A fellow classmate told me a few months ago, "You get along with everyone so well. I have never seen you get angry with anyone before." I replied, "Really? I just don't want people to see that side of me, as it can get pretty ugly."
Apparently, I have a few instances this past few days and the fact that anger management is the main topic for Aspergers Support Network yesterday made me think, "Wow! I have hidden the fact that I have a quick trigger pretty well for so long. But, if I don't take care of this issue, it's going to cost me some professional relationships and friendships." So, I started to wonder what were my primary triggers. Not surprisingly, I came up with two key themes- my need to be to be right and/or when someone say something that I don't agree on.
Then, I dissect it further through the help of an OT session, I was surprised to learn that it was probably due to a stress response. I guess this makes my case a little more unusual. I usually am a laid-back person who doesn't get stressed a lot. However, my stress level in certain situations can be like a race car, where it could go from 0 to 60 in a hurry. Making matters worse, I know I need to stop and try to reach common ground in certain situations. But like a car with faulty breaks, I sometimes can't stop in time. In good times, there will be an argument, but there eventually will be a resolution. In bad times, the argument will just escalate and could be to a point of no return. The common denominator in these situations is that if I am not completely at fault, I will do what I can to let that person know about it whether they know it or not. It takes a patient and understanding person to prevent these arguments go that way.
Knowing this tendency and the fact that I love leadership, I find that building up rapport early helps, especially in my case. I agree that it is unconventional and some people might see it as manipulative. But, one aspect of OT is prevention. By building rapport and understanding first, I am reducing the chances of a rocky relationship later. Also, by being proactive and forthcoming about my illness, it will give people time to trial and error in terms of how to deal with me before when time matters.
Of course, I also have to learn about letting go when some of these stress response comes. I have to slow myself down before determine whether it's justifiable for me to get angry. This is tough to do for anyone. But adding to the fact that being defensive and stubborn can be a characteristic of someone in the autism spectrum, it means that it will be an even tougher task. So, my personal goal is to gradually reduce it to a point where I will be angry in situations that I should. When people disagree with me, unless it really is worth the fight, I will do my best to let go. Since this is a new change, so please bear with me. I am doing my best to improve myself as both a member in the OT community as well as leadership.
I completely agree with you. Normally, I am calm and I don't allow anything to bother me. However, I have learned what increases my stess is my full plate of life, school, and work. I am attempting to find ways in which I can calm myself and not allow minimal situations to bother me. It's a difficult task, but with some great advice from my peers, I am able to learn new tools to utilize in order to remain calm and attempt to live with little stress :)
Thanks for the response. I won't make any assumptions here. But, it is a whole different thing when it comes from the perspective of a person in the autism spectrum, which is what I was trying to say. After all, a common deficit for people in the autism spectrum is social skills, which in a sense is still true with me. For example, in some social situations, I know the need to compromise is more important the need to be right. But if there's a slightest disagreement about me, I just couldn't control myself in defending myself. By pointing out these "false accusations", I ended up turning a discussion into an argument quite a bit.