Meltdowns are so emotionally draining. I am struggling to cope. Especially when one is from my newly adopted teenager, and the meltdown looks like something you would see from an 8-year-old. So far the things getting me through are Jesus and a glass of wine. Maybe that second isn't the best recommendation. But it is all I have ;)
My 16-year-old son yesterday had a melt-down and after all these years of knowing his idiosyncrasies involving autism/asperger's and his OCD components, I said one word (STOP!) which sent him flying through the house finally up to his room, slamming the door and on his bed where he fell asleep. My adult daughter and I had gone to Sheetz for lunch while he was a school and he came home and saw the containers in the trash. "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!" He yelled at us. "YOU ARE SO MEAN, I'M RUNNING AWAY! I WILL FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO LIVE WITH WHO WON'T TREAT ME AS HORRIBLE AS YOU DO!!" The first words out of his mouth when he saw the containers. Which is when I yelled stop. The good news is, he knew from years of meltdowns that his bed was his safe place where he could let out his anger, calm himself down by playing with toys /reading/watching TV and in this case fall asleep. However he was still furious when he came down reminding me he was going to move away from us because we were so horrible. It was then I told him that while I didn't have money (his sister had paid) I did have a free ticket for a food item I was going to let him have BUT because of his response, it wouldn't be today. Then he turned around to blame ME for HIS anger. I said, well, see there again, you are not taking responsibility for your actions. So the ticket is mine until you can tell me how your anger was your responsibility. Then he reminded me he was moving out. I took out my phone and brought up my address list. I said, "Ok, let's just work on that" as I proceeded down the address list of whom his potential prospects were so I could call them right then and there. Within 10 minutes he apologized, and was joking. He did eat supper (he previously said he wouldn't because I wouldn't go buy him something out to eat) and he returned to his normal self. Melt downs are so emotionally draining. They really are, but as he has gotten older (and only since he's gotten older or maybe since I've just become more immune to them) I've begun to look at them for what they truly are. The child's emotional meltdown is where they attack us for being the parent. We didn't do anything wrong - we were just parenting. It is their inability to accept that parenting. So when I take my emotion out of the meltdown (SO HARD TO DO - it hurts when he says he wants to leave me) and just let him face his own threats, he begins to see how illogical his meltdown was. By the way today, since everyone is over the emotional event, we are going to talk about different ways he could have handled seeing that we ate out without him. Exhausting and seemingly never ending but don't give up on them. You are the parent and doing the right thing. You are amazing and tell yourself that because you truly are!!!!
Pam, I loved reading this and want to hug you :). Yes, when I can remain calm I can deal with the root cause instead of the outburst. I have one, Lizzy, who I worry more about because her brain does not function like the rest of us and she is quit illogical. But, we will deal with her issues as they arise.
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