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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question

Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4734
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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my wife of 25 years has been secretly seeing a psychologist

Resolved Question:

my wife of 25 years has been secretly seeing a psychologist starting about 3 months ago about ME. (she doesn't know that I know about this.. I saw an email she sent to her parents and my two college children).
She is positive I have Aspergers and the Psych told her she is sure too! (without having seen me!) The Psych told my wife that although unusual to do, she recommended that my wife give me an ultimatum with real consequences.

I am NOT an Asperger! Yes, I am an Engineer, I spend lots of time at work (just trying to keep a job these days) and, at home, I am trying to start a business that couples my love of golf with electronics SOLELY for the purpose of making money and having something to fall back on if I lose my job. I am athletic, I have no problems in a social setting, I have no quirky characteristics. I can easily read people's facial expressions and tell what they are feeling. In fact, I can read that my wife doesn't like me to approach her and be affectionate to her! She exhibits signs of Narcissism. I get in arguments where she denies things that she said and then I feel like I'm losing my mind. She is very controlling. Is it possible that she is trying to label me with a mental illness as a way to "win" a battle that she seems to have had with me for 5-6 years? Complicated, huh?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello, I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

Give me a couple minutes to read over your question thoroughly, so that I can better assist you

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your wife has been seeing a therapist without telling you, I can imagine how difficult this can be when she will not adequately talk to you about your issues.

Dr. Z :

Well it is possible that your wife may have traits of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and she is trying to label you with Asperger's Disorder to try to minimize her own limitations and not take responsibility for her own actions. Here is a more detailed look at NPD if you are curious about it

Customer:

well, right now, i am at a loss for what to do. In her email, she said she would pick a time to tell me. The part about "ultimatum" seems unusually harsh and for a therapist to suggest this is also strange is it not?

Dr. Z :

Well the therapist is set that you may have Asperger's Disorder, so that is probably why he/she recommended the ultimatum. I think you should definitely wait for your wife to bring this issue up and hopefully she will bring up the therapy as well because then you can suggest couple's counseling with this therapist, so that the therapist can see the real you and not just what your wife is telling the therapist.

Dr. Z :

Then it seems like the therapist will be better able to help both of you together and help you both better communicate.

Dr. Z :

Also these books are very good at helping give insight on NPD and helping to interact with someone who has NPD

Dr. Z :

I think it was premature for the psychologist to suggest that you have Asperger's Disorder without evaluating you. This will only be an educated guess at best, XXXXX XXXXX a diagnosis.

Dr. Z :

Would going to couple's therapy be an option for both of you? This would be a good way to confront any accusations she makes about you in front of an objective person (therapist) to help disarm her and work towards an effective solution for these difficulties you both are having.

Dr. Z :

Are you still there?

Customer:

sorry, my boss came in. the source of our conflict is our son. I am a overbearing golf dad (like Tiger's dad) that pushed him to be a highly accomplished golfer. I have not, however, pushed him since he has been in college on his golf team. Last summer though, I caddied for him and after he 3-putted a green, he got upset and I said, don't get upset with your putting, it is hard to 2 putt from 50 ft, it was your approach shot that put you 50 ft away. Whoops, that made him real mad.

Dr. Z :

It's okay, no worries, I just wanted to make sure we did not get disconnected. And does your wife feel that you are too hard on him?

Customer:

yes, i think she is extremely protective of him and it puts her in a mode where she is very spiteful to me. That's why i backed off and left him alone. Nothing but positive interaction with him until he had an outburst at me (maybe it way built up for many years and came out). So, she sorta shuns me, holds back affection, ignores me because of this somehow but won't talk about it directly to me anymore.

Customer:

I think she is in a battle with me, to control me, criticizing my every move and the best way to get back is to certify me with a mental disorder.

Dr. Z :

I am sorry to hear this. I think if you give her the option of couple's therapy it will her better understand your position and that you have made an effort to not push your son as much recently. And then hopefully she will open up about her issues with you and then you both can try to heal the relationship for the better.

Dr. Z :

It is possible she is trying to get back at you and control you out of spite, but this is a passive aggressive way of doing so because she is not directly speaking to you and that is a problem.

Dr. Z :

Couple's therapy will force her to talk to you, and will disarm these tactics of hers

Customer:

ok but is it bad to do this stuff and tell my son and daughter in secret that "dad has Aspergers" and "I will contact you by phone when he is not around"? "You should not feel bad about yourselves, it was your dad's fault". "It is ok to separate yourselves from dad".

Dr. Z :

Oh wow, she is telling your children this too?!? Yes that is harmful because a mental health professional has not evaluated you and like I said this is only an educated guess on one sided information. She should not be telling your children this and I think this is something that you have to confront her about and another reason why Couple's therapy is necessary for you two. This is a very passive-aggressive behavior and borders on trying to manipulate your children against you.

Customer:

She sent this in an email and sent it to her parents. She apparently has been talking with them over the past 6 months during her visits to be with her dad who died of Mesothelioma in August. Her dad is the one that googled and determined that I had Aspergers. She does NOT know that I know what she is doing. I stumbled across the email in her sent box because i had a weird intuition that she was having an affair or something because she seems to not show me genuine affection (even after I tell her what i want). If I was an Asperger, I would not be able to sense her emotions, right?

Dr. Z :

Usually individuals with Asperger's Disorder have a hard time reading emotions, usually have one-sided conversations with others, can be considered uncoordinated or clumsy, lack of eye contact when talking to others, few facial expressions, and usually they have a monotone voice and talk somewhat fast or hastily. Here is a good link on Asperger's Disorder that you may find enlightening. But the hallmarks symptom is incapable empathizing with others or understanding their feelings.

Customer:

that is not me! My friends from 20 years ago have all moved, my golf buddies are too old to golf, my golf club where I play and live is bankrupt, so, I have no real social friends anymore and I have dedicated myself to start a business. She is using this as the main Asperger trait, and that all the websites say Programmers are Aspies! I am not clumsy, I played baseball, football basketball and golf as a kid. Never was bullied, always got along with others and was popular. She doesn't know this though. She is 10 years younger than me.

Dr. Z :

Then most likely you do not have Asperger's Disorder. I would not admit that you looked at her email though as this may cause you more problems, but wait for her to approach you as she stated that she will and then bring up couple's therapy to help repair your marriage. If she does not confront you, then you may have to admit that you saw her email about her therapist and that you still recommend couple therapy

Customer:

you are right, that is my secret that i can't reveal to her but when you see that lack of affection, it is caused by something and i began thinking of what it could be and that's when i looked at her PC when she was out of town.

Dr. Z :

I understand why you did it, but I think she will use that information against you more and will cause more problems. I think waiting for her to confront you is an option, but also you can tell her that you notice that there is less affection in your marriage and that you would like to go to couple's therapy with her. At this point she may bring up seeing her own therapist

Customer:

you have been very helpful. I feel really alone on this. Her email revealed that she is also talking with her college girl friend who is a Doctor now and said her niece and nephew have Aspergers. My wife is reading all kinds of books about it like Living together alone and probably building up a victim mentality in her own mind. It is my wife, her friend, her psych, my son, daughter, and my wife's parents, all in on a dark secret about me and I have nobody to talk to. I feel ganged up against. My kids used to text me alot, but over the last month, not a single text.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are feeling alone in this and that is not fair to you. I would suggest being proactive and making the gesture that you would want to try couple's therapy with your wife. I think this will help her let go of her victim mentality and will help restore the relationship with her and your children

Customer:

thanks alot dr z. I appreciate it.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4734
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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