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Successful therapy in Aspie/NT's relationships

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by Mia, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Years ago, my husband and I attempted therapy several times with different therapists in order to help our marriage. The first was a Catholic marriage counselor, in fact a priest, who advised us on our marriage. He seemed more concerned with church doctrine that our marriage. The second was a female physiologist with a private practice who made us read 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.' Which didn't help us problem solve in any way. The third was also a private psychologist with specialization in relationships. None of the three made mention of autism as a factor in the relationship, or in fact even noticed the stimming or the anxiety.

    Recently I've been reading about actual therapists who specialize in Aspie/NT relationships and I came across this quite good advice:

    "The truth is that Asperger's, and its impact on relationships with self and others, is poorly understood, especially by many clinicians. And certainly no clinician should ever give a prediction for an individual's lifelong functioning, especially if that person has never been evaluated. Aspie couples come to therapy looking for tools and answers, and are often instead given prescriptions for hopelessness. It's one thing to talk conservatively about treatment goals; it's another thing to throw out goals altogether.

    Therapists often tell clients married to ASD adults that their partner cannot feel empathy and cannot truly love. Perhaps the reason I take such exception to this kind of dangerous feedback is that it's simply not true. All of my clients feel empathy, and all are capable of love. In fact many times my Aspie clients are shocked to find that their partner's faith in their love and loyalty can be compromised by a forgotten good-bye or missed eye-contact. One Aspie partner remarked: "How can our whole relationship hang by a thread? It makes me afraid to open my mouth for fear I'll accidentally destroy my marriage." Of course this anxiety furthers ASD clients' reluctance to establish connection, which furthers their partners' feelings of being ignored or neglected.


    Partners with Asperger's have often spent a lifetime making unpredictable relationship mistakes that carry real repercussions. When the probability is high that your efforts to connect will be met with rejection, it's awfully hard to justify the logic of continuing to try. Successful relationship therapy involves identifying triggers so that both partners can work towards feeling safe together. This is the foundation of building connection." ASPIE STRATEGY: The Hidden Autistics IV: Relationship Counseling
    Autistic Empathy: ASPIE STRATEGY: The Hidden Autistics II: Asperger's in Adults and Empathy


    What do you think? Understanding one another's' triggers' may help in relationships, and the longevity of them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  2. Ambi

    Ambi Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad someone is doing this. Sarah Hendrickx has written a book about the subject of NT/ASD relationships as well. The links you provided are going to make me reconsider my "empathy journey" - it would take a lot of reflection and trying to remember my past, though - not sure if I have the energy for it just now, but interesting links.
     
  3. Warmheart

    Warmheart Something nerdy this way comes V.I.P Member

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    I love that quote.
    I’m glad someone is looking at our styles of communication and engagement with an open mind, and an open heart.
     
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  4. Gritches

    Gritches The Happy Dog V.I.P Member

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    One Aspie partner remarked: "How can our whole relationship hang by a thread? It makes me afraid to open my mouth for fear I'll accidentally destroy my marriage."

    Wow, this sums up exactly how I've felt in all my relationships, like I'm trying to navigate a minefield with no map. Makes me want to just stand in one spot and not move, not take any chances. Doesn't make for a healthy relationship imo.
     
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  5. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it is for good reason I am alone. Maybe it's not so bad after all. I am not sure I could live that way anymore...............
     
  6. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I wish I could find a relation therapist in my area that's knowledgeable on the subject of autism as well. I'm afraid if I go to one without autism qualification, it won't be helpful at all and my boyfriend will refuse to go after one session.
     
  7. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So the question might be at this point, what makes us feel safe? Developing a list of internal measures to make us feel that we are safe, would help. And understanding triggers, would be important.

    So being aware and attempting to understand what it is we are feeling at the time or later should be worked out. Have difficulty knowing and understanding what it is that I'm feeling at the moment, or during that time. Usually I feel uncomfortable, but I don't initially know why, until much later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  8. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Triggers are normal, enduring vulnerabilities from moments in our past that escalate interactions in the present. They are normal because we all have them, and while their impact can be managed, they can rarely be eliminated.
     
  9. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    I sure would like the answer to "what makes us feel safe?" but also "what makes us feel loved?" as well as "what makes us feel accepted?" because I want my "aspie" friend to feel safe, accepted and loved. He has said he feels comfortable & safe but I want more for him. He hasn't felt accepted or loved very much in his life.
     
  10. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Think that might be different for each and every person. Feel safe in my own environment, with quiet and peace and well-known parameters. Probably like many people do. A predictable and known universe, where I can control the stimulus that makes it's way in to a certain extent. Also feel safe in my car, on my bike, out walking on a forest path, but not as much as I do in my own home.
    That's not to say that I don't feel comfortable in a tent or cabin, while camping, it simply takes a bit longer to adjust to my surroundings. I feel safe even peaceful when doing the things I like to do, especially sketching or painting. When I do those things that require hours of extreme focus, where time doesn't exist, I feel centered and I feel safe.
     
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  11. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Are they? Do they trigger meltdowns in N/T's?
    A meltdown is when a person with autism or Asperger's temporarily loses control because of emotional responses to environmental factors. They aren't usually caused by one specific thing. Triggers build up until the person becomes so overwhelmed that they can't take in any more information. It has been described as feeling like a can of cola that has been shaken up, opened and poured out, emotions flowing everywhere.

    I'm glad aspies have something in common with neurotypicals.
     
  12. flawedplan

    flawedplan Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's such a buzzword, but simply put triggers activate intense, buried psychological phenomena. If we bring that material to light we can be less triggered going forward. I never met anyone who didn't have this kind of baggage.

    I'm neurodiverse and have experienced meltdowns.