My name is Gary and I am a new member as of today. My wife and I have been married for over 20 years now (second time around for both of us) and it is because of her that I am here.
My eldest daughter has been diagnosed with Aspergers as was her former husband. She is now divorced from him because of his unreasonable behaviour due to Aspergers.
I am 64 years of age and have known for several years, probably since a teenager, that something was 'not quite right' with me. I had no clue what it was and it did get me into a lot of difficulties as a teenager but of course, back then, not many people understood what Autism was let alone HF Autism like Aspergers. So I have lived most of my life not understanding some of my odd behaviour and the 'melt downs' that I suffered over the years, as I described it as like someone 'throwing a switch' and, when it was all over, not knowing why I had 'blown my top' over something so trivial.
My wife's persistence in trying to find out what was going on, seeking medical intervention by my GP, the MentalHealth Crisi team and some psychiatric analysis, failed to identify my issue despite suggestions I had Bi Polar and concluding I was suffering from complex PTSD! However a chance viewing of a video on you tube led her to look into the whole aspect of Aspergers, which for her seemed to tick all the boxes that explained my behaviour. I am exceptionally grateful that she has 'stuck it out' as I have no doubt that a lesser woman would have given up on me years ago and chosen a different route without me.
As of today, having spoken to my eldest daughter and asking her bluntly if she thought I had Aspergers, I was shocked by the response of 'yes dad, you have had it for years!' When I think back to how I behaved towards my kids at times, I broke down in tears. It has been very difficult coming to terms with how my behaviour has affected my children and my first marriage.
Ok, so I haven't had a professional diagnosis but having watched the same you tube videos as my spouse, read some of the 'signs and symptoms' of Aspergers, I have to conclude that indeed it is my issue.
I am here to learn much more about this misunderstood condition and to try and find strategies to alleviate, as far as possible, those behaviours that have damaged my relationships. My wife has been an absolute rock and my eldest daughter, because of her diagnosis, understands what I am going through right now in trying to rationalise what has happened over the years.
Thanks for listening.
Your introduction is very thorough and I can certainly recognise myself in some of what you've said.
I guess you've already found some books about marriage where one individual is on the spectrum?
BlueRay and others will be along in a minute to give you better advice than I can.
A lot of us on here are newly diagnosed later in life and it does seem to be a revelation for everyone - even those of us who were expecting it!
It's certainly allowed me to re-evaluate my whole life and see it through a different lens. There are a lot of 'should've', 'would've', could've' moments but there's no point in going over the past or beating ourselves up over it. I believe it will do me and my family a lot more good for me to try to understand this diagnosis and what it means NOW so that I can, hopefully, make more informed choices from now on. (And maybe a couple of apologies / explanations to my nearest and dearest.)
This chat forum has been of enormous help in that. I hope that you will find it just as useful. It's a lot to take in!
Thank you for your response. The 'should've', 'would've', 'could've' part resonated completely with me and looking back I had a lot to apologise for. I do understand you can't take back what you've done or said, but the understanding of my loved ones, who have taken the brunt of my behaviour, was really important to me so that I could move forward. In this regard my eldest daughter has been crucial as her understanding and knowledge of the condition has helped me put everything in perspective. Her main comment was, "Dad, don't beat yourself up about it, you couldn't help it so it wasn't really your fault was it?" She said she had spoken to her siblings about it and they too felt the same way that she does. Sadly their mother will probably never forgive me, though I am not seeking it from her, as there were too many other issues that brought our relationship to an end. I am just grateful that my spouse has 'hung in there' so that we can both look forward to a happier and more fulfilling future.
Well met, Gary, you're not alone.
My youngest son, as a toddler, didn't like me for a period of two to three months. Then the trust came back. It's heartbreaking. I probably did something wrong, looked wrong, stared wrongly... Luckily it came back. He's 13, so all weird behaviour is consided 'that age'...
My daughter told me it's obvious that it takes me a lot more time to react to emotional news than your average human being. She told me it's obvious that I care, but in the moment, it's weird for everybody around... like I'm on another planet for a while, and only seconds later come back...
Weird how everybody knows and still it takes so much courage to tell the person...
Strange also that lots of people only go for a diagnosis after their 40's... I have this theory that in your 40's you run out of excuses... Until then you have the 'it's stress from the career, it's stress from the mortage, it's stress from the young children, ...
your story relates with my own, the feeling every body knows a stain on your back, but no body tells that. I'm 56, in second marriage, my daughter 18, in past 5 years things vent bad with acceleration, employment, relationships, divorce in the air, thanks for internet, a year ago I've picked on videos things it resonates with me, and I've realized I got it all my life. It takes me 3 months from first GP visit to day someone agrees to send a refer for Asperger, still waiting. Not sure what to do that next, everything is sooo slowly. At the moment I do self education from internet, signet to talking therapies, but in two months just several short meetings and no specialized therapist yet. I would appreciate for some information, is there some groups, meetings, community around.
I’m not sure I or anyone else can give ‘better’ advice than you DongFeng, I think we all simply draw on our experiences and offer them up with the intention of being of some help, but thank you for the mention.
I, like many others on here are in a similar position as you Gary, and I have learned and continue to learn so much from the good people on this site. Probably the best thing I could say to you right now, would be to follow your daughters advice, be easy on yourself, expect some bumps along the way and remember that while it’s ok to make amends to people for harm we may have caused, we don’t have to keep on paying for it (by torturing ourselves endlessly) besides which, we did our best and had we known better we would have done better.
...or the local mental health team have finally got sick of seeing you as a "repeat customer" for decades. That's how it happened for me - I never could get my life together enough to experience stress from career, mortgage, marriage, children etc. as I never had those things.
Friends and family were always well aware of how much I struggled with the "normal" expectations of the world around me. I don't suppose I'll ever know what explanations they had for this, but nobody ever suggested autism, even though I have both a family member and a friend who have worked as support workers with autistic children and adolescents. It's one of the many downsides of learning to "pass" so well, I suppose - many of us have made a rod for our own back that way, I suspect.