When you have a family member with autism or other mental illness, it can be very difficult and can play havoc with family relations. This was an anguished cry for help on a public forum from a sibling of someone with autism. This reply is very helpful, inciteful and provides much needed understanding as well as practical advice. Grapevine Center endorses this and also invites readers to reference our page on “How to Cope When a Family Member has a Mental Illness”
My sister is autistic. She drives everyone in the house crazy pretty much 24/7 but when she has meltdowns it gets worse and this stresses my mom out. Why does my mom take out her anger always on me?
Keriane KelloggAnswered Nov 7, 2019on Quora Digest
Originally Answered: My sister is autistic. She drives everyone in the house crazy pretty much 24/7 but when she has meltdowns it gets worse and this stresses my mom out. Why does she take out her anger always on me?
Let me ask you a question. Do you know WHY your sister has meltdowns? Do you know what an autism meltdown actually is and how to defuse it? Allow me to tell you. An autism meltdown is not like a child having a typical tantrum. When a child has a meltdown, they are overstimulated and overwhelmed by sensory and auditory overload and they literally CAN’T calm down by themselves. They need someone….a parent or an older sibling…to HELP them calm down or they will just keep melting until they wear themselves out. They may be reacting to too much noise. There may be too many people in the room and its overwhelming her. The lights may be too bright and that’s overwhelming her. She could be stressed about something. There are certain cues that you can look for that will tell you when your sister is about to be triggered into having a meltdown. She might cover her ears. She might start whimpering or try to leave the room. She might squeeze her eyes shut. If you or your Mom are screaming at her and scolding her during one of these meltdowns, its only going to make it much worse. You need to stay very calm and talk quietly to her. Take her to a quiet, safe room (her bedroom, ideally). Maybe have some dark sunglasses and soundproof headphones and a weighted blanket for her (these will help block out the sounds and other stimuli and help her calm down,) Give her some water and maybe a security item…a blanket or a snuggle toy and encourage her to try deep breathing….slowly in through her nose and releasing out from her mouth. Let the room be dark and quiet and you will see she will soon calm down and relax again. Make sure she takes her meltdown bag with her when she goes out…be it to school, to the grocery store. Wherever might trigger a meltdown. And understand this is NOT her fault. This is just something she has to live with as a child with autism.
I can understand that witnessing an autism meltdown CAN be very stressful for your mom, and she might vent that frustration out on you and that’s unfair. I get it. But I would ask you to be patient with your sister and you and your mom help her through the meltdowns.23.7k views · View Upvoters · View Sharers