My mission statement states that I’m here to help my readers transition into society post-Bachelor’s, but in order to gauge how you’re doing, you first need to understand three things:
1. Where you went wrong.
2. Where you went right.
3. How to tell the difference between the two.
Let’s start with that first one from my POV as a frame of reference. This can usually be pinpointed to one particular moment in an argument that will either end it right then and there… or it will escalate matters into a spectacular clusterf- (Oh, right! Kids are watching!) Or it will escalate matters into a spectacular ball (How’s that? Better?) of yelling, screaming, and in some rare cases, collateral damage. Aside from the fact that no argument should ever result in that last one and be considered an acceptable means of venting frustration (“The Windows ME died BEFORE I kicked it! I swear!”), this “Breaking Point,” if you will, occurs when somebody inevitably tells me, “just walk away.”
I don’t need to remind you how futile that can sound when dealing with an irate Aspie with full intentions of murdering an inanimate object, preferably the one taking a chainsaw to his last rational neuron. The intelligent thing to do would be to heed that advice. So naturally, I do the complete opposite and take the fight up to the next level… or two… or five in some REALLY rare cases. I do not mix well with malfunctioning technology (Microsoft, I’m looking in your general direction…), but that is no excuse for me not to work on controlling my rage. Incidentally, that trait vanished in the dust the moment I bought an iPhone and a Macbook Pro. (Now what does THAT tell you about Apple?)
Now, if I stop here, I don’t look too shiny and role-model-y for you guys. But once again operating under the assumption that this is me we’re talking about, I would hope I do have moments that trumpet my victories over my soc-slexia™ (Patent Pending on that one).
When the aforementioned Breaking Point happens, the best way I’ve been able to turn it around and on its head is a hit-or-miss process. Usually it looks something like this:
1. Eye-contact – Making sure I’m looking at you is the ideal method of making sure I’m actually listening to what you have to say (and that I’m not just in Screensaver Mode™… or yelling at a decibel level that could drown out a sonic boom). If I’m looking you in the face, it means you’ve got my attention.
2. Acknowledgement – I can’t tell you how often I hear the phrase, “I understand you’re upset, and you’re allowed to feel that way, but it’s the way you REACT to it that gets you in trouble.” Two things have to happen here in order to move on to the next step. First, you need to acknowledge how I feel and why I feel that way. Once that is understood, I, myself, need to acknowledge that I could perhaps, maybe be handling this situation more calmly.
If I stop screaming and lower my voice, we can move on to…
3. Logical Resolution – This is the part where we solve the problem by talking it out like mature adults. (NOTE: Getting to this step can take a while. You may want to bring a magazine to read prior to this part.) The situation dies down and everybody feels good about life as their blood pressures sink back down to healthy levels.
And here’s where that third thing starts coming into play…
4. Remorse – I will ALWAYS, WITHOUT FAIL, own the part I’ve played in this confrontation. This will drive me to work harder to avoid these mistakes in the future. I don’t walk away because I feel that I’m in the RIGHT, but in the end, I realize that I was handling it the WRONG way. And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is where the ability to understand the difference between the right way and the wrong way to handle a situation begins to take its shape.
Once I am able to recognize this distinction, I have the ability to “remember what happened last time” and stop myself from doing it again next time.
And when I LEARN from this experience, I become one step closer to “normal” (if such a thing actually EXISTS). And THAT is how you snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!
…Okay, so maybe you snatch defeat back from the jaws of victory a little, too…