Lessons learned as the wife of an Aspie… (a guest post from Kristen King)

I’ll admit, I’m not very good at this. Carlyle is the one who can write so well, but if we ever decide to write that book together, I should start writing some of this down. Raise your hand if communication between husband and wife is difficult. The whole pink versus blue thing is very real and relationships take work and effort. Now, add in Autism, which can be defined as a communication disorder. This can obviously wreak havoc and be extremely difficult for both parties. Communication is hard enough and you add in difficulty on top of that? Since everything in life requires communication of some kind, I think it’s a pretty raw deal.
Okay, so it’s hard, there are barriers, mine fields, struggles and pain. What can we learn from it? What can we DO about it? Part of the problem in communicating is that many of us, including myself, look at the incidents. X was said or X happened. We apologize, say it will never happen again or accept the apology if it happened to us. For those on the spectrum, including Carlyle, they look at every single detail of the situation. They experience and therefore have to process every minute detail. If they don’t get the time to process it in its entirety, those around them will continue (unknowingly) adding to the pain. This results in something we NT’s may see as “dwelling” on an issue. Since the issue wasn’t processed the Aspie will then return to the beginning and the cycle begins again and possibly again.. You get my point. It will continue to be brought up, until they have been able to discuss it while checking for clarification and then putting it to rest. It’s not a matter of “moving on” it’s all about healing from the scene and resetting. Carlyle can come up with great analogies, I’m going to suggest this is similar to a re-boot of a computer. The computer (brain) has to shut down or calm down and then once coming back up from a reboot, it must check through all the systems as it comes back up.
You know how an Autistic child may rock back and forth or even scream out in pain from something we (NT’s) may not even see or hear? They feel things 100x more than we do because of how their brain is wired. This same scenario is what is playing out when Carlyle is hurt, but hasn’t been able to process his feelings to completion. I have had to learn this. I’m a “fix it” personality. I like to jump in and attempt to fix the problem and move on and I’m going to assume that many NT’s are similar. What I had to learn was that I can’t fix the pain. No matter how hard I tried and we spent many years in this vicious circle. I felt like I was going to pay for something I said for the rest of my life. It seemed like we talked it to death and nothing I said helped. Here is the kicker though, once I stopped taking it personally, stopped being defensive and stopped trying to tell him why he shouldn’t be hurt and then simply listened and let him process in entirety, it was never brought up again.
Something else I’m learning from Carlyle is how to “meet” people. Carlyle has this ability to meet others in their pain. Relate in such a way that they feel heard, accepted and understood. He gets it because of the pain he has suffered, but also because he has searched for such friendship for so long. Although we all wish there wasn’t all the pain and suffering in this world, we know that’s not reality. I bet we would all agree that one of the greatest feelings when we are suffering is when we know for certain someone else gets it and can relate. The feeling that we are not alone in this battle. So, all that to say the biggest lesson I have learned is to slow down, wait, listen to understand, check for understanding and slooooow down some more. Did I mention slow down?

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8 Comments

Filed under About Asperger's Syndrome

8 responses to “Lessons learned as the wife of an Aspie… (a guest post from Kristen King)

  1. DeAnna

    Very well said…written 😉 I have always admired your marriage and the way you love one another.

  2. You write from the heart. There are a great many lessons that you have taught me regarding communication. A great lady that has made a difference in my life. Example you say? Well, one thing I have learned is how to greet people. Do not overwhelm, be patient,etc. You teach by a loving example, a strong, self determined example. One does ramble when one is old

  3. Heather

    ❤ ❤ ❤ !!! Such a great post. That helps me to understand my son a little better.

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