Welcome to June, my friends! This month, I have chosen to explore the virtue of resilience. Resilience is intricately woven into the fabric of nature, as evidenced by the mighty oak tree withstanding fierce winds and the delicate flower blooming against all odds. Just as nature embraces resilience, we too can find the strength within ourselves to navigate relationship challenges. Our journey may be salted with uncertainty and peppered with emotional turmoil. However, with guidance and compassionate help, we can thrive while drawing inspiration from the resilience and strength found in nature's embrace. We serve a mighty and creative God. This week's question offers an opportunity to explore your inner resilience.
Question: I believe my husband may be on the autism spectrum, based on a suggestion from a psychologist he met. However, he is too threatened to undergo an evaluation, so we can't discuss it. He struggles with empathy, blames me for many of our marriage problems, and exhibits inappropriate behavior without being open to feedback. He is rigid in his behaviors and thinking, leaving me feeling stuck. Any discussion about getting him tested becomes about me trying to fix him, rather than owning my own part. If I express my feelings about something he’s done, he quickly points out that I do it too. He is defensive and angry. It's incredibly challenging because living in this unknown territory leaves me unsure of how to act with him. My question is: How do I live with and respond to my husband when he may truly be incapable of providing what I need?
Thank you for sharing your question! Cultivating compassion for both yourself and your husband is crucial. While his limitations may hinder his ability to meet your needs, it never excuses harmful behavior or emotional abuse. Establish firm boundaries when necessary, ensuring you do not tolerate mistreatment or compromise your safety.
The awareness around neurodiversity and its impact on relationships is growing and new information is coming out each week. Do not stay stuck trying to figure out your man. That takes way too much energy and will hijack your core well-being. Let's focus on doing your own work.
How would you rate your sense of inner strength and well-being in this journey? In my coaching practice, I have discovered that navigating such dynamics presents a unique opportunity for personal growth and empowerment. Let's take a moment to breathe and reflect on your current strength and resilience. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, where do you currently rate your inner strength and well-being in this journey?
What strengths and positive qualities have you discovered within yourself throughout this process? Self-awareness serves as a bridge to creativity. By shifting your perspective to acknowledge your own strengths and resilience, you can empower your well-being and approach these challenges with renewed confidence.
Approach each interaction with creativity and an open mind. Find alternative ways to communicate and connect, such as writing letters or engaging in fun, nonthreatening activities together. Practice active listening and empathy, creating a safe space for open and honest communication.
Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries is paramount to maintaining your well-being and safety. Take the time to clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable in your relationship. Seek inspiration from Proverbs 25:28, which states, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Protect yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, environmentally, financially, and physically by consistently holding these boundaries.
When setting boundaries with your husband, use assertive, not aggressive or passive language. Here are a couple of examples:
“I appreciate your perspective, and it's important to me that we communicate with respect and kindness. If you continue to use derogatory language towards me, I will leave the conversation. How might we find healthier ways to express our disagreements and work through our issues?”
“I understand that you may struggle with empathy. When you dismiss my feelings or blame me for our problems, it makes it difficult for us to find solid ground. I would like to find a way to address our issues without resorting to blame or defensiveness.”
Empower yourself by exploring available options aligned with your core values for support. Seek legal advice if needed, prioritize financial independence, and consult professionals who specialize in destructive relationships.
Remember, you're not alone! Reach out to trusted friends, family, support groups, or people helpers who understand neurodivergent relationships. Make self-care and personal safety your top priorities. Engage in activities that nourish your well-being, and consider joining a coaching group for additional support.
If your safety is at risk in any way, develop a safety plan with professionals specializing in domestic violence or abuse. Your safety matters. Resources like the National Hotline (1-800-799-7233) are available 24/7.
You can extend compassion to both yourself and your spouse and not tolerate or enable mistreatment. Strive for growth while acknowledging the importance of setting realistic expectations. Some limitations may persist, so finding a balance between acceptance and positive change is crucial.
May you find the peace and happiness you deserve. Your resilience and well-being matter.
With heartfelt prayers and support for your continued resilience and well-being,
What advice would you give to someone who is facing challenges with an incapable spouse or partner? How do you balance the need for understanding and empathy with the importance of maintaining your own emotional and mental well-being in relationships with limitations?
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