What’s the Point of Trying to Communicate in a NeuroDivergent Relationship?

Be not entangled in this world of days and nights; Thou hast another time and space as well.” ~ Muhammad Iqbal

What’s the goal of improving communication?

I am often asked how to make communication work better in NeuroDivergent relationships between a NeuroTypical and a NeuroDiverse partner. But asking how to do so? assumes that this is the goal and that it can be defined.

To improve communications between people makes sense, of course, but what would that look and sound like? In my books and online courses, I offer the 7-Step Interface Protocol as a method for improving communications, but even this is vague. Does improving communication mean to understand each other, or to give respectful listening, or to connect emotionally?

As one reader asked, “What is it that we – the NT wife and ND husband – are trying to do/accomplish with our communication? Using the [7-Step Interface] Protocol allows us a bridge between the two [operating] systems. So, we are talking vs. having the horrible [NeuroTypical and NeuroDiverse] systems clashes. But what is happening other than talking? I hope you can understand this question is coming for a place of being at a sincere loss for a purpose in attempting to bridge the systems.”

Her question is profound. She and her spouse have been faithfully taking my course, reading my books, and practicing the techniques I recommend. By her report they have improved but what’s the point? Have they gone from hostile roommates to polite roommates, blocked from going further?

Use the 7-Step Interface Protocol to eliminate your anger.

Another common question I hear is summarized by this reader: “Why can’t I let go of my anger toward my spouse? Why does it take me so long to accept my NeuroDivergent relationship and my partner’s very different operating system? Why can’t I get it through my head?!”

Anger is a normal human response when confronted by a confusing and even frightening situation or relationship. But if that anger has been mysteriously triggered for years and without resolution, it may take a lifetime to heal. It doesn’t have to take a lifetime, as the previous woman acknowledged. With the 7-Step Interface Protocol, at least you can demystify the NeuroDivergent chaos and develop ways to communicate respectfully and peacefully.

Allowing the anger to dissipate is required before any of us can move to another level of relating in these confounding NeuroDivergent relationships. It may be easier to let go of your anger with your partner, as you come to accept their different operating system. However, I suspect letting go of the anger you have for yourself is tougher.

Peel back the layers of disinformation and discontent.

Rather than be so tough on yourself, I suggest engaging in a process of peeling back the layers of disinformation and discontent you have acquired over the years of life in a NeuroDivergent relationship or family (perhaps many generations too). The reason it takes so long to “get it” is that there are many stages of personal, interpersonal, and spiritual enlightenment to go through.

Many teachers have taught us these principles but I suppose we are impatient to “get it” and “get there.” However, if you are willing to take your time, do the work, practicing effective communication techniques such as the 7-Step Interface Protocol (and others you favor), confronting your anger (and your fears), enlightenment — and love will come. Our teachers promise this because it is your birthright.

Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

You may have heard this quote before. Lao Tzu reminds me that this journey of unraveling the mystery of our NeuroDivergent relationships is far more than the average communication problem. You are on an amazing journey that will strengthen you and enlighten you and take you places you never thought existed. How can you answer those questions of “What’s the point?” or “How do I let go of my anger?” without a journey of 1000 steps?

A few years ago, I had a dream that astounded me at the time I dreamt it, but on each retelling I peel back another layer. Each time I realize that I am part of something incredibly powerful — and I realize I am being guided even if my conscious mind doesn’t always know that I know what I know.

In this dream I was in San Francisco, on a beautiful summer evening, with my former husband Howard. We were bar hopping, chatting with friends, enjoying our last night together here on Earth. I had already said goodbye to my daughters, and friends. Now it was time to say goodbye to Howard.

As the evening waned, I told him I needed to go home and finish my packing. I had to leave in the morning. He didn’t want me to go. He asked, “Can’t you stay one more night? We could go to the mountains this evening and watch a meteor shower. It will be so beautiful.”

I thought about how much I loved Earth and would sorely miss those precious moments like a meteor shower. But I had to decline, “As much as I would love that, I have to leave early in the morning and there just isn’t time.” I gave Howard a long hug and turned to leave for my house.

Just as I arrived inside and started the last-minute packing, I got a cell call from Howard. “Could I go with you?” he pleaded. “The girls and I could all go with you.” He was persistent.

I was touched but I held firm. “That is so sweet of you Howard, but I can’t take you with me. My Rocketship is designed for only one person. In fact, if you want to leave Earth, you will need to find your own Rocketship. There are dozens of them all over the city. They all need intensive repairs so it will take you awhile to get it ready. I had to do the same thing. It took me years to make my Rocketship worthy of flight. And now I must go.

The next morning, I performed all of the last-minute safety checks, then climbed aboard my Rocketship and started the engine. I listened to the engine hum as it warmed up. I began thinking of all I was leaving behind, but I had worked hard for this moment and there was no delaying now. I pushed the throttle forward and my one-person ship lifted off. As I looked around the city in the early morning light, I saw so many things I would miss, especially my life with my family and friends. But I was also excited about the adventure I was beginning.

I noticed that I was lingering a bit too long. My Rocketship was not moving fast enough to break through the Earth’s atmosphere. So, I had to relinquish my sadness and my memories and pick up speed. I grabbed the throttle tightly and pushed it all the way forward. Just as I let. go of my reverie over my past life, I felt the jolt of my Rocketship as I shot past the atmosphere and into my future of star-studded Space.

Go Big to find hope.

Please don’t read too much into my dream. After all it was meant for me. You must follow your own dreams. As a psychologist what I know about dreams is that they are always about the dreamer and the messages are meant for that person, specifically.

However, if you follow the gist of my dream — and don’t take it literally — it is a message of hope. There is no intent to recommend separation or divorce or leaving your friends behind. In fact, in my dream I felt great love for Howard and my children. I wasn’t leaving the love behind at all. Instead, I was finally recognizing my true worth. In other words, my Rocketship dream is a metaphor for taking on my life fully. To use one of my favorite expressions, “Go Big!” if you are to find the answer to “What’s the point?”

As I said, this dream keeps revealing new lessons for me each time I tell it. This time I have an answer to my reader’s question of “What’s the point?”

Essentially she wants to know the deeper meaning of her life. I can’t tell her what that is, of course, since each of us has to find our own one-person Rocketship to make ready for our adventure into ourselves and our reason for being.

What I can tell you though, is to stop holding yourself back. Stop criticizing your attempts to understand and fix the relationship. Notice that this life is one you were gifted — not just to be there for others, but to be there for yourself too. Send love to those you care for, even if they aren’t ready for their own journey, but don’t let your love hold you back from yours.

Peel back another layer and then another until your Rocketship is polished, spit shined and ready to launch. Push the throttle forward and blast off to go where you have never gone before — to your own outer limits. That’s the point!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have a loved one on the Spectrum, please check our private MeetUp group. We have members from around the world meeting online in intimate video conferences guided by Dr. Kathy Marshack.
Learn More >
Join my Meetup Group