If I’m going to write about Aaron, I know that I should be honest in presenting him as he really is while still preserving his dignity. In the O.A.S.I.S. guidelines that I referenced yesterday, under the section titled Emotional Vulnerability, it states: “Rage reactions/temper outbursts are common in response to stress/frustration.” This aspect of Asperger’s is one that we have seen all too often in our household. Aaron handles his frustrations so much better now than he did when he was younger, but he still sometimes has issues in this area. Such was the case this morning.
Yesterday when Aaron came home from his group, he immediately started asking me if I had called CD Tradepost and found Sharktopus yet. He was disappointed when I told him that I had not done that, so he pulled out the kitchen drawer, took out the Post-It notes and a pen, and this is what I found on the counter later.
I’m sure he thought that I must need a reminder and he was all too happy to provide it. During the evening last night, he talked about the movie some and then this morning he flew to the computer downstairs to start looking it up again online. I knew what kind of morning it would be when I later reminded him that it was time for him to shower and get ready for Paradigm. He answered angrily that he didn’t want to get ready and furthermore, didn’t want to go to Paradigm.
Oh boy! Instead of just being able to talk to me about his stress over this movie, he reacts by being angry at the “thing” in his life at that moment – which in this case was his group, because getting ready for his group was taking him away from the computer, away from looking at Sharktopus trailers, etc. Then he transferred that anger to me. I became the mother who doesn’t care, who doesn’t listen, who likes Andrea and Andrew’s movies more than his, who wasn’t trying to find the movie, and on and on.
When Aaron gets wound up like this, it’s best to just pull back as much as possible from any form of verbal confrontation. I knew the more I talked, the angrier he would become. The few comments I made were enough to make him even angrier, so I just got quiet and let him rant. Even our sweet old Great Dane, Jackson, came slinking into the bathroom with me as I finished getting ready. He doesn’t like it when Aaron gets angry.
It’s a good thing that our neighborhood lake doesn’t have a Sharktopus. If it had then I would have been very tempted to take Aaron down for a walk by the lake, if you know what I mean. Just teasing………………kind of. Really, after all these years I’ve finally figured out (for the most part) how to deal with these infrequent outbursts. The quieter I become, then the more concerned Aaron becomes. He begins to realize that Mom is either mad herself………or hurt.
Aaron doesn’t show much sorrow or empathy, but I can read him well and I know when he’s nervous because he realizes he’s stepped over the line. My silence seems to touch him more than anything. He’ll soften and then begin to say things like, “OK, I’ll go to Paradigm!” He gets ready, and then returns to talk some more to me…………….and once again, my silence or my short answers tell him that he has crossed a line that is not easily forgotten.
He called me this afternoon while he was with his group. He acted as if nothing at all had happened this morning, which is very typical. He was happy and bubbly and glad he went to Paradigm and had a good time at the “East Mall” and Krysten got them all candy and he had so much fun.
When he gets home, any minute now, I’m sure he’ll ask about the movie and talk more about his day, all the while gauging my reactions to see how I’m feeling now compared to this morning. He might even say he’s sorry – he’s actually gotten better about saying those words that come with such difficulty to all of us, and especially to Aaron. It’s at this time that I can talk to Aaron about his behavior and know that he’s listening.
But I know that Aaron will some day have another period of frustration that will lead to another outburst. No amount of reason will reach him at that point. Yet deep in his heart he knows, from experience, that I love him and that Gary loves him. He knows that he is always welcome home, even if there are repercussions because of his behavior. He has a secure home full of unconditional love. Just like God loves me – that’s how I love Aaron.
He still should be thankful that there is not a Sharktopus in our lake.