Eva Mendes, LMHC, NCC is a skilled and experienced couples’ counselor working with couples where one or both partners have Asperger Syndrome, and are on the Autism Spectrum (diagnosed or undiagnosed). She works with adults with Asperger Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder), High-functioning Autism, ADHD, Non-verbal Learning Disability, PDD NOS, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, and gifted individuals. Eva also works with women with Asperger Syndrome.
Originally from Mumbai, India, Eva works with people and couples from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Your Aspergers Marriage Questions
Three of you in the Thrive with Aspergers audience asked questions about Aspergers and marriage.
Here were the three marriage questions:
Question 1: Aspergers, Marriage, and Communication:
This fall I will have been married for 25 years. Shortly after our youngest child was diagnosed, 10 years ago, my husband realised that he has Aspergers too. We have 2 big communication problems.
1.During a conversation his thinking is so fast in a direction that I am not headed, and he will get angry. He will accuse me of going there and then not believe me when I tell him that is not what I was thinking. He thinks so very fast. And I just sit there confused as to why he thinks I am against him. How do I get him to be in the same moment with me?
And 2. Often, he misinterprets the “tone” in my voice to mean -he is not good enough. I have never thought that nor have I said it. He is actually hearing frustration or exhaustion or irritation, often not about him at all but the kids, or the dog or whatever! He then gets defensive and withdraws and shuts down. I cannot stand the shut down as it can last days. And it always involves his misinterpretation of me. In recent years, I badger him into discussing what is going on in his head, so we have understanding within a few hours not days. This process is exhausting for me, him too. Is there another communication-resolution-method that would short circuit his defense withdraw/shut down and prevent the exhaustion of his misunderstanding ?
Question 2: Online Curriculum?
Is there a program or at-home curriculum you can recommend? My husband is willing to learn more about his diagnosis, and I am a 20 year educator who has worked with many autistic children. I have found resources appropriate for children, but none for an adult.
Question 3: Aspergers and Emotions
Aren’t Aspies deficient in picking up on the emotions of others? I thought this was a given, until i listened to one of your earliest podcasts, and you seemed to be saying the opposite, as if they have a special ability to sense the emotional state of others. I know I give off no clues that I feel any emotions, usually. On the other hand, I’ve sometimes thought I was more emotional than usual, and did have some sense that most people didn’t about such things. I don’t think my wife has much clue about my ability to feel things, and it’s true I usually try to live free of my feelings. It’s much more comfortable that way. Even replaying pleasant memories is so haunting, often, as you know it’s a world we are excluded from (the past).
The Why behind defensiveness in many Aspergers/NS (non spectrum) relationships
The concept of emotional bandwidth, and how to expand tolerance to talk about emotions.
How positive psychology can help both you and your partner appreciate each other and life more fully
How to lower anxiety about communication so that you can listen to each other more effectively.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."