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Learning to Control My Anger as an Autistic Woman

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Sometimes I can be an angry person. I’ve always had issues controlling my temper and I’ve felt this way my entire life. It’s caused me to lose friendships and potential romantic relationships. I wish I could learn to be a happier and more optimistic person. However, it’s very challenging for me to learn to adapt to a more positive mindset when those in society don’t exactly treat me with the respect I believe I deserve.

I hold my feelings and emotions inside most of the time because I am afraid to say what’s on my mind. I don’t mean to lash out at other people and take my anger out on them and I wish I didn’t act this way when I was upset. I often write poems about how I feel. I don’t normally share them with other people because I don’t think they will understand the meaning behind the poem. Poetry has always been a good way for me to express myself when I’m feeling distraught. I feel that I’m really good at composing a poem and arranging words in a way that makes sense.

Life has not been easy for me throughout these past 26 years and there are many things I wish I could change about my past. But, I’m learning from my mistakes and trying to be a better person. I always thought that depression and anxiety were two of my biggest obstacles in life, but I also struggle with anger. I don’t deal with rejection very well or someone deciding that they don’t want to hang out with me at the last minute. I’ve been led on by men and given false hope, so I don’t take it lightly when someone plays mind games with me or tries to deceive me. I am searching for meaning in a world where I feel I don’t belong and asking for people to put aside their differences and accept me. But, it doesn’t really feel like they’re ready to welcome me into their circle of friends.

I was about 7 when I started to notice that my anger was getting the best of me. I tried to not let it bother me. However, I didn’t really know how to deal with my emotions. I didn’t understand people or know how to talk to them. I was a shy and confused young woman wanting to find acceptance in a world where I felt I didn’t belong. No one welcomed me with kindness. I tried to find the courage within myself to make friends amongst my peers and socialize, but the anxiety would always find its way back to me. Sometimes I would get so angry and frustrated that my face would turn bright red and I would scream. I didn’t mean to react this way. However, I couldn’t help it sometimes. No one taught me how to deal with anger in a healthy and sophisticated manner. It was something I had to figure out on my own. In the process of learning how to control my temper, I did make a lot of mistakes, and I lost friends along the way. But, I think it also helped me become a stronger person and figure out who I am as an individual.

To this day, I wish I were more laid back and accepting when someone tells me something I don’t want to hear. Yet, I’ve never really coped well with change or a difference of opinion. I’ve always thought that someone else had to have the same ideas and values as I do in order for us to get along. I’m obsessed with how other people perceive me and whether or not they accept me. But, the only opinion that should matter is my opinion of myself. I want to feel like I am a competent individual who has a purpose in life. However, I have never felt as though my life has meaning.

When I try to interact with other people, all I hear are voices inside my head telling me that they probably aren’t going to want to hang out with me because of my disability. I really do feel as though people don’t want to be my friend because I’m autistic, and that men are afraid to date me because of my disability. But, beyond the judgment and the harsh comments, I know I am a person worth getting to know. I just wish other individuals would realize that and see me for who I am instead of my disability. I find that my anger always shows when I’m upset with someone or hurt. I don’t think anyone realizes how much pain I have endured. It’s been a brutal 26 years and I know that I’m going to continue to go through more challenges as an autistic woman and it makes me feel distraught.

I don’t know who to turn to when I’m angry and I often feel misunderstood. I know that I should be strong and independent. But, it’s hard for me to do that when other people are so critical of me, and do not welcome me with kindness. A friend told me that I should treat other people the way I would like to be treated and I very much believe this to be true. However, I feel as though most individuals don’t treat me well and that they don’t acknowledge the fact I am trying hard to respect their boundaries. Sometimes I feel as though other people don’t care, which is upsetting. I want to go back to the moments in my life when I felt as if someone did care about me and that they genuinely wanted me to be OK. I want to remember happy thoughts when I think of other people. But, I don’t know if I can do that sometimes.

I feel this rage inside of me that controls me and it can dictate how I behave around other people. Sometimes I’m very easygoing and mellow and other times I’m uptight and hard to talk to. It’s very for me to be happy when I don’t feel like anyone notices me or wants to spend time with me. I feel invisible almost all the time and it’s almost as if people purposely ignore me because they don’t want to be my friend. This devastates me. I want to feel included and a part of society. However, I don’t know how to not get angry and upset when people don’t treat me well or they purposely go out of their way to hurt me.

As I reflect on the past 26 years of my life, I realize that I’m not the same person I used to be. I am constantly changing and developing as a person. When I get angry with someone, I always stop and take a few deep breaths and then realize I’m probably overreacting. Learning to not overreact is something I am working on because I can be a very reactive person. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to not say anything at all when you’re angry or upset, as it could irritate the other person even more. I think I am getting better at learning how to deal with social interactions and difficult social interactions, but sometimes I do need help. I try to listen to advice from my friends and my family. However, at times I think I know what I’m doing. I know that I’m going to continue to make mistakes all throughout my life.

Yet, I believe they will only make me stronger and help me better myself as an individual. Some people are really difficult to talk to and interact with and others are easygoing and friendly. I try to interact with other people who I feel I will get along with and those who I feel will treat me well. But, sometimes I choose the wrong people and end up getting my feelings hurt. I’d like to believe that all people in society have good intentions and are kind and considerate. However, I don’t feel that most individuals are respectful and understanding, especially towards those with autism and other learning difficulties. It takes a very special person to understand someone like me and to be my friend. Some people get frustrated by me easily because I don’t pick up on social cues or read body language and facial expressions and that really bothers me. I feel that if someone wants to be my friend, they should be more patient and understanding. But, I cannot make someone be more compassionate toward me.

I think that it’s a choice to want to be friends with another person and that it’s a choice to want to be happy. Each day I choose to work on myself and improve my mental well-being, even if it takes me longer than the average person. I believe that anything is possible if I continue to have a positive mindset and remain focused on the task at hand. I am a strong person and I strive for excellence in all that I accomplish.

Getty image by Kilito Chan.

Originally published: April 1, 2022
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