Counselling for Neurotypical Spouses
Having listened to neurotypical (NT) spouses for the last 14 years, I can state with confidence that the majority of them; after they become aware of and have better understanding of the behaviors/actions of their AS partners, are not willing to "turn the other cheek": not anymore. Their 'wells' are empty from years of never being 'filled up'....by anyone. They are mere shadows of who they used to be....lonely, sad, frustrated, confused, and yes, depressed...but it is usually 'situational' depression...not clinical depression.
Cassandras/Cassanders have been stomped upon emotionally for years, they have been wrung out to dry--alone, for years, they have prayed and pleaded for guidance for years, to no avail.
AS is not something the individual with the disability can change.
It is only with understanding, support with validation that the OTRS/CP spouses will be able to find their own footing again, realize who they are and what they want out of their lives...in order for them to move forward with or without their AS spouses. They will first need support and assistance to understand how AS, after many years, has affected their outlook, perceptions of themselves within the NT-AS relationship, etc.
The 12-step program and Al-anon does nothing to help NT-AS relationships...in my humble opinion, since the groups are run by people with alcohol-drug addictions.
Autism/AS/ASDs are not 'addictions' or 'character-personality" flaws.
Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome/Cassandra Phenomenon (OTRS/CP) is not an 'addiction' or a 'character-personality' flaw.
Uninformed NT carers of those with AS are/were sucked into a caring-giving role by the AS person, to be used as a 'prompt director:' an AS ignorant replacement for their primary caregiver; their mother. (These moms didn't have the info we have today...they 'prompted'-supported-pushed, by instinct. No blame should be placed upon mothers of the past...they did the best they could, also without help or assistance.)
It is interesting to note that many AS spouses, when they learn that their NT spouses are gaining knowledge and understanding of AS, they make a unconscious (?) effort to locate another AS ignorant person, usually via the internet, someone with whom they can have another 'relationship'.... or perhaps find a professional who sympathizes with the AS person...and in the end that professional turns out to be unrecognized AS themselves.
No religion has a part in 'fixing' AS or OTRS/CP relationships. Religious counseling, marriage counseling, all counseling without AS-OTRS/CP knowledge, will ultimately fail, and in most cases, make it more difficult, frustrating, confusing for both parties. This may result in the AS spouse not willing to 'try it again' with counselors in the future, who are AS/OTRS educated.
It is always helpful for folks to have hope, and somewhere/someone to pray and share with.
There is nothing at this moment in time that will 'cure' or 'fix' AS or OTRS/CP other than the newest and latest information, along with honesty, understanding and sharing, and validation among professionals...in order for them to assist both the AS and NT viewpoints.
Copyright© June 2011 - Karen Rodman, Founder and Director of FAAAS Inc.