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Eli

I work with three other people with Aspergers. No one knows I'm an aspie. Sometimes I observe them and think I am higher functioning, but then sometimes I realize it's just expressed differently.  Mine is almost always expressed through anger. And it always feels like it's so sudden and random. Upon closer inspection it's neither. Today at the end of my work day I found myself livid. When I get to that point it's all I can do to not completely melt down. When I have a meltdown it usually involves snapping at someone, cursing,  making a snide comment,  or some other negative thing that I immediately regret. The regret is always worse because it lasts much longer than the anger. I've had two of these moments this week. The first happened with my husband.  

He called me right after I'd finished doing a rigorous yoga routine and was cooling down and meditating. He asked what I was doing and I told him. I was mildly irritated to have to do conversing in this moment, but I think I managed to not express it. He said sorry for interrupting my meditation and I said something like, it's cool, no worries.  Then he asked me some question.  Then another. Trying to keep my cool... (being asked questions is a potential trigger for me, for some reason it can sometimes irritate me so much to have multiple questions fired at me, particularly if they strike me as pointless gap-fillers). Then, he said, are you ok? Hate this question.  Pointless, even though it's well-intentioned. I guess cause if there's something wrong, I'd say so? I don't know! Hate that question especially.  I said yes. With perhaps an undertone of, "I'm in the middle of trying to meditate and you're firing questions at me, didn't we cover that? " then he said " you been drinking or something?  " Final edge-pushing stupid question.  I yelled "No." It just burst out of me. He had hurt in his voice and the conversation quickly ended. I felt terrible all afternoon and apologized profusely when he got home. 

Then today. The moment of anger came when someone broke routine and I was forced to comply due to time constraints.  I won't get into the specifics.  But it immediately angered me to an irrational degree. I made a snide comment about it then left. I hated that it was the last thing I did before the shift ended. Why did I get pushed to that point over something trivial? It was a day of non stop sensory overload, people whining, bombarding me with time-wasting questions and chit chat, and at the end of that day, all I have left to hold me together are routines, and they were broken.  I actually had this moment when I got home when I asked myself, "what's wrong with me?" And I was like, "oh, right. I have Aspergers." Kind of an amusing moment but at the same time, still disappointed every time I let my temper get the better of me. It feels like something possesses me, says something terrible or hurts someone,  then disappears leaving me to apologize to someone and feel like a crazy a hole. And it's always just when I feel like I'm beyond being pushed to that point that it happens. I don't know if it's going to get any better and I'm deeply afraid that this limit I have had been stretched as far,as it will go and will prevent me from getting much further in my career and general development.  

Okay. Had to get all that off my chest.

Edited by Eli
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Gone away
17 minutes ago, Eli said:

I have had been stretched as far,as it will go and will prevent me from getting much further in my career and general development.  

Maybe with that employer but not necessarily with another. Sounds like you are trying to hard and over stretching yourself.
When that happens with me it usually when I'm trying to hard to help people .... so its ironic they then witness the meltdown.
Thats the thing with aspergers and the invisible disability - sometimes even we don't  see it.
I have come to terms with some of my limitations in life and am working to manage better.
I've had periods of extreme irritability the last 15 years or so ... but they have mostly passed now as I had no choice but to eat humble pie and just let things go as I was a nightmare to be around - though I did not realise at the time.
Questions that don't seem to be important can really grate the nerves.

Sounds like a really crap day. You'll be glad to get to sleep no doubt

 

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Nesf

I think that you need not to try to take on too much at once, and learn to recognise the little signs that a frustration meltdown is iminent - that you feel restless or that you start to stim more, or that you feel tense and irritible. Then, when you are feeling this way, it's time to take a break - go outside for some fresh air, or make yourself a cup of tea or whatever you normally do to calm yourself down. Frustration meltdowns are usually the result of an accumulation of stress and are never one thing, they are the straw that breaks the camel's back - you need to recognise it and take action before it gets to that stage.

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Miss Chief

I also get really irritable when people contact me and ask me inane questions, like yours, my partner asks me if 'everything is fine?' every day and it really bugs me... obviously I would say if something is wrong, having said that, I am not always forthcoming about things that worry/bug me.

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RiRi

I struggle with anger too. It's interesting that it's like an aspie trait. I think what @Nesf has said about becoming aware of when you feel a meltdown coming is good. Being aware of how you're feeing when it's coming and when it's happening can help with how you deal with a situation when you're angry. Sometimes when I'm angry I notice myself getting really angry and I do think to myself, "Will I regret this later?" Of course and sometimes that's what stops me but other times, it doesn't.

I have admitted that I need to work on my anger management and I want to be proactive about what I can do to better manage it. I think one of the steps to getting better is admitting that there's a problem and wanting to get better then working towards getting better.

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DC1346
On 2/9/2018 at 1:38 PM, Eli said:

... still disappointed every time I let my temper get the better of me. It feels like something possesses me, says something terrible or hurts someone,  then disappears leaving me to apologize to someone and feel like a crazy a hole.

I can totally relate to this.

I teach Culinary Arts at a rural high school in Nevada. Unlike you, my colleagues know that I'm autistic. This is actually the first place I've ever worked where my supervising administrators and my colleagues know that I'm autistic. This has actually been pretty neat. At the start of the school year during our first day back at work after 2 months of summer vacation, I had initial problems getting back into the swing of things. The faculty meeting that was held for the combined faculty of all the area schools was really stressful. There was lots of noise and movement and when the principal announced that we would be playing these interactive "games" as part of a team building workshop, my heart just sank. I was wearing headphones and listening to music on my laptop in an effort to calm myself. Part of the reason I was having problems with readjusting was that I had spent my summer vacation in total seclusion. I really enjoyed my privacy but the lack of human contact made it much more challenging for me to return to work because I wanted to remain alone. I'm fortunate that to have a very caring and supportive administration. When they saw that I was in distress, they provided an accommodation and excused me to spend the rest of the day working in my classroom and kitchen. That was a really big help and I truly appreciated it.

Since one of my all consuming interests happens to be all things Culinary, I have worked for the past 9 years as a Culinary Arts instructor. School law, district policy, the state instructional standards (that specifies what I have to teach), my budget, student ability levels, and the availability of tools and equipment all define the parameters within which I interact with my students. Since I'm not good with remembering names or faces, I have assigned seating. The use of assigned seats makes it easy for me to take attendance. When we're in the kitchen, I allow students to choose their own groups provided each group does not have more than 4 students. The groups must also be functional because if off-task behavior prevents them from being successful, I will give them one warning after which they will lose the opportunity to choose their teammates because I will have reassigned them to other groups. Since each group is issued a recipe for that day's production assignment, I also have students "sign in" by writing their names at the top of each recipe. This helps me keep track of who is where and if problems arise with dirty work stations, I know exactly who I need to speak with.

My class is very structured and in matters of class management, I have long believed in the mantra, "Be firm, fair, and consistent." Nothing undermines a teacher's class management more quickly than when the instructor only intermittently enforces the rules. This can lead to problems with parents who will then want to know why their child was singled out when so and so was not.

One of our school rules is this: Students need to use the restroom during passing (going from one class to another) OR during the last 10 minutes of the period. The students have 5 minutes between bells to get to their next class. Since we have a small campus of just 350 or so students, 5 minutes should be ample time to go from point A to point B with a quick restroom break along the way.

Two minutes before the 4th period bell rang for the start of class, a girl asked if she could use the restroom. I told her that there were only 2 minutes remaining until the bell rang.

"So what's your point?" she asked.

I looked at her and said, "If you're not back here when the bell rings, you'll be tardy."

The girl looked surprised "Even if I was in the restroom?" This comment annoyed me because it's not as though this was the first week of school. We're now in the 4th quarter of the school year. The students have been attending classes since September and the restroom rule is part of a long established school policy which we've had for years. 

"We've been in school now for what ... 7 months. This isn't a new rule. You're supposed to use the restroom while you're going from one class to another. Why didn't you use the restroom while you were on the way to Culinary Arts?"

"I didn't need to go then."

I consulted the clock. "You now have one minute remaining."

"So I can go?"

I reminded the student (I will call her Patty which is not her real name) that the school rule regarding the use of restrooms was that students should go during passing or during the last 10 minutes of class. I told Patty that if she was late in returning to class, she would be tardy. For every 3 tardies that students get, the students get lunch detention.

"Well that's a stupid rule."

I sighed. "Since you knew what the rule was, you should have gone while you had the opportunity to do so." The bell rang. "That window of opportunity just closed. Please take a seat for attendance."

"But I need to use the restroom."

"Class has started. Please take a seat."

"But I really need to go." I did not think for a moment that she actually needed to go. Students who need to go tend to be a bit squirrely because a full bladder can be quite uncomfortable. Elementary teachers have called this the pee-pee dance. Patty did not look like she needed to go. If I had to guess, I suspect she had a planned meeting with a friend either in person in the restroom or on her cell phone."

"The bell rang. SIT DOWN!"

"Well I think you're being really unfair. This is a stupid rule! I should just walk out of here and ..."

I jumped out of my desk chair and roared, "WHAT PART OF 'NO YOU MAY NOT GO' DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? SIT DOWN! NOW!"

The girl went to her seat and sat down. "You didn't have to yell," she muttered.

"And how many times did I have to ask you to sit down? How many times did I remind you of our school policy?"

Patty subsequently complained about how "mean" I was to some of her classmates after we moved from the classroom to the adjoining kitchen. I nearly yelled at her when I heard her mimicking me, "'What part of 'no you may not go' did you not understand? Sit down!"

I subsequently used my laptop to write a discipline referral for Patty. I summarized what happened, cited her for insubordination and disrespect, and hit the submit button. If admin didn't get to her prior to the end of the day, they'll talk to her on Monday. Depending upon how many times she's been referred to the office, she'll either be let off with a warning or she'll get detention. If she has enough referrals, she could wind up in ISS, In-school-suspension which is basically a day long (or in some cases, multiple days) detention. 

While I deplore the loss of control since I don't really  like losing my temper and roaring at students, I don't feel guilty about this at all. I'm not actually clear on why I don't feel guilty. It could be that like many autistic people, I lack empathy. It could also be that at 57 years of age, I'm "old school." I grew up during a time when actions had consequences. When I was Patty's age, I would never have badgered my teacher the way she tried to badger me and I most certainly would never have been so disrespectful as to mimick a teacher. Not only would I have gotten paddled in the office but the office would have called my father and he would have taken his belt to me after I got home.

Corporal punishment is illegal in Nevada as it now is in most states.

As to why I was angry, from my point of view, the bell had rung and I needed to take attendance and to start class. Patty was interfering with this schedule and since she kept asking me if she could go, I had gotten increasingly annoyed because I had repeatedly said no. What really annoys me about this entire experience is that after we finished today's production (baking made from scratch dinner rolls and making cream of tomato soup), I told Patty that she could now go to the restroom.

Patty had her mouth full of bread and soup. "I don't need to go now." she said.

If she didn't need to go after having been in the kitchen, then this entire thing about needing to go had been a lie ... which begs the question, why did she go through all of this drama? This just reinforces my belief that she had wanted to use the restroom as an excuse to meet up with someone. Having missed the appointed time, she probably saw no reason to go. 

I feel absolutely no remorse for having barked at Patty. Patty poked the bear and the bear doesn't like being poked. 

The fact that you feel guilty about having lost your temper and the fact that you also repeatedly apologized makes me think that you're probably much nicer than I am ... or perhaps you're just more empathetic. Since austism is a spectrum, it stands to reason that some of us (not me apparently) have more empathy than others. I don't think you should beat yourself up about this. Getting angry is just part of life. We are after all a somewhat emotional species. We laugh. We cry. We feel happy (or in my case, reasonably content) and we feel sad. 

Unless you're starting to lose your temper with greater frequency and if you're now hearing a little voice in your head that's urging you to take a violent reprisal against the person(s) who angered you, I really wouldn't worry about it. 

 

 

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