Below the Surface

Last time I blogged I said I was going to try to blog once a week. Then life happened. So I apologize for not keeping up I’m going to do better this time. I had developed some problems with dizziness. And my dizziness finally went away last Friday. And then I spent this week recovering from throwing a party last Saturday for my daughter’s and my birthday. Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart and I was too tired this year to plan two celebrations. I asked my daughter if we could combine our birthday celebrations and she thought it was the best idea ever! We celebrated her 4th birthday and my 30th birthday. It was fun but exhausting. Both my daughter and I dealt with sensory overload and it took us awhile to recover from all the excitement. Who am I kidding we’re both still recovering! It was worth it though and my daughter had fun.

Sensory overload can be something that a lot of autistic people deal with. But today I want to discuss being autistic and dealing with anger. And specifically I’m going to discuss my experience and hope to hear from you. Anger is a tricky emotion for me and that has to do with my childhood. As a child I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused by my parents. (A side note my parents are much better now. They were basically children when they had me and didn’t know what they were doing. Being young doesn’t excuse the way they treated me but it does explain why they mistreated me. Since then they have both grown up a lot and are different people now.) I have a lot of anger and I stuff it down and it’s always simmering below the surface. If I showed anger when I was growing up I would be yelled at and sometimes even hit. I still fear anger.

Because of this fear I stuff my anger in and then I either implode or explode from anger. Of course once I release my anger it’s like hitting reset. I usually feel shame for expressing my anger after going into a fit of rage. Even though I feel ashamed I feel like my body feels better it’s like my body really needed me to get rid of the anger. Then I have room to stuff more anger in. I’ve recently realized that I need to end this vicious cycle. I decided recently I was going to get angry about the little things and things I cannot control. I felt like this was a good reasonable plan.

Well to my surprise the autism specialist I see, didn’t quite agree! She said I didn’t get angry enough and talked about expressing anger in a healthy way. She gave me a homework assignment and told me to get coffee with a friend and vent about one thing. Currently the only person I have to talk about my anger is my husband. She said I need to have someone, and not just my husband, to vent my frustrations to. I was just very surprised at what she had suggested. I’ve always got the message that anger is bad and shouldn’t been shown. She acknowledged how my childhood played a role in this and how unfortunately society tells women not to show anger. This idea that I’m allowed to show anger is scary for me. I hate dealing with anger and don’t ever want to deal with conflict. I’m scared another person will get angry with me. So the assignment she gave me seemed reasonable. It wasn’t like she was telling me to confront someone I’ve been angry with for a long time or to vent about the major events going on in my life. She said just vent about something small.

Hopefully this assignment goes well. The concept of me expressing anger intentionally in any form seems odd. But when I stop to think about it, being intentional about expressing anger makes sense. Of course expressing anger should be done in a calm, respectful way as opposed to just losing it and saying hurtful things to another person. The other unhealthy way I would deal with anger would be by hurting myself or shutting down completely and/or avoiding people. I think subconsciously I had this idea that if I ignored my anger it would go away. But it never did; it just kept simmering below the surface.

I’m going to share a current irritation with you. Kids are outside running around and screaming in the apartment complex parking lot. And I’m really worried they are going to wake up my sleeping child. My daughter has slept terribly all week, today is the first day we’ve gotten her down to bed at a decent hour. And also I really wish we could afford to move out of our apartment and move into a house. What are you currently irritated by or angry about? And do you struggle with feeling angry?

Published by deannajv

I'm autistic. I'm also married and have a daughter. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Human Services.

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