Support in working with my wife.

Hi.

Looking to connect with others who can relate to my situation.  In everything I read, I feel like my situation is unique, on the low percentage of incidences, and is just not the norm for those in these relationships.   Everything I read is about autistic or aspergers males in relationships with females.   I can barely find info on supporting  females, especially wives or mothers, who are on the spectrum.

While I see similarities between the posts I see about AS husbands and with what I encounter with my wife, I have a number of differences that I don't know how to handle.

I met my wife about 14 years ago.  When I met her, she had little to no self confidence, was almost feeling worthless and talked a decent talk sounding like she was suicidal, and was just in a really bad spot.  Being that I had been involved in various counseling and support type environments for a while, I was able to make that connection where we would be able to talk, and she felt like she had someone by her side.  As time went on, though, she didn't get better or happier; she became different...

As life went on, she became more and more frustrated that things weren't happening how she expected them to.  I noticed more and more how upset she was getting when things didn't happen the way she expected them to.  Whether it be following a recipe, following instructions on other things, or, the worst one, raising kids and reading things online on what the kids should or should not be doing at their specific ages.  As we got married, she had lots of things on how our wedding should be, and it had to be her way, no compromise, no discussion.   Afterwards, she had timelines on when and how we were having each child.  They had to be girls (not like she had control over it, but she expected to), and they had to be specific years apart, etc.  

The turning point in this whole thing was when my oldest daughter was a month or two old.   She was having a fussy day, and my wife was getting more and more stressed because the book she would rely on said things to do, and they weren't working.  She was looking up websites, and nothing was working.   And she was completely stressed because the things she tried should have worked like the book said.   At that point as I was working with her and trying to calm her down, she hit her breaking point and started screaming a ton (basically a large panic attack).  Our dogs were barking, baby was screaming, and I'm trying to keep control over it all.  Long story short, after my mother in law took over and I left for the evening to go to a chorus rehearsal (at my mother in laws request so I can calm down), I mentioned this whole situation to a buddy of mine who's a psychiatrist.  As I described it all to him and he asked me more and more questions, he asked me if anyone had mentioned anything to me about autism in her.   I said no, and he said that everything I described fits things with people on the spectrum.  Came home that night and pulled up WebMD, and sure enough, out of the criteria listed in the DSM-IV, she didn't match one of them, but matched all the rest.  

Here's where I am now stuck:

- As a mom, she is trying to control our kids.  She's frustrated when they don't do things exactly as she thinks they should.  She's mad that they have their own thoughts, their own ideas, and they don't just follow hers 100%.  She has little positive connection with them, she just is wanting to mold them to be the exact way she wants them to be.  She's incredibly angry and stressed with them

- She does the same thing to me.   I'm not allowed to have my own thoughts or ideas, things have to go her way and I have to follow her rules 100%.  Any time I do things differently, I get yelled at for not doing things right and screwing things up.  I have to follow her rules completely and at times feel like I'm treated like a kid she has to parent, not her husband who is the one responsible for a lot of the things in her life and is an adult.  

- She believes in being all natural, organic, etc.   Over time, I've had to deal with her flexibility becoming smaller and smaller.  It's not just natural and organic, its specific brands, only certain things, and has to meet a ton of requirements.  It's gotten so bad that she will only drink water (and only give our kids water) that comes from a well that her friend has access to and gets purified treating it like it's the only clean source of water.  

-  She doesn't understand how actions cause reactions, how her emotions and mood affect those around her.  She doesn't understand how what she does cause other things to occur.  She very much lives in a victimized world where she feels that everyone is against her, and she doesn't understand how many times her actions, her reactions, and her emotions towards things are causing other things to happen.   She tried to get me agitated, and as I walk away to avoid conflict, she pushes more.  When I do react, she turns into a victim of someone attacking her with little to no real understanding that I am defending myself, not just flying off the handle for no reason with uncontrolled emotions.  

- She doesn't sleep well at night, I don't believe she has a well balanced diet (especially since she is vegetarian, so she doesn't have good sources of protein), and she is CONSTANTLY stressed and unhappy.  She cannot relax, the tv shows she watches are mostly things from the Lifetime channel where she's watching movies about women being victimized.

- The last one is the hardest one:  she's an adult, but doesn't have the full capacity to take on adult responsibility.   Worse, this all happened in figuring this out while she was an adult, not as a child.  For her to get diagnosed properly, for her to get further support and more appropriate services, she is the one in charge of it all.   I can't make these calls for her, I can't arrange it all for her.   She has to be the one to do it.  In her world, though, she thinks I'm the problem and she's just the victim of it.  But, she's not thinking that she's any part of the issue at hand.  And so because she's an adult, she has to take this on, and I feel helpless because people won't talk to me without getting her consent.  And because she doesn't feel she's the problem, then things don't progress.

Without flying from the situation and divorcing her (which won't solve any problems, especially with my kids), how can I bring positive support into our marriage with someone who doesn't feel that she's any part of the problem because she's trying to make it go the way she wants, so it's our fault it isn't...

Thanks!!

  • Hello rfinger22. Unfortunately I don't have any advice about how to work or deal or help your wife, but I can sympathize with you. Although, it's my husband that is on the spectrum, I often feel all of the ways you are feeling. We've been married a bit over a year and have a baby daughter together. I have a 17 year old son from a previous relationship. I knew my husband was quirky when I met him and we would all often joke about his ways. Mostly it was funny, sometimes though, things didn't turn out so well. Come to find out, when I mentioned months ago that he might be on the spectrum, he said that it has been mentioned in the past by his friends. It was news to me though! Thing is, he doesn't realize that, because of it, things are difficult in the household. Like your wife, he plays victim and he labels me the "crazy" person. In a way, it's comforting to read stories of other people's relationships and issues. We've been going to marriage counseling, but for regular marriage counseling. This past weekend I really started reading about spectrum disorders in adults and realized that it's not a joke, it's legit, my husband is on the spectrum. So how do I tell him...very carefully, while he was in a great mood this morning, I brought it up. He was defensive immediately, understandable. I stayed calm and preceded to talk about how this is going to take a lot of effort on both of our parts. Of course again, he's the victim and I'm the "crazy" person. At one point, he started to have a meltdown, which happens more than I'd like, and just minutes earlier I explained how his meltdowns were one of the "symptoms" because he wanted examples! As the meltdown started, I told him I wasn't fighting with him and walked away. He calmed down after slamming things around some. We talked a little more about it, then he left to go do some work. I asked him to do some reading about it, he said he would.
    I was a single parent with my son for most of his life, so I'm accustomed to running an entire household myself. I do find it frustrating having a childlike adult though because I need to ask him to do basic tasks and can usually rely on them being done incomplete. I'm fortunate that I feel blessed to do all of the caretaking of our daughter, because honestly, anything he does with her often makes me nervous. She's an infant, but because of his disorder, he can't understand basic caretaking, expectations, etc. He's very childlike himself, so at this point, I feel I can't trust him to take too much responsibility with her. I could go on and on, not to bash him, but to let you and others know that what we're experiencing is real. I'm very fortunate to have been able to resign from my full time job to be a stay at home mom. Being home and not having the stress of work and having the time to keep EVERYTHING in order and handle all of the tasks of running a household and of course being able to spend every joyous moment with our daughter has been what has kept me going. My husband stresses me out and like my sign in name says, I'm trying to be positive. So I'm hopeful that this support group and counseling and maybe counseling for his disorder in particular will help day to day as we learn to navigate the world from completely different views.
    On a side note, my nephew is autistic and my cousin's son has aspergers, so this isn't new to me, it's new to me living with an adult with it who hasn't been diagnosed and plays the victim.
    Looking forward to hearing from others. We're not alone.