Recently, somebody asked me, does autism cause anger? I seriously had to choose my words wisely because while autism is a neurological condition, certain environmental factors can be the cause of an autistic person experiencing anger if they do not have the tools in their toolbox to properly manage their emotions at that moment.
Now being an autistic adult in my mid-30’s I have experienced a great deal of anger over the years both as a youth and as an adult. It has taken many, many years of therapies to grasp a sense of being able to control my anger and not become severely violent. Anger can be caused through many factors including environmental, sensory, interpersonal relations to things and people. I can relate many experiences in these realms to myself being instantly violent.
Sometimes it can be the combination of many factors within a short period that could lead into one racing their breaking point and exploding without understanding a need to get their expressions out. This happened to me last year at the day program I still attend. Throughout the day there were many factors of sensory and interpersonal effects that ultimately ended up lashing at a staff member without having the ability to get myself out of the precarious situation I walked myself into. It took until I reached my therapist via phone to finally settle down and understand how to resolve my issues. I am thankful for having a connection to a therapist in the way that I do.
While I have since understood that becoming violent in rages of anger only results in further hardships occurring, I have been through a great deal of incidents that involved becoming violent. Primarily none of these instances resulted in being involved in the criminal justice system although I have been close in a few instances.
Having such a coregulatory relationship with my mother, she was often at the receiving end of my violent rages that I would take my anger out on. I can never pay her any amount of anything for the hardship that I had caused her in her life. There was a quote that she had to learn in her years of love by a therapist and that “people expect our love the most when they deserve it the least.” This was recently brought up in a conversation and it reminded me of all the times I was violent towards my mother and how she has (and still does verbally at times) take all my abuse and continues to come back for more even though 98% of my violence towards her no longer exists, I am sure those thoughts are continually in the back of her mind when she sees me.
Being autstic in any capacity, it is ever important to gain appropriate skills so that individuals get their anger under control to prevent it from being reactive and causing the attention of unwanted bystanders who could in turn intensify the situation by drawing attention to the issue. The world today has such a presence of having things broadcasted whether it be on social media or having law enforcement present themselves at a scene, thus if not properly educated on how to interact with autistic individuals can cause further hardships among those involved.
For a fact I know that If I did not learn and instill the proper skills to manage all of my emotions, not just anger, I would not be able to be here to write this post to the effect that I am able to. It is important to note that things are never perfect in an autistic life and at any given moment there could be instances that anger could enrage, what is key is how you bounce back from being anger and work on not making those instances occurring again is how you make life better for autistics and those involved in their lives.