I've only ever heard of it. I've never personally known anyone with it.
I got an email from my sister yesterday. This is what it said:
"Below you will find a brief explanation of my recent "adventures". It has been a long road and appears that it will continue to be not only for me but also for my kids. What I am about to tell you I tell you in confidence and because my counselor has told me that I will need a strong support group. Please don't share this with the entire family as I fear there will be some that may struggle with the confidential aspect of it. I struggle with this as I do not want to do or say anything that may shed a negative light on (husband) in any way. I do love him, and though we have had our struggles and will continue to do so, I have no plans to change my relationship with him. If you do not feel you will be able to remain unbiased, please let me know. I will not be offended. I have found some relief knowing better what I am up against and will seek the help I need to in order to find the necessary coping skills for me and my emotional needs as well as to help ensure my kids get all they need. My counselor has first hand experience with my "situation" as she has with very similar experiences with her son and husband.
I will do my best to make a long story short, but it gets a little overwhelming so I apologize in advance if I get long winded.
My husband and I decided to get some marriage counseling in an effort to save the 22 years we have together. In this journey it was explained to us that he is VERY left brained and I am right brained. The left brain controls the intellect portion and the right controls the emotion. He decided after about 4 sessions that we have the tools we needed to work on things at home together (either because he was uncomfortable getting in touch with his right side, or because it was $110/hr and we are struggling.) Regardless I chose to make another appointment just for me to better understand the left brain as it has become clear that he is unable to access his right brain as it becomes very stressful for him to deal with emotions. During this session the counselor asked if I had heard of Asperger's Syndrome. She went on to explain it to me in the brief amount of time we had. It all began to make sense. Asperger's is grouped in with autism which explains so much about him. People are born with their brains wired already but without nurturing and emotional stimulation throughout childhood the right side tends to atrophy, so to speak. The trauma and abuse he dealt with forced him to put up walls and defenses and encouraged his left brain development in an effort to combat and defend his emotions. She said he is probably the most strongly left brained person she has ever met in her 30 yrs of counseling.
Though it is a relief to finally know what I am dealing with and know that it is his handicap speaking, it will require me and the kids to find coping mechanisms in order to stave off the depression. She said that we will need to remember to put up our invisible shields when he begins to say hurtful things and remind ourselves that it is his handicap and we aren't to take it personally as he is unable to understand how his words can be hurtful...hence the coping skills. I will make another appt to go back and have her show me how to do this so that I can then help my kids. It won't be easy by any means but we are all he has. I have some further studying to do to get a better understanding and grip on things, but will do my best.
How's that for "in a nutshell"?
(Husband) has not officially been diagnosed and I DID NOT tell him that I would be sharing this information, so please don't let him know I have talked to you. I do not want him to feel labelled or any more insecure than he already does. Again, I only share it in order to hopefully find the support I need as I continue this journey we call "family". If you do some research on the internet you will find very similar characteristics, and if you have any questions, please email me with them.
I love you guys and appreciate the love and support you show me and my family."
Now, I know that others here have posted about coping with children who have Asperger's Syndrome. Does anyone have experience with coping with a spouse with it? Can anyone recommend a site that might be helpful for her to get more information & understanding?
My sister has suffered with depression. Her oldest daughter was pregnant at 16 & gave the child up for adoption. That was almost 2 years ago. She's now pregnant again & got married about 6 months ago, but still behaves like she's 16. My sister has been the one carrying the responsibility of teaching the kids right from wrong, where her husband has just kind of had the "live & learn" attitude.
My BIL grew up with an alcoholic mother & an abusive father. He still suffers with flashbacks of being beaten & abused, & my sister has seen him fall into the role of his abusive father while "discliplining" their children. He doesn't get physically abusive, but the way she describes it is that when he was faced with a situation with their children like one he would've been in with his father, it was like he turned into his father. He would talk to them the way his dad would talk to him. It was scary for all of them.
It put their marriage on the rocks early on & for fear of making sure he didn't fall into that again, he just kind of backed out of the parenting part.
My sister has had to be the "rock" in their family for many years. Now that they've gotten some kind of starting point for better understanding, I wanted to see if anyone could recommend helpful sources for her/them.