Still blinking if my partner has Asperger?

Young couple sitting in coffee against disagreementEditor's note: It is always a challenge to choose gender when writing for neurodegenerative couples. Here I use the example of an autistic man and a neurotype woman. I do not mean to imply that there are no cases in which it is reversed. It is just that at this time, men are diagnosed in a ratio of 4: 1 to women, and in my practice, it is the majority of males who are autistic partners. This could reflect the higher incidence of autism among men or could mean more couples like this present for counseling than couples in which the autistic partner is female. It is also important to note that individuals in the spectrum may be sensitive to ventilation by others, and I will consider it in a separate article.

In my work with neurotranslational couples in which one partner is autistic, one of the words I hear most often is "ventilation". Here is an example:

"It would be one thing if we played just like the other couples they finally make, but this is not the case with us, but we are talking about something and telling me that I'm an absurd child or a critic, then it closes. If I try to repeat it later, it tells me that I imagine things, did not say it or if it said it, it did not mean it as I got it, it says I'm very sensitive, and it closes again. I felt like I was exasperated with disappointment. I have nowhere to go with it, and I'm starting to wonder if I have it's right for me, I do not know anymore, is that ventilation? "

Definition of gas

In short, the phenomenon of gas is a term derived from the 1944 film called Natural gas in which the husband successfully handles his wife to doubt her reality. The husband in history has a dark secret that is at the root of what he says and does for his wife. In him, he is not a person with his own inner life. He is a pawn in his selfish play, which until the end plays well enough to force her to doubt her own version of reality.

"On the contrary, we are talking about something, and it tells me that I am an absurd, or a child, or a critic, then it closes, and often comes out of the room, if I try to bring it later, it tells me that I imagine things, that it did not say this or whether he did not mean the way I got it. "

With regard to flickering gas in history, this phenomenon has become known as ventilation: deliberately cure a person in such a way as to cause confusion and cognitive dissatisfaction, eventually leading to a collapse of self-confidence.

It is remarkable that at the heart of the husband's motivation is the desire for wealth, which is symbolized by jewelery. This part of the story is often overlooked, but it is worth considering when talking about autistic behavior.

Conflicting reality in neurogenic relationships

First, let us return to the comments of the neurotype partner I mentioned above. One way to view her statement is in terms of gas, just as it is in the film.

In this model, from time to time, incident after incident, she wonders what her eyes, ears and heart itself says. Finally, he resigns. She begins to believe that the mirror that her partner accompanies reflects the exact representation of who she is. In order to believe this, she was forced to exclude any of her own impulses that contradicted such an image. It collapses in confidence. Manipulation succeeded. Is that right? His illusion shows that he believes this. He feels smart. Has won.

What would encourage someone to handle another person in this way? This manipulation can be seen in certain personality disorders, such as NPD, antisocial personality disorder, and BPD. In short, it is not healthy to deliberately define someone else if you deny that person's reality. These people leave a trail of emotional debris in the lives of others. Shelves filled with books and countless hours of treatment are devoted to helping those who have been abused by such operators.

Looking beyond Behavior: Self-protection

Behind the disruptive personality behavior, there is an unconscious effort to protect what feels threatened, which is usually the value of the person. In rotating logic, anything that can compromise such fragile emotional integrity must be erased at all costs before the operator's life goes out. This may feel like despair.

As a result, the operation can be rationalized. It can not be considered as an option but as a necessity of survival. By the way, there is no respect for someone who can handle it, which makes it easier to abuse and can even be considered as what the person deserves.

But this is not the motivation of someone with autism.

The Tragic Dance of the Neurotransmitter Couple

The jewelery of an autistic person's guard could best be described as personal integration and a sense of security to who they are. The threats can come from emotionally emotional confrontations with what seems to be that the ambiguity and uncertainty that often lead to badly high anxiety can not be overcome. Reducing this anxiety, consciously or not, is the most likely driver for behavior that appears to be ventilating to someone with Asperger's.

Reducing this anxiety, consciously or not, is the most likely driver for behavior that appears to be ventilating to someone with Asperger's.

Often, this person ignores the harmful consequences of his behavior and doubts about the validity of observing someone that may be ventilation. The fact is that I have never met an autistic person whose conscious intention is to manipulate his partner.

But the basic phrase is "conscious intention". Because even though a person with Asperger's can not mean manipulating his partner, his real experience is the same as it would have been if there was an intention.

In short, we have a couple in which a companion feels as if he is struggling for survival, and another partner who feels like he is struggling for survival, and with a controversial class, one person's means of doing it destroys reality the other. It's what I call tragic dance of a pair of neuro-spiers.

Addressing tragic dance in counseling for couples

The autistic person can consciously learn that his behavior has the effect of canceling the emotional life of his partner. He may realize that although he does not intend to cause such pain, the result is real. Its terrible and perhaps dialectical attitude is how a neurotic person can justifiably respond to what he feels like a manipulative behavior from someone else. He is not trying to criticize him. She tries to express her pain.

More often than not, this awareness is dealt with with deep remorse and often guilt. Over time, he can learn to understand his own way of being in the world without judging himself hard as wrong or defective because this is not the right metric. Emotional support for him is the key to his development in this area.

The neurotype partner can learn, first and foremost, that his response to the sense of manipulation is normal. Pain and confusion are normal. It is valid. She must be allowed to recognize and cure her wounds, because it does not matter whether she was stabbed or intentionally stabbed: she still bleeds.

The second step, however, is to begin to understand that her autistic partner is not trying to hurt her. On the contrary, what is experienced as manipulation is how to try to reduce the ubiquitous concern, which usually comes from a lifelong experience that does not do the right thing when it comes to understanding someone else's feelings. It needs emotional support to go ahead. At the same time, it must also agree with the fact that her partner's way of offering this support may not be in line with her idea of ​​what this support should look like.

The way of communicating to a pair of neuro-spiers or any pair is in terms of its effectiveness. This is the only metric that matters. It's not about who's right or who's wrong. The goal of communication is mutual understanding. In order to improve communication skills and strategies, recognizing differences with an effort to respect them without judgment becomes the foundation for the development of the relationship.

When I work with couples, we focus on slowing down the speed of conversation, examining linguistics and the formal logic of the argument, and recognizing the emotional subject and the environment inherent in communication. It takes time. Practice is required. It is not always successful. When it is, it can be described as a two-step forward and one-step process as two parallel lives learn to build bridges between two lines that will never be completely merged.

Learning to trust deeply after years of frustration, having the belief that the vulnerable can once again be worth the risk, accepting that the interpretation of someone else's behavior may not be the same as the person's intention: these are the challenges.

It can not air without intention to handle it. Notwithstanding this, it may feel like an air-brake. Training for neuroscience, specialized counseling and communication in renewed mutual respect create the tools to stop this rotating door.


Gaslight (1944). (n.d.). Retrieved from

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