6 Keys for Success in Asperger/Neurotypical Relationships.

Misunderstandings, Miscommunications and Assumptions

When you live with and love someone on the Autism Spectrum, life is often full of misunderstandings, miscommunications and assumptions. Resentment and frustration on both sides can build up over a long period of time and without help the inevitable relationship breakdown will occur.

The difficulty comes when the NT partner (neurotypical) ”assumes that what she says is understood, in the same way that the AS (Asperger) partner assumes that his communication is understood as well. Unfortunately this can often NOT be the case….

The issue was explained to me in this way.cricket player

Think of the game of cricket.

In that game, common English language words are used, words which can have completely different meaning in the world of cricket, rather than in the real world…

Words like maiden, century, over, duck, and many other more obscure ones. These words when used in the context of cricket, have a particular meaning and unless you have a knowledge of the game you might be forgiven for wondering what for example, ‘bowling a maiden over’ might mean! Sounds painful right?

The thing is, that anyone who knows the game, knows what the words mean and so there is no misunderstanding about them. The assumption is that you know what the words mean in that context, therefore you can make sense of the game.

Now, my point here is that in the communication between NT partner and AS partner, unless each partner clearly understands what the any given words or conversations mean in a given context, there is a huge potential for misunderstanding.

Beware of assumptions!

As NT partners, we assume the AS partner understands what is going on. What we do sometimes fail to realise, is that the AS partner has, for years possibly, managed to hide his difficulty behind his high IQ and has learned coping strategies to support him in his communication.

He may shut down, deflect, walk away, ignore or change the subject, in order to not have to admit that he really does not know what is being asked of him. (commonly called a defense mechanism)

It is only when specifically asked, he ‘may’ admit he does not really know what is being asked of him or what the conversation is actually about.

Add to this that when he is stressed and anxious ( which happens a lot of the time) it magnifies the difficulty.

It can be mind blowing for the NT partner to realise the depth of the challenges to communication that her partner faces.

Added to this is the defensive behaviour that the AS partner has learned over time, which effectively ends the conversation and allows the AS partner to get back to doing his own thing and so avoiding the interaction which is so difficult for him.

Interactions like this become a minefield, as issues are not get resolved and resentment, blame and anger become more and more prevalent along with the increasing the frustration and sense of invisibility the NT partner faces daily.

There are no easy answers.

There are no easy answers to improve the situation. In order to be successful, research has shown that several key things must be present.

  1. It is crucial that both partners agree and commit  to try and work together, to make things better between them. No easy ask when the Asperger partner often is unable to articulate what he is thinking or feeling and the effort required can just be too big to face.
  2. There must be support from a counsellor or therapist well versed in understanding the nuances of an AS/NT relationship, and ongoing effects this can have on both partners, though particularly on the emotional well being of the NT partner.Sometimes the sadness, frustration and inevitable loneliness can be too much to bear and the relationship ends.
  3. The NT partner must limit their expectations of the AS partner, which becomes mind – numbingly difficult as it means they ( the NT partner) carry more than their fair share of the work of the relationship, as well as the rest of the responsibility of young children finances and juggling that comes with family and work life..
  4. There must be understanding on both sides of Aspergers syndrome and it’s effects on relationships.
  5. Both partners must agree to give each other the benefit of the doubt, when conflict arises. Often pretty challenging as usually the Aspie partner tends to think in a negative way and become defensive.
  6. Do not accept abuse of any kind from your Aspie partner. It is often the default response for the person with aspergers to get defensive and angry when he does not understand or accept what is being said. Just know you do not have to tolerate this behaviour. Learn to set firm boundaries around what you are willing to accept. Stay safe and walk away from abuse. Call for a time out until you both have calmed down.

I hope this article has been useful, and you find some tips that help you to understand and improve the relationship with your Aspie partner.

Gratitude – A Simple Soul Care Solution that will change your life!

Simple Soul Care Solution – Gratitude

Welcome to the first of my video series focusing on Simple Soul Care Solutions to enhance your life.

I believe the first and most important, and simple way to improve your life is to create a ‘Practice of Gratitude.’

How to do this?

In this video I talk about how to get your Gratitude Practice off to a great start, and how to maintain it.

Remember – like anything the secret is to get started…

So take the first step right now.

Sound simple?

It actually is!

The trick is to start off simply and each day remind yourself to do it.

Set yourself up to win! Add a reminder in your phone or on your calendar or computer.

Just do it – Wise and Wonderful Woman!

Always remember…

you are amazing

Julie x

 

Simple Soul Care Rituals to enrich your life

Simple Soul Care Rituals – What are they?

Most of us thrive on simple routines. Think about your morning routine, I bet you would never leave the house without cleaning your teeth or combing your hair? I am also willing to bet that sometimes you don’t even remember doing those things, yet they obviously get done!

Use this idea to your advantage!

Create some Simple Soul Care Rituals that will nurture you and support you – after all, you are important, you are seen and you are visible!

Simple Soul Care Rituals can sustain us when we are feeling out of whack or not quite ourselves.They can become the activities that we do without thinking, and all the while the benefits of doing them can impact hugely on our lives.

By learning to do these Simple Soul Care Rituals as suggested in the video below, you will notice that you FEEL better, FEEL calmer and more present.

I believe it is so important to learn ways to nurture ourselves, to create time to think and process what is for most of us is a hectic, and busy life. Once you have a regular Simple Soul Care Ritual in place you will find that your stress levels will decrease, and you learn to handle stress in a better calmer way.

Life does not need to be a continual lurching from crisis to crisis. Life needs to be filled with joy at the simple things. Learning Simple Soul Care rituals is about giving you and your mind – the space to see and appreciate that simplicity.

Watch the video here:

 

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Sent with love and light

Julie x

 

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Join the

Heal Your Life Louise L Hay Hawkes Bay Meetup Group

Come along and join me in a safe nurturing environment while we share discussion and ideas based on the  philosophies of Louise Hay.

These monthly gatherings will allow you to :

– learn new ways to find more joy and abundance in your life

-learn to love and nurture yourself

-realise how how amazing you are

-release limiting thoughts/beliefs that hold you back

-learn simple ways to relieve stress and feel happier immediately

-understand how your body and mind are connected

-meet others on the same wonderful journey.

What to bring: Journal/notebook, pen, sense of humour, an open mind and heart.

tea and coffee will be provided.

Monthly on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

Follow this link to sign up today.

 

 

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Magic of Meditation Made Easy

Magic of Meditation

For today’s post, I would like to quote the king of meditation himself, Andy Puddicombe- ‘When was the last time you did absolutely nothing?’

No texting, playing with your phone, reading, stitching (for those of us with a stitching obsession…) or even thinking?

For me, learning to meditate has been the single most important change I have made in my life in the last few years. It has helped me to control the depression, and anxiety which has I realise now has been present in varying degrees for many years, as well as create space in my mind to work through the issues which have contributed to the depression in the first place.

Besides that, it has been a great way to ensure my thinking is clear and my mind is open to the new ideas and opportunities in my life. I continues to amaze me how this regular practice has given me a different perspective on things that in the past would have turned me into a tearful, anxious blubbering mess.

How is it that such a simple thing as quietening the mind for 10 minutes+ a day can be so beneficial?  Watch Andy’s TED talk and he can tell you himself.

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I  hear lots of people say that learning to meditate is hard, that it is complicated, all that sitting around navel gazing and being still….

Really at its most basic level, you can meditate by sitting still, staring at a candle, and asking yourself a simple question like “what do I need to do?” and listen for the answer. Your higher self will answer.

Trust me, be still and listen and you will be surprised at what you learn.

If you feel you need a more structured way of meditating, try out the Headspace app available on your phone for Android or IOS.

You can watch the gorgeous Andy, (founder of Headspace ) on his inspiring TED talk. 

 

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There are also lots of wonderful guided meditations on YouTube. I love Louise Hay’s morning and evening meditations.

Try out meditation regularly, and I know you will feel the benefits in your life.

sent with love

Julie x

Shout out for parents of kids on Autism Spectrum going back to school.

Heading Back to school after the long holidays

Today is the start of the new school year for thousands of kids around the country. The long Christmas holidays are over for another year, and Mums and Dads everywhere are breathing again, sometimes in relief, and, sometimes in sadness that the kids are starting a new class, a new school year.

Today I want to send a shout out to all the parents of kids on the autism spectrum. Holiday times and special days can be utterly nightmarish for families with someone on the autism spectrum. Why?? autism spectrum conditions

Because by definition, being on the spectrum usually means you crave routine, structure and usually solitary space, and need to keep all things ‘normal’, where as Christmas, New Year and other special holidays can be completely random with people visiting, lots of noise, excitement and often completely unpredictable situations.

This can cause huge stress, not only for the family member but for the other NT (neurotypical) members of the family.

Often the child or person on the spectrum is unable to articulate what is actually the matter, however it is obvious to the people around them that the anxiety levels are sky high and the energy created when this happens affects everyone.

Meltdowns can often come out of the blue

A huge part of the stress which comes for parents and partners of people on the spectrum, is that the meltdown, or overwhelm often appears to come out of the blue, a few hours or even days after the event. This is part of what makes life so unpredictable for families with someone on the autism spectrum. This is also the exhausting part for so many parents who care for them, as you never know what is round the corner! Some days they will seem to cope, and others they just don’t! Its like there is no rhyme or reason.

With the beginning of a school year, comes more predictability from a parent perspective, though this also comes with its own anxieties.

A life of juggling is very challenging

I well remember the long hot school holidays at this time of the year, weeks of juggling child care, work, no routine and endless ‘meltdowns’. For me, the relief mixed with apprehension and anxiety when the new school year began, was a constant. It was wonderful to think that someone else now would be caring for my child, so that everyone could get back to a routine, and some semblance of normality. The anxiety of sending her to school, with people who cared for her though sometimes really did not understand her complex needs, was very challenging.

All those hours where I had to learn to trust that she was safe and that someone else knew where she was and what she was doing, was for me, hugely stressful. Kind-hearted teachers who told me “she’s fine” yet I remember clearly the time she returned home on her first day with torn clothing and unable to say what had happened. Not exactly an inspiring start at a new school!

Because our ASD kids look so ‘normal’, their behaviour can be baffling to someone who does not understand ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). People often make assumptions based on the behaviour, in order to make sense of what they see the child/ young person doing,  using ‘normal’ child behaviour as a yardstick. Our concerns as parents get minimised…. How often have I heard the phrase ‘Oh don’t worry Mum, she’s ok..You worry too much!!’

autism spectrum
GDJ / Pixabay

You know your kid best!

As a parent you know your child and what their behaviour means. I have learned that it is so important to trust yourself and your intuition, even though you may not be able to explain it to others.

Remember: Learn to trust your heart and trust your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, follow-up and find out what really is happening for your child.

Hope 2017 is the best yet for you and your special child.

Sent with love

Julie x

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Watch out 2017 here we come!

Life Changing Teachings

Earlier this year I decided move ahead in both my personal and professional development and train as a Heal Your Life Teacher/ Workshop leader, (based on the philosophies of Louise Hay)  in Port Macquarie Australia. While I was excited to do so and to learn the skills required to facilitate and share the timeless message that Louise Hay’s work conveys, I have been most surprised by the change I have felt in myself.heart-w-r

I really have learned to ‘walk the talk’ which in ‘coach speak’ means I have learned to do what I teach others to do…

So for me this is about the life affirming practice of learning to talk to myself in a compassionate and supportive way, instead of the alternative. It is about understanding that every thought I think is creating my future, and most of all, it is about accepting and loving myself right NOW! It does not matter whether it is the ‘right’ time, the time is NOW!

For me, this certainly has been life changing! And it can be for you too!

So what’s different?

I’m noticing more and more how my life is improving, and expanding in a wonderful way. I am meeting new people who are on the same journey, who are happy to share, connect, encourage and support.

The circumstances of our lives can bring us awful stress and overwhelm, as we try to navigate the next steps.

Whether you live with a challenging relationship such as with your asperger partner, whether you have a child with a disability, are in a full-time carer role, or some other stressful ongoing life challenge, how you think about the event or situation has a huge impact on how it affects you in terms of your stress levels.

While I  am not saying that the challenges we all face in our lives ( living with your Asperger partner, dealing with ongoing stressful situations, navigating work/career situations, or other areas) are any easier. What I am saying is that with these wonderful tools that are now available to me, (and by association –  to you !) I am able to minimise the toxic effects of the stress and choose better ways of dealing with what occurs in my life, and I am definitely excited to share this with you!

So what do this all mean for you?

It means that you can learn more about the wonderful healing message that Louise’s work teaches! right here in Hawkes Bay!

I’ve already begun sharing the wonderful message of Louise Hay’s work in self love and self acceptance  at my monthly meetup group meetings based in Hawkes Bay. This has been an exhilarating experience for me, as it is part of my ongoing plan to teach others to access more joy and abundance and success as well as minimise the stress in their lives. If you would like to join this group check it out here

Keep your eyes on this blog as I am planning various workshops throughout 2017, which will allow you to learn better ways to support yourself and find the peace and joy that is your birthright.

So for now ‘Watch this Space’, as I will share details as soon as they are finalised.

 

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Zero empathy sucks!

Zero Empathy sucks!

If you are in a relationship with someone with Aspergers, you will know the pain of zero empathy.

Most experts will agree that Zero Empathy is a feature of Autism Spectrum Conditions, and limited or zero empathy is one of the most difficult aspects of these conditions.

What is Empathy anyway?

The inability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and know how they feel, is a simple description of empathy. People on the autism spectrum often struggle with this, and it can lead to misunderstandings, and often traumatic painful ongoing experiences for the family members on the receiving end of zero empathy.

What does Zero Empathy feel like?

It’s that gut wrenching feeling of disconnect, when you have tried so hard to stay connected, maintain the relationship and you realise there is no connection. Probably never was…

It’s when you offer to share a special moment with your aspie loved one and it falls flat, because they don’t see the significance of your joy in sharing it.

That moment when you need support from your Aspie loved one, and he completely ignores you for the sports news on TV.

It’s that loneliness that seeps into your bones when you finally realise that your aspie partner is wired differently and does not need or want the emotional connection you crave.woman-1008690_1920

Those times you have cried yourself to sleep when yet another unresolved dispute is left hanging and you realise there is just no way to resolve it and you know the next day will be as if it never happened.

These moments are frequent and excruciatingly painful, and often without the expert help of some one who knows AS/NT relationships in depth, can snowball, and leave you feeling crazy and overwhelmed with no way to resolve or redress the problem, as the person with aspergers cannot understand what the problem is.

You begin to question your own judgement and your own reality and think you are actually crazy!

It can be hard to understand what exactly empathy is, and if you have lived without it for so long, you may not be able to recognise it, so I thought it would be helpful to have an expert explain it to us.

Below is a short cartoon, narrated by the gorgeous Dr Brene Brown, on the subject of empathy. 

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Enjoy,

Julie x

The Magic of Believing in Yourself

Time alone

‘The Magic of Believing in Yourself’

comes from learning to listen, to go quiet and trust yourself, when the outside stuff is loud overwhelming and hard to ignore.

‘The Magic of Believing in Yourself’ comes from identifying the negative messages you grew up with, realizing they are untrue, and then creating new beliefs that sustain and support you instead of causing you endless grief, anguish and stress all the while limiting you in your life.

The Magic of Believing in Yourself comes from letting yourself be seen, and heard, even though that may mean being vulnerable, getting hurt or worse.

How many of us really know how to quiet the mind, step away from society’s expectations of us, and really listen to what your heart and intuition is saying to us?

The answers are there, if we know where to look, and learn how to listen.

We live in such a busy world where we are given so many subtle messages about how to live, what to wear, what to eat, for breakfast lunch and dinner, and what sort of car we ‘should’ be driving, how to raise our kids, even how we ‘should’ be feeling, ….yadda yadda yadda!

It is so hard to keep the gnawing anxiety at bay when you just don’t feel good enough, thin enough, pretty enough…

All these messages can be overwhelming in the extreme, we begin to feel we are never enough, never keep up, never  be ok!

Today my message to you, is to take some time to just BE.

Allow yourself some time to sit quietly, ideally outside, however inside in a quiet space is great as well.

www.julierowlands.com

Close your eyes and notice your breathing, and just listen….

What do you hear?

As I am sitting here writing this, what I hear in the background is my little companion Bella snoring her little heart out! animals certainly know how to just ‘be’, so lets take a lesson from our pets and take some time out to just BE.

Begin to do this practice on a  regular basis and notice the beautiful difference.

The added bonus of making some space and listening, is that you will gradually start to hear more of what your intuition is saying.

You will start to hear the wisdom of your intuition.

Are you listening?

You are a beautiful, capable woman being the absolute best you be can so …

Believe it!

Your affirmation for today is:

‘I am beautiful, I am capable and I am being the best me I am.’

Sent with Love and Light

Julie x

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