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Cvulgaris
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21 Sep 2014, 6:08 pm

I've been married for 8 years, and no one seems to be able to help my husband and I. I'm an Aspie, and my husband is non-ASD. Today we had a huge fight over, of all things, digging the damn fire pit. I've been under a lot of stress from other things lately too, and I blew up because I thought we had already figured out what to do for the fire pit. I grossly overreacted and told him to get out.

So I realized there are two problems that arise and lead to these kinds of things. First is that I do not notice when I am getting so overwhelmed. I am honestly unsure if that is even something that can be rectified. Second is that I don't know what to do when I get so frustrated or overwhelmed. Like today--there is no thought involved, it's just reacting, and I don't know what to do other than hold my tongue. It's hard for me to do that though, because I spend all week away at school and have no sanctuary at all, so by the time I go home on the weekend, I am utterly exhausted and just want to be myself and let my guard down.

Do any of you have tips for recognizing that I am getting overwhelmed so I can try to head it off before the feeling boils over? Or tips for dealing with the frustration in a way that is not hurtful once it comes up? I feel like an absolute ass every time it happens, even though usually he doesn't let it bother him. Or at least, that's what he tells me.


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noyial43
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23 Sep 2014, 4:08 am

You are not a jerk! You have Asperger's syndrome. The behavior you describe is not unusual amongst aspies. To be a jerk, you would have to be "grossly overreacting" intentionally and you are not. I think that it is important that you understand and etch that fact into your brain so that the guilt and anxiety connected to the behavior may be reduced. That in turn will make it easier to find a way to deal with it.

Instead of tips, I offer insight based on life experience and my journey to self diagnosis. The real problem seems to be that the explosion is the "cure" for the accumulated stress,frustration, anger, feelings of powerlessness, and so on. NT's seem to be able to release emotional tension in little bits and pieces throughout the day, A lot of aspies, myself included cannot always do that. Tension simply accumulates until it is released in an explosion that is triggered by some little thing and sometimes by someone just trying to help make me feel better. I learned in high school that public melt downs were very bad and I had to find the strength to hold on until I was home or alone before letting go. I have never been able to predict a melt down, but I do know when I am close. Experience has taught me that there are changes in my body language that are associated with an impending meltdown. Perhaps you could work with your husband to identify changes in your body language that indicate that you are feeling overwhelmed. In my experience, the only alternative to a "blow up" is time plus solitude. You may be different, but perhaps you could work with your husband to find a way to unwind in a subdued way. I also suggest that you read Feralucce's "Care and feeding of your aspie" series, preferably with your husband. There are several installments that apply to this issue.

You are young,diagnosed, and have an understanding, loving partner. You will be OK.



FredOak3
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23 Sep 2014, 2:35 pm

Keep in mind (and let your husband know too) that we will have occasions where we have what is described as Rumble, Rage, Recovery

Here is how I describe it...Rumble...you are stressed, anxious, nervous, there is something bubbling up under the surface. You can tell this, you know there are things in the back of your head that are just irking you.
This is the point you tell your spouse to please be patient with you, that you are having rumbles (that's what I tell my wife and kids)
Rage...to late, you have blown up. screaming, calling names, throwing things, etc. This is where you need to train your spouse to not do or say anything as it will only make things worse. When I get like this I don't want to be talked to, touched or reprimanded for acting badly. Now this is where you have to have enough awareness that you are in a rage and just walk away. You need to get alone! Take a walk, got to a room by yourself do something you like to do but ALONE!
Recovery...you will calm down, you will realize you did and said some stupid things, but because of your lack of empathy (for me anyway) you will not realize how much you have hurt and upset those around you. You need to go apologize and explain that it was a Rumble, Rage, Recovery episode and explain (if you haven't already) what caused the Rumble to be there in the first place.



Cvulgaris
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23 Sep 2014, 8:26 pm

Thank you, noyial and FredOak. I let my husband read your responses, and asked if he notices any signs that I'm becoming overwhelmed. He says I get really snappy. So I just told him, the next time I get snappy, say something like, "You seem like you are getting overwhelmed. Maybe you need some alone time."

We will have to look for the Ferralucce series the next time I am at home. Hopefully that will be this weekend.


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B19
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24 Sep 2014, 3:09 am

Have you considered reading Tony Attwood's book "The Complete Guide to Aspergers" with your husband, discussing it as you go from chapter to chapter?



YarnMonster
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24 Sep 2014, 10:47 am

Hi, I do this too with my husband. I blow up, feel horrible and 'puppy dog' say I'm sorry. It gets tiring to get it wrong so often.

What helps me-
A plan. Shocking yes? :)

I go through rule sets- like a flow chart.

Am I hot? Is the back of my neck hot? Does my face feel red?
These are my physical warnings that something is amiss and I need some time to cool down. I physically feel hot. Sometimes it's just a pressure on the top of my head- these are all different for each person. Took me stopping during a fight once and I thought 'geez it's hot in here' and 'boy, do I ever want to rock myself!! !'.

If I'm hot- take a break. Jump up and down, flap arms/hands... just take a second to retreat. Take a moment to rock and think. (This only works if he waits for me to calm down before doing anything- like continuing to do what I was trying to explain I didn't want him to do)

Not hot?
Am I hungry? Do I have a headache? Am I feeling happy? If these are ok- then I go ahead.

9 times out of ten I'm upset because of communication breakdowns. So I often use my AAC in a debate. It's gotten to where when I feel a brief heat on my neck (my first warning sign), I immediately stop talking verbally and use my AAC instead. It slows the conversation down and gives me time to pause- as long as he waits for me to finish speaking.

Some people say they know they are overloaded by feeling hot (me!), other people say they get an itchy nose, or their eyes go dry, or they have a sudden itch in their palms. Maybe next time you have an argument/disagreement with Hubbs- have him ask you for physical symptoms at the beginning of escalation. I was surprised that there were physical correlations to my supposed emotions.



elkclan
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24 Sep 2014, 2:20 pm

Quote:
To be a jerk, you would have to be "grossly overreacting" intentionally and you are not


Not so. To be a jerk, you can also be oblivious to your behaviour and its impact and not be willing to change. Excusing bad and abusive behaviour for whatever reason and simply asking people around you to take it is being a jerk. NT jerks have plenty of 'valid' reason for their jerk-hood, too.

Being aware that you have this as an issue and actively working to resolve it is what can pull you out of the jerk-zone.



Cvulgaris
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25 Sep 2014, 9:59 am

B19, I remember reading Amazon reviews for Aspie books having to do with couples, and getting discouraged because most of them were in regards to male Aspie/female non-ASD couples. Being that Asperger's manifests differently between the sexes, and chemical processes in the brain are different even in non-ASD people between the sexes, I felt it was not in my interest to get one of those books. I did find one by the author of Aspergirls, but have not had a chance to read it yet.

YarnMonster, I have not noticed any physical symptoms, but I also have not been looking for them. I'll try to be more watchful next time. Thanks for the tip. Also, what's AAC?


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kraftiekortie
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25 Sep 2014, 10:11 am

AAC is "alternative and augmentative communication."



YarnMonster
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25 Sep 2014, 11:10 am

Cvulgaris wrote:

YarnMonster, I have not noticed any physical symptoms, but I also have not been looking for them. I'll try to be more watchful next time. Thanks for the tip. Also, what's AAC?


Kraftie already explained AAC (thank you!) :) I specifically use two different ones, depending on which phone I have on me. I don't have a picture board yet because I haven't found one that has the big words I need when debating hot topics lol

On my android I use Speech Assistant (the phone app is pretty good, but I prefer to use this app on my tablet because the buttons are bigger.). On my old iPhone 3 I use AAC Text To Speech which is good but a bit slow to 'speak'. Both voices on these are really robotic so we skip speaking and just have him read. I also have Claro on my iPhone and it's got really great voices but I don't like the interface as much.

All of them are free so you can try them out and see if they help you communicate better. :)



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25 Sep 2014, 4:24 pm

Tony Attwood's Complete Guide is very rich in information about Aspergers, it isn't a "relationship" book. Lots of WP members (including me) have found it very very helpful - so maybe read it for yourself? It is a far far better resource than Aspergirls, which I have also read. But whatever floats your boat, as the saying goes... the way forward is to focus on solutions, not the problems - hard though that may be at times, I know.



alec_eiffel
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04 Nov 2014, 12:35 pm

Quote:
Do any of you have tips for recognizing that I am getting overwhelmed so I can try to head it off before the feeling boils over?

Daily mindfulness meditation will help you. Any style will do (Zen, Vipassana, etc.). When mindfulness of the present becomes your default mind state (this takes a while), you recognize thoughts and emotions as they begin to arise. Then you can control them before they control you. I used to lose my temper a lot (meltdowns, I guess), but not since beginning meditation practice 11 years ago.