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Laurentius
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29 Nov 2015, 7:45 am

Okay so. My girlfriend of 10 months or so recently came on the receiving end of quite an angry meltdown that reverted to a total breakdown. Since then I've been trying to help her understand meltdowns and things, mainly using the internet. Since I started doing so, I've read some seriously nasty remarks about Aspergers from women on various websites and it's really discouraging to see and know that my girlfriend might see it and think I am bad news for her. I have worked really hard on myself to try and make this work and been very open about my aspergers and emotions (as much as I can be) but I am totally, and completely, terrified that seeing some of the stuff on these so-called "help" websites might cause her to leave me. On one it even said meltdowns can cause things like domestic abuse. I haven't been violent during a meltdown since I was a child, but that frightened me. What if she thinks that? What if she wants to leave when she sees that?

I guess I'm looking for reassurance. My girlfriend has been an absolute star with it so far, been really understanding and wanting to learn, but this is the first time she's dealt with me melting down on her and I'm absolutely freaking out about it.


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29 Nov 2015, 8:38 am

I think you need to communicate to her how you feel directly, not through the words of others. However you need to, whether by talking about it, or possibly writing a letter as you are still feeling a bit strung out about what has happened.

Discuss the issues you have seen on websites too. You can't undo the meltdown, but you can deal with the fallout. Some people are violent, with or without aspergers, reassure her that you are not one of these people.



Laurentius
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29 Nov 2015, 4:32 pm

I have tried to do this, communicate it directly, but I don't seem to articulate what I want to get across very well; which is obviously problematic, so I turn to other sources, of course it would be better from my own mouth. I've done my best to discuss them with her, but it's not very easy. Is there any other tips you could offer for getting my feelings across articulately? I appreciate the advice.


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29 Nov 2015, 5:38 pm

As you have been together for a decent amount of time it does sound like you have a good relationship and she sounds like an independant thinker too. Putting myself in your position at your age, I agree it could be very hard to identify and describe emotions. It was for me at that time in my life and I knew nothing about aspergers then.

Just take your time with this. I think that concerns about her leaving you over this is possibly just an over reaction. I think the best way would be in straight up honesty. In your situation I would feel stressed, anxious and embarrassed that she was on the receiving end. If those are true for you too, then use that if not replace with the words that would suit your feelings better. Once she has accepted your apology then try not to dwell on it too much and keep moving forward, feeling guilty is not the basis for a good relationship. Keep moving forward.

Ask her, if she finds any internet posts or articles that raise concerns for her, then to come to you and ask you directly about them.

Obviously it would be best to avoid her having to deal with meltdowns if possible. Tell her if there are specific things that would cause a meltdown for you. Take a time out. If you find yourself in a similar situation again then try to remove yourself from the situation before it goes too far. Whatever works for the both of you.



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29 Nov 2015, 6:12 pm

Laurentius wrote:
Okay so. My girlfriend of 10 months or so recently came on the receiving end of quite an angry meltdown that reverted to a total breakdown. Since then I've been trying to help her understand meltdowns and things, mainly using the internet. Since I started doing so, I've read some seriously nasty remarks about Aspergers from women on various websites and it's really discouraging to see and know that my girlfriend might see it and think I am bad news for her. I have worked really hard on myself to try and make this work and been very open about my aspergers and emotions (as much as I can be) but I am totally, and completely, terrified that seeing some of the stuff on these so-called "help" websites might cause her to leave me. On one it even said meltdowns can cause things like domestic abuse. I haven't been violent during a meltdown since I was a child, but that frightened me. What if she thinks that? What if she wants to leave when she sees that?

I guess I'm looking for reassurance. My girlfriend has been an absolute star with it so far, been really understanding and wanting to learn, but this is the first time she's dealt with me melting down on her and I'm absolutely freaking out about it.


Are you verbally abusive when you have meltdowns? If you are simply expressing anger but not in an insulting or hurtful way to her, it shouldn't be a problem. You are perfectly entitled to feel angry sometimes, everyone does and that is normal and healthy. If you express your anger in hurtful ways, however, that is a different story. As long as you keep lines of communication open and let her know that you are having a meltdown without calling her names or saying mean and nasty things, then it shouldn't hurt your relationship.



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29 Nov 2015, 6:53 pm

What about using a visual cue? A card, a hand signal, or a sign you can flash or put up that says "meltdown in progress" or the equivalent. Or even some "unsafe words" maybe?

People used to know to avoid my boss when her nostrils flared. True story. You just didn't approach her if you saw that, or backed down and got away if conversation was in progress. It was quite the inside joke in our office.

If my ex starts being mean to the cats, I know to stay away. He's a total sap with them at any other time, but when he starts snapping at them or tossing them out of his way (he still doesn't hurt them) then I know it's meltdown time.

Point is, talking it out is not going to happen when you're in 'code red' and you both know that, so just putting a simple cooldown procedure in place and sticking to it should help you get past that without harm.



Laurentius
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29 Nov 2015, 11:52 pm

It was unfair. I made remarks that were personal and honestly, nasty, and not the kind of thing I would ever say to her normally, even under duress or when angry. It was a completely irrational, mad moment, and I don't even remember it. My stress levels have been high and I haven't slept well, but that's no excuse to take it out on my girlfriend. I just remember regretting it immediately and breaking down, partly due to the stress and also due to my unhappiness at what I had said to her, and a lot of self-loathing in that moment. I have never been violent in my life in a meltdown, and I have apologised and tried to explain to her what they are, what triggers them and how I cope, and how she can help (she asked about that part, I didn't tell her she had to help!). So far it seems to have gone well. I also promised I would be more open about my worries and things that cause me to reach melting point, and to try and talk to her more about it. I still feel terrible though, a moment of madness could have cost me the best thing that ever happened to me.


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30 Nov 2015, 1:15 am

Laurentius wrote:
It was unfair. I made remarks that were personal and honestly, nasty, and not the kind of thing I would ever say to her normally, even under duress or when angry. It was a completely irrational, mad moment, and I don't even remember it. My stress levels have been high and I haven't slept well, but that's no excuse to take it out on my girlfriend. I just remember regretting it immediately and breaking down, partly due to the stress and also due to my unhappiness at what I had said to her, and a lot of self-loathing in that moment. I have never been violent in my life in a meltdown, and I have apologised and tried to explain to her what they are, what triggers them and how I cope, and how she can help (she asked about that part, I didn't tell her she had to help!). So far it seems to have gone well. I also promised I would be more open about my worries and things that cause me to reach melting point, and to try and talk to her more about it. I still feel terrible though, a moment of madness could have cost me the best thing that ever happened to me.


If your meltdowns cause you to become verbally abusive, then I suggest therapy to learn how to deal with your feelings in more productive ways so you don't harm those around you. Perhaps couples therapy?



Laurentius
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30 Nov 2015, 1:25 am

I just lash out when I hurt because I don't want anyone to see me feeling so vulnerable, and weak. It's very rare behaviour, and not a standard. But I will talk to my therapist about it, rest assured.


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30 Nov 2015, 2:41 am

Laurentius wrote:
I just lash out when I hurt because I don't want anyone to see me feeling so vulnerable, and weak. It's very rare behaviour, and not a standard. But I will talk to my therapist about it, rest assured.


You should be aware that there is no justification for verbal abuse, and what you said sounds like an attempt at justification. I think discussing this honestly with your therapist is a wise idea.



Laurentius
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30 Nov 2015, 8:11 pm

I'm not trying to justify it, actually. It was intended to be an acknowledgement of knowing why I do what I did, and saying that it happens rarely i.e. this is the first time I've reacted angrily to my girlfriend, or to anyone, when having a meltdown, in over 2 years. It was meant as a statement of fact and acceptance of responsibility for my actions, I wasn't saying that it being rare or why I do it makes it justified. I am fully aware that it isn't acceptable behaviour. I apologise if what I said did not translate well.


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Laurentius
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30 Nov 2015, 8:15 pm

Oh, and for the record; it was triggered during an argument which became a slanging match between the two of us. Maybe I should have put that in the original post. Again, not a justification, just context. I know what I did was wrong. It is why I came here asking for advice in the first place.


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30 Nov 2015, 10:46 pm

Laurentius wrote:
Oh, and for the record; it was triggered during an argument which became a slanging match between the two of us. Maybe I should have put that in the original post. Again, not a justification, just context. I know what I did was wrong. It is why I came here asking for advice in the first place.


Well, it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are able to observe your own behaviour honestly and insightfully. I think you should be able to work out your problems as long as you keep openly communicating with each other and are forgiving of each other's shortcomings (we all have them) and mistakes (we all make them).



Laurentius
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01 Dec 2015, 12:54 am

wilburforce wrote:
Laurentius wrote:
Oh, and for the record; it was triggered during an argument which became a slanging match between the two of us. Maybe I should have put that in the original post. Again, not a justification, just context. I know what I did was wrong. It is why I came here asking for advice in the first place.


Well, it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are able to observe your own behaviour honestly and insightfully. I think you should be able to work out your problems as long as you keep openly communicating with each other and are forgiving of each other's shortcomings (we all have them) and mistakes (we all make them).



We've worked hard through that incident, and we're back to normal, albeit, with some more openness and obviously better communication, and talking about it regularly, especially when she has questions about it. I've tried my best to assure that it doesn't happen again.


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AR1500
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01 Dec 2015, 6:18 pm

Laurentius wrote:
It was unfair. I made remarks that were personal and honestly, nasty, and not the kind of thing I would ever say to her normally, even under duress or when angry. It was a completely irrational, mad moment, and I don't even remember it. My stress levels have been high and I haven't slept well, but that's no excuse to take it out on my girlfriend. I just remember regretting it immediately and breaking down, partly due to the stress and also due to my unhappiness at what I had said to her, and a lot of self-loathing in that moment. I have never been violent in my life in a meltdown, and I have apologised and tried to explain to her what they are, what triggers them and how I cope, and how she can help (she asked about that part, I didn't tell her she had to help!). So far it seems to have gone well. I also promised I would be more open about my worries and things that cause me to reach melting point, and to try and talk to her more about it. I still feel terrible though, a moment of madness could have cost me the best thing that ever happened to me.



It sounds to me like she's sensing the fact that you're insecure. I hate to say this, but insecurity in men is unattractive to most women. Nevertheless, most meltdowns don't actually lead to domestic violence but I suspect that guys who have trouble controlling their emotions...particularly their temper, make women feel unsafe to be around. And that's the key issue here: You're not putting her at ease. I would try talking to her but the trouble is that a lot of women aren't going to be satisfied with solving relationship problems by means of diplomacy. I'm thinking she has emotional needs that she feels are not being met by you.

What websites are you referring to where women are talking s**t about Asperger syndrome? Post some links



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01 Dec 2015, 6:39 pm

If what happened was that you got confused in a charged situation arguing with her OP and took it too far, or if you have been hurt by angry-acting people to the point it is a trigger for you, then you might be best off being honest with her. Which means being vulnerable and giving her respect and trust.

If you want her to trust you, that's essential.