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mind blindness - does anything really work?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

has anyone found anything that really helps for mind blindness? 

 

i'm kinda at my wits end with my DH. he has asperger's and lacks empathy and the ability to be truly considerate of others. it's really affecting our marriage and it's starting to really cause problems with the kids. 

 

i am wonder if there is *anything* he/me/we can do to make this better. 

post #2 of 27

He has to become self motivated to learn this.

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

he has said to me in the past he wishes he were able to be more empathetic. but he's never been able to follow through on any of the stuff i found on developing empathy for NTs. it doesn't make any sense to him. is there anything like this that makes more sense to people with AS? i told him something that happened that other day and he very carefully said "that must have sucked." but it wasn't very believable with his tone of voice. BUT at least he's trying. and he recognized it as a situation he should be empathetic in. but he still seems really lost. 

 

 

post #4 of 27

I like reading books about relationships and communication skills.  It doesn't really matter which books in particular, they are all good.  Love Languages, and Difficult Conversations are a couple I really like. 

post #5 of 27

I'm current in therapy to work on coping skills and remedial social skills training for my AS, but he absolutely needs to want to develop more successful techniques. To be honest, if I didn't have kids, I wouldn't want to change anything at all, but I'm aware that many aspie moms can grow quiet cold and distant once the infant years are over, so I'm kind of preemptively working on that.

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

hmmmm my DH has read a number of books (he hates non-fiction) but they seem to have no affect on him at all. shrug.gif it's like he can't make a connection between what he reads and how he acts. 

post #7 of 27

Better than books, I find, are movies and tv shows- especially subtitled foreign ones, as it's much harder to connect the words to the facial expressions. It really makes you work to figure out what motivates people when you have to dual-process. If he's not a big fan of subtitled movies, watching any decent drama, thriller, or mystery show/movie with an in-tune neurotypical can also help you sort out all the meanings, but the aspie needs to be open to admitting that they don't understand what's going on- something most of us have actively worked to avoid doing.

 

If you can find a therapist with experience in working with adult aspies, I would really push you in that direction. If you can get DH to agree to go to one session, hopefully the therapist can speak his language and explain why it's so very important for him to learn some new coping skills.

 

One of my pet interests is child development, so I'm very aware of how kids are impacted by their upbringing, and am aware of my role as a mother. Getting him to see the impact his parenting will have on the kids long-term, I think, is your first hurdle. Once he gets it, it might be easier for him to get help. It's a tall hurdle, though. People, NT and AS, don't like thinking they're bad at something, especially not parenting. I wish I had more advice, but I don't know what kind of person your DH is like, and you know what they say- if you've met one person with Asperger's, you've met one person with Asperger's.

 

Good luck to you!

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post

I'm current in therapy to work on coping skills and remedial social skills training for my AS, but he absolutely needs to want to develop more successful techniques. To be honest, if I didn't have kids, I wouldn't want to change anything at all, but I'm aware that many aspie moms can grow quiet cold and distant once the infant years are over, so I'm kind of preemptively working on that.



so interesting erin. i am still on the fence about my mom having AS. so many things fit perfectly. i was adopted and i think my mom was pretty lost. my dad was the really attentive one when we were babies. he did the night time parenting. (this was a long time ago... in the 60s, so i think it's pretty weird) i always joke my mom took a permanent mental vacation when i was about 7. but really she was mostly checked out my entire childhood. i was the kid who never had a bath, clean clothes, a signed permission slip, my homework done on time, the project done when it was supposed to. even now i mistake attention for love. and once, i said something about not really remembering her to be physically affectionate when i was little, and she blew up at me and said that she was very sorry but there was no way anyone could have held and cared for me like i wanted. ouch. this is  like my DH too, his perception and my reality are just worlds apart. since he's always overwhelmed, he always feels like he's doing way more than he should... where as i see him doing very little. it's such a frustrating disconnect. 

post #9 of 27

My son learned his theory of the mind in speech therapy. His speech therapist presented lots of stories with pictures and some dialogue and then discussed with DS what the people in the story were thinking.  At home, we practiced this some more with a social skills picture book that showed both actions and thought bubbles. I am positive that a speech therapist could do this with an adult as well as a child.

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post

Better than books, I find, are movies and tv shows- especially subtitled foreign ones, as it's much harder to connect the words to the facial expressions. It really makes you work to figure out what motivates people when you have to dual-process. If he's not a big fan of subtitled movies, watching any decent drama, thriller, or mystery show/movie with an in-tune neurotypical can also help you sort out all the meanings, but the aspie needs to be open to admitting that they don't understand what's going on- something most of us have actively worked to avoid doing.

 

 


good idea! i wonder what i can talk Dh into watching with me. he watches only horror and adventure. i wonder if he would watch dramas? 

 

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post


good idea! i wonder what i can talk Dh into watching with me. he watches only horror and adventure. i wonder if he would watch dramas? 

 



I'm not a huge drama fan (though I've just gotten into Mad Men) but well-crafted films/shows of all generes should have a compelling level of human interaction. If he likes sci-fi at all Battlestar Galactica is GREAT and there were a number of times I had to ask STBX-DH "Why is she making that face?" etc. That said, I'm a horror buff and there's a dearth of good, relationship-heavy genuine horror. The Walking Dead (AMC series) is incredible- zombies and complex characters. I'll think on it for a bit and get back to you, if you wish!

 

 

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

yeah, he *hated* the walking dead! LOL. 

 

you know what else he likes? shows like cops, judge judy, dog, repo, and other "reality" shows that make me run screaming from the room..... 

post #13 of 27

Would he watch a crime drama like CSI?

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

yeah, he *hated* the walking dead! LOL. 

 

you know what else he likes? shows like cops, judge judy, dog, repo, and other "reality" shows that make me run screaming from the room..... 


how about "the wire"?  That's a police procedural (i guess) but it's also drama with a lot of interpersonal interactions.

 

post #15 of 27

I know this has been an inactive thread for a couple of days, but I was thinking about this.  OP, how much do you just use words with your DH?  He needs to really work on his mind blindness, but sometimes people without ASD or non-verbal deficits need to work on using words.  I've really brought my ASD son along by just telling him explicitly what I'm feeling or doing, or describing the actions of others as best as I can tell.  It also trains me to be clear about what I say.  If you tell him directly how you feel, or what you would like him to do for you and the family, I'm sure he'd eventually absorb some patterns of what behaviors connect to what feelings or other's expectations of response.  Try "When the kids cry, they like you to give them a little hug and ask if they are OK" (just an example) rather than "Can't you be more caring to the kids?"  Maybe you already use words a lot, but if you don't, realize that they are a necessary means of getting the idea across for anybody who has difficulties with nonverbal communication.  Also, avoid thinking stuff is common sense.  Your idea of common sense and his might be vastly different.  I have way less trouble than my ASD son but I still get in trouble in new work situations when people give me incomplete information and think my common sense will fill it in.  It can be very frustrating to tell people, "But which action wasn't nice".  Your DH might not be at the point where he's ready to admit he doesn't even know what he did wrong when you're upset with him.

 

Another thing about empathy is that people with Asperger's may have it and show it differently.  I'm going to see if I can find you a link to a blog where I found a really good description of this.  For example (thinking of the blog here) a man might see his wife fall down and hurt her ankle.  He helps her up, asks if she can walk on it, and then she says "Yes, I'm OK".  If the wife is fully adjusted to dealing with someone with Asperger's, she realizes that by seeing she wasn't injured seriously, this was a form of empathy.  If she's not used to dealing with Asperger's, she says to herself  "He didn't even give me an extra hug or slow down walking for me".

 

I think it's a two way street when married to someone special needs.  You both need to work on yourselves.

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

 

I think it's a two way street when married to someone special needs.  You both need to work on yourselves.



i agree. i am working hard to try and understand my DH. it's hard right now for me to accept he has a permanent condition that will never go away. when i say it in my head, it still hurts in my heart. so i am still trying to get there. it's a hell of a lot of work, esp. when he is not so interested in seeing he could *improve.* to him, it's still everyone else. i have one special needs kid, and another who is a serious handful. and so i feel like i have very little left for my DH. esp. when he is so demanding of me. i *get* that this is his way of coping that he learned from when he was small. but it still grates on me when he can't/won't make himself lunch or give our daughter a bath. intellectually i know (now) that it's because he is too overwhelmed, it's just hard to accept sometimes, yk? 

 

post #17 of 27

My DH has Asperger's - self diagnosed. Well, me diagnosed. He read the list of stuff for adults with AS and grudgingly agreed that the shoe fit. Anyway, I found that it helped me change my expectations of what he's capable of and what he should or shouldn't be able to manage. Part of this is him, for sure. But part of it is you, too. You need to look at him and see what his limitations are and work to adapt where you can. It's made me, for example, feel less guilty about taking time for me. He used to complain that *he* never got to have Guys' Night. I'd point out that he was welcome to take time for himself. Then he'd counter with "I haven't got anybody I'd want to do that with." I used to feel bad about that. Then I realized that his choices were his to make and mine were in my own realm.

 

Determine what you want from the relationship given that you're living with someone who has deficits. But consider that you can't make him be someone he's not.

 

Edited to add: here's a link to a blog on autism and empathy: http://www.autismandempathy.com/

 

I wanted to echo some of Farmer Beth's comments around Aspies having trouble processing the information overload and therefore seeming to lack empathy. Something I learned about DH is, for example, when we're arguing, he gets really cold and distant. After reading an article about empathy and AS, I realized he may be shutting down because of the volume of the emotions I was putting towards him. I gave him the article and he totally agreed that this was what was happening for him. He just couldn't handle what I was giving him in terms of the emotions. After that, I changed how I approach him when we disagree.

 

Also, we have been engaging in Positive Behavioral Support as a strategy with DD to help reinforce more appropriate behavior in her. Well, I have started using it on him and it works amazingly well on him, too. Go figure!


Edited by beachcomber - 1/30/12 at 9:34am
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachcomber View Post

 

 

Also, we have been engaging in Positive Behavioral Support as a strategy with DD to help reinforce more appropriate behavior in her. Well, I have started using it on him and it works amazingly well on him, too. Go figure!



thanks for this link! all the rest of what you wrote. yup. it's where i have been at since this past summer when i realized everything about him that completely baffled me fit very neatly into the AS box. looking at things in the context of NVC.... i am running on empty right now, and that is a big part of why i tend to get frustrated rather than feel compassionate. i am also realizing my mom likely has AS too. my first H was a sociopath (i don't mean this is hyperbole, he was for real). learning that my second H is also not capable of being who i wanted him to be was (is) a huge blow to me. i am still reeling inside from it and trying to incorporate into my understanding of my marriage and what i want from my life. it's been tough. but i *am* trying! however, i do believe i can never really ever be exactly who my husband expects/wants/desires me to be. we are just too different. i just wish he would stop being angry at me for it. 

post #19 of 27

You're welcome. We have to help each other as much as we can, hey?

 

Something else I've really tried to take on board as part of my daily life is to make time for me. Even if it's 5 minutes and a cup of tea or my favorite kind of tea instead of the cheap stuff. Just that one little thing makes a difference in my day. I'm often running on empty as well and I know that when I don't work on myself - time, special little things I can do for me, getting a 5 minute break once a day, etc., - I run dry and then the whole house falls apart. It's hard when everything hinges on our ability to cope. But we're the moms. It always falls to us, no matter how involved our partners or extended family may be. We still have to duct tape the family together.

 

So, try to make even 5 minutes and a up of tea for you each day. One little thing can make a big difference to your outlook.

post #20 of 27

I also want to add taht you have some damage to work through with your first relationship. Your ex was a major problem. That doesn't mean your DH is equally dysfunctional. He has deficits, yes. But that doesn't equate what you had to handle before. Try to look at DH independently of your ex. Hard as that is. I have my own issues with my ex who had a lot of aberrant behavior - addicted to sex, junk, drugs, alcohol, a non-coper, etc. It took me a long time to get over the damage to myself I let that relationship cause. If you can, do that work. Try to put your ex and your life with him in the past, where it belongs.

 

You totally have my support and my empathy in what you've had to manage.

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