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Help with interruptions, please

hithere

Member
Hi there!

My husband is on the autism spectrum.

I notice with my husband that when engaged in conversation with me (and I know his heart is in it) he often interrupt me; either if I am in the middle of a sentence as he thinks he knows what my point is so he finishes it for me (but could very well be wrong too), or he thinks me having a quick pause is the sign that he can say what he wants to say. He tells me that no he is not interrupting, that we're just talking, we're just discussing.

I can see he has no bad intent, but it can come off as if he is only interested in his own words. I have noticed though that he seem to take in what it is that I do say, what comes across to him, that he think about it and then hours or even days later take it up with me again, and that I think is real sweet of him.

We are parents too. One of them interrupt and can too do high-note and out of place freaky sounds that I think everyone thought was funny before, but it is still going and I think as the years ahead it will be looked at as not so funny no more.

I have asked my husband if he interrupts at work and he says he does not, and when he is with his family I notice he does not, he does not speak much at all, but while with me he talks a lot (and that is wonderful, it isn't that); the same goes with a child.

I have so far pointed out "You are interrupting him/her/me", but I don't have much success with it. I understand children can interrupt each other a lot as they are so much caught in the moment, excited.

What can I do to help my husband "cool it a bit", take it down, to not interrupt my sentence or take my micro-pause as an indication that now I am done?

I am a somewhat introvert and reflective and so when I chose to speak to him about something I have it already planned out what I want to say. He is straight forward.

It hurts me to see how one adult would treat a child with autism and ADHD. When I was with them I could tell the child called for it's parent several times in a row and would carefully tap the adult on the arm but the adult just kept on talking to another adult. I have always said "Yes" when called on and listened. I would say "Not right now, sweetie, I hear you, but I have to do this first or I have to finish this first". To me to ignore a child the way I have also read somewhere I think is awful. Sure children has to learn to wait, but to me it is as if it is a sign of emotional neglect to not respond.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

-That is how do I make my husband realize I wish to finish my sentence and my micro-pause is just before I wish to speak some more?

-How do I learn a child to "sit back" and not interrupt or make high pinned noises (my husband never make those) when talking with friends or us? Often I have noticed this child go away too as I think it itself feel as if it has gone too high up in motion and start then to do something else, like going under the table if we are all sitting by the table. just to use one example.

Thank you.
 

Orange Glasses

Well-Known Member
Good afternoon Hithere -

I will only speak for myself, but my mind moves at a very rapid pace like a Rolodex connected to a high speed drill. I sometimes interrupt my wife as I feel if I don’t speak at the moment, the idea will be gone. One reason your husband may interrupt you but not others (or at work) is that he is not masking with you. He feels relaxed and safe enough to do so.

One asset that has truly helped my wife and our marriage in general is that she is part of a Zoom group of wives of husbands with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning - Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 1. It is facilitated by Kathy Marshack Ph.D who is a licensed psychologist in the U.S. My wife is an extreme professional and has zero tolerance for marginally qualified therapists or time wasters. She has nothing but praise for this asset, which to me, means the psychologist is very good.

Here is a link to her website and information about joining the group.


You migh also consider Dr Tony Attwood’s book, The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. It has been immensely helpful to me and may be to you and your husband.

 
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Suzanne

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
My husband is less kind than you are! He sees it as I am being very rude and like your husband, I do the same with mine and try so hard to not interrupt and try to explain that I do not mean to be rude, but cannot seem to help myself from trying to second guess or get so excited that I jump in and it does not bode well for me.

In truth, nothing will work. I know because I try time and time again, to not interrupt, as I know it angers him, and sometimes I succeed but mostly do not succeed.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
We can just blab out and then we feel stupid when we do it. I only do it with very close friends. I am training myself to keep my mouth shut. It's taken about ten years. Some people actually think &talk at the same time. It's a verbal brainstorming but just with ourself. As most people just think then say something. So perhaps you just say look (John), I can't wait to hear your take on this, but let me finish what l need to say, then it's your turn. You may do this several hundred times but then throw in a hug or a kiss or a grilled cheese sandwich or whatever, you will be reinforcing a positive response.
 
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Stuttermabolur

A psychologist said so
V.I.P Member
I have a suggestion which might help you, but it means that both you and your husband (and maybe child) need to alter your conversations a bit. I am a volunteer at an international organization, and we use so-called "finger rules" to keep conversations flowing without interruptions in large meetings.

During discussions, interruptions are strictly forbidden. However, if you have something to say, you hold up a finger/fingers to indicate that you have something to say, and at an appropriate point, you are given your turn. I have the same problem as your husband, but I never find myself interrupting while using finger rules as long as everyone follows them. I don't think you need to use most of them as they aren't all relevant in a conversation between two people, but I think 2-3 would be helpful.

i or holding an index finger up indicates that you have a new topic of conversation. This means that you can keep the conversation going for now, but the person has something new, unrelated to say later.

ii or holding up the index and middle finger says that you have something to say relevant to the current topic. This always takes precedent over one finger, but you still need to allow the person talking to finish their thought.

bs/joke or holding up your thumb and index finger together forming a circle, like you are complimenting the cook at a French restaurant means that you have something to say which only makes sense now, and if too much time passes the moment is lost (frequently jokes). This takes precedence over all else. If someone makes this sign, you should finish your sentence and then stay silent, let the other person make the comment/joke and then continue your point.

I know this is not a typical way to communicate, but I find it really helpful for me, and wish those rules were followed in daily conversations as that would make things much easier for me. I tended to use them in smaller meetings than they were normally used in when facilitating as it made things much easier for me (at least if people were paying attention). Losing your chance to say something can be very aggravating for someone on the spectrum, so this is a polite way to make sure everyone has their say. I recommend at least trying this.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
One asset that has truly helped my wife and our marriage in general is that she is part of a Zoom group of wives of husbands with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning - Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 1. It is facilitated by Kathy Marshack Ph.D who is a licensed psychologist in the U.S. My wife is an extreme professional and has zero tolerance for marginally qualified therapists or time wasters. She has nothing but praise for this asset, which to me, means the psychologist is very good.

Here is a link to her website and information about joining the group.


Glad to hear the group had been helpful. I'm only familiar with her book (link to resources section).
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
I can imagine how difficult it is for him! It takes a lot of patience for me to wait as a person seems to finish talking as slow as a drifting iceberg.
 

Silhouette Mirage

S̷͕̲̔Ḷ̸̽̌İ̶̞M̸̲͆Ë̶̗̠
V.I.P Member
My wife hates when I do this, too. The other day, I interrupted her so 'hard' she got mad at me for forgetting what she was going to say - does he have that magical power as well? Nobody can remember things when they go through an aspie's mind and get spit back out, apparently.

I have literally no advice, but I know for people like me it's never going to go away. I wish it would, but yeah. His MMV though
 

hithere

Member
Good afternoon Hithere -

I will only speak for myself, but my mind moves at a very rapid pace like a Rolodex connected to a high speed drill. I sometimes interrupt my wife as I feel if I don’t speak at the moment, the idea will be gone. One reason your husband may interrupt you but not others (or at work) is that he is not masking with you. He feels relaxed and safe enough to do so.

One asset that has truly helped my wife and our marriage in general is that she is part of a Zoom group of wives of husbands with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning - Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 1. It is facilitated by Kathy Marshack Ph.D who is a licensed psychologist in the U.S. My wife is an extreme professional and has zero tolerance for marginally qualified therapists or time wasters. She has nothing but praise for this asset, which to me, means the psychologist is very good.

Here is a link to her website and information about joining the group.


You migh also consider Dr Tony Attwood’s book, The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. It has been immensely helpful to me and may be to you and your husband.

Thank you very much, Orange Glasses, I can't thank you enough! I have checked the website and ordered the book :)
 

hithere

Member
My wife hates when I do this, too. The other day, I interrupted her so 'hard' she got mad at me for forgetting what she was going to say - does he have that magical power as well? Nobody can remember things when they go through an aspie's mind and get spit back out, apparently.

I have literally no advice, but I know for people like me it's never going to go away. I wish it would, but yeah. His MMV though
I'm sorry to hear that.

Yes, it has happened, but not that I show too much temper. I do not have that much of a temper, his used to be worse than mine in a way, and I suppose because I can tell that his way of doing it is very different from lets say someone who is manipulative and interrupt as a tactic.

He can also take over, having things way and before I got the hang of it I realized he was taking over one area after the other, but I too can be stubborn and there are areas I have won. Where we agree to have disagreed. He says I am the strongest one there (on those things) and then it has to be that way. I can let him have another area. And then there are those areas where we agree. But I have to really built up a strength to go against him on those things and there have been times I have thought to myself it shouldn't be this hard, before he backs off.

There has been times when I have told him that I do not feel as if we are a team; that we are always suppose to start out something together, but then somehow he feels as if it is his responsibility, or he want it to be his responsibility, and so he takes over, it has to be done a specific way (his) and I have felt more and more pushed to the side. There has been times then I have just walked away and then he is asking Where did I go?

The way I have tried to look at such projects is that he is engaged, excited, put a great deal of thought of planning in it, means well with this, but is excluding me, some of my ideas he has thought only interrupt with his idea (the "right" idea). Has made me feel as if he do not value me, that I am not good enough, I am almost in the way, that I can not keep up; then again I know keeping up with him I had to be him and not many are so now I am more relaxed in that. He can afterwards say "But I did it for us".

He has a job where he does not have to have team work; where his abilities is a strength.

I've learned with him he plans everything to the finish line. Often if I need an advice on where I am at the moment, or for example sad about something; he and a child in particular - they are already at the finish line, the solution; as if they have skipped those steps in between, the step where I am at the time. I think it is their way of saying there is a solution, and it works out in the end - as a way to give comfort to me, but the emotional side of it is not present and it can come off as a bit cold, but they mean well. It has been this way with grieving, funerals, and the latest when someone was trying to get back in touch with me and I was hesitant if I should let that person back in my life, and it had called, again, and I was torn. My husband and the child both then told me to block the number: Problem solved. I think the way they resonated was that each time that person called they watched me effected by it; so block it then til I myself could make a decision and for me to then get in touch with that person. They did not get what the deal was; That I shouldn't complicate it.

I think he has a sort of old fashion attitude to him in that sort of way; that he is the husband, he is suppose to care for me, it is his responsibility if what we have planned isn't just right, he's the one who has to clean up (he is not, but in his head he is) if there are any mistakes or errors. The way I have worked with that is that I have before told him OK you have this area that you are responsible for, and I have this area and then we join in those two. It can be everything from planning a picnic to renovations. It is not team-work in the traditional sense but I have thought as long as we stay in the same room it still is in a way. He says he has been worried before as he has felt I have taken steps back, that he is loosing me. I realize he wants companionship and he does hurt and feel it when I'm not there.

He is someone honest (at times brutally honest, no filter with me what so ever and that can hurt) and can overshare with me (but is restricted with others, I've learned).

If he sees I get hurt (tears in my eyes) his eyes automatically fills up too and he wants to help, fix things. He stops everything. I can wake up in the morning and realize he has been up and fixed stuff to make my day easier. He will not himself say something about it except perhaps a word of two; not as if he even wants thanks for it.

I try to look at it how we all can show our love differently; if someone for instance wants words but the partner is not like that, but show it in action then one needs to understand that. We can show it in different way, does not make it more valuable one way or the other, usually I think that is where we can be ungrateful, and one should not be ungrateful to love and instead recognize and appreciate that that person loves you, but show it this way instead of that way.

I have tried something in the past and it was writing a letter to him about something and leaving it on our computer and for him to read when he was alone, and he did. That way I felt I had said everything I wanted to get off my chest (without being interrupted) and he had a chance to have hours to himself to take it in and what he thought. That worked. I don't know if that is something I could recommend? If it would work with others? Then again one can not always do that, but if and when you can, perhaps?
 
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Orange Glasses

Well-Known Member
Good morning Hithere -

Your husband is very lucky to have a loving wife like you. Many of the points you mentioned resonated with me which means I have more work to do to improve. Thank you for that.

I really think the Zoom group I mentioned above would be very beneficial to your marriage and may address many of the issues you are having. The Zoom group is not specifically for wives as I previously stated, but partners as well.

I believe my wife mentioned that Dr Marshack charges an annual fee of $25.00 USD and $20.00 for each Zoom sessions that you choose to participate in. Please check her website for exact prices.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I notice with my husband that when engaged in conversation with me (and I know his heart is in it) he often interrupt me; either if I am in the middle of a sentence as he thinks he knows what my point is so he finishes it for me (but could very well be wrong too), or he thinks me having a quick pause is the sign that he can say what he wants to say. He tells me that no he is not interrupting, that we're just talking, we're just discussing.

I have been married for 36 years,...some 33 of those years not knowing I was on the autism spectrum. It wasn't until the past few years, that after doing some rather deep dives into the autism literature that I now know that this phenomenon you are describing is a common trait with autism. Until then, it was an ongoing difficulty,...well, it IS a CURRENT difficulty that I have simply just given up and accepted the situation,...the inability to time when to jump in and out of a normal conversation,...resulting in either delays, "stepping in" when I should not, fighting to redirect or bring up a point that I couldn't earlier (because I was being barraged with other conversation),...or simply just being mute. It is horribly frustrating if the other person is constantly accusing you of interrupting,...but also not allowing you to get a word in.

Furthermore, if there is any emotion behind those words, it literally shuts down my ability to have a logical thought, take in context and perspective, complete a sentence,...it even results in mutism. As a husband and wife team,...we DO NOT have arguments,...we have calm discussions. Emotions automatically shut down communication on many levels.

The trouble is that human communication is far more about the "pause" as a signal for the other person to jump into the conversation,...there is also a lot of non-verbal communication that nuances this,...and as an autistic, I can be aware of it,...I've literally taken courses on it,...but I do not possess the intellectual skills to process it quick enough to allow me to have a "normal" conversation. Seriously,...it can take me minutes, hours, or even days before that "light bulb" goes off in my head and I say to myself,..."That could have gone better, if I had known at the time." Yes,...an important conversation will repeat in my head, over and over, sometimes for days in order for me to process it.

An analogy: Let's say you've taken 3 years of courses learning the Spanish language,...you do well in class,...enough to give you some confidence. Then you visit Spain or Mexico or Central America, and you quickly realize the speed of the language, the accents, the dialect is coming at you at a much faster pace than you can process. You foolishly thought you were fluent in the language,...but quickly found out you really weren't. You are only picking up parts of the conversation, not knowing if or when you can jump in and say something,...your accent is different than theirs,...enough that the way you are saying it may actually mean something else in the local language, etc. Sometimes this is how it is for many autistics in terms of processing verbal and non-verbal communication,...and no matter how much learning we incorporate,...the processing speed is often insufficient. In other words, we can run the communication software,...but the processing speed of the computer may be too slow in some cases.
 

Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
@hithere

Assume your husband is an Aspie with ADD (common combination).

Agree on a signal. Use it consistently - i.e. never as a rhetorical trick, nor as a technique in a "dominance dance".

He may sometimes lose track as a result of this, and he will occasionally have projected accurately and be bored.

OTOH it's very likely he's missing useful content by reacting too fast, and he will be doing it with other people too. On balance, better conversational disciple will be good for him.
 

hithere

Member
My husband is less kind than you are! He sees it as I am being very rude and like your husband, I do the same with mine and try so hard to not interrupt and try to explain that I do not mean to be rude, but cannot seem to help myself from trying to second guess or get so excited that I jump in and it does not bode well for me.

In truth, nothing will work. I know because I try time and time again, to not interrupt, as I know it angers him, and sometimes I succeed but mostly do not succeed.
I'm sorry too to learn that, Suzanne. I have an ex who I met when I was (too) young (he was older and more experienced) and he would manipulate, use his body in a threatening manner, had a particular temper. I got to be cautious, even afraid of him even when pretending I wasn't.

I think because of my past experiences with him I could tell that my husband's way of interrupting was/is no tactic, that he is no manipulator, that he never uses his body to threaten me with; when he is upset during a fight I can see he is more emotionally distraught than I am; that it has gone past a limit where we can solve anything. I can see he desperately wants to solve it though. He will for instance repeat himself. He has always himself then walked off, as he has felt he is or has lost control of himself and do not want to frighten me (he has asked later and said he hoped he hasn't), but made sure I have understood he is planning to return, and always does. He's always been very much involved in trying to solve it, but because the emotions get the upper hand I suppose it takes longer before, before he gets through all the steps? We don't fight a lot, but when it has happened that has been a typical procedure of a bad fight.

He has asked me how come I am as assertive as I am in fights with him (not letting myself get strayed away on to other topics; past or present) or as calm and I don't know if it is my old survival-instincts from how I got to be with my ex; I learned for my own good to put myself aside entirely in order to read off my ex's signals (or else me or someone else would be in more trouble) both when we were a couple and when splitting up (against his wish so he was even then more hostile and shifting; it was really scary for me, my family were so concerned even if I did not tell them much, didn't want them worried and I suppose a part of me still felt loyalty and quilt towards my ex even if he was as bad as he was, as I was the one who left and did not love him anymore, everything had finally taken a toll, sorry to get so personal).

As I was then reading off my husband I learned (long before I began to suspect he was on the autism spectrum) he was coming from a place of good, which I can't claim I experienced my ex did. I know there are always two sides of the story and I am sure had anyone asked my ex his truth would be different from mine; he's not here to defend himself. Anyways, perhaps it has been my life before with the ex that trained me in a way?

Perhaps if your husband tries to learn more about what is behind your behavior, even if it does not stop it, he will be more tolerant to it? See the good in you and what your true intent really is about?
 
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Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
I think you have been given very good advice. I will give you another one.

Your husband probably needs to mask in his work, with his family and with almost every person in his live.

The fact that he behaves diferently with you and the kids may mean that he is being himself without masks. That he consider your home to be the only place in the world where he can take off that mask and just be himself.

If you force him to mask (behave like normal people) with you, you may lose him. He need to be accepted and loved as he is. And he is autistic.

To stablish clear rules about turns is a good idea, that you learn to listen your unmasked husband is another good idea. He may take more time to express himself or to tell you things that you may consider irrelevant or too detailed. Thats how autists express themselves.

Its important for your family that he can be accepted and loved being himself.
 
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hithere

Member
Yes, I think that too, amazing how many replies I received; I didn't expect that, I have not had the time to reply to all though just yet.

I think your words are simply beautiful and I agree with you.

He has told me that he has never felt as good with anyone as around (before we became a couple) and with me; that he can just be himself, so I guess him not masking with me then is a compliment!

I could handle it most times that he changed, became different but I would ask him why that was. He would give me an evasive answer, if any. At first I thought OK, what ever, not a big deal. It has not been until lately when he has told me the real reasons for it and his past (grim) experiences. I don't think he knew himself as this masking must have, I'm thinking, began during childhood and as if he was not so aware of it then he could not answer me when I told him how different he was. It would happen automatically. I am someone who in good and bad is always me, and I would try to think of reasons as him being shy or not comfortable but there were still other things, odd things, that didn't add up. When realizing he was autistic I finally got it; it all made sense and it was this relief; I finally had my answer.

There has been one area where it mattered to me on how he behaved towards me and how that came off to others, and that he needed to be able to read off the social signals. I think he could tell how important this was to me; it had reached a critical point. He was not aware or could help how he had behaved. At the same time I did not give him the tools he needed. I did not speak in straight out words. At this time I did not know he was autistic. Then again autistic or not this was not for bargain; this effected my feelings for him. And no matter what there has to be balance in a relationship. I could let a lot of things slide, especially when understanding where it came from (the autism), but on this particular subject I needed to listen to myself as I had suffered in silence long enough. I had tried to compromise, but then learned through my pain that I couldn't compromise no more, it wasn't the right compromise to make. Our relationship did not feel whole because of it and the slow ripping of it got larger and larger in silence as time passed us by. I think sometimes when one has a strong relationship one take it for granted and let it be subjected to more than it should be. We had good areas, but this one was not one of them.

He must have understood how serious this was and he would ask me what I needed from him, and then I think he must have studied on his own on how to act right when it came to this area on his own in secret, somehow. I had given up and I only wanted to avoid this area. Me trying to avoid it so as to not make it even worse between us signaled to him he was loosing me and he was caught up in all sorts of fears. We didn't know what to do.

I was surprised to learn he has changed. I have asked him afterwards if he is masking this, and if this is now how he wants to act then he shouldn't but he says he masked before, and he did not understand where he failed to read the social cues and most important he claimed he had never wanted me to feel the way he had made me feel and wanted/wants to do everything he can to prove to me now he got it.

I am still reserved when it comes to this area, and am still used to wanting to avoid it or feel nervous about it, but he has said this has been his fault 100% and he wants to prove to me he has changed.

I do not know if this is right or wrong? Somehow when he is like that these days he still looks at me genuinely, feel as if it is him, only he is behaving differently from before. He will ask me throughout (at for instance these larger crowds, events) am I OK, am I enjoying myself. It looks as if he is not masking - in his eyes - but the rest is different than how he used to be. If he was to make any mistake I know now it is just that, a mistake, and not that he is intending to not treat me right at such functions. As he now is behaving right I do not need to be tense, insecure, humiliated, enraged when other women make a pass at him as they won't now when they know he's with me, because now he shows he is with me, he didn't before - that old masking Mr Cool - could very well be single or just have me as a friend. I could tell he would not flirt back, but it was still a close call. I still feel my heart race and me getting upset just thinking about it.
 
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Hypnalis

Well-Known Member
@hithere

Usually ND's have to figure out how to deal with NT's, because NT's are the vast majority; generally can't be bothered adjusting to NDs; and generally can't identify HFAs anyway.

You're unusual in trying to communicate well with an ND, which is great, but please be patient.

My feeling is that it takes ND's at least a decade to learn to mask (though still imperfectly). Hopefully you can proceed faster in "the other direction" (NT->ND), but I'd expect you'll still be learning and "improving" for years.

Something to think about:
To someone with limited insight into non-verbal cues and emotional signals, a lot of what NTs say is inaccurate or incomplete to the point of being only partially comprehensible. Young Aspies feel like they're lied to lot.

You can't ask someone on the spectrum to deconstruct this, and (axiomatically) they lack the communications skills to manage conversations to the point they themselves can resolve the gaps in the information flow in real time.

So there's an interesting puzzle: you know you can learn ... but from whom? AFAIK there are no teachers for ND-to-NT communications skills.


Perhaps we could talk more, but this is a big topic, and generally NT's don't want to listen ...
... most NTs who come here are either looking for simple quick fixes to difficult problems (the "pointy-headed manager" issue); or (rather comically), emotional support (/lol) because they've messed up a relationship with someone on the spectrum, and want to be told it wasn't their fault (also lol - it always absolutely was their fault).


Even so, I have some advice:
* Remove anything that isn't literally true from your speech with your husband, and make sure each statement is complete (do not assume any "non-local" context). This is much harder for an NT than it sounds.
* If you don't understand something your husband says, ask for clarification in a sensible ND-compatible way.
 
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hithere

Member
@hithere

Usually ND's have to figure out how to deal with NT's, because NT's are the vast majority; generally can't be bothered adjusting to NDs; and generally can't identify HFAs anyway.

You're unusual in trying to communicate well with an ND, which is great, but please be patient.

My feeling is that it takes ND's at least a decade to learn to mask (though still imperfectly). Hopefully you can proceed faster in "the other direction" (NT->ND), but I'd expect you'll still be learning and "improving" for years.

Something to think about:
To someone with limited insight into non-verbal cues and emotional signals, a lot of what NTs say is inaccurate or incomplete to the point of being only partially comprehensible. Young Aspies feel like they're lied to lot.

You can't ask someone on the spectrum to deconstruct this, and (axiomatically) they lack the communications skills to manage conversations to the point they themselves can resolve the gaps in the information flow in real time.

So there's an interesting puzzle: you know you can learn ... but from whom? AFAIK there are no teachers for ND-to-NT communications skills.


Perhaps we could talk more, but this is a big topic, and generally NT's don't want to listen ...
... most NTs who come here are either looking for simple quick fixes to difficult problems (the "pointy-headed manager" issue); or (rather comically), emotional support (/lol) because they've messed up a relationship with someone on the spectrum, and want to be told it wasn't their fault (also lol - it always absolutely was their fault).


Even so, I have some advice:
* Remove anything that isn't literally true from your speech with your husband, and make sure each statement is complete (do not assume any "non-local" context). This is much harder for an NT than it sounds.
* If you don't understand something your husband says, ask for clarification in a sensible ND-compatible way.
Thank you very much, yes I will try to do that.

Before I suspected or knew he was autistic that we had areas in our lives where we were on the same page, had never or very little at most been a problem of any kind and it felt as if we had understanding and respect for one another, but then these other areas where I felt lost why it was difficult. My family would always say we seemed to be so close, and we would hear that from even strangers. I think I took for granted that everything would be so easy and of course it wasn't.

I think understanding is the key and with understanding comes the true intent.

I am someone who has always been the honest kind, even been warned that I should join the game instead of being as honest as I have been, but I don't want to join no game. I can tell when people are lying to me and when they are manipulative; I became an expert of it from a previous relationship.

There has been situations where I have seen someone try to use manipulation and where I see that lots of people in the room don't see that, and my husband don't see that, but I do and I've learned I am right about this.

I have had direct, open communication with my husband on most areas; as I can't help being anything else. To me it is not that I don't see the games, it's just that I don't care about them. I am thinking because I have been that way, and he's too been that way; that that has been why we have covered the areas where things has never or been very little any kind of problem between us.

There are things I have been told are typical for autistic that I treasure. I treasure that my husband does not need to have lots of people in his life that he's gonna suck up to and that he is going to treat more important than me and our family (which is what has happened to me in a previous relationship). I love the fact that he ain't like no car dealer (manipulator and fake kind, sorry to speak this way of car dealer, it is more the concept of it, I hope I don't offend anyone).

I think in one way autistic is seen as a defect, an error, but then forgetting or minimizing the good that also comes out of it. I know when it comes to those areas I can not ever measure up; and despite my husband knowing he is like miles ahead of me, not once, not ever has he ever put me down or anyone else because of it. When I think of it he has never put anyone down. He shows more understanding, consideration, a humbleness, a craving to understand more or better, for neurotypicals than how some neurotypicals show him and other's on the autism spectrum.

It has hurt me to look at old video tapes of him from childhood; in especially one it was such a give away; a proof he was autistic, and then in the clip I heard his parent making fun of him, and then too in real life as we were watching it. Nothing had changed in all the years with that parent's attitude or knowledge. How alone he must have felt as a child growing up. There are pics of him from childhood where I can see he has that "toughen up" look to him and then as he got older the more "cool" look to him. I can't even imagine what it must have been to grow up the way he did, autistic, in that kind of environment, but he made it.

When we found out he was autistic he was more concerned about me and if it would change anything between us or if he would loose me over it and ask if I was OK with it. Other than that he said he was relieved because then he had the answers. He would say he knew he always had felt different; he had learned to be ashamed of it, that people would think he was weird because of it. One would never have guessed that from the "cool" kid.

I can tell he has this worry especially when it comes to one of the children that it will be mocked as he see a lot of himself in this child. In another he wants to stand up and protect the way he is; and how he think the child is. One time he was alarmed when I had through positive enforcement made one of the children eat something he knew this child would not before eat and he told me to never force the child to eat something, but I hadn't; it had become curious and finally taken a bite and then decided it liked it. He would then tell me they would force him or try to force him to eat what he did not want to eat and he remembered what that felt like and had promised himself no child of his would ever have to go through that.

I am gonna try to be as real, honest and have the attitude to go with it when communicating with him, from now on in all areas, and try to leave out any instant emotional reaction and with that complicate my speech, thank you for the advice.
 
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hithere

Member
I think you have been given very good advice. I will give you another one.

Your husband probably needs to mask in his work, with his family and with almost every person in his live.

The fact that he behaves diferently with you and the kids may mean that he is being himself without masks. That he consider your home to be the only place in the world where he can take off that mask and just be himself.

If you force him to mask (behave like normal people) with you, you may lose him. He need to be accepted and loved as he is. And he is autistic.

To stablish clear rules about turns is a good idea, that you learn to listen your unmasked husband is another good idea. He may take more time to express himself or to tell you things that you may consider irrelevant or too detailed. Thats how autists express themselves.

Its important for your family that he can be accepted and loved being himself.
We can just blab out and then we feel stupid when we do it. I only do it with very close friends. I am training myself to keep my mouth shut. It's taken about ten years. Some people actually think &talk at the same time. It's a verbal brainstorming but just with ourself. As most people just think then say something. So perhaps you just say look (John), I can't wait to hear your take on this, but let me finish what l need to say, then it's your turn. You may do this several hundred times but then throw in a hug or a kiss or a grilled cheese sandwich or whatever, you will be reinforcing a positive response.
Thank you, ah yes speak while thinking, that I get, that make more sense to me now, he will love a grilled cheese sandwich, that is for sure!
 

hithere

Member
I have been married for 36 years,...some 33 of those years not knowing I was on the autism spectrum. It wasn't until the past few years, that after doing some rather deep dives into the autism literature that I now know that this phenomenon you are describing is a common trait with autism. Until then, it was an ongoing difficulty,...well, it IS a CURRENT difficulty that I have simply just given up and accepted the situation,...the inability to time when to jump in and out of a normal conversation,...resulting in either delays, "stepping in" when I should not, fighting to redirect or bring up a point that I couldn't earlier (because I was being barraged with other conversation),...or simply just being mute. It is horribly frustrating if the other person is constantly accusing you of interrupting,...but also not allowing you to get a word in.

Furthermore, if there is any emotion behind those words, it literally shuts down my ability to have a logical thought, take in context and perspective, complete a sentence,...it even results in mutism. As a husband and wife team,...we DO NOT have arguments,...we have calm discussions. Emotions automatically shut down communication on many levels.

The trouble is that human communication is far more about the "pause" as a signal for the other person to jump into the conversation,...there is also a lot of non-verbal communication that nuances this,...and as an autistic, I can be aware of it,...I've literally taken courses on it,...but I do not possess the intellectual skills to process it quick enough to allow me to have a "normal" conversation. Seriously,...it can take me minutes, hours, or even days before that "light bulb" goes off in my head and I say to myself,..."That could have gone better, if I had known at the time." Yes,...an important conversation will repeat in my head, over and over, sometimes for days in order for me to process it.

An analogy: Let's say you've taken 3 years of courses learning the Spanish language,...you do well in class,...enough to give you some confidence. Then you visit Spain or Mexico or Central America, and you quickly realize the speed of the language, the accents, the dialect is coming at you at a much faster pace than you can process. You foolishly thought you were fluent in the language,...but quickly found out you really weren't. You are only picking up parts of the conversation, not knowing if or when you can jump in and say something,...your accent is different than theirs,...enough that the way you are saying it may actually mean something else in the local language, etc. Sometimes this is how it is for many autistics in terms of processing verbal and non-verbal communication,...and no matter how much learning we incorporate,...the processing speed is often insufficient. In other words, we can run the communication software,...but the processing speed of the computer may be too slow in some cases.
I really appreciate your words and thoughts and ideas about this; that you like my husband also think of it for days, in silence, and then return to it with a new knowing and especially the part where you explained it so well to me about the Spanish language. Gives me a total different perspective/understanding of it that I truly need.
 

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