Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Words Can Hurt

After all of these years, and hundreds of meltdowns, they still suck the life out of me. This latest one took days for me to recover.  PTSD is definitely a factor. So many years of these traumatic events give me flashbacks of shattered glass, broken doors, holes in walls and rips in my heart. 

Experience has made me better at keeping my cool. The “don’t do’s and to-do’s” are now ingrained in my head. 
  • Don’t raise your voice. 
  • Don’t argue. 
  • Don’t advise. 
  • Don’t talk, just listen. 
  • Know when to walk away. 
  • Do not invite more debate. 
  • Keep your answers short and to the point (if you talk at all).
  • Deescalate. Deescalate. Deescalate.  
  • Don’t lose your shit! (not always possible, but try) 
  • Don’t knock him in the head even though you feel like you have every right because he is being an ungrateful… (okay, I won’t go there) 

How I feel after a meltdown
photo -made with Bitmoji

You haven't had a full meltdown in several months. Thankfully, we've only seen short bouts of anger that have been quickly resolved. I'm proud of that progress. 

I know you’re feeling all of the pressure that comes along with your senior year and becoming an adult. The weight of it is excruciatingly heavy, I know. 

So the other day when you suddenly went all the way off into a complete rage, which ended in me be called a most egregious name, I was floored. It caught me totally off guard.  I was able to remain calm, but afterward, I felt like I had been punched in the gut --the wind knocked out of me. 

Of course, I've heard “I hate you,” (which isn’t fun, but it’s kind of expected at some point of parenting. You'll see when it's your turn.)  

I'll admit, I remember saying some pretty awful things to my mother when I was a teen. However, I don't think I EVERcalled her outside of her name. In fact, I don’t think I ever cursed in front of her until I was very much an adult. And my mother could be pretty darn irritating, as I’m sure I am to you. 

I have never been called such a name by anyone I love. You’re father, old boyfriends, not even a close friend family member has ever gone there with me. If I was ever called that, it was by someone who really had no regard for me, certainly not someone I know and love intimately.

So when it happened the other day it was shocking, to say the least, and hurtful. Especially because I know that I am your person —the person you call when you need help. The one who does everything within my power to make your quality of life better. It felt like a huge slap in the face. 

The next day, I went straight to thinking of your future…

Dude, you say that kind of thing to a girlfriend or a wife, you won’t walk away from it with a simple apology. In a future relationship, the woman will not be obligated to forgive you. 

A mother’s love is probably the most unconditional love you will ever experience in your life. You are part of me. We are forever connected, so I forgive you. I may not forget, but I always forgive. Eventually, I let go. But don't get too comfortable with that, because you will probably NEVER see anything like it again in your life. 

So the next day when you're over it. You were already back to…
“Mom, can I have some money?” 
“Can you give me a ride?” 
“Can you help me coordinate transportation for my friend’s birthday celebration?” 

Um…no! I wasn’t feelin all of that. 

You see in a future relationship, if you mess up like this, you better not only say you’re sorry, but you should be busting your butt to actually SHOW the person that you’re sorry. I’m talking bringing flowers. Doing something …extra. 

Now I know, I’m not your girlfriend. I don’t expect flowers, chocolates or diamonds (although they wouldn’t hurt).  

I’m just saying, I doubt seriously if you will ever find someone who will put up with all of the crap that I’ve put up with because I get you and your autism.

So far you have demonstrated nothing but the utmost respect and kindness in your relationships with females. Of course, a girlfriend or friend who is a girl when you’re a teenager looks nothing like a long-term relationship, where you have to put up with each other’s moods and idiosyncrasies because you spend so much time together. 

I tried to explain to you the gravity of what you said and how it made me feel. I could not assume, that you just “know better” (although you should). I realize that you may not be fully aware of what you’re saying when you’re in a rage. But then again, I think there is some level of consciousness because you’re hurting and I think you want to make me feel the pain that you’re feeling. 

I didn’t want to shame you or make you feel worse about what happened. But I had to let you know that it will take me some time to deal with my feelings and to let go. And even then, I will probably never forget. 

I was deeply hurt and I wasn’t ready to smile and pretend everything is okay the following day.

So …no, I would not be transporting you around town to hang out with your friends for the weekend. I really didn’t even want to look at you for a few days.  

I realize that things are said during a meltdown that you don’t really mean. However, the hurt is still hurt. It doesn’t just magically disappear just because YOU have moved on. 

Damage is done with words. 
Scars are engraved. 
I have the right to feel injured. 
I don’t have to smile and pretend that everything is okay. 
To do so would be a disservice to you in your future. 

In reality, you’re going to have work extra hard not to hurt those you love when you are seriously angry. I know that’s not fair. So much about autism and life is not fair. It’s going to require some conscious effort. I trust that it will get better as you continue to mature. I think there is still a sensitive boy inside you who would never want to hurt anyone with words or actions. 

There will be times when you lose control, we all do. But I have to let you know that sometimes the wounds created are deep. They don’t just disappear. They take time to heal. 

p.s. Before I wrote this I thought, "Oh! The thought of my mother writing publically about MY behavior when I was 18. What horror?! But then I realized, if I didn't want her to write anything bad, I should have behaved better.

Favorite Quote Ever -Ann Lamott
Photo Credit: Not Mine?