I believe my husband is autistic - symptons??

My husband is 50 years of age. He is incredibly academically intelligent but socially he is totally inept although he is a brilliant teacher! I find him overally aggressive, nothing is ever his fault it is always 'why are you being so nasty' He is quite a routine person, never seems to able to see the other side and at times frightens me with his unpredictable reactions. He has been through a a fair few trying years but I do not think his behaviour for somebody so intelligent is at all rational. He is obsseisive about collecting books and CDs he does not always read or CDs he never plays! He is work obsessive and if something goes wrong or he thinks people are against him he becomes very irrational and goes on for hours!!!! He seems tobe so angry and fed up. He has become so detached from me I simply do not know what to do.

I am a SEN teacher and teach in a Pupil Referral Centre so, I am well versed with these issues and consider myself to be open minded but I know very little about adult especially of this age? He will not seek any help or advice and thinks I am 'bringing work home' but I know there is seomthing not right. There are times when he looks like he is in a different world and I have caught him several times drawing in the air and biting his knuckle. This is not a new situation but seems to me to be much more apparent at the moment. Can anybody just share their initial thoughts with me. Am I totally wrong or are there things I can do that might help?

To be honest I am at my witsend and simply dread coming home or him walking through the door because I have no idea of what to expect, so I would appreciate your thoughts, please feel to be honest and tell me if I need the help!!!!!!!

20 Replies

  • Dear Witsend,

    Believe me, I do understand your situation. I married quite late in life - we were both in our 40's and we met and married quite quickly. There were warning signs along the way, but I didn't heed them because when we were on our own, all was well. It was whenever we were on our way to a dinner party, or to introduce him to new friends that things normally erupted.

    I didn't understand his bizarre and often bewildering behaviour. Our marriage was teetering on the edge of breakdown when someon finally suggested Aspergers, and I did a lot of research on teh subject. I wept through the discovery, as I saw our relationship in what others experienced!

    It helped me to understand his needs, and compensate for his behaviour. Before that, I constantly found myself apologizing for my husband's behaviour. He was mostly rude and condescending towards me. I could say or do nothing right, was told to "use my brains" all the time (I am a highly intelligent, above-average university graduate) and demeaned in front of my friends and strangers all the time.

    I stopeed talking when he was around, closed into a lonely, dark world of despair. Nearly all of my friends stopped seeing us or inviting us to anything. I had to deal with massive rejection. Once I realized he was a very typical Aspie, I started telling friends in private, and that helped some to accept and understand my husband. Others still do not want him in their homes.

    When we go into situations that really matter, I now pre-warn people and most seem to accept him, although we are still not invited to social functions etc.

    My advice is to Google adn read up on Adult Aspergers and then try adn help your husband out where he needs it!

    Good luck.

  • Goodmorning it's sounds like your husband is an aspie (Asperger ) we have many adults in our club that have only just been diagnosed and they are 40plus if you look up Hans Asperger and Temple Grandin you may even ask him to look it up its only recently that children have been getting diagnosed.He probably still won't accept it though.

  • I don't think he will accept it. He is a highly trained and very intelligent but is one of those who simply does not recognise any fault in himself. The problem is I am beginning to question myself my own vocaulary, tone of voice and method of asking the simplest thing. I have a very difficult job that needs a lot of commitment I did not expect to have it at homne as well!!!! Any other suggestions???

  • Sorry not at the mo but I will find out by Saturday night I have a few ppl at work that I can ask.sorry

  • Witsend!!!! I do understand 100% what you are going through!!! I have a son of 28 and only realised he had Asperger Syndrome when he was 25 years old. I work for a Paediatric Consultant who specialises in disorders under the Autism Spectrum (have been doing so for about 3 years). One day I decided to have a good talk with my boss and she told me that from what I told her she was quite sure that my son had AS. From that day I cried for a bout a month for 30 days, not because I couldnt accept it, but because I knew that my son wouldnt accept. I eventually sat down with him one day and told him what I thought about his ritualistic ways of doing things, his high IQ, his behaviour towards me, obsession with music and many other things. He told me at the end that he always thought that he was different. After this talk my relationship with him became worse. (It was like: "Now that you know my secret I can be myself at least with you") I went through hell with him and in the meantime I started studying more and more about the condition. I worked in a centre that only deals with children with behavioural problems so its just a question of a phone call or a walk to the next office in order to speak to an Occupational Therapist, Speech therapist, a doctor. I had all the info I needed right there. That helped me to deal with my relationship with my son. On the other hand my son went into complete denial to the point of making me think that I was the one who had a behavioural condition and that I should be the one to seek help. I actually believed that and went to see a Psychiatrist privately. The professionals I spoke to at work all said to me "dont worry, he will come round," Three years went by until one day at the age of 28, I came home one day and he said "I have been reading about Aspergers and I feel that you are right. I want to see a Doctor".

    A week later he was even talking to his friends about it and became quite open about it - I never in a million years expected this to happen!! Here we are now trying to get him a diagnosis and this is the worst part. It is not easy for adults Aspergers to get a diagnosis. I am not sure whether its because of the area I live in or whether it is due to cuts in the NHS but its a lengthy process and all the doors close right in front of your very eyes. My son at this very moment needs help for his anxiety and depression.The centre where I work cannot help him as its a paediatric centre. My relationship with him has finally got better because he tells me openly what "ticks" him and I try to avoid a lot of things. He likes routines and I try to have them in my household so in that sense things are much better.

    So Witsend dont lose heart, your husband will one day come round because believe me he does know that he is different and what is wrong with being different?????

  • kburt,

    Thank you for this open and helpful post. I have also cried and cried through finding out my husband has HFA. I want to share something with you and Witsend...

    We came on a holiday to see my Mom who was diagnosed wiith heart failure. I've been very poorly myself, and we saw a trained medical herbalist who did some diagnostic tests on both of us.

    She discovered my husband has compromised pituitary function, and said that sorting this out could have prevented a lot of te domino efect on his symptoms over the years.

    Has anyone ever suggested to have that tested for your son/husband?

    Both my husband and I ccried and cried when he was told this news. We are on Day 3 of the range of supplements she has subscribeed for him, and he ahd a better night's sleep for teh first time in years last night (20 years!)

    I thought I would share that and hope someone can be helped.


  • I am an undiagnosed aspie male late 50's

    My daughter has an aspie diagnosis and because she is growing very tall she is going in soon for a pituitary MRI - don't know what they can see .

    so, the aspergers pituitary connection is intriguing.

    having studied complimentary medicine I use vitamins and herbs to control depression and health and feeling weak .

    I am interested in the names of the herbs and stuff you were subscribed.

    oh! ihave a 29 yr old son with aspersger who is in denial.

  • Hello zefil. I am so glad your daughter is being tested. According to the medical advice we had, there is a direct link.

    One of the thigns she said is absolutely vital for everyone living in the Northern Hemisphere is to take a very good Vit D3 supplement - she recommended Metagenics' Vit D3 , 2000 IU taken just before going to bed.

    She also prescribed 'The Real Thing' MSM - that might be specific to my husband, then he takes something for Adrenal support - Metagenics' Adrenogen

    That is to start with! We have a consultation every week, and she will add things as we go along. We feel this has been a life-saver,.

    This woman has helped manhy from the UK, as well as other European countries and Switzerland.

    All the best to your daugter - and you!


  • Kburt. My son has just been diagnosed at 21, although I've known since he was 11 but no one would take any notice of me - don't tag him, special needs, learning difficulties - you name it but no one would dare to mention the word - autisitc. The only one thing that kept him calm was the fact he was highly athletic so was able to burn some much energy out. However, at 13.5 years he was diagnosed with Class 1 Diableties and wow - now no sport, sugars running high and the family was petrified on him - he's 6ft3 and played rugby since 5 years of age.

    Eight long years I've fought for help. My family has become so dysfunctional that my eldest left home 7 years ago and hates coming home because of him. My youngest wants him to drop dead. I just want a one way ticket to a desert island to escape but I accept this will have to wait.

    I've only in the last two months finally got help / diagnosis as he wanted to kill himself so I took a deep breath and called mental health- thats the hardest step for any parent. It took the first month for them to actually really take me seriously. However, it took less than one minute with a specialist to confirm he had severe autisic traits, what I'd always thought. Yes cried for month as now he's autistic, diabetic and epileptic - what a hard blow for anyone to deal with. However, as emotional as it all is, he needs specialist help, our relationship at present is 10 foot beneath any rock. I'm left an emotional wreck after one of his "blind rages" - yet few hours later he asks "what's for dinner as if nothing has happened!" He's also highly intelligent but due has lost all confidence in himself.

    The major thing for any parent to accept is that they have to take drastic action to get help.

    I've bounced off so many door being slammed in my face for years that as a parent you start to think your just making excuses for a highly badly brought up child, whose just hell bent in behaving like a spoilt brat - yet if you've got other kids like I have, you wonder where you went wrong. Why why is it so hard for parents to get help?

    I personally know with the right help and guidance, my son will turn his turbulent life around for the better. One professional the other month told me it was far to late now for anyone to help my son at 21. After the mouthful he got from me, thankfully I've never seen him since as what an awful thing to say. Aspie people get enough negativity and they can change once they learn to understand themselves and have the love and support of others around them.

    To everyone on this panel, my 1st chance to speak to others than can understand where I come from and my child.

    Thank you.

  • I think my husband has Asperger's syndrome (my daughter has just been diagnosed). He doesn't want intervention or help for various reasons, one being that it may harm his career (he has done very well in his field). I'm not quite sure what I will do in the future (I am tempted to leave the marriage) but would advise you to enjoy your own life as much as you can. Forge new acquaintances and interests if you have been relying on your partnership with your husband up till now. I hesitate to say any more - the clash between those with ASD and us 'neurotypicals' seems impossible to resolve at times.

  • I am so tempted so many times, to just walk out but then I think, who will 'look after him'

    My husband, like your excels in his field of work and is totally committed to his work, but I do not have a life with him. He is often angry/frustrated with me more often than not I don't have a clue why and life can be very, very difficult. I feel like I 'live' on egg shells and yet he can be ok. My family are all close but it has caused issues and I find that very hard to deal with.

    I sit and cry sometimes because I simply do not know what to do or how to handle him/fallouts. I have 100% responsibility for everything which is fine, this is a second marriage, so I am used to going it alone, I am just so hurt by this and wish to God I had some idea before I remarried.I feel completely stuck, isolated and totally shattered, its difficult to know whether to laugh or cry really!

  • Witsend, I married (3rd time) at age 54 after a very short time. I met my husband on line and I was surprised that he said on line that age didn't matter. I am 8 years older and financially independent. He was totally a different person before our marriage but I soon noticed he was different. Not coming to bed, but staying up to all hours of the night playing word games on his computer, making Facebook friends ( quite a few strange women from all over the world that had his interests), reading, writing, etc. Our conversations were basically "yes dear" at first and now he often becomes irate with me if I express my opinion on any topic. I feel like he thinks he is a "know it all" and doesn't want to waste his time chit chatting with someone not of his intelligence. He is extremely bright, but has little friends. His son was diagnosed with something in high school and was in resource. My husband doesn't like to talk about it. Word of warning; I have been reading quite a few books on Adult Asbergers and I just fell into the trap of going to a counselor who admitted she didn't know anything about adult asbergers but told my husband, "in my professional opinion you don't have asbergers". She totally undid all my work to try and have him get tested. Now I get blamed for accusing him of being a Aspie and now I am accused of having control problems. I have to do everything around the house because if I don't it would fall down. I have had to make most financial decisions because if I didn't we wouldn't have insurance, a house, or furniture. I am ready to leave him; but at age 69, I know it would be my very last male relationship and don't know if being totally alone again could be tolerable. I have not been well in last 15 years and I think depression has sat in. I have surgery planned in a few weeks and really worry how I take all his stress; often crying and sleeping a lot. So, I totally understand what you are going through. Is there a way we can be friends on FB or write? I am a retired teacher from California. Bless you my sister, I think we have a lot in common.

  • Can you please google NPD and make sure it is not this?

  • Can you please google NPD and make sure it is not this?

  • i sympathise with your difficult situation.

    You sound as though you are competent in dealing with all household matters so I presume this isn't causing conflict. You are close to your family - location and emotionally - you say, but am I right in thinking that he doesn't participate well in family gatherings and isn't perhaps much liked, possibly resulting in you not meeting up with them as much as you would like?

    I don't live near my family and I now realise that my parents (now both dead) felt that something wasn't quite 'typical' about him. The rest of my small family actually like him and get on with him pretty well and he with them, but they and he have some things in common that were not shared with my parents. Strange to say, I had almost come to believe that my mother was not seeing him properly and that she was at fault. Almost a decade after her death I now see her point of view!

    Asperger traits can be exacerbated by stress - is your husband out of his comfort zone at work in any way more now than previously? My husband has been after promotion and management changes over the past 6 years despite still loving his job. The trouble is Aspies don't change easily and don't communicate easily either so it's a struggle to get through. No real answers as yet I'm afraid!

  • Hi, I have Aspergers myself (I got diagnosed at 19yrs old after completing school & going to work at my first job) & my 3yr old daughter has just been diagnosed with Autism. My husband likes to blame me for the 'inherited gene' but as I try to explain my own condition to him & why I find certain things difficult he is struggling to see/admit that he has very similar traits himself. He is 13yrs older than me & has never been formerly diagnosed but has to have things 'just so' & often falls into 'routine' with going to work, cleaning, washing, where objects/items are positioned, what our children are wearing must be clean & ironed so he will take their clothes out of the wardrobe & iron them before I am allowed to put them on. He keeps telling me not to interupt him, he's not finished talking but doesn't seem to realise that he is sometimes jumping in when I'm mid conversation too. It has been suggested to him by friends/family that he may have Aspergers & OCD but he simply dismisses it as being Shy & Houseproud.

  • It all sounds so very familiar!!! I also have the added bonus of 'he is never wrong' and its often incredibly intolerant and yet he is a brilliant teacher! My husband continually interrupts and yet if I do it he goes mad and sulks. I do not have the house proud bit, quite the opposite. He is happy to live like it I am not!!!! Sometimes he is fine, not sociable or talkative, but liveable with, but more often than not he is a nightmare, I often leave to go to work in the morning and all the way there talk and shout 'at him' - shame he is not there to listen really! It a coping mechanism for me. I have to confess I am so very tired of it, we only married (second time for me) 8 years ago and I did not see any sign of this really. I have a very difficult and responsible job, maintain the house, have ageing parents and never ever have 5 minutes to do what I want! I am 56 and think actually at this stage of my life I deserve better, wish I was by myself at times. At least we realise we are not alone in this and, I bet there are thousands of people in our same situation. I think this does at least bring a modicum of psychological relief!!!! Take care and try and smile. x

  • Hello Witsend,

    I sympathize with your plight. You describe a life of great unhappiness. Your husband may never entertain the notion that he has Autism. Do you think he may have had an easier time entertaining the possibility of Asperger's? Although life is hell for you, a doctor will not discuss the possible diagnosis if their patient is not open to this. Even if it were discussed, it may be considered subclinical medically because of the low levels of impairment. When you come right down to it, though, does it matter? Some women take on an attitude that their husband has features of Asperger's/Autism, with or without a diagnosis, compensating for the bad behaviour as if there was a diagnosis. At some point, however, you have to honour yourself. If you can't find a way to live in this relationship in a way where you can grow and be fully yourself, what makes it worth the effort? Does your husband know the depths of your unhappiness? Does he care? He can obviously control his behaviour when he has to; he controls himself at school. He does it when he can get away with it. He can't get away with much longer at your expense. Have you tried couples counselling? Does he know what is at stake?

    Good Luck, gordoncanada

  • Dear Witsend,

    My heart really goes out to you, as I read my story in your story. My husband was diagnosed with HFA two years ago, after 6 years of the most bewildering, upsetting years of my life. It was not the irrational checking of windows and doors, the obsession with books that, as in your story, hardly gets read, or even the rants and raves about things,neither the way he would run me down in front of other people, and constantly complain about my behaviour (quite normal and rational, to most people), that finally made me beg him to get help.

    The final trigger was when he quite candidly admitted that he felt so lonely, had no real friends and doesn't feel connected to anyone. He promised to get a diagnosis, and we saw a mental health specialist at his surgery who then referred him for testing.

    The process took several months, and they interviewed him alone, both of us together and also his mother to establish facts about his younger years. He was finally diagnosed with HFA (as opposed to Aspergers) based on the only real difference - slow or fast development of speech as an infant.

    We spent years trying to find answers. I did a lot of research and discovered what Aspies struggle with, and tried to compensate as much as I reasonably could, even though I still got shouted at, called the most horrbile names and accused of all kinds of unreasonable things.

    We finally had a breakthrough when we saw a local Homeopath for health reasons and discovered she was also a certified GAPS practitioner.

    GAPS is a diet regime put together by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride whose son was diagnosed with Aspergers. She spent years trying to help him, and in the process developed the GAPS protocol which has been a lifesaver for us!

    I threw myself into the huge dietary change, and very soon we started to see enormous changes in both our health and well-being (I have a progressive heart condition) and my husband recently told me that he felt the change when he spent time away from home and didn't have access to all the probiotic foods and beverages that we have been consuming since the summer.

    I won't go into more detail here, but suffice to say that Kombucha, Milk Kefir and Sauerkraut has become a firm favourite in our household - as well as bone broths of all kinds!

    I would highly recommend some research into these foods - there is a lot of information on the net. I wish you only the best. I cannot tell you how my heart goes out to you. I hope this post can help in even the slightest way. Have courage. Things can change!

  • sounding autistic is a common symptom

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