What I'm learning is that, when I respond back with the same attitude I'm met with, it exacerbates the situation and makes us both feel worse. The alternative is really, really (really) hard to do because it means forfeiting my opportunity to justifiably point out his wrong-doing and my suffering, but it's getting easier with practice and it yields far better results. Also, the more I do it, the less I need to do it. It takes the heat out of the moment and shows Ethan there's another way.
What am I talking about...?
I'm talking about meeting resistance, aggression, blame with its opposite: if I'm met with negativity, responding with something positive. If I'm met with criticism, responding with praise. And if I'm met with shouts, responding with soft words.
The more I'm able to swallow my pride and surrender my self-interest, the less I have to do it. Because the change in me is starting to bring about a change in him. He's beginning, now and again, to recognise when he's unnecessarily irritable and aggressive. He might not be able to hold it in, but knowledge is power. Recognising it, surely, is the first step to controlling it? And he's quicker to say sorry afterwards, talk to me about it and listen to my take on it - because I'm not attacking him. I wouldn't say I'm turning hate into love - because there's nothing as strong as hate there to start with, but you get the idea...
More than nagging, criticism, pointing out what he did wrong and 'helpfully' suggesting how he could have done better...I'm learning he needs someone to believe in him.
I've not forgotten, I need to swallow that pride some more and lay myself bare to Ethan's expose of what it's like, as a person with Aspergers, to live with an extreme N/T (if there is such a thing) - basically, I'm his polar opposite. Where he's unsociable; I'm extremely sociable, where he finds it difficult to empathise; I feel everyone's pain and spend my time trying to make things better for everyone, where he likes science, objects and gadgets; I like people, relationships and experiences, where he likes order; I live in chaos. It's an interesting pairing! Next blog - over to Ethan (I promise!)