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Need Meltdown Advice

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Deanomyite, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Deanomyite

    Deanomyite New Member

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    My wife (28) was diagnosed ASD last year. We are both having a hard time dealing with aspects of the disorder. She has a hard time with empathy and dealing with or understanding others feelings. She had a meltdown today because I gave stupid advice on a thing she was needing help with. I was trying to explain how i felt and what I do in the situation but she felt it was stupid advice. I have a hard time phrasing things the way i actually mean them while trying to head off a meltdown and it usually makes things worse. At the end of the meltdown what she was wanting was someone else to talk to. The problem with that was we have no friends nearby and she doesn't use phones or text. My stress level at that time was through the roof and was causing her stress. Just walking away for a while isn't an option because she feels i am abandoning her.
     
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  2. asperagus

    asperagus A vegetable on the spectrum

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    Hey. Sorry to hear about that incident. Needless to say, it'll likely happen again. That said, what do you do to releave stress? You will certainly have more stressful days ahead, so it's good to prepare and anticipate.

    Perhaps learn which phrasing works for both of you. There's no cookie-cutter recipe. I'd start with understanding how she communicates, and what she'd like to hear. Funny enough (to my limited understanding), women don't expect us to solve their problems, but rather participate in the problem-solving process (often just listening). If you gove her advice that wasn't what she was hoping for, then try working through a flow-chart that you'll be able to customize on the fly.

    1. Apologize for whatever she's going through or whatever you said or did. You can even apologize for whatever you're going through (this buys you a bit of buffer)
    2. Use minimal paraphrasing ("I understand X, Y, Z...")
    3. Propose a solution or, if you don't have one, offer to help find one. Let her know on your downtime you'll look it up online or whatever you have in mind and then you'll discuss your findings with her. If it's urgent (no time to buy time) then say that you understand the urgency and that on the fly you can only think of X, Y, Z

    Anyway that's all I've got based on the limited information in OP. Hope that helps.
     
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  3. Clueless in Canada

    Clueless in Canada Well-Known Member

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    Is she getting any therapy to help her develop coping strategies? Meltdowns are scary to the person experiencing them and knowing that they are caused by her ASD situation may be helpful but she still needs to work with you to find out how you can both manage meltdowns together. She needs to know what is calming and reassuring for her and that the meltdown is not the actual moment to work out or solve any issues.

    Even though it is my own instinct to solve a problem when someone presents me with one, and I am prone to neglecting to just listen or offer sympathy rather than solutions, someone who listens to me or offers a little sympathy is pretty much what I want and need during a meltdown. My partner is great at bear hugs or holding me tightly in a cuddle and I find that calming though specifically the tight hug has to be from someone I love and trust. A meltdown feels like incredibly frightening loss of control, like not having my feet on the ground, and knowing that a trusted loved one will help me get back to a feeling of some control, a feeling of safety. I would suggest that you make a plan with your partner. Know that there will be future meltdowns and ask her to work with you to make a plan for how you will respond to it. Even if this takes some trial and error, she will know that you are trying to support her.
     
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  4. Deanomyite

    Deanomyite New Member

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    Thank you both for replying. Posting this thread was part of what actually helped her calm down I think. I personally don't have a way to release my stress and that becomes a problem when she needs me. She doesn't have a safe way to get rid of stress. She uses cutting as a way to deal with emotions and feelings she can't handle. She has tried others things to cope that aren't harmful such as using chalk on her wall to write out the things bothering her and exercise. I haven't put all the things we have tried on here or you'd be reading for a week.

    She has tried a counselor but one of her things is she has no self esteem so getting ready to see the counselor could throw her into a meltdown. She wants help but actually seeing people or letting them see her can really throw her off. I have to remember the advice of not trying to fix anything but just comfort her during a meltdown. She has told me something like that herself but i never remember until it's to late. I tried that today but it had escalated past the point where it would have worked and I was lost on what to do next.
     
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  5. Nauti

    Nauti Active Member

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    I don't think it's at all a good idea to apologize if you didn't do anything wrong.

    In general, it's safer to wait for an openess or request for advice, with us females, sometimes we just need to let off steam, and we aren't being reasonable, we are not running on frontal lobe reasoning, we are in fight/flight mode and it's primal brain responses, at play.

    Sympathetic noises or body language and NOT a great deal of information would probably be.more appropriate.

    When in the throes of primal brain emoting, our ability to process information is compromised. A calm and solid presence can be comforting, but expecting her to be able to listen and absorb pragmatic information is probably expecting too much, until she has regained her composure.

    She is, in effect, being flooded, with negative emotion. It's VERY unpleasant and frightening and overwhelming. Helping her limit the sensory input, quiet any loudness, too bright light brought down, keep feedback and directives simple and as objective as possible, get her a drink or a stim toy or something that, when.you are both calm and reasonable, you have agreed would be helpful and calming.

    Teach her that you aren't abandoning her, if you leave the room or go do something. She will learn trust and self control with boundaries, honesty and assertive support.

    DON'T allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated, that WON'T help her to feel secure, teach her that she can.trust what you say and that you are secure in yourself and she will learn to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do.
    It is like a child part takes over, when these meltdowns happen, she needs you to be the adult.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  6. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It’s not yours to fix and you’re Not wholly responsible for what just happened.

    She may try to blame you for all of it but she needs to own her own behaviour.


    Explore and identify likely triggers and find her own ways (with medical professionals) to go about dealing with becoming overwhelmed,
    and the aftermath of a meltdown.

    She can do that with your love, support, help and encouragement,
    But you can’t do it for her.

    You also need an outlet for the stresses you’re feeling.
    You have a right to be you,
    and say what you’d like to say.
    A relationship is a two way thing.

    Don’t lose ‘yourself’ while supporting your wife.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  7. asperagus

    asperagus A vegetable on the spectrum

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    I thought the rule of thumb is for husbands to apologize to their wives round the clock. That may be a generalization and apply more to NT wives, but still seems to be common advice. @Nauti couldn't that vary from one person to the next? I think it's important for OP to consider how his wife is. I posted a very generic flow-chart, obviously it'll have to be personalized, and even customized each time.
     
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  8. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I take medicine for extreme anger issues and it certainly does work and I have not had a meltdown, since.

    She needs to be left alone. The more you talk with her, the worse she will get. I found that I calm down when left on my own, but hubby never understood that, so it was difficult.

    I would say, that he would agree with you very much. Because of me, he cannot just invite people around. We cannot just go around to others, if there are more than 2 and this stresses him out, but I do try to find ways to ease it in other situations.

    You have to remember, that she is not deliberately being the way she is and that may help you to control your stresses. I think it does with my husband.

    He is now, trying to find a method with our front door, so that it does not make a horrible noise when it is not closed properly. He has removed the key hole bits and this is all because it drives me crazy!

    My husband loves gardening and so, that is his stress reliever and thus, you must try and find something that relieves stress.

    We do tend to be blunt.
     
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  9. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Husbands and WIVES is the rule of thumb. If one is in error, then they should apologise.
     
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  10. Catana

    Catana Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just curious. Has all this become a problem just since she was diagnosed? Or has she always been this way?
     
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  11. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As a bit of a joke, I blame Mr Gracey for all sorts of things :)

    I let him know that ‘I never stated it was his fault but am going to blame him anyway’ :)

    Which way the wind blows,

    Because it’s a Tuesday,

    The erratic driving of the person driving the vehicle in front of us,

    If I burn something I’m cooking :)


    A bit of harmless (and nonsensical) leg pulling.
     
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  12. Nauti

    Nauti Active Member

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    Personally, I think a good rule of thumb is to apologize, if you know you did something wrong, but not if you didn't. People who are not being honest or fair can take your apology as an admission of guilt and that isn't good if you didn't do something wrong.

    Lots of women manipulate men and treat them unfairly, so no I don't think encouraging men to act as if they are guilty helps create a society in which both men and women are treated fairly and are encouraged to be assertive, honest, true to themselves and not giving their power away. Women don't really like guys to be fawny, regardless of what the angry feminists say women want.

    Sure say "sorry that you are hurting" but not assume you did something wrong just because a woman said you did. Women say all sorts of things when they are upset and in this day and age, are often encouraged not to take responsibility for themselves, which is the opposite to a path of empowerment and effectiveness, more like a path of victimhood and disempowerment.

    Women actually need men to be strong, logical, honest and kind, but not fawny, or apologetic without due cause
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  13. Deanomyite

    Deanomyite New Member

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    She said she has always been this way and people always thought she was just being difficult.
     
  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata Only you can free yourself.....

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    First of all, hats off to you, you are really trying to help her. Thanks for coming here for support. In meltdown mode, you sorta turn into caretaker, but you want to move her into taking responsibility for her meltdowns, acknowledging them, and deciding what is next step, and of course discussing what she is feeling in the moment of the meltdown, in the hopes that patterns emerge (triggers), as you consistently point out the triggers, she will recognize them, and hopefully hear your voice guiding her to see triggers, see her response, acknowledge her feelings in the moment, and realise you want her to get to a better place, because it means a better relationship for both of you. But you need to let go of the old her, and welcome in the new healed version of her, that is your vision board, are you ready?