After reading through some of your blog entries I took the personality test. The results I received are ENTJ. I’m not sure this is right. After poring over the page of different personality types and I’m leaning towards ISTP.

Coincidentally, your Feb 4th blog post “How to balance your business and your family” really resonates with me. My wife just quit her job in September to start her own business, and I have been the sole breadwinner. I really understand the costs involved, as she has also developed a website using a third party developer, and I try to support her need to have a “low burn rate” when building the business. The description of your husband as an ISTP seemed more in line with my personality. Barring any further chameleonic tendencies…

Even more coincidentally, I stumbled upon your website after having what is probably the twelfth conversation with my wife on the topic of I probably have Asperger Syndrome. I don’t know, I may or may not have AS, I don’t really care, other than the fact that my wife is having trouble connecting with me.

We’ve been through couples therapy a couple of times, and she’s been trying to figure out why I’ve been so pessimistic and possibly depressed since leaving an awesome job designing airplanes in Atlanta to move to Idaho to raise our two kids. She has a support system here, but I have some adjustment anxiety (psychiatrist’s words). Having relocated to the Midwest from an urban area, you probably understand the adjustment.

So yeah, I’ll probably follow your blog from here on out, mostly because you seem to be able to articulate things my wife is going through in a way I can understand them. And I can use some of your techniques to better connect with her. And some more of your techniques to further my career. Thanks for doing what you do.

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14 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Hi Robert.
    First, I agree with your wife. I think you have Aspergers. Designing airplanes puts you straight into the high risk category (engineers, scientists and architects are commonly on the autistic spectrum).

    Also, whether you are an ISTP or an ENTJ, neither of those types would ever write the email you sent to me because you gave me lots of information that has no clear purpose for your writing it. Not that that’s a bad thing to do, it’s just that those two types of people would never do it — unless they have Aspergers. (One of the benefits of me getting about 200 emails a day from blog readers is that the people with Aspergers become very easy to pick out — after all, I have Aspergers too, and we’re great with pattern recognition!)

    Here’s some advice for your wife:

    First, tell her couples therapy doesn’t work for people with Aspergers. The mental deficit of Aspergers means being unable to understand the very same nonverbal cues that a neurotypical mate goes to therapy to deal with. So the neurotypical mate is better off going to therapy alone to understand not only how to cope with Aspergers, but also to understand what lead to picking to marry someone with Aspergers in the first place.

    Tell your wife to get some books about how to deal with a teen who has Aspergers. She has to deal with you pretty much the same way. (I know this because it’s how my neurotypical mate and neurotypical friends deal with me.) You can still have a great relationship. She just needs to make rules for how you interact with her and you follow them.

    You should listen to her an do what she tells you, and don’t argue with her. That’s what I do, too. Apergers is a brain disorder that makes people sound crazy when they tell us what is normal to do. It will never sound not crazy to us, so you have to trust that the neurotypical person knows best.

    Good luck!

    • downfromtheledge
      downfromtheledge says:


      Which of the 16 personality types would those with Aspergers tend to fall under (if there tends to be a cluster)? Do you know if there is any pattern in the personality type who tends to pick an Aspergers mate?

      I am an INFJ dating someone in the IT field who, while very loving-emotionally expressive-affectionate, can have difficulty putting himself in others’ shoes and whose public voice/laughter is often inappropriately loud. He sometimes stares at me more than a little too long;) My gut tells me he is on the spectrum, but when I asked him even about being ADHD (which to me was obvious), it upset him and brought up painful memories of being diagnosed as a teen with something he believed labeled him and he couldn’t see any negatives from.

      He tested INTJ on the Quistic test, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if the result was ISFJ or ISTJ.

      I am not entirely sure where to go from here if he IS, but he does seem invested in self-improvement (i.e. reading several books on relationships, non-verbal communication, etc. after his divorce).

      Thanks in advance for any insights…

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Anyone who could test as ISTJ or INTJ would NEVER test as ISFJ. Even though the difference seems small, it’s actually huge. An ISFJ is very giving and caring. The other two are not at all.

        Reference points:

        An INTJ will look very Aspergery, but the difference between someone whose an INTJ and someone who has Aspergers is executive function. An INTJ has great executive function.

        Explanation of executive function:

        The type of person most likely to pick someone with Aspergers is someone who has it in their family and has therefore normalized the behavior to some extent.


        • Elizabeth
          Elizabeth says:

          I agree with this.

          I have tested as INTJ every single time over the last 16 years through various tests, comprehensive tests, short tests, and fun little facebook tests.

          • Jennifer
            Jennifer says:

            Most likely to find personality tests interesting: INTJ!

            I’m an INTJ. My sister in law and mother in law are ISFPs and they’re like *aliens*. They’re very sweet but they make me crazy. An ISFJ would be even worse.

            To my mind ISFJ judges people and INTJ judges ideas.

          • Elizabeth
            Elizabeth says:


            That comment made me laugh. Now I have a conversation starter for those awkward moments when someone asks me to say something interesting about myself. Normally I would say “eff off” but now I can say that I enjoy taking personality tests! :)

  2. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    I think my husband has Aspergers. I’ve read all Penelope’s posts on it and some things really apply to him and some things don’t. So sometimes I think he is AS and sometimes I think he isn’t. And sometimes I think he isn’t but was raised by a family that is. But like you I don’t really care and what matters is how we relate and connect.

    Recently our lives have been very turbulent. I have learnt he does not deal with uncertainty very well. He gets into a downward spiral. To help him cope I know he needs lots of alone time doing something he loves. Also exercise works to shed anxiety and build his tolerance. But it took a while to figure out what kind of exercise he could do regularly (again had to be completely alone).

    We’ve done a fair bit of couples therapy recently. It has been helpful, first to remind me he is always on my side and secondly for me to vent and feel heard by him, with the therapist helping him understand my non verbal cues. Also we learn things together like going on a date to a restaurant is a terrible idea for him. It also reminded me why I married him:his breathtaking brilliance at what he does, and open honesty + integrity. I now appreciate that with the brilliance comes pessism and intensity and with the honesty comes bluntness, with the integrity comes a pain-in-the-arse.

    The other day I was feeling irritable. So I hinted at this to him then got more irritated he did not understand me. So I had to be more obvious and he finally remembered that probably meant I was in PMS. So he says as much and I make a face that says duh. Then he said ‘So you are saying your hormones are in charge? Who should really be in charge?’ My hormones threw a pot full of water at him to show how much they were in charge. He left and took the kids. With some alone time I reflected on what I’ve been learning about him and then wrote out what was going through my mind and gave him some rules, like when I’m in PMS never address hormones directly, don’t touch me and leave me alo ne as much as possible. In return I will try to tell him more directly when I feel like that. He was very grateful.

    • Barb
      Barb says:

      You threw water? And you have kids? That has nothing to do with being neurotypical, and it has nothing to do with hormones. None of those are excuses for that type of behavior. Normal behavior is saying, “I feel irritable, leave me alone.” Not getting physical. That’s out of control and not something your family should have to tiptoe around.

      • Amy
        Amy says:

        You don’t sound like you know anything about Aspergers, ASD, or behavioral communication. Sometimes people on the spectrum are trying to communicate but processing to the point of generalizing in verbal communication while being over stimulated has been known to be challenging for more than a few people, even some neurotypical people actually. Understanding begins when you don’t assign a negative assumption to something you don’t experience leaving your consciousness open to learn what is really there. The fact that you would not do something and if you did it would mean ‘x’ does not mean that someone else works the same way that you do. Until you can understand that you don’t understand them, and you may not understand you.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I love how you describe the trade offs people make – like brilliance comes with pessimism.

      And for the record, I’ve thrown water. And many of my friends have thrown stuff. And I appreciate your honesty.


      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth says:

        Ha! I may or may not have thrown something at my spouse in the heat of the moment. There is a running joke about eggs because of it.

    • Robert
      Robert says:

      Tracy, thanks for sharing your story. I’m the guy Penelope outed in the post. Now that I’m looking at the world through aspie-colored glasses, I can evaluate things that I’ve had difficulty with and develop a new approach to dealing with them. Per Penelope’s post on sensory-integration-dysfunction, she recommends assuming that your most severe deficits relate to Asperger’s so you can understand them better.
      I actually found couples therapy useful in that I could develop those “rules of engagement” and follow them in order to understand my wife better. The therapist was helpful in making her stick to the rules so that we didn’t get into the downward spiral. I’m glad you stated that it was important that you felt heard and were reminded that your husband was on your side…I’ll have to try that. :)
      And for the record, I think throwing water is just another way to express yourself when the words aren’t sinking in. Unless the water is boiling; in that case you may want to seek help.

      • Tracy
        Tracy says:

        Thanks Robert – I’ve previously had my own PT mailbag experience so know how much of a rollercoaster it can be. Your story helped me, so I’m glad I could reciprocate. Good luck with it all. When it gets better, it will be better than it has ever been before.

  3. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    …When it gets better, it will be better than it has ever been before.

    That is so poetic and beautiful.

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