coming out of my fog, but I am 65, sold my home, and gave up a job with good benefits. I have become very distrustful of people. There is so little emotional and psychological help for NTs partners it just seems unfair. None of them tell her about their 'gibberish' when manic, the constant cussing out their spouse, their meltdowns. None of them tell her about their faults, miraculously believing they have none. I can't thank you enough for this wonderful validating site. The real painful truth about what we NT partners suffer has been stamped on and ignored for too long.

We have been bullied into silence by the autistic advocates who vehemently deny their bad behaviours and instead blame society and everyone but themselves and totally deny the severe intolerable suffering inflicted on the NT. It's time our voices were heard! Thank you again. Helped me to see how we differed and how it wasn't my fault why the relationship didn't work out. That means they still want me to be selectively connecting in this relationship. There's huge irony in this since there is no connecting with them at all in any meaningful way in a marriage, ever.

Disconnecting by physically leaving is the only way. If one has to remain for economic, age or other reasons, then completely disconnecting emotionally is the only alternative. By definition, AS individuals do not do relationships well……………The advice offered to the couple is for the NT to completely change their way of operating in a social world and relationships, to accommodate the deficits of ASD, adding to the trauma and abuse of the neurotypical family members.

This could be interpreted by NT individuals seeking support and assistance, as mal-practice and unethical by ignoring their input and experiences regarding their personal family life…………There have been no short term or longitudinal studies to prove NT-ASD couples counselling does effectively work, and is maintainable over time. Anecdotal evidence concludes that NT-ASD couples counselling has only a temporary effect on the marriage, and it quickly reverts to the previous difficulties.

The person with ASD is unable to maintain the effort required. Expecting ASD individuals to do what goes against their brain wiring can be cruel and abusive to them and the way they view life……………. Gender bias is another enormous problem in getting efficient help for Neurotypical spouses from professionals. Many professionals treat NT females as neurotic and demanding, not knowing their own mind and having no common sense. The person who has AS AS is a soul-breaking disability for people around them. I have been married to my husband almost 30 years.

I was widowed with three small boys when I met this man six months later. Six weeks later we were married. He was so helpful and kind at first. I remember thanking God for giving me a new best friend………The minute I said "I do" everything changed. He was in the military and he let me know that his job came first. He would yell at me that I wasn't to ask him for anything or expect anything from him.

I should continue to take care of the house and kids and when he was home, I was to consider that a bonus………He wasn't deployed or sent anywhere - it was just regular work hours. If I waited up for him to come home, I got screamed at because he assumed I would expect him to help with the kids the next day. I was so confused. I stayed up because I was a newlywed and I loved him………Physical violence came next and I was so ashamed. I kept thinking he just didn't understand what marriage was supposed to be…………Eighteen years into this travesty of a marriage where there was no intimacy unless he initiated it maybe 5 times a year , he spent a night in jail for slapping me.

We went to a no-nonsense counselor and reconciled. That lasted only a few months. Him screaming at me and threatening me got worse. By this time, he had ruined my credit by betraying my trust. I allowed property to be put in my name and he promised to make the payments. When things got tough, he made the decision to stop paying the mortgages and did not tell me until foreclosure was the only choice…………People close to me ask why I don't leave, but this is MY home and I don't have the money or credit to go anywhere.

We now have separate rooms, but I feel like I'm living with a person who is just waiting for me to fail………….. He has always been the kind of man to hurt me more when I am already weak or struggling. It's often a nightmare, but I do have faith in God and my kids including the two girls we had together are out of the house and in healthy relationships…………. I never planned to be in my 50s and living like this with a man who has no respect for me.

I got my master's degree 13 years ago and he never acknowledged it - nothing. I was incredibly hurt after I celebrated his accomplishments and birthdays over the years. Now, I am trying with everything in me, not to let bitterness overtake me. Thank you all for sharing - it's good to know I am not alone. I got married in , I was married for 14 years and had three boys.

After all these years I feel I have found the answer I have been seeking. I loved him and bent over backward to be a perfect wife, a good housekeeper and an excellent cook. So, I understand the effects of her constant abuse and have suffered my whole life from the affects of this. Then I married another one. Lack of empathy when I was diagnosed with Meningitis, lack of empathy or caring with the 3 pregnancies of my 3 boys…………strange behaviors, going off and leaving me with a new born baby and no help.

Never saying sorry, no interest in anything I did. Sarcasm, put downs, he never noticed anything I did like decorating the home, never noticed that I had my hair cut. Physical abuse. We bought a farm and then my fear became so intense as I watched in horror while my husband allowed my children to do what I consider dangerous things around farm equipment. My pleas to be watchful and protect them as they were only 7, 9 and 3 were ignored. He let my 9 year old drive a 40 hp tractor alone in the big field whilst he watched from the edge of the field……I got told I was nagging and that I was overreacting, too emotional.

Then the youngest got killed going to the mailbox It tore the whole family apart. Thank you for this website. What David said below, I agree with. And neither do they care. However, it causes them a great deal of stress because the rigidity of their narrow operating rules, makes them really want to correct everyone on a regular basis………………….. At home they let their mask fall away. You will be at the whipping post daily as they vent their anxiety.

No love, no respect or caring, no nurturing. They have complete lack of insight to your existence, needs, wants, anything that is you. They simply will never get you. This makes life very boring as spontaneousness is non-existent………………. Accountability is something they know nothing about. These are not people that are inexperienced or can be taught anything, but have a fixed way of looking at the universe and use one part of their brain for all decisions, more or less being unable to integrate, synthesize, create and make connections between concepts.

This will leave you reeling just trying to have a simple conversation. If you want a reciprocal relationship built on trust, love, caring and respect run away from someone with ASD. If you want to be forced to parent a grown person, to have to do everything, have no emotional fulfillment and be blamed for anything that goes wrong in the their life, knock yourself out.

You will suffer a lot by the time you figure out what it is. You can never really sort it out. I waited 15 years to find this web site and subsequent links. I have been in a "relationship" with someone with highly functioning brilliant but broken Aspergers for 15 years. We started out as a "couple", but since he has severe impulse control issues we met online and is a serial cat fisher, wound up "breaking up" in Of course, I have taken care of him since.

He follows me around the country with his manipulation and I have saved him 2 evictions on my credit report, roommates without him working for four years while he "Peter Pans" his lying, Bohemian lifestyle. Of course, now we are still roommates and he is working. But control issues? I lost my life here somehow. There should be a study on co-dependents and Aspies, because seriously? Match made in h e double toothpicks. Try to shake off a lying, manipulative, Peter Pan man in his early forties who talks in baby voice while you are setting boundaries?

I think at the end of it the other side of the autism relationship gets just bitter. Bitter pill to swallow since they don't change. I am getting him OFF my cell phone plan because the lies don't stop. So many people are like "la la la" autism awareness while the abused members of this sector, raised by the wrong parents are worst than psychopaths because they become permanent parasites. Angry and getting free. Can't believe I just now found this web site - - 15 years alter. We are not a "couple" anymore - but he has managed to emotionally manipulate an additional five years out of me.

My husband had a late diagnosis of autism 5 years ago. Life has been hell and I almost lost all sense of self worth. I've shed a few tears reading your experiences. For anyone considering or starting a relationship with an Asperger partner - think again and again. At the moment the attention you're getting isn't real, you're just the latest special interest they call them - an obsession we call them.

The masking or role playing is being used to cover up who you are really with. Later as the mask slips you'll find yourself, your very sense of being slowly, but remorselessly undermined 'death by a thousand paper cuts' There will be the self serving manipulation. The control - we eat now, we go to bed now, don't laugh, don't smile it upsets me. The tantrums and physical violence for merely having the 'wrong look' on your face. The cruel jibes and insults designed to hurt and undermine. Never hearing the word 'sorry'. Walking on eggshells. The new obsessions paid for regardless of any monetary consideration.

The social isolation - never going out and meeting anyone together, the outbursts in front of now lost friends, the fear of bringing anyone home. The endless droning monologues about the latest obsession. The hours of never being spoken to except for some demand or another.

Autism as an adult: 'On the many days I spend alone I forget how to talk'

Never being hugged, kissed, chatting about hopes, dreams or aspirations. Never sharing a laugh. My health and wealth have gone, I'm tired - but you still have a chance to lead the life you deserve. Thank you for your webpage on Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome.

I am really broken and trying to raise a kid without raging against the abuser that has him the other half of the time. On our honeymoon he told me that I was smothering him with kisses and to stop. He also would go to bed and not say goodnight to me when we were first married. I was shocked that he would do that I was hitting rock bottom emotionally by then and it was only the first year of our marriage.

My husband started to degrade me after a year of marriage He used any excuse not to be with me sexually. I started to become really down and went for therapy I thought I was the one to blame. This was 5 years into my marriage. I asked his mom about it and she said the reason she got divorced was because her husband was so cold and aloof. She said that her son my husband saw me as a threat

Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence) Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)
Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence) Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)
Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence) Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)
Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence) Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)
Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence) Aspies on Mental Health: Speaking for Ourselves (Insider Intelligence)

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