Guys and grief

…make room for the possibility that your strongest emotion is grief.  Those of us of the male persuasion perceive grief as a weakness…

Our son likes to watch rapid images.  Movie trailers or Disney music videos on You Tube really keep his attention.  I was “playing requests,” loading up movie and song clips as he asked for them.  Then the computer froze.

Autistic people can get violent when frustrated.  Our son didn’t have words to express his displeasure and my repetition of “Ready to be calm?” couldn’t reach him.  He grabbed up a braided rope dog toy and started whipping me with it.

I tried to stop him verbally, but the strikes hurt and all of a sudden I was ready to strike back.  I spun the desk chair around and shot to my feet.  There he was, maybe a third my size at the time, his face contorted in rage.  He just held the rope whip up, not sure what to swing at now that my full frame loomed over him.  I had both fists clenched.

Then I ran out of the room and dissolved in tears.  I didn’t want to hurt him, but I was hurting deep down.  My own child was so messed up that he was beating on me.  He was upset because one little thing that brought pleasure to his confusing life wasn’t working.  Everything looked like pain and impossibility from every angle.  It broke my heart.

You might blow up emotionally from time to time.  The one for whom you care might seem like a total waste of time, space, money, effort, hope and love.

When that happens,

make room for the possibility that your strongest emotion is grief.  Those of us of the male persuasion perceive grief as a weakness.

We often put on anger or physical aggression as the most available masks, because some part of our agitated brain perceives those reactions as strong and effective.

You might feel like you need to raise your volume and smash something, when what you probably need is some privacy and a big box of Kleenex.

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2 thoughts on “Guys and grief

  1. Very powerful post, Tim. I have no clue what I would do in that situation. I recall being overwhelmed by 3 healthy children at times, so not sure what I would do in your situation. Of course, I was much younger then, too.

    But you make a good point. Sometimes the best you can do is let your grief out.

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