I Mitigated a Meltdown!

During the past few weeks, I had an incident with a family member in which, in my opinion, I was unjustly criticized. The criticism (from my perspective) came on all of a sudden and left me shaking.

Rather than do what I sometimes do and get red in the face and yell back, I very calmly said, “I am not prepared to deal with this conversation right now.” Though my posture was that of someone who was mad, I was not going into obsessive thought patters or repetitive speech or even getting red-faced when this family member persisted. I said “I am walking away,” perhaps slightly loud, but still relatively calmly. The family member persisted and I repeated the phrase and headed back to my room.

Was there some merit? Had I not been talking nicely to the family member in question, which was the criticism? Yes. But the fact of the matter is that the criticism came on suddenly (all I did was ask where my dad was) and unexpectedly, which is not a good thing for an Aspie.

When I went back to my room, I felt myself shaking. Rather than staying in that situation, I politely excused myself from my Facebook conversations, grabbed my winter hat, scarf, and gloves, and left, walking to a nearby coffee shop. While I may have texted my friends and ranted aloud about it while walking, the fact of the matter is: I avoided a meltdown.

Now, to many people, this may not be a big deal, and the whole episode could be dealt with easily. But being Aspie sometimes means you are sensitive where you otherwise shouldn’t be: in this case, I was being sensitive to criticism. But I avoided the verbal explosion and the red in the face, and the screaming (which in itself is a behavioral problem coupled with a meltdown) and mitigated the disaster completely.

And that deserves a celebration, no matter how small!

GREG TRUTNER

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