Our “Aspie’s” (people with “Asperger’s Syndrome”) can be so negative that it’s infuriating. Do you ever feel like you don’t even want to bring up a topic of conversation, or make a simple request, because you know you’ll get a resounding “NO!”? Or you’re tired of hearing all of their “reasons” why something you’ve said is wrong or awful? Or you just can’t stand being ignored any longer?
Unfortunately, this type of interaction with your “Aspie” breeds negativity in you as well. Think about it. If you aren’t allowed to have a normal give-and-take in a relationship, your small negative thoughts and feelings can simmer and build unresolved stress that eventually grows into big grievances. Or perhaps your negativity has turned inwardly to depression or even physical illness.
We need better self-care than staying negative in a relationship with a negative person.
It helps to understand how your brain works around negativity. It’s naturally sensitive to negativity as a way to signal your body to protect yourself. However, your amygdala doesn’t distinguish between a real threat and your negative family member. So your brain turns an inordinate amount of attention to that negative source – and your happy mood is gone.
Before dealing with a Negative Nelly, it would be good to check to see how much of your negative reactions come from your own internal issues. Identify your triggers – the things that instantly make you mad, bad, or sad. It can be what they say or how they say it. Notice if you can see any similarities between your triggers. What is the real issue – why does it makes you feel particularly defensive and uncomfortable? I’ve found that N.E.T. is very helpful for healing emotional pain.
Knowing why something happens is a lot different from knowing how to fix it. If you want to understand and intervene in these two very different aspects of negativity please join our MeetUp group and our video conferences. Learn to stop your “Aspie’s” negative reactions before they get started. And learn to soothe your own heart in the face of this type of Empathy Dysfunction.
Learn more about Empathy Dysfunction: I invite you to download a free chapter from “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS.”
8 Replies to “How to Keep “Aspie” Negative Thinking from Spoiling Your Happiness”
We had hiked around a lake for two hours. Left so happy. I honked my car horn briefly he flips out and tells me I should not have done that. very mad and negativel Things escalated Ikept my mouth shut but……happiness flew away. This is very typical and normal.
Sadly they often have no perspective. One assault on their sensory system blows away a day of happiness.
Debbie, I’m so sorry to read your story. I know what its like to look foreword to a happy outing with the person you love and trust the most, just to be left hanging without any apology or understanding of what just happened. It feels like a roller coaster ride because it’s so unpredictable with an immature aspie. When these issues happen, when we are out places, I let him know right away that what he just did or said hurt my feelings and he needs to apologize. But usually all I get is him going into a meltdown, denial, and he calls me a liar. I am older today and was a respected teacher for over 30 years. I never would have thought my retirement years would be filled with this kind of disrespectful treatment. I am so humiliated when he flirts with kids young enough to have been my students. Honestly, i’m living a nightmare being married to this juvenile boy.
There is so much heartache in this post so I hope you don’t mind if I comment about just one thing. You mention the disrespect and I believe this is powerful. We don’t expect disrespect from those who supposedly love us. It comes as a shock to be called a “liar” and worse, by an ASD partner. Because they cannot see the whole person behind your behavior, they automatically go for the worst interpretation. That’s their first mistake. The second mistake is to ignore the hurt you feel, as if what goes on in your heart is irrelevant. Demanding an apology is understandable, but a superficial apology with no real understanding of their part in the hurt —- well that feels even more disrespectful.
You mentioned N.E.T.in the above article but I did not see it defined. Could you please explain it.
NeuroEmotionslTechnique was developed by Scott Walker.
Did you apologize for beeping the horn? This and shutting the aspie out in these moments is imperative. Then later on, maybe days or weeks later, talk about the situation and explain why you were hurt. Ask why they were so upset. Dig deep here(eg ‘was it the loud sound…’).
The negativity and insults are the way sn aspie communicates the extent to which something bothered them. They try to make you feel as they did when, in this case a horn(aspies are sensitive to sound) loudly blaring.
Aspie’s have inferiority complexes so they feel they are sticking up for themselves when launch insults. Its their way of saying, ‘youre not better then me, youre not better then me…’.
Hope this helps.
Thank you Dr Marshack! Your website has been a godsend!!
(especially in this net-sea of “yeah, but…”)
After going through my own 4-date experience an aspie, the problem is not only “Theory of Mind” but “Theory of ‘Mine'”
Have a great day and thanks once again!