1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

How do I navigate conflict with my Aspie husband.

Discussion in 'Site Questions, Suggestions & Feedback' started by Catherine Crowne, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    My husband avoids conflict at all costs. I don’t like it much, either but sometimes we have issues.
    He either won’t respond or he gets sarcastic and accusatory.
    A few times in our 5 year relationship, he has spoken with me (briefly) about issues.
    He feels I am way too emotional.
    I think It’s because I have compensated for his lack of emotion.
    I have worked on my issues with emotions getting the best of me and I do pretty well. (Therapy and meds) oh and practice
    How can I discuss conflict????
    I stuff so much frustration that it is giving me a lot of anxiety.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,697
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,307
    Have you taken any critical thinking or logic courses? You could do so online with some of the courses offered though places like Coursera. Some are free.

    It's something I did many years ago, to stay within the framework of argumentation. That way it was less he said and she said, and more to the point. There was less difficulty with discussing important issues, and achieving peace.

    I'm an Aspie married to an Aspie, and our early arguments were emotional and difficult at times. I'm still emotional, it's not a character flaw, it's part of who people are.

    You might read here from some threads about relationships: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/.../201405/free-marriage-advice-aspergers-adults
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    Thank you! I will take your advice. I do have a problem staying on subject.
    I am looking up the courses on Coursera in critical thinking and logic. Also I will look at the link. Thank you, again.
     
  4. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    I personally don't avoid discussion and emotion, so can't speak from personal insight. I hope someone with personal experience will be here soon.

    From what I gather sometimes aspies freeze and avoid such discussion because their emotion is too intense or it triggers too high an anxiety and they simply can't handle it. So I suppose the solution is to somehow de escalate and render it less intense and frightening. Maybe you should try some bonding activities, something that gets you more relaxed and connected, in a state when he could engage. It's about managing the emotional arousal - not too high to trigger anxiety, not too low, so he can hardly react.

    Maybe you need to agree the agenda in advance, so there is time to reflect, so it is not too unstructured and unpredictable, give him some control. Put some selling on it, that you will discuss some issues, but not further than certain point, so basically it will not blow out into a nuclear cloud... 'I hate you and I am leaving you right now' sort of thing.

    Maybe sit looking in the same direction, but not face to face, although it depends.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    Hmm. Ok. I certainly need to learn and hone some skills, as I get so frustrated and hurt when he just can not communicate.
    Before I realized what I believe is going in with him, I remember even telling him that I was “so linely”. I couldn’t understand why he could not address that.
    Anyway, I digress. (All the time)
    It’s tough, he is a stubborn one.
     
  6. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +660
    You have to remember that most of us take things very literally. Body language, double meanings, linguistic subtleties, reading between the lines, all tend to be be meaningless. We do have sarcasm, but it also can be missed when directed to us. You have probably noticed, to put it bluntly, he is likely emotionally crippled. It is not that he doesn't want to communicate and relate to you, he just doesn't know how, and that makes him frustrated. In order to really understand and relate to him, you have to first understand all these factors.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    367
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +851
    My reactions vary. Rarely, I have outbursts (I'm ADHD combined type, and I think that my angry outbursts are due to that part of me), depending on what causes me to have a tantrum, who causes it, etc. When my husband (who has ADHD, inattentive type, but he's not on the spectrum) says or does something that for whatever reason, I take great offense to, I find that I shut down. He asks me what's wrong, and I am unable to speak. He's learned over the years that the best way our issues can get resolved is to leave me alone for at least a good hour or two. It could be longer depending on how deeply offended I get by what he's said or done. I use that time to be completely alone so I can sort out what I am feeling and why. I also use that time to try to gather myself and find a way I can talk about it effectively and in a way that he can understand. He lets me be the one to initiate revisiting the problem. I don't know if this kind of thing would work for you two, but it might be worth a shot.

    I can only speak for myself, but when I have a meltdown like that, it's because my emotions are so intense that I am physically unable to respond. I go into an almost extreme dissociated state, where I don't sense anything anymore until I've processed why I got so deeply hurt. Maybe his displays and accusations of you "being too emotional" are just his way of trying to fend off the intense emotions? The emotions really are highly unpleasant, and we do come up with various ways in either trying to avoid them, or ride them out.
     
  8. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    Was it in another thread of yours that I said something about the dynamic of action and counteraction and mind games? Not everything is down to ASC. Some of the things that are going on are the same as in all NT relationships.

    He might be overreacting, being sensitised, triggered when you start the subject and be deliberately blocking it. He may show this by showing nothing, being quiet, so you might misinterpret it as not being emotional and not caring.

    Not trying to be obtuse, but from his perspective, how can you be lonely if he is there, in front of you? Just a thought.
    How do you want him to react to that?

    Of course he is confused and freaking out about it.

    From his point of view it might sound as if his presence in body and mind doesn't count, you are looking through him.

    Do you know how HE expresses his love? How he communicates, his signals? Not some NT expectation or preference you might have, but the reality of how HE expresses his love and attention to you?

    Do you register those signals? Do you engage with them?

    What does he talk about when he is relaxed? What does he talk about when you say you are lonely?
     
  9. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,697
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,307
    You're welcome. One of the things I meant to mention before. Early on in marriages and relationships when there are arguments, it is more a matter of figuring things out over time. It's learning what you and the other person thinks, wants, and most relationships do have these kinds of things happening.

    If you were not arguing, it would mean that you had given up and that you don't care. This does not seem to be the case, you want the relationship to work.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    Maybe this is the problem. You never communicate what you really think / feel.

    Please don't digress (all the time).I think it is really important to communicate your needs and discuss things openly and assertively. Otherwise it it might feel like manipulative mind games, which would trigger a reaction from him of indeed blanking out and avoiding any discussion.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    I understand you are telling me he doesn’t know how. Then how can I help? And how do I learn how to communicate with him??? I am super confused.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    Ok. I am “listening” to you.
    I think I know how he shows love for me.
    He loves to cook, so he cooks a lot. And I always let him know I appreciate it.
    He really likes music (so do I), so he and I go to music shows. We like movies (foreign and indie), so he finds these movies and we watch them. It’s his thing to find the cool movie.
    As for feeling lonely. I see what you are saying.
    But, it does feel lonely when you share a hurtful thing or even a headache and he doesn’t reply.
    It feels lonely when you share an important thing and he doesn’t ask about it.
    It feels that you are frustrated that I don’t “get him”, and I don’t, but I want to. I guess it feels as if he doesn’t want to know me.
    I read from various sources that Aspies really have so much love inside and empathy and generosity.
    I feel that from him many times.
    I know his favorite subjects (sports, food, beer, music) and when he is relaxed he shares with me. I respond, ask questions. Etc.
    I don’t get the same when I want to talk. And that hurts.
    I feel like I might as well just go to someone else for conversation and feedback. But I don’t want to because I’m afraid it would hurt him.
    Plus I want to connect with him.
    IDK. It’s just confusing. I know what you are saying, that it is confusing for him.
    I’m trying.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  13. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    Ok, that helps me. Straight, easy advice. I need to work on asking directly for what I want as I was raised in a home where honesty about feelings and needs were met with negativity. So it’s a great learning opportunity. I hope he can be patient with that.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    Ok. So I am beginning to understand that I need to back off wanting to know everything NOW. I want it all on the table, NOW.
    Well, big learning opportunity for me. I am afraid I will fail him. That makes me sad. So how do I help him develop emotionally?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Catherine Crowne

    Catherine Crowne Look through the eyes of change

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Karma:
    +96
    I DO care. I want this to work. But I feel like I am the only one. I feel he could just walk away.
    I mean he’s here.
    We have separated 3 times now. But I didn’t know what I do now.
    I don’t want to leave. But I need help. I also want to know how to make his life easier and peaceful. And I don’t believe the answer is to just leave him alone. And/or not expect some things from him that may be difficult for him.
    I am doing difficult. I would like to feel more secure that he wants “us” too.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  16. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,697
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,307
    You might want to think about the things he does, that he does not have to do. Whatever that might be, the things that are usual when the two of you are together in the same place. Consider those as examples of his care for you, not overtly expressed. Also, try and discover what he wants in the relationship, what his expectations are.

    It might be a good idea for you to read a few of these as well:

    Negotiating needs between AS/NT partners
    I said one thing, he understood another thing. Me NT he AS. I need some light here...
    Husband shuts down very badly
     
  17. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    Such fantastic advice and resources are available on this site!

    Mia, I couldn't stop smiling at the story with hamburgers...

    A lot of relationship issues are also about the human condition..
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    OP, in relation to your current situation, the above stands out for me.

    The important thing I feel is to not over generalise and over simplify. People are complex. Relationships are complex. There is a lot of advice and insight here, so indeed you cannot possibly take it all in at once and sort out what is going on with your H unilaterally. You can only truly understand by involving him and this requires lowering his defences and barriers to start the conversations.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +388
    I know of people who find this book helpful to start addressing differences in perspective and perceptions between people in relationships. It is not specific about AS/NT, but people on the spectrum report it to be helpful to discuss with NT partners.

    https://amzn.to/2vacQl6
     
  20. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,138
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +3,267
    It isnt up to you to help him develop emotionally. It isnt up to you to decide if that is what he needs or wants.
    You have needs he isnt able to meet, you both are different, that doesnt make him in need of “fixing”.
     
    • Like Like x 1