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Topic : 12/30 The Stepford Family

Number of Replies: 216
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Created on : Friday, October 28, 2005, 02:15:29 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Airdate: 11/01/05) Do you know someone who is so exacting about the smallest of things that they are borderline obsessive? Dr. Phil speaks with guests whose perfectionistic  ways are destroying their relationships. Beth does everything in her power to create a "Stepford-like" existence for her family. But her husband, Tony, says, "Don't be fooled, things are not what they appear to be!" Will her façade of perfection destroy her marriage? And what toll is it taking on their children? And, Robin is prepared to give her husband, Brad, the walking papers if he doesn't stop criticizing every move she makes. Plus, a self-described controlling viewer challenges Dr. Phil! Talk about the show here.


Find out what happened on the show.


More December 2005 Show Boards.

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April 14, 2006, 8:07 pm CDT

calling all engineers' wives

Quote From: jennybt

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read these words that came from someone elses mouth other than my own!!!  You've stated exactly how I feel, and what I'm going through!  My situation. . . I am an artist, my husband an engineer.  I've been with him on and off for 18 years.  I'VE NEVER SEEN HIM CRY, EVEN AT HIS OWN FATHERS BOUT W/CANCER, NOR AT HIS FUNERAL!!!  There is so much to tell, where do I start.  I'll get to the current situation.  Due to a recent move (which he was VERY much nervous about choosing), he has found himself extremely stressed out (bigger bills, not having a 'perfect' product ie. . .the paint job, the flooring etc. . .).  So stressed that his health HAS been affected.  He now has a low white blood cell count.  Yet he continues without getting professional help.  The rest of us, myself and our 4 children, tiptoe around him and walk on eggshells.  IT SUCKS!!!!  If any of us laugh, he looks at us like we're weird.  If I ask him out, or to do something fun, he finds something to complain about (ie. . ."Did you know that glass of wine was $7.00?!?!?"  Even when I only had one, and we RARELY go out!)  I can't take it!  It kills me to see it affecting the kids!  I want him to get help SO badly, and have for years.  But he can't justify spending the time and money on such a thing when he can hardly even see that there is a problem.  I don't know what to do, and I really need help!  I don't want to raise my children without a father whether it is due to his killing himself over being a perfectionist/controller, or my leaving him, or even just not being present for the fun wonderful things that children do!  HELP!!!! 

Does anyone have advice for getting help for someone who doesn't want it and resists it at all costs? 



So many of the postings here describe very well the experience of being in an Asperger relationship.  (Not all engineers have Asperger's of course, but many of them do).  There is information available, but there is a lack of awareness, both in the general public and amongst health professionals, because the syndrome has really only been recognized for about 10 years.


Please look at: - click on the guestbook to read similar experiences to yours - the world expert on AS.  Has links to support groups etc. - Psychologist who specialises on counselling AS couples - info and support for families of adults with AS - support group in Australia - can send info via email if you request


If you are in such a relationship, you will need information and emotional support as years of lack of emotional reciprocity eats away at your self-esteem and you are at risk of depression .  Not surprisingly,  many women eventually leave.   Often AS in the adult is only recognised after a child has been diagnosed.  Good luck. 

April 14, 2006, 8:10 pm CDT

not just engineers

Quote From: marciek

 I would like to let all of you know about our online messageboard/support group for wives of engineers. You do not have to be married to an engineer, or even still in the relationship. It is for people who are with controlling spouses (or significant others) and people who have gotten out of this type of relationship, but are still feeling the effects of it.

Our group started after the show with Robin and her husband. It has been wonderful for all of us. If you're interested in joining us, log onto EZ Board, and type in : Wives of Engineers  and it will lead you to our group. Read our stories, share your thoughts, vent, and see that you're not alone.

Many of you may be in an Asperger relationship.  To read about experiences that may echo yours, click on the guestbook at:

For other websites refer to my other postings

best wishes

April 18, 2006, 11:34 pm CDT

what's it like to be in an Asperger's relationship?

Quote From: druidcanuk

I would definitely watch a show on Aspergers! I've tuaght a couple of children with Aspergers and they have been absolutely fascinating [and at times exasperating people I've ever met. The rules, rules, rules, rules!!! A rule for everything - and never any flexibility for rule changes. But the bright minds so focused on one or two topics - amazing. I would really like to see some examples of people with Aspergers who are married or who have their own children. That has to be SO difficult for all involved. I don't know how they manage it, but I'd love to find out.
Please log on to and click on to the guestbook to read accounts by (mostly) women in a partnership with someone with AS.  I can personally vouch for experiences that mirror theirs.  I have put several postings on the Dr Phil board re this subject.  Also look at, and others.  Many psychologists believe people with AS should not get married, it is simply unfair to inflict that burden on a neurotypical person.  You can't imagine what it is like to have normal expectations unmet, that normal people take for granted.  When the love that you give is not returned equally,  the lack of emotional reciprocity,etc. etc. eats away at your self-esteem and puts you at risk of depression.  I know of women who still need a support group years after they gave up and left their AS partners.
April 19, 2006, 12:05 am CDT

the money issues

Quote From: mrsmph2b

Bellasun.... I couldn't agree more.  I am currently engaged to a mechanical engineer and live in the same type of situation.  Everything muxt be done "just so".  And what's more, is that there is always a "project" that is being worked addition to the stress of running his own company.  He stresses himself out by filling his life with deadlines and demanding everything be perfect... It cant happen.   I am 3 1/2 years into this relationship...and doubting....????  But only sometimes.  Sometimes, he can be great - its a Jeckyll and Hyde situation. We both work full time but I was previously married and have a  son .  This man had SERIOUS ADJUSTMENTS to make in order to learn how to live with a child! We're still adjusting...  Him to my child and ME to him.  He has to control EVERYTHING !!  And he alwayyyyyssss has to give me "direction" in EVERYTHING.  Especially parenting.... forget the fact that he's not actually a parent himself!  Never mind if I ASKED for the advice or not.  Whenever I point out that he tries to control me he says he's only trying to "help" me.  I say he's trying to force his way of thinking on me.  He will argue his point into the ground.  I often tell him he should have been a lawyer.  I find myself feeling like I don't live up to his standards.  Im trapped in my own fairytale nightmare.  Everyone thinks my life is great...  and sometimes it is.  We built a brand new house together last year that is everything I have ever dreamed of.... unfortunately every tiny flaw within it was picked apart -- some were warranted, some were not.  It still took away from the excitement of something so special. And  let's not get into the fact that it's frequently pointed out to me how much $ he put down on the home.  We split all bills equally but he makes double my salary.  Then most recently he "bought" me a Lexus.  He put the down payment on it and is paying for over 1/2 of the monthly payment... I pay the other half of the payment and it's in both of our names. But now, guess what im starting to hear.... yep, how he "gave" it to me.  I'm not ungrateful for the things I have but I would rather have something less extravagant and have it be "mine" than have someone do something and throw it in my face down the road.  I met another lady who was married to an electrical engineer and she swears he's the same way.  She's most recently started taking Prozac.  Unfortunately for me, I already take it!  Where can I possibly go from here?
I know exactly how you feel.  My husband  is a mechanical engineer with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome.  (Miserliness is common in individuals with AS, but they are happy to spend money on their special interest).   We built a house when we got engaged, and despite my salary being much less than his, I contributed all my savings and future earnings, and my family assisted with labour and use of accommodation for free, which was a big saving.  However he coldly worked out a formula for my apparently inadequate contribution, and years later after many arguments, still seems to think that I "owe him" and makes me feel like an employee with a lifetime debt.  What happened to being put on a pedestal by your love one?   This is very hurtful and bordering on abuse.  I sometimes wonder why he ever wanted to get married.  His brother actually said years ago that he didn't think that ... would ever get married.  He must have sensed something.   I refuse to discuss the money issue now and will not let myself be put down by him.  He also had some bizarre ideas about the way to do things whilst building, and refused to take into account the way that most people would do things.  When we got engaged, he wanted me to tell people not to give us presents, he wanted us to go without a telephone and a car, and other unreasonable ideas which I resisted.  For these people, they are unable to take into account other people's feelings as part of the decision making process.  This also has the effect of completely taking the joy out of any project that you should, naturally , look forward to.  He also believes he is right all of the time and would prefer to be right and alone than give in and have the love of other people.  These people have a LONG memory and anything you say in an argument will be used as a weapon against you YEARS later.  No wonder most women give up and leave them eventually.  I don't feel happy at the thought of a lifetime with someone like this.
February 22, 2007, 10:01 am CST


i would plead that a show be done. this whole asperger has been cracked on my lap. my coplicated relationship terned out to be hostage to asperger syndrome. both parties totally unaware of it in any way havin babies and trien to be normal we did. but it was never gonna work . we didn t know this. now i stand alone trien to take account for all the casualties but i feel like i am in fron t of a mirror that is all steamed up. i know the image is there it is just unclear to me. there seems to be no in no out and no way. i am scared for my kids i am scared for the asperger man. and i am scared for me. i feel like we r all on this teathered bridge and we r unsure of what the capacity is or what direction we should take on it if any. i never felt so disalussioned in my life. left at the end of the day knowin little to noone will get it and i am just on my own.a show would be awsome i d be so willing to partisipate in that on any lvl. from watchin at home to letting people see inside our world. as hard as that would be for my private type charecter.
March 16, 2007, 8:48 am CDT

Would love to talk with you more...

Quote From: dawn_ellis


After seeing the Stepford Family show I came to the message board just to see if anyone caught on that Brad may, indeed, have Aspergers Syndrome. I lived with an Asperger spouse for 10 years before I realized that he lived in a different world and that I wasn't crazy. My epiphany came only after my six-year-old son was diagnosed with Aspergers. While people with Aspergers do have many wonderful traits, their spouses often feel like they are emotionally, physically and spiritually bankrupt. I finally had to leave when I became incredibly self-destructive and I realized that my ex would never change. I'd love to know why Dr. Phil hasn't done a show on Asperger spouses? There are so many people suffering, unaware that their spouse is neurologically wired to think differently.  

Is there any way for us to exchange emails without it being public? I'd love to chat with you more about the whole Asperger's issue, relationships, etc.
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