Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/obsessive traits in adults? Feedback please!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay, this is an offshoot from MWM's thread about her difficult child's obsession with his handheld video game. I get what she said about not really being able to medicate for this, and in her difficult child's case, it's just something they live with.

    Here's my problem: husband has his own little obesession and it's not disturbing to him in any way. But it causes a great deal of stress in our relationship.

    He's already had the ADHD diagnosis and took medications for that for a while and they helped, and even seemed to distract him (at least outwardly it appeared that way) from his "obsessions".

    And last year because we thought he was having panic attacks he started Paxil, and although we later learned they weren't panic attacks (actually seizures) the Paxil did help his overall anxiety and he copes with stress much better than before and he's slightly less obsessed about his "issues" but it's still banging around in his head and still causing some stress between us.

    Now that he's on Lamictal for the seizures, his mood is better and he's less reactive and he's better able to communicate things calmly and clearly with me. But that little obsessive thing is still hanging around -- I think this is hardwired now in him. And I'm just wondering out loud here if realistically there's any hope of him letting go of this "thing" voluntarily because it's kinda like our kids with the video games. When they're stressed out, they want to do it more, like it's a calming device. I hate to use the word addiction, but it kinda looks like that in a way. Is it really a maladaptive coping skill related to a neurobehavioral disorder? What?

    I guess I'm just a frustrated spouse who's looking for a magic wand to change husband from a difficult child to a easy child! Ha-ha! It's fortunate that he's taken the medications he has, even if it's a back-door way to treat his underlying mood or attentional issues, I just wish he'd be more open to the thought that he has some problems that could use some help.

    Has anyone else had an adult in their life who's like a Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-type difficult child with obsessional issues? How did it affect YOU?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I will send a pm to you later about this, but the answer is yes.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, I appreciate it!
  4. GVC Mom,

    Yes, this is very much an issue at our home. husband has always had his obsessions and there is no question about the AS. It is a double edged sword because some of the AS behaviors are positive, others are less so.

    His obsessions are all encompassing and require lots of time and money. His first serious obsession was with gardening. I enjoyed that one, because I share it. But husband would spend hour after hour working in the garden - probably more hours than most people spend at work. And our garden is filled with unusual plant specimens and a year round display of blooming or colorful plants. It requires a lot of maintenance.

    Ponding and raising koi became his next obession and gardening was dropped and forgotten. He never spends any time in our garden, and because it is so big and complex, it is an enormous task for me. He worked with his ponds and his koi for around four years and one day , he just lost interest. The pond lies neglected now because it needs work, and he is no longer interested.

    His next obsession was/is running marathons. Keep in mind husband is firmly in his mid 50's. He keeps complex running logs and runs almost everyday. A short run is 10 miles, more usually he runs 14-20 miles. He spends a lot of money on shoes and clothing and he travels around the country for marathons. This all requires lots of time and money. I worry constantly that he will blow out his knees, have an accident , etc... but his running is sacred and like everything else he does - never done halfway.

    The most recent obession is brewing. He has turned our basement into a brewery - literally. He brews almost every month - when he is not running. He keeps our neighborhood parties supplied with home made beer. He subscribes to four brewing magazines, and he goes to a brewing club. We have an entire part of our library devoted to brewing books.

    Anyway , I think you get the picture. While he most certainly could be occupied in other, less desirable ways -- the problem is more a matter of the degree of interest and the time and money that it consumes. It is a characteristic that I have accepted, but I am not always happy with it.
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member


    and a "yes" to that as well. affect i tried not to let it bother me but it was bothersome, that was my ex. i'm hoping you guys find another solution. it's highly addictive though, and i've heard that hmmm how do i phrase this......that besides the obsession with it the "type" gets more intense. ok do you know what i mean??

  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :rofl: OMG -- 1 Day, you're describing my DAD!

    One year it was hydroponics with him. We had the best dang tomatoes in the neighborhood! And enough to feed the neighborhood, too!

    Another year, he decided to build his own camper shell for his jeep pickup, from scratch, all wood -- and painted it first with this elaborate handpainted zebra stripe pattern (copied a page from National Geographic for authenticity). Then decided he didn't like it and gave it a camouflage design -- handpainted, of course (with all his art brushes and pallette!) with like four or five different colors of greens and browns!

    I made the mistake one year of letting him help me with my science project... :rolleyes: I got an "A", and was the only kid in my school's history to turn in a homemade solar-powered parabolic mirror hotdog cooker.

    When the personal computer came on the market, he was one of the first in our neighborhood have one (Apple II+), and his obsession with all things computer-related began. He's got two rooms in their house and the garage filled with computers and all the related gadgetry.

    He did the whole CB fad, and then HAM radio, installed a "Big Stick" antenna on our roof...

    Now he's in his 60's and in poor health, but crafting opal jewelry is his latest hobby.

    Drives my mom nuts with how much money he's poured into his "hobbies/obsessions" over the years. But he very much has a sense of "entitlement" with everything he pursues.

    But I digress... the problem with MY husband is a bit more... shall we say, "intimate". And consequently more problematic to tackle.

    (Sigh). Some aspects of difficult child-ness can be good, but sometimes they can be downright maddening.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Jen, yeah, I think I do know what you mean!
  8. Jena

    Jena New Member

    this isn't going to make any sense what i'm going to say and wow i'm trying to go carefully on the boards tongiht because clearly i'm not well we know.......LOL.but try if yu can not to take it personally. it actually has nothing to do with you at all if that makes any sense. it's "their" issue and also stress brings on these types of behaviors "escape" if you will.

    make sense??

    :) if it's not one thing it's another, huh...??

  9. gvcmom,

    "I made the mistake one year of letting him help me with my science project... :rolleyes: I got an "A", and was the only kid in my school's history to turn in a homemade solar-powered parabolic mirror hotdog cooker."

    I'm still laughing about this one! I think that your Dad and my husband would get along famously....

    But yes, I do catch your drift about the "behaviors" you are taking about. And, yes, that has always been a feature with husband as well. I think it is really hard to contain obessive behavior into just one or two life areas. They seem to spill over into every part of life. From time to time I need to remind husband that household chores do need to be attended to, there are only so many hours in a day, etc, etc... Someone has to be in charge of putting the brakes on, and that is usually me :)

    Good luck!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh yeah, we get it too. Some obsessions do change with time, others do not. And you can't change them, all you can do is try to redirect if possible, live with it if not possible.

    If it's legal, if it's not affecting you (other than annoying you), then I would live with it. If you try to force him to change and the obsession is that strong, all you will do is drive it underground.

    I understand your desire for delicacy, which does give me some hints - but from my experience, and the way my mind is ticking, I doubt that the reality of what he is doing could be any 'worse' than what my mind is thinking of!

    If this is an obsession you can tolerate or share, it could be a positive step to at least indulge him. But if you can't or you feel uncomfortable about it, tell him. Above all else, you need honesty.

    husband's current obsession is trains. He's actually been crazy about trains all his life, but it's taken various forms. Right now he's in hog heaven, having finally got his licence to drive the little steam locomotives. A lot of the men in his club have wives who are resentful, and the men have only each other to share the hobby with. I go along with husband, I listen when he is telling me things, I make an effort to learn at least a little about it - but that is my choice. He is grateful that I'm 'indulging' him.
    The group has one female member - she joined because her husband was a member. He died a year ago, she still comes along and drives trains.
    All the other female attendees are the volunteer workers. The men couldn't manage without them, they'd never remember to feed themselves!

    But as you said, this problem is a bit more 'intimate' - you need to think about how it affects you, and why. And you both need to be able to be honest with each other. If this is interfering with that, then yes - it could be a problem.